The Baldwin Library
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FOR several days Casper kept away from Mrs.
Cheerful's cottage most carefully. Not that it
was pleasanter than usual at home,-everything
there was as dirty and noisy and disagreeable as
it could be; and Casper spent the most of his
time out of doors, and was miserable enough.
But he couldn't make up his mind to go to
the cottage-he couldn't make up any reason for
going. If the young lady would have asked him
to show her the way there now, how gladly
would he have done it; and he sat and stood
and lay about in the road where he had first
seen her, hoping that she might come and send
him on some errand to Mrs. Cheerful. But
nobody came by except wagons to raise a great
cloud of dust, or some of the village boys to get
him to play with them, or their fathers and mothers
to call him idle and good for nothing.
Casper began to long to see Ruth's kind little
face, and her clean frock; and he wondered if
the sparrow still kept up his bathing habits.
Suddenly he remembered that Ruth had said her
mother loved flowers, and that the young lady
had told him he would always be miserable if
he didn't try to please other people. Casper
jumped right up out of the dust, and ran off as
fast as he could to a meadow where he thought
he had seen some flowers. There they were still
-in great yellow tufts.
Now the meadow was very wet, but that didn't
signify,-Casper rolled up his trowsers and plunged
into the mud; wading about, and jumping from
bog to bog, never thinking of the mud, until he
had his hands full of the yellow flowers. But
when he came out Casper looked at himself in
dismay. The dust had been bad enough-the
mud was worse; and both together made him a
sight to be seen. Could such a little figure carry
yellow flowers to Mrs. Cheerful, and walk about
over her clean floor ?
I am miserable !" he cried, throwing down the
flowers and putting his hands into his eyes-and
the eyes looked none the cleaner for such atten-
tion. Then came up to him little Ruth's gentle
Why don't you wash it off?"
Casper took down his hands and looked at
them-water would take it off, no doubt; and he
scampered away to the little stream that came
out of the meadow and ran across the road.
There was plenty of pure water rippling on over
the pebbles, and the mud was very good-natured
and came off with no trouble at all, and the dust
after it. Casper didn't know his hands again,
and wouldn't have known his face, had he seen
it. He thought it was a great pity that he could
not wash his jacket, but that wouldn't dry in a
minute; so he took it off and gave it a good
shaking, and put it on again. Then he smoothed
down his hair with his little wet hands, as he had
seen the labourers do when they came home to
dinner; and pulling up a tuft of grass, he tried to
rub off the spots of mud with which his trowsers
were spattered. The last thing was to dip his
flowers in the brook, that they might look quite
fresh, and then Casper was ready.
It would have amused any one to see him on
his way to the cottage, as he bounded from tuft
to tuft of the grass that was springing by the
wayside; or walked along a piece of stick, or
picked his way by the help of little stones; and
all to keep his feet clean. But as he came near
the cottage he remembered Ruth's little black
shoes; and his breast heaved, for he had not a
pair in the world. He stood still for a long time,
not wanting to go forward. A pretty little curl
of smoke went up from the hut but everything
else was still; only Casper saw the birds flying
off to the brook, and supposed they had gone in
bathing. Presently he heard some one singing
off in the woods, and as the little voice came
nearer it sang these words:-
"Jesus, listen now to me-
I thy little child would be.
Hear my prayer, and grant it too,
Make my heart entirely new."
And little Ruth Cheerful came tripping out of
the wood, with a great basket of chips on her
head. Casper looked down for the black shoes,
but they were gone; and only Ruth's little bare
feet stood on the moss.
"Oh, good morning!" she said. "Why didn't
you come before ? Oh, what beautiful flowers !"
You may have 'em," said Casper, holding
out his great bunch of cowslips.
Ruth set down her basket and took the flowers.
How pretty they are !" she said; "I'm very
much obliged to you! Did you bring them for
Yes," said Casper. No I didn't, either-you
said your mother liked flowers."
Oh, well, that's just as good," said little Ruth,
smelling the cowslips,-" better too, I think.-
You'll come in and see her to-day, won't you?"
"No, I guess not," said Casper, whose boldness
seemed to have left his hand with the flowers.
"Oh yes you will," said Ruth,-" come !" and
she took up her basket again and marched on;
while Casper followed with doubtful steps.
Ruth !" he said, stop !"
And Ruth stopped and set down her basket.
"What's the matter?"
I'm not going in," said Casper. "Let's go
down to the brook and play."
I can't," said Ruth. Mother wouldn't like
it. I must go now."
And she turned and walked on.
Casper walked after her, thinking to himself
that he might offer to carry that heavy basket of
elAps-that perhaps it wouldn't feel so heavy on
his head as it was on hers-and at last that he
didn't want to plague himself with it. Do you
never try to please other people ?" the young lady
had said to him. "Wouldn't you like to have
somebody try to please you?"
"Ruth," said Casper," is your basket heavy ?"
"Pretty heavy," said Ruth, as her little bare
feet went somewhat unsteadily over the rocks.
Well, give it to me, and I'll carry it."
"Oh, thank you!" said Ruth, stopping short
with a very bright face,-" that would rest me
nicely. But I don't believe you can."
A boy can do as much as a girl," said Casper.
" They're a great deal stronger. What have you
done with your other straw hat ?"
Oh, that's for Sundays," said Ruth, whose
weekday hat was tied with strings of red flannel.
" Will you carry the basket in your hand ?"
On my head," said Casper. You do."
"I thought maybe as you were so strong-"
said Ruth,-" it's harder to hold it in your hand,
unless you are strong. Stoop down then, Casper,
and I'll put it on your head."
So Casper stooped down, and when the basket
was on his head he took hold with both hands
to keep it there. Then he remembered that
Ruth never touched it with her hands, and he
took his down at once. And the basket followed.
Down, down,-a perfect shower of chips, a over
Casper's head and shoulders, the minute he let go.
The chips lodged on his shoulders, and stuck in
his hair, and fell into his pockets; while the basket
bounded away and went rolling down the hill.
"What a hateful basket !" said Casper angrily.
"Oh no," said Ruth, don't say so! Mother
always says that nothing is hateful that isn't
"Well, why wouldn't it stay on my head
then ?" said Casper.
Ruth might have answered that it was because
he didn't know how to carry it; but she was
very good-natured and didn't say anything of the
kind, nor even laugh.
Never mind," she said,-" maybe it will next
time;" and away she ran down the hill after
the ill-behaved basket. Casper didn't offer to
help her again, but stood still and looked as she
came running with the basket in her hand; and
though he did pick up a few of the chips, it was
with no very good will, and he still had a great
inclination to kick the basket.
What do you pick up chips for ?" he said.
"To burn," said Ruth.
"We don't," said Casper.
"I s'pose you're not so poor as we are," said
Casper stood up and watched her for awhile as
she crowded the chips into the basket.
"Well," he said at last, if God loves your
mother, as you say He does, why don't He give
her big sticks to burn ?"
"I don't know," said Ruth, going on with
No, I guess you don't," said Casper.
Ruth looked up with a very grieved little face.
0 Casper! that isn't right !"
"Why not?" said Casper.
"I don't know exactly," said Ruth. "I'm
sure it isn't. I don't believe we deserve to have
"Why not?" said Casper again; for he felt
cross with the overthrow of the basket.
