The Progress of Civilization
THE valley in which Ilsee dwelt had, for a long period, also been the abode of men.
At first the little Princess conducted herself haughtily towards them, and the Pine had taken immense pains in reproving and remonstrating with her on the subject, until at last he had rendered her more tractable, and she had grown accustomed to the society of these poor people.
The first who arrived in the forest were charcoal-burners; they cut down the trees, erected a cabin, and prepared and lighted their furnace.
Little Ilsee had shed many tears over her dear trees, when felled by the sharp axe, they lay dying upon the ground.
The grasses and flowers had also uttered plaintive moans, when the men, whilst marking out a road through the wilderness, had crushed their little heads beneath their feet.
This also added to poor Ilsee's grief.
The flames and smoke, rising from the furnace, reminded her of the dreadful night she had spent on the Brocken, and filled her with dread.
But the Pine informed her, that Man was lord of the creation, made after God's own image, and that all nature was destined to be subject to him, and that every tree could only live as long as God had decreed, and that then it fell, either by the hand of man, by lightning from heaven, or from old age.
He also taught her not to be afraid of fire, that it was a blessed power, that did much good on earth, provided it was judiciously employed, and that Ilsee was destined, one day, to satisfy herself about this, and would in time become reconciled to the fire, and at last work hand-in-hand with it, most willingly.
The Princess did not, we must own, look forward with pleasure to the time when she was to co-operate with the flame; nevertheless, having a great regard for the wisdom and experience of the Pine, she put implicit trust in what he said.
After a time, other men arrived in the forest, in.
greater numbers, armed with axes and spades.
They brought oxen and goats with them, which they drove into the green pastureland among the mountains.
A little below Ilsenstein, at the spot where the valley widens, they came straight on towards little Ilsee, cut down a number of trees in her neighbourhood, sawed them into planks and rafters, and hollowed out a large hall for the little Princess, by the side of the stream.
They covered the walls of this hall with stones and clods of earth, and on the opposite side, near the valley, they left a large entrance, which was lined with wood, and fitted very closely.
They had also manufactured some houses from the planks, and in these they lived with theft wives and children.
When all this was completed, they came to request the little Princess to step into her hall, and make herself quite at home there.
Little Ilsee thanked them, and expressed a wish to pass on without stopping (this was the plan she adopted when not quite sure what course to pursue).
But the men barred up her bed with stones and earth; they also tore up a huge boulder of rock, which had formerly blocked her in at the side.
As she was rushing on at too great a speed to stop herself, she was precipitated through this opening into the hall the men had prepared for her, and which they called a reservoir; she soon covered its surface, and dashed her little foaming waves against its wall, with fury.
It required some time for her to calm down in this strange prison; but at last, her waters and her thoughts having recovered from their agitation, and being at rest, she raised her eyes inquiringly towards the Pine, who still stood uninjured, beside the gable of the new house.
The Pine smiled sadly, and said, "Behold the arrival of Civilization, little Ilsee; it will no longer leave us the liberty and repose we have hitherto enjoyed in our beautiful forest."
said Ilsee with a sigh; "may Providence then take pity on us, for it is certainly the Demon who sends it.
People who hew down so many poor trees, bark them and cut them in pieces, cannot have any good intentions in so doing."
"Poor child," replied the Pine with a smile, "what would you say, then, if you saw Industry, the daughter of Civilization, at work?
This treasure-seeker undermines the earth, to find gold, and remorselessly cuts down every tree that comes in her way.
She roots up whole forests, to plant corn, builds large store-houses called factories, with horrible chimneys that almost touch the sky.
Wherever she plants her foot, the beautiful disappears."
Poor Ilsee clasped her little hands, and looked so frightened, that the Pine added kindly, "Do not be uneasy, my child; it will be long ere Industry reaches us.
In general, she does not venture among the mountains, preferring the plain; and we will pray that she may be kept from our peaceful valley.
But Civilization is a faithful servant of the Most High, and peace, prosperity, and blessing follow in her train.
Do you not now hear the tinkling of the little chapel bell, each morn and eve, resounding through the valley?"