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Title: Lulu's Library, Volume I (of 3)
Author: Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lulu's Library, Volume I (of 3)" ***

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[Illustration: Cover]



                            LULU’S LIBRARY.


                                   BY

                           LOUISA M. ALCOTT,


    AUTHOR OF "LITTLE WOMEN," "AN OLD-FASHIONED GIRL," "LITTLE MEN,"
         "EIGHT COUSINS," "ROSE IN BLOOM," "UNDER THE LILACS,"
             "JACK AND JILL," "HOSPITAL SKETCHES," "WORK, A
                STORY OF EXPERIENCE," "MOODS, A NOVEL,"
                 "PROVERB STORIES," "SILVER PITCHERS,"
                         "AUNT JO’S SCRAP-BAG."



                                VOL. I.

                           A CHRISTMAS DREAM.
                           THE CANDY COUNTRY.
                             NAUGHTY JOCKO.
                          THE SKIPPING SHOES.
                               COCKYLOO.
                            ROSY’S JOURNEY.
                           HOW THEY RAN AWAY.
                             THE FAIRY BOX.
                          A HOLE IN THE WALL.
                            THE PIGGY GIRL.
                            THE THREE FROGS.
                               BAA!  BAA!



                                BOSTON:
                           ROBERTS BROTHERS.
                                 1886.



                           _Copyright, 1885,_
                          BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.



                           University Press:
                    JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE.



                                PREFACE.


All but three of these stories were told to my little niece during our
quiet hour before bedtime.  They became such favorites with her and her
friends that I wrote them down in several small blue books, and called
them LULU’S LIBRARY.  Having nothing else to offer this year, I have
collected them in one volume as a Christmas gift to my boys and girls
from their old friend

AUNT JO.
CONCORD, August, 1885.



                               CONTENTS.

      I. A Christmas Dream
     II. The Candy Country
    III. Naughty Jocko
     IV. The Skipping Shoes
      V. Cockyloo
     VI. Rosy’s Journey
    VII. How They Ran Away
   VIII. The Fairy Box
     IX. A Hole in the Wall
      X. The Piggy Girl
     XI. The Three Frogs
    XII. Baa!  Baa!



[Illustration: She actually stood in "a grove of Christmas trees."--PAGE
30.]



                                   I.

                A CHRISTMAS DREAM, AND HOW IT CAME TRUE.


"I’m so tired of Christmas I wish there never would be another one!"
exclaimed a discontented-looking little girl, as she sat idly watching
her mother arrange a pile of gifts two days before they were to be
given.

"Why, Effie, what a dreadful thing to say! You are as bad as old
Scrooge; and I ’m afraid something will happen to you, as it did to him,
if you don’t care for dear Christmas," answered mamma, almost dropping
the silver horn she was filling with delicious candies.

"Who was Scrooge?  What happened to him?" asked Effie, with a glimmer of
interest in her listless face, as she picked out the sourest lemon-drop
she could find; for nothing sweet suited her just then.

"He was one of Dickens’s best people, and you can read the charming
story some day. He hated Christmas until a strange dream showed him how
dear and beautiful it was, and made a better man of him."

"I shall read it; for I like dreams, and have a great many curious ones
myself.  But they don’t keep me from being tired of Christmas," said
Effie, poking discontentedly among the sweeties for something worth
eating.

"Why are you tired of what should be the happiest time of all the year?"
asked mamma, anxiously.

"Perhaps I should n’t be if I had something new.  But it is always the
same, and there is n’t any more surprise about it.  I always find heaps
of goodies in my stocking.  Don’t like some of them, and soon get tired
of those I do like. We always have a great dinner, and I eat too much,
and feel ill next day.  Then there is a Christmas tree somewhere, with a
doll on top, or a stupid old Santa Claus, and children dancing and
screaming over bonbons and toys that break, and shiny things that are of
no use. Really, mamma, I ’ve had so many Christmases all alike that I
don’t think I _can_ bear another one."  And Effie laid herself flat on
the sofa, as if the mere idea was too much for her.

Her mother laughed at her despair, but was sorry to see her little girl
so discontented, when she had everything to make her happy, and had
known but ten Christmas days.

"Suppose we don’t give you _any_ presents at all,--how would that suit
you?" asked mamma, anxious to please her spoiled child.

"I should like one large and splendid one, and one dear little one, to
remember some very nice person by," said Effie, who was a fanciful
little body, full of odd whims and notions, which her friends loved to
gratify, regardless of time, trouble, or money; for she was the last of
three little girls, and very dear to all the family.

"Well, my darling, I will see what I can do to please you, and not say a
word until all is ready.  If I could only get a new idea to start with!"
And mamma went on tying up her pretty bundles with a thoughtful face,
while Effie strolled to the window to watch the rain that kept her
in-doors and made her dismal.

"Seems to me poor children have better times than rich ones.  I can’t go
out, and there is a girl about my age splashing along, without any maid
to fuss about rubbers and cloaks and umbrellas and colds.  I wish I was
a beggar-girl."

"Would you like to be hungry, cold, and ragged, to beg all day, and
sleep on an ash-heap at night?" asked mamma, wondering what would come
next.

"Cinderella did, and had a nice time in the end.  This girl out here has
a basket of scraps on her arm, and a big old shawl all round her, and
does n’t seem to care a bit, though the water runs out of the toes of
her boots.  She goes paddling along, laughing at the rain, and eating a
cold potato as if it tasted nicer than the chicken and ice-cream I had
for dinner. Yes, I do think poor children are happier than rich ones."

"So do I, sometimes.  At the Orphan Asylum to-day I saw two dozen merry
little souls who have no parents, no home, and no hope of Christmas
beyond a stick of candy or a cake. I wish you had been there to see how
happy they were, playing with the old toys some richer children had sent
them."

"You may give them all mine; I ’m so tired of them I never want to see
them again," said Effie, turning from the window to the pretty
baby-house full of everything a child’s heart could desire.

"I will, and let you begin again with something you will not tire of, if
I can only find it."  And mamma knit her brows trying to discover some
grand surprise for this child who did n’t care for Christmas.

Nothing more was said then; and wandering off to the library, Effie
found "A Christmas Carol," and curling herself up in the sofa corner, it
all before tea.  Some of it she did not understand; but she laughed and
cried over many parts of the charming story, and felt better without
knowing why.

All the evening she thought of poor Tiny Tim, Mrs. Cratchit with the
pudding, and the stout old gentleman who danced so gayly that "his legs
twinkled in the air."  Presently bed-time arrived.

"Come, now, and toast your feet," said Effie’s nurse, "while I do your
pretty hair and tell stories."

"I ’ll have a fairy tale to-night, a very interesting one," commanded
Effie, as she put on her blue silk wrapper and little fur-lined slippers
to sit before the fire and have her long curls brushed.

So Nursey told her best tales; and when at last the child lay down under
her lace curtains, her head was full of a curious jumble of Christmas
elves, poor children, snow-storms, sugar-plums, and surprises.  So it is
no wonder that she dreamed all night; and this was the dream, which she
never quite forgot.

She found herself sitting on a stone, in the middle of a great field,
all alone.  The snow was falling fast, a bitter wind whistled by, and
night was coming on.  She felt hungry, cold, and tired, and did not know
where to go nor what to do.

"I wanted to be a beggar-girl, and now I am one; but I don’t like it,
and wish somebody would come and take care of me.  I don’t know who I
am, and I think I must be lost," thought Effie, with the curious
interest one takes in one’s self in dreams.

But the more she thought about it, the more bewildered she felt.  Faster
fell the snow, colder blew the wind, darker grew the night; and poor
Effie made up her mind that she was quite forgotten and left to freeze
alone.  The tears were chilled on her cheeks, her feet felt like
icicles, and her heart died within her, so hungry, frightened, and
forlorn was she.  Laying her head on her knees, she gave herself up for
lost, and sat there with the great flakes fast turning her to a little
white mound, when suddenly the sound of music reached her, and starting
up, she looked and listened with all her eyes and ears.

Far away a dim light shone, and a voice was heard singing.  She tried to
run toward the welcome glimmer, but could not stir, and stood like a
small statue of expectation while the light drew nearer, and the sweet
words of the song grew clearer.

      From our happy home
      Through the world we roam
    One week in all the year,
      Making winter spring
      With the joy we bring,
    For Christmas-tide is here.

      Now the eastern star
      Shines from afar
    To light the poorest home;
      Hearts warmer grow,
      Gifts freely flow,
    For Christmas-tide has come.

      Now gay trees rise
      Before young eyes,
    Abloom with tempting cheer;
      Blithe voices sing,
      And blithe bells ring,
    For Christmas-tide is here.

      Oh, happy chime,
      Oh, blessed time,
    That draws us all so near!
      "Welcome, dear day,"
      All creatures say,
    For Christmas-tide is here.


A child’s voice sang, a child’s hand carried the little candle; and in
the circle of soft light it shed, Effie saw a pretty child coming to her
through the night and snow.  A rosy, smiling creature, wrapped in white
fur, with a wreath of green and scarlet holly on its shining hair, the
magic candle in one hand, and the other outstretched as if to shower
gifts and warmly press all other hands.

Effie forgot to speak as this bright vision came nearer, leaving no
trace of footsteps in the snow, only lighting the way with its little
candle, and filling the air with the music of its song.

"Dear child, you are lost, and I have come to find you," said the
stranger, taking Effie’s cold hands in his, with a smile like sunshine,
while every holly berry glowed like a little fire.

"Do you know me?" asked Effie, feeling no fear, but a great gladness, at
his coming.

"I know all children, and go to find them; for this is my holiday, and I
gather them from all parts of the world to be merry with me once a
year."

"Are you an angel?" asked Effie, looking for the wings.

"No; I am a Christmas spirit, and live with my mates in a pleasant
place, getting ready for our holiday, when we are let out to roam about
the world, helping make this a happy time for all who will let us in.
Will you come and see how we work?"

"I will go anywhere with you.  Don’t leave me again," cried Effie,
gladly.

"First I will make you comfortable.  That is what we love to do.  You
are cold, and you shall be warm; hungry, and I will feed you; sorrowful,
and I will make you gay."

With a wave of his candle all three miracles were wrought,--for the
snow-flakes turned to a white fur cloak and hood on Effie’s head and
shoulders; a bowl of hot soup came sailing to her lips, and vanished
when she had eagerly drunk the last drop; and suddenly the dismal field
changed to a new world so full of wonders that all her troubles were
forgotten in a minute.

Bells were ringing so merrily that it was hard to keep from dancing.
Green garlands hung on the walls, and every tree was a Christmas tree
full of toys, and blazing with candles that never went out.

In one place many little spirits sewed like mad on warm clothes, turning
off work faster than any sewing-machine ever invented, and great piles
were made ready to be sent to poor people. Other busy creatures packed
money into purses, and wrote checks which they sent flying away on the
wind,--a lovely kind of snow-storm to fall into a world below full of
poverty.

Older and graver spirits were looking over piles of little books, in
which the records of the past year were kept, telling how different
people had spent it, and what sort of gifts they deserved.  Some got
peace, some disappointment, some remorse and sorrow, some great joy and
hope.  The rich had generous thoughts sent them; the poor, gratitude and
contentment. Children had more love and duty to parents; and parents
renewed patience, wisdom, and satisfaction for and in their children.
No one was forgotten.

"Please tell me what splendid place this is?" asked Effie, as soon as
she could collect her wits after the first look at all these astonishing
things.

"This is the Christmas world; and here we work all the year round, never
tired of getting ready for the happy day.  See, these are the saints
just setting off; for some have far to go, and the children must not be
disappointed."

As he spoke the spirit pointed to four gates, out of which four great
sleighs were just driving, laden with toys, while a jolly old Santa
Claus sat in the middle of each, drawing on his mittens and tucking up
his wraps for a long cold drive.

"Why, I thought there was only one Santa Claus, and even he was a
humbug," cried Effie, astonished at the sight.

"Never give up your faith in the sweet old stories, even after you come
to see that they are only the pleasant shadow of a lovely truth."

Just then the sleighs went off with a great jingling of bells and
pattering of reindeer hoofs, while all the spirits gave a cheer that was
heard in the lower world, where people said, "Hear the stars sing."

"I never will say there isn’t any Santa Claus again.  Now, show me
more."

"You will like to see this place, I think, and may learn something here
perhaps."

The spirit smiled as he led the way to a little door, through which
Effie peeped into a world of dolls.  Baby-houses were in full blast,
with dolls of all sorts going on like live people.  Waxen ladies sat in
their parlors elegantly dressed; black dolls cooked in the kitchens;
nurses walked out with the bits of dollies; and the streets were full of
tin soldiers marching, wooden horses prancing, express wagons rumbling,
and little men hurrying to and fro.  Shops were there, and tiny people
buying legs of mutton, pounds of tea, mites of clothes, and everything
dolls use or wear or want.

But presently she saw that in some ways the dolls improved upon the
manners and customs of human beings, and she watched eagerly to learn
why they did these things.  A fine Paris doll driving in her carriage
took up a black worsted Dinah who was hobbling along with a basket of
clean clothes, and carried her to her journey’s end, as if it were the
proper thing to do.  Another interesting china lady took off her
comfortable red cloak and put it round a poor wooden creature done up in
a paper shift, and so badly painted that its face would have sent some
babies into fits.

"Seems to me I once knew a rich girl who didn’t give her things to poor
girls.  I wish I could remember who she was, and tell her to be as kind
as that china doll," said Effie, much touched at the sweet way the
pretty creature wrapped up the poor fright, and then ran off in her
little gray gown to buy a shiny fowl stuck on a wooden platter for her
invalid mother’s dinner.

"We recall these things to people’s minds by dreams.  I think the girl
you speak of won’t forget this one."  And the spirit smiled, as if he
enjoyed some joke which she did not see.

A little bell rang as she looked, and away scampered the children into
the red-and-green school-house with the roof that lifted up, so one
could see how nicely they sat at their desks with mites of books, or
drew on the inch-square blackboards with crumbs of chalk.

"They know their lessons very well, and are as still as mice.  We make a
great racket at our school, and get bad marks every day.  I shall tell
the girls they had better mind what they do, or their dolls will be
better scholars than they are," said Effie, much impressed, as she
peeped in and saw no rod in the hand of the little mistress, who looked
up and shook her head at the intruder, as if begging her to go away
before the order of the school was disturbed.

Effie retired at once, but could not resist one look in at the window of
a fine mansion, where the family were at dinner, the children behaved so
well at table, and never grumbled a bit when their mamma said they could
not have any more fruit.

"Now, show me something else," she said, as they came again to the low
door that led out of Doll-land.

"You have seen how we prepare for Christmas; let me show you where we
love best to send our good and happy gifts," answered the spirit, giving
her his hand again.

"I know.  I’ve seen ever so many," began Effie, thinking of her own
Christmases.

"No, you have never seen what I will show you.  Come away, and remember
what you see to-night."

Like a flash that bright world vanished, and Effie found herself in a
part of the city she had never seen before.  It was far away from the
gayer places, where every store was brilliant with lights and full of
pretty things, and every house wore a festival air, while people hurried
to and fro with merry greetings.  It was down among the dingy streets
where the poor lived, and where there was no making ready for Christmas.

Hungry women looked in at the shabby shops, longing to buy meat and
bread, but empty pockets forbade.  Tipsy men drank up their wages in the
bar-rooms; and in many cold dark chambers little children huddled under
the thin blankets, trying to forget their misery in sleep.

No nice dinners filled the air with savory smells, no gay trees dropped
toys and bonbons into eager hands, no little stockings hung in rows
beside the chimney-piece ready to be filled, no happy sounds of music,
gay voices, and dancing feet were heard; and there were no signs of
Christmas anywhere.

"Don’t they have any in this place?" asked Effie, shivering, as she held
fast the spirit’s hand, following where he led her.

"We come to bring it.  Let me show you our best workers."  And the
spirit pointed to some sweet-faced men and women who came stealing into
the poor houses, working such beautiful miracles that Effie could only
stand and watch.

Some slipped money into the empty pockets, and sent the happy mothers to
buy all the comforts they needed; others led the drunken men out of
temptation, and took them home to find safer pleasures there.  Fires
were kindled on cold hearths, tables spread as if by magic, and warm
clothes wrapped round shivering limbs. Flowers suddenly bloomed in the
chambers of the sick; old people found themselves remembered; sad hearts
were consoled by a tender word, and wicked ones softened by the story of
Him who forgave all sin.

But the sweetest work was for the children; and Effie held her breath to
watch these human fairies hang up and fill the little stockings without
which a child’s Christmas is not perfect, putting in things that once
she would have thought very humble presents, but which now seemed
beautiful and precious because these poor babies had nothing.

"That is so beautiful!  I wish I could make merry Christmases as these
good people do, and be loved and thanked as they are," said Effie,
softly, as she watched the busy men and women do their work and steal
away without thinking of any reward but their own satisfaction.

"You can if you will.  I have shown you the way.  Try it, and see how
happy your own holiday will be hereafter."

As he spoke, the spirit seemed to put his arms about her, and vanished
with a kiss.

"Oh, stay and show me more!" cried Effie, trying to hold him fast.

"Darling, wake up, and tell me why you are smiling in your sleep," said
a voice in her ear; and opening her eyes, there was mamma bending over
her, and morning sunshine streaming into the room.

"Are they all gone?  Did you hear the bells?  Was n’t it splendid?" she
asked, rubbing her eyes, and looking about her for the pretty child who
was so real and sweet.

"You have been dreaming at a great rate,--talking in your sleep,
laughing, and clapping your hands as if you were cheering some one. Tell
me what was so splendid," said mamma, smoothing the tumbled hair and
lifting up the sleepy head.

Then, while she was being dressed, Effie told her dream, and Nursey
thought it very wonderful; but mamma smiled to see how curiously things
the child had thought, read, heard, and seen through the day were mixed
up in her sleep.

"The spirit said I could work lovely miracles if I tried; but I don’t
know how to begin, for I have no magic candle to make feasts appear, and
light up groves of Christmas trees, as he did," said Effie, sorrowfully.

"Yes, you have.  We will do it!  we will do it!"  And clapping her
hands, mamma suddenly began to dance all over the room as if she had
lost her wits.

"How?  how?  You must tell me, mamma," cried Effie, dancing after her,
and ready to believe anything possible when she remembered the
adventures of the past night.

"I ’ve got it!  I ’ve got it!--the new idea.  A splendid one, if I can
only carry it out!"  And mamma waltzed the little girl round till her
curls flew wildly in the air, while Nursey laughed as if she would die.

"Tell me! tell me!" shrieked Effie.

"No, no; it is a surprise,--a grand surprise for Christmas day!" sung
mamma, evidently charmed with her happy thought.  "Now, come to
breakfast; for we must work like bees if we want to play spirits
to-morrow.  You and Nursey will go out shopping, and get heaps of
things, while I arrange matters behind the scenes."

They were running downstairs as mamma spoke, and Effie called out
breathlessly,--

"It won’t be a surprise; for I know you are going to ask some poor
children here, and have a tree or something.  It won’t be like my dream;
for they had ever so many trees, and more children than we can find
anywhere."

"There will be no tree, no party, no dinner, in this house at all, and
no presents for you. Won’t that be a surprise?"  And mamma laughed at
Effie’s bewildered face.

"Do it.  I shall like it, I think; and I won’t ask any questions, so it
will all burst upon me when the time comes," she said; and she ate her
breakfast thoughtfully, for this really would be a new sort of
Christmas.

All that morning Effie trotted after Nursey in and out of shops, buying
dozens of barking dogs, woolly lambs, and squeaking birds; tiny
tea-sets, gay picture-books, mittens and hoods, dolls and candy.  Parcel
after parcel was sent home; but when Effie returned she saw no trace of
them, though she peeped everywhere. Nursey chuckled, but would n’t give
a hint, and went out again in the afternoon with a long list of more
things to buy; while Effie wandered forlornly about the house, missing
the usual merry stir that went before the Christmas dinner and the
evening fun.

As for mamma, she was quite invisible all day, and came in at night so
tired that she could only lie on the sofa to rest, smiling as if some
very pleasant thought made her happy in spite of weariness.

"Is the surprise going on all right?" asked Effie, anxiously; for it
seemed an immense time to wait till another evening came.

"Beautifully! better than I expected; for several of my good friends are
helping, or I could n’t have done it as I wish.  I know you will like
it, dear, and long remember this new way of making Christmas merry."

Mamma gave her a very tender kiss, and Effie went to bed.


The next day was a very strange one; for when she woke there was no
stocking to examine, no pile of gifts under her napkin, no one said
"Merry Christmas!" to her, and the dinner was just as usual to her.
Mamma vanished again, and Nursey kept wiping her eyes and saying: "The
dear things!  It’s the prettiest idea I ever heard of.  No one but your
blessed ma could have done it."

"Do stop, Nursey, or I shall go crazy because I don’t know the secret!"
cried Effie, more than once; and she kept her eye on the clock, for at
seven in the evening the surprise was to come off.

The longed-for hour arrived at last, and the child was too excited to
ask questions when Nurse put on her cloak and hood, led her to the
carriage, and they drove away, leaving their house the one dark and
silent one in the row.

"I feel like the girls in the fairy tales who are led off to strange
places and see fine things," said Effie, in a whisper, as they jingled
through the gay streets.

"Ah, my deary, it _is_ like a fairy tale, I do assure you, and you
_will_ see finer things than most children will to-night.  Steady, now,
and do just as I tell you, and don’t say one word whatever you see,"
answered Nursey, quite quivering with excitement as she patted a large
box in her lap, and nodded and laughed with twinkling eyes.

They drove into a dark yard, and Effie was led through a back door to a
little room, where Nurse coolly proceeded to take off not only her cloak
and hood, but her dress and shoes also. Effie stared and bit her lips,
but kept still until out of the box came a little white fur coat and
boots, a wreath of holly leaves and berries, and a candle with a frill
of gold paper round it. A long "Oh!" escaped her then; and when she was
dressed and saw herself in the glass, she started back, exclaiming,
"Why, Nursey, I look like the spirit in my dream!"

"So you do; and that’s the part you are to play, my pretty!  Now whist,
while I blind your eyes and put you in your place."

"Shall I be afraid?" whispered Effie, full of wonder; for as they went
out she heard the sound of many voices, the tramp of many feet, and, in
spite of the bandage, was sure a great light shone upon her when she
stopped.

"You need n’t be; I shall stand close by, and your ma will be there."

After the handkerchief was tied about her eyes, Nurse led Effie up some
steps, and placed her on a high platform, where something like leaves
touched her head, and the soft snap of lamps seemed to fill the air.

Music began as soon as Nurse clapped her hands, the voices outside
sounded nearer, and the tramp was evidently coming up the stairs.

"Now, my precious, look and see how you and your dear ma have made a
merry Christmas for them that needed it!"

Off went the bandage; and for a minute Effie really did think she was
asleep again, for she actually stood in "a grove of Christmas trees,"
all gay and shining as in her vision.  Twelve on a side, in two rows
down the room, stood the little pines, each on its low table; and behind
Effie a taller one rose to the roof, hung with wreaths of popcorn,
apples, oranges, horns of candy, and cakes of all sorts, from sugary
hearts to gingerbread Jumbos.  On the smaller trees she saw many of her
own discarded toys and those Nursey bought, as well as heaps that seemed
to have rained down straight from that delightful Christmas country
where she felt as if she was again.

"How splendid!  Who is it for?  What is that noise?  Where is mamma?"
cried Effie, pale with pleasure and surprise, as she stood looking down
the brilliant little street from her high place.

Before Nurse could answer, the doors at the lower end flew open, and in
marched twenty-four little blue-gowned orphan girls, singing sweetly,
until amazement changed the song to cries of joy and wonder as the
shining spectacle appeared.  While they stood staring with round eyes at
the wilderness of pretty things about them, mamma stepped up beside
Effie, and holding her hand fast to give her courage, told the story of
the dream in a few simple words, ending in this way:--

"So my little girl wanted to be a Christmas spirit too, and make this a
happy day for those who had not as many pleasures and comforts as she
has.  She likes surprises, and we planned this for you all.  She shall
play the good fairy, and give each of you something from this tree,
after which every one will find her own name on a small tree, and can go
to enjoy it in her own way.  March by, my dears, and let us fill your
hands."

Nobody told them to do it, but all the hands were clapped heartily
before a single child stirred; then one by one they came to look up
wonderingly at the pretty giver of the feast as she leaned down to offer
them great yellow oranges, red apples, bunches of grapes, bonbons, and
cakes, till all were gone, and a double row of smiling faces turned
toward her as the children filed back to their places in the orderly way
they had been taught.

Then each was led to her own tree by the good ladies who had helped
mamma with all their hearts; and the happy hubbub that arose would have
satisfied even Santa Claus himself,--shrieks of joy, dances of delight,
laughter and tears (for some tender little things could not bear so much
pleasure at once, and sobbed with mouths full of candy and hands full of
toys).  How they ran to show one another the new treasures! how they
peeped and tasted, pulled and pinched, until the air was full of queer
noises, the floor covered with papers, and the little trees left bare of
all but candles!

"I don’t think heaven can be any gooder than this," sighed one small
girl, as she looked about her in a blissful maze, holding her full apron
with one hand, while she luxuriously carried sugar-plums to her mouth
with the other.

"Is that a truly angel up there?" asked another, fascinated by the
little white figure with the wreath on its shining hair, who in some
mysterious way had been the cause of all this merry-making.

"I wish I dared to go and kiss her for this splendid party," said a lame
child, leaning on her crutch, as she stood near the steps, wondering how
it seemed to sit in a mother’s lap, as Effie was doing, while she
watched the happy scene before her.

Effie heard her, and remembering Tiny Tim, ran down and put her arms
about the pale child, kissing the wistful face, as she said sweetly,
"You may; but mamma deserves the thanks. She did it all; I only dreamed
about it."

Lame Katy felt as if "a truly angel" was embracing her, and could only
stammer out her thanks, while the other children ran to see the pretty
spirit, and touch her soft dress, until she stood in a crowd of blue
gowns laughing as they held up their gifts for her to see and admire.

Mamma leaned down and whispered one word to the older girls; and
suddenly they all took hands to dance round Effie, singing as they
skipped.

It was a pretty sight, and the ladies found it hard to break up the
happy revel; but it was late for small people, and too much fun is a
mistake.  So the girls fell into line, and marched before Effie and
mamma again, to say good-night with such grateful little faces that the
eyes of those who looked grew dim with tears. Mamma kissed every one;
and many a hungry childish heart felt as if the touch of those tender
lips was their best gift.  Effie shook so many small hands that her own
tingled; and when Katy came she pressed a small doll into Effie’s hand,
whispering, "You did n’t have a single present, and we had lots.  Do
keep that; it’s the prettiest thing I got."

"I will," answered Effie, and held it fast until the last smiling face
was gone, the surprise all over, and she safe in her own bed, too tired
and happy for anything but sleep.

"Mamma, it _was_ a beautiful surprise, and I thank you so much!  I don’t
see how you did it; but I like it best of all the Christmases I ever
had, and mean to make one every year.  I had my splendid big present,
and here is the dear little one to keep for love of poor Katy; so even
that part of my wish came true."

And Effie fell asleep with a happy smile on her lips, her one humble
gift still in her hand, and a new love for Christmas in her heart that
never changed through a long life spent in doing good.



[Illustration: "Hollo, what do you want?" he asked, staring at her.
PAGE 46.]



                                  II.

                           THE CANDY COUNTRY.


"I shall take mamma’s red sun-umbrella, it is so warm, and none of the
children at school will have one like it," said Lily, one day, as she
went through the hall.

"The wind is very high; I ’m afraid you ’ll be blown away if you carry
that big thing," called Nurse from the window, as the red umbrella went
bobbing down the garden walk with a small girl under it.

"I wish it would; I always wanted to go up in a balloon," answered Lily,
as she struggled out of the gate.

She got on very well till she came to the bridge and stopped to look
over the railing at the water running by so fast, and the turtles
sunning themselves on the rocks.  Lily was fond of throwing stones at
them; it was so funny to watch them tumble, heels over head, splash into
the water. Now, when she saw three big fellows close by, she stooped for
a stone, and just at that minute a gale of wind nearly took the umbrella
out of her hand.  She clutched it fast; and away she went like a
thistle-down, right up in the air, over river and hill, houses and
trees, faster and faster, till her head spun round, her breath was all
gone, and she had to let go.  The dear red umbrella flew away like a
leaf; and Lily fell down, down, till she went crash into a tree which
grew in such a curious place that she forgot her fright as she sat
looking about her, wondering what part of the world it could be.

The tree looked as if made of glass or colored sugar; for she could see
through the red cherries, the green leaves, and the brown branches. An
agreeable smell met her nose; and she said at once, as any child would,
"I smell candy!"  She picked a cherry and ate it.  Oh, how good it
was!--all sugar and no stone.  The next discovery was such a delightful
one that she nearly fell off her perch; for by touching her tongue here
and there, she found that the whole tree was made of candy.  Think what
fun to sit and break off twigs of barley sugar, candied cherries, and
leaves that tasted like peppermint and sassafras!