Ruth was laying the last few long chips on
top of her load, pressing them down and tucking
small ones in every little corner, and she made
"Where's my great piece of bark?" she said,
looking round. Oh, here it is!-that goes' on
top of all- see, Casper, it's like a cover. These
are oak chips-don't they smell sweet ?"
"No," said Casper, "I don't think they do.
Where did you get 'em ?"
Oh, away off in the woods," said Ruth,-
"where Mr. Broadaxe is cutting trees. He gives
'em to me."
Do you go every day ?" said Casper.
Yes, when it don't rain," said Ruth, Some-
times twice a-day. We don't burn 'em all up
now, though. I'll show you where we put 'em."
And, lifting the basket to her head again, she
went on; and Casper followed.
There was a little shed at the back of Mrs.
Cheerful's cottage, made with some old boards
which stood with their heads leaning against the
cottage and their feet on the ground. Into this
dark place Ruth crept, and Casper after her; and
then Ruth began to take the chips out of her
basket, and to pile them up nicely at one end.
There were a good many chips there already,
and the shed was full of the pleasant smell of the
What's that shining over there ?" said Casper
suddenly. See !-it's something bright, like
fire! It's moving about, too, Ruth."
"Why, it's only our cat's eyes," said little
Ruth, laughing. "Pussy! kitty!"
Ma-ow!" said the cat in a very melancholy
tone of voice, which made both the children laugh.
"What makes you come into this dark place,
Ruth ?" said Casper. "Aren't you afraid ?"
"Why no!" said Ruth,-" what should I be
"I don't know," said Casper. "Aren't you ?"
"Why, no!" said Ruth again. "It's just as
safe here as it is in the light, Casper. We're not
safe anywhere if God doesn't take care of us."
But it's so dark!" said Casper.
"Mother taught me a verse out of the Bible
once," said little Ruth, as she went on piling
her chips; "and it said about God, Yea, the
darkness hideth not from thee; but the night
shineth as the day : the darkness and the light
are both alike to thee.' That's pleasant, isn't it,
But Casper was silent a little.
"Why didn't you talk to me awhile ago?"
he said. "You wouldn't answer."
Because you asked naughty questions," said
Ruth. "Mother told me I might tell people
what the Bible said, but I mustn't answer if they
didn't believe it. Now I've done-come, we'll
go in. See how nicely the flowers have kept,-I
haven't lost one."
"Mother," said Ruth as she entered the hut
" here's Casper. You know he wouldn't come in
on Sunday because he was dusty, but he's come
to-day, and brought you a great bunch of flowers.
And he tried to carry my basket because it was
heavy; and it fell down off his head and spilt all
the chips-wasn't it good of him, mother ?"
And Ruth stroked her mother's face, and softl3
kissed it, and then went behind her and arranged
the bows of the broad ribbon that covered her
eyes. But her own little face looked very grave
Aren't they beautiful, mother?" she said,
touching the hand into which she had put the
cowslips. "I mean, aren't they sweet ?"
"Both, dear child," said her mother. "But
how long you were gone, Ruth-and where is
Oh, I had to pick up the chips twice, you
know, mother-and then pile 'em up. Here's
Casper-he brought the flowers, because I told
him you loved 'em."
"He is a very kind little boy," said Mrs.
Cheerful, keeping hold of the hand Ruth put in
hers, and drawing Casper close to her-he was
not very willing to come.
"Where did you find them, Casper ?"
Down in the meadow."
Well, what made you bring them to me? do
you like to please other people ?"
I never did but twice," said Casper. "The
young lady said I'd always be miserable if I
"Always be miserable?" said Mrs. Cheerful,
smiling. Why, are you miserable now?"
Yes," said Casper.
"0 Casper! I am very sorry!" said little
"How happens that?" said Mrs. Cheerful.
"Is your father poor ?"
I don't know," said Casper,-" mother's dead,
and nobody wants me."
Little Ruth quite sobbed at that, as if it was
a degree of poverty she had never imagined;
and though she ran away to get some water to
put the cowslips in, her blue apron was wet with
nothing but tears when she came back.
As for Mrs. Cheerful, she said nothing for
awhile, but sat there with her arm round Casper
and her hand stroking his head, until by and bye
the head came down on her shoulder.
"Poor child!" she said,-" poor little boy!
And so there is no one but God to take care
of you. But He would have to do it, Casper,
even if your dear mother was alive,-don't you
think He can do it without her ?"
"I s'pose he can," said Casper, with a long
sigh,-his heart was wonderfully softened by his
"I will ask Him every day to take care of
you, and make you happy," said Mrs. Cheerful.
" Will you ask Him too?"
"Yes," said Casper, with another deep breath.
Mrs. Cheerful did not say any more to him
then, but sat silent for awhile; and Casper never
moved. And then little Ruth whispered to her
mother, and went off and began to set the table
It was a little bit of a table, and the cloth
that Ruth put on it was very coarse, though as
white as it could be; and the dinner was only
a brown loaf, and a little bit of cold pork, and a
pitcher of water. Yet Mrs. Cheerful gave thanks
for it before they began, and Casper relished it
better than any dinnecr he had eaten in a great
while. So much did he enjoy it, that he never
found out that little Ruth had given him her cup,
and that she drank with her mother.
After dinner Ruth washed the dishes and put
them away, and then she and Casper wound a
large skein of yarn for Mrs. Cheerful's knitting;
and by that time Casper thought he ought to be
Ruth!" he called, when he had got outside
the door. Ruth ran out.
"I guess God does love your mother," he
said-" I do."
And then he ran away as fast as he could.
THERE grew a great oak in the forest. Its roots
were deep down in the earth, but nobody could
tell where its top was-the leaves were so thick.
Moreover, its neighbour trees-the elms and
maples and ashes-were tall like itself; and
their leaves mingled with those of the oak.
Unlike most neighbours, they were for ever
kissing each other. Early in the spring the
maples put forth bright red flowers, when there
was not a leaf to be seen; and the elms showed
their blossoms, which were, however, hardly worth
the trouble. But the oak kept his back; until
softly there came out little tufts of young leaves,
and then the long brownish green flowers came
and hung down between them. After that the
maples had bunches of flat green seeds, with
wings to them, that fluttered about in the summer
wind; but the oak had little acorns with brown
Now it was true, though nobody knew it, that
up in the oak tree a bird had built her nest;
and deep in a hole in one side of the oak, there
lived a large family of squirrels. Nobody knew
it,-and yet anybody might have guessed it; for
the birds were constantly fluttering and singing
among the branches, and the old squirrels ran
up and down the tree a great many times a day.
To be sure, if anybody looked at them they were
just as like to run up another tree as up their
own; and then to jump from branch to branch
till they reached the oak, and so down to their
nest. The young birds had many a rocking when
the wind arose while they slept, and swayed and
bent the branches from side to side; but the
squirrels never minded the wind-they couldn't
fall unless the tree did, and of course that could
never happen. The young birds cried out a little
sometimes-when their cradle rocked too hard;
but nothing kept them awake long-it was all so
nice and dark under their mother's wings; with
her warm feathered breast keeping the wind off,
and her little heart beating a lullaby. Whether
the wind frightened her or not, nobody ever
knew, and nobody ever inquired. If it did she
never told her young ones. But certain it is,
that after a long rainy night, if the sun chanced
to come out in the morning, the mother bird
always -pped up on the edge of the nest, and
twitteiad stirred her wings, as if she felt
very -gla the storm was over. And well she
mightybe. It was wet work to fly about in the
rain after food for her young ones; and the little
bird had no umbrella.
