THE SWEET-SCENTED NAME
who came and comforted her … what meaning had they for others?
She stood alone in the quiet glade, her hands crossed upon her breast. Her blue eyes were shadowed by grief. The sun, shining high above her, caressed her back and shoulders, his rays gleaming on her long red plaits of hair encircled her with a golden halo. She dreamed. … Suddenly she heard voices and laughter.
Before her stood three shining maidens, three woodland princesses. Their dresses were white, as Elèna's own, their eyes were blue like hers. On their heads were fragrant flower-crowns. Their arms were bare as were Elèna's, their shoulders were kissed by the sun like hers. Their little slightly sunbrowned feet, like hers, were bathed in the dew of the grass.
They came towards her and smiled, and said:
"How beautiful she is!"
"She stands there and the sunlight makes her hair look golden."
"She holds herself like a queen."
Joy and grief were strangely mingled in Elèna's heart. Holding out her hands in welcome she spoke joyously in her ringing voice: