BABES IN THE WOOD:
A NEW STORY OF THEIR ADVENTURES.
Sg a tabv.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
GEORGE S. APPLETON,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the
Eastern District of Pennsyvania.
MANY years ago there lived in England
a gentleman and his lady. He was a good
man, kind to all who knew'him, and fond
of little boys and girls. His wife was of
a sweet temper, and very beautiful. They
6 WILLIAM AND JANE.
did all they could for the poor, never send.
ing any one away from the door who came
to ask for bread. Year after year they
lived together; and every day they loved
each other more, and strove to render life
The good man had only two children--
a boy and a girl. The boy's name was
William, the girl's name Jane. They were
both very young, William being only three
years old, and little Jane not quite two.
The boy looked very much like his father;
and Jane looked like her mother. These
children were always together; one could
not play, nor eat, nor sleep, unless the
PARENTS SICK. 7
other was near; and one day when Wil.
liam was taken away for a few hours by
his father, poor little Jane cried until she
About this time the father grew sick,
and day after day got worse. His lady
did all she could to cure him; but when
she saw that it was of no use, she became
so alarmed that she fell sick also. She
felt that her dear husband would die; and
this thought made her willing to lie down
and die with him. For they had lived to-
gether so long and so happily, that the
thought of parting was more dreadful than
death. Yet, when she thought of her little
8 THE UNCLE.
babes, she hoped that she might still live to
take care of them. But, like her husband,
she grew worse every day; and soon both
of them felt that they would be taken
away from their two little babes, and be
forced to leave them in the world with-
out father or mother. This was a cruel
thought; but they bore it as well as they
could, trusting that after they were dead,
their children would find some kind friend
who would pity their sad condition, and
provide for them a home. After talking
to each other long about it, they at last
agreed to send for the gentleman's brother,
and give their little ones to his care.
LOVE OF PARENTS. 9
See how much these good people loved
their children, and how much pain they
felt at the thought of leaving them in the
world among strangers. Children should
love their parents very much, for the care
that they take of them in childhood.
Sometimes little boys and girls forget how
kind their father and mother have been to
them. Such children think that if they
could only get away from home, where
they need not go to school, nor mind what
would be said to them, that then they
would be happy. But it is wrong as well
as wicked to think so. No one can ever
be happier than he is at his mother's house,
10 LOVE OF PARENTS.
where he has everything given to him by
his parents, and has nothing to do but play
or go to school. If these children should
lose their father and mother, and have to
live among strangers, they would soon
begin to wish that they were back again
in their first home. The father and mo-
ther of William and Jane knew this. They
knew that their poor little ones, whom they
had brought up so tenderly, would never
be treated by their uncle or any one else
as kindly as they had been treated at
home; and they were afraid that these
little ones would be allowed to go witt
wicked children, and learn to swear, to lie
THE WILL. 11
and to commit other bad deeds. This it
was that made the good man and his wife
so sorrowful at the thought of dying; for
had they had no children, they would have
cheerfully lain down and waited for the
coming of death.
Still the father had taken every care to
provide for Jane and William. After find-
ing out the value of all his property, he
made his will, naming in it the sums of
money which he wanted each child to have.
After his death this will was to be given to
the children's uncle, who was to see that
everything was attended to exactly as he
had directed. Often he lifted his little
12 THE UNCLE ARRIVES.
ones into bed with him, and talked to them
for a long while, about the Good Being who
would watch over them, and of their uncle,
who was now to be their father. William
and Jane did not understand much that their
father said; but they felt that something
sad was about to happen, and they hid
their faces and cried very much.
When the uncle heard that the father
and mother of the children were sick, he
made all the haste he could to visit them.
When he reached the bedside, the dying
man said, "Ah, brother, you see how short
a time I can expect to live; but neither
pain nor death gives me so much grief
THE DEATHBED. 13
as I feel at the thought of what these
dear babes will do without a parent's
care." Then he stretched out his trem-
bling hand, and pointing to little William
and his sister, said, They will have none
but you to be kind to them; none but you
to see them clothed and fed, and to teach
them to be good and happy." Then the
mother spoke: "Brother, you must be father
and mother, as well as uncle, to these poor
little orphans. Teach William to read;
and tell him how good his dear father was.
And little Jane-oh, brother, how can I
part with her! Watch over her teach
her at night on your knee; tell her of her
14 THE DEATHBED.
father and mother when they are both in
the cold grave-and oh, teach them both
to be good !"
This sad part of our story is thus told
in the old ballad which tells of these poor
Now, brother," said the dying man,
"c Look to my children dear,
1e good unto my boy and girl,
No friends else have they here.
To God and you I recommend
My children here this day,
But little while be sure we have
Within this world to stay.
THE DEATHBED. 15
" You must be father and mother both,
And uncle all in one,
God knows what will become of them
When I am dead and gone."
With that bespake their mother dear:
"( Oh! brother kind," quoth she,
"( You are the man must bring our babes
To wealth or misery.
"( And if you keep them carefully
Then God will you reward;
But if you otherwise shall deal,
God will your deeds regard."
16 THE DEATHBED.
All this time the babes stood by the
bedside, crying as though their hearts
would break. Then the uncle said, ( How
it grieves me to see you, my brother and
sister, in this sad state Perhaps there is
still hope of your getting well; but if we
should happen to lose you, I will do for
your children all that you have desired.
I will be father, mother, and uncle to them
William shall learn to read; and I will
often tell him how good his father was, that
he may turn out as good himself, when he
grows to be a man. Jane shall be used
with the most tender care, and she shall
often sit upon my knee while I tell her
THE DEATHBED 17
about you both. But, brother, you have
said nothing of your money; tell me
something about that, for you know I want
to do all I can with it, to make these little
The dying man looked sad when he
heard this. He looked for a little while
at the uncle, and then said, "( Do not talk
about money, brother; it grieves me to
hear of it, for this is a solemn hour, when
all worldly things ought to be driven from
the mind. Here is my will: it will tell
you what I have done for these dear chil-
dren. Oh, brother, let me only ask of
you that you would care for them when I
18 THE DEATHBED.
am gone; think of your dead brother-
who will care for them if you do not!"
Then the little boy cried and wrung his
hands; and little Jane cried too. Lift
them up to me," said their father. The
uncle lifted them up, and the poor little
fellow kissed his father again and again,
and sobbed over his shoulder. Poor
children," he said, c, I will soon be gone
from you; but your uncle will then be
your father." The uncle wanted to take
them away, but William crept close into
his father's arms, and little Jane hid her.
self in her sick mother's bosom. Then
they lay still, for they were too young
THE DEATH. 19
to know what death was. The father and
mother pressed their cold lips on them and
hugged them closely, until at last the little
boy and his sister went to sleep. Then
their father said: <( Take them away, bro-
ther-death is coming fast-I feel it-I
will never see my dear children again."
Then he stretched out his limbs, his eyes
grew dim, and he tried to speak to his
wife, but could not. She too was dying-
at last all was still. The uncle felt his
brother's pulse, but it did not beat. They
were dead, and their babes were or-
phans. The uncle shed a few tears at
20 THE UNCLE.
this sad sight, and then went to look at
Before going any further, I must tell
you what kind of a man this uncle was.
Ever since he was a boy, he had been in
business, so that he had got together a
great deal of money, and had houses, and
goods, and ships, and lands. But he was
not like his brother-the dying man. He
made the people whom he hired, work very
hard, and did not pay them as they ought
to have been; and he hoarded all the
money he got in large bags, which were
put in deep vaults, so that no one but him.
self might ever see them. His wife was
THE UNCLE. 21
a good woman; but he did not love her,
and often abused her if she asked him
for a little money, to get something with.
This man had two sons, who were as mi-
serly and wicked as himself; for he had
taught them to love money from the time
they were children. They attended to
a part of his business, and often sailed in
his ships from one country to another, so
as to make more money. He was very
hard to the poor people who lived in his
houses; for if they did not pay their rent
on the very day it was due, he abused
them dreadfully, seized all their goods, and
turned them out of doors. Once he took
from a poor widow woman a fine cow,
which was all she had to provide food for
her children with; and when her two
little boys kneeled down before him and
begged for mercy, he kicked them out of
doors, and turned their mother out of the
hut she had lived in. When beggars came
to his gates, he turned the dogs loose on
them, and laughed to see the poor crea-
tures run. Everybody supposed that he
would come to some bad end, on account
of his cruelty to the poor.