One morning, when the sun had got up very
early and the birds were all astir, the mother
bird flew up to the very top branch of the tree,
and perched herself there in the sunshine to get
a billful of fresh air, and sing her morning song.
But before she was well through the first verse,
the tree trembled so, with a sudden shock, that
the little bird nearly fell off the twig; and in-
stantly she spread her wings and flew up into
the air. There, hovering over the oak tree,-she
saw it shake again, and a third time, more severely
than at first.
"It is without doubt an earthquake 1" thought
the little bird; not noticing, in the agitation of
her mind, that the neighboring trees were quite
still. But if it was an earthquake, clearly every-
body would be safest in the air!
So with some fear and trembling she lit on the
trembling tree, and made her way down to her
nest; feeling very glad that her young ones were
duly provided with feather coats, and could fly
almost as well as herself. They were in a great
state of fright when she reached the nest; for
though the other old bird was there-trying his
best to keep them quiet and not to be frightened
himself-still it mattered very little wvat any-
body said so long as their mother was away; and
they gladly obeyed her when she bade them jump
out of the nest and follow her up into the air.
The little ones' wings toon grew tired, and they
perched on a maple tree, and sat feeling very cold
and disconsolate in the morning wind, without
c CASPER. 38
their breakfast; .but the old birds continued to
fly back and fortl over the tree, and the treg
continued to shake. ,
Now the cause of all this commotion was Mr.
So one of the young squirrels saidg~hen he
had put his whiskers cautiously out of the mouth
of the hole, and looked carefully about. And he
went on to remark, that as it was Mr. Broadaxe,
who was such a good man and never did harm
to anybody, they might as well all go to sleep
again. And immediately all the squirrels curled
their tails over their noses and went to sleep.
Mr. Broadaxe, meanwhile, was intent upon
cutting down the tree: his blows fell sharp and
quick upon ts great trunk, and the white chips
flew hither and thither till the grass was quite
spotted with them. And the sound of his axe
went through the forest, chop, chop, till you
might have known half a mile off what was
*But about the time that the little birds got
tired offlying over the tree, and went off in full
pursutif their breakfast, Mr. Broadaxe bethought
him of 6is; so he stopped his work, set his axe
down on one side of the tree and himself on the
other, and took tp his little basket.
; Chip!" saidQa4l BrcA axe. "Chip!"
'" A little dog cajbshing og of the underwood
Sathis-ruigini~a.ng as if he was dreadfully
afraid of being late, and hadn't the least bit of an
excuse to give for it.
Chip !" said Mr. Broadaxe. Poor fellow!"
Chip thrust his nose into his master's face in a
very gratified manner, then laid himself down a
few feet off; his paws stretched out before him,
his head up, his ears further yet, and his eyes
shining like black beads.
"Chip!" said Mr. Broadaxe again. There, sir."
"There" meant a piece of bread, which Mr.
Broadaxe cut off and threw to Chip, and which
Chip caught at one snap without moving anything
but his head-swallowed it down whole and was
ready for the next piece, which his eyes had
watched for all the time. Indeed, if those eyes
told truth, the pieces of bread which his master
ate were matters of great interest to him, and he
licked his chops as if they had had the catching.
But as the basket was but small the breakfast
could not be large, and Mr. Broadaxe had soon
drunk his last cupful of coffee, and eaten his last
bit of bread. No-that he gave to Chip. For
Chip sat there with his head on one side and his
mouth watering for more breakfast; and when his
master tossed the last bit of bread to him, Chip
caught it with one snap as before, and then threw
his head back to assist him in mastication.
But as he ate, Chip pricked up his ears; and
as soon as his mouth was empty Chip barked-
and then immediately wagged his tail. It Was
the best thing he could do under the circum-
stances, for little Ruth Cheerful was coming
through the wood; and clearly she was not a
thing to bark at.
"Good morning, Mr. Broadaxe," she said,
"Good morning, poor little doggie. Why, what a
parcel of chips you've got for me already."
"Yes," said Mr. Broadaxe. "I guess that
one will fill your basket of itself."
"What, the little dog ?" said Ruth. "Oh yes;
but I don't want to carry him off. Now, little
dog-be good and quiet."
I suppose the little dog was good, but certainly
he was not quiet. He frisked about Ruth, caught
hold of her apron and shook it, pulled the chips
out of her basket, and put his feet on those she
was going to pick up. He even went so far once
as to take the handle of the basket in his teeth
and run off with it; and when Ruth said, "0
Chip! Chip !-put that right down, sir !" he
turned round and looked at her, with one ear
turned back and the other hanging over his eye,
as if it really was too bad, but he couldn't for the
life of him help it. Meanwhile Mr. Broadaxe
was chopping away at the great tree till every leaf
* sho6k and trembled.
"What makes you cut down such a beautiful
tree, Mr. Broadaxe ?" said Ruth.
"'Cause it ain't mine," said Mr. Broadaxe,
with another chop.
I' ~ell, then, why do you?" said Ruth.
Itis somebody's," said the woodcutter, pausing
in his work, and he wants it down,-so down it
must come. I make money out of the cutting it,
and he'll make money out of the selling it."
"And we make wood out of the chips," said
little Ruth with a laugh. "So everybody gets
As Ruth turned round for another chip she
saw Casper standing there.
* You don't make wood out of the chips," said
he. "They're wood already."
"Well, but I mean firewood," said Ruth.
How do you do, Casper ?"
I guess I'm well," said Casper, who was
watching the sharp tool do its work upon the
tree. "How fast he strikes !"
Don't he !" said Ruth. "I wonder if any-
body else chops so fast."
I could, if I was a man," said Casper.
"You're not a man, though," said Ruth.
"Don't you want to help me put all the chips
in a pile ?"
"Yes," said Casper. "No-I'll hold the dqg
and you can do the chips. He'd pull your pile to
"That'll be some help," said Ruth, a little
doubtfully. But I don't believe you can hold
Chip, however, submitted to be caught, and
then sat very still with Casper's arms round
him, and watched Ruth with the utmost gravity.
But when her pile was about a foot high, and
she had just laid a long piece of wood and bark
on top, Chip made one spring out of Casper's
arms, overturning him, and then rushing suddenly
.upon Ruth he seized hold of the long slice of
wood and began to pull.
"Naughty little dog!" said Ruth,-" let go,
and behave yourself."
But at that moment Mr. Broadaxe called out-*
Now then, children, get out of the way of the
tree !" and Casper and Ruth and the dog ran off
as fast as they could to a safe distance.
Mr. Broadaxe, however, kept on with his
chopping, and the great tree shook and swayed
about and bent its tall head, and then went
slowly down,-the limbs creaking, and the leaves
fluttering far and wide. There it lay on the
The minute it was down little Ruth came
running up, and jumped upon the trunk and
danced back and forth from the root to the head
Presently she stopped short.
"0 Mr. Broadaxe! there are squirrels up here
among the leaves !"
