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" CAN'T YOU GET ME PUT ON A SETTEE IN THE SERVANTS' HALL ? '
(Vide page 19.)
AUTHOR OF "THE FOX FAMILY," "THE OBSTINATE ELM LEAF," "THE BEARS
OF WUNDERMERK," ETC.
SKEFFINGTON & SON, 163, PICCADILLY, W.
OSKAR, OLGA, ERIK,
LEO, DOROTHY, CLAUDE,
T was twilight, and the children, tired of playing, gathered
round the fire.
Outside, the snow fell softly, softly; and the bare trees shook
their branches in the keen air. The pleasant glow of the blazing
logs lighted up the circle of happy faces, and peopled the distant
corners with elfin shadows.
All the afternoon the children, pipe in hand, with soap suds
before them, had been blowing airy bubbles that caught the gleams
of a hundred flying rainbows-but now in the fading daylight, the
pipes were put aside, and they threw themselves down on the fur rug,
and looked with thoughtful eyes into the caverns of the fire.
"What can we do now?" they cried, "Won't you make us
And someone sitting in the shadow, who had watched and
admired their handiwork; whipped up some white froth in a fairy
basin, and taking a pipe, she blew them some bubbles.
Not so beautiful as the children's own, with their pure reflections
of the light and sunshine-but the best she could fashion with
the materials she had at hand; for the only soap she could find
was Imagination, and her pipe was a humble black pen.
........ ..... ..... .
THE TROLL IN THE CHURCH FOUNTAIN
THE IMP IN THE CHINTZ CURTAIN
A STORY OF SIENA -
THE GRASS OF PARNASSUS -
THE HEDGEHOGS' COFFEE PARTY
THE ANGEL AND THE LILIES
THE SCROLL IN THE MARKET PLACE -
A SCRAP OF ETRUSCAN POTTERY 9
THE GOATS ON THE GLACIER -
THE GREAT LADY'S CHIEF-MOURNER 39
DAME FOSSIE'S CHINA DOG 142
PRINCESS SIDIGUNDA'S GOLDEN SHOES 161
THE BADGER'S SCHOOL 179
BOBBIE'S TWO SHILLINGS 203
tbe troll in the eburct fountain.
T was a village of fountains. They poured from the
sides of houses, bubbled up at street corners,
sprang from stone troughs by the roadside, and
one even gushed from the very walls of the old Church itself,
and fell with a monotonous tinkle into a carved stone basin
The old Church stood on a high plateau overlooking the
lake. It jutted out so far, on its great rock, that it seemed
to overhang the precipice; and as the neighbours walked
upon the terrace on Sundays, and enjoyed the shade of the
row of plane trees, they could look down over the low walls
of the Churchyard almost into the chimneys of the wooden
houses clustering below.
There were wide stone seats on the terrace, grey and
worn by the weather, and by the generations of children
who had played round them; and here the mothers and
grandmothers, with their distaffs in their hands, loved to
collect on summer evenings.
Often Terli had seen them from his home by the mountain
2 U eI)e 'roll in tbe lI)urc) mountain.
torrent, for he was so high up, he looked down upon the
whole village; and he had often longed to join them and
hear what they were saying; but as he was nothing but a
River-Troll, he was not able to venture within sight or sound
of the water of the holy Church Fountain.
Anywhere else he was free to roam; teazing the children,
worrying the women as they washed their clothes at the
open stone basins, even putting his lean fingers into the
fountain spout to stop the water, while the people remained
staring open-mouthed, or ran off to fetch a neighbour to
find out what was the matter.
This was all very pleasant to Terli, and at night he would
hurry back to his relations in their cave under the stones
of the torrent, and enjoy a good laugh at the day's
There was only one thing that worried him. Several
of the cleverest old women of the village, who had on
several occasions seen Terli dancing about the country,
agreed to hang a little pot of the Church water in the doors
of their houses; and once or twice the Troll, on attempting
to enter in order to teaze the inhabitants, had suddenly
caught sight of the water, and rushed away with a scream
of rage and disappointment.
Never River-Troll can stand the sight of the Church
Fountain! said the old women, and rubbed their hands
In the early summer there was to be a great wedding at
Vrbt Croll in dbe gbtbrdl) Sfountain.
the old Church, the Bridegroom the son of a rich farmer,
the Bride one of the young girls of the village; and Terli,
who had known them both from childhood, determined that
for once in his life he would enter the unknown region of
the Church Terrace.
"Elena has often annoyed me in the past," laughed
Terli, so it is only fair I should try and annoy her in the
future "-and he sat down cross-legged at the bottom of a
water trough to arrange his plans quietly in seclusion.
An old horse came by, dragging a creaking waggon, and
the driver stopped to allow the animal to drink.
The Troll raised himself leisurely, and as the horse put in
his head, Terli seized it in both hands, and hung on so firmly
that it was impossible for the poor creature to get away.
Let go said the horse, angrily-for he understood
the Troll language. Let me go What are you doing ? "
I shan't let you go till you -make me a promise. You
get the Wood-Troll to cork up the Church Fountain at
daybreak on Friday morning, and I'll let you drink as much
as you like now, and go without hindrance afterwards."
"I shan't promise," said the horse, crossly. I don't
see why I should."
"Well, I shall hang on till you do," said the Troll with
a disagreeable laugh; and he gripped the old horse more
tightly than ever.
Oh, leave off I'm being suffocated. I'll promise any-
,thing," cried the horse.
E le ~roll in tle d Iurd) foountainl.
.S '' '. .\'i .. I -,, .T \ E
-,..-'" 'YOU DOING '
Terli withdrew his hands immediately, sinking down to
the bottom of the trough with a chuckle that made the
water bubble furiously; and the old horse, without waiting
to drink, trotted off with an activity that surprised his master.
Remember your promise called the Troll, putting his
head suddenly over the edge of the trough, and pointing a
thin finger. "On Friday at daybreak the Church Foun-
tain stopped, or you don't drink comfortably for a twelve-
Jbe ECro1l in the C iurcb) JFotultaiii.
Early on Friday morning the bridal procession started
gaily, and all the village folks were so occupied they never
noticed that the Church Fountain had ceased to bubble.
The bells rang out; while the Troll, hidden in the branches
of a tree close to the entrance door, glanced first at the pro-
cession and then at a wedge of wood sticking out of the
stone mouth of the Fountain, and he laughed elfishly.
Ha, ha! The old horse has kept his promise. This is
seeing the world," he whispered triumphantly.
The marriage ceremony was soon over, and as the newly-
wedded pair stepped out upon the terrace again, Terli
drew from his pocket a little jar of water, and splash!
fell some drops from it right in the eyes of the Bride and
"It is beginning to rain! I saw the clouds gathering!
Run, run, for the nearest shelter!" cried everyone confusedly,
and off dashed the crowd, panting and breathless.
Now it was an unfortunate thing, that after the wedding
everything in the new household seemed to go wrong.
"The young people have had their heads turned,"
whispered the old women, and the poor Bride looked pale
It is a wretched house to have married into," she said
to her mother. Nothing but these poor boards for furni-
ture, no good fields or garden-all so dull and disagreeable;
Cbe r roll in the (Eburdj iForntain.
and then my husband-he seems always discontented. I
think I was happier at home;" and she tapped her foot
Her mother argued and remonstrated, and at last began
to weep bitterly.
You must be bewitched, Elena, to complain like this!
You have everything a reasonable girl can wish for."
Everything ? Why I have nothing!" cried Elena
angrily, and ran from the room; leaving Terli, who was
hiding in a water-bucket, to stamp his feet with delight.
Ha! ha! it is going on excellently," he shouted in his
little cracked voice. Once let them have the water from
the Trolls' well in their eyes, they'll never be contented
again and he upset the bucket in which he was standing
over the feet of the Bride's mother, who had to run home
hastily to change her wet shoes.
This is the work of the River-Trolls, I believe," she
said to herself, as she held up her soaked skirts carefully.
"I'll find out all about it on St. John's Eve, if I can't do
so before "-and she nodded angrily towards the mountain
Days passed, and the sad temper of the newly-married
couple did not improve.
