Amid the starry realms there lived an old philosopher, a man deep in wisdom, who had two daughters, named Truth and Error, whom he sent to earth to perform a mission to its people; and though he knew that their labors must be united, he could not explain to them why two so dissimilar should have to roam so many years on earth together. Well he knew that, though Truth would in the end be accepted by the people, she must suffer greatly. His life experience had taught him that she must go often unhonored and unloved, while Error, her sister, would receive smiles, gifts, and welcome from the majority. It was a sacrifice to part with his much-loved daughter Truth, and a great grief to be obliged to send Error with her. He placed them, with words of cheer and counsel, in the care of Hyperion, the father of the Sun, Moon, and Dawn, who accompanied them in his golden chariot to the clouds, where he left the two in charge of Zephyr, who wafted them from their fleecy couch to the earth.
One bleak, chilly day, the two were walking over a dreary road dotted here and there with dwellings. The most casual observer might have seen their striking dissimilarity, both in dress and manners. Truth was clad in garments of the plainest material and finish, while Error was decked in costly robes and jewels. The step of the former was firm and slow, while that of the latter was rapid and nervous. The bleak winds penetrated their forms as they turned a sharp angle in the road, when there was revealed to them, on an eminence, a costly and elegant building.
“I shall certainly go in there for the night, and escape these biting blasts,” said Error to her sister.
“Although, the house is large and grand,” answered Truth, “it does not look as though its inmates were hospitable. I prefer trying my luck in yonder cottage on the slope of that hill.”
“And perhaps have your walk for naught,” answered Error, who bade a hasty good-by to her sister and entered the enclosure, which must have been beautiful in summer with its smooth lawns, fine trees and beds and flowers. She gave the bell a sharp ring, and was summoned into an elegant drawing-room full of gaily dressed people. Error was neither timid nor bashful, and she accepted the offered courtesies of the family as one would a right. She seated herself and explained to them the object of her call, dwelling largely on the grandeur of her elegant home amid the stars, and tenderly and feelingly upon her relationship with the gods and goddesses, and the numerous feasts which she had attended, so that at her conclusion her hostess felt that herself and family were receiving rather than bestowing a favor.
The evening was spent amid games and pastimes till the hour for retiring, when they conducted her to a warm and elegantly furnished room, so comfortable that it made her long, for a moment, for her sister to share it with her; for, despite the difference in their natures, Error loved her sister. The soft couch, however, soon lulled her to sleep. She, slumbered deeply, and dreamed that Truth was walking all night, cold and hungry, when suddenly a lovely form came out of the clouds. It was none other than Astrea, whom she had seen often in her starry home, talking with Truth. She saw her fold a soft, delicate garment about the cold form of her sister, at the same time saying, in reproving tones, to herself, “This is not the only time you have left your sister alone in the cold and cared for yourself. The sin of selfishness is great, and the gods will succor the innocent and punish the offender.”
She closed, and was rising, with Truth in her arms, to the skies, when Error gave such a loud shriek that Astrea dropped her, and a strong current of air took the goddess out of sight. It was well for the earth, which might have been forever in darkness, that Truth was dropped, though hard for her.