The Necklace Of Tears
: The Diamond Fairy Book
By Mrs. Egerton Eastwick.
ONCE, many years ago, there lived in Ombrelande a most beautiful
Princess. Now, Ombrelande is a country which still exists, and in which
many strange things still happen, although it is not to be found in any
map of the world that I know of.
The Princess, at the time the story begins, was little more than a
child, and while her growing beauty was every
here spoken of, she was
unfortunately still more noted for her selfish and disagreeable nature.
She cared for nothing but her own amusement and pleasure, and gave no
thought to the pain she sometimes inflicted on others in order to
gratify her whims. It must be mentioned, however, as an excuse for her
heartlessness, that, being an only child, she had been spoilt from her
babyhood, and always allowed to have her own way, while those who
thwarted her were punished.
One day the Princess Olga, that was her name, escaped from her governess
and attendants, and wandered into the wood which joined the gardens of
the palace. It was her fancy to be alone; she would not even allow her
faithful dachshund to bear her company.
The air was soft with the coming of spring; the sun was shining, the
songs of the birds were full of gratitude and joy; the most lovely
flowers, in all imaginable hues, turned the earth into a jewelled nest
Olga threw herself down on a bank, bright with green moss and soft as a
downy pillow. The warmth and her wanderings had already wearied her. She
had neglected her morning studies, and left her singing-master waiting
for her in despair in the music-room of the palace, that she might
wander into the wood, and already the pleasure was gone.
She threw herself down on the bank and wished she was at home. There was
one thing, however, of which she never tired, and that was her own
beauty; so now, having nothing to do, and finding the world and the
morning exceedingly tiresome and tame and dull, she unbound her long
golden hair, and spread it all around her like a carpet over the moss
and the flowers, that she might admire its softness and luxuriance, by
way of a change.
She held up the yellow meshes in her hands and drew them through her
fingers, laughing to see the golden lights that played among the silky
waves in the sunlight; then she fell to admiring the small white hands
which held the treasure, holding them up against the light to see their
almost transparent delicacy, and the pretty rose-pink lines where the
fingers met. Certainly she made a charming picture, there in the
sunshine among the flowers: the picture of a lovely innocent child, if
she had been less vain and self-conscious.
Presently she heard a slight rustle of boughs behind her, and looking
round she saw that she was no longer alone. Not many paces away, gazing
at her with admiring wonder, stood a youth in the dress of a beggar, and
over his shoulder looked the face of a young girl, which Olga was forced
to acknowledge as lovely as her own. Now, the forest was the private
property of the King, and the presence of these poor-looking people was
certainly an intrusion.
"What are you doing here?" said Olga haughtily. "Don't you know that you
are trespassing? This wood belongs to the King, and is forbidden to
tramps and beggars."
"We are no beggars, lady," said the youth. He spoke with great
gentleness, but his voice was strong and sweet as a deep-toned bell. "To
us no land is forbidden--and we own allegiance to no one."
"My father will have you put in prison," said Olga angrily. "What is
"My name is Kasih."
"And that girl behind you--she is hiding--why does she not come
"It is Kasukah--my sister," he said, looking round with a smile; "she is
shy, and frightened, perhaps."
"What outlandish names! You must be gypsies," said Olga rudely, "and
"Indeed, lady, you are mistaken; on the contrary, it is in our power to
bestow upon you many priceless gifts. But we have travelled far to find
you, and are weary; only bid us welcome--let us go with you to the
castle to rest--Kasukah----"
"How dare you speak so to me?" interrupted Olga, in a fury. "To the
castle, indeed--what are you thinking of? There is a poor-house
somewhere, I have heard the people say, maintained by my father's bounty
out of the taxes, you can go there. Go at once--or----"
She raised the little silver-handled dog-whip which hung at her girdle.
To do her justice, she was no coward. Kasukah had quite disappeared; the
boy stood alone looking at Olga with sad, reproachful eyes. For a
moment, she thought what a pity he was so poor and shabby; he had the
face and bearing of a king. But she was too proud to change her tone.
"Or what?" he said.