They scarcely attempted to speak to each other, and
groaned so much over the hardships of their life, that all
their friends became tired of trying to comfort them.
"They're bewitched," said the Bride's mother, "bewitched,
'lUie lroII in t) b Ctturdc SFountain. 7
and nothing else. But wait till St. John's Eve, and you'll
see I shall cure them."
She spoke mysteriously, but as she was a sensible woman
everyone believed her.
On St. John's Eve-as I daresay you know-all animals
have the power of talking together like human beings, and
punctually as the clock struck twelve the Bride's mother put
on her thick shoes, and taking the stable lantern from its
nail, she went off to the stable, refusing to allow either her
husband or son to accompany her.
As she entered the door of the outhouse, she heard the
oxen already whispering to each other, and the old horse,
with his head over the division, addressing friendly remarks
to a family of goats close by.
Do you know anything of Terli or the Wood-Trolls ? "
enquired the old woman, looking at the oxen severely.
No, no, no !" and they shook their heads slowly.
The Bride's mother then repeated her question to the goat
family, who denied any knowledge of the Trolls with a series
of terrified bleats.
There is only you, then," said the Bride's mother to the
old horse. You have served us faithfully, and we have
been kind masters-to you. Tell me: do you know anything
of Terli or the Wood-Trolls ? "
I do," said the old horse with dignity. I can tell you
more than anyone else dreams of;" and he stepped from
his stall with an air of the greatest importance.
The old woman sat down upon an upturned stable-bucket,
and prepared to listen.
"Just before the wedding," commenced the horse, I
was passing through the village with old master, when we
stopped to drink. No sooner had I got my nose into the
Fountain than, heuw Terli had hold of me, and not an
inch would he loosen his grip till I promised to let him see
the wedding by getting the Wood-Trolls to stop up the
Church Fountain. What was I to do? I was forced to
agree, and from that promise comes all the misery of
the Bride and Bridegroom."
The old horse then went on to explain what Terli had
done on the wedding day, while the Bride's mother jumped
up from the water-bucket with a cry of delight.
"All will be well now. You have done us the greatest
possible service, and shall live in leisure for the rest of your
life," she said; and ran out of the stables towards the house,
before the astonished animals could recover themselves.
I've found it all out," she cried to her husband. Now
all we have to do is to catch Terli."
"Not so easy, wife," said the Bride's father, but the old
woman smiled in a mysterious manner.
"Leave it to me, husband, I shall manage it. Our chil-
dren will be happy again to-morrow, you will see."
El~bz Qrrall in t~r (Tburcb SoFuntailT.
'Ube JfrolI in tOe Clburci fbiuntain.
The next day at sunrise, the Bride's mother crept off
secretly to the Church Fountain and brought back a
large pailful of the water. This she emptied into a wash-
tub, and covered with some green pine branches, and on
the top of all she placed a wooden bowl half filled with
"Terli likes it so much-he will do anything for butter-
milk," she said to herself, as she propped open the kitchen
door, and went off with a light heart to see her daughter.
She carried with her a jug of the Church water, and when
she arrived at the farm house, she gave it to her daughter
and son-in-law, and begged them to bathe their eyes with it
With much grumbling they obeyed her; but what a change
occurred directly they had done so!
The day, which had seemed cloudy and threatening rain,
now appeared bright and hopeful. The Bride ran over her
new house with exclamations of delight at all the comfortable
arrangements, and the Bridegroom declared he was a lucky
man to have married a good wife, and have a farm that
anyone might reasonably be proud of i
"How could we ever have troubled over anything ? said
the young Bride, "I can't understand it i We are young,
and we are happy."
The old woman smiled wisely. It was only the Troll's
xo t1e C rolI it tlje tl)urcb fountain.
well-water, she said, and went home as fast as her feet
would carry her.
As she neared her own door, she heard sounds of splashing
"TAKE ME OUT! TAKE ME OUT! IT GIVES ME THE TOOTH-ACHE "
and screaming in a shrill piping voice; and on entering, saw
Terli struggling violently in the tub of Church water, the
little bowl of buttermilk lying spilt upon the floor.
Etc Eroa[ in tbe Cbuvurrb Juntain.
"Take me out Take me out! It gives me the tooth-ache!"
wailed the Troll, but the Bride's mother was a wise woman,
and determined that now she had caught their tormentor she
would keep him safely.
I've got the toothache in every joint!" shouted Terli.
" Let me out, and I'll never tease you any more."
It serves you very well right," said the old woman, and
she poured the contents of the tub-including Terli-into a
large bucket, and carried it off in triumph to the Church
Here she emptied the bucket into the carved stone basin,
and left Terli kicking and screaming, while she went home
to the farmhouse to breakfast.
That's a good morning's work, wife; if you never do
another : said the Bride's father, who had come into the
kitchen'just as Terli upset the bowl of butter-milk, and fell
through the pine branches headlong into the tub beneath.
" We shall live in peace and quietness now, for Terli was
the most mischievous of the whole of the Troll-folk."
The words of the Bride's father proved to be quite true,
for after the capture of the Water-Troll the village enjoyed
many years of quietness and contentment.
As to Terli, he lived in great unhappiness in the Church
Fountain; enduring a terrible series of tooth-aches, but
unable to escape from the magic power of the water.
At the end of that time, however, a falling tree split the
sides of the carved stone basin into fragments, and the
12 Ct)e ErolI in tbe Ci)furclb fountain.
Troll, escaping with the water which flowed out, darted from
the Churchyard and safely reached his old home in the bed
of the mountain torrent.
The Church Fountain is broken, and Terli has escaped,"
said the good folks the next morning-and the old people
shook their heads gravely, in alarm-but I suppose Terli had
had a good lesson, for he never troubled the village any more.
bte Imp in tfe Qtint Ourtain.
E was a wicked-looking Imp, and he lived in'a bed
No one knew he was in the house, not even the
master and mistress. Thelittle girl who slept in the chintz-
curtained bed was the only person who knew of his existence,
and she never mentioned him, even to her old nurse.
She had made his acquaintance one Christmas Eve, as
she lay awake, trying to keep her tired eyes open long
enough to see Santa Klaus come down the chimney. The
Imp sprang into view with a cr-r-r-ick, cr-r-r-ack of falling
wood in the great fireplace, and there he stood bowing to
Marianne from the left-hand corner of the chintz curtain.
A green leaf formed his hat, some straggling branches his
feet; his thin body was a single rose-stem, and his red face
a crumpled rose-bud.
A flaw in the printing of the chintz curtain had given him
life-a life distinct from that of the other rose leaves.
You're lying awake very late to-night-what's that for ? "
he enquired, shaking the leaf he wore upon his head, and
looking at Marianne searchingly.
14 Eb filmp in tlje d'fintj Curtain.
"Why, don't you see I'm waiting for Santa Klaus? "
replied Marianne. "I've always missed him before, but
this time nothing shall make me go to sleep She sat up
in bed and opened her eyes as widely as possible.
He has generally been here before this," said the Imp.
" I can remember your great-aunt sleeping in this very bed
and being in just the same fuss. I got down and danced
about all night, and she thought I was earwigs."
"I should never think you were an earwig-you're too
pink and green-but don't talk, I can hear something
Santa Klaus doesn't buzz," said the Chintz Imp. He
comes down flop Once in your aunt's time, I knew him
nearly stick in the chimney. He had too many things in his
sack. You should have heard how he struggled, it was like
thunder! Everyone said how high the wind was."
I hope he won't do it to-night," said Marianne, I could
never pull him down by myself! "
As she spoke the room seemed to be violently shaken, and
there was a sound of falling plaster, followed by some loud
"Whew-w!" cried the Chintz Imp, "he's done it
Marianne started up in great excitement. She sprang
from her bed, and ran towards the old-fashioned fireplace.
Nothing was at first to be seen; but as the fire had died
down to a few hot embers, Marianne could, by craning her
t fie imp in tbe Cbintj Curtain. 15
head forwards, look right up into the misty darkness of the
There, to her astonishment, she saw a pair of large brown-
covered feet hanging down helplessly; while a deep voice
from above cried-
Get me out of this, or I shall break down the chimney!"
