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Phantastes: The Island Cottage Postcard

Phantastes: The Island Cottage Postcard
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"I found that my boat was floating motionless by the grassy shore of a little island. The water was deep to the very edge; and I sprang from the little boat upon a soft grassy turf. The island seemed rich with a profusion of all grasses and low flowers. No trees rose skywards, except in one place, where a few plants of the gum-cistus formed a kind of natural arbour. The whole island lay open to the sky and sea. As I walked over the grass towards the cottage, all the flowers of childhood looked at me with perfect child-eyes out of the grass. The cottage was square, with low walls, and a high pyramidal roof. It had no windows that I could see; but there was a door in the centre of the side facing me, up to which I went... “I had to go through that door—the door of the Timeless—to find you; and because I went, the waters around my cottage will rise and rise, and flow and come, till they build a great firmament of waters over my dwelling. But as long as I keep my fire burning, they cannot enter. I have fuel enough for years; and after one year they will sink away again, and be just as they were before you came. I have not been buried for a hundred years now.” She took my hand, and led me through the third door; whereupon I found myself standing in the deep grassy turf on which I had landed from the little boat, but upon the opposite side of the cottage. She pointed out the direction I must take, to find the isthmus and escape the rising waters. I had not gone very far before I felt that the turf beneath my feet was soaked with the rising waters. But I reached the isthmus in safety. It was rocky, and so much higher than the level of the peninsula, that I had plenty of time to cross. I saw on each side of me the water rising rapidly, altogether without wind, or violent motion, or broken waves, but as if a slow strong fire were glowing beneath it. Ascending a steep acclivity, I found myself at last in an open, rocky country." - Phantastes, by George MacDonald

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