"I will drive you away," she said defiantly. Still Kasih did not move,
and the next moment she had struck him smartly across the cheek with the
He made no effort at self-defence or retaliation, only it seemed to her
that she herself felt the pain of the wound. For a few instants she saw
his sorrowful face grown white and stern, and the red, glowing scar
which her whip had caused; then, like Kasukah, he seemed to vanish, and
disappeared among the trees, while where he had stood a sunbeam crossed
Olga felt rather scared. She had been certainly very audacious, and it
was odd that the boy should have shown no resentment. After all, she
rather wished she had asked both him and his sister to stay, they might
have proved amusing.
However, it was too late now; she could not call them back; so she
thought she would return to the castle; she was beginning to feel
hungry. So she went leisurely home, and, for the remainder of the day,
proved a little more tractable than usual. She did not forget Kasih and
his sister, and for a time wondered if they would ever seek her again;
but the months went by and she saw them no more.
* * * * *
Now, as Olga grew older, of course the question arose of finding for her
a desirable husband. And one suitor came and another, but none pleased
her; and, indeed, more than one highly eligible young Prince was
frightened away by her haughty manners and violent temper.
The truth was, that in secret she had not forgotten the face of Kasih,
and she sometimes told herself that if she could find among her suitors
one who was at all like him, and was also rich and powerful enough to
give her all she desired in other ways, him she would choose. Kasih was
certainly very handsome, in spite of his beggar's clothes; and, suitably
dressed, he would have been quite adorable. Also, it would be delightful
to find a husband with such a gentle, yielding disposition, who never
thought of resenting anything she said or did.
And one day a suitor came to the palace who really made her heart beat a
little faster than usual at first; he was so like the lost Kasih. But
unfortunately he was only the younger son of a Royal Duke, and could
offer her nothing better than a small, insignificant Principality and an
income hardly sufficient to pay her dressmaker's bills. So it was no use
thinking about him, and he was dismissed with the others. Olga's father
began to think his daughter would never find all she required in a
husband, but would remain for ever in the ancestral castle: as every
year she grew more disagreeable, the prospect did not afford him entire
At length, however, appeared a very powerful Prince, who peremptorily
demanded her hand. He was a big, strong man, and carried on his wooing
in such a masterful manner that even Olga was a little afraid of him. At
the same time he loaded her with jewels and beautiful presents of all
kinds, brought from his own country. He was said to possess fabulous
wealth; and, partly because she feared him, and partly because of her
pride and ambition, haughty Olga surrendered and promised to become his
wife. Having once gained her consent, Hazil would brook no delay.
The date was immediately fixed, and the grandest possible preparations
made for the wedding. No expense was spared, innumerable guests were
invited, while those less favoured among the people came from far and
near to see the bride's wedding clothes and to bring her presents.
Indeed, the King of Ombrelande was forced to add a new suite of rooms to
the castle to contain the wedding gifts and display them to the best
Such a sight as the bridal train had never been seen before, for it was
spangled all over with diamonds so closely that Olga when she moved
looked like a living jewel--and her veil was sprinkled with diamond
dust, which sparkled like myriads of tiny stars.
The evening before the wedding day Olga sat alone in her chamber,
thinking of the magnificence that awaited her, also a little of Hazil,
the bridegroom. She had that day seen Hazil, in a passion, punish, with
his own hands, a servant for disobedience, and the sight had displeased
her. It had been an ugly and unpleasant exhibition, but worse than all,
the sight of the poor man's wounds had recalled that livid mark across
the fair cheek of Kasih which she herself had wrought. The boy's gentle
face, which had become so stern when they parted, the laughing eyes of
Kasukah, quite haunted her to-night. She thought she would like to make
amends for her rudeness; if she knew where they were, she would ask
brother and sister to her wedding. And just as she was so thinking, a
soft tap sounded at the door, and before she could ask who was there
(she thought it must surely be the Queen, her mother, come to bid her a
last good-night, and felt rather displeased at the interruption) the
door opened, and a stranger entered the room.
Olga saw a tall figure, draped from head to foot in a soft darkness that
shrouded her like a cloud, obscuring even her face.
"Who are you?" said Olga, "and what do you want in my private
apartments? Who dared admit you without my leave?"