Oh, what am I to do ? exclaimed Marianne anxiously,
"I'm not tall enough to reach you 1 Shall I fetch my Aunt
Olga, or would you prefer my old nurse ? "
Certainly not," said the voice, with decision. I have
never been seen by a grown-up person, and I don't intend to
begin now. Either you must get me down by yourself, or I
shall manage to work out at the top again-and then I'm
sorry to say you'll have to go without your presents."
Marianne sat down on the hearthrug in a state of anxious
consideration. There waved the great brown feet, and two
or three steps would land them safely on the hearthrug, but
how could it possibly be managed ?
The Chintz Imp curled up his green legs and sat down
beside her, his bright red eyes blinking thoughtfully.
We must hang on to him," he said at last; or what do
you say to my trying to collect a dozen or so children, to
pull ? "
Why they'd all be in bed hours ago," said Marianne.
"Besides, their parents would never let them come,
and Uncle Max would want to know whatever we were
"Yes. I see that idea is no good. Have you such a thing
as a pocket-knife ? enquired the Chintz Imp.
"A beauty," said Marianne; four blades, a button-hook,
and a corkscrew."
Ah, the corkscrew might be of some use if we could
draw him out with it; but he might object. However, I'll
try what I can do with the knife."
"You won't cut him! You'll have to be very careful!"
Of course," said the Chintz Imp. Do you think I am
as old as your great-aunt, without knowing much more than
you do Bring me the knife. I'm going to swarm up the
chimney and scratch away the mortar. Leave it entirely to
me, and Santa Klaus will be down here in an hour or two! "
Marianne ran off to her little play box, and returned
with the knife. It was almost as large as the Chintz Imp,
but he possessed so much wiry strength in his thin arms
and backbone that he was able to clamber up the chimney
"Are you all right ? cried Marianne, standing with her
bare feet on the edge of the stone fender, and holding up the
night-light as high as she could without singeing Santa
Getting up," replied the Chintz Imp, "but he's in very
"Is it his sack that's stuck?" enquired Marianne,
"Yes, yes! It's only my sack! cried the deep voice;
Ot 1111P ill the (W114 CuQftrtaim
Ebe nfip itn tle gLbintj CuLrtain. 17
"you get that loose, and I shall drop into the room like a
Marianne strained her eyes up the chimney, but could see
Take care! Here's a lot of plaster falling "
The warning was just in time, for, as Marianne's head
disappeared, a handful of cement fell rattling into the fire-
place, just escaping her bare feet as she jumped on to the
The knife does beautifully," cried the voice of the Chintz
Imp. I think when I've loosened this paint box, he'll fall
"Oh, do be careful!" said Marianne. "A paint box is
what I've been longing for Don't chip it if you can possibly
help it! "
"Of course I shan't," replied the Chintz Imp. "If he
wouldn't kick so much, I should get him out in half the time."
"I'm not kicking," cried Santa Klaus's voice indignantly.
" I've been as still as a rock, even with that horrid penknife
close to my ear the whole time."
Have a little patience," said the Chintz Imp soothingly.
"I promise not to hurt you."
Marianne began to feel very cold. The excitement, so far,
had buoyed her up; but now the monotonous chip, chipping
of the Chintz Imp continued so long that she jumped into
her chintz-curtained bed, determined to stay there until
something new and interesting called her up again.
ljr *,lip in tOre lintl Curtain.
I can't do any good, so I may as well be comfortable,"
she thought, and pulled the eider-down quilt up to her chin
"I hope he'll get out! It would be a disappointment to
have that paint-box taken away again. Perhaps it would be
given to someone who wouldn't care for it. I wonder if it's
tin, with moist colours? I must ask Uncle Max to have
that chimney made wider--" At this point Marianne's
eyes closed and she fell asleep.
She was awakened by a loud thump! that seemed to shake
the very bed in which she was lying; and as she sprang up
in a state of great excitement, she saw Santa Klaus picking
himself up from the hearthrug on which he had apparently
fallen with great violence.
Oh dear cried Marianne, I hope you are not hurt ?
How careless of the Chintz Imp to throw you down like that!"
It was no one's fault but my own," said Santa Klaus as
he dusted the remains of soot and plaster off his brown cloak.
" I should have remembered my experience with your great-
aunt, but I knew how much you wanted that paint-box,"
and he slipped into Marianne's stocking a japanned box
with a whole sheaf of paint brushes.
Oh, thank you, Santa Klaus! You can't think how I've
wished for it; my own is such a horrid little thing. And
those beautiful pictures for my scrap-book, and the things
for the doll's house-and I really believe that's the book of
fairy tales I've been longing for for months "
E)te fmp in tbte C)int Curtain. 19
Marianne's face shone with delighted expectation as she
opened the top of her stocking and peeped in.
Not till the morning," cried Santa Klaus; "you know
my rule," and patting Marianne on the head, he disappeared,
with his sack much lightened, up the chimney.
Oh, do come here cried Marianne to the Chintz Imp.
" I must talk to somebody."
I think you certainly ought to talk to me," said the
Chintz Imp, coming carefully down the brickwork, hand
over hand, and laying the knife down in the fender.
" Without me you wouldn't have had a single present."
"Of course, I'm very grateful," said Marianne. "I wish
he had brought you something, though I'm sure I don't know
what would be useful to you."
"Well, I should like a good many things," replied the
Chintz Imp, perching himself on a brass knob at the end of
the bedstead, "and one or two I think you can get me easily.
I'm tired of this room and the little society I see, and I long
for the great world. Can't you get me put on a settee in
the Servants' Hall, or somewhere lively? "
"I'll ask Aunt Olga," said Marianne. She promised me
a Christmas present, and I was to choose. Suppose I choose
new bed curtains ? "
Certainly," said the Chintz Imp, "but be sure you
bargain to hang me in some cheerful place. Sixty years in
one room is too much of a good thing-I want a change "
and he stretched himself wearily.
Ube finp in tBe Qtbintj Curtain.
I really will do my best for you," said Marianne. I'm
afraid you're too faded for the drawing-room, but I won't
have new curtains until I can see you put somewhere nice.
I suppose you wouldn't like the passages ? "
Decidedly not," replied the Chintz Imp.. Dull places.
No fun, and nothing going on. The Servants' Hall, or stay
where I am!" He folded his green arms with determination.
"I'm sure I can manage it," said Marianne, and fell asleep
again while she was arranging the words in which she should
make the suggestion to Aunt Olga.
The next day Marianne awoke betimes, and immediately
inspected the contents of her stocking.
There, stuffed clumsily inside it, was everything she had
been wishing for during the year, and more too !
Do come and look at my things cried Marianne to the
Chintz Imp, but he remained rigidly against his shiny
spotted background and refused to move, though Marianne
thought she saw a twinkle in his eye, which showed he was
not quite so impassive as he appeared to be.
I'll try and get him put into the Servants' Hall as soon
as possible," she thought. It makes me quite nervous to
think he may pounce upon me any minute. Besides, one
must keep one's promises How extraordinary it is he can
make himself so perfectly flat."
As soon as she was dressed she ran down to the dining
Dear Aunt Olga, I've got such quantities of things to
tIj fimp in tie l1)ilnt Curtain. 21
show you! she cried, and as you said I might choose,
may I please have new chintz to my bed, and no pattern on
it, so that it can't come out and be Imps-I mean, have
funny shapes on it. And may my old curtains be put in the
Servants' Hall ? He says it will be more cheerful for him,
and though, of course, he's been very kind to me, I think I
would rather he went somewhere else. Besides, it is dull
for him up there, all by himself-I mean, it would be dull for
any kind of chintz."
"I do think Santa Klaus has got into your head,
Marianne !" said Aunt Olga, laughing; but she promised to
buy the new curtains.
In course of time they arrived-the palest blue, with little
harmless frillings to them; and the old chintz was carried
off to the Servants' Hall to make a box cover.
There it still hangs, and if you stoop down and examine
it closely, you will see the Chintz Imp looking more lively
than ever, with his green hat on one side, and a twinkling
red eye on the watch for any sort of amusement.
