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and well at the root. Then the apple-tree cast down to the ground its fragrant burden of golden apples, and men came and carried them away.
By and by there came keen, cutting winds, and driving storms of sleet and hail; and then at night it would be so cold, so cold! and one after another the leaves and flowers fell stiff and frozen, and grew black, and turned to decay. The leaves loosened and fell from the apple-tree, and sailed away by thousands down the brook; the butterflies lay dead with the flowers, but all the birds had gone singing away to the sunny south, following the summer into other lands.
“ Tell me, dear tree,” said Daisy, “is this winter that is coming ?”
“ It is winter, darling," said the tree ; “ but fear not. The Good Shepherd makes winter as well as summer.”
“ I still hold my blossoms,” said Daisy, — for Daisy was a hardy little thing.
But the frosts came harder and harder every night, and first they froze her blossoms, and then they froze her leaves, and finally all, all were gone, — there was nothing left but the poor little root, with the folded leaves of the future held in its bosom.
“Ah, dear tree !” said Daisy, “is not this dreadful ?”
“Be patient, darling,” said the tree. “I have seen many, many winters ; but the Good Shepherd loses never a seed, never a root, never a flower : they will all come again.”
By and by came colder days and colder, and the brook froze to its little heart and stopped ; and then there came bitter, driving storms, and the snow lay wreathed over Daisy's head; but still from the bare branches of the apple-tree came a voice of cheer. “Courage, darling, and patience! Not a flower shall be lost: winter is only for a season."
" It is so dreary!” murmured Daisy, deep in her bosom.
And at last the spring did come; and the snow melted and ran away down the brook, and the sun shone out warm, and fresh green leaves jumped and sprang out of every dry twig of the apple-tree. And one bright, rejoicing day, little Daisy opened her eyes, and lo! there were all her friends once more ;
— there were the eye-brights and the violets and the anemones and the liverwort, — only ever so many more of them than there were last year, because each little pearl of a seed had been nursed and moistened by the snows of winter, and had come up as a little plant to have its own flowers. The birds all came back, and began building their nests, and everything was brighter and fairer than before ; and Daisy felt strong at heart, because she had been through a winter, and learned not to fear it. She looked up into the apple-tree. “Will there be more winters, dear tree?” she said.
“ Darling, there will; but fear not. Enjoy the present hour, and leave future winters to Him who makes them. Thou hast come through these sad hours, because the Shepherd remembered thee. He loseth never a flower out of his pasture, but calleth them all by name : and the snow will never drive so cold, or the wind beat so hard, as to hurt one of his flowers. And look! of all the flowers of last year, what one is melted away in the snow, or forgotten in the number of green things ? Every blade of grass is counted, and puts up its little head in the right time ; so never fear, Daisy, for thou shalt blossom stronger and brighter for the winter."
“But why must there be winter ?” said Daisy.
“I never ask why," said the tree. “My business is to blossom and bear apples. Summer comes, and I am joyful; winter comes, and I am patient. But, darling, there is another garden where thou and I shall be transplanted one day, where there shall be winter no more. There is coming a new earth; and not one flower or leaf of these green pastures shall be wanting there, but come as surely as last year's flowers come back this spring!”
Harriet Beecher Stowe.
NEAR LITTLE YOUNGEST FOLKS:
I want to tell you about Jamie, because I like to talk about him; and so I hope you will like to hear about him. He is a little round-cheeked darling, -as brown as a berry, as sweet as a peach, and as bright as a buttercup, just like you; and he is three years old. He was not always so old as that; but when he once began to grow he kept at it, and he gets older and older every day, and his dear little frocks begin to fall off his shoulders, and his dear little trousers begin to button round his legs, and his dear little brain is getting full of kinks, and we are beginning not to have any little boy at all; and what we shall do without him when he is grown up, I am sure I do not know. It puzzles him quite as much as it puzzles us. He cannot think where little Jamie has gone to, now that he has grown so big a boy. “Is that little boy in me?” he asks, feeling of his arms and legs. But he never can find that little boy; and we never can find him again, until we can fly off to some far-away star, and look for him.
One day he was talking with his mother about the time when she was a little girl, and he asked, “Was I made then?”
“No, Jamie,” she said, “ I was made first.”
“Well, mamma, when you were made, did you look and see any little skin and bones and hair to make me of?”.
One day a friend sent him two cards with little birds painted on them, and they were his special delight. His mamma put them in her album, and Jamie would look at them, and clasp his hands, and exclaim earnestly, “ Ain't they beautiful ? " Presently he went to the desk, and wrote all over a piece of paper, in his way, - which is quite your way, though not mine, - and then he sat down in his chair and read it to his mamma. She took him in her lap and let him print a part of it in real letters, and here it is. His mamma told him how to spell the words ; but he did all the rest himself.
