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The Adventures of Rex and Zendah In The Zodiac
by Esme Swainson
(Part 3)

The Land of the Scorpion-Eagle

   When the gates of the Archer had completely closed, Rex and Zendah looked around for the next entrance but not a trace of one could they see!

   "How can you try to open a gate that does not seem to be there?" said Rex. "Perhaps Hermes will come and help us."

   To pass the time they sat down on the ground and began to look at the scroll of passwords that Hermes had given them. While they were unrolling it, Zendah noticed some curious shining bits of stone that seemed to move themselves toward each other, as she shuffled her feet about.

   She sat still and looked — no, they did not move — it must have been her imagination. Just then Rex dropped his knife out of his pocket; how it happened to be there he never knew, and much to their astonishment, the queer bits of stone moved toward the knife and arranged themselves around it.

   "Why," she said, "they look like parts of a puzzle."

   So they started picking up some of them. "Do you think they might be a puzzle, Rex?" queried Zendah. "Let's try and find enough to make a word." They collected a heap of the queer, dark, shining stones, and soon found they were able to make several words. At last they made the word "Secret."

   Just then a curious noise behind them made them look round. It was a sort of gurgling, swishing noise, and they saw what looked like water running swiftly over stones in a river bed, when there had been much rain.

   They then saw a movement, where before there had seemed to be nothing. At the bottom of the river bed was a number of twisting lines like water, gradually rising higher and higher, moving from side to side, and swiftly up and down, until it made a great funnel, a whirlpool of water, nearly as high as a house and about eight feet across the top.

   At the bottom it was such a deep purple as to be nearly black, but the moving lines became lighter in color and more and more reddish, until it was a glorious crimson. Then a bubble formed at the bottom of the funnel and gradually rising to the top, burst without a sound.

   Seven more bubbles rose, one by one and each larger than the other, and as the eighth and last broke, the whole of the water disappeared and they beheld the gate. It was made of beautiful shaped and twisted iron, with a figure of an enormous eagle right across the top.

   No voice demanded entrance — the gates swung open suddenly with a clang — and as suddenly closed behind them, after they had stepped inside.

   The way before them was blocked with great rocks towering in front of them, and extending at the sides to where the gates had been, but which were again invisible.

   There was no way forward, and no way back, and yet, it seemed as if there might be an entrance, for a stream of dark water flowed under the rock near their feet.

   "Let's try the Password," said Zendah. "This might be like the entrance to Ali Baba's cave."

   So they whispered "Power."

   Eight times it echoed back from the rocks, sounding like a chorus of invisible people mocking them. Then suddenly there was an opening just in front of them and a boat lay on the water inside the opening.

   They stepped into the boat, and without any warning, off it shot at a great speed as if the stream were constantly running down hill. Through caverns almost pitch black, they went over little rapids where the boat rocked so much they thought they must be thrown out! Sometimes it was icy cold and they saw great blocks of ice, all shapes and sizes, towering into the air on each side of them, like pillars of a cathedral. Further on they passed a place that was just as hot as the place they had left was cold. Fountains of boiling water rushed up to the roof of the cavern, and they could hardly breathe.

   They wanted badly to stop the boat in one place, for all the walls of the cavern were alive with specks of many colored lights that looked like the jewels which mother had in her necklace, but they were unable to do so.

   At last the boat rushed out into the open country, and stopped beside a bank on which elder and alder trees were growing. On the bank stood a figure they recognized and they jumped out and ran to him, for it was Mars.

   "It did not take you long to find the secret of the entrance cave," he said, "and I am very much pleased that the underground journey did not frighten you. In the Land of the Scorpion-Eagle you will have to find out most things for yourselves. Now choose, will you go east or west?"

   "West," said Zendah, speaking first, before Rex could make up his mind. As she spoke, a flying chariot drew up, drawn by four eagles.

   Off they flew, over ice fields, passing waterfalls, miles and miles high, until the air became warmer and there came to them a perfume like that of a garden.

   Getting out of the chariot, they found themselves in a stretch of flat country, all arranged with beds of herbs; some they knew because they grew them in their garden at home, but a great many they had never seen before.

   "How sweet they smell," said Rex, running from bed to bed and picking a leaf here and there, as they wandered up and down the paths. "But why are they all needed?"

   "They have many uses, as you shall see," replied Mars, leading them further on. In the middle of the herb garden was a long, low building, and passing inside they saw many women putting the herbs on trays to dry, then rubbing them through sieves, and lastly putting them into bottles. They saw the herbs, in another part of the building, being boiled in great vats to make medicines for the doctors to use when curing sick people.