His brother did not know how bad this
wicked man was; he knew that he had
always loved money, but he did not sup.
THE WILL. 23
pose that he was cruel, or miserly. If
he had, he would rather have left William
and Jane among strangers. He believed
that their uncle would take good care of
them, send them to school when they got
large enough, and treat them at all times as
if they were his own children. We shall
soon see if what he believed was true.
The uncle found that his brother had
left William the sum of three hundred
pounds a year, when he should be twenty.
one years old; while Jane was to have
five hundred pounds in gold, to be paid
on the day that she should be married.
But if the children should happen to die
24 A NEW HOME.
before coming of age, the uncle was to
have all their money. Then the will di-
rected that the gentleman and his .wife
should be buried in the same grave.
The two children were now taken to
their new home, at the house of the
uncle. Here they saw their aunt, who
was very kind to them. For a while the
uncle used them very well, and seemed as
if he wished to do all that their father
had asked of him. But the little boy
could not forget his first home, and the
kind smiling faces of his father aid- mo-
ther. Often he asked to be taken home;
and sometimes he would sit down with
WICKED THOUGHT. 25
little Jane in his arms, and cry until they
both fell to sleep. By and by their uncle
ceased to talk with them as much as he
had done, and at last he took scarcely any
notice of them. In about a year he had
forgotten the dying words of their father
and mother, and his promise to be father,
mother, and uncle, all in one. Then a
frightful thought came into his mind,
almost too wicked to mention. He be-
gan to wish that the little boy and girl
would die, so that he could get all their
money for himself. This he thought about
night and day, and even dreamed of it
while he was asleep. He often said to him-
26 LOVE OF MONEY.
self that perhaps they would die soon, and
then the money would be his; but as this
did not happen, he thought it would be best
to have them put to death. Oh, how soon
he had forgotten the words of his dead
brother! One day he said within himself,
cc It would not be very hard for me to kill
them so that nobody would know any.
thing about the matter; and then the
money will be mine at once." The love
of money had made him a murderer in
his heart-a murderer, too, of his own
This shows us to what great crimes the
love of money will lead. When this uncle
LOVE OF MONEY. 27
first began to hoard up money, he did not
think that he would one day be a murder-
er. He would have trembled at such a
thought. But then he always loved mo-
ney; he was never so happy as when
counting his gold and silver, or putting it
into bags; and it seemed to him as if the
more wealth a man had, the more happy
he was. Next he thought that if money
made people so happy, it was no harm to
use every effort to get money. So he
cheated a little in business, told what was
not true, was hard on his tenants, and
abused beggars when they asked for some.
thing to eat. Then he went a step fur.
28 LOVE OF MONEY.
their. He borrowed money, and kept it;
picked up money that did not belong to
him whenever he could get a chance, and
cheated all who had dealings with him.
When William and Jane came to his
house, he did not think of doing any harm
to them; yet he said to himself that he
thought he should be paid for the trouble
they would give him. This was a mean
thought; none but a miser would have
wished to be paid for taking care of two
little orphans; besides, how could he have
the heart to think of taking the money
which had been left to them by their kind
HONESTY THE BEST POLICY. 29
We shall see, by and by, that it would
have been better for this man if he had
done as he promised to do. Wicked per.
sons, after all they can do, fare very badly
in the end. Often they lose, in a single
day, all that they hoarded up for years.
Good men shun them; and their own
thoughts torment them so much that they
often do not see a single happy day.
Riches cannot make people happy; but
the poorest person can be so all the year
round, if he learns to love his fellow-men,
and to do good to all around him. Hence
it is not a good sign to see little boys or
little girls very fond of money; for if this
80 THE THICK WOOD.
feeling grows stronger as they grow older,
it may lead them to become misers, and to
commit acts which are too dreadful to be
named. Who would not rather be the
father of the little babes, than their uncle,
who wished to kill them that he might get
their money !
