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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #88

But the old woman – as the princess called her, not knowing that her real name was the Wise Woman – had told her that she must knock at the door: how was she to do that when there was no door?  But again she bethought herself – that, if she could not do all she was told, she could, at least, do a part of it: if she could not knock on the door, she could at least knock – say on the wall, for there was nothing else to knock upon – and perhaps the old woman would hear her, and lift her in by some window.  Thereupon, she rose at once to her feet, and picking up a stone, began to knock on the wall with it.  A loud noise was the result, and she found she was knocking on the very door itself.  For a moment she feared the old woman would be offended, but the next, there came a voice, saying,  	“Who is there?”  	[…]  	“Oh, please, let me in!” said the princess.  “The moon will keep staring at me; and I hear the wolves in the wood.”  	Then the door opened, and the princess entered.  She looked all around, but saw nothing of the wise woman.  	It was a single, bare little room, with a white deal table, and a few old wooden chairs, a fire of fir-wood on the hearth, the smoke of which smelt sweet, and a patch of thick-growing heath in one corner.  Poor as it was, compared to the grand place Rosamond had left, she felt no little satisfaction as she shut the door, and looked around her.  And what with the sufferings and terrors she had left outside, the new kind of tears she had shed, the love she had begun to feel for her parents, and the trust she had begun to place in the wise woman, it seemed to her as if her soul had grown larger of a sudden, and she had left the days of her childishness and naughtiness far behind her.  People are so ready to think themselves changed, when it is only their mood that is changed!  Those who are good-tempered when it is a fine day, will be ill-tempered when it rains: their selves are just the same both days; only in the one case the fine weather has got into them, in the other the rainy.  Rosamond, as she sat warming herself by the glow of the peat-fire, turning over all that had passed, and feeling how pleasant the change in her feelings was, began by degrees to think how good she had grown, and how very good she was to have grown good, and how extremely good she must always have been that she was able to grow so very good as she now felt she had grown; and she became so absorbed in her self-admiration as never to notice either that the fire was dying, or that a heap of fire-cones lay in a corner near it.    -George MacDonald, “The Wise Woman, or the Lost Princess: a Double Story” (1875), pp. 22-23

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