"I asked admittance of no one, for none can refuse me or bar my way,"
answered the stranger, in a voice like the sighing of soft winds at
night. "My name is Kasuhama--I am the foster-sister of Kasukah and
Kasih, of whom you were just now thinking, and I come to bring you a
She withdrew her veil slightly as she spoke, and Olga saw a pale,
serene face, sorrowful in expression, and framed with snow-white hair,
but yet bearing a likeness, that was like a memory, to Kasih and
"I wish," said Olga petulantly, "that Kasih had brought it to-morrow and
been present at our feast. I would have seen that he was properly
attired for the occasion. Your sad face is hardly suitable for a
wedding feast. Shall I ever see him again?"
"As to that, I cannot answer," said Kasuhama gravely; "but your wedding
is no place either for him or Kasukah. As for me--I go everywhere. I am
older in appearance than the others, you see, though, in reality, it is
not so. But that is because they have immortal souls and I have none.
The time will come when I must bid them farewell. We but journey
together for a time."
The air of the room seemed to have become strangely chill and cold, and
Olga shivered. "I am tired," she said, "and I wish to rest. Will you
state your business and leave me?"
Experience had made her less abruptly rude than when she dismissed Kasih
in the wood; also this cold, pale, soulless woman struck her with
something like awe.
"Yes,--I will say farewell to you now. In the future you will know me
better and perhaps learn not to fear me--but I will leave with you the
present I came to bring."
She held out a necklace of pearls more wonderful than even Olga had ever
seen. They were large and round, lustrous and fair; but as Olga took
them in her hands it seemed to her that, in their mysterious depths,
each jewel held imprisoned a living soul.
"Wear them," said Kasuhama; "by them you will remember me."
Almost involuntarily Olga raised her hands and fastened the necklace
around her slender throat. The clasps just met, and the pearls glistened
like dewdrops on her bosom--or were they tears?
But in the centre of the necklace was a vacant space.
"There is one lost!" she said.
"Not lost, but missing," answered Kasuhama softly. "One day the place
will be filled, and the necklace will be complete." And with these words
she waved her hand to Olga, and, drawing her dusky veil around her,
quitted the room as quietly as she had entered.
The ceremonies of the following day passed off without let or hindrance,
and Olga, dazzled by her grandeur, would have thought little of her
visitor of the previous night--would indeed have believed the incident a
dream, a trick of the imagination--but for the necklace. It still
encircled her throat, for her utmost efforts proved unavailing to
unfasten the clasps, and every one stared and marvelled at the wonderful
pearls which seemed endowed with a curious fascination.
Only Prince Hazil was displeased; for he could not bear his bride to
wear jewels not his gift, and that outshone by their lustre any he could
produce; also, he was jealous of the unknown giver. When the wedding was
over, and they were travelling away to the distant castle where the
first weeks of Olga's new life were to be spent, he tried to take the
jewels from their resting-place. Olga smiled, for she knew that even his
great strength would be unavailing, and so it proved; and although on
reaching their destination Hazil sent for all the Court jewellers,
neither then nor at any other time could the most experienced among them
loosen Kasuhama's magic gift from its place.
The months rolled by, and Olga reigned a Queen in her husband's country,
but her life was a sad one. Hazil was often cruel, and it seemed as
though he were bent upon heaping upon her all the contumely and
harshness she had shown to others. Still her proud spirit refused to
yield. She met him with defiance in secret, and openly bore herself with
so much cold haughtiness that no one dared to hint at her trouble, much
less to offer her any sympathy.
But when alone in her chamber she saw again the faces of Kasih and
Kasukah; but more often that of Kasuhama. For the necklace was still
there to remind her; the pearls still shone with mysterious, undimmed
lustre; indeed, they seemed to grow more numerous, and to be woven into
more delicate and intricate designs, as time went on. Still, however,
the place for the central jewel remained unfilled. Often Olga herself
tried with passionate, almost agonising, effort to break their fatal
chain, for every day their weight grew heavier, until she seemed to bear
fetters of iron about her fair throat, and when the pearls touched her
they burned as though the iron were molten.
Still, in public, they were universally admired, and gratified vanity
enabled her to bear the pain and inconvenience without open complaint.
But one day was placed in her arms another treasure--a beautiful living
child, and she was so fair that they called her Pearl, but the Queen
hated the name. The child, however, found a soft place in Hazil's rough
nature; indeed, he idolised her; but Olga rarely saw her little
daughter, and left her altogether to the care of the nurses and
So little Pearl grew very fragile, and had a wistful look in her blue
eyes, as though waiting for something that never came; for in her
grand nurseries and among all her beautiful playthings she found no
mother-love to perfect and nourish her life.
