When Diamond got round the corner
of the hay, for a moment he hesitated.
by which he would naturally have gone down to the door
was at the other side of the loft, and looked very
black indeed; for it was full of North Wind’s
hair, as she descended before him.
And just beside
him was the ladder going straight down into the stable,
up which his father always came to fetch the hay for
Through the opening in
the floor the faint gleam of the-stable lantern was
enticing, and Diamond thought he would run down that
The stair went close past the loose-box
in which Diamond the horse lived.
the boy was half-way down, he remembered that it was
of no use to go this way, for the stable-door was locked.
But at the same moment there was horse Diamond’s
great head poked out of his box on to the ladder,
for he knew boy Diamond although he was in his night-gown,
and wanted him to pull his ears for him.
Diamond did very gently for a minute or so, and patted
and stroked his neck too, and kissed the big horse,
and had begun to take the bits of straw and hay out
of his mane, when all at once he recollected that the
Lady North Wind was waiting for him in the yard.
“Good night, Diamond,”
he said, and darted up the ladder, across the loft,
and down the stair to the door.
But when he got
out into the yard, there was no lady.
Now it is always a dreadful thing
to think there is somebody and find nobody.
in particular have not made up their minds to it; they
generally cry at nobody, especially when they wake
up at night.
But it was an especial disappointment
to Diamond, for his little heart had been beating
the face of the North Wind was so grand!
To have a lady like that for a friend with
such long hair, too!
Why, it was longer than
twenty Diamonds’ tails!
She was gone.
And there he stood, with his bare feet on the stones
of the paved yard.
It was a clear night overhead, and
the stars were shining.
Orion in particular was
making the most of his bright belt and golden sword.
But the moon was only a poor thin crescent.
was just one great, jagged, black and gray cloud in
the sky, with a steep side to it like a precipice;
and the moon was against this side, and looked as if
she had tumbled off the top of the cloud-hill, and
broken herself in rolling down the precipice.
She did not seem comfortable, for she was looking
down into the deep pit waiting for her.
that was what Diamond thought as he stood for a moment
staring at her.
But he was quite wrong, for the
moon was not afraid, and there was no pit she was going
down into, for there were no sides to it, and a pit
without sides to it is not a pit at all.
however, had not been out so late before in all his
life, and things looked so strange about him! just
as if he had got into Fairyland, of which he knew
quite as much as anybody; for his mother had no money
to buy books to set him wrong on the subject.
I have seen this world only sometimes,
just now and then, you know look as strange
as ever I saw Fairyland.
But I confess that I
have not yet seen Fairyland at its best.
always going to see it so some time.
But if you
had been out in the face and not at the back of the
North Wind, on a cold rather frosty night, and in
your night-gown, you would have felt it all quite
as strange as Diamond did.
He cried a little,
just a little, he was so disappointed to lose the
of course, you, little man, wouldn’t
have done that!
But for my part, I don’t
mind people crying so much as I mind what they cry
about, and how they cry whether they cry
quietly like ladies and gentlemen, or go shrieking
like vulgar emperors, or ill-natured cooks; for all
emperors are not gentlemen, and all cooks are not
ladies nor all queens and princesses for
that matter, either.
But it can’t be denied that
a little gentle crying does one good.
Diamond good; for as soon as it was over he was a brave
“She shan’t say it was
my fault, anyhow!” said Diamond.
daresay she is hiding somewhere to see what I will
I will look for her.”
So he went round the end of the stable
towards the kitchen-garden.
But the moment he
was clear of the shelter of the stable, sharp as a
knife came the wind against his little chest and his
Still he would look in the kitchen-garden,
and went on.
But when he got round the weeping-ash
that stood in the corner, the wind blew much stronger,
and it grew stronger and stronger till he could hardly
fight against it.
And it was so cold!
the flashy spikes of the stars seemed to have got
somehow into the wind.
Then he thought of what
the lady had said about people being cold because
they were not with the North Wind.
How it was
that he should have guessed what she meant at that
very moment I cannot tell, but I have observed that
the most wonderful thing in the world is how people
come to understand anything.
He turned his back
to the wind, and trotted again towards the yard; whereupon,
strange to say, it blew so much more gently against
his calves than it had blown against his shins that
he began to feel almost warm by contrast.
You must not think it was cowardly
of Diamond to turn his back to the wind:
so only because he thought Lady North Wind had said
something like telling him to do so.
If she had
said to him that he must hold his face to it, Diamond
would have held his face to it.
But the most
foolish thing is to fight for no good, and to please
Well, it was just as if the wind was
pushing Diamond along.
If he turned round, it
grew very sharp on his legs especially, and so he thought
the wind might really be Lady North Wind, though he
could not see her, and he had better let her blow
him wherever she pleased.
So she blew and blew,
and he went and went, until he found himself standing
at a door in a wall, which door led from the yard
into a little belt of shrubbery, flanking Mr. Coleman’s
Mr. Coleman was his father’s master,
and the owner of Diamond.
