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About The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972 | View Entire Issue (March 26, 1904)
GOOD STORIES FOR CHILDREN--By Walt MeDoiigall
'The Enchanted Forest Where
Every thing. Was Opposite to
What it Should be, and How
its Magic Spell Was Broken
Mystery Solved by a Bright
Boy -Who Learned to Read an
Ancient Language and Found
a Book Written in the -Tongue
BESIDE a vast 'dark foresl tan a broad Ugh
way, along Which passed armies, wagons,
, gay "pWtiea of travelers, merchant and
peddlers, but never a man strayed from the dusty
roadway to rest in the shade of the trees nor He in
the cool, green ferass. In fact, all hastened their
steps when passing by the woods. .
Once in a very long white some very bold man,
f young and rash, would venture apace within the '
shades of the trees, but he Would soon be seen re
turning much quicker thaa,ha went, and with terror
in his eyes. V' " , , Wi '
,. The "forest was known far and wide a the WW
ardV Woods, but nobody could give sensible 6
, planation of this weird name. ,
Tradition, handed down from father to so for
' hundreds of years, stories told with bated breath
andjnanya backward glance, into h gioort, fti4 :
that, once ;pon5""tIme7 the "foSfest ;was ' thr abode,
v- of a great king and a wizard "ne, quarreled bitterfy,
and then the woods became a tero$ to all the peo
ple of neighboring lands. :-:;''.. .
This happened so long ago that no person feould
tell the name of either king or wizard, and ina.ny
professed to disbelieve the whole aterjv especially
people living .far away from the woodV who hfl
seen" none "of its marvels and knew nothing of it'
' Persons who dwelt neat to its awful shades' fully
realised what dangers it held in its depths, and they .
were the ones who kept alive the tale of its past.
In this forest everything was unreal and false in.
appearance.; nothing, was what it appeared to -be.
TA11 the flowers, although apparently like the
flowers everywhere, were savage biting or stinging
' things, Teaching ont o pliant writhing stems to
stab and gash and poison the 'careless passer-by.
i Instead of being beauteous blossoms. 'filled with de
licious fragrance, ,they breathed a deadly gas that
overcame those who ventured nenr. V
All ; the tempting fruits that hung . from the
branches, low and easy to reach, were, bitter as gall
and filled with a stinging powdery dust that blinded
those who tasted them, v . ; '
Lions and tigers haunted the dark fladeattt In
stead of being carnivorous beasts they were.as timid
as mice; yet the sheep, rabbits and ether. usually
timorous creatures were 'terribly bloodthirsty, and
as for the squirrels, they were simply terrible J ;
Sometimes scientific men, botanists and ths like,
went into the woods to study thete strange wonders,
but as there was no possible way to distinguish be
tween the good and the bad things there," and they
had no clue to the real way of avoiding the evils,
they were immediately overcome by one thing or an
other and retired very soon, never to return.
Now not far from the highway that bordered the
' "Wizard's Forest and on the other side of a broad
marsh lived a boy named Valentine. '' "
lie was a lad who had grown up within sight of
, the perilous woods and had heard from his infancy
all the weird talea about its mysteries, so that he
was full of its lore. pT'
When the scientifio men came to the forest they,
often" stayed at his mother's house, and thus he dis
covered that there were many things that he knew,
nothing about in the great world beyond the moun
tains and the woodlands.
After he had done his day work, for sis mother
was a widow and he was her sole support, tilling the ,
small field, hunting for snip and dock in 'the
marshes, sailing boats or guiding the scientists
across the swamps, Valentine would read the books
that he could borrow from the few neighbors and
he thus became possessed of a furious thirst for
That he never could go to college he knew, for he
lad no money to pay even the annual dues of; the
secret societies, such, as the HI-Pie-Eta" or; the
"Soclrit-Tuum-Eli," yet he yearned to go there.'
At last one day one of the professors of entomol
. egy, who was after some of the strange insects in the
Vizard' Forest, told him that nowadays success
came to the man who steadily pursued one object
and that there was so much to learn that it was
really quite' impossible for a man t know it all, ex
cept, perhaps, a cartoonist, so that if he made him
self master of one kind of learning he might be a
great and famous man after all -
.Valentine at first rather inclined to be a student
of wild birds and such things, for he had read about
them, as well as watched them carefully all his short
life. But one day he happened to come upon a
man who decided matters for him. This was old
Shamua O'Shaughnessy, an ancient and feeble fel
low who toiled a. any job ha could get, but who was
descended from the kings of Ireland.
