Algy flew over to a small tree with surprisingly green leaves, and gazed all around. Overhead, dark, rolling clouds concealed the tops of the towering mountains, whose steep slopes were covered with carpets of rich colour interspersed with bare grey rock and patches of scree. Beneath him lay an equally rich carpet of ferns, mosses, grasses and bracken, in a pattern of amazing detail. Here and there Algy could even see a tiny late wildflower, or a patch of heather which had not yet lost its colour. The scene reminded him of a poem by Alfred Noyes:

           On this high altar, fringed with ferns
           That darken against the sky,
           The dawn in lonely beauty burns
           And all our evils die.

           The struggling sea that roared below
           Is quieter than the dew,
           Quieter than the clouds that flow
           Across the stainless blue.

           On this bare crest, the angels kneel
           And breathe the sweets that rise
           From flowers too little to reveal
           Their beauty to our eyes.

[Algy is quoting the first three stanzas of the poem On a Mountain Top by the early 20th century English poet Alfred Noyes.]


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