Heather and Snow, George MacDonald
Heather and Snow
George MacDonald
9:01 h Novels Lvl 9.29
George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet and Christian minister. He was a pioneering figure in the field of modern fantasy literature and the mentor of fellow writer Lewis Carroll. Heather and Snow, published in 1893, was republished in edited form as "The Peasant Girl's Dream". The story revolves around Kirsty, a young well-read Scottish woman, who is wise beyond her years and utterly devoted to the will of God. She acts both as a moral compass and a mother to the other characters.

Heather and Snow

George Macdonald

George MacDonald with son Ronald (right) and daughter Mary

Chapter I
A Runaway Race

Upon neighbouring stones, earth-fast, like two islands of an archipelago, in an ocean of heather, sat a boy and a girl, the girl knitting, or, as she would have called it, weaving a stocking, and the boy, his eyes fixed on her face, talking with an animation that amounted almost to excitement. He had great fluency, and could have talked just as fast in good English as in the dialect in which he was now pouring out his ambitions — the broad Saxon of Aberdeen.

He was giving the girl to understand that he meant to be a soldier like his father, and quite as good a one as he. But so little did he know of himself or the world, that, with small genuine impulse to action, and moved chiefly by the anticipated results of it, he saw success already his, and a grateful country at his feet. His inspiration was so purely ambition, that, even if, his mood unchanged, he were to achieve much for his country, she could hardly owe him gratitude.

‘I’ll no hae the warl’ lichtly (make light of) me!’ he said.

‘Mebbe the warl’ winna tribble itsel aboot ye sae muckle as e’en to lichtly ye!’ returned his companion quietly.

Ye do naething ither!’ retorted the boy, rising, and looking down on her in displeasure. ‘What for are ye aye girdin at me? A body canna lat his thouchts gang, but ye’re doon upo them, like doos upo corn!’

‘I wadna be girdin at ye, Francie, but that I care ower muckle aboot ye to lat ye think I haud the same opingon o’ ye ’at ye hae o’ yersel,’ answered the girl, who went on with her knitting as she spoke.

‘Ye’ll never believe a body!’ he rejoined, and turned half away. ‘I canna think what gars me keep comin to see ye! Ye haena a guid word to gie a body!’

‘It’s nane ye s’ get frae me, the gait ye’re gaein, Francie! Ye think a heap ower muckle o’ yersel. What ye expec, may some day a’ come true, but ye hae gien nobody a richt to expec it alang wi’ ye, and I canna think, gien ye war fair to yersel, ye wad coont yersel ane it was to be expeckit o’!’

‘I tauld ye sae, Kirsty! Ye never lay ony weicht upo what a body says!’

That depen’s upo the body. Did ye never hear maister Craig p’int oot the differ atween believin a body and believin in a body, Francie?’

‘No — and I dinna care.’

‘I wudna like ye to gang awa thinking I misdoobtit yer word, Francie! I believe onything ye tell me, as far as I think ye ken, but maybe no sae far as ye think ye ken. I believe ye, but I confess I dinna believe in ye — yet. What hae ye ever dune to gie a body ony richt to believe in ye? Ye’re a guid rider, and a guid shot for a laddie, and ye rin middlin fest — I canna say like a deer, for I reckon I cud lick ye mysel at rinnin! But, efter and a’, — ’

‘Wha’s braggin noo, Kirsty?’ cried the boy, with a touch of not ill-humoured triumph.

‘Me,’ answered Kirsty; ‘ — and I’ll do what I brag o’!’ she added, throwing her stocking on the patch of green sward about the stone, and starting to her feet with a laugh. ‘Is’t to be uphill or alang?’

They were near the foot of a hill to whose top went the heather, but along whose base, between the heather and the bogland below, lay an irregular belt of moss and grass, pretty clear of stones. The boy did not seem eager to accept the challenge.

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