   "There is an herb for every illness, if people would only take the trouble to find it out," said Mars.

   In the center of the building was a room with glass windows through which the children looked at eight old men gathered round a table on which was a glass vase with a stopper at the top. To their astonishment they saw that this was full of a beautiful liquid which moved and leaped by itself, as if it were trying to escape. It was a glorious crimson, like wine, with hundreds of golden bubbles in it.

   It was so beautiful that they begged to take some home, but were told it was not quite finished yet, though when perfected it would cure all illness.

   "It is the Elixir of Life, that the wise old alchemists were always trying to make, and they come to this land from Earth to find out how to make it," said Mars.

   The next interesting thing they saw was a number of people making spectacles. The queer thing was that no two pairs were alike in shape and every one had a different colored glass.

   They begged to look through a pair. Everyone started laughing and chorused, "Why you have a pair of your own." Where these spectacles suddenly came from they had no idea, but Rex had pink glasses and Zendah's were blue.

   What wonders they saw through them! They could see right down into the ground, just as if it were transparent; trace where the oil wells lay and see hidden streams of water underground. The rivers, as they looked, were now full of water nymphs, playing games with each other, up and down the waterfalls.

   In the air were thousands of tiny figures not visible to them before, and they noticed some of these buzzing round the flowers with brushes and paint pots, placing the colors on the opening buds and on the fruit. These are magical glasses — everyone has a pair, so Mars told them, but very few people know how to use them, or are even aware that they have them.

   Leaving the spectacle factory, in a courtyard nearby, they looked down a deep well covered with a great stone slab. Mars moved this, and they saw the well was dry. In the sand at the bottom of the well were crawling some scaly objects that looked rather like small lobsters, only they had nasty spikes in their tails that they carried curved over their backs.

   "These ought not to be here," said Mars. "They were all beautiful eagles once, but every time a child belonging to this land says a sharp, unkind word, one of our eagles turns into a scorpion."

   "Don't they ever turn back into eagles?" asked Zendah, feeling very sorry for the poor eagles condemned to crawl instead of being able to fly.

   "Oh yes, but the children have to perform three good deeds before they can become eagles again."

   Many and curious things they saw; all were hidden, and the magic word had to be spoken before they became visible. At last they came to the palace of the King.

   The entrance to the grounds was through great fields of poppies of all colours, and their scent made Zendah yawn so much and feel so tired, that to avoid going to sleep on the way, they hurried her on to the steps of the palace.

   This palace stood on eight pillars with a moat all round it, so every part was reflected in the water; the bridge to it seemed made of clouds, and every step Rex and Zendah took was like walking on cotton wool. Women wearing dark red cloaks, and with veils on their heads that were kept in place with a snake ornament, stood in the passages and halls to welcome them, and saluted Mars with a raised hand. Page boys with black piercing eyes and shocks of dark curly hair, flung back the curtains to the central hall.

   The upper part of the hall was made of black and white marble and the throne itself of a green stone flecked with little red marks. On each side were huge iron vases, in which were growing white poppy plants as large as small trees. A lamp with a red light hung from the roof in front of the throne and braziers on each side sent forth clouds of scented smoke. A figure was seated on a throne, wearing a robe, crimson-rose in color, bordered with embroidery of many colors and richly set with jewels. They could not see the face, for it was veiled with eight veils, but they could see a crown set with sparkling jewels.

   A deep voice bade them welcome, and ordered the attendants to fill the goblet and give the children the drink of remembrance, "For without this you will not be able to recall what you have seen in the Land of the Scorpion-Eagle."

   A tall woman handed them a goblet, beautifully carved, full of a red liquid, while at the same time she passed her hand across the children's eyes.

   It was a strange drink, very sweet as they drank it, but leaving a bitter taste in their mouths afterwards.

   Handing back the goblet they looked up, and saw a crimson winged figure behind the throne — a Great Being that reached almost to the roof of the hall, and who wore a blazing star on his head.

   This was one of the four Guardians of the Winds, they were told, and one quarter of the world was given to his charge. The green guardian lived in the Land of the Water Carrier, but until they had drunk of the waters of remembrance they could not see any of the four Guardians.

   They stood and gazed at the Angel's wonderful crimson wings and blazing star, until the voice of the king recalled them.

   "Bring the Helmet of Invisibility," he cried.

