Diamond said nothing to his mother
about his adventures.
He had half a notion that
North Wind was a friend of his mother, and that, if
she did not know all about it, at least she did not
mind his going anywhere with the lady of the wind.
At the same time he doubted whether he might not appear
to be telling stories if he told all, especially as
he could hardly believe it himself when he thought
about it in the middle of the day, although when the
twilight was once half-way on to night he had no doubt
about it, at least for the first few days after he
had been with her.
The girl that swept the crossing
had certainly refused to believe him.
he felt sure that North Wind would tell him if he ought
It was some time before he saw the
lady of the wind again.
Indeed nothing remarkable
took place in Diamond’s history until the following
This was what happened then.
the horse wanted new shoes, and Diamond’s father
took him out of the stable, and was just getting on
his back to ride him to the forge, when he saw his
little boy standing by the pump, and looking at him
Then the coachman took his foot out
of the stirrup, left his hold of the mane and bridle,
came across to his boy, lifted him up, and setting
him on the horse’s back, told him to sit up
like a man.
He then led away both Diamonds together.
The boy atop felt not a little tremulous
as the great muscles that lifted the legs of the horse
knotted and relaxed against his legs, and he cowered
towards the withers, grasping with his hands the bit
of mane worn short by the collar; but when his father
looked back at him, saying once more, “Sit up,
Diamond,” he let the mane go and sat up, notwithstanding
that the horse, thinking, I suppose, that his master
had said to him, “Come up, Diamond,” stepped
For both the Diamonds were just grandly
And Diamond soon found that, as he
was obedient to his father, so the horse was obedient
For he had not ridden far before he found
courage to reach forward and catch hold of the bridle,
and when his father, whose hand was upon it, felt the
boy pull it towards him, he looked up and smiled,
and, well pleased, let go his hold, and left Diamond
to guide Diamond; and the boy soon found that he could
do so perfectly.
It was a grand thing to be able
to guide a great beast like that.
discovery he made was that, in order to guide the
horse, he had in a measure to obey the horse first.
If he did not yield his body to the motions of the
horse’s body, he could not guide him; he must
The blacksmith lived at some distance,
deeper into London.
As they crossed the angle
of a square, Diamond, who was now quite comfortable
on his living throne, was glancing this way and that
in a gentle pride, when he saw a girl sweeping a crossing
scuddingly before a lady.
The lady was his father’s
mistress, Mrs. Coleman, and the little girl was she
for whose sake he had got off North Wind’s back.
He drew Diamond’s bridle in eager anxiety to
see whether her outstretched hand would gather a penny
from Mrs. Coleman.
But she had given one at the
last crossing, and the hand returned only to grasp
Diamond could not bear it.
had a penny in his pocket, a gift of the same lady
the day before, and he tumbled off his horse to give
it to the girl.
He tumbled off, I say, for he
did tumble when he reached the ground.
got up in an instant, and ran, searching his pocket
as he ran.
She made him a pretty courtesy when
he offered his treasure, but with a bewildered stare.
She thought first:
“Then he was on the back
of the North Wind after all!” but, looking up
at the sound of the horse’s feet on the paved
crossing, she changed her idea, saying to herself,
“North Wind is his father’s horse!
That’s the secret of it!
he say so?” And she had a mind to refuse the
But his smile put it all right, and she
not only took his penny but put it in her mouth with
a “Thank you, mister.
Did they wollop you
“Oh no!” answered Diamond.
never wollops me.”
“Lor!” said the little girl, and was speechless.
Meantime his father, looking up, and
seeing the horse’s back bare, suffered a pang
of awful dread, but the next moment catching sight
of him, took him up and put him on, saying
“Don’t get off again,
The horse might have put his foot on
“No, father,” answered
the boy, and rode on in majestic safety.
The summer drew near, warm and splendid.
Miss Coleman was a little better in health, and sat
a good deal in the garden.
One day she saw Diamond
peeping through the shrubbery, and called him.
He talked to her so frankly that she often sent for
him after that, and by degrees it came about that
he had leave to run in the garden as he pleased.
He never touched any of the flowers or blossoms, for
he was not like some boys who cannot enjoy a thing
without pulling it to pieces, and so preventing every
one from enjoying it after them.
A week even makes such a long time
in a child’s life, that Diamond had begun once
more to feel as if North Wind were a dream of some
One hot evening, he had been sitting
with the young mistress, as they called her, in a
little summer-house at the bottom of the lawn a
wonderful thing for beauty, the boy thought, for a
little window in the side of it was made of coloured
It grew dusky, and the lady began to feel
chill, and went in, leaving the boy in the summer-house.
