+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

Country People; this truth is established by
the story I am now about to tell.

Not long ago there were great revels held
one evening in the palace of King Cumulus,
the monarch of the western country. Cirrha,
the daughter of the king, was to elect her
future husband from a multitude of suitors.
Cirrha was a maiden delicate and pure, with
a skin white as unfallen snow; but colder
than the snow her heart had seemed to all
who sought for her affections. When Cirrha
floated gracefully and slowly through her
father's hall, many a little cloud would start
up presently to tread where she had trodden.
The winds also pursued her; and even men
looked up admiringly whenever she stepped
forth into their sky. To be sure they called
her Mackerel and Cat's Tail, just as they call
her father Ball of Cotton; for the race of
man is a coarse race, and calling bad names
appears to be a great part of its business here

Before the revels were concluded, the King
ordered a quiet little wind to run among the
guests, and bid them all come close to him
and to his daughter. Then he spoke to them
as follows:—

"Worthy friends! there are among you
many suitors to my daughter Cirrha, who is
pledged this evening to choose a husband.
She bids me tell you that she loves you all;
but since it is desirable that this our royal
house be strengthened by a fit alliance with
some foreign power, she has resolved to take
as husband one of those guests who have
come hither from the principality of Nimbus."
Now, Nimbus is that country, not seldom
visible from some parts of our earth, which
we have called the Rain-Cloud. "The
subjects of the Prince of Nimbus," Cumulus
continued, "are a dark race, it is true, but
they are famed for their beneficence."

Two winds, at this point, raised between
themselves a great disturbance, so that there
arose a universal cry that somebody should
turn them out. With much trouble they
were driven out from the assembly; there-
upon, quite mad with jealousy and disappoint-
ment, they went howling off to sea, where
they played pool-billiards with a fleet of ships,
and so forgot their sorrow.

King Cumulus resumed his speech, and
said that he was addressing himself, now,
especially to those of his good friends who
came from Nimbus. "To-night, let them
retire to rest, and early the next morning let
each of them go down to Earth; whichever
of them should be found on their return to
have been engaged below in the most useful
service to the race of man, that son of
Nimbus should be Cirrha's husband."

Cumulus, having said this, put a white
nightcap on his head, which was the signal
for a general retirement. The golden ground
of his dominions was covered for the night,
as well as the crimson trees, with cotton.
So the whole kingdom was put properly to
bed. Late in the night the moon got up,
and threw over King Cumulus a silver

The Adventures of Nebulus and Nubis.

THE suitors of the Princess Cirrha, who
returned to Nimbus, were a-foot quite early
the next morning, and petitioned their good-
natured Prince to waft them over London.
They had agreed among themselves, that by
descending there, where men were densely
congregated, they should have a greater chance of
doing service to the human race. Therefore the
Rain-Cloud floated over the great City of the
World, and, as it passed at sundry points, the
suitors came down upon ram-drops to perform
their destined labour. Where each might
happen to alight depended almost wholly
upon accident; so that their adventures were
but little better than a lottery for Cirrha's
hand. One, who had been the most magniloquent
among them all, fell with his pride
upon the patched umbrella of an early-
breakfast woman, and from thence was shaken off
into a puddle. He was splashed up presently,
mingled with soil, upon the corduroys of a
labourer, who stopped for breakfast on his
way to work. From thence, evaporating, he
returned crest-fallen to the Land of Clouds.

Among the suitors there were two kind-
hearted fairies, Nebulus and Nubis, closely
bound by friendship to each other. While
they were in conversation, Nebulus, who
suddenly observed that they were passing
over some unhappy region, dropped, with
a hope that he might bless it. Nubis passed
on, and presently alighted on the surface of
the Thames.

The district which had wounded the kind
heart of Nebulus was in a part of Bermondsey,
called Jacob's Island. The fairy fell into a
ditch; out of this, however, he was taken by a
woman, who carried him to her own home,
among other ditch-water, within a pail.
Nebulus abandoned himself to complete despair,
for what claim could he now establish on the
hand of Cirrha? The miserable plight of the
poor fairy we may gather from a description
given by a son of man of the sad place to
which he had descended. "In this Island
may be seen, at any time of the day, women
dipping water, with pails attached by ropes to
the backs of the houses, from a foul fetid
ditch, its banks coated with a compound of
mud and filth, and strewed with offal and
carrion; the water to be used for every
purpose, culinary ones not excepted; although
close to the place whence it is drawn, filth
and refuse of various kinds are plentifully
showered into it from the outhouses of the
wooden houses overhanging its current, or
rather slow and sluggish stream; their posts
or supporters rotten, decayed, and, in many
instances broken and the filth dropping
into the water, to be seen by any passer by.
During the summer, crowds of boys bathe