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Light on the hills.A sad story of love.
From Very Short Stories by W K Clifford.
Start of Story
Age Rating 8 Plus.
"I want to work at my picture," he said, and went into the field. The
little sister went too, and stood by him watching while he painted.
"The trees are not quite straight," she said, presently, "and oh, dear
brother, the sky is not blue enough."
"It will all come right soon," he answered. "Will it be of any good?"
"Oh yes," she said, wondering that he should even ask, "it will make
people happy to look at it. They will feel as if they were in the
"If I do it badly, will it make them unhappy?"
"Not if you do your very best," she answered; "for they will know how
hard you have tried. Look up," she said suddenly, "look up at the light
upon the hills," and they stood together looking at all he was trying
to paint, at the trees and the field, at the deep shadows and the hills
beyond, and the light that rested upon them.
"It is a beautiful world," the girl said. "It is a great honour to make
things for it."
"It is a beautiful world," the boy echoed sadly. "It is a sin to
disgrace it with things that are badly done."
"But you will do things well?"
"I get so tired," he said, "and long to leave off so much. What do you
do when you want to do your best,--your very, very best?" he asked,
"I think that I am doing it for the people I love," she answered. "It
makes you very strong if you think of them; you can bear pain, and walk
far, and do all manner of things, and you don't get tired so soon."
He thought for a moment. "Then I shall paint my picture for you," he
said; "I shall think of you all the time I am doing it."
Once more they looked at the hills that seemed to rise up out of the
deep shadows into the light, and then together they went home.
Soon afterwards a great sorrow came to the boy. While the little sister
slept, she wandered into another world, and journeyed on so far that
she lost the clue to earth, and came back no more. The boy painted many
pictures before he saw the field again, but in the long hours, as he
sat and worked, there came to him a strange power that answered more
and more truly to the longing in his heart--the longing to put into the
world something of which he was not ashamed, something which should
make it, if only in the person of its meanest, humblest citizen, a
little happier or better.
At last, when he knew that his eye was true and his touch sure, he took
up the picture he had promised to paint for the dear sister, and
worked at it until he was finished.
"This is better than all he has done before," the beholders said. "It
is surely beautiful, for it makes one happy to look at it."
"And yet my heart ached as I did it," the boy said, as he went back to
the field. "I thought of her all the time I worked,--it was sorrow that
gave me power." It seemed as if a soft voice, that spoke only to his
heart, answered back--
"Not sorrow but love, and perfect love has all things in its gift, and
of it are all things born save happiness, and though that may be born
"How does one find happiness?" interrupted the boy.
"It is a strange chase," the answer seemed to be; "to find it for one's
own self, one must seek it for others. We all throw the ball for each
"But it is so difficult to seize."
"Perfect love helps one to live without happiness," his own heart
answered to himself; "and above all things it helps one to work and to
"But if it gives one happiness too?" he asked eagerly.
"Ah, then it is called Heaven."