A Handful of Clay

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A HANDFUL OF CLAY
By Henry van Dyke
Ƿent by Cascadia
(þrucced 1920)

 

Þere ƿas a handful of clay in þe staþ of an ea. It ƿas only clay, ruge and heafy; but it had hige þougts of its oƿn ƿorþ, and ƿunderful hopes for þe great stead hƿic it ƿas to fill in þe ƿorld hƿen þe time came for its kists to be fund.

Oferhead, in þe spring sunscine, þe trees hƿispered togeþer of þe ƿolder hƿic aligted on hem hƿen þe nesc blossoms and leafs began to sƿell, and þe ƿold gloƿed ƿiþ fair, hoder heƿs, as if þe dust of þusands of imms ƿere hanging, in soft cludes, abuf þe earþ.

Þe blossoms, ofercum ƿiþ þe ƿin of lite, bent hir heads to eac oþer, as þe ƿind stroked hem, and said: “Susters, hu lufly ge haf becum. Ge make þe day brigt.”

Þe ea, glad of neƿ strengþ and gleƿing in þe oning of all its ƿaters, hƿoastered to þe scores in glee, telling of its hafting from isy fetters, its sƿift fligt from þe snoƿclad barroƿs, and þe migty ƿork to hƿic it ƿas rascing—þe hƿeels of many mills to be hƿarfed, and great scips to be floated to þe sea.

Biding blindly in its bed, þe clay cƿeemed itself ƿiþ hige hopes. “My time ƿill cum,” it said. “I ƿas not made to be hidden forefer. Ƿolder and lite and ore are cumming to me in time.”

One day þe clay felt itself nimmed from þe stead hƿere it had bided so long. A straigt blade of iron ƿent beneaþ it, and lifted it, and þreƿ it into a crat ƿiþ oþer clods of clay, and it ƿas born far aƿay, as it felt, ofer a ruge and stony road. But it ƿas not frigtened, nor unheartened, for it said to itself: “Þis is needful. Þe paþ to ƿolder is alƿays ruge. Nu I am on my ƿay to haf a great lot in þe ƿorld.”

But þe hard fare ƿas noþing liccened ƿiþ þe sƿenc and ƿoe þat came after it. Þe clay ƿas put into a troug and minged and beaten and stirred and trodden. It felt almost unbearenly. But þere ƿas liss in þe þougt þat sumþing migty good and aþel ƿas ƿissly cumming ute of all þis trey. Þe clay felt ƿiss þat, if it culd only bide long enuge, a ƿunderful meed ƿas ahead of it.

Þen it ƿas put on a sƿiftly hƿarfing hƿeel, and spun abute hent it felt as if it must fly into a þusand bits. A ferly migt þrucced it and scaped it, as it hƿarfed, and þruge all þe disiness and trey it felt þat it ƿas becumming a neƿ scape.

Þen an unknoƿn hand put it into an ofen, and fires ƿere tended abute it—reeþ and boring—hotter þan all þe heats of summer þat had efer brooded on þe staþ of þe ea. But þruge all, þe clay held itself togeþer and þoled its sƿences, In þe ƿissness of greatness to cum. “Ƿissly,” it þougt, “I am meant for sumþing migty ƿunderful, sins suc ƿork is done to me. Maybe I am made for þe fratoƿing of a harroƿ, or a ƿorþful pot for þe beed of a king.”

At last þe baking ƿas done. Þe clay ƿas nimmed from þe ofen and set dune on a board, in þe cool lift, under þe heƿn heafen. Þe sƿenc had gone by. Þe meed ƿas at hand.

Nige beside þe board þere ƿas a pool of ƿater, not all þat deep, nor hoder, but still enuge to glass, ƿiþ stark treƿþ, efery sigt þat fell on it. Þere, for þe first time, as it ƿas lifted from þe board, þe clay saƿ its neƿ scape, þe meed of all its þild and trey, þe higþ of its hopes—an eferyday ƿurtpot, straigt and stiff, red and unsigtly. And þen it felt þat it ƿas not made for a kings huse, nor for a raked of list, for þat it ƿas made ƿiþute ƿolder or lite or ore; and it hƿoastered agenst þe unknoƿn maker, saying, “Hƿy hast þu made me þus?”

Many days it spent in glum ƿanhope. Þen it ƿas filled ƿiþ earþ, and sumþing—it kneƿ not hƿat—but sumþing ruge and brune and deadlooking, ƿas scufed into þe earþs middel and þacced ofer. Þe clay nettelled at þis neƿ scand. “Þis is þe ƿorst of all þat has befallen me, to be filled ƿiþ hore and chaff. Ƿissly I am ƿrecced.”

But nu it ƿas set in a greenhuse, hƿere þe sunligt fell ƿarm on it, and ƿater ƿas sprincged ofer it, and day by day as it bided, a ƿend began to cum ofer it. Sumþing ƿas stirring ƿiþin it—a neƿ hope. Still it ƿas nitten, and kneƿ not hƿat þe neƿ hope meant.