So, so ?" said the woodcutter. Aye, I dare-
say, And here's been their nest, in this hole."
"Then we can catch 'em and take 'em home,"
SRUTH," said Casper, "I like those squirrels."
And as he spoke he picked up a big chip and threw
it at a squirrel's tail that appeared among the
branches of the fallen tree.
"Well, what do you throw things at them for,
then?" said Ruth, as the little red bushy tail 4
'whisked off out of sight. "We shan't see a bit of
'em if you frighten 'em so."
"A like to throw things," said Casper.
"That isn't much reason," said Ruth.
"Ruth," said Casper," what do you suppose
squirrels have to eat ?"
"Oh, all sorts of nice things," said Ruth.
"Corn, and nuts, and apples, and seeds, and
"Yes, I know they eat corn," said Casper.
"What do you suppose they have to eat away off
in the woods, where there's nobody to plant corn
"'Why, then God feeds them-just as He does
here," said Ruth.
But here the farmers plant the corn," said
"Yes, but who makes it grow ?" said Ruth.
Oh no we can't," said Ruth. -" That would be
"Why no it wouldn't," said Casper. We'd
shut 'em up and feed 'em."
Then they'd be miserable, as you said you
were," said Ruth.
Caspcr stopped at this, and looked doubtful.
"No, we won't take 'em home," said the
woodcutter, because they love their own home
best. I'm sorry I had to cut it down for them.
But I won't cut the branches off the tree just yet,
and the young ones may have a chance to grow a
bit bigg. r before they go off to seek their fortune.
So Mr. Broadaxe walked away to another tree
and began to cut that down, and Casper and uth
stood still and looked at the squirrels.
And besides, they eat a great many things that
If I was a squirrel," said Casper, I should
always have plenty to eat."
And nice clothes, too," said Ruth. But every-
body can have plenty to eat-no, not plenty, but
som#ing. Mother's tried it."
"Well, how did she try ?" said Casper.
"In the first place," said Ruth, she always
worked as hard as she could; and in the second
place, she always prayed God to take care of her,
* and believed that He would. Mother says it never
"I can't work," said Casper,-" so that wouldn't
do for me."
Well, then, you can be good," said Ruth,
"and that'll do just as well, if you can't
I can't be good," said Casper. "I don't know
how. And I don't believe I could, either."
Don't you!" said Ruth. "Well, you know
how to be naughty."
"Yes," said Casper, "I s'pose I do."
"Well, it's just the AdeS way," said Ruth.
"When you want to be cross you must be good-
natured, and when you want to be idle you inust
go to work, and when you don't want to pray
you must kneel down and pray all the more:
So mother says. Because nobody can be really
good, Casper, unless God helps them. And if
they never ask Him, it looks as if they didn't want
Casper shook his head and looked at the squir-
rels. Ruth looked too, and was silent a few minutes.
Then suddenly she broke forth-
"Why, Casper, you must know how to be good,
if you read the Bible." *
I don't read it," said Casper.
Then you ought to," said Ruth.
Haven't got one," said Casper.
Oh well, maybe you haven't," said Ruth, but
your father has."
Guess not," said Casper, taking aim at the
squirrels with another chip. If he has I don't
know it, and I guess he don't."
Why, you poor little boy !" said Ruth, looking
at him with unfeigned compassion.
"I'm bigger than you are," said Casper,-" ever
Well, I'm a girl," said Ruth, so it don't
Yes it does," said Casper,-" I'd rather be a
Well," said Ruth~, but I mean boys always
are bigger, aren't they ?"
I don't know," said Casper. I s'pose so.
They're bigger when they grow up. I want to be
I don't,"-said little Ruth thoughtfully. "I
want to be an angel."
I guess you don't," said Casper.
"Yes I do," said Ruth. And joining her hands
together, she sang:-
"I want to be an angel,
And with the angels stand:
A crown of gold upon my head,
& A harp within my hand."
But you'd have to die to be an angel," said
Casper, who had listened very attentively.
"Oh well," said little Ruth,-" everybody's
* got to die some time. I don't mean that I want
to die now, but when I do die I want to be an
"Do you think you will be ?" said Casper,
looking at her with a very interesting face.
"Mother says," answered little Ruth, "that
when people really want to be angels in heaven,
they should try to be angels on earth."
I don't know how," said Casper,-" and I'm
0 Casper!" said Ruth-and then her voice
was choked, and she burst into tears. It don't
make a bit of difference to Jesus what clothes
children wear, if they'll only love Him. Mother
says a great many angels in this world are very
poor, but in heaven they shall have enough of
"I don't know how," repeated Casper, his own
lip beginning to tremble. Ruth sat looking at him,
and stroked his face once or twice, as if she didn't
know what to- say.
"Casper, I learn a little verse in the Bible
every morning before I come out, and if you'll be
here in the wood I'll come and teach it to you;
: and so you could learn a great deal; and maybe
when you're a man you can buy a whole Bible
"What did you learn this morning?" said
Casper, without looking up.
It was this," said Ruth: "' My little children,
these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.'" *
Casper made no reply, and Ruth sat silent as
"Shall I say it for you again, Casper?" she
No," said Casper, I know it now."
"Do you?" said Ruth. "Why, how quick
you are. It took me longer than that." ,
The sun had mounted high into the heavens,
but the trees were so thick that his rays scarcely
found their way down to the ground, and in the
wood it was cool and pleasant. Mr. Broadaxe
had stopped chopping, and was shouldering his
axe to go home to dinner, and the squirrels were
playing hide and seek among the withering leaves
of the fallen oak. A sweet breeze wandered along
through the forest, and said that there were a
great many flowers out in different places.
"I must go home too," said Ruth, jumping
up and taking her basket of chips. Good bye,
Casper-will you come to-morrow ?"
Yes," he said. And then, as she trudged off
with her basket on her head, he looked up again
and called out-" Ruth!"
"What, Casper?" said Ruth, stopping and
"What did you learn yesterday ?"
"Oh, such a pretty one!" said Ruth, her eyes
brightening,-" about the children that were
brought to Jesus when he was in the world,-
* *And he took them up in his arms, and put his
hands upon them, and blessed them.'"
Casper turned away again, and so did Ruth
on her way home, and soon her little figure was
quite out of sight among the trees. The heavy
steps of Mr. Broadaxe had died away too, and
Chip's frolics could be seen no longer. Casper
looked about to be sure that they were gone, and
then he threw himself down on the soft green
moss and cried. I don't know that he could
have told why if anybody had asked him; but
there was nobody to ask, and so he cried and
cried till he was tired. He wasn't going home
to dinner,-his father had told him not to show
his face in the house till night; and Casper
thought of Ruth's verse, and longed for some one
to lay hands on him and bless him.
CASPER cried himself tired and then went to
sleep,-his bare feet curled up and resting on
the soft moss, his head resting-or not resting-
on a great tree root, which in the course of time
had twisted and thrust itself out of the soil. The
sun passed on from the mid heaven, and soft
flickering shadows fell over his face, as the broad
"Clapped their little hands in glee,"
and waved to and fro above his head.