And all this time Olga had seen no more of Kasih or Kasukah; had,
indeed, almost forgotten what their faces were like. But one night, at
the close of a grand entertainment, she was summoned in haste to the
nursery. The Court physician came to tell her that little Pearl was ill.
Olga was very weary. Never had the necklace seemed so heavy a burden as
that night, or the Court functions so endless. She rose, however, and
followed the physician at once. Hazil, the King, was far away, visiting
a distant part of his great territory; he would be terribly angry if
anything went wrong with little Pearl during his absence.
She reached the room where the child lay on her lace-covered pillows,
very white and small, but with a happy smile on her tiny face, a happy
light in her blue eyes, which looked satisfied at last. But Olga knew
that the smile was not for her, that the child did not recognise her,
would never know her any more.
Some one else stood beside the couch: a stranger with bent head and
loving, out-stretched arms, and little Pearl prattled in baby language
of playthings and flowers and sunlight and green fields. Olga drew near
and watched, helpless and terrified, with a strange despair at her
heart. And soon the little voice grew weaker--but the happy smile
deepened as the blue eyes closed.
* * * * *
And there was a great silence in the nursery. The stranger lifted the
little form in his arms, and as he raised his head Olga saw his face,
and she knew that it was Kasih come at last, for across his cheek still
glowed the red line of the wound which her hand had dealt many years
before. His eyes met hers with the same stern sadness of reproach as
when they had parted--then she remembered no more.
When the Queen recovered from her swoon they told her that her little
daughter was dead; but she knew that Kasih had taken her. She said no
word and showed few signs of grief, but remained outwardly proud and
cold, though her heart was wrung with a pain and fear she could not
understand. She was full of wrath against Kasih, who, she thought, had
taken this way of avenging the old insult she had offered him. Yet the
sorrowful look in his eyes haunted her.
The pearls about her neck pressed upon her with a heavier weight, and in
her sleep she saw them as in a vision, and in their depths she discerned
strange pictures: faces she had known years ago and long since
forgotten, the faces of those whom her pride and harshness had caused to
suffer, who had appealed to her for love and pity and were denied.
And then in her dream she understood that the pearls were in truth the
tears of those she had made sorrowful, kept and guarded by Kasih in his
treasure-house, but given to her by Kasuhama to be her punishment.
Before many days had passed, the King Hazil returned, and when he
learned that his little daughter was dead, he summoned the Queen to his
presence. Olga went haughtily, for she dared not altogether disobey.
Then Hazil loaded her with reproaches, and in his anger he told her
many, many hard things, and the words sank deep into her heart. It
seemed, presently, that she could bear no more, and hardly knowing what
she did, she cast herself at his feet and prayed for mercy.
She asked him to remember that the child had been hers also--that she
had loved it. But Hazil, in his bitterness, laughed in her face and told
her she was a monster, that it was for lack of her love that the child
had died, that she had never loved anything--not even herself. He
turned away to nurse his own grief, and Olga dragged herself up and went
away to the silent room, and knelt by the little couch where she had
seen Kasih take away her child.
And there at length the blessed tears fell, for she was humbled at last,
and sorry, and quite desolate and alone. And it seemed to her that
through her tears she once more saw Kasih, and that he held towards her
the little Pearl, more beautiful than ever, and the child put its arms
about her neck, and she was comforted.
Well, from that day the life of the Queen was changed. When next she
looked at the pearl necklace she found that a jewel, more beautiful than
any of the others, had been added to it; and she knew that the tear of
her humiliation had filled the vacant place.
And henceforth she often saw the face of Kasih: near the bed of the
dying, beside all who needed consolation, kindness, and love, there she
met him constantly. Near him sometimes she caught a glimpse of bright
Kasukah, but for a while, more often of Kasuhama.
The face of the white-haired sister, however, had grown very gentle and
kind, and she whispered of a time when Kasukah should take her place for
ever--for Love and Joy are eternal, but Sorrow has an end. And with
every act of unselfish kindness and love that the Queen Olga performed
the weight and burden of the necklace grew less, until the day that it
fell from her of its own accord, and she was able to give it back to
Kasuhama. And Hazil, the King, seeing how greatly Olga was changed, in
time grew gentle towards her, and loved her; for Kasuhama softened his