When the cruel uncle had made up his
mind to kill the babes, he soon contrived
a way to have it done. At some distance
from his house was a dark thick wood,
where very few persons dared to walk
even in the day-time, because. many tra.
vellers had been killed there, and their
pockets rifled of money. All these mur-
THE TWO RUFFIANS. 31
ders were done by two sturdy ruffians,
whom the whole country around were
afraid of, because the police were not able
to catch them, nor to find out where they
hid. The uncle determined to hire these
wicked creatures to kill the little babes;
so he searched them out, gave them a large
sum of money, and made them promise to
do the most cruel deed that was ever yet
done under the sun. After this, he began
to get everything ready for sending the
children away. His wife was very sorry;
for she did not like to part with the poor
little ones, whom she loved very much.
But he told an artful story to her, that he
32 THE CHILDREN SENT AWAY.
was going to send them to London, to a
friend of his who would take care of them,
and give them many comforts which he
could not, and send them to the best kinds
of schools. Then he'said to the children :
"( Would you not like, my pretty ones, to
see the famous town of London-where
you, William, can have a fine wooden horse
to ride upon all day long, and a whip to
make him gallop, and a bright sword to
wear by your side ? And you, Jane, shall
have pretty frocks, and dolls, and many
other pretty playthings, and a nice gilded
coach to ride about the streets." All
these fine words pleased the children--
THE JOURNEY. 33
,( Oh yes, I will go, uncle !" said William.
" And I will go, too !" said Jane, and the
little girl clapped her hands with joy.
" And will we see dear father there ."
asked the little boy. The uncle looked
at him, but did not answer. Then Jane
began to cry, for she remembered some.
thing of her mother and father. 4( I will
see father, I will see mother," she said,
and looked up in her uncle's face, as the
tears stood in her sweet blue eyes. Their
uncle felt bad for a little while; but as he
had a heart as hard as stone, he soon for-
got what Jane had said, and got the little
ones ready for their journey. A few days
84 THE JOURNEY.
after this, they were put into a fine coach
one of the ruffians got in next; and the
other one drove the coach. At first the
children were afraid; but after a while they
began to whisper to each other about the
fine horse they were to have, and the dolls,
and new clothes, and especially about see-
ing their father and mother. At last they
talked out loud, and then asked the man,
if it was far, and if he had ever seen their
father. He did not want to talk, so he
said no, so angrily, that the children were
afraid. For some time they did not talk
any more; but kept peeping up in his
face to. see if he looked cross. Then
RUFFIAN HESITATES. 85
William whispered to Jane, and after a
while he looked up in the murderer's face
and told him that he would let him ride on
his pony sometimes, when he got to Lon-
don. Now this man had once been kind
and lovely, like these little children; and
their soft voices made him think of that
happy time, and of what a bad man he was.
Then he thought of the wicked deed that
he was about to commit, and he asked
himself what these innocent ones had evel
done to him, that he should kill them
The longer they talked, the worse he felt;
until when they spoke so joyfully about
their father, he could scarcely prevent him.
8L RUFFIAN HESITATES.
self from crying. He did not feel so be-
cause he was afraid of being found out;
but he felt that he was doing wrong, and
injuring those who had no one to care for
them, and were too young to know the
wickedness that was being practised upon
them. At last he thought that he would ask
the other murderer to spare their lives,
and take them back to their uncle.
When the coach came to the dark thick
wood, the ruffian that was driving, stopped.
He then jumped to the ground, the one
inside got out, and next they lifted Wil.
liam and Jane out. Now," said one ot
the robbers, ",you may go a little way and
gather flowers, and when we call you,
come to us." The children were very
glad to see the trees and flowers, and
they ran toward a spot where some vio-
lets were growing at the foot of a tree.
The two men now leaned against a tree,
and began to talk about what they had to
do. We can take them into the gloomi-
est part of the woods," said the one
who had driven,," and cut their throats
with the knife you have in your pocket.
