GROSSET & DUNLAP
Copyright, 1902, by Charles Scribner's Sons
Published, October 1902. Reprinted, December, 1902; March, October, 1903; April, October, 1904; July, 1905; July, 1906; September, 1907; July, 1908; May November, 1909; January, September, 1911; July, 1912; April, 1913.
Leather Edition, September, 1911.
To THE DEAR MEMORY OF BERNARD VAN DYKE 1887-1897 AND THE LOVE THAT LIVES BEYOND THE YEARS.
Sometimes short stories are brought together like parcels in a basket. Sometimes they grow together like blossoms on a bush. Then, of course, they really belong to one another, because they have the same life in them.
The stories in this book have been growing together for a long time. It is at least ten years since the first of them, the story of The Other Wise Man, came to me; and all the others I knew quite well by heart a good while before I could find the time, in a hard-worked life, to write them down and try to make them clear and true to others. It has been a slow task, because the right word has not always been easy to find, and I wanted to keep free from conventionality in the thought and close to nature in the picture. It is enough to cause a man no little shame to see how small is the fruit of so long labour.
And yet, after all, when one wishes to write
But the strangest part of it all is the way in which a single thought, an idea, will live with a man while he works, and take new forms from year to year, and light up the things that he sees and hears, and lead his imagination by the hand into many wonderful and diverse regions. It seems to me that there am two ways in which you may give unity to a book of stories. You may stay in one place and write about different themes, preserving
There is such a thought in this book. It is the idea of the search for inward happiness, which all men who are really alive are following, along what various paths, and with what different fortunes! Glimpses of this idea, traces of this search, I thought that I could see in certain tales that were in my mind, -- tales of times old and new, of lands near and far away. So I tried to tell them, as best as I could, hoping that other men, being also seekers, might find some meaning in them.
There are only little, broken chapters from the long story of life. None of them is taken from other books. Only one of them -- the story of Winifried and the Thunder-Oak -- has the slightest wisp of a foundation in fact or legend. Yet I think they are all true.
But how to find a name for such a book, -- a
Reader, will you take the book and see if it belongs to you? Whether it does or not, my wish is that the Blue Flower may grow in the garden where you work.
AVALON, December 1, 1902.