Lily rocked and ate till she finished the top of the little tree; then
she climbed down and strolled along, making more surprising and
agreeable discoveries as she went.

What looked like snow under her feet was white sugar; the rocks were
lumps of chocolate, the flowers of all colors and tastes; and every sort
of fruit grew on these delightful trees.  Little white houses soon
appeared; and here lived the dainty candy-people, all made of the best
sugar, and painted to look like real people. Dear little men and women,
looking as if they had stepped off of wedding cakes and bonbons, went
about in their gay sugar clothes, laughing and talking in the sweetest
voices.  Bits of babies rocked in open-work cradles, and sugar boys and
girls played with sugar toys in the most natural way.  Carriages rolled
along the jujube streets, drawn by the red and yellow barley horses we
all love so well; cows fed in the green fields, and sugar birds sang in
the trees.

Lily listened, and in a moment she understood what the song said,--

    "Sweet!  Sweet!
    Come, come and eat.
    Dear little girls
    With yellow curls;
    For here you ’ll find
    Sweets to your mind.
    On every tree
    Sugar-plums you ’ll see;
    In every dell
    Grows the caramel.
    Over every wall
    Gum-drops fall;
    Molasses flows
    Where our river goes.
    Under your feet
    Lies sugar sweet;
    Over your head
    Grow almonds red.
    Our lily and rose
    Are not for the nose;
    Our flowers we pluck
    To eat or suck.
    And, oh! what bliss
    When two friends kiss,
    For they honey sip
    From lip to lip!
    And all you meet,
    In house or street,
    At work or play,
    Sweethearts are they.
    So, little dear,
    Pray feel no fear:
    Go where you will;
    Eat, eat your fill.
    Here is a feast
    From west to east;
    And you can say,
    Ere you go away,
    ’At last I stand
    In dear Candy-land,
    And no more can stuff;
    For once I ’ve enough.’
    Sweet!  Sweet!
    Tweet!  Tweet!
    Tweedle-dee!
    Tweedle-dee!"


"That is the most interesting song I ever heard," said Lily, clapping
her sticky hands and dancing along toward a fine palace of white cream
candy, with pillars of striped peppermint stick, and a roof of frosting
that made it look like the Milan Cathedral.

"I ’ll live here, and eat candy all day long, with no tiresome school or
patchwork to spoil my fun," said Lily.

So she ran up the chocolate steps into the pretty rooms, where all the
chairs and tables were of different colored candies, and the beds of
spun sugar.  A fountain of lemonade supplied drink; and floors of
ice-cream that never melted kept people and things from sticking
together, as they would have done had it been warm.

For a long while Lily was quite happy, going about tasting so many
different kinds of sweeties, talking to the little people, who were very
amiable, and finding out curious things about them and their country.

The babies were made of plain sugar, but the grown people had different
flavors.  The young ladies were flavored with violet, rose, and orange;
the gentlemen were apt to have cordials of some sort inside of them, as
she found when she ate one now and then slyly, and got her tongue bitten
by the hot, strong taste as a punishment.  The old people tasted of
peppermint, clove, and such comfortable things, good for pain; but the
old maids had lemon, hoarhound, flag-root, and all sorts of sour, bitter
things in them, and did not get eaten much.  Lily soon learned to know
the characters of her new friends by a single taste, and some she never
touched but once.  The dear babies melted in her mouth, and the
delicately flavored young ladies she was very fond of.  Dr. Ginger was
called to her more than once when so much candy made her teeth ache, and
she found him a very hot-tempered little man; but he stopped the pain,
so she was glad to see him.

A lime-drop boy and a little pink checker-berry girl were her favorite
playmates; and they had fine times making mud-pies by scraping the
chocolate rocks and mixing this dust with honey from the wells near by.
These they could eat; and Lily thought this much better than throwing
away the pies, as she had to do at home.  They had candy-pulls very
often, and made swings of long loops of molasses candy, and bird’s-nests
with almond eggs, out of which came birds who sang sweetly.  They played
football with big bull’s-eyes, sailed in sugar boats on lakes of syrup,
fished in rivers of molasses, and rode the barley horses all over the
country.

Lily discovered that it never rained, but snowed white sugar.  There was
no sun, as it would have been too hot; but a large yellow lozenge made a
nice moon, and red and white comfits were the stars.

The people all lived on sugar, and never quarrelled.  No one was ill;
and if any got broken, as sometimes happened with such brittle
creatures, they just stuck the parts together and were all right again.
The way they grew old was to get thinner and thinner till there was
danger of their vanishing.  Then the friends of the old person put him
in a neat coffin, and carried him to the great golden urn which stood in
their largest temple, always full of a certain fine syrup; and here he
was dipped and dipped till he was stout and strong again, and went home
to enjoy himself for a long time as good as new.

This was very interesting to Lily, and she went to many funerals.  But
the weddings were better still; for the lovely white brides were so
sweet Lily longed to eat them.  The feasts were delicious; and everybody
went in their best clothes, and danced at the ball till they got so warm
half-a-dozen would stick together and have to be taken to the ice-cream
room to cool off.  Then the little pair would drive away in a fine
carriage with white horses to a new palace in some other part of the
country, and Lily would have another pleasant place to visit.

But by and by, when she had seen everything, and eaten so much sweet
stuff that at last she longed for plain bread and butter, she began to
get cross, as children always do when they live on candy; and the little
people wished she would go away, for they were afraid of her.  No
wonder, when she would catch up a dear sugar baby and eat him, or break
some respectable old grandmamma all into bits because she reproved her
for naughty ways.  Lily calmly sat down on the biggest church, crushing
it flat, and even tried to poke the moon out of the sky in a pet one
day.  The king ordered her to go home; but she said, "I won’t!" and bit
his head off, crown and all.

Such a wail went up at this awful deed that she ran away out of the
city, fearing some one would put poison in her candy, since she had no
other food.

"I suppose I shall get somewhere if I keep walking; and I can’t starve,
though I hate the sight of this horrid stuff," she said to herself, as
she hurried over the mountains of Gibraltar Rock that divided the city
of Saccharissa from the great desert of brown sugar that lay beyond.

Lily marched bravely on for a long time, and saw at last a great smoke
in the sky, smelt a spicy smell, and felt a hot wind blowing toward her.

"I wonder if there are sugar savages here, roasting and eating some poor
traveller like me," she said, thinking of Robinson Crusoe and other
wanderers in strange lands.

She crept carefully along till she saw a settlement of little huts very
like mushrooms, for they were made of cookies set on lumps of the brown
sugar; and queer people, looking as if made of gingerbread, were working
very busily round several stoves which seemed to bake at a great rate.

"I’ll creep nearer and see what sort of people they are before I show
myself," said Lily, going into a grove of spice-trees, and sitting down
on a stone which proved to be the plummy sort of cake we used to call
Brighton Rock.

Presently one of the tallest men came striding toward the trees with a
pan, evidently after spice; and before she could run, he saw Lily.

"Hollo, what do you want?" he asked, staring at her with his black
currant eyes, while he briskly picked the bark off a cinnamon-tree.

"I’m travelling, and would like to know what place this is, if you
please," answered Lily, very politely, being a little frightened.

"Cake-land.  Where do you come from?" asked the gingerbread man, in a
crisp tone of voice.

"I was blown into the Candy country, and have been there a long time;
but I got tired of it, and ran away to find something better."

"Sensible child!" and the man smiled till Lily thought his cheeks would
crumble.  "You’ll get on better here with us Brownies than with the lazy
Bonbons, who never work and are all for show.  They won’t own us, though
we are all related through our grandparents Sugar and Molasses.  We are
busy folks; so they turn up their noses and don’t speak when we meet at
parties.  Poor creatures, silly and sweet and unsubstantial!  I pity
’em."

"Could I make you a visit?  I’d like to see how you live, and what you
do.  I ’m sure it must be interesting," said Lily, picking herself up
after a tumble, having eaten nearly all the stone, she was so hungry.

"I know you will.  Come on!  I can talk while I work."  And the funny
gingerbread man trotted off toward his kitchen, full of pans,
rolling-pins, and molasses jugs.

"Sit down.  I shall be at leisure as soon as this batch is baked.  There
are still some wise people down below who like gingerbread, and I have
my hands full," he said, dashing about, stirring, rolling out, and
slapping the brown dough into pans, which he whisked into the oven and
out again so fast that Lily knew there must be magic about it somewhere.

Every now and then he threw her a delicious cooky warm from the oven.
She liked the queer fellow, and presently began to talk, being very
curious about this country.

"What is your name, sir?"

"Ginger Snap."

Lily thought it a good one; for he was very quick, and she fancied he
could be short and sharp if he liked.

"Where does all this cake go to?" she asked, after watching the other
kitchens full of workers, who were all of different kinds of cake, and
each set of cooks made its own sort.

"I ’ll show you by and by," answered Snap, beginning to pile up the
heaps of gingerbread on a little car that ran along a track leading to
some unknown storeroom, Lily thought.

"Don’t you get tired of doing this all the time?"

"Yes; but I want to be promoted, and I never shall be till I ’ve done my
best, and won the prize here."

"Oh, tell me about it!  What is the prize, and how are you promoted?  Is
this a cooking-school?"

"Yes; the prize for best gingerbread is a cake of condensed yeast.  That
puts a soul into me, and I begin to rise till I am able to go over the
hills yonder into the blessed land of bread, and be one of the happy
creatures who are always wholesome, always needed, and without which the
world below would be in a bad way."

"Bless me! that is the queerest thing I Ve heard yet.  But I don’t
wonder you want to go; I ’m tired of sweets myself, and long for a good
piece of bread, though I used to want cake and candy at home."

"Ah, my dear, you ’ll learn a good deal here; and you are lucky not to
have got into the clutches of Giant Dyspepsia, who always gets people if
they eat too much of such rubbish and scorn wholesome bread.  I leave my
ginger behind when I go, and get white and round and beautiful, as you
will see.  The Gingerbread family have never been as foolish as some of
the other cakes.  Wedding is the worst; such extravagance in the way of
wine and spice and fruit I never saw, and such a mess to eat when it’s
done!  I don’t wonder people get sick; serves ’em right."  And Snap
flung down a pan with such a bang that it made Lily jump.

"Sponge cake is n’t bad, is it?  Mamma lets me eat it, but I like
frosted pound better," she said, looking over to the next kitchen, where
piles of that sort of cake were being iced.

"Poor stuff.  No substance.  Ladies’ fingers will do for babies, but
pound has too much butter ever to be healthy.  Let it alone, and eat
cookies or seed-cakes, my dear.  Now, come along; I’m ready."  And Snap
trundled away his car-load at a great pace.

Lily ran behind to pick up whatever fell, and looked about her as she
went, for this was certainly a very queer country.  Lakes of eggs all
beaten up, and hot springs of saleratus foamed here and there ready for
use.  The earth was brown sugar or ground spice; and the only fruits
were raisins, dried currants, citron, and lemon peel.  It was a very
busy place; for every one cooked all the time, and never failed and
never seemed tired, though they got so hot that they only wore sheets of
paper for clothes.  There were piles of it to put over the cake, so that
it shouldn’t burn; and they made cook’s white caps and aprons of it, and
looked very nice.  A large clock made of a flat pancake, with cloves to
mark the hours and two toothpicks for hands, showed them how long to
bake things; and in one place an ice wall was built round a lake of
butter, which they cut in lumps as they wanted it.

"Here we are.  Now, stand away while I pitch ’em down," said Snap,
stopping at last before a hole in the ground where a dumbwaiter hung
ready, with a name over it.

There were many holes all round, and many waiters, each with its name;
and Lily was amazed when she read "Weber," "Copeland," "Dooling," and
others, which she knew very well.

Over Snap’s place was the name "Newmarch;" and Lily said, "Why, that’s
where mamma gets her hard gingerbread, and Weber’s is where we go for
ice-cream.  Do _you_ make cake for them?"

"Yes, but no one knows it.  It’s one of the secrets of the trade.  We
cook for all the confectioners, and people think the good things come
out of the cellars under their saloons. Good joke, is n’t it?"  And Snap
laughed till a crack came in his neck and made him cough.

Lily was so surprised she sat down on a warm queen’s cake that happened
to be near, and watched Snap send down load after load of gingerbread to
be eaten by children, who would have liked it much better if they had
only known where it came from, as she did.

As she sat, the clatter of many spoons, the smell of many dinners, and
the sound of many voices calling, "One vanilla, two strawberries, and a
Charlotte Russe," "Three stews, cup coffee, dry toast," "Roast chicken
and apple without," came up the next hole, which was marked "Copeland."

"Dear me! it seems as if I was there," said Lily, longing to hop down,
but afraid of the bump at the other end.

"I ’m done.  Come along, I ’ll ride you back," called Snap, tossing the
last cooky after the dumb-waiter as it went slowly out of sight with its
spicy load.

"I wish you ’d teach me to cook.  It looks great fun, and mamma wants me
to learn; only our cook hates to have me mess round, and is so cross
that I don’t like to try at home," said Lily, as she went trundling
back.

"Better wait till you get to Bread-land, and learn to make that.  It’s a
great art, and worth knowing.  Don’t waste your time on cake, though
plain gingerbread is n’t bad to have in the house.  I ’ll teach you that
in a jiffy, if the clock does n’t strike my hour too soon," answered
Snap, helping her down.

"What hour?"

"Why, of my freedom.  I never know when I ’ve done my task till I ’m
called by the chimes and go to get my soul," said Snap, turning his
currant eyes anxiously to the clock.

"I hope you _will_ have time."  And Lily fell to work with all her
might, after Snap had put on her a paper apron and a cap like his.

It was not hard; for when she was going to make a mistake a spark flew
out of the fire and burnt her in time to remind her to look at the
receipt, which was a sheet of gingerbread in a frame of pie-crust hung
up before her, with the directions written while it was soft and baked
in.  The third sheet she made came out of the oven spicy, light, and
brown; and Snap, giving it one poke, said, "That’s all right.  Now you
know.  Here’s your reward."

He handed her a receipt-book made of thin sheets of sugar-gingerbread
held together by a gelatine binding, with her name stamped on the back,
and each leaf crimped with a cake-cutter in the most elegant manner.

Lily was charmed with it, but had no time to read all it contained; for
just then the clock began to strike, and a chime of bells to ring,--

    "Gingerbread,
    Go to the head.
    Your task is done;
    A soul is won.
    Take it and go
    Where muffins grow,
    Where sweet loaves rise
    To the very skies,
    And biscuits fair
    Perfume the air.
    Away, away!
    Make no delay;
    In the sea of flour
    Plunge this hour.
    Safe in your breast
    Let the yeast-cake rest,
    Till you rise in joy,
    A white bread boy!"


"Ha, ha!  I ’m free!  I ’m free!" cried Snap, catching up the
silver-covered square that seemed to fall from heaven; and running to a
great white sea of flour, he went in head first, holding the yeast-cake
clasped to his breast as if his life depended on it.

Lily watched breathlessly, while a curious working and bubbling went on,
as if Snap was tumbling about down there like a small earthquake.  The
other cake-folk stood round the shore with her; for it was a great
event, and all were glad that the dear fellow was promoted so soon.
Suddenly a cry was heard, and up rose a beautiful white figure on the
farther side of the sea.  It moved its hand, as if saying "Good-by," and
ran over the hills so fast they had only time to see how plump and fair
he was, with a little knob on the top of his head like a crown.

"He ’s gone to the happy land, and we shall miss him; but we ’ll follow
his example and soon find him again," said a gentle Sponge cake, with a
sigh, as all went back to their work; while Lily hurried after Snap,
eager to see the new country, which was the best of all.

A delicious odor of fresh bread blew up from the valley as she stood on
the hill-top and looked down on the peaceful scene below.  Fields of
yellow grain waved in the breeze; hop-vines grew from tree to tree; and
many windmills whirled their white sails as they ground the different
grains into fresh, sweet meal, for the loaves of bread that built the
houses like bricks and paved the streets, or in many shapes formed the
people, furniture, and animals.  A river of milk flowed through the
peaceful land, and fountains of yeast rose and fell with a pleasant foam
and fizz.  The ground was a mixture of many meals, and the paths were
golden Indian, which gave a very gay look to the scene. Buckwheat
flowers bloomed on their rosy stems, and tall corn-stalks rustled their
leaves in the warm air that came from the ovens hidden in the hillsides;
for bread needs a slow fire, and an obliging volcano did the baking
here.

"What a lovely place!" cried Lily, feeling the charm of the homelike
landscape, in spite of the funny plump people moving about.

Two of these figures came running to meet her as she slowly walked down
the yellow path from the hill.  One was a golden boy, with a beaming
face; the other a little girl in a shiny brown cloak, who looked as if
she would taste very nice.  They each put a warm hand into Lily’s, and
the boy said,--

"We are glad to see you.  Muffin told us you were coming."

"Thank you.  Who is Muffin?" asked Lily, feeling as if she had seen both
these little people before, and liked them.

"He was Ginger Snap once, but he’s a Muffin now.  We begin in that way,
and work up to the perfect loaf by degrees.  My name is Johnny Cake, and
she’s Sally Lunn.  You know us; so come on and have a race."

Lily burst out laughing at the idea of playing with these old friends of
hers; and all three ran away as fast as they could tear, down the hill,
over a bridge, into the middle of the village, where they stopped,
panting, and sat down on some very soft rolls to rest.

"What do you all do _here_?" asked Lily, when she got her breath again.

"We farm, we study, we bake, we brew, and are as merry as grigs all day
long.  It’s school-time now, and we must go; will you come?" said Sally,
jumping up as if she liked it.

"Our schools are not like yours; we only study two things,--grain and
yeast.  I think you ’ll like it.  We have yeast to-day, and the
experiments are very jolly," added Johnny, trotting off to a tall brown
tower of rye and Indian bread, where the school was kept.

Lily never liked to go to school, but she was ashamed to own it; so she
went along with Sally, and was so amused with all she saw that she was
glad she came.  The brown loaf was hollow, and had no roof; and when she
asked why they used a ruin, Sally told her to wait and see why they
chose strong walls and plenty of room overhead.  All round was a circle
of very small biscuits like cushions, and on these the Bread-children
sat.  A square loaf in the middle was the teacher’s desk, and on it lay
an ear of wheat, with several bottles of yeast well corked up.  The
teacher was a pleasant, plump lady from Vienna, very wise, and so famous
for her good bread that she was a Professor of Grainology.

When all were seated, she began with the wheat ear, and told them all
about it in such an interesting way that Lily felt as if she had never
known anything about the bread she ate before. The experiments with the
yeast were quite exciting,--for Fraulein Pretzel showed them how it
would work till it blew the cork out, and go fizzing up to the sky if it
was kept too long; how it would turn sour or flat, and spoil the bread
if care was not taken to use it just at the right moment; and how too
much would cause the loaf to rise till there was no substance to it.

The children were very bright; for they were fed on the best kinds of
oatmeal and Graham bread, with very little white bread or hot cakes to
spoil their young stomachs.  Hearty, happy boys and girls they were, and
their yeasty souls were very lively in them for they danced and sung,
and seemed as bright and gay as if acidity, heaviness, and mould were
quite unknown.

Lily was very happy with them, and when school was done went home with
Sally and ate the best bread and milk for dinner that she ever tasted.
In the afternoon Johnny took her to the cornfield, and showed her how
they kept the growing ears free from mildew and worms. Then she went to
the bakehouse; and here she found her old friend Muffin hard at work
making Parker House rolls, for he was such a good cook he was set to
work at once on the lighter kinds of bread.

"Well, is n’t this better than Candy-land or Saccharissa?" he asked, as
he rolled and folded his bits of dough with a dab of butter tucked
inside.

"Ever so much!" cried Lily.  "I feel better already, and mean to learn
all I can.  Mamma will be so pleased if I can make good bread when I go
home.  She is rather old-fashioned, and likes me to be a nice
housekeeper.  I did n’t think bread interesting then, but I do now; and
Johnny’s mother is going to teach me to make Indian cakes to-morrow."

"Glad to hear it.  Learn all you can, and tell other people how to make
healthy bodies and happy souls by eating good plain food.  Not like
this, though these rolls are better than cake. I have to work my way up
to the perfect loaf, you know; and then, oh, then, I ’m a happy thing."

"What happens then?  Do you go on to some other wonderful place?" asked
Lily, as Muffin paused with a smile on his face.

"Yes; I am eaten by some wise, good human being, and become a part of
him or her.  That is immortality and heaven; for I may nourish a poet
and help him sing, or feed a good woman who makes the world better for
being in it, or be crumbed into the golden porringer of a baby prince
who is to rule a kingdom.  Is n’t that a noble way to live, and an end
worth working for?" asked Muffin, in a tone that made Lily feel as if
some sort of fine yeast had got into her, and was setting her brain to
work with new thoughts.

"Yes, it is.  I suppose all common things are made for that purpose, if
we only knew it; and people should be glad to do anything to help the
world along, even making good bread in a kitchen," answered Lily, in a
sober way that showed that her little mind was already digesting the new
food it had got.

She stayed in Bread-land a long time, and enjoyed and learned a great
deal that she never forgot.  But at last, when she had made the perfect
loaf, she wanted to go home, that her mother might see and taste it.

"I ’ve put a good deal of myself into it, and I ’d love to think I had
given her strength or pleasure by my work," she said, as she and Sally
stood looking at the handsome loaf.

"You can go whenever you like; just take the bread in your hands and
wish three times, and you ’ll be wherever you say.  I ’m sorry to have
you go, but I don’t wonder you want to see your mother.  Don’t forget
what you have learned, and you will always be glad you came to us," said
Sally, kissing her good-by.

"Where is Muffin?  I can’t go without seeing him, my dear old friend,"
answered Lily, looking round for him.

"He is here," said Sally, touching the loaf. "He was ready to go, and
chose to pass into your bread rather than any other; for he said he
loved you and would be glad to help feed so good a little girl."

"How kind of him!  I must be careful to grow wise and excellent, else he
will be disappointed and have died in vain," said Lily, touched by his
devotion.

Then, bidding them all farewell, she hugged her loaf close, wished three
times to be in her own home, and like a flash she was there.

Whether her friends believed the wonderful tale of her adventures I
cannot tell; but I know that she was a nice little housekeeper from that
day, and made such good bread that other girls came to learn of her.
She also grew from a sickly, fretful child into a fine, strong woman,
because she ate very little cake and candy, except at Christmas time,
when the oldest and the wisest love to make a short visit to Candyland.



[Illustration: As soon as he was alone, Jocko ... jumped on his back.
PAGE 70.]



                                  III.

                             NAUGHTY JOCKO.


"A music-man! a music-man!  Run quick, and see if he has got a monkey on
his organ," cried little Neddy, running to the window in a great hurry
one day.

Yes; there was the monkey in his blue and red suit, with a funny little
cap, and the long tail trailing behind.  But he did n’t seem to be a
lively monkey; for he sat in a bunch, with his sad face turned anxiously
to his master, who kept pulling the chain to make him dance.  The stiff
collar had made his neck sore; and when the man twitched, the poor thing
moaned and put up his little hand to hold the chain.  He tried to dance,
but was so weak he could only hop a few steps, and stop panting for
breath.  The cruel man would n’t let him rest till Neddy called out,--

"Don’t hurt him; let him come up here and get this cake, and rest while
you play.  I ’ve got some pennies for you."

So poor Jocko climbed slowly up the trellis, and sat on the window-ledge
trying to eat; but he was so tired he went to sleep, and when the man
pulled to wake him up, he slipped and fell, and lay as if he were dead.
Neddy and his aunt ran down to see if he was killed.  The cross man
scolded and shook him; but he never moved, and the man said,--

"He is dead.  I don’t want him.  I will sell him to some one to stuff."

"No; his heart beats a little.  Leave him here a few days, and we will
take care of him; and if he gets well, perhaps we will buy him," said
Aunt Jane, who liked to nurse even a sick monkey.

The man said he was going on for a week through the towns near by, and
would call and see about it when he came back.  Then he went away; and
Neddy and aunty put Jocko in a nice basket, and carried him in.  The
minute the door was shut and he felt safe, the sly fellow peeped out
with one eye, and seeing only the kind little boy began to chatter and
kick off the shawl; for he was not much hurt, only tired and hungry, and
dreadfully afraid of the cruel man who beat and starved him.

Neddy was delighted, and thought it very funny, and helped his aunt take
off the stiff collar and put some salve on the sore neck. Then they got
milk and cake; and when he had eaten a good dinner, Jocko curled himself
up and slept till the next day.  He was quite lively in the morning; for
when Aunt Jane went to call Neddy, Jocko was not in his basket, and
looking round the room for him, she saw the little black thing lying on
the boy’s pillow, with his arm round Neddy’s neck like a queer baby.

"My patience!  I can’t allow that," said the old lady, and went to pull
Jocko out.  But he slipped away like an eel, and crept chattering and
burrowing down to the bottom of the bed, holding on to Neddy’s toes,
till he waked up, howling that crabs were nipping him.

Then they had a great frolic; and Jocko climbed all over the bed, up on
the tall wardrobe, and the shelf over the door, where the image of an
angel stood.  He patted it, and hugged it, and looked so very funny with
his ugly black face by the pretty white one, that Neddy rolled on the
floor, and Aunt Jane laughed till her glasses flew off.  By and by he
came down, and had a nice breakfast, and let them tie a red ribbon over
the bandage on his neck. He liked the gay color, and kept going to look
in the glass, and grin and chatter at his own image, which he evidently
admired.

"Now, he shall go to walk with me, and all the children shall see my new
pet," said Neddy, as he marched off with Jock on his shoulder.

Every one laughed at the funny little fellow with his twinkling eyes,
brown hands, and long tail, and Neddy felt very grand till they got to
the store; then troubles began.  He put Jocko on a table near the door,
and told him to stay there while he did his errands.  Now, close by was
the place where the candy was kept, and Jocko loved sweeties like any
girl; so he hopped along, and began to eat whatever he liked. Some boys
tried to stop him; and then he got angry at them for pulling his tail,
and threw handfuls of sugarplums at them.  That was great fun; and the
more they laughed and scrambled and poked at him, the faster he showered
chocolates, caramels, and peppermints over them, till it looked as if it
had rained candy.  The man was busy with Neddy at the other end of the
store; but when he heard the noise, both ran to see what was the matter.
Neither of them could stop naughty Jocko, who liked this game, and ran
up on the high shelves among the toys. Then down came little tubs and
dolls’ stoves, tin trumpets and cradles, while boxes of leaden soldiers
and whole villages flew through the air, smash, bang, rattle, bump, all
over the floor. The man scolded, Neddy cried, the boys shouted, and
there was a lively time in that shop till a good slapping with a long
stick made Jock tumble into a tub of water where some curious fishes
lived; and then they caught him.

Neddy was much ashamed, and told the man his aunt would pay for all the
broken things. Then he took his naughty pet, and started to go home and
tie him up, for it was plain this monkey was not to be trusted.  But as
soon as they got out, Jocko ran up a tree and dropped on to a load of
hay passing underneath.  Here he danced and pranced, and had a fine
time, throwing off the man’s coat and rake, and eating some of the
dinner tied up in a cloth.  The crusts of bread and the bones he threw
at the horse; this new kind of whip frightened the horse, and he ran
away down a steep hill, and upset the hay and broke the cart.  Oh, such
a time!  It was worse than the candy scrape; for the man swore, and the
horse was hurt, and people said the monkey ought to be shot, he did so
much mischief.  Jocko did n’t care a bit; he sat high up in a tree, and
chattered and scolded, and swung by his tail, and was so droll that
people could n’t help laughing at him.  Poor Neddy cried again, and went
home to tell his troubles to Aunt Jane, fearing that it would take all
the money in his bank to pay for the damage the bad monkey had done in
one hour.

As soon as he was alone Jocko came skipping along, and jumped on his
back, and peeped at him, and patted his cheeks, and was so cunning and
good Neddy could n’t whip him; but he shut him up in a closet to punish
him.

Jocko was tired; so he went to sleep, and all was quiet till
dinner-time.  They were ready for the pudding, and Neddy had saved a
place for a good plateful, as he liked snow-pudding, when shrieks were
heard in the kitchen, and Mary the maid rushed in to say,--

"Oh, ma’am, that horrid beast has spoilt the pudding, and is scaring
Katy out of her life!"

They all ran; and there sat that naughty monkey on the table, throwing
the nice white snow all over poor cook, till her face looked as if she
was ready to be shaved.  His own face looked the same, for he had eaten
all he wanted while the pudding stood cooling in the pantry.  He had
crept out of a window in the closet, and had a fine rummage among the
sugar-buckets, butter-boxes, and milk-pans.

Kate wailed, and Mary scolded; but Aunt Jane and grandpa laughed, and
Neddy chased Jock into the garden with the broom.  They had to eat bread
and jelly for dessert, and it took the girls a long time to clear up the
mess the rascal made.

"We will put his collar and chain on again, and keep him tied up all the
time till the man comes," said Aunt Jane.

