I was once a ten year old and voracious reader, and L.M. Montgomery rarely let me down. There was only one story that I still remember as being disappointing, and it was this one. Not the telling of it, nor the fanciful descriptions of Ms. Story Girl. Not that.

I knew I was supposed to like the Story Girl's yarns, and mostly I did, but there was something about this one that rubbed me wrong. In some fierce way, I didn't like the idea of a weakling girl coming to her strong sheperd love for safety.

Mostly, I was disappointed to hear that their kissing may not have been discovered in delight of exploration, but rather a necessity having forced it upon them. It just didn't seem right.

It still doesn't, but read. I am not upset with the story as I once was, nor as childishly disillusioned. Just older, I guess. Disappointed.

(From The Story Girl, by Lucy Maud Montgomery;

"It happened long, long ago in Greece - where so many other beautiful things happened. Before that, nobody had ever heard of kissing. And then it was just discovered in the twinkling of an eye. And a man wrote it down and the account has been preserved ever since.

"There was a young shepherd named Glaucon - a very handsome young shepherd - who lived in a little village called Thebes. It became a very great and famous city afterwards, but at this time it was only a little village, very quiet and simple. Too quiet for Glaucon's liking. He grew tired of it, and he thought he would like to go away from home and see something of the world. So he took his knapsack and his shepherd's crook, and wandered away until he came to Thessaly. That is the land of the gods' hill, you know. The name of the hill was Olympus. But it has nothing to do with this story. This happened on another mountain - Mount Pelion.

"Glaucon hired himself to a wealthy man who had a great many sheep. And every day Glaucon had to lead the sheep up to pasture on Mount Pelion, and watch them while they ate. There was nothing else to do, and he would have found the time very long, if he had not been able to play on a flute. So he played very often and very beautifully, as he sat under the trees and watched the wonderful blue sea afar off, and thought about Aglaia.

"Aglaia was his master's daughter. She was so sweet and beautiful that Glaucon fell in love with her the very moment he first saw her; and when he was not playing his flute on the mountain he was thinking about Aglaia, and dreaming that some day he might have flocks of his own, and a dear little cottage down in the valley where he and Aglaia might live.

"Aglaia had fallen in love with Glaucon just as he had with her. But she never let him suspect it for ever so long. He did not know how often she would steal up the mountain and hide behind the rocks near where the sheep pastured, to listen to Glaucon's beautiful music. It was very lovely music, because he was always thinking of Aglaia while he played, though he little dreamed how near him she often was.

"But after awhile Glaucon found out that Aglaia loved him, and everything was well. Nowadays I suppose a wealthy man like Aglaia's father wouldn't be willing to let his daughter marry a hired man; but this was in the Goldee Age, you know, when nothing like that mattered at all.

"After that, almost every day Aglaia would go up the mountain and sit beside Glaucon, as he watched the flocks and played on his flute. But he did not play as much as he used to, because he liked better to talk with Aglaia. And in the evening they would lead the sheep home together.

"One day Aglaia went up the mountain by a new way, and she came to a little brook. Something was sparkling very brightly among its pebbles. Aglaia picked it up, and it was the most beautiful little stone that she had ever seen. It was only as large as a pea, but it glittered and flashed in the sunlight with every colour of the rainbow. Aglaia was so delighted with it that she resolved to take it as a present to Glaucon.

"But all at once she heard a stamping of hoofs behind her, and when she turned she almost died from fright. For there was the great god, Pan, and he was a very terrible object, looking quite as much like a goat as a man. The gods were not all beautiful, you know. And, beautiful or not, nobody ever wanted to meet them face to face.

"'Give that stone to me,' said Pan, holding out his hand.

"But Aglaia, though she was frightened, would not give him the stone.

"'I want it for Glaucon,' she said.

"'I want it for one of my wood nymphs,' said Pan, 'and I must have it.'

"He advanced threateningly, but Aglaia ran as hard as she could up the mountain. If she could only reach Glaucon he would protect her. Pan followed her, clattering and bellowing terribly, but in a few minutes she rushed into Glaucon's arms.

"The dreadful sight of Pan and the still more dreadful noise he made, so frightened the sheep that they fled in all directions. But Glaucon was not afraid at all, because Pan was the god of shepherds, and was bound to grant any prayer a good shepherd, who always did his duty, might make. If Glaucon had not been a good shepherd dear knows what would have happened to him and Aglaia. But he was; and when he begged Pan to go away and not frighten Aglaia any more, Pan had to go, grumbling a good deal - and Pan's grumblings had a very ugly sound. But still he went, and that was the main thing.

"'Now, dearest, what is all this trouble about?' asked Glaucon; and Aglaia told him the story.

"'But where is the beautiful stone?' he asked, when she had finished. 'Didst thou drop it in thy alarm?'

"No, indeed! Aglaia had done nothing of the sort. When she began to run, she had popped it into her mouth, and there it was still, quite safe. Now she poked it out between her red lips, where it glittered in the sunlight.

"'Take it,' she whispered.

"The question was - how was he to take it? Both of Aglaia's arms were held fast to her sides by Glaucon's arms; and if he loosened his clasp ever so little he was afraid she would fall, so weak and trembling was she from her dreadful fright. Then Glaucon had a brilliant idea. He would take the beautiful stone from Aglaia's lips with his own lips.

"He bent over until his lips touched hers - and then, he forgot all about the beautiful pebble and so did Aglaia. Kissing was discovered!

My my, how we change, and how we remain the same as we grow. The story is still well-written, as I remember. I am no longer dismayed at the idea of weakness in depending on another, I am close to believing this is a vital weakness. But. But but but: I am still irritated with the lovers for not having discovered kissing on their own. Bah.

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