It is now some years since this little story was set afloat on the sea of books.
It is not a man-of-war, nor even a high-sided merchantman;
only a small, peaceful sailing-vessel.
Yet it has had rather an adventurous voyage.
Twice it has fallen into the hands of pirates.
The tides have carried it to far countries.
It has been passed through the translator's port of entry into German, French, Armenian, Turkish, and perhaps some other foreign regions.
Once I caught sight of it flying the outlandish flag of a brand-new phonetic language along the coasts of France;
and once it was claimed by a dealer in antiquities as a long-lost legend of the Orient.
Best of all, it has slipped quietly into many a far-away harbor that I have never seen, and found a kindly welcome, and brought back messages of good cheer from unknown friends.
Now it has turned home to be new-rigged and fitted for further voyaging.
Before it is sent out again I have been asked to tell where the story came from and what it means.
I do not know where it came from—
out of the air, perhaps.
One thing is certain, it is not written in any other book, nor is it to be found among the ancient lore of the East.
And yet I have never felt as if it were my own.
It was a gift.
It was sent to me;
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