He sat there gazing out at a bed of tulips, which,
although they had closed for the night, could not
go quite asleep for the wind that kept waving them
All at once he saw a great bumble-bee fly
out of one of the tulips.
“There! that is something done,”
said a voice a gentle, merry, childish
voice, but so tiny.
“At last it was.
I thought he would have had to stay there all night,
Diamond could not tell whether the
voice was near or far away, it was so small and yet
He had never seen a fairy, but he had
heard of such, and he began to look all about for
And there was the tiniest creature sliding
down the stem of the tulip!
“Are you the fairy that herds
the bees?” he asked, going out of the summer-house,
and down on his knees on the green shore of the tulip-bed.
“I’m not a fairy,” answered the
“How do you know that?”
“It would become you better to ask how you are
to know it.”
“You’ve just told me.”
the use of knowing a thing only because you’re
“Well, how am I to know you are not a fairy?
You do look very like one.”
“In the first place, fairies are much bigger
than you see me.”
“Oh!” said Diamond reflectively; “I
thought they were very little.”
“But they might be tremendously
bigger than I am, and yet not very big.
I could be six times the size I am, and not be very
Besides, a fairy can’t grow big and
little at will, though the nursery-tales do say so:
they don’t know better.
You stupid Diamond!
have you never seen me before?”
And, as she spoke, a moan of wind
bent the tulips almost to the ground, and the creature
laid her hand on Diamond’s shoulder.
a moment he knew that it was North Wind.
“I am very stupid,” he
said; “but I never saw you so small before, not
even when you were nursing the primrose.”
“Must you see me every size
that can be measured before you know me, Diamond?”
“But how could I think it was
you taking care of a great stupid bumble-bee?”
“The more stupid he was the
more need he had to be taken care of.
sucking honey and trying to open the door, he was nearly
dated; and when it opened in the morning to let the
sun see the tulip’s heart, what would the sun
have thought to find such a stupid thing lying there with
“But how do you have time to look after bees?”
“I don’t look after bees.
I had this one to look after.
It was hard work,
Why, you could
blow a chimney down, or or a boy’s
cap off,” said Diamond.
“Both are easier than to blow
a tulip open.
But I scarcely know the difference
between hard and easy.
I am always able for what
I have to do.
When I see my work, I just rush
at it and it is done.
But I mustn’t
I have got to sink a ship to-night.”
“Sink a ship!
What! with men in it?”
“Yes, and women too.”
I wish you wouldn’t
“It is rather dreadful.
But it is my work.
I must do it.”
“I hope you won’t ask me to go with you.”
“No, I won’t ask you.
But you must
come for all that.”
“I won’t then.”
“Won’t you?” And
North Wind grew a tall lady, and looked him in the
eyes, and Diamond said
“Please take me.
You cannot be cruel.”
“No; I could not be cruel if
I can do nothing cruel, although I often
do what looks like cruel to those who do not know what
I really am doing.
The people they say I drown,
I only carry away to to to well,
the back of the North Wind that is what
they used to call it long ago, only I never saw the
“How can you carry them there if you never saw
“I know the way.”
“But how is it you never saw it?”
“Because it is behind me.”
“But you can look round.”
“Not far enough to see my own
No; I always look before me.
I grow quite blind and deaf when I try to see my back.
I only mind my work.”
“But how does it be your work?”
“Ah, that I can’t tell
I only know it is, because when I do it I
feel all right, and when I don’t I feel all wrong.
East Wind says only one does not exactly
know how much to believe of what she says, for she
is very naughty sometimes she says it is
all managed by a baby; but whether she is good or
naughty when she says that, I don’t know.
I just stick to my work.
It is all one to me
to let a bee out of a tulip, or to sweep the cobwebs
from the sky.
You would like to go with me to-night?”
“I don’t want to see a ship sunk.”
“But suppose I had to take you?”
“Why, then, of course I must go.”
“There’s a good Diamond. I
think I had better be growing a bit.
must go to bed first.
I can’t take you till
you’re in bed.
That’s the law about
So I had better go and do something
“Very well, North Wind,”
“What are you going to do
first, if you please?”
“I think I may tell you.
Jump up on the
top of the wall, there.”
“Ah! and I can’t help
you you haven’t been to bed yet, you
Come out to the road with me, just in front
of the coach-house, and I will show you.”
North Wind grew very small indeed,
so small that she could not have blown the dust off
a dusty miller, as the Scotch children call a yellow
Diamond could not even see the blades
of grass move as she flitted along by his foot.
They left the lawn, went out by the wicket in the-coach-house
gates, and then crossed the road to the low wall that
separated it from the river.
