Danish Fairy and Folk Tales/The Garden of Childhood

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WHEN our first parents were expelled from Paradise they went out among the mountains, and all was darkness around them. "No pity, no hope!" said they to each other. "Without a joy, without the grace of God, we must pass through life, and all who come after us will suffer for our sake, deprived of every joy, every hope, and every bright prospect."

The day began to dawn. As far as could be seen there was only the hard stone. No green grass, no tree, no flower, nowhere a hope! The two lonely beings at the barren rock bent their heads and wept. But far above them, on the summit of the mountain, an angel witnessed their grief. God had expelled them from Paradise, but He loved them still; therefore He bade this angel follow them whither they went.

When the man and the woman felt most desolate and subdued by remorse, he descended from the lofty height where he was seated, and touched the cold stone with his sceptre; and at this same moment life began to grow among the cold stones. The grass worked its soft and beautiful carpet into the surface of the cliff; thousands of green shoots emerged from among the stones; trees forced their roots into the crevices, shading a rippling spring which murmured softly in the deep silence, and everywhere did a little smiling flower-face peep forth from among the beautiful foliage.

When the sun arose, the angel appeared before the man and the woman, and said to them: "This place will be sacred for all time to come, as a memory of Paradise and its glory. Every man and woman shall know of it, and from here they will carry with them into the world bright hopes and memories which cannot fade or be forgotten, however long they may live."

Thus speaking, the angel lifted his wings and disappeared within the deep blue of the sky. But his words were true, and it happened as he said. We all know the beautiful garden among the desolate mountains. There the sweetest hopes are cherished. The best wishes, the brightest thoughts, the purest and friendliest acts are those from the Garden of Childhood.