Marianne often goes to see him, but, rather to her dis-
appointment, he looks the other way, and appears not to
"Perhaps it's just as well," she says to herself, for he
seems very happy, and if the servants knew he was here I
believe they would turn him out immediately."
HE three-cornered scrap of garden by the elm tree,
with a border of stones, and a neat trodden path
down the middle, belonged to little Bethea.
It grew things in a most wonderful way. Stocks and
marigolds, primroses and lupines, Canterbury bells and
lavender; all came out at their different seasons, and all
flourished-for Bethea watered and tended them so faithfully
that they loved her.
On a soft spring day Bethea stood by her garden with
scissors and basket, snipping away at the brightest and best
of her children; carefully, so that she might not hurt them,
and with judgment, so that they might bloom again when
they wished to.
"Do you know where you're going ?" she said-" To the
Hospital. Grandmamma's going to take me, and you're being
gathered to cheer up the sick people there-aren't you
pleased ? And the flowers nodded.
"I don't suppose I shall be picked. I don't think I'm
good enough !"whispered a very small purple pansy, who had
only recently been planted, to a beetle who happened to be
"BETHEA WATERED AND TENDED THEM SO FAITHFULLY THAT THEY LOVED HER."
crawling by. I should like to go with the others, though
I don't suppose it would cheer anyone to see me, I'm not
light enough "
Don't be too sure," said the beetle solidly. You've a
nice velvety softness about you, and then you have the best
name of them all. What sick person wouldn't like to have
Heartsease ? "
I think I've got enough now," said Bethea, as she laid
the last primula in her basket.
"Oh, do take me!" cried the pansy, touching her little
brown shoe with one of its leaves to attract her attention,
" I do want to help and Bethea stooped down, she scarcely
knew why, gathered it, and put it with the rest of her flowers.
The drive to the Hospital was along a dusty country road,
and the flowers under their paper covering, gasped for
As soon as they arrived, Bethea, following her grand-
mother, carried them up to the room where children were
lying in the little white beds, and gave them to the woman
who was in charge of it.
Please would you mind putting them in water for the
children," she said in her soft voice, and the woman smiled
Bethea took a few of the flowers out, and went round to
the different beds offering one or two, shyly, until she came
to a thin pale boy-a new patient, whom she had never
He's only been here a fortnight," said the woman in a
whisper, "and we can't get him to take any interest in
anything-I don't know what we're going to do with him !"
Is he very ill ? asked Bethea, wistfully.
"No, not so bad as some. A crooked leg, that will get
well in time if only we can wake him up a little."
I'm so sorry I have nothing but this flower left," said
Bethea, as she stooped over the boy's curly head, and gave
him the small purple pansy.
Oh, I wish I was more beautiful sighed the little dark
flower. "Now would be an opportunity to do some good in
the world !"
The boy turned wearily, but his face lighted up as he saw
the pansy. His eyes brightened and he seized it eagerly.
Heartsease! Oh, it's like home. We've lots of that
growing in our garden. I always had some on Sundays! "
he cried. "Do let me keep it. It seems just a bit of home-
a bit of home-a bit of home."
He murmured it over and over again, as if there was rest
and happiness in the very sound of it.
"I'll keep fresh as long as ever I can," said the pansy,
" It's the least I can do for him, poor fellow !"
"At all events the flowers are all out of my own garden,"
said Bethea, sitting down by the white bed, and then she
talked away so gently that the boy's weary face smoothed
out, and he went to sleep.
In a few days' time Bethea begged her grandmother to let
her go again to the hospital, and she persuaded the gardener
to give her a beautiful bunch of pansies to take to the
As she entered the room, she saw that the little purple
pansy was standing in a tumbler of water, on a chair by the
Its head hung over on one side, but it looked quite fresh
Hasn't it lasted well ? said the boy, happily. He looked
much better and spoke in a loud, cheerful voice. "It's been
talking to me about all sorts of things! the country, and
gardens, and springtime, and being out and about in the
fresh air and sunshine! "
Well, I certainly have tried to make myself as pleasant
as possible," said the pansy, but it spoke so low that nobody
heard it except the boy whose ears were sharpened by illness.
I've brought you some more," said Bethea, holding out
her bouquet, shall I put them in the tumbler with the
little one ? "
Oh, no cried the boy anxiously, I think if you don't
mind I'd rather you gave those to some of the other children.
I can't like any fine new flowers as well as that little fellow.
I feel as if he had made me well again "
The pansy expanded with pride, and a tear of gratitude
rolled out of its eye, and fell with a splash on the cane
I'm going to have it dried in my old pocket book, when
it's really withered," continued the boy, and then I shall be
able to look at it always."
When little Bethea next visited the hospital, the boy with
the crooked leg was just leaving; but his leg was not crooked
any longer; his face was bright and healthy, and safely
buttoned up in his coat he carried a shabby old pocket
book, in which lay a withered flower, with one word written
underneath in large pencilled letters-" Heartsease."
m *tory of tfena.
HE house stands on a hill on the outskirts of Siena,
not far from the high red walls that still enclose
the town, as entirely as they did in the times long
passed by, when Siena was the powerful rival of Florence.
Old frescoes, and the stone coats-of-arms of the dead and
gone rulers of the place, decorate the great gates; which
seem only waiting for a troop of knights and soldiers to pass
through, and with a blast of their bugles awake the ancient
inhabitants of the crooked streets, and fill them once more
with the picturesque crowds of the middle ages.
SWe can imagine that the old owners are but lying asleep
in their many storied gothic palaces, their vaulted courtyards,
and shady loggias; ready to rub their eyes and come out as
they hear the well-known sounds ringing across the wide
But the knights never come, and the old people go on
sleeping; and the new people walk about the streets, and
haggle at the market, and drive their country carts with the
great patient white oxen, and crowd on Sunday up the broad
28 Rl torp of iteria.
Cathedral steps to kneel in the dim light before the lighted
altar, as generations have done before them.
All round the town stretches the open country. Low
sandy hills dotted with olive and cyprus trees, melting into
a blue sweep of mountains; and about a mile from one of
the gates stands the rambling white house with closed
shutters in which Maddalena, the housekeeper, lived alone
with her two grand-children.
She was a kind old woman and fond of the twins, who had
been left orphans when they were mere babies, but she often
thought that surely no grandmother had ever been plagued
before, as she was plagued by Tuttu and Tutti.
When they were infants it was easy enough," she would
declare to a sympathizing neighbour. Give them a fig or
something to play with, and they were perfectly happy; but
at times now I am tempted to wish they had no legs, what
with accidents and mischief.-Not that they're not fine
children, and may be a comfort to my old age, but it's a
harassing thing, waiting."
It was certainly a fact that Tuttu and Tutti were constantly
in mischief; and yet their curly black heads, red cheeks, and
great brown eyes, were so attractive, that people-even those
whose property had been seriously injured by them-treated
them leniently, and let them off with a scolding.
The twins were always repentant after one of their misfor-
tunes, and made serious promises of amendment; but at the
next temptation they forgot all their good resolutions, and
9 4tory of itela. 29
never remembered them until they were in disgrace again.
Grandmother Maddalena devised numerous punishments
for the children, such as tacking a cow's head cut out of red
stuff, on their backs, when they had teazed Aunt Eucilda's
cow-or tieing them up by one leg, with a long cord to
the table, for stone-throwing; but Tuttu and Tutti were
They wept loudly, embraced their grandmother, made all
kinds of promises-and the next day went off to do just
the same things all over again.
There was only one person who had any influence over
them, Father Giacomo, the priest of the little Church of
Sancta Maria del Fiore, close by. He had known them from
the time they were helpless babies in swaddling clothes,
till they grew to be mischievous creatures in homespun
trousers; and in every stage of character and clothing he had
borne with them, taught them, played with them, and loved
them, until the Padre had become their idea of all that was
wise and good, and they would do more for the sake of
pleasing him than for anyone in the world, not even excepting
Every Sunday afternoon Father Giacomo called to take
them for a walk, the one only sure way of keeping them out
of mischief; and sometimes to their great delight they would
go along the olive-bordered road to Siena, returning in the
evening to the Padre's house, in time to have a good game
with the two cats Neri and Bianca, who had lived there
30 R1 Atorp of &iena.
since their infancy, as important members of the household.
