A love for children, combined with a sensitivity to the deeper truths of life, enabled the authors of these stories, which have been published over a period of years in Rays from the Rose Cross, to express in an appealing way many phases of the wisdom of Nature. To these friends we gratefully dedicate Aquarian Age Stories for Children.
Many boys and girls are aware of the "little people'' and other forces of Nature mentioned in these stories. Many others, we hope, will be encouraged to become acquainted with them through reading this little volume.
Lucile and Anne were cousins. Lucile was visiting at Anne's house, and what a good time they were having! Anne was two years older than Lucile and taller and stronger. But she was very kind to her younger cousin. The largest apple, the juiciest peach, and the cake with the most frosting on it always went to Lucile. Lucile rode Anne 's pony and played with her dolls and dishes. Even when she broke one of Anne's tiny china plates, Anne was not cross.
But at last Lucile and Anne quarreled. They wanted to play school, but each thought she should be the teacher. Anne thought that she should be teacher because she was the older, and Lucile thought that she should be teacher because well, just because.
So they quarreled. And Anne lay in the soft grass under the apple tree and cried herself to sleep. And Lucile lay in the soft grass under the peach tree and thought angry, wicked thoughts about Anne.
Suddenly she was startled to see a great crowd of tiny ugly, dwarfed, crooked creatures standing all around her. They were all grinning at her, and she hid her face in terror. The most hideous creature of all, who seemed to be the leader, spoke to her in a harsh, rasping voice:
"We are the Hate Fairies, Lucile," he said. "It is our work to carry hate thoughts and angry, unkind thoughts from one person to another. We have had to work very hard this afternoon carrying that kind of thoughts from you to Anne and from Anne to you. You are now going to the land of the Hate Fairies, and there you must live until you find the way out."
Lucile tried to scream and run away, but she could not, and felt herself being carried along by the mob of dark, grinning creatures. They entered a dark cave which seemed to be in the heart of the earth. The air inside the cave was cold and damp, and Lucile shivered and wished she could see one little ray of sunshine. There was no light at all in the cave, but Lucile could see the white faces of sick people gleaming in the darkness.
"People who dwell in the land of hate and anger are usually ill," said the leader, who was standing close to Lucile. "And they weep, you see. They are never happy."
"Will I get sick and miserable like these people?" asked Lucile fearfully.
"If you stay here long you will," answered the leader. "And the longer you stay, the harder it is to find the way out. This cave keeps getting deeper and blacker and farther from sunshine and health and happiness."
"Oh, dear!" cried Lucile, and then a very wicked and hideous fairy stepped close to her for she was thinking, "Well, maybe Anne will have to come here, too, and then she will be sick and unhappy, and I will be glad."
Before she had quite finished this bad, unkind thought, the fairy seized her arm, and on she went still farther into the dark cave. Lucile was very frightened now. How would she ever get out of this place? She could not, would not, stay here.
"Why did not these other people get out?" she wondered. She turned on the leader and stamping her foot angrily demanded that he take her out of the cave at once.
"You must find the way out yourself," he said calmly. "These other miserable people could get out if they really wished to, but they had rather stay here. They will not do the one thing that would free them."
"What is it?" cried Lucille. "I will do it."
But the fairies only grinned at her in their ugly way.
Just then Lucile saw Anne. Anne 'a face was very sad, and she was crying. Suddenly Lucile felt sorry for Anne. She ran to her cousin and put her arms around her. And a tiny ray of light seemed to shine for a moment in the dark cave.
"Oh, Anne," Lucile was crying too, now, "Oh, Anne, you are sick and you are unhappy, and I am so sorry. You have been so good to me. Why I love you, Anne."
Instantly something happened. Lucile heard the Hate Fairies give a loud frightened yell as they disappeared in the blackness beyond her. Then she was surrounded by marvelously beautiful creatures with great white wings and shining bands around their foreheads.
"We are the Love Fairies," said one," and we have come to take you to a happier place than this.
But we could not come until you found the magic key that would free you from the spell of these evil creatures and open the door of the cave."
"What do you mean by the magic key?" asked Lucile curiously.
"The words, 'I love you,' whether thought or spoken aloud, are the magic key that opens wide the heavy door and makes it possible for us to lead you to the bright land of the Love Fairies. The Hate Fairies are very much afraid of us for we are stronger than they. By the way, the terrible giant, Fear, lives a little farther on in this cave, but he never never comes to our happy country. But come let us leave this place."
Lucile and Anne followed these glorious beings (for Lucile 's kindness had rescued Anne also - it often happens that way) and soon they came to a warm, sunny hilltop where little birds, joyous and unafraid, sang and flew about. There were multitudes of fragrant flowers, and everyone was healthy, smiling, and happy. This land of the Love Fairies was very pleasant, and Lucile decided to stay always.
Then — Lucile sat up in the soft grass under the peach tree and Anne sat up in the soft grass under the apple tree. Lucile smiled and Anne smiled.
"Let's play school," said Lucile, "and you may be teacher."
"No, indeed," said Anne, ''you will be teacher."
They both laughed, and Lucile settled the matter cleverly.
"Well, let's go make candy and divide it equally." And they did.
And afterwards whenever Lucile happened to think about it she could not help but wonder whether her adventure with the thought fairies was a dream or — not a dream. What do you think?