“You can get up on this wall, Diamond,”
said North Wind.
“Yes; but my mother has forbidden me.”
“Then don’t,” said North Wind.
“But I can see over,” said Diamond.
“Ah! to be sure.
So saying, North Wind gave a little
bound, and stood on the top of the wall.
was just about the height a dragon-fly would be, if
it stood on end.
“You darling!” said Diamond,
seeing what a lovely little toy-woman she was.
“Don’t be impertinent,
Master Diamond,” said North Wind.
there’s one thing makes me more angry than another,
it is the way you humans judge things by their size.
I am quite as respectable now as I shall be six hours
after this, when I take an East Indiaman by the royals,
twist her round, and push her under.
no right to address me in such a fashion.”
But as she spoke, the tiny face wore
the smile of a great, grand woman.
She was only
having her own beautiful fun out of Diamond, and true
woman’s fun never hurts.
“But look there!” she
“Do you see a boat with one man
in it a green and white boat?”
“Yes; quite well.”
“That’s a poet.”
“I thought you said it was a bo-at.”
Don’t you know what
a poet is?”
“Why, a thing to sail on the water in.”
“Well, perhaps you’re
not so far wrong.
Some poets do carry people over
But I have no business to talk so much.
The man is a poet.”
“The boat is a boat,” said Diamond.
“Can’t you spell?” asked North Wind.
“Not very well.”
“So I see.
A poet is not
a bo-at, as you call it.
A poet is a man
who is glad of something, and tries to make other
people glad of it too.”
“Ah! now I know.
Like the man in the sweety-shop.”
But I see it
is no use.
I wasn’t sent to tell you, and
so I can’t tell you.
I must be off.
Only first just look at the man.”
“He’s not much of a rower”
said Diamond “paddling first with
one fin and then with the other.”
“Now look here!” said North Wind.
And she flashed like a dragon-fly
across the water, whose surface rippled and puckered
as she passed.
The next moment the man in the
boat glanced about him, and bent to his oars.
The boat flew over the rippling water.
boat and river were awake.
The same instant almost,
North Wind perched again upon the river wall.
“How did you do that?” asked Diamond.
“I blew in his face,”
answered North Wind.
“I don’t see
how that could do it,” said Diamond.
And therefore you will say you don’t
believe it could.”
“No, no, dear North Wind.
I know you too well not to believe you.”
“Well, I blew in his face, and that woke him
“But what was the good of it?”
“Why! don’t you see?
Look at him how he is pulling.
the mist out of him.”
“How was that?”
“That is just what I cannot tell you.”
“But you did it.”
I have to do ten thousand things
without being able to tell how.”
“I don’t like that,” said Diamond.
He was staring after the boat.
Hearing no answer, he looked down to the wall.
North Wind was gone.
the river went a long ripple what sailors
call a cat’s paw.
The man in the boat was
putting up a sail.
The moon was coming to herself
on the edge of a great cloud, and the sail began to
Diamond rubbed his eyes, and wondered
what it was all about.
Things seemed going on
around him, and all to understand each other, but
he could make nothing of it.
So he put his hands
in his pockets, and went in to have his tea.
The night was very hot, for the wind had fallen again.
“You don’t seem very well to-night, Diamond,”
said his mother.
“I am quite well, mother,” returned Diamond,
who was only puzzled.
“I think you had better go to bed,” she
“Very well, mother,” he answered.
He stopped for one moment to look
out of the window.
Above the moon the clouds
were going different ways.
Somehow or other this
troubled him, but, notwithstanding, he was soon fast
He woke in the middle of the night
and the darkness.
A terrible noise was rumbling
overhead, like the rolling beat of great drums echoing
through a brazen vault.
The roof of the loft in
which he lay had no ceiling; only the tiles were between
him and the sky.
For a while he could not come
quite awake, for the noise kept beating him down, so
that his heart was troubled and fluttered painfully.
A second peal of thunder burst over his head, and
almost choked him with fear.
Nor did he recover
until the great blast that followed, having torn some
tiles off the roof, sent a spout of wind down into
his bed and over his face, which brought him wide
awake, and gave him back his courage.
moment he heard a mighty yet musical voice calling
“Come up, Diamond,” it said.
I’m waiting for you.”
He looked out of the bed, and saw
a gigantic, powerful, but most lovely arm with
a hand whose fingers were nothing the less ladylike
that they could have strangled a boa-constrictor,
or choked a tigress off its prey stretched
down through a big hole in the roof.
moment’s hesitation he reached out his tiny
one, and laid it in the grand palm before him.