The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus eBook: Page2

L. Frank Baum (1996)

  3. The Adoption

  The Master Woodsman suddenly rose, with knitted brows. "There is astrange presence in the Forest," he declared. Then the Queen and hernymphs turned and saw standing before them Necile, with the sleepinginfant clasped tightly in her arms and a defiant look in her deep blueeyes.

  And thus for a moment they remained, the nymphs filled with surpriseand consternation, but the brow of the Master Woodsman graduallyclearing as he gazed intently upon the beautiful immortal who hadwilfully broken the Law. Then the great Ak, to the wonder of all, laidhis hand softly on Necile's flowing locks and kissed her on her fairforehead.

  "For the first time within my knowledge," said he, gently, "a nymph hasdefied me and my laws; yet in my heart can I find no word of chiding.What is your desire, Necile?"

  "Let me keep the child!" she answered, beginning to tremble and fallingon her knees in supplication.

  "Here, in the Forest of Burzee, where the human race has never yetpenetrated?" questioned Ak.

  "Here, in the Forest of Burzee," replied the nymph, boldly. "It is myhome, and I am weary for lack of occupation. Let me care for the babe!See how weak and helpless it is. Surely it can not harm Burzee nor theMaster Woodsman of the World!"

  "But the Law, child, the Law!" cried Ak, sternly.

  "The Law is made by the Master Woodsman," returned Necile; "if he bidsme care for the babe he himself has saved from death, who in all theworld dare oppose me?" Queen Zurline, who had listened intently tothis conversation, clapped her pretty hands gleefully at the nymph'sanswer.

  "You are fairly trapped, O Ak!" she exclaimed, laughing. "Now, I prayyou, give heed to Necile's petition."

  The Woodsman, as was his habit when in thought, stroked his grizzledbeard slowly. Then he said:

  "She shall keep the babe, and I will give it my protection. But I warnyou all that as this is the first time I have relaxed the Law, so shallit be the last time. Never more, to the end of the World, shall amortal be adopted by an immortal. Otherwise would we abandon our happyexistence for one of trouble and anxiety. Good night, my nymphs!"

  Then Ak was gone from their midst, and Necile hurried away to her bowerto rejoice over her new-found treasure.