Now, surely, there was a note. It belonged on the A string. No, not there. On the E string, perhaps. But no, not there, either.
A flash, surely, through the water of a beautiful naked arm.
And there--no, not there--but somewhere from out of the gentle rush of the middle current there seemed to come to him a marvellous mist of drifting sound--ineffably, rapturously sweet!
With a light movement Nils runs his bow over the strings, but not a ghost, not a semblance, can he reproduce of the swift, scurrying flight of that wondrous melody. Again and again he listens breathlessly, and again and again despair overwhelms him.
Should he, then, never see the Nixy, and ask the fulfilment of his three wishes?
Curiously enough, those three wishes which once were so great a part of his life had now almost escaped him. It was the Nixy's strain he had been intent upon, and the wishes had lapsed into oblivion.
And what were they, really, those three wishes, for the sake of which he desired to confront the Nixy?
Well, the first--the first was--what was it, now? Yes, now at length he remembered. The first was wisdom.