On their eighth birthday, Tuttu and Tutti assured their
grandmother that they really intended to reform. They
promised faithfully to give up tree climbing, fishing in the
pond, and many other favourite sports, and commenced to
dig in the piece of kitchen garden under their grand-
mother's direction. In fact so zealous did Tuttu become
that he borrowed a knife from one of the farm labourers who
was vine pruning, and cut the whole of the branches off a
vine near the house, ending with a terrible gash in his own
thumb, which necessitated his being carried in an ox-cart to
the hospital in Siena, supported in his grandmother's arms;
while Tutti walked behind weeping bitterly, under the
impression that the doctor would certainly kill Tuttu this
time for his carelessness.
Tuttu was not killed, however. The cut was sewn up,
while the ox-cart with its good-natured driver waited outside,
and the depressed party returned home, grandmother
Maddalena clasping her little earthen pot full of hot wood
ashes, which even in the excitement of the accident she had
not forgotten to take with her, for it was a cold day in early
Tutti was allowed to ride home in the cart, and sat
holding Tuttu's hand, his eyes round with solemnity, the
traces of tears still on his cheeks.
*A scaldino, carried about by all the Siennese women, and used in the house instead
of a fire.
R2 &torp of Siena. 31
That night he went to sleep with his arm thrown round
Tuttu's neck, his curly head resting against his shoulder-
and though Tuttu was cramped and uncomfortable, and his
thumb pained him, he remained heroically still until he
also dropped asleep, and the two little brothers dreamed
peacefully of pleasant things until the morning.
"Well, thank Heaven those children are safe for the
present," said Maddalena, as she sat on a stone bench in
the sun, with the dark clipped cyprus hedge behind her.
To the right rose the stuccoed Palazzo, with its great
stone coat-of-arms hanging over the entrance, and inside,
a peep of the shady courtyard, with green tubs of orange
trees, and the twinkle of a fountain that shot up high into
the sunshine, and fell with a splash into a marble basin.
Maddalena, in her broad Tuscan hat with its old-fashioned
black velvet-for she would never give in to the rnbdern
innovations of flowers and ostrich feathers-held her distaff
in her hand, and as she twisted the spindle and drew out
the thread evenly, she thought with satisfaction of the
improved behaviour of the twins.
Ever since the accident they had been different creatures,
and she wondered how long it would be before they could
be apprenticed to some useful trade, and begin to bring in
a little money.
32 a 5torv of biena.
"When I can get hold of the Padre alone I'll ask him
about it; but he really does spoil these boys till I don't
know which tyrannizes over him most-the two cats or the
two children "
Maddalena's reflections were suddenly interrupted at this
point by the appearance of her grandchildren from the back
of the yew hedge by which she was sitting-Tuttu on all
fours, neighing like a horse, with Tutti on his back, blowing
a clay whistle.
"We're only doing 'cavalry,' grandmother," gasped
Tuttu, with a scarlet face, attempting to prance in a
Cavalry cried Maddalena, starting up. Those
children will be the death of me. Cavalry indeed Look
at your trousers, you disgrace. All the knees yellow sand,
and the elbows in holes and she seized her distaff and
waved it at them threateningly.
To avoid his grandmother's arm, Tuttu hastily scrambled
under the stone seat, but his unfortunate rider thrown off
his balance, fell head first against the earthen scaldino, which
was broken, and its ashes scattered on the path in all
When Tuttu, lying flat with only his head visible, saw this
terrible misfortune; he crawled out from his hiding-place,
and taking Tutti's hand helped him to get up, and stood
courageously in front of his grandmother.
It was all my fault, grandmother. Don't scold him I
R &tori of 4itua.
made him do it, and I'm so sorry," he said, with a quiver in
his voice, but Maddalena was too angry to listen to him.
She had thrown her distaff on the ground, and was picking
up the pieces of the yellow scaldino to see if it could possibly
be fitted together again.
Go in both of you to bed," she called out without looking
up, "and don't let me see either of you again to-day Just
when I had a moment's peace too, thinking you were at the
Padre's. It really is too much."
Tutti burst into loud sobs of terror and remorse, but Tuttu
took him by the hand and, without speaking, led him away
to the house.
Why don't you cry, too, Tuttu ? asked Tutti, stopping
his tears to look in astonishment at his brother.
I'm too old," said Tuttu. Grandmother's quite right,
we do behave badly to her." And that was the beginning
of a new era for Tuttu.
The next day as soon as he was awake, he began to think
seriously over any possible way by which he could earn
enough money to buy a new scaldino. He dressed hurriedly
and ran off to talk it over with Father Giacomo, and the
result of the conference was a long but kind lecture of good
advice, and permission to weed in the Padre's garden for
the sum of one halfpenny for a large basketful.
Tuttu danced about with delight. Why, I shall earn the
money in no time at that rate," he cried, and I'll buy the
best scaldino in Siena! "
34 1 Atorp of Airna.
He felt that he must commence work immediately, and in
the evening he staggered into Father Giacomo's, with a
scarlet face, carrying a great hamper of green stuff.
When he had a little recovered himself, he unfolded to his
old friend another plan he had thought of during the day,
which he was quite sure would please his grandmother.
I've got a broken fiasco that the gardener's given me," he
said, "and I and Tutti mean to put a bean each into it every
day we are really good. Then, at the end of the month-a
whole month, mind!-we might take it up to grandmother."
Father Giacomo highly approved of this idea, and encour-
aged the children by every means in his power; so that,
for more than three weeks, the beans went in regularly
and the halfpence in Tuttu's store, which he kept like a
magpie hidden away in a crack of the woodwork, increased
Old Maddalena had long ago forgiven the children, for
though she was often angry with them, she loved them really.
She guessed that Tuttu was determined to replace the
scaldino, as on several occasions he had not been able to
resist a veiled hint on the subject; but she pretended perfect
ignorance, and the two little boys might whisper and laugh
to their heart's content-it was quite certain she never heard
One soft evening in May, Tuttu came into the Palazzo
garden in a state of great excitement. His last basket of
weeds had been handed in to Father Giacomo, and the
a tory of 4iena. 35
entire sum for the scaldino lay in small copper pieces in a
crumpled scarlet pocket handkerchief.
It's all here," whispered Tuttu, one great smile stretching
across his good-tempered little face. Every penny of it !-
Shall it be brown or yellow ? It must have a pattern. We'll
go into Siena to-morrow and buy it."
To Siena!" said Tutti in an awe-struck whisper, "We've
never been there by ourselves."
Never mind, we're older now," replied Tuttu. "Don't
you say anything about it, it's to be a surprise from beginning
Tutti agreed, as he always did with his brother. Of course
Tuttu knew best, and it would sure to be all right.
They started early in the morning, having put on their
holiday clothes and brushed themselves; and as Bianca,
who had come over from the Padre's house, insisted on
following them, they tied a string to her red collar and
determined to let her share the pleasure of their visit to the
" great town."
Their grandmother was still sleeping, but they left word
with the gardener's boy that they had gone into Siena
.2 .4tory of Aiena.
This sounded well, Tuttu thought, and would disarm
The walk along the dusty high road was long and tiring,
and they were glad when they arrived safely in the Piazza,
where the market people had already begun to collect, for it
was market day.
Tuttu carried his precious earnings tied up with intricate
knots in the handkerchief, and stowed away in the largest of
his pockets. He walked with conscious pride, knowing that
he was a person of property," and entering the pottery
shop at the corner of the Piazza, began to cunningly tap the
scaldinos, and peer into them; while Tutti stood by, lost
in admiration at his brother's acuteness.
Finally, a brown pot, with yellow stripes and spots, was
chosen and paid for, wrapped in the red handkerchief, and
carried off in triumph towards the Porta Camolla.
"Whatever will grandmother say!" cried Tuttu, almost
shouting for joy, I wish I could run all the way. There'll
be a big bean in the fiasco for each of us to-night, won't
there, Tutti ? "
You've got a little money left, haven't you, Tuttu ?"
enquired Tutti, who was always practical; Couldn't we buy
some cakes. I really feel very hungry."