rile was the only man in that region who could
Speak the ancient Gaelic language, which was the
tongue of the Irish and Scotch, as well as the in
habitants of Franco, in remote times, and he Offered
to teach this rare and forgotten language to Valen
Gaelic sounds just like throwing hickory nuts "'
against a tin roof, snd is very diificult to learn, as it
is veoj hard on the tongue and the throat, but it
can be learned if one be patient and very smart in
deed.' :-1 Valentine was both, and Shamus was so de
lighted, with the progress he made that he gave up
working and came to live with the boy so he iould
be nearj him and speak the language of the long-lost
Celts to him constantly. -"'-
, "It made 'Valentine's mother quite dizzy to hear
theinJUlking this strange tongue day and night, but
she was pleased with ell -that her good boy did, and
she made no objection to the acts of Shamus, al
though his old clay pipe almost drove her out of the
house at times with its dreadful fumes.
After a year or so Valentine had learned all that
Shamus knew. - Then, as he sought for somebody
who could further instruct him, he became acduaint-
c! with another college professor.who was so pleased
who aim inai ne .norrowea .waeno books lor him,
from the Museum of Ancient Literature, books all
written by hand by old-time monks in their lonely
, monasteries, illuminated with beautiful Colored pic
; ture and almost falling to pieces with age, although
, the pages were made of parchment. ,
'; - When he had read all of these it became noised
about all over the "world that a remarkably clever
loy was taking up the study of Gaelic, and soon
v V : 'S'' "L -V; :f-
many another rare book was sent to Valentine by
those interested in that language.
Presidents of colleges wrote to him and from all
.lands came the best wishes of Irish hearts that
showed how1 deep is the love of Gaelic, although so
few have the courage to wrestle with it.
- Finally even the poor ignorant people among
whom he lived came to know what he had accom
plished and to be. proud of knowing him, looking
.upon him at a marvel of learning; but proudest ox
all was Shamus O'Shaughnessy.
"Well, the result of all this was that one day an old
woman came, to Valentine and said : ,
' "My lad, I have beard of your great love of old
:' books- and I have come to tell you something. In
the garret of my neighbor there lies a very old book. ;
indeed, for I saw it only yesterday. When I asked
my neighbor what the book was she told me that
nobody knew because it was printed in a foreign'
- language. I think she would sell it to you very
That was all Valentine waited ty(hear. The next
moment he was on his way to her neighbor's house,
where' he soon made a bargain with the woman for
the big old book, which had great brass clasps end
. a sort of lock with a key, as if its contents were too
precious for every eye to look upon. 1 -
He did not even examine his prize-before he
bought it, but when he had it safe at home his eyes
almost popped out of his head as ha opened its great
leather covers and saw that it was written in the
very oldest Gaelic he had ever seen. That showed
that the book must be hundreds, yea, thousands, of
Still, what he knew of the language made it pretty
easy to understand this old style, but he was then
surprised even more. ' ,
V ' The first page contained these words in great
black letters i
THE IHSTOEY OF-THE ENCHANTED
"Written by Ingulphus, son of Halfdan .
Bifrost the Viking.
: ' "Being a truthful tale, and sorrowful, of
the King of Locris and his lovely daughter
Lorimaire and of the bitter vengeance of
the Wizard Ben Hafiz; also of the end of
his son Ijit, carried away by the fiery Cor
morant." It was very natural that Valentine should as
sume that the Enchanted Forest must be that one
near which he lived, and he began to read with eager
"interest a most interesting tale, which I will tell you
wnmnrh ai tt vai vrittAn if'
V1NG GALDER OF LOCRIS was the richest
monarch that ever ruled over any land. His
chests of oak were filled with golden rings that are
money in many countries beside this, bars of silver,
coins of Carthage, Rome, Constantinople and far
Cathay, jewel-studded crowns and weapons of tem
pered steel, swords of famed Damascus and carved
gems from ruined Babylon and Nineveh, ivory from
; Egypt and gold-dust from Phoenicia, glass cups and
emerald bowls from far-distant Ceylon, vases from
ancient Greece and long-forgotten Chaldea, carpets
from Persia worth each, a kingdom, robes from
Arabia and skins, of value, bear, beaver and otter,
priceless and rare.
But of all his treasures the most prized and most
perfect was his beautiful daughter, the Princess
Lorimaire. '. .: - .