   A page entered with a crimson satin cushion but they could see nothing on it. This nothing was put on Zendah's head. It felt just like putting on a hat, only you could not see what it was, and when she had it on, Rex could not see her at all.

   Round Rex's neck was hung a red cord with a pendant made of a topaz in the shape of an eagle.

   "The Invisible Helmet will help you to see hidden things, and also some day to become invisible on Earth as you are here. Now you have stayed long enough in this land, for you still have much to see," said the King, "and I will send you swiftly to the next land."

   He stood up, and raising his hands above his head, he spoke a strange word that they could never remember.

   The floor seemed to heave; all went dark, and the next thing they knew they were outside the gate, and as before they entered, now again they could see no sign of it.

   "That is the second earthquake," said Zendah.

The Land of the Balance

   The moment the children turned and saw the next gate, they both exclaimed, "How beautiful!"

   It certainly was the most beautiful gate they had seen up to the present.

   The pillars on each side were formed like peach trees, with bunches of fruit hanging in clusters from every branch. The gate itself was of polished copper and at the top, a copper sun sinking halfway below a copper sea, each ray of the sun having a little hand at its tip.

   A narrow pillar ran up the center of the gate, and poised on the top of this, just under the setting sun, was a pair of scales. One pan swung right up in the air and the other was weighed down with a ball, gleaming with many colours.

   "This is the Land of the Balance," said Rex, "so I wonder if before we may go inside we have to find what fills the other pan to make it swing evenly?"

   "We had better look and see if we have anything to put in," said Zendah searching in her pocket. But she had nothing except a handkerchief, while Rex found only the knife that he had nearly lost outside the other gate.

   Standing on tiptoe, they tried to put these things in the pan; nothing happened. But then they hardly thought that these would be enough. Looking round, they noticed just under the central pillar of the gate, a casket, with the words engraved on it, "Choose well, choose wisely."

   Opening it they found inside a collection of small bags of gold, several golden hearts, many little daggers, and numbers of small books.

   Rex seized the little bags of gold, and reaching up, piled them into the scale, but yet they did not move. Then he collected a handful of the daggers and put them in. still the pan remained up in the air. They tried all the little books, but with no results.

   "Well, there is only one thing left now," said Zendah, "so that must be right," and into the pan they piled the little gold hearts. Immediately the scales began to swing up and down, up and down, until they came to rest at last — level.

   The moment they did so, music sounded, and voices sang to the chord.

   "Give the Password of the just balance."

   "Harmony," replied the children.

   The gate glided open, so quietly and gently, that they wondered how it opened so noiselessly.

   Just inside stood Father Time. They stared with open eyes for he looked so different. Gone was his dark cloak of the Land of the Sea-Goat; instead he now wore a dress of silvery white, covered all along the edge with sparkling stones and green embroidery. He reminded the children of one of those beautiful sunny days in winter when the snow hangs like diamonds on the fir trees. He smiled when he saw their astonishment and said:

   "I can only wear this dress when I come to visit Queen Venus. People always expect me to look sad in the other lands, but I am not really so severe when you get to know me. Learn all you can here and consider — Queen Venus will tell you how."

   Taking his dark cloak and hourglass from a niche by the gate he went out, after which it closed behind him.

   "Consider — consider what?" inquired Rex.

   "I am sure I don't know," said Zendah, "but I expect we shall soon find out."

   They began to look around. It was very lovely; the sky was alight with the most beautiful sunset they had ever seen. The perfume of many flowers met them on every side, but it was difficult to say what they were because the fragrance was so different from anything they knew at home.

   Seven roads lay in front of them and along one of these, coming in their direction, were a man and a woman with their arms linked together. They were very charming to look at, but the surprising thing was, that they were not walking on the road, nor on the grass, but floating in the air, just above the ground. They were both dressed in robes of the same colour as the deep blue sea when a hot summer Sun is shining on it, and wore copper belts, set with rows of opals.

   They hardly seemed solid, for sometimes the children thought they could see through them.

   Coming to rest on the road near Rex and Zendah, they were joined by another man and woman, and together the four sang the chord like that heard at the entrance.

   Immediately hundreds of tiny fairies floated up, holding a many colored carpet that looked rather like a sunset cloud. With smiles and waving arms, the fairies invited the children to sit down on this carpet, when gently it rose from the ground and they were started on their voyage in the air.

   So smoothly they traveled, they hardly knew that they had left the ground. It was quite easy for them to see everything as they passed and they thought it was much nicer than any other method of transportation they had ever tried.