"But I can’t catch him," sighed Neddy, watching the little imp whisk
about in the garden among the currant-bushes, chasing hens and tossing
green apples round in high glee.

"Sit quietly down somewhere and wait till he is tired; then he will come
to you, and you can hold him fast," said Aunt Jane.

So Neddy waited; and though he was much worried at his new pet’s
naughtiness, he enjoyed his pranks like a boy.

Grandpa took naps in the afternoon on the piazza, and he was dozing
comfortably when Jocko swung down from the grape-vine by his long tail,
and tickled the old gentleman on the nose with a straw.  Grandpa
sneezed, and opened one eye to brush away the fly as he supposed. Then
he went to sleep again, and Jocko dropped a caterpillar on his bald
head; this made him open the other eye to see what that soft, creepy
thing could be.  Neddy could n’t help laughing, for he often wanted to
do just such things, but never dared, because grandpa was a very stern
old gentleman, and no one took liberties with him.  Jocko was n’t
afraid, however; and presently he crept to the table, stele the glasses
lying there, put them on, and taking up the paper held it before him,
chattering as if he were reading it, as he had seen people do.  Neddy
laughed out loud at this, and clapped his hands, Jocko looked so like a
little old man, in spite of the tail curled up behind.  This time
grandpa opened both eyes at once, and stared as if he saw a hobgoblin
before him; then he snatched off the spectacles, and caught up his cane,
crying angrily,--

"You rascal, how dare you!"

But Jocko tossed the paper in his face, and with one jump lighted on the
back of old Tom, the big yellow cat, who lay asleep close by. Scared
half out of his wits, Tom spit and bounced; but Jocko held fast to his
collar, and had a fine race round the garden, while the girls laughed at
the funny sight, and Neddy shouted, "It’s a circus; and there’s the
monkey and the pony."  Even grandpa smiled, especially when puss dashed
up a tree, and Jock tumbled off. He chased him, and they had a great
battle; but Tom’s claws were sharp, and the monkey got a scratch on the
nose, and ran crying to Neddy for comfort.

"Now, you naughty fellow, I ’ll chain you up, and stop these dreadful
tricks.  But you are great fun, and I can’t whip you," said the boy; for
he knew what it was to enjoy a holiday, and poor Jocko had not had one
for a long time.

Jocko ate some lunch, took a nap in the grass, and then was ready for
more frolics.  Neddy had fastened him to a tree in the garden, so that
he could enjoy the sun and air, and catch grasshoppers if he liked.  But
Jocko wanted something more; and presently Neddy, who was reading in his
hammock on the piazza, heard a great cackling among the hens, and looked
up to see the monkey swinging by his tail from a bough, holding the
great cock-a-doodle by his splendid tail, while all the twenty hens
clucked and cackled with wrath and fear at such a dreadful prank.

"Now, that’s too bad; I _will_ slap him this time," said Neddy, running
to save his handsome bird from destruction.  But before he got there
poor cocky had pulled his fine tail-feathers all out in his struggles,
and when set free was so frightened and mortified that he ran away and
hid in the bushes, and the hens went to comfort him.

Neddy gave Jocko a good whipping, and left him looking as meek as a
baby, all cuddled up in a little bunch, with his head in his hands as if
crying for his naughtiness.  But he was n’t sorry.  Oh, dear, no! for in
half an hour he had picked every one of the sweet peas Aunt Jane was so
fond of, thrown all the tomatoes over the fence, and let the parrot out
of his cage.  The sight of Polly walking into the parlor with a polite
"How are you, ma’am?" sent Aunt Jane to see what was going on.  Neddy
was fast asleep in the hammock, worn out with his cares; and Jocko,
having unhooked his chain, was sitting on the chimney-top of a
neighbor’s house, eating corn.

"We shall not live to the end of the week if this sort of thing goes on.
I don’t know what to do with the little beast; he ’s as bad as an
elephant to take care of," said the poor lady, in despair, as she saw
Jocko throw his corncob down on the minister’s hat as that stately
gentleman went by.

As none of them could catch him, Miss Jane let him alone till Neddy
waked up and could go and find some of the big boys to help him.

Jocko soon left the roof, and skipped in at a window that stood open.
It was little Nelly Brown’s play-room, and she had left her pet doll
Maud Mabel Rose Matilda very ill in the best bed, while she went down to
get a poppy leaf to rub the darling’s cheeks with, because she had a
high fever.  Jocko took a fancy to the pretty bed, and after turning the
play-house topsy-turvy, he pulled poor Maud Mabel Rose Matilda out by
her flaxen hair, and stuffing her into the water-pitcher upside down,
got into the bed, drew the lace curtains, and prepared to doze
deliciously under the pink silk bed-cover.

Up came Nelly, and went at once to the dear invalid, saying in her
motherly little voice,--

"Now, my darling child, lie quite still, and I won’t hurt you one bit."

But when she drew the curtain, instead of the lovely yellow-haired doll
in her ruffled nightcap, she saw an ugly little black face staring at
her, and a tiny hand holding the sheet fast. Nelly gave one scream, and
flew downstairs into the parlor where the Sewing-circle was at work,
frightening twenty-five excellent ladies by her cries, as she clung to
her mother, wailing,--

"A bogie! a bogie!  I saw him, all black; and he snarled at me, and my
dolly is gone! What shall I do? oh, what shall I do?"

There was great confusion, for all the ladies talked at once; and it so
happened that none of them knew anything about the monkey, therefore
they all agreed that Nelly was a foolish child, and had made a fuss
about nothing. She cried dismally, and kept saying to her mother,--

"Go and see; it’s in my dolly’s bed,--I found it there, and darling
Maudie is gone."

"We _will_ go and see," said Mrs. Moses Merryweather,--a stout old lady,
who kept her six girls in such good order that _they_ would never have
dared to cry if ten monkeys had popped out at them.

Miss Hetty Bumpus, a tall thin maiden lady, with a sharp eye and pointed
nose, went with her; but at the door that led to the dining-room both
stopped short, and after one look came flying back, calling out
together,--

"Mrs. Brown, your supper is spoilt! a dreadful beast has ruined it all!"

Then twenty-five excited ladies flew across the hall to behold Jocko
sitting on the great cake in the middle of the table, his feet bathed in
cream from the overturned pitcher, while all around lay the ruins of
custards, tarts, biscuits, and sauce, not to mention nice napkins made
into hay-cocks, spoons, knives, and forks, on the floor, and the best
silver teapot in the fireplace.

While Nelly told her tale and the ladies questioned and comforted her,
this bad monkey had skipped downstairs and had a delightful party all by
himself.  He was just scraping the jelly out of a tart when they
disturbed him; and knowing that more slaps were in store for him if he
stayed, he at once walked calmly down the ravaged table, and vanished
out of the window carrying the silver tea-strainer with him to play
with.

The ladies had no supper that night; and poor Mrs. Brown sent a note to
Aunt Jane, telling her the sad story, and adding that Nelly was quite
ill with the fright and the loss of dear Maud Mabel Rose Matilda,
drowned in the water-pitcher and forever spoilt.

"John shall go after that man to-morrow, and bring him back to carry
this terrible monkey away.  I can’t live with him a week; he will cost
me a fortune, and wear us all out," said Aunt Jane, when Jocko was
safely shut up in the cellar, after six boys had chased him all over the
neighborhood before they caught him.

Neddy was quite willing to let him go; but John was saved his journey,
for in the morning poor Jocko was found dead in a trap, where his
inquisitive head had been poked to see what the cheese tasted like.

So he was buried by the river, and every one felt much relieved; for the
man never came back, thinking Jocko dead when he left him.  But he had
not lived in vain; for after this day of trial, mischievous Neddy
behaved much better, and Aunt Jane could always calm his prankish spirit
by saying, as her finger pointed to a little collar and chain hanging on
the wall,--

"If you want to act like naughty Jocko, say so, and I ’ll tie you up.
One monkey is enough for this family."



[Illustration: Kitty laughed, and began to dance...  Such twirlings and
stoppings as she made.--PAGE 85.]



                                  IV.

                          THE SKIPPING SHOES.


Once there was a little girl, named Kitty, who never wanted to do what
people asked her.  She said "I won’t" and "I can’t," and did not run at
once pleasantly, as obliging children do.

One day her mother gave her a pair of new shoes; and after a fuss about
putting them on, Kitty said, as she lay kicking on the floor,--

"I wish these were seven-leagued boots, like Jack the Giant Killer’s;
then it would be easy to run errands all the time.  Now, I hate to keep
trotting, and I don’t like new shoes, and I won’t stir a step."

Just as she said that, the shoes gave a skip, and set her on her feet so
suddenly that it scared all the naughtiness out of her.  She stood
looking at these curious shoes; and the bright buttons on them seemed to
wink at her like eyes, while the heels tapped on the floor a sort of
tune.  Before she dared to stir, her mother called from the next room,--

"Kitty, run and tell the cook to make a pie for dinner; I forgot it."

"I don’t want to," began Kitty, with a whine as usual.

But the words were hardly out of her mouth when the shoes gave one jump,
and took her downstairs, through the hall, and landed her at the kitchen
door.  Her breath was nearly gone; but she gave the message, and turned
round, trying to see if the shoes would let her walk at all.  They went
nicely till she wanted to turn into the china-closet where the cake was.
She was forbidden to touch it, but loved to take a bit when she could.
Now she found that her feet were fixed fast to the floor, and could not
be moved till her father said, as he passed the window close by,--

"You will have time to go to the post-office before school and get my
letters."

"I can’t," began Kitty; but she found she could, for away went the
shoes, out of the house at one bound, and trotted down the street so
fast that the maid who ran after her with her hat could not catch her.

"I can’t stop!" cried Kitty; and she did not till the shoes took her
straight into the office.

"What’s the hurry to-day?" asked the man, as he saw her without any hat,
all rosy and breathless, and her face puckered up as if she did not know
whether to laugh or to cry.

"I won’t tell any one about these dreadful shoes, and I ’ll take them
off as soon as I get home.  I hope they will go back slowly, or people
will think I ’m crazy," said Kitty to herself, as she took the letters
and went away.

The shoes walked nicely along till she came to the bridge; and there she
wanted to stop and watch some boys in a boat, forgetting school and her
father’s letters.  But the shoes would n’t stop, though she tried to
make them, and held on to the railing as hard as she could.  Her feet
went on; and when she sat down they still dragged her along so steadily
that she had to go, and she got up feeling that there was something very
strange about these shoes.  The minute she gave up, all went smoothly,
and she got home in good time.

"I won’t wear these horrid things another minute," said Kitty, sitting
on the doorstep and trying to unbutton the shoes.

But not a button could she stir, though she got red and angry struggling
to do it.

"Time for school; run away, little girl," called mamma from upstairs, as
the clock struck nine.

"I won’t!" said Kitty, crossly.

But she did; for those’ magic shoes danced her off, and landed her at
her desk in five minutes.

"Well, I ’m not late; that’s one comfort," she thought, wishing she had
come pleasantly, and not been whisked away without any luncheon.

Her legs were so tired with the long skips that she was glad to sit
still; and that pleased the teacher, for generally she was fussing about
all lesson time.  But at recess she got into trouble again; for one of
the children knocked down the house of corn-cobs she had built, and made
her angry.

"Now, I ’ll kick yours down, and see how you like it, Dolly."

Up went her foot, but it did n’t come down; it stayed in the air, and
there she stood looking as if she were going to dance.  The children
laughed to see her, and she could do nothing till she said to Dolly in a
great hurry,--

"Never mind; if you didn’t mean to, I’ll forgive you."

Then the foot went down, and Kitty felt so glad about it that she tried
to be pleasant, fearing some new caper of those dreadful shoes.  She
began to see how they worked, and thought she would try if she had any
power over them.  So, when one of the children wanted his ball, which
had bounced over the hedge, she said kindly,--

"Perhaps I can get it for you, Willy."

And over she jumped as lightly as if she too were an india-rubber ball.

"How could you do it?" cried the boys, much surprised; for not one of
them dared try such a high leap.

Kitty laughed, and began to dance, feeling pleased and proud to find
there was a good side to the shoes after all.  Such twirlings and
skippings as she made, such pretty steps and airy little bounds it was
pretty to see; for it seemed as if her feet were bewitched, and went of
themselves.  The little girls were charmed, and tried to imitate her;
but no one could, and they stood in a circle watching her dance till the
bell rang, then all rushed in to tell about it.

Kitty said it was her new shoes, and never told how queerly they acted,
hoping to have good times now.  But she was mistaken.

On the way home she wanted to stop and see her friend Bell’s new doll;
but at the gate her feet stuck fast, and she had to give up her wishes
and go straight on, as mamma had told her always to do.

"Run and pick a nice little dish of strawberries for dinner," said her
sister, as she went in.

"I ’m too ti--"  There was no time to finish, for the shoes landed her
in the middle of the strawberry bed at one jump.

"I might as well be a grasshopper if I ’m to skip round like this," she
said, forgetting to feel tired out there in the pleasant garden, with
the robins picking berries close by, and a cool wind lifting the leaves
to show where the reddest and ripest ones hid.

The little dish was soon filled, and she wanted to stay and eat a few,
warm and sweet from the vines; but the bell rang, and away she went,
over the wood-pile, across the piazza, and into the dining-room before
the berry in her mouth was half eaten.

"How this child does rush about to-day!" said her mother.  "It is so
delightful to have such a quick little errand-girl that I shall get her
to carry some bundles to my poor people this afternoon.

"Oh, dear me!  I do hate to lug those old clothes and bottles and
baskets of cold victuals round.  Must I do it?" sighed Kitty, dismally,
while the shoes tapped on the floor under the table, as if to remind her
that she must, whether she liked it or not.

"It would be right and kind, and would please me very much.  But you may
do as you choose about it.  I am very tired, and some one must go; for
the little Bryan baby is sick and needs what I send," said mamma,
looking disappointed.

Kitty sat very still and sober for some time, and no one spoke to her.
She was making up her mind whether she would go pleasantly or be whisked
about like a grasshopper against her will.  When dinner was over, she
said in a cheerful voice,--

"I ’ll go, mamma; and when all the errands are done, may I come back
through Fairyland, as we call the little grove where the tall ferns
grow?"

"Yes, dear; when you oblige me, I am happy to please you."

"I ’m glad I decided to be good; now I shall have a lovely time," said
Kitty to herself, as she trotted away with a basket in one hand, a
bundle in the other, and some money in her pocket for a poor old woman
who needed help.

The shoes went quietly along, and seemed to know just where to stop.
The sick baby’s mother thanked her for the soft little nightgowns; the
lame girl smiled when she saw the books; the hungry children gathered
round the basket of food, like young birds eager to be fed; and the old
woman gave her a beautiful pink shell that her sailor son brought home
from sea.

When all the errands were done Kitty skipped away to Fairyland, feeling
very happy, as people always do when they have done kind things.  It was
a lovely place; for the ferns made green arches tall enough for little
girls to sit under, and the ground was covered with pretty green moss
and wood-flowers.  Birds flew about in the pines, squirrels chattered in
the oaks, butterflies floated here and there, and from the pond near by
came the croak of frogs sunning their green backs on the mossy stones.

"I wonder if the shoes will let me stop and rest; it is so cool here,
and I ’m so tired," said Kitty, as she came to a cosey nook at the foot
of a tree.

The words were hardly out of her mouth when her feet folded under her,
and there she sat on a cushion of moss, like the queen of the wood on
her throne.  Something lighted with a bump close by her; and looking
down she saw a large black cricket with a stiff tail, staring at her
curiously.

"Bless my heart!  I thought you were some relation of my cousin
Grasshopper’s.  You came down the hill with long leaps just like him; so
I stopped to say, How d’ ye do," said the cricket, in its creaky voice.

"I ’m not a grasshopper; but I have on fairy shoes to-day, and so do
many things that I never did before," answered Kitty, much surprised to
be able to understand what the cricket said.

"It is midsummer day, and fairies can play whatever pranks they like.
If you did n’t have those shoes on, you could n’t understand what I say.
Hark, and hear those squirrels talk, and the birds, and the ants down
here.  Make the most of this chance; for at sunset your shoes will stop
skipping, and the fun all be over."

While the cricket talked Kitty did hear all sorts of little voices,
singing, laughing, chatting in the gayest way, and understood every word
they said.  The squirrels called to one another as they raced about,--

    "Here’s a nut, there’s a nut;
      Hide it quick away,
    In a hole, under leaves,
      To eat some winter day.
    Acorns sweet are plenty,
      We will have them all:
    Skip and scamper lively
      Till the last ones fall."


The birds were singing softly,--

    "Rock a bye, babies,
      Your cradle hangs high;
    Soft down your pillow,
      Your curtain the sky.
    Father will feed you,
      While mother will sing,
    And shelter our darlings
      With her warm wing."


And the ants were saying to one another as they hurried in and out of
their little houses,--

    "Work, neighbor, work!
      Do not stop to play;
    Wander far and wide,
      Gather all you may.
    We are never like
      Idle butterflies,
    But like the busy bees,
      Industrious and wise."


"Ants always were dreadfully good, but butterflies are ever so much
prettier," said Kitty, listening to the little voices with wonder and
pleasure.

    "Hollo! hollo!
    Come down below,--
    It’s lovely and cool
    Out here in the pool;
    On a lily-pad float
    For a nice green boat.
    Here we sit and sing
    In a pleasant ring;
    Or leap-frog play,
    In the jolliest way.
    Our games have begun,
    Come join in the fun."


"Dear me! what could I do over there in the mud with the queer green
frogs?" laughed Kitty, as this song was croaked at her.

    "No, no, come and fly
    Through the sunny sky,
    Or honey sip
    From the rose’s lip,
    Or dance in the air,
    Like spirits fair.
    Come away, come away;
    ’T is our holiday."


A cloud of lovely yellow butterflies flew up from a wild-rose bush, and
went dancing away higher and higher, till they vanished in the light
beyond the wood.

"That is better than leap-frog.  I wish my skipping shoes would let me
fly up somewhere, instead of carrying me on errands and where I ought to
go all the time," said Kitty, watching the pretty things glitter as they
flew.

Just at that minute a clock struck, and away went the shoes over the
pool, the hill, the road, till they pranced in at the gate as the
tea-bell rang.  Kitty amused the family by telling what she had done and
seen; but no one believed the Fairyland part, and her father said,
laughing,--

"Go on, my dear, making up little stories, and by and by you may be as
famous as Hans Christian Andersen, whose books you like so well."

"The sun will soon set, and then my fun will be over; so I must skip
while I can," thought Kitty, and went waltzing round the lawn so
prettily that all the family came to see her.

"She dances so well that she shall go to dancing-school," said her
mother, pleased with the pretty antics of her little girl.

Kitty was delighted to hear that; for she had longed to go, and went on
skipping as hard as she could, that she might learn some of the graceful
steps the shoes took before the day was done.

"Come, dear, stop now, and run up to your bath and bed.  It has been a
long hot day, and you are tired; so get to sleep early, for Nursey wants
to go out," said her mother, as the sun went down behind the hills with
a last bright glimmer, like the wink of a great sleepy eye.

"Oh, please, a few minutes more," began Kitty, but was off like a flash;
for the shoes trotted her upstairs so fast that she ran against old
Nursey, and down she went, splashing the water all over the floor, and
scolding in such a funny way that it made Kitty laugh so that she could
hardly pick her up again.

By the time she was ready to undress the sun was quite gone, and the
shoes she took off were common ones again, for midsummer day was over.
But Kitty never forgot the little lessons she had learned: she tried to
run willingly when spoken to; she remembered the pretty steps and danced
like a fairy; and best of all, she always loved the innocent and
interesting little creatures in the woods and fields, and whenever she
was told she might go to play with them, she hurried away almost as
quickly as if she still wore the skipping shoes.



[Illustration: So Cocky was brought in, and petted.--PAGE 105.]



                                   V.

                               COCKYLOO.


In the barnyard a gray hen sat on her nest, feeling very happy because
it was time for her eggs to hatch, and she hoped to have a fine brood of
chickens.  Presently crack, crack, went the shells; "Peep, peep!" cried
the chicks; "Cluck, cluck!" called the hen; and out came ten downy
little things one after the other, all ready to run and eat and
scratch,--for chickens are not like babies, and don’t have to be tended
at all.

There were eight little hens and two little cockerels, one black and one
as white as snow, with yellow legs, bright eyes, and a tiny red comb on
his head.  This was Cockyloo, the good chick; but the black one was
named Peck, and was a quarrelsome bad fowl, as we shall see.

Mrs. Partlet, the mamma, was very proud of her fine family; for the
eight little daughters were all white and very pretty.  She led them out
into the farmyard, clucking and scratching busily; for all were hungry,
and ran chirping round her to pick up the worms and seeds she found for
them.  Cocky soon began to help take care of his sisters; and when a
nice corn or a fat bug was found, he would step back and let little
Downy or Snowball have it.  But Peck would run and push them away, and
gobble up the food greedily.  He chased them away from the pan where the
meal was, and picked the down off their necks if they tried to get their
share.  His mother scolded him when the little ones ran to hide under
her wings; but he did n’t care, and was very naughty. Cocky began to
crow when he was very young, and had such a fine voice that people liked
to hear his loud, clear "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" early in the morning; for
he woke before the sun was up, and began his song.  Peck used to grumble
at being roused at dawn, for he was lazy; but the hens bustled up, and
were glad to get out of the hen-house.

The father cock had been killed by a dog; so they made Cocky king of the
farmyard, and Peck was very jealous of him.

"I came out of the shell first, and I am the oldest; so I ought to be
king," he said.

"But we don’t like you, because you are selfish, cross, and lazy.  We
want Cocky; he is so lively, kind, and brave.  He will make a splendid
bird, and he must be our king," answered the hens; and Peck had to mind,
or they would have pulled every feather out of his little tail.

He resolved to do some harm to his good brother, and plagued him all he
could.  One day, when Cocky was swinging with three of his sisters on a
bush that hung over the brook, Peck asked a stupid donkey feeding near
to come and put his heavy foot on the bush. He did it, and crack went
the branch, splash went the poor chicks into the water, and all were
drowned but Cocky, who flew across and was saved.  Poor little Hop,
Chirp, and Downy went floating down the brook like balls of white foam,
and were never seen again. All the hens mourned for them, and put a
black feather in their heads to show how sorry they were.  Mamma Partlet
was heart-broken to lose three darlings at once; but Cocky comforted
her, and never told how it happened, because he was ashamed to have
people know what a bad bird Peck was.

A butterfly saw it all, and he told Granny Cockletop about it; and the
hens were so angry that they turned Peck out of the barnyard, and he had
to go and live in the woods alone.  He said he did n’t care; but he did,
and was very unhappy, and used to go and peep into the pleasant field
where the fowls scratched and talked together.  He dared not show
himself, for they would have driven him out.  But kind Cocky saw him,
and would run with some nice bit and creep through the fence into the
wood, saying,--

"Poor brother, I’m sorry for you, and I’ll come and play with you, and
tell you the news."

Now in this wood lived a fox, and he had been planning to eat Peck as
soon as he was fat; for he missed the good corn and meal he used to
have, and grew very thin living on grasshoppers and berries.  While he
waited the sly fellow made friends with Peck, though the bird knew that
foxes ate hens.

"I ’m not afraid, and I don’t believe old Granny Cockletop’s tales.  I
can take care of myself, I guess," he said, and went on playing with the
fox, who got him to tell all about the hen-house,--how the door was
fastened, and where the plump chickens roosted, and what time they went
to bed,--so that he could creep in and steal a good supper by and by.
Silly Peck never guessed what harm he was doing, and only laughed when
Cocky said,--

"You will be sorry if you play with the fox.  He is a bad fellow; so be
careful and sleep on a high branch, and keep out of his way, as I do."

Cocky was fat and large, and the fox longed to eat him, but never could,
because he wisely ran home whenever he saw the rogue hiding in the wood.
This made Peck angry, for he wanted his brother to stay and play; and so
one day, when Cocky ran off in the midst of a nice game, Peck said to
the fox,--

"See here, if you want to catch that fellow, I ’ll tell you how to do
it.  He has promised to bring me some food to-night, when all the rest
are at roost.  He will hide and not get shut up; then, when those cross
old biddies are asleep, he will cluck softly, and I am to go in and eat
all I want out of the pan.  You hide on the top of the hen-house; and
while he talks to me, you can pounce on him.  Then I shall be the only
cock here, and they will have to make me king."

"All right," said the fox, much pleased with the plan, and very glad
that Peck had a chance to get fatter.

So when it was night, Peck crept through the broken paling and waited
till he heard the signal.  Now, good Cocky had saved up nice bits from
his own dinner, and put them in a paper hidden under a bush.  He spread
them all out in the barnyard and called; and Peck came in a great hurry
to eat them, never stopping to say, "Thank you."

Cocky stood by talking pleasantly till a little shower came up.

"Peck, dear, put this nice thick paper over you; then you will be dry,
and can go on eating. I’ll step under that burdock leaf and wait till
you are done," said Cocky; and Peck was too busy gobbling up the food to
remember anything else.

Now the fox had just crept up on the hen-house roof; and when he peeped
down, there was just light enough to see a white thing bobbing about.

"Ah, ha! that’s Cockyloo; now for a good supper!"  And with a jump he
seized Peck by the head before he could explain the mistake.

One squawk, and the naughty bird was dead; but though the paper fell
off, and the fox saw what he had done, it was too late, and he began to
eat Peck up, while Cocky flew into a tree and crowed so loud that the
farmer ran with his gun and shot the fox before he could squeeze through
the hole in the fence with the fowl in his mouth.

After that the hens felt safe, for there were no more foxes; and when
they heard about Peck they did not mourn at all, but liked Cocky better
than ever, and lived happily together, with nothing to trouble them.

King Cockyloo grew to be a splendid bird,--pure white, with a tall red
comb on his head, long spurs on his yellow legs, many fine feathers in
his tail, and eyes that shone like diamonds. His crow was so loud that
it could be heard all over the neighborhood, and people used to say,
"Hark! hear Farmer Hunt’s cock crow.  Is n’t it a sweet sound to wake us
in the dawn?"  All the other cocks used to answer him, and there was a
fine matinée concert every day.

He was a good brother, and led his five little sisters all about the
field, feeding, guarding, and amusing them; for mamma was lame now, and
could not stir far from the yard.  It was a pretty sight to see Cocky
run home with a worm in his bill or a nice berry, and give it to his
mother, who was very proud of her handsome son.  Even old Granny
Cockletop, who scolded about everything, liked him; and often said, as
the hens sat scuffling in the dust,--

"A fine bird, my dears, a very fine bird, and I know he will do
something remarkable before he dies."

She was right for once; and this is what he did.

One day the farmer had to go away and stay all night, leaving the old
lady alone with two boys.  They were not afraid; for they had a gun, and
quite longed for a chance to fire it. Now it happened that the farmer
had a good deal of money in the house, and some bad men knew it; so they
waited for him to go away that they might steal it.  Cocky was picking
about in the field when he heard voices behind the wall, and peeping
through a hole saw two shabby men hiding there.

"At twelve, to-night, when all are asleep, we will creep in at the
kitchen window and steal the money.  You shall watch on the outside and
whistle if any one comes along while I ’m looking for the box where the
farmer keeps it," said one man.

"You need n’t be afraid; there is no dog, and no one to wake the family,
so we are quite safe," said the other man; and then they both went to
sleep till night came.

Cocky was much troubled, and did n’t know what to do.  He could not tell
the old lady about it; for he could only cackle and crow, and she would
not understand that language.  So he went about all day looking very
sober, and would not chase grasshoppers, play hide-and-seek under the
big burdock leaves, or hunt the cricket with his sisters.  At sunset he
did not go into the hen-house with the rest, but flew up to the shed
roof over the kitchen, and sat there in the cold ready to scare the
robbers with a loud crow, as he could do nothing else.

At midnight the men came creeping along; one stopped outside, and the
other went in. Presently he handed a basket of silver out, and went back
for the money.  Just as he came creeping along with the box, Cocky gave
a loud, long crow, that frightened the robbers and woke the boys.  The
man with the basket ran away in such a hurry that he tumbled into a
well; the other was going to get out of the window, when Cocky flew down
and picked at his eyes and flapped his wings in his face, so that he
turned to run some other way, and met the boys, who fired at him and
shot him in the legs. The old lady popped her head out of the upper
window and rang the dinner-bell, and called "Fire! fire!" so loud that
it roused the neighbors, who came running to see what the trouble could
be.

They fished one man out of the well and picked up the wounded one, and
carried them both off to prison.

"Who caught them?" asked the people.

"We did," cried the boys, very proud of what they had done; "but we
should n’t have waked if our good Cocky had not crowed, and scared the
rascals.  He deserves half the praise, for this is the second time he
has caught a thief."

So Cocky was brought in, and petted, and called a fine fellow; and his
family were so proud of him they clucked about it for weeks afterward.