He opened the door,
and went through the shrubbery, and out into the middle
of the lawn, still hoping to find North Wind.
The soft grass was very pleasant to his bare feet,
and felt warm after the stones of the yard; but the
lady was nowhere to be seen.
Then he began to
think that after all he must have done wrong, and she
was offended with him for not following close after
her, but staying to talk to the horse, which certainly
was neither wise nor polite.
There he stood in the middle of the
lawn, the wind blowing his night-gown till it flapped
like a loose sail.
The stars were very shiny
over his head; but they did not give light enough to
show that the grass was green; and Diamond stood alone
in the strange night, which looked half solid all
He began to wonder whether he was in
a dream or not.
It was important to determine
this; “for,” thought Diamond, “if
I am in a dream, I am safe in my bed, and I needn’t
But if I’m not in a dream, I’m
out here, and perhaps I had better cry, or, at least,
I’m not sure whether I can help it.”
He came to the conclusion, however, that, whether
he was in a dream or not, there could be no harm in
not crying for a little while longer:
begin whenever he liked.
The back of Mr. Coleman’s house
was to the lawn, and one of the drawing-room windows
looked out upon it.
The ladies had not gone to
bed; for the light was still shining in that window.
But they had no idea that a little boy was standing
on the lawn in his night-gown, or they would have
run out in a moment.
And as long as he saw that
light, Diamond could not feel quite lonely.
stood staring, not at the great warrior Orion in the
sky, nor yet at the disconsolate, neglected moon going
down in the west, but at the drawing-room window with
the light shining through its green curtains.
He had been in that room once or twice that he could
remember at Christmas times; for the Colemans were
kind people, though they did not care much about children.
All at once the light went nearly
he could only see a glimmer of the shape
of the window.
Then, indeed, he felt that he was
It was so dreadful to be out in the
night after everybody was gone to bed!
more than he could bear.
He burst out crying in
good earnest, beginning with a wail like that of the
wind when it is waking up.
Perhaps you think this was very foolish;
for could he not go home to his own bed again when
Yes; but it looked dreadful to him to
creep up that stair again and lie down in his bed
again, and know that North Wind’s window was
open beside him, and she gone, and he might never see
He would be just as lonely there as
Nay, it would be much worse if he had to
think that the window was nothing but a hole in the
At the very moment when he burst out
crying, the old nurse who had grown to be one of the
family, for she had not gone away when Miss Coleman
did not want any more nursing, came to the back door,
which was of glass, to close the shutters.
thought she heard a cry, and, peering out with a hand
on each side of her eyes like Diamond’s blinkers,
she saw something white on the lawn.
and too wise to be frightened, she opened the door,
and went straight towards the white thing to see what
And when Diamond saw her coming he was
not frightened either, though Mrs. Crump was a little
cross sometimes; for there is a good kind of crossness
that is only disagreeable, and there is a bad kind
of crossness that is very nasty indeed.
came up with her neck stretched out, and her head
at the end of it, and her eyes foremost of all, like
a snail’s, peering into the night to see what
it could be that went on glimmering white before her.
When she did see, she made a great exclamation, and
threw up her hands.
Then without a word, for she
thought Diamond was walking in his sleep, she caught
hold of him, and led him towards the house.
made no objection, for he was just in the mood to
be grateful for notice of any sort, and Mrs. Crump
led him straight into the drawing-room.
Now, from the neglect of the new housemaid,
the fire in Miss Coleman’s bedroom had gone
out, and her mother had told her to brush her hair
by the drawing-room fire a disorderly proceeding
which a mother’s wish could justify.
young lady was very lovely, though not nearly so beautiful
as North Wind; and her hair was extremely long, for
it came down to her knees though that was
nothing at all to North Wind’s hair.
when she looked round, with her hair all about her,
as Diamond entered, he thought for one moment that
it was North Wind, and, pulling his hand from Mrs.
Crump’s, he stretched out his arms and ran towards
She was so pleased that she threw
down her brush, and almost knelt on the floor to receive
him in her arms.
He saw the next moment that
she was not Lady North Wind, but she looked so like
her he could not help running into her arms and bursting
into tears afresh.
Mrs. Crump said the poor child
had walked out in his sleep, and Diamond thought she
ought to know, and did not contradict her for anything
he knew, it might be so indeed.
He let them talk
on about him, and said nothing; and when, after their
astonishment was over, and Miss Coleman had given
him a sponge-cake, it was decreed that Mrs. Crump should
take him to his mother, he was quite satisfied.
His mother had to get out of bed to
open the door when Mrs. Crump knocked.
indeed surprised to see her, boy; and having taken
him in her arms and carried him to his bed, returned
and had a long confabulation with Mrs. Crump, for
they were still talking when Diamond fell fast asleep,
and could hear them no longer.