The Student Vagabond

As the clouds mounted to the upper edge of the sun, a fan of golden cables swung down over them into the far hills that rolled about this New Hampshire valley like the broken rim of a cup. The Vagabond, brushing wearily through the weeds of the fiat fields paused to wipe the perspiration from his warm face. His shabby clothes, his eyes rather puffed and watery, betokened the dusty plodding of a long journey. And indeed he had been trudging since dawn when he left Dunster sitting beside the river, it seemed, like a contented crimson cow.

The Vagabond looked ahead and the enchantment of the distant hills drew him. There in mysterious mauve hollows was--he knew not what--but surely more beauty than this grim valley. He began his ascent toiling over brown rocks that slipped and twisted his feet. A small snake whipped across his path and twinkled away scarcely stirring the loose earth. There were no violet hollows, only shadows blotted against the cliff walls by clouds.

Near the top, he leaned, dry-throated and tired, against a fantastically-contorted tree and looked about him. The great, barren hills staggered into each other like drunken giants. Then he looked back and below and his heart quickened again. All the valley spread and undulated in miniature graciousness, remote, like a misty pool of gold in the late sun. An elfin land it seemed, sending up a teasing shower of elfin bells from the moving sheep. Irresistibly drawn, the Vagabond began his descent.