When the robbers were tried, it was found that they were the men who had
robbed the bank, and taken a great deal of money; so every one was glad
to have them shut up for twenty years.  It made a great stir, and people
would go to see Cocky and tell how he helped catch the men; and he was
so brave and handsome, they said at last,--

"We want a new weather-cock on our courthouse, and instead of an arrow
let us have a cock; and he shall look like this fine fellow."

"Yes, yes," cried the young folks, much pleased; for they thought Cocky
ought to be remembered in some way.

So a picture was taken, and Cocky stood very still, with his bright eye
on the man; then one like it was made of brass, and put high up on the
court-house, where all could see the splendid bird shining like gold,
and twirling about to tell which way the wind was.  The children were
never tired of admiring him; and all the hens and chickens went in a
procession one moonlight night to see it,--yes, even Mamma Partlet and
Granny Cockletop, though one was lame and the other very old, so full of
pride were they in the great honor done King Cockyloo.

This was not the end of his good deeds; and the last was the best of
all, though it cost him his life.  He ruled for some years, and kept his
kingdom in good order; for no one would kill him, when many of the other
fowls were taken for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  But he did die
at last; and even then he was good and brave, as you shall hear.

One of the boys wanted to smoke a pipe, and went behind the hen-house,
so nobody should see him do such a silly thing.  He thought he heard his
father coming, and hid the pipe under the house.  Some straw and dry
leaves lay about, and took fire, setting the place in a blaze; for the
boy ran away when he saw the mischief he had done, and the fire got to
burning nicely before the cries of the poor hens called people to help.
The door was locked, and could not be opened, because the key was in the
pocket of the naughty boy; so the farmer got an axe and chopped down the
wall, letting the poor biddies fly out, squawking and smoking.

"Where is Cocky?" cried the other boy, as he counted the hens and missed
the king of the farmyard.

"Burnt up, I ’m afraid," said the farmer, who was throwing water on the
flames.

Alas! yes, he was; for when the fire was out they found good old Cocky
sitting on a nest, with his wide wings spread over some little chicks
whose mother had left them.  They were too small to run away, and sat
chirping sadly till Cocky covered and kept them safe, though the smoke
choked _him_ to death.

Every one was very sorry; and the children gave the good bird a fine
funeral, and buried him in the middle of the field, with a green mound
over him, and a white stone, on which was written,--

    Here lies the bravest cock that ever crew:
    We mourn for him with sorrow true.
    Now nevermore at dawn his music shall we hear,
    Waking the world like trumpet shrill and clear.
    The hens all hang their heads, the chickens sadly peep;
    The boys look sober, and the girls all weep.
    Good-by, dear Cocky: sleep and rest.
    With grass and daisies on your faithful breast;
    And when you wake, brave bird, so good and true,
    Clap your white wings and crow, "Cock-a-doodle-doo."



[Illustration: The lion walked awhile to rest himself.--PAGE 118.]



                                  VI.

                            ROSY’S JOURNEY.


Rosy was a nice little girl who lived with her mother in a small house
in the woods. They were very poor, for the father had gone away to dig
gold, and did not come back; so they had to work hard to get food to eat
and clothes to wear.  The mother spun yarn when she was able, for she
was often sick, and Rosy did all she could to help.  She milked the red
cow and fed the hens; dug the garden, and went to town to sell the yarn
and the eggs.

She was very good and sweet, and every one loved her; but the neighbors
were all poor, and could do little to help the child.  So, when at last
the mother died, the cow and hens and house had to be sold to pay the
doctor and the debts.  Then Rosy was left all alone, with no mother, no
home, and no money to buy clothes and dinners with.

"What will you do?" said the people, who were very sorry for her.

"I will go and find my father," answered Rosy, bravely.

"But he is far away, and you don’t know just where he is, up among the
mountains.  Stay with us and spin on your little wheel, and we will buy
the yarn, and take care of you, dear little girl," said the kind people.

"No, I must go; for mother told me to, and my father will be glad to
have me.  I ’m not afraid, for every one is good to me," said Rosy,
gratefully.

Then the people gave her a warm red cloak, and a basket with a little
loaf and bottle of milk in it, and some pennies to buy more to eat when
the bread was gone.  They all kissed her, and wished her good luck; and
she trotted away through the wood to find her father.

For some days she got on very well; for the wood-cutters were kind, and
let her sleep in their huts, and gave her things to eat.  But by and by
she came to lonely places, where there were no houses; and then she was
afraid, and used to climb up in the trees to sleep, and had to eat
berries and leaves, like the Children in the Wood.

She made a fire at night, so wild beasts would not come near her; and if
she met other travellers, she was so young and innocent no one had the
heart to hurt her.  She was kind to everything she met; so all little
creatures were friends to her, as we shall see.

One day, as she was resting by a river, she saw a tiny fish on the bank,
nearly dead for want of water.

"Poor thing! go and be happy again," she said, softly taking him up, and
dropping him into the nice cool river.

"Thank you, dear child; I ’11 not forget, but will help you some day,"
said the fish, when he had taken a good drink, and felt better.

"Why, how can a tiny fish help such a great girl as I am?" laughed Rosy.

"Wait and see," answered the fish, as he swam away with a flap of his
little tail.

Rosy went on her way, and forgot all about it. But she never forgot to
be kind; and soon after, as she was looking in the grass for
strawberries, she found a field-mouse with a broken leg.

"Help me to my nest, or my babies will starve," cried the poor thing.

"Yes, I will; and bring these berries so that you can keep still till
your leg is better, and have something to eat."

Rosy took the mouse carefully in her little hand, and tied up the broken
leg with a leaf of spearmint and a blade of grass.  Then she carried her
to the nest under the roots of an old tree, where four baby mice were
squeaking sadly for their mother.  She made a bed of thistledown for the
sick mouse, and put close within reach all the berries and seeds she
could find, and brought an acorn-cup of water from the spring, so they
could be comfortable.

"Good little Rosy, I shall pay you for all this kindness some day," said
the mouse, when she was done.

"I ’m afraid you are not big enough to do much," answered Rosy, as she
ran off to go on her journey.

"Wait and see," called the mouse; and all the little ones squeaked, as
if they said the same.

Some time after, as Rosy lay up in a tree, waiting for the sun to rise,
she heard a great buzzing close by, and saw a fly caught in a cobweb
that went from one twig to another.  The big spider was trying to spin
him all up, and the poor fly was struggling to get away before his legs
and wings were helpless.

Rosy put up her finger and pulled down the web, and the spider ran away
at once to hide under the leaves.  But the happy fly sat on Rosy’s hand,
cleaning his wings, and buzzing so loud for joy that it sounded like a
little trumpet.

"You ’ve saved my life, and I ’ll save yours, if I can," said the fly,
twinkling his bright eye at Rosy.

"You silly thing, you can’t help me," answered Rosy, climbing down,
while the fly buzzed away, saying, like the mouse and fish,--

"Wait and see; wait and see."

Rosy trudged on and on, till at last she came to the sea.  The mountains
were on the other side; but how should she get over the wide water?  No
ships were there, and she had no money to hire one if there had been
any; so she sat on the shore, very tired and sad, and cried a few big
tears as salt as the sea.

"Hullo!" called a bubbly sort of voice close by; and the fish popped up
his head.

Rosy ran to see what he wanted.

"I ’ve come to help you over the water," said the fish.

"How can you, when I want a ship, and some one to show me the way?"
answered Rosy.

"I shall just call my friend the whale, and he will take you over better
than a ship, because he won’t get wrecked.  Don’t mind if he spouts and
flounces about a good deal, he is only playing; so you need n’t be
frightened."

Down dived the little fish, and Rosy waited to see what would happen;
for she did n’t believe such a tiny thing could really bring a whale to
help her.

Presently what looked like a small island came floating through the sea;
and turning round, so that its tail touched the shore, the whale said,
in a roaring voice that made her jump,--

"Come aboard, little girl, and hold on tight. I ’ll carry you wherever
you like."

It was rather a slippery bridge, and Rosy was rather scared at this big,
strange boat; but she got safely over, and held on fast; then, with a
roll and a plunge, off went the whale, spouting two fountains, while his
tail steered him like the rudder of a ship.

Rosy liked it, and looked down into the deep sea, where all sorts of
queer and lovely things were to be seen.  Great fishes came and looked
at her; dolphins played near to amuse her; the pretty nautilus sailed by
in its transparent boat; and porpoises made her laugh with their rough
play.  Mermaids brought her pearls and red coral to wear, sea-apples to
eat, and at night sung her to sleep with their sweet lullabies.

So she had a very pleasant voyage, and ran on shore with many thanks to
the good whale, who gave a splendid spout, and swam away.

Then Rosy travelled along till she came to a desert.  Hundreds of miles
of hot sand, with no trees or brooks or houses.

"I never can go that way," she said; "I should starve, and soon be worn
out walking in that hot sand.  What _shall_ I do?"

      "Quee, quee!
      Wait and see:
    You were good to me;
      So here I come,
      From my little home,
    To help you willingly,"

said a friendly voice; and there was the mouse, looking at her with its
bright eyes full of gratitude.

"Why, you dear little thing, I ’m very glad to see you; but I ’m sure
you can’t help me across this desert," said Rosy, stroking its soft
back.

"That’s easy enough," answered the mouse, rubbing its paws briskly.  "I
’ll just call my friend the lion; he lives here, and he ’ll take you
across with pleasure."

"Oh, I ’m afraid he ’d rather eat me.  How dare you call that fierce
beast?" cried Rosy, much surprised.

"I gnawed him out of a net once, and he promised to help me.  He is a
noble animal, and he will keep his word."

Then the mouse sang, in its shrill little voice,--

      "O lion, grand,
      Come over the sand,
    And help me now, I pray!
      Here ’s a little lass,
      Who wants to pass;
    Please carry her on her way."


In a moment a loud roar was heard, and a splendid yellow lion, with
fiery eyes and a long mane, came bounding over the sand to meet them.

"What can I do for you, tiny friend?" he said, looking at the mouse, who
was not a bit frightened, though Rosy hid behind a rock, expecting every
moment to be eaten.

Mousie told him, and the good lion said pleasantly,--

"I ’ll take the child along.  Come on, my dear; sit on my back and hold
fast to my mane, for I ’m a swift horse, and you might fall off."

Then he crouched down like a great cat, and Rosy climbed up, for he was
so kind she could not fear him; and away they went, racing over the sand
till her hair whistled in the wind.  As soon as she got her breath, she
thought it great fun to go flying along, while other lions and tigers
rolled their fierce eyes at her, but dared not touch her; for this lion
was king of all, and she was quite safe.  They met a train of camels
with loads on their backs; and the people travelling with them wondered
what queer thing was riding that fine lion.  It looked like a very large
monkey in a red cloak, but went so fast they never saw that it was a
little girl.

"How glad I am that I was kind to the mouse; for if the good little
creature had not helped me, I never could have crossed this desert,"
said Rosy, as the lion walked awhile to rest himself.

"And if the mouse had not gnawed me out of the net I never should have
come at her call.  You see, little people can conquer big ones, and make
them gentle and friendly by kindness," answered the lion.

Then away they went again, faster than ever, till they came to the green
country.  Rosy thanked the good beast, and he ran back; for if any one
saw him, they would try to catch him.

"Now I have only to climb up these mountains and find father," thought
Rosy, as she saw the great hills before her, with many steep roads
winding up to the top; and far, far away rose the smoke from the huts
where the men lived and dug for gold.  She started off bravely, but took
the wrong road, and after climbing a long while found the path ended in
rocks over which she could not go.  She was very tired and hungry; for
her food was gone, and there were no houses in this wild place.  Night
was coming on, and it was so cold she was afraid she would freeze before
morning, but dared not go on lest she should fall down some steep hole
and be killed. Much discouraged, she lay down on the moss and cried a
little; then she tried to sleep, but something kept buzzing in her ear,
and looking carefully she saw a fly prancing about on the moss, as if
anxious to make her listen to his song,--

      "Rosy, my dear,
      Don’t cry,--I ’m here
    To help you all I can.
      I ’m only a fly,
      But you ’ll see that I
    Will keep my word like a man."


Rosy could n’t help laughing to hear the brisk little fellow talk as if
he could do great things; but she was very glad to see him and hear his
cheerful song, so she held out her finger, and while he sat there told
him all her troubles.

"Bless your heart! my friend the eagle will carry you right up the
mountains and leave you at your father’s door," cried the fly; and he
was off with a flirt of his gauzy wings, for he meant what he said.

Rosy was ready for her new horse, and not at all afraid after the whale
and the lion; so when a great eagle swooped down and alighted near her,
she just looked at his sharp claws, big eyes, and crooked beak as coolly
as if he had been a cock-robin.

He liked her courage, and said kindly in his rough voice,--

"Hop up, little girl, and sit among my feathers. Hold me fast round the
neck, or you may grow dizzy and get a fall."

Rosy nestled down among the thick gray feathers, and put both arms round
his neck; and whiz they went, up, up, up, higher and higher, till the
trees looked like grass, they were so far below.  At first it was very
cold, and Rosy cuddled deeper into her feather bed; then, as they came
nearer to the sun, it grew warm, and she peeped out to see the huts
standing in a green spot on the top of the mountain.

"Here we are.  You’ll find all the men are down in the mine at this
time.  They won’t come up till morning; so you will have to wait for
your father.  Good-by; good luck, my dear."  And the eagle soared away,
higher still, to his nest among the clouds.

It was night now, but fires were burning in all the houses; so Rosy went
from hut to hut trying to find her father’s, that she might rest while
she waited: at last in one the picture of a pretty little girl hung on
the wall, and under it was written, "My Rosy."  Then she knew that this
was the right place; and she ate some supper, put on more wood, and went
to bed, for she wanted to be fresh when her father came in the morning.

While she slept a storm came on,--thunder rolled and lightning flashed,
the wind blew a gale, and rain poured,--but Rosy never waked till dawn,
when she heard men shouting outside,--

"Run, run!  The river is rising!  We shall all be drowned!"

Rosy ran out to see what was the matter, though the wind nearly blew her
away; she found that so much rain had made the river overflow till it
began to wash the banks away.

"What shall I do? what shall I do?" cried Rosy, watching the men rush
about like ants, getting their bags of gold ready to carry off before
the water swept them away, if it became a flood.

As if in answer to her cry, Rosy heard a voice say close by,--

      "Splash, dash!
      Rumble and crash!
    Here come the beavers gay;
      See what they do,
      Rosy, for you,
    Because you helped me one day."

And there in the water was the little fish swimming about, while an army
of beavers began to pile up earth and stones in a high bank to keep the
river back.  How they worked, digging and heaping with teeth and claws,
and beating the earth hard with their queer tails like shovels!

Rosy and the men watched them work, glad to be safe, while the storm
cleared up; and by the time the dam was made, all danger was over. Rosy
looked into the faces of the rough men, hoping her father was there, and
was just going to ask about him, when a great shouting rose again, and
all began to run to the pit hole, saying,--

"The sand has fallen in!  The poor fellows will be smothered!  How can
we get them out? how can we get them out?"

Rosy ran too, feeling as if her heart would break; for her father was
down in the mine, and would die soon if air did not come to him.  The
men dug as hard as they could; but it was a long job, and they feared
they would not be in time.

Suddenly hundreds of moles came scampering along, and began to burrow
down through the earth, making many holes for air to go in; for they
know how to build galleries through the ground better than men can.
Every one was so surprised they stopped to look on; for the dirt flew
like rain as the busy little fellows scratched and bored as if making an
underground railway.

"What does it mean?" said the men.  "They work faster than we can, and
better; but who sent them?  Is this strange little girl a fairy?"

Before Rosy could speak, all heard a shrill, small voice singing,--

      "They come at my call;
      And though they are small,
    They ’ll dig the passage clear:
      I never forget;
      We ’ll save them yet,
    For love of Rosy dear."

Then all saw a little gray mouse sitting on a stone, waving her tail
about, and pointing with her tiny paw to show the moles where to dig.

The men laughed; and Rosy was telling them who she was, when a cry came
from the pit, and they saw that the way was clear so they could pull the
buried men up.  In a minute they got ropes, and soon had ten poor
fellows safe on the ground; pale and dirty, but all alive, and all
shouting as if they were crazy,--

"Tom’s got it!  Tom’s got it!  Hooray for Tom!"

"What is it?" cried the others; and then they saw Tom come up with the
biggest lump of gold ever found in the mountains.

Every one was glad of Tom’s luck; for he was a good man, and had worked
a long time, and been sick, and could n’t go back to his wife and child.
When he saw Rosy, he dropped the lump, and caught her up, saying,--

"My little girl! she ’s better than a million pounds of gold."

Then Rosy was very happy, and went back to the hut, and had a lovely
time telling her father all about her troubles and her travels. He cried
when he heard that the poor mother was dead before she could have any of
the good things the gold would buy them.

"We will go away and be happy together in the pleasantest home I can
find, and never part any more, my darling," said the father, kissing
Rosy as she sat on his knee with her arms round his neck.

She was just going to say something very sweet to comfort him, when a
fly lit on her arm and buzzed very loud,--

      "Don’t drive me away,
      But hear what I say:
    Bad men want the gold;
      They will steal it to-night,
      And you must take flight;
    So be quiet and busy and bold."


"I was afraid some one would take my lump away.  I ’ll pack up at once,
and we will creep off while the men are busy at work; though I ’m afraid
we can’t go fast enough to be safe, if they miss us and come after,"
said Tom, bundling his gold into a bag and looking very sober; for some
of the miners were wild fellows, and might kill him for the sake of that
great lump.

But the fly sang again,--

      "Slip away with me,
      And you will see
    What a wise little thing am I;
      For the road I show
      No man can know,
    Since it’s up in the pathless sky."


Then they followed Buzz to a quiet nook in the wood; and there were the
eagle and his mate waiting to fly away with them so fast and so far that
no one could follow.  Rosy and the bag of gold were put on the mother
eagle; Tom sat astride the king bird; and away they flew to a great
city, where the little girl and her father lived happily together all
their lives.



[Illustration: Poor Billy dangling from a bough, high above the ground.
PAGE 146.]



                                  VII.

                           HOW THEY RAN AWAY.


Two little boys sat on the fence whittling arrows one fine day.  Said
one little boy to the other little boy,--

"Let’s do something jolly."

"All right.  What will we do?"

"Run off to the woods and be hunters."

"What can we hunt?"

"Bears and foxes."

"Mullin says there ain’t any round here."

"Well, we can shoot squirrels and snare woodchucks."

"Have n’t got any guns and trap."

"We ’ve got our bows, and I found an old trap behind the barn."

"What will we eat?"

"Here ’s our lunch; and when that’s gone we can roast the squirrels and
cook the fish on a stick.  I know how."

"Where will you get the fire?"

"Got matches in my pocket."

"I ’ve got a lot of things we could use.  Let’s see."

And as if satisfied at last, cautious Billy displayed his treasures,
while bold Tommy did the same.

Besides the two knives there were strings, nails, matches, a piece of
putty, fish-hooks, and two very dirty handkerchiefs.

"There, sir, that ’s a first-rate fit-out for hunters; and with the
jolly basket of lunch Mrs. Mullin gave us, we can get on tip-top for two
or three days," said Tommy, eager to be off.

"Where shall we sleep?" asked Billy, who liked to be comfortable both
night and day.

"Oh, up in trees or on beds of leaves, like the fellows in our books.
If you are afraid, stay at home; I ’m going to have no end of a good
time."  And Tommy crammed the things back into his pockets as if there
were no time to lose.

"Pooh!  I ain’t afraid.  Come on!"  And jumping down Billy caught up his
rod, rather ashamed of his many questions.

No one was looking at them, and they might have walked quietly off; but
that the "running away" might be all right, both raced down the road,
tumbled over a wall, and dashed into the woods as if a whole tribe of
wild Indians were after them.

"Do you know the way?" panted Billy, when at last they stopped for
breath.

"Yes, it winds right up the mountain; but we ’d better not keep to it,
or some one will see us and take us back.  We are going to be _real_
hunters and have adventures; so we must get lost, and find our way by
the sun and the stars," answered Tommy, who had read so many Boys’ Books
his little head was a jumble of Texan Rangers, African Explorers, and
Buffalo Bills; and he burned to outdo them all.

"What will our mothers say if we really get lost?" asked Billy, always
ready with a question.

"Mine won’t fuss.  She lets me do what I like."

That was true; for Tommy’s poor mamma was tired of trying to keep the
lively little fellow in order, and had got used to seeing him come out
of all his scrapes without much harm.

"Mine will be scared; she ’s always afraid I ’m going to get hurt, so I
’m careful.  But I guess I ’ll risk it, and have some fun to tell about
when we go home," said Billy, trudging after Captain Tommy, who always
took the lead.

These eleven-year-old boys were staying with their mothers at a
farm-house up among the mountains; and having got tired of the tame
bears, the big barn, the trout brook, the thirty colts at pasture, and
the society of the few little girls and younger boys at the hotel near
by, these fine fellows longed to break loose and "rough it in the bush,"
as the hunters did in their favorite stories.

Away they went, deeper and deeper into the great forest that covered the
side of the mountain.  A pleasant place that August day; for it was cool
and green, with many brooks splashing over the rocks, or lying in brown
pools under the ferns.  Squirrels chattered and raced in the tall pines;
now and then a gray rabbit skipped out of sight among the brakes, or a
strange bird flew by.  Here and there blackberries grew in the open
places, sassafras bushes were plentiful, and black-birch bark was ready
for chewing.

"Don’t you call this nice?" asked Tommy, pausing at last in a little
dell where a noisy brook came tumbling down the mountain side, and the
pines sung overhead.

"Yes; but I ’m awful hungry.  Let’s rest and eat our lunch," said Billy,
sitting down on a cushion of moss.

"You always want to be stuffing and resting," answered sturdy Tommy, who
liked to be moving all the time.

He took the fishing-basket, which hung over his shoulder by a strap, and
opened it carefully; for good Mrs. Mullin had packed a nice lunch of
bread and butter, cake and peaches, with a bottle of milk, and two large
pickles slipped in on the sly to please the boys.

Tommy’s face grew very sober as he looked in, for all he saw was a box
of worms for bait and an old jacket.

"By George! we ’ve got the wrong basket. This is Mullin’s, and he ’s
gone off with our prog.  Won’t he be mad?"

"Not as mad as I am.  Why did n’t you look?  You are always in such a
hurry to start. What _shall_ we do now without anything to eat?" whined
Billy; for losing his lunch was a dreadful blow to him.

"We shall have to catch some fish and eat blackberries.  Which will you
do, old cry-baby?" said Tommy, laughing at the other boy’s dismal face.

"I ’ll fish; I ’m so tired I can’t go scratching round after berries.  I
don’t love ’em, either."  And Billy began to fix his line and bait his
hook.

"Lucky we got the worms; you can eat ’em if you can’t wait for fish,"
said Tommy, bustling about to empty the basket and pile up their few
possessions in a heap.  "There’s a quiet pool below here, you go and
fish there.  I ’ll pick the berries, and then show you how to get dinner
in the woods.  This is our camp; so fly round and do your best."

Then Tommy ran off to a place near by where he had seen the berries,
while Billy found a comfortable nook by the pool, and sat scowling at
the water so crossly, it was a wonder any trout came to his hook.  But
the fat worms tempted several small ones, and he cheered up at the
prospect of food.  Tommy whistled while he picked, and in half an hour
came back with two quarts of nice berries and an armful of dry sticks
for the fire.

"We ’ll have a jolly dinner, after all," he said, as the flames went
crackling up, and the dry leaves made a pleasant smell.

"Got four, but don’t see how we ’ll ever cook ’em; no frying-pan,"
grumbled Billy, throwing down the four little trout, which he had half
cleaned.

"Don’t want any.  Broil ’em on the coals, or toast ’em on a forked
stick.  I ’ll show you how," said cheerful Tommy, whittling away, and
feeding his fire as much like a real hunter as a small boy could be.

While he worked, Billy ate berries and sighed for bread and butter.  At
last, after much trouble, two of the trout were half cooked and eagerly
eaten by the hungry boys.  But they were very different from the nice
brown ones Mrs. Mullin gave them; for in spite of Tommy’s struggles they
would fall in the ashes, and there was no salt to eat with them.  By the
time the last were toasted, the young hunters were so hungry they could
have eaten anything, and not a berry was left.

"I set the trap down there, for I saw a hole among the vines, and I
should n’t wonder if we got a rabbit or something," said Tommy, when the
last bone was polished.  "You go and catch some more fish, and I ’ll see
if I have caught any old chap as he went home to dinner."

Off ran Tommy; and the other boy went slowly back to the brook, wishing
with all his might he was at home eating sweet corn and berry pie.

The trout had evidently gone to their dinners, for not one bite did poor
Billy get; and he was just falling asleep when a loud shout gave him
such a fright that he tumbled into the brook up to his knees.

"I ’ve got him!  Come and see!  He’s a bouncer," roared Tommy, from the
berry bushes some way off.

Billy scrambled out, and went as fast as his wet boots would let him, to
see what the prize was.  He found Tommy dancing wildly round a fat gray
animal, who was fighting to get his paws out of the trap, and making a
queer noise as he struggled about.

"What is it?" asked Billy, getting behind a tree as fast as possible;
for the thing looked fierce, and he was very timid.

"A raccoon, I guess, or a big woodchuck. Won’t his fur make a fine cap?
I guess the other fellows will wish they ’d come with us," said Tommy,
prancing to and fro, without the least idea what to do with the
creature.

"He ’ll bite.  We ’d better run away and wait till he ’s dead," said
Billy.

"Wish he ’d got his head in, then I could carry him off; but he does
look savage, so we’ll have to leave him awhile, and get him when we come
back.  But he’s a real beauty."  And Tommy looked proudly at the bunch
of gray fur scuffling in the sand.

"Can we ever eat him?" asked hungry Billy, ready for a fried crocodile
if he could get it.

"If he ’s a raccoon, we can; but I don’t know about woodchucks.  The
fellows in my books don’t seem to have caught any.  He ’s nice and fat;
we might try him when he ’s dead," said Tommy, who cared more for the
skin to show than the best meal ever cooked.

The sound of a gun echoing through the wood gave Tommy a good idea,--

"Let’s find the man and get him to shoot this chap; then we need n’t
wait, but skin him right away, and eat him too."

Off they went to the camp; and catching up their things, the two hunters
hurried away in the direction of the sound, feeling glad to know that
some one was near them, for two or three hours of wood life made them a
little homesick.

They ran and scrambled, and listened and called; but not until they had
gone a long way up the mountain did they find the man, resting in an old
hut left by the lumbermen.  The remains of his dinner were spread on the
floor, and he lay smoking, and reading a newspaper, while his dog dozed
at his feet, close to a well-filled game-bag.

He looked surprised when two dirty, wet little boys suddenly appeared
before him,--one grinning cheerfully, the other looking very dismal and
scared as the dog growled and glared at them as if they were two
rabbits.

"Hollo!" said the man.

"Hollo!" answered Tommy.

"Who are you?" asked the man.

"Hunters," said Tommy.

"Had good luck?" And the man laughed.

"First-rate.  Got a raccoon in our trap, and we want you to come and
shoot him," answered Tommy, proudly.

"Sure?" said the man, looking interested as well as amused.

"No; but I think so."

"What’s he like?"

Tommy described him, and was much disappointed when the man lay down
again, saying, with another laugh,--

"It’s a woodchuck; he’s no good."

"But I want the skin."

"Then don’t shoot him, let him die; that’s better for the skin," said
the man, who was tired and did n’t want to stop for such poor game.

All this time Billy had been staring hard at the sandwiches and bread
and cheese on the floor, and sniffing at them, as the dog sniffed at
him.

"Want some grub?" asked the man, seeing the hungry look.

"I just do!  We left our lunch, and I ’ve only had two little trout and
some old berries since breakfast," answered Billy, with tears in his
eyes and a hand on his stomach.

"Eat away then; I ’m done, and don’t want the stuff."  And the man took
up his paper as if glad to be let alone.

It was lucky that the dog had been fed, for in ten minutes nothing was
left but the napkin; and the boys sat picking up the crumbs, much
refreshed, but ready for more.

"Better be going home, my lads; it’s pretty cold on the mountain after
sunset, and you are a long way from town," said the man, who had peeped
at them over his paper now and then, and saw, in spite of the dirt and
rips, that they were not farmer boys.

"We don’t live in town; we are at Mullin’s, in the valley.  No hurry; we
know the way, and we want to have some sport first.  You seem to have
done well," answered Tommy, looking enviously from the gun to the
game-bag, out of which hung a rabbit’s head and a squirrel’s tail.

"Pretty fair; but I want a shot at the bear. People tell me there is one
up here, and I ’m after him; for he kills the sheep, and might hurt some
of the young folks round here," said the man, loading his gun with a
very sober air; for he wanted to get rid of the boys and send them home.

Billy looked alarmed; but Tommy’s brown face beamed with joy as he said
eagerly,--

"I hope you ’ll get him.  I ’d rather shoot a bear than any other animal
but a lion.  We don’t have those here, and bears are scarce. Mullin said
he had n’t heard of one for a long time; so this must be a young one,
for they killed the big one two years ago."

