Ligu­la vel urna accums­an placerat

Ligu­la vel urna accums­an placerat

All child­ren, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wen­dy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was play­ing in a gar­den, and she plu­cked ano­t­her flower and ran with it to her mother. I sup­po­se she must have loo­ked rather delight­ful, for Mrs. Dar­ling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that pas­sed bet­ween them on the sub­ject, but hence­forth Wen­dy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the begin­ning of the end.

Mrs. Dar­ling first heard of Peter when she was tidy­ing up her children’s minds. It is the night­ly cus­tom of every good mother after her child­ren are asleep to rum­mage in their minds and put things strai­ght for next morning, repacking into their pro­per pla­ces the many arti­cles that have wan­de­red during the day.

If you could keep awa­ke (but of cour­se you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very inte­res­ting to watch her. It is qui­te like tidy­ing up dra­wers. You would see her on her kne­es, I expect, lin­ge­ring humo­rous­ly over some of your con­tents, won­de­ring whe­re on earth you had picked this thing up, making dis­co­ve­ries sweet and not so sweet, pres­sing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kit­ten, and hur­ried­ly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naught­in­ess and evil pas­si­ons with which you went to bed have been fold­ed up small and pla­ced at the bot­tom of your mind and on the top, beau­ti­ful­ly aired, are spread out your pret­tier thoughts, rea­dy for you to put on.

I don’t know whe­ther you have ever seen a map of a person’s mind. Doc­tors some­ti­mes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can beco­me inten­se­ly inte­res­ting, but catch them try­ing to draw a map of a child’s mind, which is not only con­fu­sed, but keeps going round all the time. The­re are zig­zag lines on it, just like your tem­pe­ra­tu­re on a card, and the­se are pro­bab­ly roads in the island, for the Never­land is always more or less an island, with asto­nis­hing splas­hes of colour here and the­re, and coral reefs and rakish-loo­king craft in the off­ing, and sava­ges and lonely lairs, and gno­mes who are most­ly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and prin­ces with six elder bro­thers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hoo­ked nose. It would be an easy map if that were all, but the­re is also first day at school, reli­gi­on, fathers, the round pond, need­le-work, mur­ders, han­gings, verbs that take the dati­ve, cho­co­la­te pud­ding day, get­ting into braces, say nine­ty-nine, three-pence for pul­ling out your tooth yourself, and so on, and eit­her the­se are part of the island or they are ano­t­her map showing through, and it is all rather con­fu­sing, espe­cial­ly as not­hing will stand still.

Of cour­se the Never­lands vary a good deal. John’s, for instance, had a lagoon with fla­min­goes fly­ing over it at which John was shoo­ting, while Micha­el, who was very small, had a fla­min­go with lagoons fly­ing over it. John lived in a boat tur­ned upsi­de down on the sands, Micha­el in a wig­wam, Wen­dy in a house of lea­ves deft­ly sewn tog­e­ther. John had no friends, Micha­el had friends at night, Wen­dy had a pet wolf for­sa­ken by its par­ents, but on the who­le the Never­lands have a fami­ly resem­blan­ce, and if they stood still in a row you could say of them that they have each other’s nose, and so forth. On the­se magic shores child­ren at play are for ever beaching their cora­cles [simp­le boat]. We too have been the­re; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.

Of all delec­ta­ble islands the Never­land is the snug­gest and most com­pact, not lar­ge and spraw­ly, you know, with tedious distan­ces bet­ween one adven­ture and ano­t­her, but nice­ly cram­med. When you play at it by day with the chairs and table-cloth, it is not in the least alar­ming, but in the two minu­tes befo­re you go to sleep it beco­mes very real. That is why the­re are night-lights.

Occa­sio­nal­ly in her tra­vels through her children’s minds Mrs. Dar­ling found things she could not under­stand, and of the­se qui­te the most per­plex­ing was the word Peter. She knew of no Peter, and yet he was here and the­re in John and Michael’s minds, while Wendy’s began to be scraw­led all over with him. The name stood out in bol­der let­ters than any of the other words, and as Mrs. Dar­ling gazed she felt that it had an oddly cocky appearance.