The pleasant land of counterpane

Minnie Dibdin Spooner - The Land of Counterpane - The Golden Staircase - 1906

It’s -30 with the windchill here in Ottawa. It’s cold, snowy and slippery outside. Like so many others, we have the snuffles and so there is nothing else to do but stay home and do nothing. I remember being sick as a child, my mother would bring me lunch in bed: steaming soup, crackers, cheese, ice cream or freshly baked cookies…all on a pretty tray with a napkin. I would cuddle up under the covers surrounded by books and toys, feeling safe and sound, and free from the drudgery of school (at least for one day). Now I’m the mom, and my daughter is home sick with me. We are drinking warm drinks and watching movies together, while the winter storm whirls outside our window. Not so bad being sick in the pleasant land of counterpane.


The Land of Counterpane

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

By: Robert Louis Stevenson
From: A Child’s Garden of Verses (1905)
First illustration by: Minnie Dibdin Spooner
Second illustration by: Jessie Willcox Smith


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