That was true, and the man knew it.  He did not really expect or want to
meet a bear, but thought the idea of one would send the little fellows
home at once.  Finding one of them was unscared, he laughed, and said
with a nod to Tommy,--

"If I had time I ’d take you along, and show you how to hunt; but this
fat friend of yours could n’t rough it with us, and we can’t leave him
alone; so go ahead your own way.  Only I wouldn’t climb any higher, for
among the rocks you are sure to get hurt or lost."

"Oh, I say, let’s go!  Such fun, Billy!  I know you’ll like it.  A real
gun and dog and hunter!  Come on, and don’t be a molly-coddle," cried
Tommy, wild to go.

"I won’t!  I’m tired, and I’m going home; you can go after your old
bears if you want to. I don’t think much of hunting anyway, and wish I
had n’t come," growled Billy, very cross at being left out, yet with no
desire to scramble any more.

"Can’t stop.  Good-by.  Get along home, and some day I ’ll come and take
you out with me, little Leatherstocking," said the man, striding off
with the dear gun and dog and bag, leaving Billy to wonder what he meant
by that queer name, and Tommy to console himself with the promise made
him.

"Let’s go and see how old Chucky gets on," he said good-naturedly, when
the man vanished.

"Not till I ’m rested.  I can get a good nap on this pile of hay; then
we’ll go home before it’s late," answered lazy Billy, settling himself
on the rough bed the lumbermen had used.

"I just wish I had a boy with some go in him; you ain’t much better than
a girl," sighed Tommy, walking off to a pine-tree where some squirrels
seemed to be having a party, they chattered and raced up and down at
such a rate.

He tried his bow and shot all his arrows many times in vain, for the
lively creatures gave him no chance.  He had better luck with a brown
bird who sat in a bush and was hit full in the breast with the sharpest
arrow.  The poor thing fluttered and fell, and its blood wet the green
leaves as it lay dying on the grass.  Tommy was much pleased at first;
but as he stood watching its bright eye grow dim and its pretty brown
wings stop fluttering, he felt sorry that its happy little life was so
cruelly ended, and ashamed that his thoughtless fun had given so much
pain.

"I ’ll never shoot another bird except hawks after chickens, and I won’t
brag about this one. It was so tame, and trusted me, I was very mean to
kill it."

As he thought this, Tommy smoothed the ruffled feathers of the dead
thrush, and, making a little grave under the pine, buried it wrapped in
green leaves, and left it there where its mate could sing over it, and
no rude hands disturb its rest.

"I ’ll tell mamma and she will understand; but I _won’t_ tell Billy.  He
is such a greedy old chap he’ll say I ought to have kept the poor bird
to eat," thought Tommy, as he went back to the hut, and sat there,
restringing his bow, till Billy woke up, much more amiable for his
sleep.

They tried to find the woodchuck, but lost their way, and wandered
deeper into the great forest till they came to a rocky place and could
go no farther.  They climbed up and tumbled down, turned back and went
round, looked at the sun and knew it was late, chewed sassafras bark and
checkerberry leaves for supper, and grew more and more worried and tired
as hour after hour went by and they saw no end to woods and rocks.  Once
or twice they heard the hunter’s gun far away, and called and tried to
find him.

Tommy scolded Billy for not going with the man, who knew his way and was
probably safe in the valley when the last faint shot came up to them.
Billy cried, and reproached Tommy for proposing to run away; and both
felt very homesick for their mothers and their good safe beds at Farmer
Mullin’s.

The sun set, and found them in a dreary place full of rocks and blasted
trees half-way up the mountain.  They were so tired they could hardly
walk, and longed to lie down anywhere to sleep; but, remembering the
hunter’s story of the bear, they were afraid to do it, till Tommy
suggested climbing a tree, after making a fire at the foot of it to
scare away the bear, lest he climb too and get them.

But, alas! the matches were left in their first camp; so they decided to
take turns to sleep and watch, since it was plain that they must spend
the night there.  Billy went up first, and creeping into a good notch of
the bare tree tried to sleep, while brave Tommy, armed with a big stick,
marched to and fro below.  Every few minutes a trembling voice would
call from above, "Is anything coming?" and an anxious voice would answer
from below, "Not yet. Hurry up and go to sleep!  I want my turn."

At last Billy began to snore, and then Tommy felt so lonely he could n’t
bear it; so he climbed to a lower branch, and sat nodding and trying to
keep watch, till he too fell fast asleep, and the early moon saw the
poor boys roosting there like two little owls.

A loud cry, a scrambling overhead, and then a great shaking and howling
waked Tommy so suddenly that he lost his wits for a moment and did not
know where he was.

"The bear! the bear! don’t let him get me! Tommy, Tommy, come and make
him let go," cried Billy, filling the quiet night with dismal howls.

Tommy looked up, expecting to behold a large bear eating his unhappy
friend; but the moonlight showed him nothing but poor Billy dangling
from a bough, high above the ground, caught by his belt when he fell.
He had been dreaming of bears, and rolled off his perch; so there he
hung, kicking and wailing, half awake, and so scared it was long before
Tommy could make him believe that he was quite safe.

How to get him down was the next question. The branch was not strong
enough to bear Tommy, though he climbed up and tried to unhook poor
Billy.  The belt was firmly twisted at the back, and Billy could not
reach to undo it, nor could he get his legs round the branch to pull
himself up.  There seemed no way but to unbuckle the belt and drop.
That he was afraid to try; for the ground was hard, and the fall a high
one.  Fortunately both belt and buckle were strong; so he hung safely,
though very uncomfortably, while Tommy racked his boyish brain to find a
way to help him.

Billy had just declared that he should be cut in two very soon if
something was not done for him, and Tommy was in despair, when they
thought they heard a far-off shout, and both answered it till their
throats were nearly split with screaming.

"I seem to see a light moving round down that way," cried Billy from his
hook, pointing toward the valley.

"They are looking for us, but they won’t hear us.  I ’ll run and holler
louder, and bring ’em up here," answered Tommy, glad to do anything that
would put an end to this dreadful state of things.

"Don’t leave me!  I may fall and be killed! The bear might come!  Don’t
go! don’t go!" wailed Billy, longing to drop, but afraid.

"I won’t go far, and I ’ll come back as quick as I can.  You are safe up
there.  Hold on, and we ’ll soon get you down," answered Tommy, rushing
away helter-skelter, never minding where he went, and too much excited
to care for any damage.

The moon was bright on the blasted trees; but when he came down among
the green pines, it grew dark, and he often stumbled and fell. Never
minding bumps and bruises, he scrambled over rocks, leaped fallen
trunks, floundered through brooks, and climbed down steep places, till,
with a reckless jump, he went heels over head into a deep hole, and lay
there for a moment stunned by the fall.  It was an old bear-trap, long
unused, and fortunately well carpeted with dead leaves, or poor Tommy
would have broken his bones.

When he came to himself he was so used up that he lay still for some
time in a sort of daze, too tired to know or care about anything, only
dimly conscious that somebody was lost in a tree or a well, and that, on
the whole, running away was not all fun.

By and by the sound of a gun roused him; and remembering poor Billy, he
tried to get out of the pit,--for the moon showed him where he was.  But
it was too deep, and he was too stiff with weariness and the fall to be
very nimble.  So he shouted, and whistled, and raged about very like a
little bear caught in the pit.

It is very difficult to find a lost person on these great mountains, and
many wander for hours not far from help, bewildered by the thick woods,
the deep ravines, and precipices which shut them in.  Some have lost
their lives; and as Tommy lay on the leaves used up by his various
struggles, he thought of all the stories he had lately heard at the
farm, and began to wonder how it would feel to starve to death down
there, and to wish poor Billy could come to share his prison, that they
might die together, like the Babes in the Wood, or better still the Boy
Scouts lost on the prairies in that thrilling story, "Bill Boomerang,
the Wild Hunter of the West."

"I guess mother is worried this time, because I never stayed out all
night before, and I never will again without leave.  It’s rather good
fun, though, if they only find me.  I ain’t afraid, and it is n’t very
cold.  I always wanted to sleep out, and now I ’m doing it.  Wish poor
Billy was safely down and in this good bed with me. Won’t he be scared
all alone there?  Maybe the belt will break and he get hurt bumping
down. Sorry now I left him, he’s such a ’fraid-cat. There’s the gun
again!  Guess it’s that man after us.  Hi! hollo!  Here I am!  Whoop!
Hurrah! Hi! hi! hi!"

Tommy’s meditations ended in a series of yells as loud as his shrill
little voice could make them, and he thought some one answered.  But it
must have been an echo, for no one came; and after another rampage round
his prison, the poor boy nestled down among the leaves, and went fast
asleep because there was nothing else to do.

So there they were, the two young hunters, lost at midnight on the
mountain,--one hanging like an apple on the old tree, and the other
sound asleep in a bear-pit.  Their distracted mothers meantime were
weeping and wringing their hands at the farm, while all the men in the
neighborhood were out looking for the lost boys.  The hunter on his
return to the hotel had reported meeting the runaways and his effort to
send them home in good season; so people knew where to look, and, led by
the man and dog, up the mountain went Mr. Mullin with his troop. It was
a mild night, and the moon shone high and clear; so the hunt was, on the
whole, rather easy and pleasant at first, and lanterns flashed through
the dark forest like fireflies, the lonely cliffs seemed alive with men,
and voices echoed in places where usually only the brooks babbled and
the hawks screamed.  But as time went on, and no sign of the boys
appeared, the men grew anxious, and began to fear some serious harm had
come to the runaways.

"I can’t go home without them little shavers no way, ’specially Tommy,"
said Mr. Mullin, as they stopped to rest after a hard climb through the
blasted grove.  "He’s a boy after my own heart, spry as a chipmunk,
smart as a young cockerel, and as full of mischief as a monkey. He ain’t
afraid of anything, and I should n’t be a mite surprised to find him
enjoyin’ himself first-rate, and as cool as a coocumber."

"The fat boy won’t take it so easily, I fancy. If it had n’t been for
him I ’d have kept the lively fellow with me, and shown him how to hunt.
Sorry now I did n’t take them both home," said the man with the gun,
seeing his mistake too late, as people often do.

"Maybe they ’ve fell down a precipice and got killed, like Moses Warner,
when he was lost," suggested a tall fellow, who had shouted himself
hoarse.

"Hush up, and come on!  The dog is barkin’ yonder, and he may have found
’em," said the farmer, hurrying toward the place where the hound was
baying at something in a tree.

It was poor Billy, hanging there still, half unconscious with weariness
and fear.  The belt had slipped up under his arms, so he could breathe
easily; and there he was, looking like a queer sort of cone on the
blasted pine.

"Wal, I never!" exclaimed the farmer, as the tall lad climbed up, and,
unhooking Billy, handed him down like a young bird, into the arms held
up to catch him.

"He ’s all right, only scared out of his wits.  Come along and look for
the other one.  I ’ll warrant he went for help, and may be half-way home
by this time," said the hunter, who did n’t take much interest in the
fat boy.

Tommy’s hat lay on the ground; and showing it to the dog, his master
told him to find the boy.  The good hound sniffed about, and then set
off with his nose to the ground, following the zigzag track Tommy had
taken in his hurry. The hunter and several of the men went after him,
leaving the farmer with the others to take care of Billy.

Presently the dog came to the bear-pit, and began to bark again.

"He ’s got him!" cried the men, much relieved; and rushing on soon saw
the good beast looking down at a little white object in one corner of
the dark hole.

It was Tommy’s face in the moonlight, for the rest of him was covered up
with leaves.  The little round face seemed very quiet; and for a moment
the men stood quite still, fearing that the fall might have done the boy
some harm. Then the hunter leaped down, and gently touched the brown
cheek.  It was warm, and a soft snore from the pug nose made the man
call out, much relieved,--

"He ’s all right.  Wake up here, little chap; you are wanted at home.
Had hunting enough for this time?"

As he spoke, Tommy opened his eyes, gave a stretch, and said, "Hollo,
Billy," as calmly as if in his own bed at home.  Then the rustle of the
leaves, the moonlight in his face, and the sight of several men staring
down at him startled him wide awake.

"Did you shoot the big bear?" he asked, looking up at the hunter with a
grin.

"No; but I caught a little one, and here he is," answered the man,
giving Tommy a roll in the leaves, much pleased because he did not whine
or make a fuss.

"Got lost, didn’t we?  Oh, I say, where’s Billy?  I left him up a tree
like a coon, and he would n’t come down," laughed Tommy, kicking off his
brown bed-clothes, and quite ready to get up now.

They all laughed with him; and presently, when the story was told, they
pulled the boy out of the pit, and went back to join the other wanderer,
who was now sitting up eating the bread and butter Mrs. Mullin sent for
their very late supper.

The men roared again, as the two boys told their various tribulations;
and when they had been refreshed, the party started for home, blowing
the tin horns, and firing shot after shot to let the scattered searchers
know that the lost children were found.  Billy was very quiet, and
gladly rode on the various broad backs offered for his use; but Tommy
stoutly refused to be carried, and with an occasional "boost" over a
very rough place, walked all the way down on his own sturdy legs.  He
was the hero of the adventure, and was never tired of relating how he
caught the woodchuck, cooked the fish, slid down the big rock, and went
to bed in the old bear-pit.  But in his own little mind he resolved to
wait till he was older before he tried to be a hunter; and though he
caught several woodchucks that summer, he never shot another harmless
little bird.



[Illustration: A wasp flew out and stung her lips.--PAGE 159.]



                                 VIII.

                             THE FAIRY BOX.


"T wish I had a magic bracelet like Rosamond’s, that would prick me when
I was going to do wrong," said little May, as she put down the story she
had been reading.

There was no one else in the room, but she heard a sweet voice sing
these words close to her ear:--

    "Now hark, little May,
      If you want to do right,
    Under your pillow
      Just look every night.
    If you have been good
      All through the day,
    A gift you will find,
      Useful or gay;
    But if you have been
      Cross, selfish, or wild,
    A bad thing will come
      For the naughty child.
    So try, little dear,
      And soon you will see
    How easy and sweet
      To grow good it will be."


May was very much surprised at this, and looked everywhere to see who
spoke, but could find no one.

"I guess I dreamed it; but my eyes are wide open, and I can’t make up
poetry, asleep or awake."

As she said that, some one laughed; and the same voice sang again,--

    "Ha, ha! you can’t see,
      Although I am here;
    But listen to what
      I say in your ear.
    Tell no one of this,
      Because, if you do,
    My fun will be spoilt,
      And so will yours too.
    But if you are good,
      And patient, and gay,
    A real fairy will come
      To see little May."


"Oh, how splendid that will be!  I ’ll try hard, and be as good as an
angel if I can only get one peep at a live fairy.  I always said, there
were such people, and now I shall know how they look," cried the little
girl, so pleased that she danced all about the room, clapping her hands.

Something bright darted out of the window from among the flowers that
stood there, and no more songs were heard; so May knew that the elf had
gone.

"I ’ve got a fine secret all to myself, and I ’ll keep it carefully.  I
wonder what present will come to-night," she said, thinking this a very
interesting play.

She was very good all day, and made no fuss about going to bed, though
usually she fretted, and wanted to play, and called for water, and
plagued poor Nursey in many ways.  She got safely into her little nest,
and then was in such a hurry to see what was under her pillow that she
forgot, and called out crossly,--

"Do hurry and go away.  Don’t wait to hang up my clothes, you slow old
thing!  Go, go!"

That hurt Nurse’s feelings, and she went away without her good-night
kiss.  But May did n’t care, and felt under her pillow the minute the
door was shut.  A lamp was always left burning; so she could see the
little gold box she drew out.

"How pretty!  I hope there is some candy in it," she said, opening it
very carefully.

Oh, dear! what _do_ you think happened?  A wasp flew out and stung her
lips; then both wasp and box vanished, and May was left to cry alone,
with a sharp pain in the lips that said the unkind words.

"What a dreadful present!  I don’t like that spiteful fairy who sends
such horrid things," she sobbed.

Then she lay still and thought about it; for she dared not call any one,
because nobody must guess the secret.  She knew in her own little heart
that the cross words hurt Nursey as the sting did her lips, and she felt
sorry.  At once the smart got better, and by the time she had resolved
to ask the good old woman to forgive her, it was all gone.

Next morning she kissed Nursey and begged pardon, and tried hard to be
good till tea-time; then she ran to see what nice things they were going
to have to eat, though she had often been told not to go into the
dining-room.  No one was there; and on the table stood a dish of
delicious little cakes, all white like snowballs.

"I must have just a taste, and I ’ll tell mamma afterward," she said;
and before she knew it one little cake was eaten all up.

"Nobody will miss it, and I can have another at tea.  Now, a lump of
sugar and a sip of cream before mamma comes, I so like to pick round."

Having done one wrong thing, May felt like going on; so she nibbled and
meddled with all sorts of forbidden things till she heard a step, then
she ran away; and by and by, when the bell rang, came in with the rest
as prim and proper as if she did not know how to play pranks.  No one
missed the cake, and her mother gave her another, saying,--

"There, dear, is a nice plummy one for my good child."

May turned red, and wanted to tell what she had done, but was ashamed
because there was company; and people thought she blushed like a modest
little girl at being praised.

But when she went to bed she was almost afraid to look under the pillow,
knowing that she had done wrong.  At last she slowly drew out the box,
and slowly opened it, expecting something to fly at her.  All she saw
was a tiny black bag, that began at once to grow larger, till it was big
enough to hold her two hands. Then it tied itself tight round her
wrists, as if to keep these meddlesome hands out of mischief.

"Well, this is very queer, but not so dreadful as the wasp.  I hope no
one will see it when I ’m asleep.  I do wish I ’d let those cakes and
things alone," sighed May, looking at the black bag, and vainly trying
to get her hands free.

She cried herself to sleep, and when she woke the bag was gone.  No one
had seen it; but she told her mamma about the cake, and promised not to
do so any more.

"Now this shall be a truly good day, every bit of it," she said, as she
skipped away, feeling as light as a feather after she had confessed her
little sins.

But, alas! it is so easy to forget and do wrong, that May spoilt her day
before dinner by going to the river and playing with the boats, in spite
of many orders not to do it.  She did not tell of it, and went to a
party in the afternoon, where she was so merry she never remembered the
naughty thing till she was in bed and opened the fairy box.  A little
chain appeared, which in a flash grew long and large, and fastened round
her ankles as if she were a prisoner.  May liked to tumble about, and
was much disgusted to be chained in this way; but there was no help for
it, so she lay very still and had plenty of time to be sorry.

"It is a good punishment for me, and I deserve it.  I won’t cry, but I
will--I _will_ remember."  And May said her prayers very soberly, really
meaning to keep her word this time.

All the next day she was very careful to keep her lips from cross words,
her hands from forbidden things, and her feet from going wrong. Nothing
spoilt this day, she watched so well; and when mamma gave the good-night
kiss, she said,--

"What shall I give my good little daughter, who has been gentle,
obedient, and busy all day?"

"I want a white kitty, with blue eyes, and a pink ribbon on its neck,"
answered May.

"I’ll try and find one.  Now go to bed, deary, and happy dreams!" said
mamma, with many kisses on the rosy cheeks, and the smile that was a
reward.

May was so busy thinking about the kitty and the good day that she
forgot the box till she heard a little "Mew, mew!" under her pillow.

"Mercy me! what’s that?"  And she popped up her head to see.

Out came the box; off flew the lid, and there, on a red cushion, lay a
white kit about two inches long.  May could n’t believe that it was
alive till it jumped out of its nest, stretched itself, and grew all at
once just the right size to play with and be pretty.  Its eyes were
blue, its tail like a white plume, and a sweet pink bow was on its neck.
It danced all over the bed, ran up the curtains, hid under the clothes,
nipped May’s toes, licked her face, patted her nose with its soft paw,
and winked at her in such a funny way that she laughed for joy at having
such a dear kitty.  Presently, as if it knew that bed was the place to
lie quiet in, puss cuddled down in a little bunch and purred May to
sleep.

"I suppose that darling kit will be gone like all the other things,"
said May, as she waked up and looked round for her first pretty gift.

No; there was the lovely thing sitting in the sun among the flower-pots,
washing her face and getting ready for play.  What a fine frolic they
had; and how surprised every one was to see just the pussy May wanted!
They supposed it came as kitties often come; and May never told them it
was a fairy present, because she had promised not to.  She was so happy
with little puss that she was good all day; and when she went to bed she
thought,--

"I wish I had a dog to play with darling Snowdrop, and run with me when
I go to walk."

"Bow, wow, wow!" came from under the pillow; and out of the box trotted
a curly black dog, with long ears, a silver collar, and such bright,
kind eyes May was not a bit afraid of him, but loved him at once, and
named him Floss, he was so soft and silky.  Pussy liked him too; and
when May was sleepy they both snuggled down in the same basket like two
good babies, and went to by-low.

"Well, I never!  What shall we find next?" said Nurse, when she saw the
dog in the morning.

"Perhaps it will be an elephant, to fill the whole house, and scare you
out of your wits," laughed May, dancing about with Snowdrop chasing her
bare toes, while Floss shook and growled over her shoes as if they were
rats.

"If your cousin John wants to give you any more animals, I wish he ’d
send a pony to take you to school, and save my old legs the pain of
trotting after you," said Nurse; for May did have a rich cousin who was
very fond of her, and often gave her nice things.

"Perhaps he will," laughed May, much tickled with the idea that it was a
fairy, and not Cousin John, who sent the cunning little creatures to
her.

But she did n’t get the pony that night; for in the afternoon her mother
told her not to sit on the lawn, because it was damp, and May did not
mind, being busy with a nice story.  So when she took up her box, a loud
sneeze seemed to blow the lid off, and all she saw was a bit of red
flannel.

"What is this for?" she asked, much disappointed; and as if to answer,
the strip of flannel wrapped itself round her neck.

"There! my throat _is_ sore, and I _am_ hoarse. I wonder how that fairy
knew I sat on the damp grass.  I ’m so sorry; for I did want a pony, and
might have had it if I ’d only minded," said May, angry with herself for
spoiling all her fun.

It _was_ spoilt; for she had such a cold next day she could n’t go out
at all, but had to take medicine and keep by the fire, while the other
children had a lovely picnic.

"I won’t wish for anything to-night; I don’t deserve a present, I was so
disobedient.  But I _have_ tried to be patient," said May, feeling for
the box.

The fairy had not forgotten her, and there was a beautiful picture-book,
full of new, nice stories printed in colored ink.

"How splendid to read to-morrow while I ’m shut up!" she said, and went
to sleep very happily.

All the next day she enjoyed the pretty pictures and funny tales, and
never complained or fretted at all, but was so much better the doctor
said she could go out to-morrow, if it was fine.

"Now I will wish for the pony," said May, in her bed.  But there was
nothing in the box except a little red-silk rope, like a halter.  She
did not know what to do with it that night, but she did the next
morning; for just as she was dressed her brother called from the
garden,--

"May, look out and see what we found in the stable.  None of us can
catch him, so do come and see if you can; your name is on the card tied
to his mane."

May looked, and there was a snow-white pony racing about the yard as if
he was having a fine frolic.  Then she knew the halter was for him, and
ran down to catch him.  The minute she appeared, the pony went to her
and put his nose in her hand, neighing, as if he said,--

"This is my little mistress; I will mind her and serve her well."

May was delighted, and very proud when the pony let her put on the
saddle and bridle that lay in the barn all ready to use.  She jumped up
and rode gayly down the road; and Will and mamma and all the maids and
Floss and Snowdrop ran to see the pretty sight.  The children at school
were much excited when she came trotting up, and all wanted to ride
Prince. He was very gentle, and every one had a ride; but May had the
best fun, for she could go every day for long trots by the carriage when
mamma and Will drove out.  A blue habit and a hat with a long feather
were bought that afternoon; and May was so happy and contented at night
that she said to herself as she lay in bed,--

"I ’ll wish for something for Will now, and see if I get it.  I don’t
want any more presents yet; I’ve had my share, and I’d love to give away
to other people who have no fairy box."

So she wished for a nice boat, and in the box lay a key with the name
"Water Lily" on it. She guessed what it meant, and in the morning told
her brother to come to the river and see what she had for him.  There
lay a pretty green and white boat, with cushioned seats, a sail all
spread, and at the mast-head a little flag flying in the wind, with the
words "Water Lily" on it in gold letters.

Will was so surprised and pleased to find that it was his, he turned
heels over head on the grass, kissed May, and skipped into his boat,
crying, "All aboard!" as if eager to try it at once.

May followed, and they sailed away down the lovely river, white with
real lilies, while the blackbirds sang in the green meadows on either
side, and boys and girls stopped on the bridges to see them pass.

After that May kept on trying to be good, and wishing for things for
herself and other people, till she forgot how to be naughty, and was the
sweetest little girl in the world.  Then there was no need of fairies to
help her; and one night the box was not under the pillow.

"Well, I ’ve had my share of pretty things, and must learn to do
without.  I ’m glad I tried; for now it is easy to be good, and I don’t
need to be rewarded," said May, as she fell asleep, quite happy and
contented, though she did wish, she could have seen the fairy just once.

Next morning the first thing she saw was a beautiful bracelet, shining
on the table; and while she stood admiring it, she heard the little
voice sing,--

    "Here is the bracelet
      For good little May
    To wear on her arm
      By night and by day.
    When it shines like the sun,
      All’s going well;
    But when you are bad,
      A sharp prick will tell.
    Farewell, little girl,
      For now we must part.
    Make a fairy-box, dear,
      Of your own happy heart;
    And take out for all
      Sweet gifts every day,
    Till all the year round
      Is like beautiful May."


As the last words were sung, right before her eyes she saw a tiny
creature swinging on the rose that stood there in a vase,--a lovely elf,
with wings like a butterfly, a gauzy dress, and a star on her forehead.
She smiled, and waved her hand as she slowly rose and fluttered away
into the sunshine, till she vanished from sight, leaving May with the
magic bracelet on her arm, and the happy thought that at last she had
_really_ seen a fairy.



[Illustration: Johnny leaned forward to enjoy the long-desired "peek."
PAGE 183.]



                                  IX.

                          A HOLE IN THE WALL.


                                PART I.


If any one had asked Johnny Morris who were his best friends, he would
have answered,--

"The sun and the wind, next to mother."

Johnny lived in a little court that led off from one of the busiest
streets in the city,--a noisy street, where horse-car bells tinkled and
omnibuses rumbled all day long, going and coming from several great
depots near by.  The court was a dull place, with only two or three
shabby houses in it, and a high blank wall at the end.

The people who hurried by were too busy to do more than to glance at the
lame boy who sat in the sunshine against the wall, or to guess that
there was a picture-gallery and a circulating-library in the court.  But
Johnny had both, and took such comfort in them that he never could be
grateful enough to the wind that brought him his books and pictures, nor
to the sun that made it possible for him to enjoy them in the open air,
far more than richer folk enjoy their fine galleries and libraries.

A bad fall, some months before the time this story begins, did something
to Johnny’s back which made his poor legs nearly useless, and changed
the lively, rosy boy into a pale cripple. His mother took in fine
washing, and worked hard to pay doctors’ bills and feed and clothe her
boy, who could no longer run errands, help with the heavy tubs, or go to
school.  He could only pick out laces for her to iron, lie on his bed in
pain for hours, and, each fair day, hobble out to sit in a little old
chair between the water-butt and the leaky tin boiler in which he kept
his library.

But he was a happy boy, in spite of poverty and pain; and the day a
great gust came blowing fragments of a gay placard and a dusty newspaper
down the court to his feet, was the beginning of good fortune for
patient Johnny. There was a theatre in the street beyond, and other
pictured bits found their way to him; for the frolicsome wind liked to
whisk the papers around the corner, and chase them here and there till
they settled under the chair or flew wildly over the wall.

Faces, animals, people, and big letters, all came to cheer the boy, who
was never tired of collecting these waifs and strays; cutting out the
big pictures to paste on the wall with the leavings of mother’s starch,
and the smaller in the scrap-book he made out of stout brown wrappers or
newspapers, when he had read the latter carefully.  Soon it was a very
gay wall; for mother helped, standing on a chair, to put the large
pictures up, when Johnny had covered all the space he could reach.  The
books were laid carefully away in the boiler, after being smoothly
ironed out and named to suit Johnny’s fancy by pasting letters on the
back.  This was the circulating library; for not only did the papers
whisk about the court to begin with, but the books they afterward made
went the rounds among the neighbors till they were worn out.

The old cobbler next door enjoyed reading the anecdotes on Sunday when
he could not work; the pale seamstress upstairs liked to look over
advertisements of the fine things which she longed for; and Patsey
Flynn, the newsboy, who went by each day to sell his papers at the
station, often paused to look at the play-bills,--for he adored the
theatre, and entertained Johnny with descriptions of the splendors there
to be beheld, till he felt as if he had really been, and had known all
the famous actors, from Humpty Dumpty to the great Salvini.