Then we will bury them under the big hol-
low oak tree that grows there, and nobody
will ever know it." But the one who
had been sitting between the children
38 THE CONSULTATION.
said: For my part, since I have seen
their innocent faces, and heard their sweet
voices, and seen how they love each other,
I have no heart to do the cruel deed. Let
us fling away this knife, and send the chil-
dren back to their uncle." I will do no
such thing," answered the other. "c What
are their sweet voices or anything else to
us, so we get the money ?" Think that
they are only children," said his company=
ion-"< orphans too, who cannot help them-
selves !" But the cruel robber did not care
for this, so he said: Who cares if they
are orphans ? I have seen you cut a man's
throat before to-day; and are you afraid
THE QUARREL 89
of two crying children 1 You may turn
coward if you choose; but as for me, I'll
have the money."
The other robber was a bold man. He
would not let any one call him a coward;
so he said: "( You are as great a coward
as I am. It is not because I am afraid
that I spoke, for I am afraid of no man."
Then the other murderer was very angry,
and said that he would kill the children,
and that nobody would hinder him. He
was just going toward the place where
William and Jane were, so that he might
murder them, when the other one stepped
before him and said : ", Stop, you shall not
40 THE ROBBERS FIGHT.
touch the children." "Who will hinder
me ?" said the other, with a voice choked
"I will," said the one who had rode
with the children; and as he spoke he drew
the great knife out of his pocket. The
other murderer jumped at him, caught him
by the throat, and tried to take the knife
from him; but he watched a lucky time,
and then stabbed him to the heart. He
fell down dead at the murderer's feet.
What a dreadful sight was this! Here
was another crime done which had begun
in the love of money. Both these men
had for years followed no trade but that
THE ROBBERS. 41
of robbing and murdering; and so har-
dened were their hearts, that they found it
as easy to kill a man, as a butcher does
an ox. They lived more like wild beasts
than men, and their eyes looked so fierce,
that scarcely any one dared look them in
the face. Sometimes they broke into
houses at night, murdered all that were
inside, and set the house on fire. They
would lie in the road at night, and shoot at
travellers or their horses, as they passed
by, and sometimes they stopped carriages,
dragged gentlemen or ladies out, robbed
them, and threw their dead bodies into
42 THE ROBBERS.
All this was dreadful; yet it all sprang
from the love of money. These men
would not work, but they would have
money; so there was no way of getting
it, but by leading the life they did. But
they had one good habit-they never stole
from poor persons. Sometimes they even
gave money to the persons who had been
turned out of their cottages by the babes'
uncle. They had often tried to rob this
uncle, because they knew that he was
very rich; but his money-bags were kept
in such strong vaults, and his locks were
so heavy, that though they once broke
into his house, they were not able to do
anything, and had to run fast away. Once
they robbed one of his sons on the high.
way, and would have killed him, but just
then some officers came in sight. But
when they met poor people, they let them
pass by. A great many officers of the
law were out continually searching for
these men, and a great reward was of-
fered for any one who would bring them
to justice, dead or alive. The old uncle
wanted to get this reward; and his ser-
vants were out all the time, hoping to
catch the robbers. Now, when he hired
these men to kill the children, he gave
them half the money they asked, and
44 THE ROBBERS.
promised to give them the other half as
soon as they should return from the woods.
But he thought within himself that he
would slily inform the officers of justice
of them, have them taken up, and so get
the reward. He did not believe that they
could make people think that he had told
them to kill the children, even if they
should say so; because no one knew his
feelings toward these orphans. But you
see that one of the murderers was killed,
and the other did not return; so this
wicked uncle was not able to get the
While the two ruffians were quarrelling,
CHILDREN FRIGHTENED. 45
the children were picking flowers, which
William put in little Jane's hair. They
were very happy, for it was summer time,
and the birds were singing sweetly in the
trees, and the sun shone bright and warm.
But in a short time they heard the loud
words of the murderers, and on looking
at them, saw that they were angry.
Then these little children began to be
afraid, and when they saw the robbers
fighting together, they cried, and wrung
their hands. At last when they saw
the murderer fall, and that blood was run-
ning down among the leaves and grass,
they stopped crying and sat down and hid
their faces in each other's hosoms. Little
Jane sobbed and trembled, but her brother
held her fast in his arms.