But Casper saw and heard none of it; nor
even dreamed that there were angels about him,
and that the little ragged boy had. heavenly
watchers. When at last he did wake up, he
saw only Mr. Broadaxe standing before him-his
sharp tool resting on the ground; while by his
side sat Chip-his head particularly on one side,
his black eyes sparkling with eagerness, his paws
ready to pounce upon Casper at the, slightest
invitation. It was Chip indeed who had found
the little sleeper, and had barked at him and
pranced round him until Mr. Broadaxe came to
see and Casper awoke
Child, you will catch your death," said the
"Well, I don't know," said Casper, raising
himself on one elbow and rubbing his eyes.
"What made you come back after dinner?"
said the woodman.
"I didn't," said Casper,-" I haven't been."
"Why not ?" said Mr. Broadaxe.
"There wasn't any," said Casper. "Father
took his along. There's nobody else there."
You don't care about dinner, I s'pose ?" said
"I guess I can get along without it," said
Casper, picking up bits of the moss and throwing
them at Chip, who caught them as if they had
been pieces of bread and butter, and tried to
Keep them all in his mouth at once.
That's a great mistake, little boy," said Mr.
Broadaxe gravely, and you've got to go right
home this minute and get your dinner."
I say there isn't any there," said Casper.
"Not in your home," said Mr. Broadaxe;
there is in mine. Lots o' bread and milk, and
such trash. What do you think of that ?"
Casper's eyes sparkled a little, as if they had
caught a reflection of Chip's, but he said not a
"Look here," said the woodman, lifting his
axe and setting it down again till all the moss
trembled; how do you s'pose you'll ever work
Ouch a tool as that when you come to be a man, if
you eat nothing but sleep when you're a boy?
Why, you'll never be a man !"
"Ruth says she wants to be an angel," said
"Well, they're a better sort of creature, I'll never
deny," said the woodman; but starvation ain't
exactly the gate that leads to that road. Come,
jump up-you shan't be one o' the babes in the
wood this time. Now do you know where I
"'Tother end of the brook, by the chestnut
tree," said Casper.
That's it," said the woodman, who was writ-
ing on a leaf of his pocket-book, which he pre-
sently tore out and gave to Casper. There's a
message, child, for my wife. You take it and
wait for an answer, and when you come back I'll
give you sixpence."
Casper looked up doubtfully.
"Didn't you ever hear anybody speak truth?"
said the woodman. "Now go, or I shan't have
an answer till sundown." And Casper went.
.He didn't walk very steadily at first, between
shame at having no dinner of his own, and desire
to have dinner of some sort-even though it
should come from other people. So when he
looked at the bit of paper in his hand he went
very slow; and then again when he listened to
his keen little appetite he went fast. But even
this irregular way of getting along in the world
brought him at last to the woodcutter's door.
There Casper stopped. The door stood wide
All signs of dinner were long ago cleared away,
the floor was swept up, and Mrs. Broadaxe had
brought out her big wheel and began to spin.
But her back was towards the door, and Casper
could watch her unobserved. She was just as
cleanly dressed as Mrs. Cheerful, but her dress
was a good deal more fresh and new, and on her
head, instead of a ribbon, there was avery white
ap. A little black silk apron-- rather a pretty
large one-fluttered about as shestepped to and
fro before the wheel, and her shoes creaked with
smartness and new leather. She was as big as
two or three of Mrs. Cheerful- stout and hearty,
and just the sort of a woman in whose lap little
boys like to curl down and go to sleep. She was
whirling the wheel swiftly round with one hand,
while the other drew out a long blue thread of
yarn from the spindle's point, in a manner that
seemed quite wonderful. Casper forgot both his
message and his appetite, and stood still to see;
and there is no telling how long he might have
stood, if a large white cat had not suddenly
come round the corner of the house and cried out
" Meow !"
Winkie Winkie!" said Mrs. Broadaxe, turn-
ing the wheel but not her head.
Meow!" replied Winkie, with the tone of a
deeply injured cat.
Well, it serves you right," said Mrs. Broadaxe,
walking straight off to the pantry and talking all
the time; "you should have come home before,
Winkie-of course dinner is done, and if this was
some houses you wouldn't have a mouthful. Some
of these days I shall not save you any either-I've
no doubt I sha'n't."
"Some of these days" had not come yet,
however, for Mrs. Broadaxe presently appeared
with a large plate of chicken bones, which Winkie
waited for at thedoor. But when Mrs. Broadaxe
had set the plate down, and had straightened
herself up again, then she beheld Casper.
"Well, little dear," she said, how do you like
my cat? Shouldn't you like to come and sit on
the door-step and see her eat her dinner? And if
the chickens come up you can drive them away
for me, will you?-because they help themselves
out of Winkie's plate."
"Why mayn't they ?" said Casper.
"Why, they've had their dinner long ago,"
said Mrs. Broadaxe.
Oh!-" said Casper. He did not say that
he was worse off than the chickens, but he came
and sat down on the door-step and gave Mrs.
Broadaxe the little paper message the woodcutter
Mrs. Broadaxe stood still to read.
a drumstick in one hanul and bread and butter in
Little boy;--" said the woodman-" and gin-
gerbread. And if Rutl Cheerful comes along
we'll go off far into the -wood and have a time."
I like Ruth !" said Ca_-per. She'%s o good."
Well, \whly hlhouildu't Ca-'p.-r he so: good too?"
said the woodman.
I can't-" -aid C'asper,--" I'm badl."
IMr. Broad~'xe madl:' no reply to that, but as
the chicken and bread and Il.utt-r had all dis-
appeared, le went through the wxu..o with Casper
until he cuIild -ee tile \illi-.e lamp-; and then
bade himi gid night, and told himn to fild. some
better reason ;:or not being good than the one he
had just gi\en.
trust to him with our hearts, God will forgive us
all our sins for his sake-because he took our
What do you think, Casper ?" said the wood-
man,-" does no one love you? God so loved
the world, that he sent his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him might not perish,
but have everlasting life;' and the Lord Jesus
came from all his heavenly glory, and lived, and
suffered, and died, that just such poor sinners as
you and I, Casper, might live for ever in heaven
and not in hell."
Then he isn't here now," said Casper,-" I
wish he was!"
"He is near you all the time, little Casper,"
said the woodman; "he can hear every word
you say, and knows every thought you think.
And if you will pray to him, and try to be his
little child, you will never be miserable any more.
' When my father and my mother forsake me,
then the Lord will take me up.' "
Casper made no answer. He had dropped
his head upon his hand, and so he sat for some
time without speaking or moving. And when
at last the woodcutter said it was time to go, and
they all got up and began to walk through the
forest, Casper walked along just as silent as ever;
only once when he saw Ruth looking at him,
there came a little gush of tears from his eyes, and
he put up his hand quick to wipe them away
Mr. Broadaxe took them both home with him
to supper, and when the two chilrli.n were coming
away together, Casper looked up and said-
"Mr. Broadaxe, when will you talk again ?"
"I don't know," said the woodcutter, smiling
kindly,-" I must work to-morrow; but we'll see."
Ruth and Casper walked quietly on till they
were near Mrs. Cheerful's cottage, when Ruth
Casper! mother will talk to you whenever
you'll come. Will you come to-morrow ?"
I can't," said Casper,-" father said I was
to go to the mill."
"Well, Sunday, then,-you can come after
"Well, maybe I will," said Casper; and bid-
ding Ruth good night, he ran home, for it was
quite late, and every little bird in the forest had
its head under its wing.