Now and then a flock of dirty children would stray into the court and
ask to see the "pretty picters."  Then Johnny was a proud and happy boy;
for, armed with a clothes-pole, he pointed out and explained the
beauties of his gallery, feeling that he was a public benefactor when
the poor babies thanked him warmly, and promised to come again and bring
all the nice papers they could pick up.

These were Johnny’s pleasures: but he had two sorrows,--one, a very real
one, his aching back; and the other, a boyish longing to climb the wall
and see what was on the other side, for it seemed a most wonderful and
delightful place to the poor child, shut up in that dismal court, with
no playmates and few comforts.

He amused himself with imagining how it looked over there, and nearly
every night added some new charm to this unseen country, when his mother
told him fairy tales to get him to sleep.  He peopled it with the dear
old characters all children know and love.  The white cat that sat on
the wall was Puss in Boots to him, or Whittington’s good friend.
Blue-beard’s wives were hidden in the house of whose upper windows the
boy could just catch glimpses. Red Riding-hood met the wolf in the grove
of chestnuts that rustled over there; and Jack’s Beanstalk grew up just
such a wall as that, he was sure.

But the story he liked best was the "Sleeping Beauty in the Wood;" for
he was sure some lovely creature lived in that garden, and he longed to
get in to find and play with her.  He actually planted a bean in a bit
of damp earth behind the water-barrel, and watched it grow, hoping for
as strong a ladder as Jack’s.  But the vine grew very slowly, and Johnny
was so impatient that he promised Patsey his best book "for his
ownty-donty," if he would climb up and report what was to be seen in
that enchanted garden.

"Faix, and I will, thin."  And up went good-natured Pat, after laying an
old board over the hogshead to stand on; for there were spikes all along
the top of the wall, and only cats and sparrows could walk there.

Alas for Johnny’s eager hopes, and alas for Pat’s Sunday best!  The
board broke, and splash went the climber, with a wild Irish howl that
startled Johnny half out of his wits and brought both Mrs. Morris and
the cobbler to the rescue.

After this sad event Pat kept away for a time in high dudgeon, and
Johnny was more lonely than ever.  But he was a cheery little soul; so
he was grateful for what joys he had, and worked away at his wall,--for
the March winds had brought him many treasures, and after April rains
were over, May sunshine made the court warm enough for him to be out
nearly all day.

"I ’m so sorry Pat is mad, ’cause he saw this piece and told me about
it, and he ’d like to help me put up these pictures," said Johnny to
himself, one breezy morning, as he sat examining a big poster which the
wind had sent flying into his lap a few minutes before.

The play was "Monte Cristo," and the pictures represented the hero
getting out of prison by making holes in the wall, among other
remarkable performances.

"This is a jolly red one!  Now, where will I put it to show best and not
spoil the other beauties?"

As he spoke, Johnny turned his chair around and surveyed his gallery
with as much pride and satisfaction as if it held all the wonders of
art.

It really was quite splendid; for every sort of picture shone in the
sun,--simpering ladies, tragic scenes, circus parades, labels from tin
cans, rosy tomatoes, yellow peaches, and purple plums, funny
advertisements, and gay bills of all kinds.  None were perfect, but they
were arranged with care; and the effect was very fine, Johnny thought.

Presently his eyes wandered from these treasures to the budding bushes
that nodded so tantalizingly over the wall.  A grape-vine ran along the
top, trying to hide the sharp spikes; lilacs tossed their purple plumes
above it, and several tall chestnuts rose over all, making green tents
with their broad leaves, where spires of blossom began to show like
candles on a mammoth Christmas tree.  Sparrows were chirping gayly
everywhere; the white cat, with a fresh blue bow, basked on the coping
of the wall, and from the depths of the enchanted garden came a sweet
voice singing,--

    "And she bids you to come in,
    With a dimple in your chin,
      Billy boy, Billy boy."


Johnny smiled as he listened, and put his finger to the little dent in
his own chin, wishing the singer would finish this pleasing song.  But
she never did, though he often heard that, as well as other childish
ditties, sung in the same gay voice, with bursts of laughter and the
sound of lively feet tripping up and down the boarded walks.  Johnny
longed intensely to know who the singer was; for her music cheered his
solitude, and the mysterious sounds he heard in the garden increased his
wonder and his longing day by day.

Sometimes a man’s voice called, "Fay, where are you?" and Johnny was
sure "Fay" was short for Fairy.  Another voice was often heard talking
in a strange, soft language, full of exclamations and pretty sounds.  A
little dog barked, and answered to the name Pippo.  Canaries carolled,
and some elfish bird scolded, screamed, and laughed so like a human
being, that Johnny felt sure that magic of some sort was at work next
door.

A delicious fragrance was now wafted over the wall as of flowers, and
the poor boy imagined untold loveliness behind that cruel wall, as he
tended the dandelions his mother brought him from the Common, when she
had time to stop and gather them; for he loved flowers dearly, and tried
to make them out of colored paper, since he could have no sweeter sort.

Now and then a soft, rushing sound excited his curiosity to such a pitch
that once he hobbled painfully up the court till he could see into the
trees; and once his eager eyes caught glimpses of a little creature, all
blue and white and gold, who peeped out from the green fans, and nodded,
and tried to toss him a cluster of the chestnut flowers.  He stretched
his hands to her with speechless delight, forgetting his crutches, and
would have fallen if he had not caught by the shutter of a window so
quickly that he gave the poor back a sad wrench; and when he could look
up again, the fairy had vanished, and nothing was to be seen but the
leaves dancing in the wind.

Johnny dared not try this again for fear of a fall, and every step cost
him a pang; but he never forgot it, and was thinking of it as he sat
staring at the wall on that memorable May day.

"How I should like to peek in and see just how it all really looks!  It
sounds and smells so summery and nice in there.  I know it must be
splendid.  I say, Pussy, can’t you tell a feller what you see?"

Johnny laughed as he spoke, and the white cat purred politely; for she
liked the boy who never threw stones at her, nor disturbed her naps.
But Puss could not describe the beauties of the happy hunting-ground
below; and, to console himself for the disappointment, Johnny went back
to his new picture.

"Now, if this man in the play dug his way out. through a wall ten feet
thick with a rusty nail and a broken knife, I don’t see why I could n’t
pick away one brick and get a peek.  It’s all quiet in there now; here’s
a good place, and nobody will know, if I stick a picture over the hole.
And I ’ll try it, I declare I will!"

Fired with the idea of acting Monte Cristo on a small scale, Johnny
caught up the old scissors in his lap, and began to dig out the mortar
around a brick already loose, and crumbling at the corners.  His mother
smiled at his energy, then sighed and said, as she clapped her laces
with a heavy heart,--

"Ah, poor dear, if he only had his health he ’d make his way in the
world.  But now he ’s like to find a blank wall before him while he
lives, and none to help him over."

Puss, in her white boots, sat aloft and looked on, wise as the cat in
the story, but offered no advice.  The toad who lived behind the
water-barrel hopped under the few leaves of the struggling bean, like
Jack waiting to climb; and just then the noon bells began to ring as if
they sang clear and loud,--

"Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London."

So, cheered by his friends, Johnny scraped and dug vigorously till the
old brick fell out, showing another behind it.  Only pausing to take
breath, he caught up his crutch and gave two or three hearty pokes,
which soon cleared the way and let the sunshine stream through, while
the wind tossed the lilacs like triumphal banners, and the jolly
sparrows chirped,--

"Hail, the conquering hero comes!"

Rather scared by his unexpected success, the boy sat silent for a moment
to see what would happen.  But all was still; and presently, with a
beating heart, Johnny leaned forward to enjoy the long-desired "peek."
He could not see much; but that little increased his curiosity and
delight, for it seemed like looking into fairy-land, after the dust and
noise and dingy houses of the court.

A bed of splendid tulips tossed their gay garments in the middle of a
grass-plot; a strange and brilliant bird sat dressing its feathers on a
golden cage; a little white dog dozed in the sun; and on a red carpet
under the trees lay the Princess, fast asleep.

"It’s all right," said Johnny, with a long sigh of pleasure; "that’s the
Sleeping Beauty, sure enough.  There ’s the blue gown, the white
fur-cloak sweeping round, the pretty hair, and--yes--there’s the old
nurse, spinning and nodding, just as she did in the picture-book mother
got me when I cried because I could n’t go to see the play."

This last discovery really did bewilder Johnny, and make him believe
that fairy tales _might_ be true, after all; for how could he know that
the strange woman was an Italian servant, in her native dress, with a
distaff in her hand?  After pausing a moment, to rub his eyes, he took
another look, and made fresh discoveries by twisting his head about.  A
basket of oranges stood near the Princess, a striped curtain hung from a
limb of the tree to keep the wind off, and several books fluttered their
pictured leaves temptingly before Johnny’s longing eyes.

"Oh, if I could only go in and eat ’em and read ’em and speak to ’em and
see all the splendid things!" thought the poor boy, as he looked from
one delight to another, and felt shut out from all.  "I can’t go and
wake her like the Prince did, but I do wish she ’d get up and do
something, now I _can_ see.  I dare n’t throw a stone, it might hit some
one, or holler, it might scare her.  Pussy won’t help, and the sparrows
are too busy scolding one another.  I know! I ’ll fly a kite over, and
that will please her any way.  Don’t believe she has kites; girls never
do."

Eager to carry out his plan, Johnny tied a long string to his gayest
poster, and then fastening it to the pole with which he sometimes fished
in the water-cask, held it up to catch the fresh breezes blowing down
the court.  His good friend, the wind, soon caught the idea, and with a
strong breath sent the red paper whisking over the wall, to hang a
moment on the trees and then drop among the tulips, where its frantic
struggles to escape waked the dog, and set him to racing and barking, as
Johnny hurriedly let the string go, and put his eye to his peep-hole.

The eyes of the Princess were wide open now, and she clapped her hands
when Pippo brought the gay picture for her to see; while the old woman,
with a long yawn, went away, carrying her distaff, like a gun, over her
shoulder.

"She likes it!  I’m so glad.  Wish I had some more to send over.  This
will come off; I ’ll poke it through, and maybe she will see it."

Very much excited, Johnny recklessly tore from the wall his most
cherished picture, a gay flower-piece, just put up; and folding it, he
thrust it through the hole and waited to see what followed.

Nothing but a rustle, a bark, and a queer croak from the splendid bird,
which set the canaries to trilling sweetly.

"She don’t see; maybe she will hear," said Johnny.  And he began to
whistle like a mocking-bird; for this was his one accomplishment, and he
was proud of it.

Presently he heard a funny burst of laughter from the parrot, and then
the voice said,--

"No, Polly, you can’t sing like that bird.  I wonder where he is?  Among
the bushes over there, I think.  Come, Pippo, let us go and find him."

"Now she ’s coming!"  And Johnny grew red in the face trying to give his
best trills and chirrups.

Nearer and nearer came the steps, the lilacs rustled as if shaken, and
presently the roll of paper vanished.  A pause, and then the little
voice exclaimed, in a tone of great surprise,--

"Why, there ’s a hole!  I never saw it before. Oh!  I can see the
street.  How nice! how nice!"

"She likes the hole!  I wonder if she will like me?"  And, emboldened by
these various successes, Johnny took another peep.  This was the most
delicious one of all; for he looked right into a great blue eye, with
glimpses of golden hair above, a little round nose in the middle, and
red lips below.  It was like a flash of sunshine, and Johnny winked, as
if dazzled; for the eye sparkled, the nose sniffed daintily, and the
pretty mouth broke into a laugh as the voice cried out delightedly,--

"I see some one!  Who are you?  Come and tell me!"

"I ’m Johnny Morris," answered the boy, quite trembling with pleasure.

"Did you make this nice hole?"

"I just poked a brick, and it fell out."

"Papa won’t mind.  Is that your bird?"

"No; it’s me.  I whistled."

"It’s very pretty.  Do it again," commanded the voice, as if used to
give orders.

Johnny obeyed; and when he paused, out of breath, a small hand came
through the hole, grasping as many lilies of the valley as it could
hold, and the Princess graciously expressed her pleasure by saying,--

"I like it; you shall do it again, by and by. Here are some flowers for
you.  Now we will talk.  Are you a nice boy?"

This was a poser; and Johnny answered meekly, with his nose luxuriously
buried in the lovely flowers,--

"Not very,--I ’m lame; I can’t play like other fellers."

"Porverino!" sighed the little voice, full of pity; and, in a moment,
three red-and-yellow tulips fell at Johnny’s feet, making him feel as if
he really had slipped into fairy-land through that delightful hole.

"Oh, thank you!  Are n’t they just elegant? I never see such beauties,"
stammered the poor boy, grasping his treasures as if he feared they
might vanish away.

"You shall have as many as you like.  Nanna will scold, but papa won’t
mind.  Tell me more. What do you do over there?" asked the child,
eagerly.

"Nothing but paste pictures and make books, when I don’t ache too bad.
I used to help mother; but I got hurt, and I can’t do much now,"
answered the boy, ashamed to mention how many laces he patiently picked
or clapped, since it was all he could do to help.

"If you like pictures, you shall come and see mine some day.  I do a
great many.  Papa shows me how.  His are splendid.  Do you draw or paint
yours?"

"I only cut ’em out of papers, and stick ’em on this wall or put ’em in
scrap-books.  I can’t draw, and I have n’t got no paints," answered
Johnny.

"You should say ’have n’t any paints.’  I will come and see you some
day; and if I like you, I will let you have my old paint-box.  Do you
want it?"

"Guess I do!"

"I think I _shall_ like you; so I ’ll bring it when I come.  Do you ache
much?"

"Awfully, sometimes.  Have to lay down all day, and can’t do a thing."

"Do you cry?"

"No!  I ’m too big for that.  I whistle."

"I _know_ I shall like you, because you are brave!" cried the impetuous
voice, with its pretty accent; and then an orange came tumbling through
the hole, as if the new acquaintance longed to do something to help the
"ache."

"Is n’t that a rouser!  I do love ’em, but mother can’t afford ’em
often."  And Johnny took one delicious taste on the spot.

"Then I shall give you many.  We have loads at home, much finer than
these.  Ah, you should see our garden there!"

"Where do you live?" Johnny ventured to ask; for there was a homesick
sound to the voice as it said those last words.

"In Rome.  Here we only stay a year, while papa arranges his affairs;
then we go back, and I am happy."

"I should think you ’d be happy in there.  It looks real splendid to me,
and I ’ve been longing to see it ever since I could come out."

"It’s a dull place to me.  I like better to be where it’s always warm,
and people are more beautiful than here.  Are _you_ beautiful?"

"What queer questions she does ask!"  And poor Johnny was so perplexed
he could only stammer, with a laugh,--

"I guess not.  Boys don’t care for looks."

"Peep, and let me see.  I like pretty persons," commanded the voice.

"Don’t she order round?" thought Johnny, as he obeyed.  But he liked it,
and showed such a smiling face at the peep-hole, that Princess Fay was
pleased to say, after a long look at him,--

"No, you are not beautiful; but your eyes are bright, and you look
pleasant, so I don’t mind the freckles on your nose and the whiteness of
your face.  I think you are good.  I am sorry for you, and I shall lend
you a book to read when the pain comes."

"I could n’t wait for that if I had a book.  I do love so to read!"  And
Johnny laughed out from sheer delight at the thought of a new book; for
he seldom got one, being too poor to buy them, and too helpless to enjoy
the free libraries of the city.

"Then you shall have it _now_."  And there was another quick rush in the
garden, followed by the appearance of a fat little book, slowly pushed
through the hole in the wall.

"This is the only one that will pass.  You will like Hans Andersen’s
fairy tales, I know.  Keep it as long as you please.  I have many more."

"You’re so good!  I wish I had something for you," said the boy, quite
overcome by this sweet friendliness.

"Let me see one of _your_ books.  They will be new to me.  I ’m tired of
all mine."

Quick as a flash, off went the cover of the old boiler, and out came
half-a-dozen of Johnny’s best works, to be crammed through the wall,
with the earnest request,--

"Keep ’em all; they’re not good for much, but they ’re the best I ’ve
got.  I ’ll do some prettier ones as soon as I can find more nice
pictures and pieces."

"They look very interesting.  I thank you. I shall go and read them now,
and then come and talk again.  Addio, Giovanni."

"Good-by, Miss."

Thus ended the first interview of little Pyramus and Thisbe through the
hole in the wall, while puss sat up above and played moonshine with her
yellow eyes.



                                PART II.


After that day a new life began for Johnny, and he flourished like a
poor little plant that has struggled out of some dark corner into the
sunshine.  All sorts of delightful things happened, and good times
really seemed to have come.  The mysterious papa made no objection to
the liberties taken with his wall, being busy with his own affairs, and
glad to have his little girl happy.  Old Nanna, being more careful, came
to see the new neighbors, and was disarmed at once by the affliction of
the boy and the gentle manners of the mother.  She brought all the
curtains of the house for Mrs. Morris to do up, and in her pretty broken
English praised Johnny’s gallery and library, promising to bring Fay to
see him some day.

Meantime the little people prattled daily together, and all manner of
things came and went between them.  Flowers, fruit, books, and bon-bons
kept Johnny in a state of bliss, and inspired him with such brilliant
inventions that the Princess never knew what agreeable surprise would
come next.  Astonishing kites flew over the wall, and tissue balloons
exploded in the flower-beds.  All the birds of the air seemed to live in
that court; for the boy whistled and piped till he was hoarse, because
she liked it.  The last of the long-hoarded cents came out of his tin
bank to buy paper and pictures for the gay little books he made for her.
His side of the wall was ravaged that hers might be adorned; and, as the
last offering his grateful heart could give, he poked the toad through
the hole, to live among the lilies and eat the flies that began to buzz
about her Highness when she came to give her orders to her devoted
subjects.

She always called the lad Giovanni, because she thought it a prettier
name than John; and she was never tired of telling stories, asking
questions, and making plans.  The favorite one was what they would do
when Johnny came to see her, as she had been promised he should when
papa was not too busy to let them enjoy the charms of the studio; for
Fay was a true artist’s child, and thought nothing so lovely as
pictures.  Johnny thought so, too, and dreamed of the happy day when he
should go and see the wonders his little friend described so well.

"I think it will be to-morrow; for papa has a lazy fit coming on, and
then he always plays with me and lets me rummage where I like, while he
goes out or smokes in the garden.  So be ready; and if he says you can
come, I will have the flag up early and you can hurry."

These agreeable remarks were breathed into Johnny’s willing ear about a
fortnight after the acquaintance began; and he hastened to promise,
adding soberly, a minute after,--

"Mother says she’s afraid it will be too much for me to go around and up
steps, and see new things; for I get tired so easy, and then the pain
comes on.  But I don’t care how I ache if I can only see the
pictures--and you."

"Won’t you ever be any better?  Nanna thinks you might."

"So does mother, if we had money to go away in the country, and eat nice
things, and have doctors.  But we can’t; so it’s no use worrying."  And
Johnny gave a great sigh.

"I wish papa was rich, then he would give you money.  He works hard to
make enough to go back to Italy, so I cannot ask him; but perhaps I can
sell _my_ pictures also, and get a little.  Papa’s friends often offer
me sweets for kisses; I will have money instead, and that will help.
Yes, I shall do it."  And Fay clapped her hands decidedly.

"Don’t you mind about it.  I ’m going to learn to mend shoes.  Mr.
Pegget says he ’ll teach me.  That does n’t need legs, and he gets
enough to live on very well."

"It is n’t pretty work.  Nanna can teach you to braid straw as she did
at home; that is easy and nice, and the baskets sell very well, she
says.  I shall speak to her about it, and you can try to-morrow when you
come."

"I will.  Do you really think I _can_ come, then?"  And Johnny stood up
to try his legs; for he dreaded the long walk, as it seemed to him.

"I will go at once and ask papa."

Away flew Fay, and soon came back with a glad "Yes!" that sent Johnny
hobbling in to tell his mother, and beg her to mend the elbows of his
only jacket; for, suddenly, his old clothes looked so shabby he feared
to show himself to the neighbors he so longed to see.

"Hurrah!  I ’m really going to-morrow.  And you, too, mammy dear," cried
the boy, waving his crutch so vigorously that he slipped and fell.

"Never mind; I ’m used to it.  Pull me up, and I ’ll rest while we talk
about it," he said cheerily, as his mother helped him to the bed, where
he forgot his pain in thinking of the delights in store for him.

Next day, the flag was flying from the wall, and Fay early at the hole,
but no Johnny came; and when Nanna went to see what kept him, she
returned with the sad news that the poor boy was suffering much, and
would not be able to stir for some days.

"Let me go and see him," begged Fay, imploringly.

"Cara mia, it is no place for you.  So dark, so damp, so poor, it is
enough to break the heart," said Nanna, decidedly.

"If papa was here, he would let me go.  I shall not play; I shall sit
here and make some plans for my poor boy."

Nanna left her indignant little mistress, and went to cook a nice bowl
of soup for Johnny; while Fay concocted a fine plan, and, what was more
remarkable, carried it out.

For a week it rained, for a week Johnny lay in pain, and for a week Fay
worked quietly at her little easel in the corner of the studio, while
her father put the last touches to his fine picture, too busy to take
much notice of the child. On Saturday the sun shone, Johnny was better,
and the great picture was done.  So were the small ones; for as her
father sat resting after his work, Fay went to him, with a tired but
happy face, and, putting several drawings into his hand, told her
cherished plan.

"Papa, you said you would pay me a dollar for every good copy I made of
the cast you gave me.  I tried very hard, and here are three. I want
some money very, very much.  Could you pay for these?"

"They are excellent," said the artist, after carefully looking at them.
"You _have_ tried, my good child, and here are your well-earned dollars.
What do you want them for?"

"To help my boy.  I want him to come in here and see the pictures, and
let Nanna teach him to plait baskets; and he can rest, and you will like
him, and he might get well if he had some money, and I have three
quarters the friends gave me instead of bonbons.  Would that be enough
to send poor Giovanni into the country and have doctors?"

No wonder Fay’s papa was bewildered by this queer jumble, because, being
absorbed in his work, he had never heard half the child had told him,
and had forgotten all about Johnny.  Now he listened with half an ear,
studying the effect of sunshine upon his picture meantime, while Fay
told him the little story, and begged to know how much money it would
take to make Johnny’s back well.

"Bless your sweet soul, my darling, it would need more than I can spare
or you earn in a year.  By and by, when I am at leisure, we will see
what can be done," answered papa, smoking comfortably, as he lay on the
sofa in the large studio at the top of the house.

"You say that about a great many things, papa.  ’By and by’ won’t be
long enough to do all you promise then.  I like _now_ much better, and
poor Giovanni needs the country more than you need cigars or I new
frocks," said Fay, stroking her father’s tired forehead and looking at
him with an imploring face.

"My dear, I cannot give up my cigar, for in this soothing smoke I find
inspiration, and though you are a little angel, you must be clothed; so
wait a bit, and we will attend to the boy--later."  He was going to say
"by and by" again, but paused just in time, with a laugh.

"Then _I_ shall take him to the country all myself.  I cannot wait for
this hateful ’by and by.’  I know how I shall do it, and at once. Now,
now!" cried Fay, losing patience; and with an indignant glance at the
lazy papa, who seemed going to sleep, she dashed out of the room, down
many stairs, through the kitchen, startling Nanna and scattering the
salad as if a whirlwind had gone by, and never paused for breath till
she stood before the garden wall with a little hatchet in her hand.

"This shall be the country for him till I get enough money to send him
away.  I will show what _I_ can do.  He pulled out two bricks.  _I_ will
beat down the wall, and he _shall_ come in at once," panted Fay; and she
gave a great blow at the bricks, bent on having her will without
delay,--for she was an impetuous little creature, full of love and pity
for the poor boy pining for the fresh air and sunshine, of which she had
so much.

Bang, bang, went the little hatchet, and down came one brick after
another, till the hole was large enough for Fay to thrust her head
through; and being breathless by that time, she paused to rest and take
a look at Johnny’s court.

Meanwhile Nanna, having collected her lettuce leaves and her wits, went
to see what the child was about; and finding her at work like a little
fury, the old woman hurried up to tell "the Signor," Fay’s papa, that
his little daughter was about to destroy the garden and bury herself
under the ruins of the wall.  This report, delivered with groans and
wringing of the hands, roused the artist and sent him to the rescue, as
he well knew that his angel was a very energetic one, and capable of
great destruction.

When he arrived, he beheld a cloud of dust, a pile of bricks among the
lilies, and the feet of his child sticking out of a large hole in the
wall, while her head and shoulders were on the other side.  Much amused,
yet fearful that the stone coping might come down on her, he pulled her
back with the assurance that he would listen and help her now
immediately, if there was such need of haste.

But he grew sober when he saw Fay’s face; for it was bathed in tears,
her hands were bleeding, and dust covered her from head to foot.

"My darling, what afflicts you?  Tell papa, and he will do anything you
wish."

"No, you will forget, you will say ’Wait;’ and now that I have seen it
all, I cannot stop till I get him out of that dreadful place.  Look,
look, and see if it is not sad to live there all in pain and darkness,
and so poor."

As she spoke, Fay urged her father toward the hole; and to please her he
looked, seeing the dull court, the noisy street beyond, and close by the
low room, where Johnny’s mother worked all day, while the poor boy’s
pale face was dimly seen as he lay on his bed waiting for deliverance.

"Well, well, it _is_ a pitiful case; and easily mended, since Fay is so
eager about it.  Hope the lad is all she says, and nothing catching
about his illness.  Nanna can tell me."

Then he drew back his head, and leading Fay to the seat, took her on his
knee, all flushed, dirty, and tearful as she was, soothing her by saying
tenderly,--

"Now let me hear all about it, and be sure I ’ll not forget.  What shall
I do to please you, dear, before you pull down the house about my ears?"

Then Fay told her tale all over again; and being no longer busy, her
father found it very touching, with the dear, grimy little face looking
into his, and the wounded hands clasped beseechingly as she pleaded for
poor Johnny.

"God bless your tender heart, child; you shall have him in here
to-morrow, and we will see what can be done for those pathetic legs of
his.  But listen, Fay, I have an easier way to do it than yours, and a
grand surprise for the boy.  Time is short, but it can be done; and to
show you that I am in earnest, I will go this instant and begin the
work.  Come and wash your face while I get on my boots, and then we will
go together."

At these words Fay threw her arms about papa’s neck and gave him many
grateful kisses, stopping in the midst to ask,--

"Truly, _now_?"

"See if it is not so."  And putting her down, papa went off with great
strides, while she ran laughing after him, all her doubts set at rest by
this agreeable energy on his part.

If Johnny had not been asleep in the back room, he would have seen
strange and pleasant sights that afternoon and evening; for something
went on in the court that delighted his mother, amused the artist, and
made Fay the happiest child in Boston.  No one was to tell till the next
day, that Johnny’s surprise might be quite perfect, and Mrs. Morris sat
up till eleven to get his old clothes in order; for Fay’s papa had been
to see her, and became interested in the boy, as no one could help being
when they saw his patient little face.

So hammers rang, trowels scraped, shovels dug, and wonderful changes
were made, while Fay danced about in the moonlight, like Puck intent
upon some pretty prank, and papa quoted _Snout_,[#] the tinker’s parting
words, as appropriate to the hour,--

    "Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so;
    And, being done, thus wall away doth go."


[#] A character in Shakspeare’s "Midsummer Night’s Dream."



                               PART III.


A lovely Sunday morning dawned without a cloud; and even in the dingy
court the May sunshine shone warmly, and the spring breezes blew freshly
from green fields far away.  Johnny begged to go out; and being much
better, his mother consented, helping him to dress with such a bright
face and eager hands that the boy said innocently,--

"How glad you are when I get over a bad turn!  I don’t know what you ’d
do if I ever got well."

"My poor dear, I begin to think you _will_ pick up, now the good weather
has come and you have got a little friend to play with.  God bless her!"

Why his mother should suddenly hug him tight, and then brush his hair so
carefully, with tears in her eyes, he did not understand; but was in
such a hurry to get out, he could only give her a good kiss, and hobble
away to see how his gallery fared after the rain, and to take a joyful
"peek" at the enchanted garden.

Mrs. Morris kept close behind him, and it was well she did; for he
nearly tumbled down, so great was his surprise when he beheld the old
familiar wall after the good fairies Love and Pity had worked their
pretty miracle in the moonlight.

The ragged hole had changed to a little arched door, painted red.  On
either side stood a green tub, with a tall oleander in full bloom; from
the arch above hung a great bunch of gay flowers; and before the
threshold lay a letter directed to "Signor Giovanni Morris," in a
childish hand.

As soon as he recovered from the agreeable shock of this splendid
transformation scene, Johnny sank into his chair, where a soft cushion
had been placed, and read his note, with little sighs of rapture at the
charming prospect opening before him.


DEAR GIOVANNI,--Papa has made this nice gate, so you can come in when
you like and not be tired. We are to have two keys, and no one else can
open it. A little bell is to ring when we pull the cord, and we can run
and see what we want.  The paint is wet. Papa did it, and the men put up
the door last night. I helped them, and did not go in my bed till ten.
It was very nice to do it so.  I hope you will like it. Come in as soon
as you can; I am all ready.