One day þe clay ƿas lifted agen from its stead, and born into a great circ. Its hope ƿas cumming treƿ after all. It had a good standing in þe ƿorld. Þrumfast soon floƿed ofer it. It ƿas beclipt ƿiþ blossoms. Still it culd not understand. So it hƿispered to anoþer clay pot, like itself, nige beside it, “Hƿy haf hy set me here? Hƿy look all þe folk toƿard us?” And þe oþer pot ansƿered, “Knoƿs þu not? Þu bist bearing a kinyard of lillies. Her leafs are hƿite as snoƿ, and her hearts are as lutter gold. Þe folk look þis ƿay for þat þe blossom is þe most ƿunderful in þe ƿorld. And þe more of it is in þy heart.

Þen þe clay ƿas cƿeem, and þanked its maker, for þat, þoug an earþen pot, it held suc great sink.

 

 

 

English Spelling

 

A HANDFUL OF CLAY
By Henry van Dyke
Went by Cascadia
(thrutched 1920)

 

There was a handful of clay in the stath of an ea. It was only clay, rough and heavy; but it had high thoughts of its own worth, and wonderful hopes for the great stead which it was to fill in the world when the time came for its kists to be fund.

Overhead, in the spring sunshine, the trees whispered together of the wolder which alighted on hem when the nesh blossoms and leaves began to swell, and the wold glowed with fair, hoder hews, as if the dust of thousands of imms were hanging, in soft clouds, above the earth.

The blossoms, overcome with the win of lite, bent hir heads to each other, as the wind stroked hem, and said: “Susters, how lovely ye have become. Ye make the day bright.”

The ea, glad of new strength and glewing in the oning of all its waters, whoastered to the shores in glee, telling of its hafting from icy fetters, its swift flight from the snowclad barrows, and the mighty work to which it was rashing—the wheels of many mills to be wharved, and great ships to be floated to the sea.

Biding blindly in its bed, the clay queemed itself with high hopes. “My time will come,” it said. “I was not made to be hidden forever. Wolder and lite and ore are coming to me in time.”

One day the clay felt itself nimmed from the stead where it had bided so long. A straight blade of iron went beneath it, and lifted it, and threw it into a crat with other clods of clay, and it was borne far away, as it felt, over a rough and stony road. But it was not frightened, nor unheartened, for it said to itself: “This is needful. The path to wolder is always rough. Now I am on my way to have a great lot in the world.”

But the hard fare was nothing lichened with the swench and woe that came after it. The clay was put into a trough and minged and beaten and stirred and trodden. It felt almost unbearenly. But there was liss in the thought that something mighty good and athel was wissly coming out of all this trey. The clay felt wiss that, if it could only bide long enough, a wonderful meed was ahead of it.

Then it was put on a swiftly wharving wheel, and spun about hent it felt as if it must fly into a thousand bits. A ferly might thrutched it and shaped it, as it wharved, and through all the dizziness and trey it felt that it was becoming a new shape.

Then an unknown hand put it into an oven, and fires were tended about it—reeth and boring—hotter than all the heats of summer that had ever brooded on the stath of the ea. But through all, the clay held itself together and tholed its swenches, In the wissness of greatness to come. “Wissly,” it thought, “I am meant for something mighty wonderful, since such work is done to me. Maybe I am made for the fratowing of a harrow, or a worthful pot for the beed of a king.”

At last the baking was done. The clay was nimmed from the oven and set down on a board, in the cool lift, under the hewn heaven. The swench had gone by. The meed was at hand.

Nigh beside the board there was a pool of water, not all that deep, nor hoder, but still enough to glass, with stark truth, every sight that fell on it. There, for the first time, as it was lifted from the board, the clay saw its new shape, the meed of all its thild and trey, the highth of its hopes—an everyday wortpot, straight and stiff, red and unsightly. And then it felt that it was not made for a king’s house, nor for a raked of list, for that it was made without wolder or lite or ore; and it whoastered ayenst the unknown maker, saying, “Why hast thou made me thus?”

Many days it spent in glum wanhope. Then it was filled with earth, and something—it knew not what—but something rough and brown and deadlooking, was shoved into the earth’s middle and thatched over. The clay nettled at this new shand. “This is the worst of all that has befallen me, to be filled with hore and chaff. Wissly I am wretched.”

But now it was set in a greenhouse, where the sunlight fell warm on it, and water was springed over it, and day by day as it bided, a wend began to come over it. Something was stirring within it—a new hope. Still it was nitten, and knew not what the new hope meant.

One day the clay was lifted ayen from its stead, and borne into a great church. Its hope was coming true after all. It had a good standing in the world. Thrumfast soon flowed over it. It was beclipped with blossoms. Still it could not understand. So it whispered to another clay pot, like itself, nigh beside it, “Why have hy set me here? Why look all the folk toward us?” And the other pot answered, “Knows thou not? Thou bist bearing a kinyard of lilies. Her leaves are white as snow, and her hearts are as lutter gold. The folk look this way for that the blossom is the most wonderful in the world. And the more of it is in thy heart.”

Then the clay was queem, and thanked its maker, for that, though an earthen pot, it held such great sink.