'It was very rude of me not to say good-bye to your mother
and your brothers,' said the prince.
'They will excuse you, as you were asleep,' said the East
Wind; and then they flew on faster than ever.
The leaves and branches of the trees rustled as they
passed. When they flew over seas and lakes, the waves rose
higher, and the large ships dipped into the water like diving
swans. As darkness came on, towards evening, the great towns
looked charming; lights were sparkling, now seen now hidden,
just as the sparks go out one after another on a piece of
burnt paper. The prince clapped his hands with pleasure; but
the East Wind advised him not to express his admiration in
that manner, or he might fall down, and find himself hanging
on a church steeple. The eagle in the dark forests flies
swiftly; but faster than he flew the East Wind. The Cossack,
on his small horse, rides lightly o'er the plains; but lighter
still passed the prince on the winds of the wind.
'There are the Himalayas, the highest mountains in Asia,'
said the East Wind. 'We shall soon reach the garden of
Then, they turned southward, and the air became fragrant
with the perfume of spices and flowers. Here figs and
pomegranates grew wild, and the vines were covered with
clusters of blue and purple grapes. Here they both descended
to the earth, and stretched themselves on the soft grass,
while the flowers bowed to the breath of the wind as if to
welcome it. 'Are we now in the garden of paradise?' asked the
'No, indeed,' replied the East Wind; 'but we shall be
there very soon. Do you see that wall of rocks, and the cavern
beneath it, over which the grape vines hang like a green
curtain? Through that cavern we must pass. Wrap your cloak
round you; for while the sun scorches you here, a few steps
farther it will be icy cold. The bird flying past the entrance
to the cavern feels as if one wing were in the region of
summer, and the other in the depths of winter.'
'So this then is the way to the garden of paradise?' asked
the prince, as they entered the cavern. It was indeed cold;
but the cold soon passed, for the East Wind spread his wings,
and they gleamed like the brightest fire. As they passed on
through this wonderful cave, the prince could see great blocks
of stone, from which water trickled, hanging over their heads
in fantastic shapes. Sometimes it was so narrow that they had
to creep on their hands and knees, while at other times it was
lofty and wide, like the free air. It had the appearance of a
chapel for the dead, with petrified organs and silent pipes.
'We seem to be passing through the valley of death to the
garden of paradise,' said the prince.
But the East Wind answered not a word, only pointed
forwards to a lovely blue light which gleamed in the distance.
The blocks of stone assumed a misty appearance, till at last
they looked like white clouds in moonlight. The air was fresh
and balmy, like a breeze from the mountains perfumed with
flowers from a valley of roses. A river, clear as the air
itself, sparkled at their feet, while in its clear depths
could be seen gold and silver fish sporting in the bright
water, and purple eels emitting sparks of fire at every
moment, while the broad leaves of the water-lilies, that
floated on its surface, flickered with all the colors of the
rainbow. The flower in its color of flame seemed to receive
its nourishment from the water, as a lamp is sustained by oil.
A marble bridge, of such exquisite workmanship that it
appeared as if formed of lace and pearls, led to the island of
happiness, in which bloomed the garden of paradise. The East
Wind took the prince in his arms, and carried him over, while
the flowers and the leaves sang the sweet songs of his
childhood in tones so full and soft that no human voice could
venture to imitate. Within the garden grew large trees, full
of sap; but whether they were palm-trees or gigantic
water-plants, the prince knew not. The climbing plants hung in
garlands of green and gold, like the illuminations on the
margins of old missals or twined among the initial letters.