Your friend,
       FAY.


"Mother, she must be a real fairy to do all that, mustn’t she?" said
Johnny, leaning back to look at the dear door behind which lay such
happiness for him.

"Yes, my sonny, she is the right sort of good fairy, and I just wish I
could do her washing for love the rest of her blessed little life,"
answered Mrs. Morris, in a burst of grateful ardor.

"You shall! you shall!  Do come in!  I cannot wait another minute!"
cried an eager little voice as the red door flew open; and there stood
Fay, looking very like a happy elf in her fresh white frock, a wreath of
spring flowers on her pretty hair, and a tall green wand in her hand,
while the brilliant bird sat on her shoulder, and the little white dog
danced about her feet.

    "So she bids you to come in,
    With a dimple in your chin,
      Billy boy, Billy boy,"

sung the child, remembering how Johnny liked that song; and waving her
wand, she went slowly backward as the boy, with a shining face, passed
under the blooming arch into a new world, full of sunshine, liberty, and
sweet companionship.

Neither Johnny nor his mother ever forgot that happy day, for it was the
beginning of help and hope to both just when life seemed hardest and the
future looked darkest.

Papa kept out of sight, but enjoyed peeps at the little party as they
sat under the chestnuts, Nanna and Fay doing the honors of the garden to
their guests with Italian grace and skill, while the poor mother folded
her tired hands with unutterable content, and the boy looked like a
happy soul in heaven.

Sabbath silence, broken only by the chime of bells and the feet of
church-goers, brooded over the city; sunshine made golden shadows on the
grass; the sweet wind brought spring odors from the woods; and every
flower seemed to nod and beckon, as if welcoming the new playmate to
their lovely home.

While the women talked together, Fay led Johnny up and down her little
world, showing all her favorite nooks, making him rest often on the
seats that stood all about, and amusing him immensely by relating the
various fanciful plays with which she beguiled her loneliness.

"Now we can have much nicer ones; for you will tell me yours, and we can
do great things," she said, when she had displayed her big
rocking-horse, her grotto full of ferns, her mimic sea, where a fleet of
toy boats lay at anchor in the basin of an old fountain, her fairy-land
under the lilacs, with paper elves sitting among the leaves, her swing,
that tossed one high up among the green boughs, and the basket of white
kittens, where Topaz, the yellow-eyed cat, now purred with maternal
pride.  Books were piled on the rustic table, and all the pictures Fay
thought worthy to be seen.

Here also appeared a nice lunch, before the visitors could remember it
was noon and tear themselves away.  Such enchanted grapes and oranges
Johnny never ate before; such delightful little tarts and Italian messes
of various sorts; even the bread and butter seemed glorified because
served in a plate trimmed with leaves and cut in dainty bits.  Coffee
that perfumed the air put heart into poor Mrs. Morris, who half starved
herself that the boy might be fed; and he drank milk till Nanna said,
laughing, as she refilled the pitcher,--

"He takes more than both the blessed lambs we used to feed for Saint
Agnes in the convent at home.  And he is truly welcome, the dear child,
to the best we have; for he is as innocent and helpless as they."

"What does she mean?" whispered Johnny to Fay, rather abashed at having
forgotten his manners in the satisfaction which three mugfuls of good
milk had given him.

So, sitting in the big rustic chair beside him, Fay told the pretty
story of the lambs who are dedicated to Saint Agnes, with ribbons tied
to their snowy wool, and then raised with care till their fleeces are
shorn to make garments for the Pope.  A fit tale for the day, the child
thought, and went on to tell about the wonders of Rome till Johnny’s
head was filled with a splendid confusion of new ideas, in which Saint
Peter’s and apple-tarts, holy lambs and red doors, ancient images and
dear little girls, were delightfully mixed.  It all seemed like a fairy
tale, and nothing was too wonderful or lovely to happen on that
memorable day.

So when Fay’s papa at last appeared, finding it impossible to keep away
from the happy little party any longer, Johnny decided at once that the
handsome man in the velvet coat was the king of the enchanted land, and
gazed at him with reverence and awe.  A most gracious king he proved to
be; for after talking pleasantly to Mrs. Morris, and joking Fay on
storming the walls, he proposed to carry Johnny off, and catching him
up, strode away with the astonished boy on his shoulder, while the
little girl danced before to open doors and clear the way.

Johnny thought he could n’t be surprised any more; but when he had
mounted many stairs and found himself in a great room with a glass roof,
full of rich curtains, strange armor, pretty things, and pictures
everywhere, he just sat in the big chair where he was placed, and stared
in silent delight.

"This is papa’s studio, and that the famous picture, and here is where I
work; and is n’t it pleasant? and aren’t you glad to see it?" said Fay,
skipping about to do the honors of the place.

"I don’t believe heaven is beautifuller," answered Johnny, in a low
tone, as his eyes went from the green tree-tops peeping in at the
windows to the great sunny picture of a Roman garden, with pretty
children at play among the crumbling statues and fountains.

"I ’m glad you like it, for we mean to have you come here a great deal.
I sit to papa very often, and get _so_ tired; and you can talk to me,
and then you can see me draw and model in clay, and then we ’ll go in
the garden, and Nanna will show you how to make baskets, and _then_ we
’ll play."

Johnny nodded and beamed at this charming prospect, and for an hour
explored the mysteries of the studio, with Fay for a guide and papa for
an amused spectator.  He liked the boy more and more, and was glad Fay
had so harmless a playmate to expend her energies and compassion upon.
He assented to every plan proposed, and really hoped to be able to help
these poor neighbors; for he had a kind heart, and loved his little
daughter even more than his art.

When at last Mrs. Morris found courage to call Johnny away, he went
without a word, and lay down in the dingy room, his face still shining
with the happy thoughts that filled his mind, hungry for just such
pleasures, and never fed before.

After that day everything went smoothly, and both children blossomed
like the flowers in that pleasant garden, where the magic of love and
pity, fresh air and sunshine, soon worked miracles.  Fay learned
patience and gentleness from Johnny; he grew daily stronger on the
better food Nanna gave him, and the exercise he was tempted to take; and
both spent very happy days working and playing, sometimes under the
trees, where the pretty baskets were made, or in the studio, where both
pairs of small hands modelled graceful things in clay, or daubed amazing
pictures with the artist’s old brushes and discarded canvases.

Mrs. Morris washed everything washable in the house, and did up Fay’s
frocks so daintily that she looked more like an elf than ever when her
head shone out from the fluted frills, like the yellow middle of a daisy
with its white petals all spread.

As he watched the children playing together, the artist, having no great
work in hand, made several pretty sketches of them, and then had a fine
idea of painting the garden scene where Fay first talked to Johnny.  It
pleased his fancy, and the little people sat for him nicely; so he made
a charming thing of it, putting in the cat, dog, bird, and toad as the
various characters in Shakspeare’s lovely play, while the flowers were
the elves, peeping and listening in all manner of merry, pretty ways.

He called it "Little Pyramus and Thisbe," and it so pleased a certain
rich lady that she paid a large price for it; and then, discovering that
it told a true story, she generously added enough to send Johnny and his
mother to the country, when Fay and her father were ready to go.

But it was to a lovelier land than the boy had ever read of in his fairy
books, and to a happier life than mending shoes in the dingy court.  In
the autumn they all sailed gayly away together, to live for years in
sunny Italy, where Johnny grew tall and strong, and learned to paint
with a kind master and a faithful young friend, who always rejoiced that
she found and delivered him, thanks to the wonderful hole in the wall.



[Illustration: She got too lazy to care for anything but sleeping and
eating.  PAGE 219.]



                                   X.

                            THE PIGGY GIRL.


"I won’t be washed!  I won’t be washed!" screamed little Betty, kicking
and slapping the maid who undressed her one night.

"You ’d better go and live with the pigs, dirty child," said Maria,
scrubbing away at two very grubby hands.

"I wish I could!  I love to be dirty,--I will be dirty!" roared Betty,
throwing the sponge out of the window and the soap under the table.

Maria could do nothing with her; so she bundled her into bed half wiped,
telling her to go to sleep right away.

"I won’t!  I ’ll go and live with Mrs. Gleason’s pigs, and have nothing
to do but eat and sleep, and roll in the dirt, and never, never be
washed any more," said Betty to herself.

She lay thinking about it and blinking at the moon for a while; then she
got up very softly, and crept down the back stairs, through the garden,
to the sty where two nice little pigs were fast asleep among the straw
in their small house. They only grunted when Betty crept into a corner,
laughing at the fun it would be to play piggy and live here with no
Maria to wash her and no careful mamma to keep saying,--

"Put on a clean apron, dear!"

Next morning she was waked up by hearing Mrs. Gleason pour milk into the
trough.  She lay very still till the woman was gone; then she crept out
and drank all she wanted, and took the best bits of cold potato and
bread for her breakfast, and the lazy pigs did not get up till she was
done.  While they ate and rooted in the dirt, Betty slept as long as she
liked, with no school, no errands, no patchwork to do.  She liked it,
and kept hidden till night; then she went home, and opened the little
window in the store closet, and got in and took as many good things to
eat and carry away as she liked.  She had a fine walk in her nightgown,
and saw the flowers asleep, heard the little birds chirp in the nest,
and watched the fireflies and moths at their pretty play.  No one saw
her but the cats; and they played with her, and hopped at her toes, in
the moonlight, and had great fun.

When she was tired she went to sleep with the pigs, and dozed all the
next day, only coming out to eat and drink when the milk was brought and
the cold bits; for Mrs. Gleason took good care of her pigs, and gave
them clean straw often, and kept them as nice as she could.

Betty lived in this queer way a long time, and soon looked more like a
pig than a little girl; for her nightgown got dirty, her hair was never
combed, her face was never washed, and she loved to dig in the mud till
her hands looked like paws.  She never talked, but began to grunt as the
pigs did, and burrowed into the straw to sleep, and squealed when they
crowded her, and quarrelled over the food, eating with her nose in the
trough like a real pig.  At first she used to play about at night, and
steal things to eat; and people set traps to catch the thief in their
gardens, and the cook in her own house scolded about the rats that
carried off the cake and pies out of her pantry.  But by and by she got
too lazy and fat to care for anything but sleeping and eating, and never
left the sty.  She went on her hands and knees now, and began to wonder
if a little tail would n’t grow and her nose change to a snout.

All summer she played be a pig, and thought it good fun; but when the
autumn came it was cold, and she longed for her nice warm flannel
nightgown, and got tired of cold victuals, and began to wish she had a
fire to sit by and good buckwheat cakes to eat.  She was ashamed to go
home, and wondered what she should do after this silly frolic.  She
asked the pigs how they managed in winter; but they only grunted, and
she could not remember what became of them, for the sty was always empty
in cold weather.

One dreadful night she found out.  She was smuggled down between the
great fat piggies to keep warm; but her toes were cold, and she was
trying to pull the straw over them when she heard Mr. Gleason say to his
boy,--

"We must kill those pigs to-morrow.  They are fat enough; so come and
help me sharpen the big knife."

"Oh, dear, what will become of _me_?" thought Betty, as she heard the
grindstone go round and round as the knife got sharper and sharper.  "I
look so like a pig they will kill me too, and make me into sausages if I
don’t run away.  I ’m tired of playing piggy, and I ’d rather be washed
a hundred times a day than be put in a pork barrel."

So she lay trembling till morning; then she ran through the garden and
found the back door open.  It was very early, and no one saw her, for
the cook was in the shed getting wood to make her fire; so Betty slipped
upstairs to the nursery and was going to whisk into bed, when she saw in
the glass an ugly black creature, all rags and dirt, with rumpled hair,
and a little round nose covered with mud.

"Can it be me?" she said.  "How horrid I am!"  And she could not spoil
her nice white bed, but hopped into the bathtub and had a good
scrubbing.  Next she got a clean nightgown, and brushed her hair, and
cut her long nails, and looked like a tidy little girl again.

Then she lay down in her cosey crib with the pink cover and the lace
curtains, and fell fast asleep, glad to have clean sheets, soft
blankets, and her own little pillow once more.


"Come, darling, wake up and see the new frock I have got for you, and
the nice ruffled apron.  It’s Thanksgiving day, and all the cousins are
coming to dinner," said her mamma, with a soft kiss on the rosy cheek.

Betty started up, screaming,--

"Don’t kill me!  Oh, please don’t!  I ’m not a truly pig, I ’m a little
girl; and if you’ll let me run home, I ’ll never fret when I ’m washed
again."

"What is the dear child afraid of?" said mamma, cuddling her close, and
laughing to see Betty stare wildly about for the fat pigs and the stuffy
sty.

She told her mother all about the queer time she had had, and was much
surprised to hear mamma say,--

"It was all a dream, dear; you have been safely asleep in your little
bed ever since you slapped poor Maria last night."

"Well, I ’m glad I dreamed it, for it has made me love to be clean.
Come, Maria, soap and scrub as much as you like, I won’t kick and scream
ever any more," cried Betty, skipping about, glad to be safe in her
pleasant home and no longer a dirty, lazy piggy girl.



[Illustration: She was rocking a small tadpole to sleep.--PAGE 238.]



                                     XI.
                            THE THREE FROGS.


Hop, Croak, and Splash were three little frogs who lived in a pleasant
river, and had merry times swimming about or hopping on the green grass.
At night they sat on the bank and sung together, very sweetly they
thought; and if boats came by they skipped into the water, heels over
head, with a great splashing and noise.

Hop was not contented with this quiet life; he wanted to see the world,
and kept asking his brother Croak to go and travel with him.

"I ’m tired of poking about in this stupid river, with no fun but
leap-frog and singing.  I want to know what is over that hill, and I ’m
going to find out.  You can stay and doze in the mud if you please.  I
’ve got more spirit than that, and I ’m off."

So away went Hop, singing gayly,--

    "A frog he would a-wooing go,
    Whether his mammy would let him or no,
    With a roly-poly, gammon and spinach,
    Heigh-ho, said Anthony Rowley."


His good little sister Splash begged him to stay, for the world was full
of danger and he was too young to go alone.  But Hop told her not to
worry.  Girls ought to keep at home, for they could n’t take care of
themselves; but fine young fellows should see something of life before
they settled down.  His friend Turtle had invited him to go; and if such
a slow chap as Creeper could start on a journey, of course the best
jumper in the river would get on all right.

While he was saying good-by, the turtle had crept up the bank and was
well on his way to the road beyond.  Hop skipped after him; and when
they had got to the hill-top they stopped to rest,--Creeper in the road
on the warm sand, and Hop among some daisies close by.

"How big the world is!" he said, staring with his great eyes; for he had
never seen houses before, and the village looked as grand to him as
London would to us.  "I like it, and I know I shall have a splendid
time.  Come on, slow coach!  I see fountains over there, and want a good
drink."

Just as he spoke a cart came by; and before poor Creeper could get out
of the way, a wheel crushed him to death.

"Mercy on us! what horrid monsters those are!" cried Hop, leaping as
fast as his legs could take him into a garden near by, where he lay
trembling and scared half out of his wits.  He thought the cart was a
creature; and every time he heard the rumble of wheels his heart beat
and he clasped his hands in fear as he sat under the burdock leaves.  At
last it seemed so quiet he ventured out, and had a lovely time in the
nasturtium-bed, catching flies and playing bo-peep with a little bird.
Then he hopped to the grass-plot, where the sprinkler was whizzing
round, and took a refreshing bath.  He was just puffing his skin out and
winking with pleasure when a fat toad, who lived under the piazza, told
him very crossly to "clear out."

"You are a very rude old person, and I shall do as I like.  This is not
your garden; so you need n’t goggle at me," answered saucy Hop, opening
his wide mouth to laugh at the toad, who was so fat he could n’t take
long leaps like the lively frog.

"Very well, dandiprat, I shall call the cat; and she will make you skip,
unless you want that fine green jacket torn off your back by her sharp
claws," said the toad, hopping slowly away to the sunny corner where a
gray cat lay dozing.

"Pooh’!  I ’m not afraid," said Hop; for he had never seen a cat, and
thought the toad made it all up.

So he took a leisurely stroll down the walk, looking about him as if he
owned the whole garden.  Presently he saw a pretty little creature
playing with leaves, and hurried on to speak to it, being eager to find
friends in this pleasant place.  You see, when the toad told the cat
about the stranger, pussy only gaped and went to sleep again, not caring
to play with any one.  But the kitten who lay beside her was curious to
see a frog, and ran off at once to find him.  Hop did not know that this
was the cat’s daughter, till kitty pounced on him as if he had been a
mouse, and instead of playing some nice game and telling all about the
new world, as Hop expected, she clawed and bit him, tossed him up, and
let him bump down again on the hard ground.  He tried to get away, but
she let him hop a little and then pounced again, cuffing him with her
paws, and dragging him about till he was half dead.

He believed the old toad now, and thought the end of the world had come.
It would have been the end of the world for him, if a dog had not
bounced into the garden and made kitty fly up a tree, spitting and
glaring like a little dragon. Poor Hop crept under a gooseberry bush,
and lay there longing for gentle Splash to tie up his wounds and comfort
his pain with spearmint from the river side and a cool lily-pad for a
wet sheet to pack him in.

"It is an awful world, and I wish I was safe at home," he sighed, as the
sun grew hot, the water was turned off, and the wind stopped blowing.

But he was too feeble to hop away, and lay there panting till night,
when a shower saved his life; and early in the morning he started to
find the river before he got into any more troubles.

He went very slowly, being lame and sore; but got out of the garden and
was just planning to give one tremendous leap over the road, for fear he
should get crushed as Creeper did, when he heard a soft rustling behind
him, and saw a long, slender gray thing, with very bright eyes and a
little tongue that darted out and in like a flash.

"I see no cruel claws; so it can’t be a cat," thought Hop, feeling timid
now about making new friends.

"Pretty fellow, come here and talk to me," hissed the snake, longing to
eat the nice little froggie.

Hop felt rather nervous, but wished to be polite; so he let the stranger
coil lovingly round him and look right into his face while listening to
the tale of woe he gladly told.  Presently he found he could not stir at
all, nor move his eyes from the fiery eyes before him, and the darting
tongue seemed ready to sting.  Then he was frightened, and tried to
escape; but he only gave one leap, for the snake caught him by the hind
legs and held him fast, while swallowing him slowly down.

"Help, help!" cried Hop, in despair.  "Croak! Splash! oh, come and save
me, save me!"

But there was no help; and in a few moments there was no frog, for the
last leg had vanished down the snake’s throat.  Poor little Hop!


Croak was a noisy fellow, and kept up a great racket trying to sing
louder than any of the other frogs; for he was very proud of his voice,
and sat on a log at night saying, "Ker honk! ker honk!" till every one
was tired of hearing him.

The old ones told him not to wear his throat out till his voice was
stronger; but he thought they envied him its power and sweetness, and
croaked away louder than ever.

The boys who came to the river to bathe used to mock him, and try to see
which frog sung so loud.  This pleased him; and instead of keeping still
and staying among his friends, silly Croak went and sat on a rock alone,
that all might see and hear the great singer.

"Now," said the boys, "we can catch him and keep him in a tub; and when
we are tired of his noise we can rap him on the head and make him be
still."

So while the vain frog sat croaking at the top of his voice, two of the
boys swam up to the rock and threw a net over him.  He kicked and
struggled; but they had him fast, and tied him up in a bundle till they
got to the tub, and there they left him with a little grass, saying,--

"Now sing away, old fellow, and make yourself comfortable."

But Croak could not sing, he was so frightened and unhappy; for he was
hungry and tired, and they did n’t give him the right things to eat, nor
any mossy log to rest on.  They poked him with sticks, took him up to
look at his funny toes, opened his big mouth, and held him by one leg to
see him kick.  He tried to climb out; but the sides of the tub were
slippery, and he had to give it up.  He kept swimming and floating till
he was tired out, and ate bread-crumbs and grass to keep from starving;
but he was very miserable, though children came to hear him sing, and he
had nothing else to do.

"This is n’t what I meant," sighed Croak, "and if ever I get out of this
old tub, I ’ll keep very still and never try to make a noise in the
world again."

Among the children was one kind little girl who pitied the poor frog,
and one day when she was alone took him up carefully and put him on the
grass, saying,--

"Run away, froggie, home to your mamma, and don’t tell the boys I set
you free."

"Thank you, my dear; those bad boys will never see or hear me again,"
answered Croak, hopping off as fast as he could go, never minding in his
hurry that he was not taking the road to the river.

After he had gone a long way he came to a tank where a great many frogs
seemed to be having a very nice time; for there was plenty of food,
stones to sit on, and fresh water flowing in all the time.

"Ah! these must be very elegant people to live in this luxurious way.
They sing pretty well, but not one has a splendid deep voice like mine.
I ’ll jump in and astonish them with my best song," said Croak, after he
had watched and listened for a while.

If he had only known that these frogs were kept there to be fattened for
an old French gentleman to eat, he would have skipped away and saved his
life; but he was so anxious to show off his voice, that he gave a jump
and went splash into the tank, startling the others and making a great
commotion.  He liked that; and getting up on the highest stone, gave
them his favorite "Ker honk" song, till the air rang with the sound.

The other frogs were much impressed, for they thought it fine music; so
they gathered round, and shook hands and welcomed the stranger, sure
that he must be a distinguished musician, he put on such airs.  Now
Croak was in his glory, and puffed himself out, and goggled at the
lady-frogs till they put up their fans of green flag to hide their
smiles.  The young fellows tried to imitate him, till the tank was such
a noisy place the old gentleman said to his cook,--

"Kill off a dozen of the fattest for dinner, and stop that din out
there."

The frogs had told Croak that every now and then some of them were
chosen to go and live in the great house; and all were eager to find out
what good fortune had happened to their friends, for none ever came back
to tell the sad truth.  So when they saw the man in the white cap and
apron come to the tank and look down at them, they all began to skip and
prance, hoping to be chosen.

With a long-handled net the cook picked out the fattest and put them in
a covered pail till he had his dozen.  Croak had not been there long
enough to get very plump, so he would have escaped that time if he had
held his tongue. But he could n’t keep still, and made such a terrible
noise the cook said,--

"I must catch and quiet that rascal, or my master will go distracted."
So he held the net open; and that silly frog hopped in, little dreaming
that he had sung his last song.

"Now we shall see fine things.  Good-by, you poor dears!  Be patient
till your turn comes," he cried, as the bucket was carried away to the
kitchen.

Croak was disappointed when he saw nothing but pots and pans and a great
fire; for the vain fellow really thought he was chosen to sing before
some fine people.  But his disappointment turned to horror when he saw
his friends taken out one by one and their poor little legs cut off to
fry for dinner.  That was the only part the cook used, and the rest he
threw away.  Croak was left to the last, as he was not to be eaten; and
while he waited his turn, he dashed distractedly round and round the
pail, trying to get away, and croaking so dismally it was a wonder the
cook did not take pity on him.  But he did not, and was just going
toward the pail with the big knife in his hand, when the old gentleman
came down to see if his orders were obeyed, for he thought a great deal
of his dinner.  All the poor little legs lay in the pan ready to cook;
and he was so pleased that he said, looking at the thin frog swimming
about in that lively way,--

"Ah! this is a very brisk fellow.  I will put him in my aquarium; the
gold-fish and the crab will like a little society, I think."

Then, catching Croak by one leg, he carried him upstairs and threw him
into the great glass box where several pretty gold-fish and one cross
crab lived together.  Croak was so glad to escape frying that he was
very quiet, humble, and good; and though his new home was a prison, he
tried to be contented, and never complained when the lovely fish called
him ugly and the cross crab nipped his toes.  He was homesick, and
longed sadly for the pleasant river, the jolly games he used to have,
and his dear little sister. He never sang now, fearing to be killed if
he did; but when the windows stood open through the summer night and he
heard the music of his friends, he put his hands before his face and
cried such bitter tears that the water grew quite salt.  He bore it as
long as he could; but his heart broke at last, and one day poor Croak
was found floating on the top of the tank quite dead.  So that was the
end of him.


Good little Splash lived at home all safe and happy, and was so kind to
every one that her neighbors loved her dearly and sung her praises at
their evening concerts.

Now, the Frog Prince wished to marry, and was looking about for a wife,
as he was very particular.  So he wrapped himself up in a dead-leaf
cloak, put an empty nut-shell on his head for a hood, and leaning on a
bulrush staff, went hobbling along by the river like a poor old woman,
begging at the different houses, that he might see how the lady-frogs
behaved at home.

When he rode out as the Prince on a field-mouse, with flags flying, and
all his court about him, the young lady-frogs stood modestly by their
mammas, all in their best, and curtsied sweetly as he went by.  But now
he came to the back doors, a poor beggar, and it was very different.
Some were lazy and lay late in their beds of river weeds, while the
mothers did the work; some were greedy and ate all the best flies
themselves; others slapped and scolded their little brothers and sisters
instead of taking care of them; and nearly all were vain.  The Prince
caught many looking at their bright eyes in still pools, or putting on
crowns of water flowers, or bathing in dew to keep the freckles from
their faces.  They were always ready to dance at balls, to go boating,
or sing at the concerts where all could hear them; but few were busy,
sweet, and dutiful at home, and the Prince nowhere found the bride he
wanted. He was very fond of music; so he listened to the concerts, and
soon began to wonder why they all sang a song with this chorus,--

    "Who is the fairest that swims in our river?
      Who is the dearest frog under the sun?
    Whose life is full of the sweetest endeavor?
      Who is our busiest, happiest one?
        Splash, Splash, darling thing!
        All delight her praise to sing."


"I must find this lovely creature and see if she is all they say,
because if she is I ’ll make a Princess of her in the twinkling of an
eye," said the Prince; and he set off to look for Splash, for he was a
very energetic frog.

He soon found her, for she was always busy doing something for her
neighbors; and he watched her teaching the little tadpoles to swim,
helping the old frogs out to sit in the sun when damp weather gave them
rheumatism, or taking care of the sick ones, or feeding the poor, or
running errands for busy mammas with large families and lazy daughters.

In her own little home all was as neat as wax, but so lonely she did not
like to stay there much. All day she helped others, and at evening sat
at her door and thought sadly of her lost brothers. She was very pretty
in her neat, gray gown and white apron, with her bright eyes, gentle
face, and sweet voice; though she seldom sung, except lullabies to the
little frogs and the sick folks.

She was rocking a small tadpole to sleep in this way one day, when the
disguised Prince came hobbling along, and asked for a bit to eat.
Putting little Wiggle in his cobweb hammock, Splash said kindly,--

"Yes, old mother, come in and rest while I get you some dinner.  Here ’s
a soft cushion of moss, and a leaf of water fresh from the spring."

The Prince sat a long time talking with her, and hearing about her
brothers, and seeing how sweet she was.  He made up his mind to marry at
once; for frogs don’t spend a long time and much money getting
ready,--they just wash up their green and gray suits, and invite their
friends to the wedding.  The bride can always find a delicate cobweb on
the grass for a veil, and that is all she needs.

The Prince thought he would try one thing more; so he said to her,--

"I ’m very lame; will you take me to the palace? I want to see the
Prince.  Do you know him?"

"No; I ’m only a humble creature, and he would n’t care to know me,"
said Splash, modestly.  "But I admire him very much, he is so brave and
just and good.  I love to see him go by, and always peep behind my
curtain, he is such a splendid sight."

The Prince blushed under the nut-shell cap at such praise, and was sure,
from the way Splash spoke, that she loved him a little bit.  So he was
very happy and wanted to dance, but kept quiet and leaned on her arm as
she led him down the bank, put him nicely on a lily-pad, and rowed away,
smiling at him and talking so sweetly he got fonder and fonder of her
every moment.

At last they came to the palace, all made of white water-lilies, with
red cardinal-flowers for flags, floors of green moss, and pink toadstool
tables spread with acorn cups of honey, berries, and all the dainties
frogs love; for the Prince had sent a telegram by the wind to have a
feast ready.

"Come in.  I have something for you in return for your kindness to me.
I ’m not what I seem, and in a moment you shall see who your new friend
is," said the Prince, leading her into the great hall where the throne
was.

Then he left her, wondering what was to happen, while he hurried to
throw off his old things and to put on his green velvet suit, his crown
of cowslip, and the tall rush that was his sceptre. He looked very
splendid, with white silk stockings on his long legs, his fine eyes
shining, and his speckled waistcoat puffed out with the joy of his
heart.

The trumpets sounded; all the frogs of the court came marching in, with
the Prince at the head; and when they were seated at the tables, he took
astonished Splash by the hand, and said in a loud voice,--

"This is your Queen,--the best, the loveliest in the land!  Bring the
wedding veil; let the bells ring, and shout with me, ’Hurrah! hurrah for
Queen Splash!’"



[Illustration: They did n’t look like heroines, those two shabby little
girls.  PAGE 242.]



                                    XII.
                               BAA!  BAA!


                             BAA THE FIRST.