She was a jewel that was beyond compare, gold
her bright hair, pearls ber teeth, ivory her fair skin,
sapphires her dazzling eyes, coral her sweet lips,
she was a chest of treasure, her raiment shining and
t rich, her movements all the grace of swans, deer and
eagles 1 . '. -n'-. j ",. ' ,
Where fell her bright eves there men sank in wor
ship; swords flashed
in tfXtyr(9 . anlavilAw i V
battles men fought over her beauty in wild jealousy,
VAt ta TlVr It AM trnva alia a itnAar frlanna
Many were the suitors, kings' sons, jarls and great
sea-kings, who came to Locris." fell at he fatW.
feet and begged for her hand, but she turned a deaf
ear to them all. ': r - . ,
Soma made sheep's eyes at her, others threatened
Galder with war and waste, others pined and went
mad, but none touched her heart either by sighings,
threats or pleadings; her heart was like a crystal
mirror, clear and shining, having no image therein.
One there was in Locris who loved her beyond all
THEY HAD PROMISED TO WED
speaking, one who yet kept the secret of his love
concealed until what time the maid grew to be a fair
and noble woman, but he was an old man and knew
that she would never east an eye upon him.
This was the Wizard Ben Hafiz, who was a Tur
ker, that is, he came from that distant land of Araby
whence men bring perfumes, spices, great learning
in the magic arts and gold-dust. ;-'
A Saracen, waa he, a man who knew other men's
thoughts, who could read the tstars,- who knew the ;.
language of bird and animals, who rode through
the air, walked, in fire or on water, and practiced
mystic arts beyond the thoughts of other men, be
they kings or peasants. ' . . :
He so loved Lorimaire that ha wrought most evil
spells to turn his old body into that' of a youth of
pleasant mien, having in this quest to do with dread
ful demons and black, wicked spirits, much foul- -smelling
potions and marvelous high-sounding in
cantations, yet in all he failed either to become
young or to please the princess. -
Then when she had grown to be a tall and stately
woman and he found that she did not look at him
but with a sort of wonder at his age, his shining
bald head and his long white beard, he bethought
himself that his powers might cause her to love his
son, although it helped not his own cause, and so he
had the young man brought from Araby in a train
of camels and elephants which were the wonder of
all Locris. '
This son was called Ijit, and he was little better .
than the simple persons in Locris, yet he, having a
vast conceit in himself was forever looking upon his
face in a silver mirror, which' he carried as other
men carry swords. t j .
In the tournaments and jousts which warriors,
every day held among themselves to show their war
love and to distinguish themselves for bravery and
. skill, Ijit took no part, for he was afraid of scars
and wounds. But he often played the guitar be
neath Lorimaire's window casement or strolled in
front of her bower clad in silken garments from the
East, so richly clad that he resembled the peacocks
on the garden wall I
' Lorimaire laughed at him for his pains, yet Ijit
cared nothing. Not so the wizard ; he was angered
deeply to see his spells turned to naught by a girL
and when he saw the princess smile and then laugh
aloud at his Son's foolish antics he resolved that she
should never smile more.
He had spells that would surely work evil, al-
though he could not compel a love for himself to be
born; spells that would ruin even a whole kingdom,
but he determined first to try what persuasion would .
do. 1 n . .
He went to King Galder and asked him to give the
princess to his son. .
The King laughed, and said :
' Did I think you serious, my dear Hafiz, I would
be painfully shocked, but I know 'tis but . jest; that
your silly son has asked you to beg this boon of me
and you ask to pleasa that popinjay, not yourself.
Lorimaire has refused kings and, kings' sons, and
'twould be a sorry tale to send abroad that she had
married a foolish Arabic dude."
"He is no dude, but a sorcerer's son J" cried old
Hafiz. " '. ... .f .;' :- :
."Even were ha the sorcerer himself it wouldn't
do !" replied King Galder, laughing, as he looked out
of the window and saw Ijit on the grass. "He
smokes cubeb cigarettes, and that alone trould settle
the matter, but the fact is that if he married her I
would have not one but twenty wars on my hands,
for all men would be against mo did I do such a
deed!" . ,
The wizard offered treasures beyond all compare,
but at last the jocund king told him to ask the prin
.The wizard well knew what would come of .that,'
and so he threatened the king with dire vengeance,
but that made Galder angry and he threw the sor
cerer out of the window.' ' v;
He was not hurt, as it was the first-story window,
but his dignity was jolted so that he rose ffld with
out taking thought he pronounced a dreadful spell.
So potent was it that it almost takes the breath
away to tell of its effects. It had been all thought
out, time and again, by the nasty old wizard, yet
even he was astonished at its completeness.
