A therapeutic Fairy Tale given by Frau Felicia Balde in Scene 5 of ‘The Soul’s Probation’ , the Mystery Drama, which was first performed 100 years ago in August. Rudolf Steiner was 50 years old at that time.
There was a boy who lived –
the only child of needy forest-folk –
Deep in a woodland solitude.
Few people had he met besides his parents.
His build was slender,
his skin appeared almost transparent.
Within his eyes were hidden
the deepest wonders of the spirit;
and one could look into them long.
Although few human beings ever came
into the circle of his daily life,
the boy was well befriended nonetheless.
When golden sunshine bathed the mountain tops,
with thoughtful eye, he drew the spirit-gold
into his soul, until his heart became
much like, the morning glory of the sun.
But when the morning sunshine could not break
through banks of cloud, and dreariness
had covered all the heights,
his eye grew dull,
and sorrow filled his heart.
So he was given over to
the spirit-weaving of his world,
which seemed to be as much a part of him
as did his limbs and body. All the woods –
the trees and flowers grew to be his friends;
From crown to calyx, and from tops of trees,
the spirit beings often spoke with him,
and all their sounding he could understand.
Of hidden secrets, wonders of the world,
they spoke to this young boy; thus he could talk
within his soul to certain things,
which people might think lifeless. Evening came,
and still the child would be away from home.
This caused his loving parents much concern.
Then he was found nearby:
A rock-born spring rose up among the rocks
to dance in misty spray upon the stones.
When moonbeams silver glance
which mirrored on the surface of the spray,
the boy could stay for hours beside the spring.
And spirit forms appeared before his sight,
resplendent in the moonlit waterdrops.
They grew into three women’s forms
who spoke to him about those things on which
his yearning soul had turned its sight.
And when, upon a gentle summer’s eve,
the boy was once more sitting by the spring,
one women of the three caught up
a myriad of sparkling drops
out of the rainbow spray,
and gave them to the second woman there.
She fashioned from the tiny drops
a chalice with a silver gleam ,
and passed it to the third.
She filled it with the moonlight’s silver shine,
And gave it to the boy.
who had beheld all this
with youthful inner sight.
Now in the night
that followed this event,
he dreamed a savage dragon
had robbed him of the chalice .
The boy beheld just three more times
the wonder of the rock-born spring.
Henceforth the women came no more,
although the boy sat musing
beside the spring in silver moonlight.
And when three hundred sixty weeks
had run their course,
the boy had since become a man
and left his parents’ home and forest land
to move and work in a strange town.
One night , exhausted from his toil,
he pondered on what life had left for him.
Then suddenly he felt he was a boy,
brought back to where the spring rose forth.
Again he could behold the water – women,
And, this time he could hear them speak
The first one said to him:
‘Think thou of me at any time
when thou dost feel alone in life.
I lure man’s yearning heart
to starry spaces and ethereal realms.
To whosoever wills to feel me,
I give the drink-of-living-hope
Out of my wonder chalice.’-
And then the second spoke:
‘Forget not me at any time
when thy life’s courage may be threatened.
I lead the yearning heart
to deepest grounds of soul, and heights of spirit.
And whosoever seeks his strength from me
For him I forge the steel-of-living-faith
Formed with my wonder hammer’.-
The third one could be heard:
‘To me lift up thy spirit-eye
when thy life’s riddles storm thysoul.
I spin the threads of thought that lead
Through labyrinths of life and depths of soul.
For whosoever harbours trust in me,
I weave the living-rays-of-love
Upon my wonder loom’.–
And it befell the man
that in the night that followed,
he dreamed a dream:
A savage dragon prowled
in circles round about –
and yet could not come near him.
He was protected from that dragon by
the beings he had seen beside the falls,
who had accompanied him from home
to this far distant place.
Translation by Katherine Rudolph
(with special attention given to the metre)