   One very curious thing they did notice was that every house was suspended in the air; not one was built on the ground, and they wondered where the foundations were laid.

   Whichever way they gazed, there were beautiful gardens, and many flowers, lilies and violets and roses, all in bloom, and over them hovered hundreds of bees.

   Hearing very faint music, they looked around and found that it was the fairies singing the flowers to sleep, so that they could place the honey inside the flowers' storehouses for the bees to find the next day. A burst of glorious music above their heads made them look up, and high above them, they saw the palace.

   It was made of sunset clouds, its towers and pinnacles were of all colours — ruby, orange, green and purple, and that beautiful blue you see only in the sky at sunset, on a clear day. Up and up they floated to the entrance, fairies flying to greet them with garlands of roses, which they threw round their necks. Leaving the carpet, they ascended the magic steps and entered the hall, and everywhere found there were flowers and fairies. Soon they came to a series of rooms, seven of them, all of the same size, but of a different colour — red, orange, green, yellow, blue, violet, and indigo.

   Each room seemed more beautiful than the preceding and as they crossed the threshold, a note of music sounded.

   The rooms affected them differently. Going through the red room they felt lively and energetic; nothing troubled them, and they stepped along as to a marching tune; in fact the note of music in that room sounded like a march to them.

   In the orange room, they felt as if they were in the sunshine and wanted to sit down and just enjoy it and make plans for what they wished to do.

   The yellow room made them feel clever, and Rex thought of the sums that he could not do at school and found he knew all the answers and Zendah remembered all the dates in her history that had always seemed so hard.

   In the green room Zendah recalled she had forgotten to feed her rabbits the night before, and had never helped mother in the garden as she had promised, while Rex remembered the boy with the broken leg, who lived in the cottage down the road and who had asked him to go and read to him.

   The blue room felt like a church and they stepped on tiptoe and talked in whispers. They fancied they saw angels all round the walls, and heard an organ playing music, such as they heard on Sundays.

   The violet room! They could never quite explain how they felt there. It reminded them somehow of the Land of the Fishes and the Temple of the Holy Cup.

   Lastly, they entered the deep-sea blue room, the great hall. There, at the far end, they saw Queen Venus smiling at them from a carved ivory throne.

   The throne curved right above her head, so she seemed to be sitting in a ball of ivory.

   It had a wonderful blue cushion and behind it, on the wall, were blue silk hangings, covered with pictures worked in many colors.

   Vases of flowers stood everywhere, and all the attendants had wreaths on their heads. Queen Venus herself was dressed in pure white silk, bordered with blue and opals.

   The children ran toward her and caught hold of her hands.

   "Sit down on the cushions at my feet," she said, "and consider."

   They looked at each other and whispered, "Consider again? What does it mean?" Sitting down on the cushions pointed out to them, they watched. Many people came into the hall with sad, gloomy, or angry faces. Queen Venus bent toward them and whispered a few words in their ears, and sent them away with one of the attendants.

   In a short time they came back, looking quite different, and kissing the Queen's hand, left the hall.

   "Do you wonder what is the matter with all these people?" she said, turning to the children. Rex nodded.

   "They are all discontented or unhappy, and they come to learn to be peace-makers instead of trouble-makers in the world. They do not understand that everyone has his own note of music and also his own colour, and if he does not use his own note he sings out of tune. So I send these people into the halls through which you passed, to find their own note and to learn to sing it properly.

   Then they go back to Earth and sing in tune, and they will never grumble any more. Everything has its own note; listen to the waterfall and the wind in the trees and you will hear theirs. Even the stars sing. Listen!" She held up her hand and everyone in the hall was silent.

   She stood up and sang a few notes of a song.

   Above them in the air appeared a harp with seven strings. First one note murmured and swelled and sang, then another and another until all the seven were singing together, and a star flashed out over the harp and then disappeared.

   They had never heard anything like it, and it was so grand that they almost felt a little awed, and crept up close to Queen Venus.

   Smiling at their amazement she said: "That is the music of the seven planets; only poets and great musicians ever hear it on Earth, and it is because they find it so difficult to write down and for other people to play that they are usually so dissatisfied with their work. If you always think of beautiful things and endeavor to make happiness wherever you go, then you will be able to come back to this land and hear the music of the planets again, for this land is harmony.

   "That is what Father Time meant when he told you to consider; consider before you speak, that you may not say unkind words which hurt and upset the harmony of the world; consider before you act whether the thing you do helps other people or is not just for yourself.