“ DEAR A.:-
When he wrote his own way, and read it to us, he wrote much more than that. One sentence I remember was, “I want you to prepare to send me another pair of birds.” But when he had to print it, so that we could read it, he soon got tired, and so wrote, as you see, a very short letter. In spelling, he is sure as far as he goes, which is not a great way. He can spell ox and boy and cow. He could spell Abby till he stumbled on baby, and now he mixes them together, and cannot tell which is which. He likes pictures very much, and makes a good many on his slate. His papa takes Harper's
Weekly newspaper for his especial use, and we think we shall soon have to subscribe for Our Young Folks. Some of the stories he has had read to him so often that he knows them by heart, and goes about his play saying them to himself.
He has taken a new turn lately. He begged his mamma to give him a piece of red cloth to make a bag for Baddy to put pretty stones in. He sewed on it two or three times, and then his mamma laid it aside in hopes he would forget it; but he found it, and came to her to thread his needle " to sew a nice string on Baddy's bag.” She was busy, and could not stop then ; so he tried, and tried, and at length threaded it himself! Just think of it! Three years old, and a boy at that! Then he sewed on a button, I wish you could see it, – and made a button-hole, - I wish you could see that too; and there it was, all finished, — just the nicest little bag I ever saw in my life; for every time I look at it I see the dearest little dimpled fingers - just like yours — fumbling all over it.
Christmas was a very great wonder to him. Santa Claus puzzled him. He had been wanting a little tin tea-set a long while, and some one told him to hang up his stocking, and perhaps Santa Claus would put one in. Then he asked very earnestly if the things would n't scratch his legs! Why, you see, the little gosling thought he should have to wear the tea-set in his stockings. Finally, some one gave him the tin tea-set before Christmas; but he was so sure it must go in his stocking, that one day his mamma found the stocking taken off and hung on the what-not, as high as he could reach, with the tea-set in it. When Christmas came at last, he found his little stocking really full. There was a ball, and a wagon, and there were ever so many sugar-plums; and he loaded the sugar-plums into his wagon, and was very happy, but full of curiosity to know where Santa Claus was. Finally, there was a book that told all about Santa Claus, and had pictures of him going down the chimneys, and driving about in his little sleigh loaded with toys; and Jamie took the picture to his mamma at once, to know where the claws were. She read the story to him many times before he was satisfied; and in about a week he could say the whole of it himself. This is one of the lines :
“As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly." It is a pretty hard line is n't it? Jamie found it so; but, hard as it was, he got hold of it, and would not let it go. Now you ought to hear him read this book of his. He kneels down before a chair, and opens the book, and begins,
“'T was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." And when his tiny tongue has clattered down to what he thinks ought to be the bottom of the page, he asks, “ Time to turn over, mamma?” and over goes the leaf, and down he clatters through another page.
I have ever so much more to tell you about Jamie, but I am afraid you will be tired. If it were a monkey or a squirrel, I should know you would like it; but I don't suppose monkeys care much about monkeys. In fact, I don't suppose a monkey knows he is a monkey. So I suppose you dear little snips do not know what dear little snips you are. But I know, little snips, and sugar-plums, and peach-blossoms, and honey-dew, – that is what you are, and you cannot help yourselves !
FOUR years old when the blackberries come!
In the bough that the robin sang upon.
Columbines will not nod from the rock,
Nor blue-eyed violets hide in the grass, Nor the wind with the sweet-breathed clover talk,
When Kitty and I down the meadow pass.
But she will run after me, all the same,
With her spotted back and her frisky tail, And will stop and look when I call her name,
Or spring at my curls from the high fence-rail.
Cherries and strawberries, you may go;
We shall not fret about you, the least,
Kitty and I, at my birthday feast.
If there 's a grasshopper left in sight,
Or a locust spinning his long, dry tune, They are the guests that we will invite
To eat with us in the shade at noon.
Overhead will the sky be blue,
And the grass we tread will be short and green, And a late field-daisy --- one or two —
Will, may be, among the vines be seen. And perhaps, perhaps I shall go to the wood
Where the pines bend down to the feathery ferns, And the cardinal-flowers blossom red as blood,
And the moss to gold in the sunshine turns.
And there I shall gather my basket full
Of fragrant clethra as white as snow, And partridge-berries and club-moss pull,
And play by the pond where the lilies grow.
Mother, and all of us, Kitty too,
Will eat our supper under the trees, Before it is time for the sunset-dew;
Then loiter homeward, slow as we please,