THE forest in which Mr. Broadaxe pursued his
business of woodcutting, and where little Ruth
came to pick up chips, and Casper to sae them
both, was very large. The trees of it rose up
like a great wall very near the village where
Casper lived, and from thence it stretched away
back into the mountains, and ran up their sides,
sometimes even to the very top. By the village,
and for some miles from there, the woods were a
good deal cleared up; the underbrush was cut out
and the trees were thinned, and you could find
no wild animals but squirrels and rabbits, and
now and then a woodchuck or a racoon. But
going towards the mountains the woods grew
thicker. The trees stood close together, and wild
vines crept up their trunks and twined about
their branches, and low bushes grew about their
roots,-huckleberry and sweetbriar and dogwood.
The moss grew thick and rank in the shade, and
whole beds of fern sent up their beautiful leaves
which the wind could hardly get in to stir. Over
the ground in some places the little partridge
berry spread itself-a mere mat of leaves and
white flowers; and the wintergreens clustered
together in large patches, hanging full of their
pretty red fruit which no one ever found but the
There were plenty of birds-and of squirrels
too, for that matter; and now and then a snake
went softly along, and frightened them both.
The woodpecker hammered all day upon the
hollow trees, and picked out the insects from
under the bark with his sharp bill, and the oriole
swung her hammock of a nest from the branch
of some weeping elm, and then bade defiance to
the black snake and all his advances.
But other sounds were heard besides the
" tap, tap" of the woodpecker, or the sharp little
"chip!" of the Hackee-for so the Indians call
the little striped squirrel. Sometimes a wolf
would stroll through the forest, with two or three
after him for company; and when they all cried
out together, any little animal that had stayed
out too late trembled and shook all over. And
if the pretty deer that were lying down among
the fern leaves heard the soft bounds of a panther
coming along, they took to their heels as fast as
fear could make them.
An old gray wolf had her den just at the foot
of the mountains; indeed there was quite a
settlement in that place, though one could hardly
call it a neighbourhood.
The wolf had made her home in a cave-like
sort of a place, where great rocks lay piled to-
gether, leaving a dry rock house within that was
wolfish and wild enough; and there the old wolf
lived and amused herself with her eight cubs,
for whose comfort she had lined the nest with
moss and her own hair. They were soft little
things, with eyes as tight shut as if they had
been kittens; and their mother probably thought
they were about perfect, and looked forward with
pleasure to the six or eight months during which
she must mount guard over them and never let
them go out alone. And as soon as they were
old enough to eat meat, the two old wolves went
out and caught sheep and deer and all sorts of
dainties, and having first chewed the meat and
swallowed it to make it tender, they brought it
up again and fed the young ones out of their own
mouths. And so well did the cubs thrive with
all this care and attention, that in a short time
they were able to chew for themselves, and could
even tear a lamb to pieces if it was young and
tender; while for growling and fighting there
was not a more promising set of young wolves in
the whole country. They could amuse themselves
so by the hour together.
In the same line of life-although great ene-
mies to the wolves-were a family of foxes that
lived half way up the mountain, in the thickest
of the wood. Anybody who had gone in among
the trees and looked carefully enough, would have
seen a dark hole going into the very hill side.
- '"*"'* --*-~--":
This was the foxes' front door, and led to a long
burrow or passage-way cut in the earth; and at
the further end of the burrow the foxes lived.
There were but seven of them, altogether-the
two old ones and five cubs; but that was seven
too many, considering what wicked little things
they were. The old fox would steal out at night
and go to the barns and chicken-houses that were
a long way off, and if there was one chicken
straying out where he ought not to be, or roosting
on too low a branch-the old fox was sure to
have him, and would go back to her cubs with
the chicken in her mouth. Sometimes if the
duck-house had been left open she went in there,
and killed more than she could carry away; or if
there was nothing to be got in the barnyard, the
fox would maybe surprise a partridge on her way
home, and then the cubs had a dainty supper.
To pay for this, however, there were times when
the partridge managed to hide all her brood,
when the chickens were shut up, and the rabbits
invisible; and then the foxes took what they
could get,-lizards and frogs, a snake, or a family
of field-mice. Such were busy times for the old
foxes,-mice were small and the cubs hungry.
They growled and grumbled a great deal some-
times, because they could not reach the wild
grapes that hung about the trees at the mouth of
their hole-these grapes would have made such a
nice dessert after a chicken dinner.
On one of the same trees where the grape vines
clambered about, an oriole had built her nest,-
built it too on a branch that stretched far out
beyond the others, quite over the foxes' front
door. It was a queer nest, hung upon several
strong threads, and these made fast to the very
end of the branch. The nest itself was made of
wool and flax and threads of hemp, which the
bird had woven neatly together into a rough sort
of cloth, and sewed through and through with
long horse-hairs. The bottom was made of tufts
of cow's hair, sewed like the rest; and within,
the lining was thick and soft. Little tufts of
wool and of moss were laid in first, and then a
thick layer of horse-hair, smoothly woven and
twisted round. The whole nest was seven inches
long and five across, and was narrowed up to
a small hole at the top, over which hung a great
bunch of elm leaves, and helped keep off the
The birds were as pretty as their nest, for
they were dressed in bright orange and black
feathers, and flew about among the green leaves
like gleams of fire. They were very merry too,
and whistled all the while the nest was a build-
ing; but when it was done, and the little mother-
bird had laid in it five little white eggs all
streaked and spotted with purple; then she began
to sit on them all day, and let the other bird
whistle for her.
After a time, five little orioles broke the
eggshells and came out, having on little downy
coats-very thin ones too; and then the two old
birds were busier than ever. As soon as it grew
light in the morning they flew off, and then every
little while one or the other would come back to
the nest with a worm or a fly or a beetle for the
young ones: there was a kind of little green
beetle that they all loved particularly. And
there were always five little mouths wide open
at the bottom of the nest, the moment the old
bird was seen at the top. They all opened
their mouths every time, though they were fed
only in turn; but they never could remember that,
or perhaps they hoped that their mother would not.
When the little ones grew older, and had eaten
a great many green beetles, their feathers began
to appear, and they looked a great deal prettier,
and the nest became almost too small to hold
them. But the top of it was so far off that they
could not get there, do what they would, for their
wings were not strong yet.
If we could only climb up to the top we could
look out so finely," said one of the brood.
And forthwith he tried, but only succeeded
in tumbling down upon the heads of the others.
And as they felt themselves deeplyinjured thereby,
there is no telling.what might have followed, had
not the mother bird at that moment come in with
a green beetle.
"Mother!" screamed all the young ones at
once, "why can't we go up to the top of the
"Because you can't get there," said the old
bird as she flew off. The young ones were quiet
till she came back, and then they screamed out
"Well, why don't you take us up there?"
I've got something else to do," said Mrs.
Oriole, putting a little brown worm into the
mouth of the noisiest and going off again.
"I'll tell you what," said that little fellow as
soon as he had swallowed the worm, "wait till
to-night, and then we'll ask her. I can keep
awake now sometimes, if I try hard."
So all the rest of the day they were perfectly
quiet; but when the sun set, and the old bird
came back and covered them up with her wings,
they poked their heads out through the feathers.
and began to talk.
