That night Zuzu and Lulu slept in golden beds with silken curtains, with pillows made of thistle-down, very light and soft. Naturally they slept very soundly, so it was morning almost before they knew it. When they arose they saw standing near by golden basins filled with clear shining water, and after they were bathed and dressed they saw standing near a little Fairy with a dainty breakfast-tray. They ate heartily, and presently hastened away to see the good Queen Zulena and to remind her of her promise to show them the Valley of Gold.
In a few minutes they heard the tinkle of the golden harness and the stamp of the bumblebees on the pavement, eager to be off. Then, taking their seats as before, off they went through the air, flying as straight and fast as the strongest bumblebees can go.
“Let me tell you one thing, my children,” said the Fairy Queen, “and it is this: No matter what you see, you must not tell any person where the Valley of Gold is to be found. That is a secret which we Fairies have guarded for thousands of years, and you must by no means tell of it.”
So both Zuzu and Lulu promised, and ever since they have kept their word; and what is told here is told only that you may know how wonderful a place it is, and what strange things are to be seen there; but no one can tell you how to get there unless you may be fortunate enough to find a White Cricket and ask of it the way. And, as White Crickets are very few and hard to find, so there are very few children who ever really see Fairy-land, and most children are obliged only to read about it in the stories of those who have really been there.
“When we telephoned,” said Zuzu, “we got the wrong kind of Cricket, and had it not been that we had the Enchanted Banjo with us, we might have met all sorts of trouble. We thank you, good Queen, for not punishing us; but we should like to know how the really-truly Fairy Telephone would be.”
“Good Banjo,” said the Fairy Queen, “can you not tell these dear young people how the really-truly Fairy Telephone goes?”
“With the greatest of pleasure, your Majesty,” replied the Banjo, with a smile. And then it sang:
TO TELEPHONE TO FAIRY-LAND
If you want to telephone to Fairy-land You must have a snow-white Cricket in your hand. It is easy; don't you see? Just as easy as can be If the way to telephone you understand. When the crickets are all chirping in the night Then you have to go and seek by candle-light, And keep watching as you pass Through the bushes and the grass For a Cricket that is perfectly snow-white. "Hello! Hello! Is this the land of Fairies?" "Hello! Hello!" you'll hear the faint reply From one whose cheeks are redder than the cherries; "Hello! Hello!" You'll do it if you try. When you find the snow-white Cricket, all you need Is a line that's made of cobweb—yes, indeed! Do not let the Cricket go; Hold it tight and say "Hello!" In the hollow of a flower gone to seed. It's a very simple thing to understand, If you want to telephone to Fairy-land Take a candle; go alone; Find the Fairy Telephone— But first have a snow-white Cricket in your hand. "Hello! Hello! Is this the land of Fairies?" "Hello! Hello!" A voice will come to you From one whose eyes are blacker than blackberries— "Hello! Hello!" Now talk an hour or two.
“Well,” said Lulu, “that is certainly very nice. Now I shall always know how to talk to the Fairies over the really-truly Fairy Telephone; so that, good Queen, even although we are very far apart, I shall always call up and talk to you, no matter where I am, almost every day of my life.”
“Thank you, my dear,” said the Fairy Queen, “that will be very nice, and I do not want you to forget me. Now we will go and I will try to show you some more things about our country.
“Here you will see by the roadside many little houses like smith shops, with tiny white smoke coming out of each. This is where my little dwarf Fairies are at work making diamonds, very clean and white, among the most beautiful stones of all, as many think. But beyond these houses are those where the most skilful of my workmen are making the stones which we prize more than diamonds, those whose color is that of your hair, my dears, the royal blue malazite and the precious green corazine, the like of which can be found nowhere else in all the world. We will ask for some of these to take with us.”
Then as she spoke there came out from one of the houses a little Fairy with his hands full of these precious blue and green stones.
“Good morning, your Majesty,” said he, “I knew you would like to see some of our work to-day, for these are among the finest we have ever produced.” As he spoke he placed in her hands some shining, trembling drops of blue and green.
“These,” said the Fairy Queen, “are made from extracts of the bright blue sky, my dears, and from the essence of the deep green leaves.”
“And did our hair get its color in the same way?” asked Lulu, wondering.
“That may perhaps be,” said the Queen, smiling at her eagerness. “There are some who think that we come from the sky and from the trees, and perhaps this is true, for ever since even Fairies can remember, there have been the trees and the sky just as there have been persons.”