Certainly not," said Tuttu, firmly, I shall put it inside
the scaldino for grandmother. That'll be the second surprise.
Don't you see, Tutti ? "
But it's only two half-pennies," argued Tutti.
Itorp of sinra. 37
"Oh, she'll be glad enough of that !" said Tuttu, and
tramped on steadily up the street. Come along, Tutti,
we'll go into the Cathedral."
Tutti remonstrated no more, he knew it was useless; and
the two little boys, ascending a steep flight of steps, entered
the Cathedral at a side door, and knelt down in the dim light
in one of the chapels.
Tuttu repeated a prayer he had been taught, and
then continued rapidly, "Thank you, too, very much,
for making me and Tutti good; and please let us go on
putting beans into the fiasco till it can't hold any more-
and then we'll find something else ." He paused to
meditate. Make grandmother pleased with us, and bless
Here Tuttu could think of nothing else, and nudged Tutti.
"You go on, Tutti."
I think Tuttu's said everything," commenced Tutti in
a whisper. But please keep us out of the pond, and make
us grow so that we can be artillery; and take us home safe,
for the road's rather long, and we've never been there alone,
and there's oxen about."
You shouldn't say that, Tutti," said Tuttu, reprovingly.
Oxen won't hurt you, and you shouldn't be a coward."
"Well, shall I pray not to be a coward ? enquired Tutti.
If you think it's necessary," said Tuttu. But you can
save that for another time-we ought to be going now"-
so Tutti got up, and the children pushed their way through
38 R f-torv of ientia.
the heavy curtain by the door, and found themselves once
more in the bright sunshine.
Certainly Bianca had been no trouble to them. In the
Cathedral she behaved in the most serious manner, sitting by
their side, and never moving until they pulled the string to
which she was fastened; when she got up solemnly, and
followed them on to the Piazza.
"I'm glad I prayed for you, Bianca, good cat !" said Tuttu.
"You would never have allowed anyone to touch that scaldino,
would you? "
Bianca mewed. She was rather bewildered by her walk
through the town, but as long as her two friends were
satisfied, that was enough for her.
As they came out upon the more crowded thoroughfare,
the twins with their white cat attracted some attention, and
many laughing remarks were shouted to them as they edged
their way along the narrow paved street, where the absence
of any pathway made it necessary to keep their eyes very
wide open indeed, to avoid being run over by the carts and
Tutti walked in charge of Bianca, while Tuttu devoted
all his attention to the scaldino in its red handkerchief,
and a large green cotton umbrella he had brought from
home in case the day should turn out to be rainy.
This umbrella seemed to be endowed with life, so extra-
ordinary was its power of wriggling itself under the legs of
the passers by. It had to be constantly wrenched out, with
'A &torv of ttira.
many apologies, by its owner; while the person who had been
nearly tripped up by it, went on his-or her-way grumbling.
No one did more than grumble, however, for the look of
horror on Tuttu's face was irresistible.
"THE TWINS WITH THEIR WHITE CAT ATTRACTED SOME ATTENTION."
Go on, Tutti; do hurry he cried, urgently. "I'm
getting so hot with this horrible umbrella. It seems to
catch hold of people whichever way I carry it "
40 I ttorv of ienia.
I am going," replied Tutti laconically. But remember,
I've got the cat."
As he spoke a boy darted out from one of the grim old
houses close by, and picking up a loose stone threw it at
Bianca, grazing her head, and leaving a great red stain that
commenced to trickle slowly down her spotless white body.
Tuttu, his eyes blazing with wrath, placed the scaldino by
the side of the kerbstone, and darted at the boy, waving his
umbrella; while Tutti threw his arms round Bianca's neck
and tried to hush her mews of terror by a shower of tears
How dare you ?" shouted Tuttu, beside himself with
anger. Go away, and leave our poor Bianca! You've
killed her, I expect; and I wish I could kill you!" But
even in the midst of his ungovernable rage, Tutti's voice
Oh, Tuttu, Tuttu the scaldino! "
Tuttu darted across the street towards the stone where
he had left the precious red bundle. There it was, lying un-
hurt, and he was about to seize it and carry it to a place of
safety, when a fast-trotting horse with one of the light
country gigs behind him, dashed down the street.
Get out of the way Get out of the way shouted the
driver-but it was too late !
The gig flew on, and Tuttu lay white and quiet, the
scaldino still grasped in his two little outstretched hands.
R 4tort of biena. 41
Where's the scaldino, grandmother? were Tuttu's first
words, when he woke up to find himself lying on a little bed
in a long room, with Maddalena and Father Giacomo bending
over him. "We saved up It's all for you..." he
muttered brokenly, Have you got it ? "
"Yes, my lamb. A beautiful one it is," said the old
woman, the tears streaming down her wrinkled face. You
lie still and get better, my Tuttu."
I will, grandmother, but I want you to see the surprise
inside. It's from weeding. Father Giacomo will tell you.
I'm so tired, grandmother .. How's Bianca ? "
"Very well, Tuttu, she has only a slight scratch Oh,
my poor boy and Father Giacomo's voice broke.
"Is it near evening? said Tuttu, after a few minutes,
during which he lay moving his head restlessly.
"It soon will be," said the Padre. "Why do you ask,
Tuttu ? "
"The fiasco. Do you think I may put a bean in
to-night, or was I too angry ? "
"You may, Tuttu," said Father Giacomo, turning away
his head. If you tell me where it is, I will send for it."
"By the melon bed. Tutti knows. He'll bring it,"
whispered Tuttu. It's nearly full-only four days more.
Put one in for Tutti."
As the setting sun streamed into the long room, Tutti
9 Etori, of Aitna.
crept in, holding Father Giacomo's hand; carrying the broken
Tuttu awoke from a restless sleep as they entered, and
smiled with a faint reflection of his old happy laugh. That's
right, Tutti. You have been good, haven't you ? "
"Yes," quavered Tutti, lifting his terrified, tear-stained
face to his brother.
Put your bean in then, Tutti, and give me mine. It's
getting so late, it's almost night-time."
Tutti held out the bean with a trembling hand, and as it
dropped into the old bottle, little Tuttu gave a quiet sigh.
It only wants four more," he said happily.
Only four more! But Tuttu might never put them in.
That night he started on a long, long journey, and as the old
grandmother with choking sobs placed the broken bottle on
a shelf among her treasures, she turned to Tutti who was
lying, worn out with grief, upon the doorstep.
Come, my Tutti," she said, there are only us two now.
We must try and be very good to each other."
Years afterwards, Tutti, coming home on leave-for he
had clung to his childish idea of being a soldier-found the
broken fiasco in the corner where his grandmother had hidden
it; and taking out the beans that had been lying there so
long, he carried them to a little grave with a small white
cross at the head of it.
S ttorv of Aitna. 43
"Dear Tuttu! He would like to have these growing
round him," he thought, and planted them carefully amongst
the flowers and grasses.
Grandmother Maddalena was too old to move out of the
house now, but Father Giacomo watered the beans lovingly,
and in the soft spring air they grew rapidly, so that they soon
formed a beautiful tangle, hiding the cross and even the
name that still stood there clearly in black letters
Oft *tontr= JatVrr.
TVEN was the son of a.fisherman, and lived with
his father on a flat sandy coast far away in the
Great rocks strewed the shore about their hut, and the
child had often been told how, long, long ago, the giant Thor
fought single-handed against a shipload of wild men who
attempted to land in the little bay; and drove them off-
killing some, and changing others into the wonderful stones
that remained there to that day.
The country people called them "Thor's balls;" and
Atven often wandered about amongst them, trying to find
likenesses to the old warriors in their weather-worn surfaces;
and peering into every hole and cranny-half dreading, half
hoping to see a stone hand stretched out to him from the
misty shadows of the past.
Here and there, a row of smaller boulders lay half sunk in
the sand, with only their rounded tops, covered with long
brown seaweed, appearing above the surface.