   "To remind you of this land, take this five-pointed opal star, Zendah, and you, Rex, take this small seven-stringed harp, that you may try to make real music for the world."

   Both children kissed her hand when they said goodbye, and told her they were very sorry to leave her, but she smiled and said they would see her again before they went home.

   Outside the palace they took their places once more on the magic carpet and sailed away toward the gate. Instead of getting off, they found themselves floating through it.

   The carpet and the fairies disappeared, and they sank slowly down, until they stood outside.

   The balance was again empty on one side; the setting Sun at the top of the gate disappeared below its copper sea and slowly everything went dark.

The Land of the Virgin

   The entrance to the next land was through an archway, the pillars of which were almost entirely covered with sheaves of corn, held in place by twisted bands of leaves, among which were twined branches of fruit and flowers.

   It reminded them of the harvest festival.

   At the base of each of the pillars was a bowl of water, and round each of these were engraved words.

   On one: "Only with clean hands and feet can ye enter this land." On the other: "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."

   The space between the pillars had no gate, but seemed to be filled with corn, growing higher than the children's heads.

   There was no path to be seen, and when they touched the corn with their hands, it was stiff and unbending, and there was no way through.

   Zendah looked at the scroll of Hermes and pointed out to Rex what it said. "When you arrive at the Land of the Virgin, wash in the water of the basins and empty it in front of the growing corn; then pronounce the Password."

   They went to the basins and began to wash their hands, Rex taking one and Zendah the other.

   "Do you think we must both wash in each of them?" asked Rex.

   "Of course, silly," said Zendah, "I expect they are different kinds of water; I am sure they felt different to me, when I put my hands in." Then sitting down on the ground she put her feet into the waters of both bowls.

   "I don't see any need to do that," grumbled Rex, who thought they were wasting time by so much washing, but when Zendah pointed out that the motto on one of the bowls did say something about feet, he thought it was better to do the same. Having finished, they threw out the water as directed, when these words formed in the sand at their feet:

   "Purity is service."

   The words slowly formed and disappeared. A voice startled them. "Welcome children, at last."

   They looked up, and there, parting with both hands what had seemed to be stiff, unbending corn, was Hermes.

   "You have managed very well without me up to now," he said, "but I have never been very far away, though you did not notice me. It was I who whispered in your ears when you did not know quite what to do."

   He beckoned them to him, and parting the corn with one hand, he pointed with the other to a path leading through it. On they went, through miles and miles of corn fields, oats and barley, wheat and maize, and many other kinds of grain. They were all ripe and waiting to be gathered. At the far end of the path they came out into open and pleasant country, and there they were met by several women dressed in yellow robes, somewhat resembling the color of the corn.

   These women did not seem to see Hermes, but spoke to the children at once.

   "Have you washed your feet?" asked one.

   "Are your hands clean?" demanded another.

   "I hope you have not brought the least speck of dirt into the Land of the Virgin," said a third.

   Rex and Zendah were puzzled and looked at Hermes to know what to say.

   "Ladies," he said, "there is no need for your questions, which are quite right for most people, but these children are using their star bodies, and as you know those are always clean, yet they could not have entered this land unless they had used the water in the bowls at the gate." The women solemnly bowed to the children who went on with Hermes, walking through the sunlit country. Everywhere were little houses standing in their own neat little gardens, every one just a little different from the others.

   One thing these gardens had in common — there was not a weed to be seen anywhere, and in each one there were formal beds of flowers and tidy paths with not a stone out of place. It was all so spick and span that they were almost afraid to walk along the roads.

   Passing at last away from these country places, they came to the capital of the country which Hermes told them was called the Town of Perfection.

   Here were fine clean buildings that seemed to be mostly offices for doing different kinds of business. Inside they found clerks, busily writing in enormous ledgers, adding up sums with rows and rows of figures.

   Every wall was covered with shelves divided into hundreds of pigeon holes, filled with papers, and all labeled with different names. People were running to and from these holes either putting some papers away, or fetching some out. They were very busy, too busy to explain anything to the children, who did not feel very much interested until Hermes told them that the writing which was done there was very useful to the other lands, because this recorded and kept safe the important things that happened.

   Then they went down to a large room below the offices where they became greatly interested. It was the largest laboratory that they had ever seen. Men and women in long white coats, helped by a number of quite small boys about the age of Rex, were grouped round small, blue gas flames watching queer-shaped glass tubes.

   Some were pounding things with pestles in mortars. Every now and then there would be an explosion in one of the tubes, and all would gather round and make notes in their own little notebooks.