They did n’t look at all like heroines, those two shabby little girls,
as they trotted down the hill, leaving a cloud of dust behind them.
Their bare feet were scratched and brown, their hands were red with
berry stains, and their freckled faces shone with heat under the
flapping sun-bonnets.  But Patty and Tilda were going to do a fine piece
of work, although they did not know it then, and were very full of their
own small affairs as they went briskly toward the station to sell
berries.

The tongues went as fast as the feet; for this was a great expedition,
and both were much excited about it

"Don’t they look lovely?" said Tilda, proudly surveying her sister’s
load as she paused to change a heavy pail from one arm to the other.

"Perfectly de-licious!  I know folks will buy ’em, if we ain’t too
scared to offer ’em," answered Patty, stopping also to settle the two
dozen little birch baskets full of red raspberries which she carried,
prettily set forth, on an old waiter, trimmed with scarlet
bunch-berries, white everlasting, and green leaves.

"I sha’n’t be.  I ’ll go right along and holler real loud,--see if I
don’t.  I’m bound to have our books and boots for next winter; so just
keep thinking how nice they’ll be, and push ahead," said stout-hearted
Tilda, the leader of the expedition.

"Hurry up.  I want to have time to sprinkle the posies, so they’ll look
fresh when the train comes.  I hope there’ll be lots of children in it;
they always want to eat, ma says."

"It was real mean of Elviry Morris to go and offer to sell cheaper up to
the hotel than we did, and spoil our market.  Guess she’ll wish she’d
thought of this when we tell what we ’ve done down here."  And both
children laughed with satisfaction as they trudged along, never minding
the two hot, dusty miles they had to go.

The station was out of the village, and the long trains carrying summer
travellers to the mountains stopped there once a day to meet the stages
for different places.  It was a pleasant spot, with a great pond on one
side, deep forests on the other, and in the distance glimpses of gray
peaks or green slopes inviting the weary city people to come and rest.

Every one seemed glad to get out during the ten minutes’ pause, even if
their journey was not yet ended; and while they stood about, enjoying
the fresh air from the pond, or watching the stages load up, Tilda and
Patty planned to offer their tempting little baskets of fresh fruit and
flowers.  It was a great effort, and their hearts beat with childish
hope and fear as they came in sight of the station, with no one about
but the jolly stage-drivers lounging in the shade.

"Plenty of time.  Let’s go to the pond and wash off the dust and get a
drink.  Folks won’t see us behind those cars," said Tilda, glad to slip
out of sight till the train arrived; for even her courage seemed to ooze
away as the important moment approached.

A long cattle-train stood on a side track waiting for the other one to
pass; and while the little girls splashed their feet in the cool water,
or drank from their hands, a pitiful sound filled the air.  Hundreds of
sheep, closely packed in the cars and suffering agonies from dust and
heat and thirst, thrust their poor noses through the bars, bleating
frantically; for the sight of all that water, so near yet so impossible
to reach, drove them wild.  Those farther down the track, who could not
see the blue lake, could smell it, and took up the cry till the woods
echoed with it, and even the careless drivers said, with a glance of
pity,--

"Hard on the poor critters this hot day, ain’t it?"

"Oh, Tilda, hear ’em baa, and see ’em crowd this side to get at the
water!  Let’s take ’em some in our pickin’ dishes.  It’s so dreadful to
be dry," said tender-hearted Patty, filling her pint cup, and running to
offer it to the nearest pathetic nose outstretched to meet it.  A dozen
thirsty tongues tried to lap it, and in the struggle the little cup was
soon emptied; but Patty ran for more, and Tilda did the same, both
getting so excited over the distress of the poor creatures that they
never heard the far-off whistle of their train, and continued running to
and fro on their errand of mercy, careless of their own weary feet, hot
faces, and the precious flowers withering in the sun.

They did not see a party of people sitting near by under the trees, who
watched them and listened to their eager talk with smiling interest.

"Run, Patty; this poor little one is half dead. Throw some water in his
face while I make this big one stop walking on him.  Oh, dear!  There
are so many!  We can’t help half, and our mugs are so small!"

"I know what I ’ll do, Tilda,--tip out the berries into my apron, and
bring up a nice lot at once," cried Patty, half beside herself with
pity.

"It will spoil your apron and mash the berries, but never mind.  I don’t
care if we don’t sell one if we can help these poor dear lammies,"
answered energetic Tilda, dashing into the pond up to her ankles to fill
the pail, while Patty piled up the fruit in her plaid apron.

"Oh, my patience me! the train is coming!" cried Patty, as a shrill
shriek woke the echoes, and an approaching rumble was heard.

"Let it come.  I won’t leave this sheep till it’s better.  You go and
sell the first lot; I ’ll come as quick as I can," commanded Tilda, so
busy reviving the exhausted animal that she could not stop even to begin
the cherished new plan.

"I don’t dare go alone; you come and call out, and I ’ll hold the
waiter," quavered poor Patty, looking sadly scared as the long train
rolled by with a head at every window.

"Don’t be a goose.  Stay here and work, then; I ’ll go and sell every
basket.  I ’m so mad about these poor things, I ain’t afraid of
anybody," cried Tilda, with a last refreshing splash among the few
favored sheep, as she caught up the tray and marched off to the
platform,--a very hot, wet, shabby little girl, but with a breast full
of the just indignation and tender pity that go to redress half the
wrongs of this great world.

"Oh, mamma, see the pretty baskets! do buy some, I ’m so thirsty and
tired," exclaimed more than one eager little traveller, as Tilda held up
her tray, crying bravely,--

"Fresh berries! fresh berries! ten cents! only ten cents!"

They were all gone in ten minutes; and if Patty had been with her, the
pail might have been emptied before the train left.  But the other
little Samaritan was hard at work; and when her sister joined her,
proudly displaying a handful of silver, she was prouder still to show
her woolly invalid feebly nibbling grass from her hand.

"We might have sold everyone,--folks liked ’em ever so much; and next
time we ’ll have two dozen baskets apiece.  But we ’ll have to be spry,
for some of the children fuss about picking out the one they like.  It’s
real fun, Patty," said Tilda, tying up the precious dimes in a corner of
her dingy little handkerchief.

"So’s this," answered the other, with a last loving pat of her patient’s
nose, as the train began to move, and car after car of suffering sheep
passed them with plaintive cries and vain efforts to reach the blessed
water of which they were in such dreadful need.

Poor Patty could n’t bear it.  She was hot, tired, and unhappy because
she could do so little; and when her pitying eyes lost sight of that
load of misery, she just sat down and cried.

But Tilda scolded as she carefully put the unsold berries back into the
pail, still unconscious of the people behind the elder-bushes by the
pond.

"That’s the wickedest thing that ever was; and I just wish I was a man,
so I could see about it.  I ’d put all the railroad folks in those cars,
and keep ’em there hours and hours and hours, going by ponds all the
time; and I ’d have ice-cream, too, where they could n’t get a bit, and
lots of fans, and other folks all cool and comfortable, never caring how
hot and tired and thirsty they were.  Yes, I would! and then we’d see
how _they_ like it."

Here indignant Tilda had to stop for breath, and refreshed herself by
sucking berry-juice off her fingers.

"We _must_ do something about it.  I can’t be happy to think of those
poor lammies going so far without any water.  It’s awful to be dry,"
sobbed Patty, drinking her own tears as they fell.

"If I had a hose, I ’d come every day and hose all over the cars; that
would do some good.  Anyway, we ’ll bring the other big pail, and water
all we can," said Tilda, whose active brain was always ready with a
plan.

"Then we sha’n’t sell our berries," began Patty, despondently; for all
the world was saddened to her just then by the sight she had seen.

"We ’ll come earlier, and both work real hard till our train is in.
Then I ’ll sell, and you go on watering with both pails.  It’s hard
work, but we can take turns.  What ever shall we do with all these
berries?  The under ones are smashed, so we ’ll eat ’em; but these are
nice, only who will buy ’em?"  And Tilda looked soberly at the spoiled
apron and the four quarts of raspberries picked with so much care in the
hot sun.

"I will," said a pleasant voice; and a young lady came out from the
bushes just as the good fairy appears to the maidens in old tales.

Both little girls started and stared, and were covered with confusion
when other heads popped up, and a stout gentleman came toward them,
smiling so good-naturedly that they were not afraid.

"We are having a picnic in the woods, and would like these nice berries
for our supper, if you want to sell them," said the lady, holding out a
pretty basket.

"Yes, ma’am, we do.  You can have ’em all. They ’re a little mashed; so
we won’t ask but ten cents a quart, though we expected to get twelve,"
said Tilda, who was a real Yankee, and had an eye to business.

"What do you charge for watering the sheep?" asked the stout gentleman,
looking kindly at Patty, who at once retired into the depths of her
sun-bonnet, like a snail into its shell.

"Nothing, sir.  Was n’t it horrid to see those poor things?  That’s what
made her cry.  She’s real tender-hearted, and she could n’t bear it; so
we let the berries go, and did what we could," answered Tilda, with such
an earnest little face that it looked pretty in spite of tan and
freckles and dust.

"Yes, it was very sad, and we must see about it.  Here’s something to
pay for the berries, also for the water."  And the gentleman threw a
bright half-dollar into Tilda’s lap and another into Patty’s, just as if
he was used to tossing money about in that delightful manner.

The little girls did n’t know what to say to him; but they beamed at
every one, and surveyed the pretty silver pieces as if they were very
precious in their sight.

"What will you do with them?" asked the lady, in the friendly sort of
voice that always gets a ready answer.

"Oh, we are saving up to buy books and rubber boots, so we can go to
school next winter. We live two miles from school, and wear out lots of
boots, and get colds when it’s wet.  We had _Pewmonia_ last spring, and
ma said we _must_ have rubber boots, and we might earn ’em in
berry-time," said Tilda, eagerly.

"Yes, and _she’s_ real smart, and _she’s_ going to be promoted, and
_must_ have new books, and they cost so much, and ma ain’t rich, so we
get ’em ourselves," added sister Patty, forgetting bashfulness in
sisterly pride.

"That’s brave.  How much will it take for the boots and the books?"
asked the lady, with a glance at the old gentleman, who was eating
berries out of her basket.

"As much as five dollars, I guess.  We want to get a shawl for ma, so
she can go to meetin’. It’s a secret, and we pick every day real hard,
’cause berries don’t last long," said Tilda, wisely.

"_She_ thought of coming down here.  We felt so bad about losing our
place at the hotel, and did n’t know what to do, till Tilda made this
plan.  I think it’s a splendid one."  And Patty eyed her half-dollar
with immense satisfaction.

"Don’t spoil the plan, Alice.  I ’m passing every week while you are up
here, and I ’ll see to the success of the affair," said the old
gentleman, with a nod; adding, in a louder tone, "These are very fine
berries, and I want you to take four quarts every other day to Miller’s
farm over there.  You know the place?"

"Yes, sir! yes, sir!" cried two eager voices; for the children felt as
if a rain of half-dollars was about to set in.

"I come up every Saturday and go down Monday; and I shall look out for
you here, and you can water the sheep as much as you like. They need it,
poor beasts!" added the old gentleman.

"We will, sir! we will!" cried the children, with faces so full of
innocent gratitude and good will that the young lady stooped and kissed
them both.

"Now, my dear, we must be off, and not keep our friends waiting any
longer," said the old gentleman, turning toward the heads still bobbing
about behind the bushes.

"Good-by, good-by.  We won’t forget the berries and the sheep," called
the children, waving the stained apron like a banner, and showing every
white tooth in the beaming smiles they sent after these new friends.

"Nor I my lambs," said Alice to herself, as she followed her father to
the boat.

"What will ma say when we tell her and show her this heap of money?"
exclaimed Tilda, pouring the dimes into her lap, and rapturously
chinking the big half-dollars before she tied them all up again.

"I hope we sha’n’t be robbed going home. You ’d better hide it in your
breast, else some one might see it," said prudent Patty, oppressed by
the responsibility of so much wealth.

"There goes the boat!" cried Tilda.  "Don’t it look lovely?  Those are
the nicest folks I ever saw."

"She’s perfectly elegant.  I ’d like a white dress and a hat just like
that.  When she kissed me, the long feather was as soft as a bird’s wing
on my cheeks, and her hair was all curling round like the picture we cut
out of the paper."  And Patty gazed after the boat as if this little
touch of romance in her hard-working life was delightful to her.

"They must be awful rich, to want so many berries.  We shall have to fly
round to get enough for them and the car folks too.  Let’s go right off
now to that thick place we left this morning, else Elviry may get ahead
of us," said practical Tilda, jumping up, ready to make hay while the
sun shone.  But neither of them dreamed what a fine crop they were to
get in that summer, all owing to their readiness in answering that
pitiful "Baa! baa!"



                            BAA THE SECOND.


A very warm and a very busy week followed, for the berries were
punctually delivered at the farm, and successfully sold at the station;
and, best of all, the sheep were as faithfully watered as two little
pails and two little girls could do it.  Every one else forgot them.
Mr. Benson was a busy old gentleman far away in the city; Miss Alice was
driving, boating, and picnicking all day long; and the men at the depot
had no orders to care for the poor beasts.  But Tilda and Patty never
forgot; and, rain or shine, they were there when the long train came in,
waiting to do what they could, with dripping pails, handfuls of grass,
or green branches, to refresh these suffering travellers for whom no
thought was taken.

The rough stage-drivers laughed at them, the brakemen ordered them away,
and the station-master said they were "little fools;" but nothing
daunted the small sisters of charity, and in a few days they were let
alone.  Their arms were very tired lifting the pails, their backs ached
with lugging so much water, and mother would not let them wear any but
their oldest clothes for such wet work; so they had their trials, but
bore them bravely, and never expected to be thanked.

When Saturday came round, and Miss Alice drove to meet her father, she
remembered the little girls, and looked for them.  Up at the farm she
enjoyed her berries, and ordered them to be promptly paid for, but was
either asleep or away when they arrived, and so had not seen the
children.  The sight of Patty, hastily scrambling a clean apron over her
old frock, as she waited for the train with her tray of fruit, made the
young lady leave the phaeton and go to meet the child, asking, with a
smile,--

"Where is the black-eyed sister?  Not ill, I hope.

"No, ma’am; she’s watering the sheep.  She’s so strong she does it
better ’n I do, and I sell the baskets," answered Patty, rejoicing
secretly in the clean faded apron that hid her shabbiness.

"Ah, I forgot _my_ lambs; but you were faithful to yours, you good
little things!  Have you done it every day?"

"Yes, ’m.  Ma said, if we promised, we _must_ do it; and we like it.
Only there ’s such a lot of ’em, and we get pretty tired."  And Patty
rubbed her arms as if they ached.

"I ’ll speak to papa about it this very day. It will be a good time; for
Mr. Jacobs, the president of the road, is coming up to spend Sunday, and
they must do something for the poor beasts," said Miss Alice, ashamed to
be outdone by two little girls.

"That will be so nice.  We read a piece in a paper our teacher lends us,
and I brought it down to show Mr. Weed, the depot man.  He said it was a
shame, but nobody could help it; so we thought we ’d tell him about the
law we found."  And Patty eagerly drew a worn copy of "Our Dumb Animals"
from her pocket to show the little paragraph to this all-powerful friend
who knew the railroad king.

Miss Alice read:--

"An act of Congress provides that at the end of every twenty-eight
hours’ journey animals shall be given five hours’ rest, and duly fed and
watered, unless shipped in cars having accommodations for the care of
live-stock on board."

"There!" cried Patty, "that’s the law; and ma says these sheep come ever
so far, and ought to be watered.  Do tell the president, and ask him to
see to it.  There was another piece about some poor pigs and cows being
ninety-two hours without water and food.  It was awful."

"I _will_ tell him.  Here ’s our train.  Run to your berries.  I ’ll
find papa, and show him this."

As Miss Alice spoke, the cars thundered into the little station, and a
brief bustle ensued, during which Patty was too busy to see what
happened.

Mr. Benson and another stout old gentleman got out; and the minute Miss
Alice had been kissed, she said very earnestly,--

"Wait a little, please; I want to settle a very important piece of
business before we go home."

Then, while the gentlemen listened indulgently, she told the story,
showed the bit in the paper, and pointing out Patty, added warmly,--

"That’s one good child.  Come and see the other, and you will agree with
me that something ought to be done to relieve their kind little hearts
and arms, if not out of mercy to the animals, who can’t be called dumb
in this case, though we have been deaf too long."

"My wilful girl must have her way.  Come and get a whiff of fresh air,
Jacobs."  And Mr. Benson followed his daughter across the track, glad to
get out of the bustle.

Yes, Tilda was there, and at work so energetically that they dared not
approach, but stood looking and laughing for a moment.  Two pails of
water stood near her, and with a long-handled dipper she was serving all
she could reach; those which were packed on the upper tier she could
only refresh by a well-aimed splash, which was eagerly welcomed, and
much enjoyed by all parties,--for Tilda got well showered herself, but
did not care a bit, for it was a melting July day.

"That is a very little thing to do, but it is the cup of cold water
which _we_ have forgotten," said Miss Alice, softly, while the air was
full of cries of longing as the blue lake shone before the thirsty
beasts.

"Jacobs, we must attend to this."

"Benson, we will.  I ’ll look into the matter, and report at the next
meeting."

That was all they said; but Alice clapped her hands, for she knew the
thing would be done, and smiled like sunshine on the two old gentlemen,
who presently watched the long train rumble away, with shakes and nods
of the gray heads, which expressed both pity and determination.

The other train soon followed, and Patty came running over with her
empty tray and a handful of silver to join Tilda, who sat down upon her
upturned pail, tired out.

"Papa will see to it, children; and, thanks to you, the sheep will soon
be more comfortable," said Miss Alice, joining them.

"Oh, goody!  I hope they’ll be quick; it’s so hot, there ’s ever so many
dead ones to-day, and I can’t help ’em," answered Tilda, fanning herself
with her bonnet, and wiping the drops off her red face.

Miss Alice took a pretty straw fan out of her pocket and handed it to
her, with a look of respect for the faithful little soul who did her
duty so well.

"Ask for me when you come to the farm to-night.  I shall have some hats
and aprons for you, and I want to know you better," she said,
remembering the broad-brimmed hats and ready-made aprons in the village
store.

"Thank you, ma’am.  We ’ll come.  Now we won’t have to do this wet work
we ’d like to be neat and nice," said Patty, gratefully.

"Do you always sell all your berries down here?" asked Miss Alice,
watching Tilda tie up the dimes.

"Yes, indeed; and we could sell more if both of us went.  But ma said we
were making lots of money, and it was n’t best to get rich too fast,"
answered Tilda, wisely.

"That’s a good thing for us to remember, Benson, especially just now,
and not count the cost of this little improvement in our cattle cars too
closely," said Mr. Jacobs, as the old gentlemen came up in time to hear
Tilda’s speech.

"Your mother is a remarkable woman; I must come and see her," added Mr.
Benson.

"Yes, sir; she is.  She’d be pleased to see you any day."  And Tilda
stood up respectfully as her elders addressed her.

"Getting too rich, are you?  Then I suppose it would n’t do to ask you
to invest this in your business for me?" asked Mr. Jacobs, holding up
two silver dollars, as if he felt bashful about offering them.

Two pairs of eyes sparkled; and Patty’s hand went out involuntarily, as
she thought how many things she could get with all that money.

"Would they buy a lamb? and would you like to use it that way?" asked
Tilda, in a business-like tone.

"I guess Miller would let you have one for that sum if Miss Alice makes
the bargain, and I _should_ very much like to start a flock if you would
attend to it for me," answered Mr. Jacobs, with a laughing nod at the
young lady, who seemed to understand that way of making bargains.

"We ’d like it ever so much!  We ’ve wanted a lamb all summer; and we’ve
got a nice rocky pasture, with lots of pennyroyal and berry bushes and a
brook, for it to live in.  We could get one ourselves now we are so
rich; but we ’d rather buy more things for ma, and mend the roof ’fore
the snow comes: it’s so old, rain runs down on our bed sometimes."

"That’s bad; but you seem fond of water, and look as if it agreed with
you," said Mr. Jacobs, playfully poking Tilda’s soaked apron with his
cane.

They all laughed; and Mr. Benson said, looking at his watch,--

"Come, Alice, we must go.  I want my dinner, and so does Jacobs.
Good-by, little water-witches.  I ’ll see you again."

"Do you s’pose they ’ll remember the lambs and hats, and all they
promised?" asked Patty, as the others turned away.

"I don’t believe they will.  Rich folks are so busy having good times
they are apt to forget poor folks, seems to me," answered Tilda, shaking
her head like a little Solomon.

"Bless my heart, what a sharp child that is! We must not disappoint her;
so remind me, Alice, to make a memorandum of all this business,"
whispered Mr. Benson, who heard every word.

"The President is a _very_ nice man, and I know _he_ ’ll keep his word.
See! he dropped the money in my tray, and I never saw him do it," cried
Patty, pouncing on the dollars like a robin on a worm.

"There’s a compliment for you, and well worth the money.  Such
confidence is beautiful," said Mr. Jacobs, laughing.

"Well, I ’ve learned a little lesson, and I ’ll lay it to heart so well
I won’t let either of you forget," added Alice, as they drove away;
while Tilda and Patty trudged home, quite unconscious that they had set
an example which their elders were not ashamed to follow.

So many delightful things happened after this that the children felt as
if they had got into a fairy tale.  First of all, two nice rough straw
hats and four useful aprons were given them that very night.  Next day
Miss Alice went to see their mother, and found an excellent woman,
trying to bring up her girls, with no one to help her.

Then somehow the roof got mended, and the fence, so that passing cattle
could not devastate the little beds where the children carefully
cultivated wild flowers from the woods and hills. There seemed to be a
sudden call for berries in the neighborhood,--for the story of the small
Samaritans went about, and even while they laughed, people felt an
interest in the children, and were glad to help them; so the dimes in
the spoutless teapot rose like a silver tide, and visions of new gowns,
and maybe sleds, danced through the busy little brains.

But, best and most wonderful of all, the old gentlemen did _not_ forget
the sheep.  It was astonishing how quickly and easily it was all done,
when once those who had the power found both the will and the way.
Every one was interested now: the stage-drivers joked no more; the
brakemen lent a hand with the buckets while waiting for better means of
relief; and cross Mr. Weed patted Tilda and Patty on the head, and
pointed them out to strangers as the "nice little girls who stirred up
the railroad folks."  Children from the hotel came to look at them, and
Elviry Morris was filled with regret that she had no share in this
interesting affair.

Thus the little pail of water they offered for pity’s sake kept the
memory of this much-needed mercy green till the lake poured its full
tide along the channel made for it, and there was no more suffering on
that road.

The first day the new pumps were tried every one went to see them work;
and earliest of all were Tilda and Patty, in pink aprons and wreaths of
evergreens round their new hats, in honor of the day.  It was sweet to
see their intense satisfaction as the water streamed into the troughs,
and the thirsty sheep drank so gratefully.  The innocent little souls
did not know how many approving glances were cast upon them as they sat
on a log, with the tired arms folded, two trays of berries at their feet
now, and two faces beaming with the joy of a great hope beautifully
fulfilled.

Presently a party from the hotel appeared; and something was evidently
going to happen, for the boys and girls kept dodging behind the cars to
see if they were coming.  Tilda and Patty wondered who or what, but kept
modestly apart upon their log, glad to see that the fine folks enjoyed
the sight about as much as they did.

A rattle was heard along the road, a wagon stopped behind the station,
and an excited boy came flying over the track to make the mysterious
announcement to the other children,--

"They ’ve got ’em, and they are regular beauties."

"More pumps or troughs, I guess.  Well, we can’t have too many," said
Tilda, with an eye to the business under way.

"I wish those folks would n’t stare so.  I s’pose it’s the new aprons
with pockets," whispered bashful Patty, longing for the old cape-bonnet
to retire into.

But both forgot pumps and pockets in a moment, as a striking procession
appeared round the corner.  Mr. Benson, trying not to laugh, but shining
with heat and fun, led a very white lamb with a red bow on its neck; and
behind him came Miss Alice, leading another lamb with a blue bow.  She
looked very much in earnest, and more like a good fairy than ever, as
she carried out her little surprise.  People looked and laughed; but
every one seemed to understand the joke at once, and were very quiet
when Mr. Benson held up his hand, and said, in a voice which was earnest
as well as merry,--

"Here, my little girls, are two friends of those poor fellows yonder
come to thank you for your pity, and to prove, I hope, that rich people
are not always too busy with their own good times to remember their
poorer neighbors.  Take them, my dears, and God bless you!"

"I did n’t forget my lambs this time, but have been taming these for
you; and Mr. Jacobs begs you will accept them, with his love," added
Miss Alice, as the two pretty creatures were led up to their new owners,
wagging their tails and working their noses in the most amiable manner,
though evidently much amazed at the scene.

Tilda and Patty were so surprised that they were dumb with delight, and
could only blush and pat the woolly heads, feeling more like story-book
girls than ever.  The other children, charmed with this pleasant ending
to the pretty story, set up a cheer; the men joined in it with a will;
while the ladies waved their parasols, and all the sheep seemed to add
to the chorus their grateful "Baa! baa!"



           _University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge._



                     *      *      *      *      *



               _Messrs. Roberts Brothers’ Publications._



                      LOUISA M. ALCOTT’S WRITINGS


"_Miss Alcott is really a benefactor of households._"--H. H.

"_Miss Alcott has a faculty of entering into the lives and feelings of
children that is conspicuously wanting in most writers who address them
and to this cause, to the consciousness among her readers that they are
hearing about people like themselves, instead of abstract qualities
labelled with names, the popularity of her books is due._"--Mrs. SARAH
J. HALE.

"_Dear Aunt Jo!  You are embalmed in the thoughts and loves of thousands
of little men and little women._"--EXCHANGE.


Little Women; or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.  With illustrations.  Two
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Hospital Sketches, and Camp and Fireside Stories.  With illustrations.
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An Old-Fashioned Girl.  With illustrations.  16mo.  $1.50

Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boys.  With illustrations.
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Eight Cousins; or, The Aunt-Hill. With illustrations.  16mo.  $1.50

Rose In Bloom.  A sequel to "Eight Cousins."  16mo.  $1.50

Under the Lilacs.  With illustrations.  16mo.  $1.50

Jack and Jill.  A Village Story. With illustrations.  16mo.  $1.50

Work: A Story of Experience. With character illustrations by Sol
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Moods.  A Novel.  New edition, revised and enlarged.  16mo.  $1.50

Silver Pitchers and Independence. A Centennial Love Story. 16mo.  $1.25

Proverb Stories.  New edition, revised and enlarged.  16mo.  $1.25

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My Boys, &c.  First volume of Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag.  16mo.  $1.00

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Little Women.  Illustrated. Embellished with nearly 200 characteristic
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Little Women Series.  Printed on large paper, with new illustrations,
and in uniform bindings of new and tasteful design, printed in black,
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this set are as follows, viz.:--

Little Women; Little Men; Eight Cousins; Under the Lilacs; An
Old-Fashioned Girl; Hospital Sketches; Rose in Bloom; Jack and Jill.  8
large 16mo volumes in a handsome box.  $12.00


_These books are for sale at all bookstores, or will be mailed,
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                       MRS. DODGE’S POPULAR BOOK


[Illustration: A PORTRAIT OF DOROTHY AT SIXTEEN.]


                          DONALD AND DOROTHY.

                          BY MARY MAPES DODGE.

            Beautifully Illustrated and Bound.  Price $2.00.


              _An honest tribute from an admiring friend_.

"DEAR MRS. DODGE,--I have just finished your book called ’Donald and
Dorothy’ for the third or fourth time, and would like very much to know
whether Dorothy is a real person, and if so, what is her name?  I am
nearly as old as Dorothy was at the close of the book, so am very much
interested in her.  I would also like to know how old she is, and where
she lives.  If you would be kind enough to reply, you would greatly
oblige

"Your admiring friend,"



                      A NEW BOOK BY THE AUTHOR OF

          "Jolly Good Times" and "Jolly Good Times at School."


                              THE BROWNS.

                          BY MARY P. W. SMITH,

                               AUTHOR OF

        "_Jolly Good Times; or, Child-Life on a Farm,_" "_Jolly
                      Good Times at School,_" &c.

      With frontispiece illustration.  16mo.  Cloth.  Price $1.00.


CONTENTS: I. Don does an Errand.  II. It Snows.  III. Border Warfare.
IV. The Boo.  V. Don Figures as an Invalid. VI. The Flood.  VII. Nan’s
Trials.  VIII. Preparations. IX. The Party.  X. Don "Speaks in Public on
the Stage."  XI. The Zoo.  XII. The Grandin Road.  XIII. A Dark Shadow.
XIV. The Reaction.  XV. Don has his Own Way.  XVI. Celebrating a
Birthday.  XVII. The Browns prepare to Travel.  XVIII. They Travel.
XIX. They Encounter an "Only."  XX. They go on.  XXI. They arrive.



_Sold by all Booksellers.  Mailed, postpaid, by the publishers_,

ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.





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