These, Atven decided, must be the heads of the ancient
Norsemen, and further on stood their huge mis-shapen
EI)t toneilfailen. 45
bodies, twisted into every imaginable form, and covered by
myriads of shell-fish, that clung to their grey sides like suits
of shining armour.
Atven was often lonely; for he had no brothers or sisters,
and his mother had died many years before. He was a shy,
wild boy-more at home with the sea birds that flew about
the lonely shore, than with the children he met sometimes
as he wandered about the country; but in spite of his shy-
ness he had friends who loved him everywhere he went.
The house dogs on every farm knew his step, and ran
out to greet him; the horses rubbed their noses softly
upon his homespun tunic; the birds clustered on his
shoulders; the cats came purring up, and the oxen lowed and
shook their bells as soon as they caught sight of him. The
very hens cackled loudly for joy-and Atven would caress
them all with his brown hand, and had a kind word for every
one of them.
All the short Northern summer, Atven spent his evenings
in searching about amongst Thor's balls" for traces of the
warriors of the old legend; and one night, in the soft clear-
ness of the twilight, he came upon something that rewarded
him for all his patient perseverance.
Lifting a mass of seaweed that had completely covered
one of the larger rocks, he saw before him the graceful form
of a little Stone-maiden !
There she lay, as though quietly sleeping, her long dress
falling in straight folds to her feet, her rippled hair spreading
about her. One small hand grasped a chain upon her neck,
the other was embedded in the rock on which she was lying.
Atven was so astonished that he stared at the child-figure
as if turned into a statue himself.
Then he realized that his long search had been rewarded,
and he fell on his knees and prayed that the Stone-maiden
might be released from her prison, and given to him to be
a little playfellow.
As soon as it was daylight the next morning, he started
off to ask the advice of his one friend, the old Priest of
The day was fine, with a crisp northern air, and a bright
sun that danced on the long stretches of sandy grass, and
on the swaying boughs of the fir trees.
Atven's heart beat hopefully as he neared the neat wooden
house in which the old Priest lived.
Father Johannes welcomed him kindly, as he always did;
and listened attentively whilst Atven told his story.
It must have consideration, my child," he said. "I
will come down to the shore to-morrow-perhaps I may
be able to think of something."
Atven took up his cap humbly, and started on his home-
As he threaded his way beneath the shadows of the pine-
trees, the sun's fingers darted through the branches and drew
a golden pattern on the mossy ground under, his feet; the
mosquitoes hummed drowsily, the air was full of soft
summer warmth and brightness-but Atven's thoughts were
far away with the ancient legend and the Stone-maiden.
How had she come to be amongst the shipload of wild-
men in the misty ages when Thor yet walked the earth ?
Had she a father and mother who loved her, and perhaps
brothers and sisters-and how long had she been sleeping
so quietly in the arms of the great rock ?
It was a strange cradle, with only the sea to sing her
lullaby, and wash her lovingly, like a tender mother !
Atven hurried on; and as he peered before him with
sun-dazzled eyes, he thought he saw a figure flitting in and
out between the brown tree stems.
It was a small, light figure, with a strange kind of loose
dress, and long floating hair of a beautiful gold colour. It
glided along so rapidly that Atven had some difficulty in
keeping pace with it.
Every now and again it seemed to be beckoning to him
with one little hand; and at last as he ran faster and faster,
it suddenly turned its head, and he saw the face of a
beautiful young woman. Her brown eyes were soft and
clear, and her cheeks tinted with a colour so delicate, it
reminded Atven of the little pink shells he sometimes found
after a storm upon the sea-shore.
"ATven! Atven!" she murmured, "You have found my
child. Give her life! Give her life! "
"Tell me what I am to do !" cried Atven, and stretched
out his hands towards the beautiful young woman; but at
48 Et)e Dtonts-fMaictn.
that moment she reached the shore, and gliding between
the boulders, disappeared amongst their dark shadows.
Atven threw himself down beside the rock on which the
Stone-maiden lay sleeping. He grieved for her so much that
tears rolled slowly down his cheeks, and as they touched the
stone, the great boulder shook and crumbled, and a shudder
passed over the figure of the Stone-maiden. She seemed to
Atven to sigh gently, and half open her eyes; but in a
moment they closed again; the rock settled into its place,
and everything was motionless.
To-morrow To-morrow! he said to himself, When
Father Johannes comes, he will help me."
Early next morning the old Priest knocked at the door of
the fisherman's hut. He had started at daybreak, for he
knew that Atven would be anxiously awaiting him.
They went down together to the shore; and when Father
Johannes saw the figure of the sleeping child, he took out
of his bark basket, a little jar of water from the Church Well,
and sprinkled it over her.
The Stone-maiden stirred and opened her eyes. She
raised her hands, breathed gently, and lifting her head, gazed
at the old Priest and the boy with wistful brown eyes, like
those of the figure Atven had met in the forest.
Where is my father? Where am I ? she asked, in a
low soft voice, as she rose up from the rock, and shook out
the folds of her long dress.
Father Johannes took her hand, and gently repeated the
old legend; while the Stone-maiden listened with wide-open
"I remember it all now," she said, as the puzzled look
faded from her face. "We had but just landed when the
thick cloud came down, and a shower of stones fell upon us.
My father was smitten down with all his followers, and I
only was left weeping upon the shore. A cold air seemed
to breathe upon me, and I fell asleep."
She spoke slowly, in the old Norse tongue, but Father
Johannes had studied it, and understood her without much
"Where was your mother ?" he asked kindly, as Atven
with smiles of delight, seized her other hand.
My mother died just before we set sail, and my father
would not leave me lonely," answered the Stone-maiden
But we will all love you now," cried Atven. I will
grow tall and strong to work for you, and you shall never be
unhappy any more "
The Stone-maiden smiled, as she stood on the threshold
of her new life. She looked up trustingly at her two friends,
and the old Priest of Asgard, bending down, laid his hand
upon her head with a gentle blessing.
The Warriors' heads, with their tangled elf-locks, still peer
out of the drifting sand-the twisted bodies in their sea-
50 be)t Atonidttaitn.
armour, lie half surrounded by the green waters; but the
log hut, and Atven have vanished into the misty shadows of
the past. They, and the good old priest, have drifted away
Only the sea talks of them still; and croons them a lullaby,
as soft as the centuries-old song, it sang over the cradle of
the enchanted Stone-maiden.
N the banks of a clear stream in one of the far
away Greek islands, grew a small flowering plant,
with delicate stem and transparent white flower,
called Grass of Parnassus."
Every day it saw its own face, reflected in the running
water, and every day it made the same complaint-
"This place is beautiful, the soft earth wraps me round,
the branches bend over me, but I can never be happy, for
I have never seen a River-God "
The fish swimming close to the shore had talked to the
Grass, of the mysterious race who lived in the shallows of
the river, higher up, where it broadened into a lake ; and
played on their rude pipes as they rested in. the flickering
gloom of the water-weeds and rushes.
"Everyone has seen the River-Gods but me!" said the
white flower. The wind brings me the floating sound of
their piping-I can even hear their laughter, and the echo
of their voices. Yet they do not come, and I may wither, and
never have the happiness I long for "
But one day, the river-side thrilled, with a strange, new
Mre &raq of Varnaqut.
feeling of hope and expectation. The sun shone, a faint
breeze stirred the trees; and down the stream waded a
beautiful youth, carrying his pipes in his hand, blowing a few
notes mournfully, at long intervals. His hair, crowned with
an ivy wreath, hung down, curled and tangled; his hoof-
feet splashed in the shallows of the water, and he cried-
Nadii Nadia Where are you hiding-Why do you
not come to me ? "
The white flower remained, enchanted and motionless, upon
its stem, bending its yellow eye upon the stranger.
"Nadi!i Nadi! the voice wailed, "Do not hide from
me any more !-Come to me "
The bushes rustled and parted; a delicate girl's face looked
out, and a wood nymph in floating garments, slid to the
side of the stream, and dabbled her white feet in the water.
The youth gave a cry of joy; I have found you, Nadia!