"Mother, what is there outside of the nest?"
"Great trees," said the mother-bird sleepily,
for she was tired after her day's work.
"And what else?" said the youngsters.
Foxes-" replied Mrs. Oriole
S"Foxes?" cried 'all the young ones, opening
their eyes very wide; oh, what are foxes ?"
Great beasts, that love little birds and eat
'em up whenever they can find 'em."
All the young heads went back under Mrs.
Oriole's wings at that; and for awhile there was
so little said, that the young ones fell asleep
before they knew it. But when the daylight
came they felt very brave again, and began as
Mother, why aren't you afraid of the foxes ?"
"I can fly." And away she flew.
"Then the foxes can't, I suppose," said one
of the young ones, "and if they can't fly they
can't get up here. I should like to see 'em so
Carefully he began to climb again, sticking
his claws into the sides of the nest and working
his way up, till he really arrived at the top and
could stick his head out of the hole. How
splendid it was!
There were great trees-just as the old bird
had said, but where were the foxes? The little
bird looked and looked but could see none.
His feet began to feel very tired, but still he held
on and looked about him, till far down, down
near the ground he saw something moving; and
a large black snake began to climb a little tree
that was there. Up it came, almost to the very
top, and then darting out upon one of the branches
stuck its head into a nest of young sparrows, and
ate them all up, one by one!
The young oriole was so frightened that he
forgot all about holding on, and if he had been
on the edge of the nest he would most certainly
have fallen over to the black snake,-as it was,
he only fell down to the bottom of the nest-
fully believing that he was dead; and nothing
could convince him of the contrary till his
mother came in and presented him with a green
But after that, the young orioles were content
to stay where their mother bade them, until their
wings were grown and they also could fly.
THE next morning after the day spent in the
woods, Casper was sent off very early to the mill,
as he had expected. Mrs. Clamp had declared that
there was no more flour in the house to make
bread, and therefore Casper and a little sack were
sent for more. Trudging along the dusty road, his
sack flung over his shoulder, Casper paid small
heed to the dust, and only enough to the sack to
keep it in its place. If he had not been so tired
last night, he would have thought a great deal of
all Mr. Broadaxe and Ruth had said: as it was,
he went to sleep and dreamed about it; and now
this morning his thoughts were very busy. Two
new ideas had come into his head,-first that he
could not be happy without loving somebody, and
then that God really loved him. It puzzled Cas-
per especially why in that case his mother should
have died,-and why he himself should have been
such a miserable little boy ever since; only as he
could not forget that he had not been a very good
little boy, the wonder seemed less. And what
should he do to be good, and how should he learn
the way. Pray to Jesus, and try--" the wood-
cutter had said,-Casper thought he didn't know
how to do either. But he did go and kneel down
by the hedge and say a poor little prayer-a few
words of begging that the Lord Jesus would love
him, and take care of him, and take him to heaven,
-and then he went on his way. And everything
looked brighter and sweeter, as if the morning
had changed; but it was only Casper's heart that
The flour-mill stood about two miles off, over
a stream that came rushing down from the hills,
and then flowed gently through a broad meadow.
Outside, the water and the wind kept things fresh
enough, but within, everything was dusty with
white dust,-tall flour bags stood about the floor,
and between them lay the flour which had been
spilled, and the miller and all his men looked pretty
much like other flour-bags moving about.
There was a great whirring to be heard when
Casper got there, for the mill was hard at work.
The water went tumbling and foaming along,
turning the great wheels in its way; and as the
wheels went round and round outside the mill,
they turned the huge grindstones within. Casper
saw how the grains of wheat were put into a
vessel above the stones, which was called the
hopper-and how from the hopper they fell slowly
down between the stones; and then, as the upper
stone went round upon the under one, the wheat
was crushed and ground, and came out in soft
Then the miller put the flour through a sieve-
which he called bolting it-and some he bolted
two or three times; but that for Casper was bolted
only once. And when the sack was filled and tied
up, and Casper had paid for it, the miller told
him he had better sit down and rest. So laying
his own little sack on the floor, Casper climbed
up to the top of a high flour-bag and looked
about him. He was very glad not to go home
just then, there was no chance of anything plea-
sant there, and it might be too late to find Ruth
in the woods. And besides, he was really tired,
for his little feet made a great many steps out of
the two miles. Nobody took any notice of him-
the miller and his men went tramping about, busy
and in haste; the mill kept on its whirring, and
the splash of the water on the great wheel out-
side could be distinctly heard. Casper could hear
little else. Through the open mill-door he saw
the birds fly to and fro; he saw the mill-stream,
which having got away from the wheels, turned
into a little brook, and ran away as fast as it could;
he saw the steeple of the village church just peep-
ing over the hill; and off on one side began the
forest, and stretched away into the blue distance.
Casper fixed his eyes on those tall trees, and
thought of Ruth, and of Mr. Broadaxe, and Chip
-and wondered what they were all doing. And
then he wondered if he ever should be good-like
Ruth; and if so, what things he should do and what
things he shouldn't; whether he should have to
walk so far with a great bag of flour on his back,
and whether his father would make him fetch all
the water, and whether it would be any pleasanter
to do it than it was now. And as he thought
these things, Casper laid his head down on the
flour bag next him, and went to sleep.
"What shall we do with this boy?" said the
miller, when dinner-time came.
Lock him up and leave him," said one of the
men; and they locked the mill-door and went off
At that time the mice usually came out to get
theirs, for though they managed to pick up a few
grains of wheat, or a little flour between the
sacks, while the men where about, yet they dared
not venture out on the open floor. Now, how-
ever, they came forth, ran back when they saw
Casper, and ran out again when they found he did
not stir, and then went on just as if he had not
Poor little Casper!
His feet hung dangling down the sides of one
great sack, and his head nestled down on the top
of another, and his coat and hair were already
much whiter than when he entered the mill-
for the flour had dusted them in all directions.
Once or twice he twisted about as if his bed
were far from comfortable, and then for a long
time he lay perfectly still-only smiling now and
then, in a way that would have made Ruth quite
What do you suppose made him smile? He
was dreaming. When he first went to sleep, he
was tired and hungry, and this made him turn
about so; but after awhile he fell into a sweet
dream, and then lay quiet.
He thought he was in the beautiful city-the
city of which Ruth had told him; that the streets
were all made of gold, and the light so bright as
he had never seen. And suddenly Casper thought
to himself that he had no business there-with
his dusty little feet and ragged clothes-what
should he do in such a glorious place? But when
he looked at himself, all was changed. His
clothes were whole and white-more beautiful
than any he had ever seen-he had clean hands,
there was not a particle of soil to be found upon
him. He felt, too, that he was rested: instead of
being weary and ready to cry, it seemed as if he
had no more tears to shed.
And while Casper was wondering at all this,
he saw little Ruth Cheerful; who came running
up to him in clothes as beautiful as his own.
But when she was going to speak, Casper pre-
vented her, and asked how he got there. And
Casper! the Lord Jesus has loved you, and
died that you might come here, and now you have
come; and we will love and serve him for ever!"
