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A Leaf From The Sky
by [?]

Then came the swineherd. He was collecting thistles and shrubs, to burn them for the ashes. The wonderful plant was placed bodily in his bundle.

“It shall be made useful,” he said; and so said, so done.

But soon afterwards, the king of the country was troubled with a terrible depression of spirits. He was busy and industrious, but that did him no good. They read him deep and learned books, and then they read from the lightest and most superficial that they could find; but it was of no use. Then one of the wise men of the world, to whom they had applied, sent a messenger to tell the king that there was one remedy to give him relief and to cure him. He said:

“In the king’s own country there grows in a forest a plant of heavenly origin. Its appearance is thus and thus. It cannot be mistaken.”

“I fancy it was taken up in my bundle, and burnt to ashes long ago,” said the swineherd; “but I did not know any better.”

“You didn’t know any better! Ignorance of ignorances!”

And those words the swineherd might well take to himself, for they were meant for him, and for no one else.

Not another leaf was to be found; the only one lay in the coffin of the dead girl, and no one knew anything about that.

And the king himself, in his melancholy, wandered out to the spot in the wood.

“Here is where the plant stood,” he said; “it is a sacred place.”

And the place was surrounded with a golden railing, and a sentry was posted there.

The botanical professor wrote a long treatise upon the heavenly plant. For this he was gilded all over, and this gilding suited him and his family very well. And indeed that was the most agreeable part of the whole story. But the king remained as low-spirited as before; but that he had always been, at least so the sentry said.