All this time the man was standing by
the tree where he had killed the other
one, and thinking what to do with the
children. He pitied them more and more
every moment, when he saw how helpless
they were, and that they loved each other
so much. Had he killed them, he could
have gone to the cruel old uncle and got
a bag of money for his trouble; but some.
thing seemed to hold him back, so that he
would have been willing to lose all he had,
rather than hurt one of them. But then
he wanted to get away as fast as he could,
for fear of being found there and taken up.
What was he to do with the children?
After asking himself this question many
times, he concluded to leave them in the
wood, hoping that some kind person would
pass by and find them. Then he went up
to the children, who were still hiding them-
selves in each other's arms, and said in a
kind voice--' Come here, my pretty ones;
you must take hold of my hands and go a
little way along with me." The poor
children, half dead with fright, got up and
took each one of the man's hands. They
thought that they were to be killed, and
48 THE CHILDREN FORSAKEN.
their limls shook with fear, while the tears
ran down their cheeks. They walked on
further and further through the thick
woods, until they had gone nearly two
miles. Then the man stopped, and setting
them down under a tree, told them to wait
till he came back from the next town,
where he would go and get them some
In the words of the ballad:-
"And he that was of mildest mood,
Did slay the other there;
Within an unfrequented wood,
The babes did quake for fear.
THE CHILDREN FORSAKEN. 49
He took the children by the hand,
Tears standing in their eye,
And bade them straightway follow him,
And look, they did not cry.
And two long miles he led them on,
While they for food complain;
Stay here," quoth he, ( I'11 bring you
When I come back again."
When the man was out of sight, the
poor little orphans again lay down in each
other's arms, and began to cry. At last
when they had waited a long while, and
50 THE CHILDREN FORSAKEN.
the man did not come, William sat up and
said: The man will come soon, dear
Jane." And will he bring some cakes
for us, Willy ?" said Jane. "c By and by
he will," said William. So these children
waited longer, and then Jane said: "I wish
I had some cakes, Willy." But the man
did not come, and the little girl began to
cry, for she was hungry. Do not cry,
dear Jane," said William, and he put his
little arms around her neck; but Jane only
cried more, and said: "< Oh, I am so hun-
gry, Willy-I want my supper." The
little boy did all he could to comfort her,
and at last said: "c Let us go out of this
THE CHILDREN FORSAKEN. 51
dark place, and hunt for dear father's
house, where we can get something to eat,
and see mother, and have a nice warm bed
to lie in." Then his little sister was glad,
and clapped her hands, and her brother
wiped the tears from her eyes. They
joined their hands together, and walked
up and down the wood, trying to find a
path. It would have melted a heart as
hard as stone, to see how lonely they look-
ed, and how they started when the wind
shook the trees over their heads. At last
they began to pick blackberries from the
bushes, to eat them; and this they did till
they could reach no more. William gave
52 THE CHILDREN FORSAKEN.
the last ones to his sister, because she was
smaller than he was. All day this noble
little fellow tried to comfort little Jane,
giving her the largest berries, lifting her
over roots and stones, and carrying her in
his arms. "( Do not cry, Jane," he kept
saying, we will soon be at father's
house." But night came on, and then he
began to be sad too, because he was only
a child. So when Jane said: How hun-
gry I am, Willy-I cannot keep from cry.
ing," William began to cry too. It was
so dark, they could not see where to go;
so they lay down on the cold ground, and
put their arms around each other's necks.
THE CHILDREN DIE. 58
There they cried until they fell asleep;
and when they awoke it was still dark,
nor was there anything for them to eat, so
they starved to death.
Their death is thus told in the balled:-
Their pretty lips with blackberries
Were all besmeared and dyed,
Aid when they saw the darksome night
They sat them down and cried.
Thus wandered these poor innocents,
Till death did end their grief;
In one another's arms they died,
As wanting due relief.
54 THE UNChE.
No burial this pretty pair
Of any man receives,
Till robin redbreast piously
Did cover them with leaves.
Thus were these pretty harmless babes
murdered; and as no one knew of their
death, so there was no one to dig a grave
and bury them.