It turned the castle into a pile of earth, the king,
and all of his people into animals, insects, fish
and. birds, but the worst part of it was the fact that
the very nature of each and every animal was alter-
ed and turned upside down, so that each waa the
very opposite in character of hi$ appearance.
. The plants, trees and flowers were II unlike what
they seemed to be as it is possible to imagine, crea
tures known to men as mild and peaceful, were fero
cious, while the savage animals wera timorous as
lambs I Poison flowed in. the crystal itreams, un
seen dangers lurked in the shady copse, and there
was no way to know the true from the false, the
good from the bad. "
, Alone in the midst of the ruin he' Jiad wrought
stood the wizard, when suddenly he missed his ton,
and than he realized that he also had fallen under
the spell which in his anger he had Uttered, although
he had taken pains to save the princess from it.
.. There she stood on the mound of earth, amazed
and confused, for she could not comprehend what
had happened to everything and everybody.
The wizard paid no attention to her, for he was
wild with fright. He knew that to exercise any spell
to restore a changed person to his original shape it,
of course, was necessary to say the spell over the
very body, and- how was he to find his son without
restoring everybody to his own shape!
"Oh, what has happened,' Ben Hafiz 1" cried the.
princess, when she saw that he was there.
"The worst that could happen 1" responded Hafiz,
"I have lost my son Ijit!"
"But where is my father and the castle!" she
asked in dismay.
"Don't bother me about trifles!" replied the sor
cerer. "I have no time for such. I seek my Son 1"
Then,' as he realized that there would be little use
'in searching, he uttered the restoring spell, intend
ing when he again had his son beside him to change
everything into chaos again. ' This was the spell ha
uttered: , , "-, ',
"BUAIDII NO BAS CTOEG AN FHIT
! . inCH DAILACHADH CUIMHNICH
AILPENE DA THEARNAIDH CO DIT
AINDHIOIN THEIREADH El" '
He waited and waited, but.no change occurred,
and then the princess, who knew' something about
magic, laughed and said:
" 'Tis but a weak spell snd works slowly even like
a tortoise does it move!"
The wizard saw that something waa wrong, .and,
maddened, he shouted :
"Turn thou into a tortoise and crawl forever here
in the dirt!" v "
Then ha uttered the potent incantation, and she
was changed into a tortoise at once and began to
move slowly away ! . ' . :
Again he spoke the magic words to restore his son,
and then suddenly a great, dark figure rose up out
of the mound and spoke : I ' ,
"I am Eblis, thy Master, oh, Ben Hafiz, and thy
time has come ! . Thy power is gone and thy spell is
impotent and useless to thee ! Three times five hun
dred years shall pass ere the incantation may act
again, and before that where wilt thou bet Thou
hast used thy skill in base ways and in' vain, at
tempts, and now thou must even come with me, aa
, thy son has gone with Cormorant !"
Before Hafiz could speak the demon seized him
and vanished as suddenly as he had come, leaving
the Enchanted Forest silent and deserted save by.
the marvelous strange beasts that do inhabit it to
this day. ' . i .
No man has lived to search out its secrets, al
though men do say that sometimes, on the eye of
the day of Saint Patricius, one might walk even to :
the ancient high mound that lies by a dark pool and
there efcpy a great tortoise moving slowly round
' about the site of King Galder's castle. , .
Whether this be fable or a truo tale I wot not, yet
wise men do testify that the Enchanted Forest lies
exactly within the bounds of the ancient great king
dom of Locris, and this can no man deny.
Mayhap a thousand years hence some great wis
ard may repeat the spell and release all these poor
people cut off so basely in their joyous lifetime,
hence I, Ingulphus, the son of Half den Bifrost, do
write down this tale in my own hand that it may
endure through .all time. -
""TO SAY that Valentine was charmed with this i
story would' be a weak statement.' He was
' simply enraptured, especially when he reflected that
he, perhaps, wis .'the one person in all the world
into whose hands' it could have fallen and have been
understood, as well as read, for he knew all about
the Enchanted Forest, as well as ancient Gaelic.
He felt that there was some meaning in this piece
of good luck, and he determined to take advantage
of the information contained in it, for it was quite
plaiH to him now that the way to get along in the
forest was, to avoid all that looked nice and tempt
ing and touch only the forbidding lqpking things.
He need not be afraid .of lions and tigers, he saw
at once, and as for ferocious sheep, cows and rab
bits, they Could be easily managed, as their teeth
are not formidable and none of them can climb
trees. All other terrors, he realized were just as
easily avoided so long as one was not carried away .
by an unreasoning fright,' as all had been before who
ventured within the shades of the woods.