Birds, flowers, and festoons appeared intermingled in seeming
confusion. Close by, on the grass, stood a group of peacocks,
with radiant tails outspread to the sun. The prince touched
them, and found, to his surprise, that they were not really
birds, but the leaves of the burdock tree, which shone with
the colors of a peacock's tail. The lion and the tiger, gentle
and tame, were springing about like playful cats among the
green bushes, whose perfume was like the fragrant blossom of
the olive. The plumage of the wood-pigeon glistened like
pearls as it struck the lion's mane with its wings; while the
antelope, usually so shy, stood near, nodding its head as if
it wished to join in the frolic. The fairy of paradise next
made her appearance. Her raiment shone like the sun, and her
serene countenance beamed with happiness like that of a mother
rejoicing over her child. She was young and beautiful, and a
train of lovely maidens followed her, each wearing a bright
star in her hair. The East Wind gave her the palm-leaf, on
which was written the history of the phoenix; and her eyes
sparkled with joy. She then took the prince by the hand, and
led him into her palace, the walls of which were richly
colored, like a tulip-leaf when it is turned to the sun. The
roof had the appearance of an inverted flower, and the colors
grew deeper and brighter to the gazer. The prince walked to a
window, and saw what appeared to be the tree of knowledge of
good and evil, with Adam and Eve standing by, and the serpent
near them. 'I thought they were banished from paradise,' he
The princess smiled, and told him that time had engraved
each event on a window-pane in the form of a picture; but,
unlike other pictures, all that it represented lived and
moved,- the leaves rustled, and the persons went and came, as
in a looking-glass. He looked through another pane, and saw
the ladder in Jacob's dream, on which the angels were
ascending and descending with outspread wings. All that had
ever happened in the world here lived and moved on the panes
of glass, in pictures such as time alone could produce. The
fairy now led the prince into a large, lofty room with
transparent walls, through which the light shone. Here were
portraits, each one appearing more beautiful than the other-
millions of happy beings, whose laughter and song mingled in
one sweet melody: some of these were in such an elevated
position that they appeared smaller than the smallest rosebud,
or like pencil dots on paper. In the centre of the hall stood
a tree, with drooping branches, from which hung golden apples,
both great and small, looking like oranges amid the green
leaves. It was the tree of knowledge of good and evil, from
which Adam and Eve had plucked and eaten the forbidden fruit,
and from each leaf trickled a bright red dewdrop, as if the
tree were weeping tears of blood for their sin. 'Let us now
take the boat,' said the fairy: 'a sail on the cool waters
will refresh us. But we shall not move from the spot, although
the boat may rock on the swelling water; the countries of the
world will glide before us, but we shall remain still.'
It was indeed wonderful to behold. First came the lofty
Alps, snow-clad, and covered with clouds and dark pines. The
horn resounded, and the shepherds sang merrily in the valleys.
The banana-trees bent their drooping branches over the boat,
black swans floated on the water, and singular animals and
flowers appeared on the distant shore. New Holland, the fifth
division of the world, now glided by, with mountains in the
background, looking blue in the distance. They heard the song
of the priests, and saw the wild dance of the savage to the
sound of the drums and trumpets of bone; the pyramids of Egypt
rising to the clouds; columns and sphinxes, overthrown and
buried in the sand, followed in their turn; while the northern
lights flashed out over the extinguished volcanoes of the
north, in fireworks none could imitate.
The prince was delighted, and yet he saw hundreds of other
wonderful things more than can be described. 'Can I stay here
forever?' asked he.
'That depends upon yourself,' replied the fairy. 'If you
do not, like Adam, long for what is forbidden, you can remain
'I should not touch the fruit on the tree of knowledge,'
said the prince; there is abundance of fruit equally
'Examine your own heart,' said the princess, 'and if you
do not feel sure of its strength, return with the East Wind
who brought you. He is about to fly back, and will not return
here for a hundred years. The time will not seem to you more
than a hundred hours, yet even that is a long time for
temptation and resistance. Every evening, when I leave you, I
shall be obliged to say, 'Come with me,' and to beckon to you
with my hand. But you must not listen, nor move from your
place to follow me; for with every step you will find your
power to resist weaker. If once you attempted to follow me,
you would soon find yourself in the hall, where grows the tree
of knowledge, for I sleep beneath its perfumed branches. If
you stooped over me, I should be forced to smile. If you then
kissed my lips, the garden of paradise would sink into the
earth, and to you it would be lost. A keen wind from the
desert would howl around you; cold rain fall on your head, and
sorrow and woe be your future lot.'
'I will remain,' said the prince.
So the East Wind kissed him on the forehead, and said, 'Be
firm; then shall we meet again when a hundred years have
passed. Farewell, farewell.' Then the East Wind spread his
broad pinions, which shone like the lightning in harvest, or
as the northern lights in a cold winter.
'Farewell, farewell,' echoed the trees and the flowers.
Storks and pelicans flew after him in feathery bands, to
accompany him to the boundaries of the garden.
'Now we will commence dancing,' said the fairy; and when
it is nearly over at sunset, while I am dancing with you, I
shall make a sign, and ask you to follow me: but do not obey.
