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“Cry no more now and go to sleep, and if you cannot sleep, I will tell you a story, a pretty story of flowers and gems and birds, of a young prince and a little princess. ... For in the world there is nothing more than a story.”
Gigantically massive, with three hundred towers, on the summit of a rocky mountain, rose the king’s castle high into the clouds.
But the summit was broad, and flat as a plateau, and the castle spread far out, for miles and miles, with ramparts and walls and pinnacles.
And everywhere rose up the towers, lost in the clouds, and the castle was like a city, built upon a lofty rock of basalt.
Round the castle and far away lay the valleys of the kingdom, receding into the horizon, one after the other, and ever and ever.
Ever changing was the horizon: now pink, then silver; now blue, then golden; now grey, then white and misty, and gradually fading away, and never could the last be seen.
In clear weather there loomed behind the horizon always another horizon. They circled one another endlessly, they were lost in the dissolving mists, and suddenly their silhouette became more sharply defined.
Over the lofty towers stretched away at times an expanse of variegated clouds, but below rushed a torrent, which fell like a cataract into a fathomless abyss, that made one dizzy to look at.
So it seemed as if the castle rose up to the highest stars and went down to the central nave of the earth.
Along the battlements, higher than a man, Psyche often wandered, wandered round the castle from tower to tower, from wall to wall, with a dreamy smile on her face, then she looked up and stretched out her hands to the stars, or gazed below at the dashing water, with all the colours of the rainbow, till her head grew dizzy, and she drew back and placed her little hands before her eyes. And long she would sit in the corner of an embrasure, her eyes looking far away, a smile on her face, her knees drawn up and her arms entwining them, and her tiny wings spread out against the mossy stone-work, like a butterfly that sat motionless.