The Bumblebee Express soon was progressing again merrily, and ere long it brought them into a deep depression between two mountain peaks beyond the forest. The way here was winding and roundabout. They went on and on, around and around, deeper and deeper into the mountains. Now they began to hear strange wild sounds, roars and deep hoarse voices which reminded them of that of the Dragon in the Island of Gee-Whiz.
“Those are the faithful watch-dogs of the forest,” explained the Queen, “lions and tigers and bears, which would certainly eat up any one who came hither without my permission. They will be harmless so long as I am with you, and you need have no fear. In a few moments we shall be at the gateway to the Valley of Gold.”
Before long they paused at what seemed to be the end of the way. A steep rocky wall rose directly before them, covered over with growing ivy and with short thorny plants. On each side of this the mountains rose quite up to the sky, so that there was no such thing as getting around on either hand. What was to be done now Zuzu and Lulu could not guess, but the Queen of the Fairies did not hesitate.
She sprang from the seat of the coach and walked directly up to the wall, upon which she struck sharply five times with her jeweled parasol handle. “Abra! Abra! Adabra! Abra! Abracadabra! Open! Open! Open!” she cried aloud; and her voice was clear and strong as well as sweet.
Now arose a great grumbling noise within the walls of rock. Voices were heard shouting, and there came the sound of heavy clanking and creaking of very heavy machinery.
“O, Queen!” cried out a deep voice, as it were from the very bosom of the rock; and the Queen called out: “Open! Open! Open! It is the Queen!” And as she did this hoarse voices arose again in unison, and the groaning of heavy weights and chains continued. At last, as they sat gazing at the face of the rocky wall, to their great surprise they saw it open in a tiny crack, as though it were slowly splitting across. As they looked, this crack widened steadily before their eyes, and they saw that a heavy rock which had made a part of the wall was slowly rising, a little at a time. At last it swung quite free, and before them lay a passageway through the rock and the concealing ivy which covered it. No one in the world would ever have suspected that there was a door in the face of this rock wall. It may be seen that the Fairies guard their secret very carefully. Even to this day men frequently pass by the gate into the valley, not seeing it in the seamless rock, and not suspecting that they are so near to the great Valley of Gold.
The Queen now took her seat and motioned to the coachman to drive on through the gateway. He did so, and as they went forward they saw a great golden light flooding out to meet them. They passed between long rows of dark, fierce-looking warriors, armed with swords and spears and shields, all dark-bearded and broad-shouldered. These frowned at the new-comers, but the Queen raised her hand to restrain them, and the Twins passed on in safety. As they did so they heard, rattling and clashing into place behind them, the vast rock of the gate. And so in this new golden light they looked about on what no other mortals yet have seen, and what, in spite of much longing, it is doubtful if any ever again will see.
They were in the front portion of a deep valley or cleft in the mountain. On all hands the walls rose sheer and smooth, without a crack or seam, almost up to the blue sky, which seemed miles and miles away. Around the edges of the rocky walls, high above, grew dark forest trees, but these were so far away that they seemed no larger than one’s hand. From these trees to the bottom of the valley may have been a mile, or perhaps two miles, if it were possible to get any idea of distances in Fairy-land. Not in any place on these naked walls was there a notch or step or foothold of any kind. Across the valley may have been two miles or three, or perhaps ten or twenty, so hard was it to tell of such things in this peculiar golden wavering light which filled all the place. This light, it was easy to be seen, was the only one known in the valley, for the entire valley lay in the shadow, the light from the sky marking the rocky walls only a little way down from the top.
“There is but one hour in the day when the sun shines into the magic Valley of Gold,” said the Queen. “At dawn, it falls through a notch upon the farther side, which you can not see from here, and the sunlight enters the valley for a short time. A path leads to that notch, it is said, though I myself have never seen it; but it is fatal to tread that path and to look over into the valley when the sun shines in; for the great reflection upward from the Mother of Gold—this great vein of gold which runs across the valley and from which comes this golden light that you see—is so strong that any one who looks upon it is at once smitten blind, and may never see again. So perhaps you may see how difficult it is to find this valley, or even to enjoy it when found; for if you had all the gold in the world—even this Madre d’Oro, the Mother of all the Gold, as the Fairies say—it would do you no good, for at once its possession would destroy all its enjoyment.”
Zuzu and Lulu wondered and wondered at all these things, and were not a little frightened, for on all hands they still heard groanings and murmurings, and strange voices deep within the earth.
“Keep close to me, my children,” said the Queen, “and do not fear. Now we shall see the vision of the Mother of Gold in all its splendor.”