-At once he prepared to make the attempt, end
while, ha was getting ready he happened to make a
rougk calculation of the time hen thii old book was
written, and he" figured Out that it must certainly
have been far mors than a thousand years ago. So
he took pains to lesra the words of the Gaelic spell, '
difficult as that may seem to you or me, who know
not ' how to pronounce even the simple word
"CTHMHlttCH,''. and in a few minutes h$ had com
mitted it td memory, marvelous as it may appear.
Jt was the eve of Saint Patricius' Dav, although'
he didn't know it, and so he was not troubled by any
animals at -all as -he went through the woods. and
just at sunset came to a great mound in the middle
of the forest. !
It rote as high as a house and trees grew on its
summit, There, in the golden rays of the setting
sun, he saw an immense tortoise crawling slowly
along tha brown earth I
It stopped its slow motion to gaze at him with
dark brown eyes, and it seemed to the boy to ask
him a question by its glance. He went to it and
said: .. , ' r .'v. :.',y,. ' ",
"Are you the Princess Lorimaire t"
,The tortoise looted up at him pleadingly, and
then he remembered that he had spoken modern
English, he repeated the question in Gaelic.
The oreature raised its head and showed evident
, pleasure, and he was sure it understood; but even
ret he could scarcely believe that it could possibly
be the princess alive after- all these years.
Then suddenly he thought of the spell, and with
, out hesitating ha repeated it :
"BTJAIDH NO BASCRIEG AN FHIT- i
mCH DAILACHADH CUIMHNICH i
AILPENE DA THEARNAIDII 00 DIP- , 1
, AINDHIOIN ' THEIREADH El" ; -V . :
Hardly haa' the echo of his voice ceased ringing
through tha forest aisles when a lovely maiden, clad
in shining silks, stood before him, smiling through
her tears, and behind her rose a tall and stately
castle! "Before he could even look about him she
snoke in ancient Gaelic, and said :
"Kind and good Prince, for Buch you surely must
be to be able to free me from the spell that has held
me these many ages, I thank you. My father will
reward you, but I wul forever blessyoul"
. Now Valentine was very much bewildered, and
yet he saw on looking about that none of the other
people had been restored to human forms, which he
concluded was because they all had long since died
a natural death, but the long-lived tortoise had, by
remaining alive all these ages, been able to be again
He explained this to Lorimaire, and she, being a
.wise and sensible girl, readily agreed with him.
They entered the castle, and she showed him all its
wonders, but when he told her how much finer it
would look if illuminated with eleotrjc lights she
could not understand. :
Of course, before very long they had fallen in
love with each other, and when she retired to her
chamber, with its stone walls hung with tapestry
and its floor strewn with Tushes, she kissed him
"good-night," for she had promised to wed him.
She had learned much, but next day after he had
shot some quail, for now all of the animals, birds,
' insects and All plants and other-forest things were
' restored to their natural conditions they ate break
fast and he told her everything he could remember '
' about what had happened in the great world while
she had been slowly circling about the earth mound.
Then she deoided.that, after they had marriedT
theymust both go to college together and she would
learn all that modern culture required, after which
they would come and live in the great castle, which
yalentinolassured her -would -be very-comfortable
when fitted with a good furnace in the basemen gts
and electricity, as well as hot and Culd water. ) ,
That afternoon they wended their way through
the woods, seeing nothing more than a few timid
rabbits in the shade, but they took
11 of the finest jewels and much gold to
pay for their college tuition, as well as for the new
snd up-to-date clothes which Valentine knew Lori
maire would need. ; j , . r ; .;
They were perfectly sure nobody would venture
into the Enchanted Forest while they were gone.
If I should keep right on, and tell you all about
the perplexities of Lorimaip when she got out of
the woods and faced, the new world it would really
seed a whole book I ; ' ; n ;
After a time she had made such enormous progress
!n learning English that she could talk to people,
and then they went to college together, but that Waa
after they had been married, and, of course, a story
is of no interest when it's about married people.
The only interesting thing about it is that the
college authorities, when Lorimaire presented the'
college with a lot of ancient gold-mlaid , armor,
weapons and very rare, antique coins and vases that
must have been thousands of years old even in Ro
man days, were so delighted that they let them study
just . when and how they pleased and allowed
tljem to recite when they were' ready, so in their
little house they live there as happy as bees in a
When they return to the castle in the Enchanted
Finest I am going to visit them, and it will cer
tainly bo la wonder if I don't djg up some good
stories from what 1 find there in the mustv old vol- t
umes of parchment, thousands of years old. ?