N angel heard a child crying one day, and came to see what ailed it. He found the little one sitting on the ground, with the sun at its back (for the day was young), looking at its own shadow, which lay on the ground before it, and weeping bitterly.
"What ails you, little one?" asked the Angel.
"The world is so dark!" said the child. "See, it is all dusky gray, and there is no beauty in it. Why must I stay in this sad, gray world?"
"Do you not hear the birds singing, and the other children calling at their play?" asked the Angel.
"Yes," said the child; "I hear them, but I do not know where they are. I cannot see them, I see only the shadow. Moreover, if they saw it, they would not sing and call, but would weep as I do."
The Angel lifted the child, and set it on its feet, with its face to the early sun.
"Look!" said the Angel.
The child brushed away the tears from its eyes and looked. Before them lay the fields all green and gold, shining with dewdrops, and the other children were running to and fro, laughing and shouting, and crowning one another with blossoms.
"Why, there are the children!" said the little one.
"Yes," said the Angel; "there they are."
"And the sun is shining!" cried the child.
"Yes," said the Angel; "it was shining all the time."
"And the shadow is gone!"
"Oh, no!" said the Angel; "the shadow is behind you, where it belongs. Run, now, and gather flowers for the littlest one, who sits in the grass there!"