Casper thought he could have cried then for.
joy, he was so happy; he even thought that the
tears did come into his eyes; but as he put up his
hand to rub them away, the bright city faded out
of his sight-little Ruth changed and changed till
she looked like only a stick of wood, and Casper
was sitting up on the flour bag, rubbing his eyes
very hard to know whether he were still in a
dream or no. There was the old mill-the heavy
stones-the sacks-the little mice,-there was
even the miller unlocking the door on his return
Well, sleepy child," said the miller, you've
had a fine sleep."
"Yes," said Casper. "I wish I hadn't ever
The men all laughed at that, and Casper feel-
ing much more ready to cry, jumped down from
the flour-bag, took up his own little sack, and
marched out of the mill door without another
With what disgust he looked at his clothes,
thinking of those so white and new which he
had worn in his dream! Casper felt tired and
down-hearted. For awhile he walked fast, as
if to get away from his bad feelings,-then hii
feet went slower and slower-then he stopped
and sat down under the hedge. He sat there after
his old fashion-sticking out his feet into the dust
and feeling miserable: and there is no telling
when he would have stirred if he had not heard the
wheels of a wagon coming along. Then Casper
got up, and having with some trouble got the sack
of flour on his back again, he walked on. But he
saw now that there was a little hole in the sack-
the mice might have gnawed it while he was
asleep-and through that hole the flour came
dropping out, and left a little white streak on the
ground as he went along. The wagon came on
and stopped just by him. It was a great farm-
wagon full of sheaves of wheat: two fat brown
horses drew it along, and a pleasant-looking man
sat between them and the wheat.
"Look here, my boy !" he called to Casper.
Casper looked but said nothing.
"Who lives in that red house next the orchard
yonder ?" said the man.
Farmer Pippin," said Casper.
"Well, now, my child, run over there will you ?
-I can't leave my horses-and ask him for a
white sheepskin that belongs to Mr. Sickles-you
fetch it to me, will you ?"
Casper opened his eyes very wide, and didn't
feel at all disposed to go.
You're spilling your flour," said the man,
"I ain't-" said Casper-" it's the bag."
Well, I guess it is the bag's fault," said
the man with another smile. Come-run-will
Casper was just going to say no. He was
tired, it was rather late; the bag was easily put
down indeed, but it was hard to get it up to his
shoulder again; and moreover Mr. Pippin's red
house was beyond a broad meadow and two
fences. But as he looked up to speak, the face
of little Ruth Cheerful came to his mind-so
bright, so unselfish: and instead of no, Casper
He put down the bag and climbed the fence,
and had begun to walk over the meadow, when
Mr. Sickles called him.
Look here, my boy !"
Casper looked once more, and then as he saw
the man beckon, he came back and climbed over
the fence again. Mr. Sickles opened his pocket-
book and took out some money.
"There's two' shillings owing them," he said,
"and if you carry the cash there'll be no fear
about getting the skin. Now go."
"What did you make me come back for?"
said Casper, not very well pleased.
To get this money for Mr. Pippin," said the
man with another smile. Ah, you don't like to
be called back, hey ? Never mind, my boy-don't
ever refuse to help make road for other people,
because some day you may travel that way your-
self. You needn't hurry, but the quicker you're
back the better I shall like it."
And Casper once more set forth; nor was it long
before he came back again with the pretty white
sheepskin in his hand.
There's a good boy," said Mr. Sickles-" first-
rate. Where are you going ?"
Home," said Casper.
Where's that ?"
"In the village."
Do you think you'll ever get there on those
two little feet?" said Mr. Sickles with a very
Casper couldn't help smiling a little too, as he
said he guessed he should."
You like walking better than riding ?" said
No," said Casper.
"Then jump up here and sit in the wheat,"
said the wagoner, "and there'll be some chance
of the flour's getting home too; you can hold the
bag with one hand and the hole with the other.
Casper jumped up, in high spirits: Mr. Sickles
pushed him down into a little nest among the
wheatsheaves, where he was as comfortable as
could be, and the two brown horses moved on.
Casper was so glad they had a heavy load and
couldn't go faster!
Jog, jog went the horses, and the wagon rolled
after them and jolted over the stones in the most
slow and comfortable manner. The sharp, bearded
ears of wheat hung down from the sheaves and
scratched Casper's legs, and tickled his neck, and
dressed off his hair after a most curious fashion;
but it was so delightful to ride, and the soft straw
on which he sat rested him so nicely, that he
minded not the scratching a whit.
What sort of place is the village?' said Mr.
Sickles. Pleasant ?"
"No," said Casper.
"Ah, that's bad," said his friend,-" people
ought to live in a pleasant place. Why isn't the
village pleasant ?"
I don't know-" said Casper,-" maybe it
is, but our house isn't."
"Why not ?" said Mr. Sickles, looking round
Mother's dead," said Casper, as if that told
Mr. Sickles looked away again, and said Get
up!" to the horses in a very imperative way.
"Do you know where I live ?" he said, after
"No," said Casper.
See that hill yonder, with a white house and
a red barn just at the top ?"
Casper said yes.
That's the place," said Mr. Sickles,-" nice
place too, and pleasant-I don't care who says
it ain't. Now do you think you could walk so
Casper wondered whether Mr. Sickles was
going to ask him to carry the sheepskin up there,
because the wagon had to go somewhere else, but
he only said yes again.
"Well, come up some time and spend the
day, will you ?" said Mr. Sickles. "Come to,
"Spend the whole day ?" said Casper.
Why yes," said his friend. Got anything
to do at.home ?"
"Oh no!" said Casper. "I should like to
come very much."
"Well, there's nothing to hinder, that I can
see," replied Mr. Sickles. And he was silent
again till they reached the village. There he
stopped for Casper to get out. Casper couldn't
shake hands with him, for it was all both hands
could do to manage the flour-bag, but he said .,
"Thank you, sir."
Look here!" said Mr. Sickles, as he turned
away, what's yotr name? If the wrong boy
S comes to-morrow I should like to know it."
My name's Casper."
Well see," continued Mr. Sickles, "do you
always carry that face round with you ?"
I haven't got any other face," said Casper.
"Well, do you always cry every day? or do
you laugh some of 'em ?"
I don't cry when I'm out in the woods with
Ruth," replied Casper.
S"Don't bring any tears along to-morrow," said
other she scattered the breakfast, while cock and
hen and chick fluttered round her, and ate as fast
as they could. Then Mrs. Sickles shaded her
eyes with one hand from the bright sunbeams,
and looked off across the fields. There were
some black specks in a distant meadow, which
might be Mr. Sickles and his men, at work, but
they were too far off for her to see much of them.
A little red dog who sat by her, his tail curled
up out of the dew, now gave a sharp little bark,
and Mrs. Sickles turned and looked down the
The sunbeams lay very bright there, with only
a tree shadow now and then, and in the very
midst of sunshine and shadow-toiling along
through both-was a little figure that caught Mrs.
Sickles' eye at once: she looked more intently
than before. The little red dog jumped up, and
said with a growl that he would go and see who
"Sit down, Gruff!" said Mrs. Sickles. And
Gruff sat down, and curled up his tail as before.
"Don't you stir, Gruff!" said Mrs. Sickles;
and she went back to the house and put her dish
away, and came out again, while Gruff whined
and seemed to feel very bad. But when his mis-
tress came out, she walked straight down to the
garden gate that opened upon the road, and there
she stood, looking very hard at the little figure;
and the little figure looked just as hard at her.