I shall be obliged to repeat the same thing for a hundred
years; and each time, when the trial is past, if you resist,
you will gain strength, till resistance becomes easy, and at
last the temptation will be quite overcome. This evening, as
it will be the first time, I have warned you.'
After this the fairy led him into a large hall, filled
with transparent lilies. The yellow stamina of each flower
formed a tiny golden harp, from which came forth strains of
music like the mingled tones of flute and lyre. Beautiful
maidens, slender and graceful in form, and robed in
transparent gauze, floated through the dance, and sang of the
happy life in the garden of paradise, where death never
entered, and where all would bloom forever in immortal youth.
As the sun went down, the whole heavens became crimson and
gold, and tinted the lilies with the hue of roses. Then the
beautiful maidens offered to the prince sparkling wine; and
when he had drank, he felt happiness greater than he had ever
known before. Presently the background of the hall opened and
the tree of knowledge appeared, surrounded by a halo of glory
that almost blinded him. Voices, soft and lovely as his
mother's sounded in his ears, as if she were singing to him,
'My child, my beloved child.' Then the fairy beckoned to him,
and said in sweet accents, 'Come with me, come with me.'
Forgetting his promise, forgetting it even on the very first
evening, he rushed towards her, while she continued to beckon
to him and to smile. The fragrance around him overpowered his
senses, the music from the harps sounded more entrancing,
while around the tree appeared millions of smiling faces,
nodding and singing. 'Man should know everything; man is the
lord of the earth.' The tree of knowledge no longer wept tears
of blood, for the dewdrops shone like glittering stars.
'Come, come,' continued that thrilling voice, and the
prince followed the call. At every step his cheeks glowed, and
the blood rushed wildly through his veins. 'I must follow,' he
cried; 'it is not a sin, it cannot be, to follow beauty and
joy. I only want to see her sleep, and nothing will happen
unless I kiss her, and that I will not do, for I have strength
to resist, and a determined will.'
The fairy threw off her dazzling attire, bent back the
boughs, and in another moment was hidden among them.
'I have not sinned yet,' said the prince, 'and I will
not;' and then he pushed aside the boughs to follow the
princess. She was lying already asleep, beautiful as only a
fairy in the garden of paradise could be. She smiled as he
bent over her, and he saw tears trembling out of her beautiful
eyelashes. 'Do you weep for me?' he whispered. 'Oh weep not,
thou loveliest of women. Now do I begin to understand the
happiness of paradise; I feel it to my inmost soul, in every
thought. A new life is born within me. One moment of such
happiness is worth an eternity of darkness and woe.' He
stooped and kissed the tears from her eyes, and touched her
lips with his.
A clap of thunder, loud and awful, resounded through the
trembling air. All around him fell into ruin. The lovely
fairy, the beautiful garden, sunk deeper and deeper. The
prince saw it sinking down in the dark night till it shone
only like a star in the distance beneath him. Then he felt a
coldness, like death, creeping over him; his eyes closed, and
he became insensible.
When he recovered, a chilling rain was beating upon him,
and a sharp wind blew on his head. 'Alas! what have I done?'
he sighed; 'I have sinned like Adam, and the garden of
paradise has sunk into the earth.' He opened his eyes, and saw
the star in the distance, but it was the morning star in
heaven which glittered in the darkness.
Presently he stood up and found himself in the depths of
the forest, close to the cavern of the Winds, and the mother
of the Winds sat by his side. She looked angry, and raised her
arm in the air as she spoke. 'The very first evening!' she
said. 'Well, I expected it! If you were my son, you should go
into the sack.'
'And there he will have to go at last,' said a strong old
man, with large black wings, and a scythe in his hand, whose
name was Death. 'He shall be laid in his coffin, but not yet.
I will allow him to wander about the world for a while, to
atone for his sin, and to give him time to become better. But
I shall return when he least expects me. I shall lay him in a
black coffin, place it on my head, and fly away with it beyond
the stars. There also blooms a garden of paradise, and if he
is good and pious he will be admitted; but if his thoughts are
bad, and his heart is full of sin, he will sink with his
coffin deeper than the garden of paradise has sunk. Once in
every thousand years I shall go and fetch him, when he will
either be condemned to sink still deeper, or be raised to a
happier life in
the world beyond the stars.'