   One man was squeezing juice out of various fruits, filling glass tubes with it, and trying the effect of drops of different coloured liquids on the juice. This result too was noted in a book.

   "What are they doing?" asked Rex.

   "They are trying to find out which things are the most valuable foods for people to eat." Rex pulled a face. "I think the best foods are those that taste the best." Hermes laughed. "I am afraid they do not all think so in this land."

   From there they passed through a doorway into a greenhouse filled with plants and flowers in full bloom, many of which were quite strange to them.

   "Why!" said Zendah, after she had run first from one queer plant to another, "they are not a bit like our flowers at home." The head gardener came up just then, and replied:

   "No, of course not, this is where the fairies help us to grow new kinds of fruit and flowers. See, this is how we do it — but first I must see if the stars say it is the right time." And he went to a book that was hanging in a corner of the greenhouse, and ran his finger down a page. "Yes, in five minutes we may begin." So from a box he took a small brush, and going to a white lily-like plant that was growing near them, he took some of the yellow pollen from its stamens, and then passing to a gorgeous red flower, he placed the pollen on the long green rod that grew in the center of the flower.

   "Now," he said, "we must tie it up in a muslin bag so that nothing else can touch it, and when the seeds ripen, we shall be able to grow a beautiful lily, red with white spots, or it may be white with red spots, I cannot say which, for that all depends on the fairies."

   Then he gave them a peach with a pineapple flavour and an apple with no core nor seeds, that had a musk flavor.

   He showed them a blue rose and a bright yellow sweet pea. "All these flowers and fruits are discovered here first before you can grow them down on Earth," he said. Zendah caught hold of his arm, "When shall we be able to grow a blue rose?" she said. He shook his head mysteriously: "When the Head Gardener comes to live with you," he replied.

   They could hardly drag themselves away, but at last Hermes said they must hurry on, and took them into a garden enclosed by high stone walls. Each wall was covered with fruit trees, and in the middle was a six-sided bed filled with white Madonna lilies. In the center was a most unusual fruit tree; the leaves shone, silver-like, and the fruit sparkled like jewels with different colors. Right on the topmost branch was a golden apple that shone as the Sun.

   "That is the most valuable thing in this land," said Hermes, "the Golden Apple of Knowledge and Healing. There is only one at present in the whole universe. Some of those people you just saw are trying to make other fruit trees grow one like it. They have succeeded in growing a silver one that will do a great deal of good, but they have not found out how to grow the real apple yet."

   From this courtyard, they entered the palace. Here, as everywhere else, everything was exactly where it should be — nor could you find a fault with anything, but still, it was not as beautiful nor as comforting as the Palace of Venus.

   All the walls were covered with white and yellow linen hangings with little streams of water running in channels down every passage, so that you had to step through water to enter any room. This prevented your taking dust into any of the rooms.

   In the largest hall, at the far end, there was a dais upon which were seated five wise looking young men at a round table.

   The chair at the head of the table was vacant; the only real difference between it and the others being that it was more beautifully carved. Hermes told them that was his chair, but he was so busy as the messenger of the gods, that these five men governed for him when he had to be away.

   "Then too, my brother Vulcan helps, but he is so occupied at his forge making beautiful works of art that he has not much time for ruling either, and many people do not know when he is here."

   They just peeped into a workshop at the side of the hall and saw Vulcan hammering out sheets of metal. Numbers of young people were making all kinds of useful things; from vases and bowls to tiny buckets. The most noticeable thing was the fineness of the details, and the polish they imparted to each article. Back once again in the large hall, Hermes took a beautifully colored apple from a plate and gave it to Zendah. Looking at it with surprise, she found it was made of metal, though it looked so real.

   "This is only a copy of the real apple of health," he said, "but even this will take away headaches when you smell it, and cure quite a number of other things too."

   Into Rex's hand he dropped a lily-shaped pin, with the head made of jasper, telling him to keep this as a remembrance of the Land of the Virgin.

   From another dish he took a large flat cake, and breaking it in half he gave them each a piece. "Nowhere will you find such satisfying bread as that from the Land of Purity," he said.

   Indeed, after they had tasted it Rex and Zendah thought they had never had such delicious bread before.

   Returning from the hall toward the entrance gate, they passed all the neat little houses; and once more came to the corn fields.

   Hermes showed them the path and waved his hand; they walked through and soon found themselves outside the Land of the Virgin, and close to the next gate.

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Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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