Gateway to the Classics: The Way of the Gate by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
 
The Way of the Gate by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

The Other Side of the Wall

There was once a little Prince of whom every one was very thoughtful. He was the only heir to the throne of his father, the King, and would be himself the king one day. But he was a very lazy little Prince indeed.

The little Prince had toy trains that would run alone, and toy steamboats that would sail alone, and some one always read his story books to him and showed him the pictures.

The Court lackeys bathed him and dressed him and waited on him at table. The Court Wise Man explained the hard parts of the little Prince's lessons to him.

All this was very easy and pleasant for the little Prince, but it left him very little to do. He found the days very long in deed, and so he took to exploring the grounds that lay about the palace. They were so wide that he had never, in all his seven years, seen the whole of them.

The castle grounds were very lovely indeed. As the little Prince walked through them one morning, he found the flower beds prettier than ever, and the birds singing more happily, and the fountains tinkling more merrily. He came to a little brown path that was new to him, and decided to follow it. This path led the Prince on and on until the trees stood closer together on either side, and it suddenly ended in a high, old wall.

In the wall, just in front of the little Prince, was a door.

"I wonder very much what is on the other side of that door," the Prince said to himself.

"I should like to open it, but I don't know how," he thought. And that was because the Prince had such idle hands.

"I should like to see where the door leads," he thought, "but it might be that I should have to push too hard to open it." And that was because the Prince had never worked hard in his life.

"I should like to go through the door," he said again, "but I might not be able to find my way back." And that was because the little Prince had never wanted to think in all his life.

But he looked back and saw that he had come quite a distance. All at once, he grew very brave. He touched the latch of the door in the wall and discovered that it opened quite easily. He stepped through, and the door closed behind him.

Oh, how wonderful He had never seen anything like the other side of the wall in his life.

It was a wide country, cut up into little green farms. On every farm there was a brown cottage. The roads that went up and down between were full of little children like the Prince himself, only much happier. Every one was at work, planting or harvesting, and every one was singing as he worked.

As soon as the children on the other side of the wall saw the little Prince, they ran up to him, holding out their hands because they were so glad to see him. Their clothes were not so fine as the Prince's, but he liked their merry faces at once.

"Where have you been all this time? Why didn't you come before?" they asked. Then one child tossed his red ball to the Prince, and the Prince caught it and tossed it back again. It made him, suddenly, very happy to play.

Then another child came up and put a little shovel in the Prince's hand. "Will you help me to make my garden?" the child asked. And it made the little Prince even happier to work than to play.

Last, a third child brought his slate and pencil to the Prince. "You look so wise," he said. "Will you help me with my lessons?" And it made the little Prince happiest of all to think so hard as he had to now.

After a while the Prince was missed at the castle. The courtiers looked for him and followed him until they found his foot steps that ended at the door in the wall. They looked through and saw the little Prince. At first, they were going to call him back; but when they saw him so busy and happy with the other children, they decided to let him stop there a while.

"He is learning very well," they said, "how to be our King."

The hand of the diligent maketh rich.

—Proverbs x. 4.


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