All this time the wicked uncle thought
they had been killed as he ordered, so he
told all persons who asked him about them
that they had died in London of the small
pox. Then he took all their money to him-
self, and lived upon it, as if he had got it ho.
aestly. But riches got by robbing orphans,
THE UNCLE. 55
do their owner very little good; and so
this cruel man found. His wife soon got
sick, which gave him a great deal of trou-
ble; and in a little while she died. Be.
sides, he was very unhappy; all the time
he thought that he saw the bleeding chil-
dren before his eyes, so that he could not
attend to his daily business. Thus, instead
of growing richer, he every day became
poorer. And what added to his grief, his
two sons, who had gone on boD. d a ship to
seek their fortunes, were both drowned at
sea. This wicked man was made so
wretched that life became a burden to
When things had gone on in this man.
ner for some years, the ruffian who had
taken pity on the children, robbed a man
in the very wood where the babes had
died. He was pursued, taken, and put in
prison. Then he was tried before a judge,
found guilty, and condemned to be hanged.
As soon as he found out that he must die,
he sent for the keeper of the prison, and
told to him all the crimes that he had been
guilty of in his whole life.
At last he came to the story of poor
little William and Jane. He said that he
had often passed through that wood after.
wards, and thought each time of the chil-
dren that he had left there. "( One day,"
said he, "as I was passing by some bushes,
I saw many robins very busy with leaves
in their mouths. There were also a num-
ber up the trees, each with a leaf in its
mouth. Then I stooped down, and ah-
what a sad sight! I have seen many per-
sons die without once shedding a tear, but
now the tears came to my eyes, flowing fast-
er and faster, the more I looked at that sad
sight before me. There, on the ground
in one another's arms, lay the infants whom
I had left for some one to take up; and
the robin redbreasts had almost covered
them with leaves. I could see their faces
through the leaves. Their cheeks were
lying against each other, and both looked
as if they were only asleep. I wished
that I had left them at some house, but it
was then too late to wish. Then I thought
that I would dig them a grave, but I was
afraid to touch them, lest, after all, they
might spring up at me. The birds too
looked as if they did not want me there;
and so I left them and hurried from the
spot. My heart bleeds when I think of
them, and often since I have tried to rob
their old uncle. I cannot die without tell-
ing this sad story about the two little ones,
who everybody has been told died of the
FATE OF THE UNCLE. 59
small pox in London. I know that they
are lying in the woods now; for their
bodies did not decay, and the leaves were
dropped green and fresh on them every
The ballad thus tells the fate of the
wicked uncle, and of his two sons:-
And now the heavy wrath of God
Upon their uncle fell;
Yea, fearful fiends did haunt his house,
Did in his conscience dwell.
His barns were fired, his goods consumed,
His lands were barren made;
His cattle died within the field,
And nothing with him staid.
60 FATE OF THE UNCLE.
And in a voyage to Portugal,
Two of his sons did die,
And to conclude, himself was brought
To want and misery.
He pawned and mortgaged all his land,
Ere seven years came round;
And now at length this wicked act
Did by this means come out.
The fellow that did take in hand
These children for to kill,
Was for a robbery judged to die,
Such was God's blessed will.
FATE OF THE UNCLE. 61
Who did confess the very truth,
As here hath been displayed;
Their uncle having died in jail,
Where he for debt was laid.
Thus the story of the two children be-
came known; and at the same time the
ruffian told in what part of the wood he
had left them to starve. But before this
the uncle had been thrown in jail for debt.
The news of the robber's confession soon
reached his ears. Already the many ills
that had happened to him, had made him
broken-hearted; and now the news o'
the poor children starving to death
too dreadful for him to bear.
62 BODIES FOUND.
stretched himself upon the cold ground 11-
his cell, and would listen to no words of
comfort, but died in horrible torment.
When the people heard this sad story,
they ran to the woods and began to search
for the bodies of William and Jane.
They were found in each other's arms, all
covered over with leaves which the robin
redbreasts had brought in their mouths to
cover them with. These leaves had made
a sort of grave so close and warm, that
the bodies of the little innocents had
been kept by them from decay.
SuchYou that executors be made,
Or for that office seek,
Of children that be fatherless,
And infants mild and meek,
Take you example by this thing,
And yield to each his right,
Lest God with this same misery
Your wicked minds requite.
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