I have piped to you, and called to you till I was weary;
but I loved you, and at last I have found you! "
The wood nymph smiled as she sat in the flickering
shadows-and the River-God bending down, gathered the
Grass of Parnassus, and placed it timidly in her shining
The wish of the white flower had been fulfilled; but the
end of its life's longing was-Death.
ebt SWtfvigeboa, coffee vartp,
A STORY OF THURINGIA.
T was winter time, and the Thuringia-Wald lay
still and white under its snowy covering.
The fir trees waved their branches in the frosty
air, and a clear moon had risen over the mountains.
All was quiet and deserted, except that a faint sound of
music and singing floated on the wind, coming undoubtedly
from the comfortable burrow of the Hedgehog family, who
lived under one of the largest pine stumps.
Councillor Igel-for the father was a member of the
Hedgehog Government-had consented to allow the young
people to have one or two friends to coffee, and they had
been dancing with the greatest spirit for the last half hour.
By the porcelain stove stood the Councillor's only brother,
Uncle Columbus, who had devoted himself since childhood.
to learned pursuits, and was much respected by the rest of
He looked down upon all amusements as frivolous, but
54 EL)e jettgel)ogV' Coffee Vart).
then he had been to College, so his superior mind was only
what was to be expected.
The Councillor belonged to an ancient Thuringian race
who had been settled for centuries in the forest near the
little town of Ruhla. They were a proud family, for one
of their uncles had, some years before, been called to take
up the position of Court Hedgehog at the Royal country
Palace, where he moved in the highest society, and occa-
sionally invited his relations to visit him.
But fifty miles is really almost too far to go with nothing
but a cup of coffee at the end," said the Hedgehog-mother,
"and he never invites us to sleep. We don't, therefore, see
so much of him as we otherwise should do."
"That 'must be very trying," replied the Mole-mother, to
whom these confidences were being poured out.
"Yes, for of course it would be an inestimable advantage
to the children to see a little Court life. However, with the
fashions altering so quickly, it would be difficult for me to
arrange their dresses in the last mode-and I couldn't have
them looked down upon."
Of course not," humbly replied the Mole-mother. She
was sitting by the table, with her homespun knitting in her
hand; and though she was trying to pay attention to her
friend's words, she was arranging her dinner for the next day
at the same time, and wondering whether her eldest child
could have one more tuck let out of her frock before Christmas
eb2e 4tebgebos' Coffee 19art,. 55
"It's all very well for the Hedgehog-mother," she thought.
"She comes of a high family, and can live in luxury; but
with all my children, and my poor husband working away
from morning till night, I'm obliged to plan every coffee
bean, or I could never keep the house together! "
The Councillor's wife, however, talked on without noticing
Do you ever find any inconveniences from living so near
the town ? she enquired. Do the boys ever annoy you ?
They are sometimes very ill-bred."
Our house is in such a retired position, I seldom see any-
one," replied the Mole-mother. "The Forester's family are
our nearest neighbours, and really they are so kind they might
almost be Moles themselves."
"That is very pleasant for you," said the Frau Councillor.
"Ozur case is quite different. The Rats who keep the inn at
the cross roads, are most disagreeable people. We can't
associate with them."
"Gypsies !" cried Uncle Columbus at this moment. He
had an unpleasant habit when he did not like the conversation,
of suddenly reminding the family of a tragedy that had
happened some sixty years ago, when a promising young
Hedgehog had been carried off to captivity by a band of
travelling Tinkers, and finally disposed of in a way too terrible
to be alluded to.
The Councillor's wife looked angry, and hastily changed
Vy$j Rlejfbogg' Coffee ~artv.
He is quite a trial to us sometimes !" she whispered to
the Mole-mother. "Such bad taste to mention Gypsies.
It makes me tremble in every quill! "
"I think I must be going now," said the Mole-mother
hurriedly, putting away her knitting into a reticule, and
tying a woollen hood over her head-for she felt that it
would not do for strangers to be mixed up in these family
Calling her children to her, she helped them into their
warm galoshes; and lighting a small lantern, they were soon
out in the snowy forest.
"Oh, mother, I wish we were rich like the Hedgehogs,"
cried the eldest daughter, Emmie; Wilhelm and Fritz
are so fashionable, and on Berta's birthday they are going
to give a grand coffee party, to which the Court Hedgehog
is expected! "
Well, they won't ask us, so you had better not think
too much about it," said the Mole-mother; don't let your
mind run on vanities."
As she spoke they saw the two rats from the Inn coming
towards them. The elder-the proprietor of the Inn-in
a peasant's dress with a pipe in his mouth, dragging a
small sledge on which three infant rats were seated, wrapped
"THE RATS WHO KEEP THE INN ARE MOST DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE."
ltbe feobgb)ogs' Coffee -Vartu. 57
in a fur rug, while their mother walked beside them, her
homespun cloak trailing over the snow.
Good evening, neighbours!" cried the Mole-mother
pleasantly, for though she did not exactly approve of the
Rat household, she always treated them with civility.
" Where are you out so late ? How well the children are
"Yes, they grow rapidly--bless their little tails and
whiskers!" said the Rat-mother proudly. "We have just
been to my brother's in the town, taking a cup of coffee
with him, and there we heard some news. I can tell you!
There's to be a grand Coffee Party at the Hedgehogs, and
though all the guests have been invited, we alone are left
out. Most insulting I call it! "
Well, it is rude," allowed the Mole-mother, "but they've
not asked us either. You see the Court Hedgehog is to be
there, and so it is very select."
Select I'll make them select growled the proprietor
of the Inn with a scowl. "Who are they I should like to
know ? They may have Gypsies upon them at any moment! "
Oh, I hope not cried the Mole-mother.
There's a Tinker's boy in the town," said the Innkeeper,
darkly, and he's always looking out for Hedgehogs-I
shouldn't be surprised if he heard where the family live."
"Good-night!" said the Mole-mother, nervously, and
hurried on with her children.
Some mischief will be done if we don't watch," she said
58 ije fet~fgdt)jo coffee aartv.
to Emmie, who was a mole of unusual intelligence. I'll
tell your brother to keep his eye on the Rat Inn."
After about half an hour's walking, they arrived at home;
for their house was in a secluded position in the most un-
frequented part of the forest.
Though very simple, it was clean and well kept, and
furnished with a large cooking stove, a four-post bedstead,
and a few wooden benches.
In the one arm-chair sat the Mole-father, reading the
newspaper ; while his sister, Aunt Betta, with a cap with
long streaming ribbons on her head, was busily stirring
something in a saucepan.
As the Mole-mother and her family, descended the stone
stairway that led from the upper air, a delicious smell of
cooking greeted them. Two large tallow candles were burn-
ing brightly, and altogether the house presented a very lively
Here you are at last," cried the Mole-father. Supper is
just ready, and I have sent Karl to the Inn for some
I wonder if he will hear anything," said the Mole-mother
taking off her galoshes; and then she related all the news of
If there isn't some mischief brewing, may I be made into
waistcoats! exclaimed the Mole-father, throwing down his
It was his favourite expression when much excited, and
l)be %etbiegoga' Coffee 3art. 59
never failed to give the Mole-mother a shiver all down her
back. She called it such very strong language.
At this moment Karl came clattering down the steps.
"Oh, father! mother! I have heard something!" he
shouted. "The Rat-father has started off to the Tinker's to
tell the boy where the Hedgehogs are living! "
The Mole-mother sank down on a bench gasping.
"He's done it then! Oh, the poor Hedgehogs!" she
cried wringing her hands, They'll be cooked in clay before
they can turn round."
Don't be in such a hurry, wife," said the Mole-father.
I've thought of something. We won't terrify the Hedge-
hogs-What can they do ?-but we'll collect all the Moles of
the neighbourhood, and make a burrow all round the house;
then if the Tinker's son comes, he'll fall in, and can't get
any further. What do you think of that, eh ? "
"An excellent idea!" said the Mole-mother, recovering.
Send Karl round to-night, and begin the first thing to-
As soon as daylight dawned in the forest, the Mole-
father, accompanied by his wife and children, and all their
friends; went out in a long procession, with their shovels and
wheelbarrows, and commenced work round the Hedgehogs'
The Councillor's family were so busily occupied in turning
out, and arranging, their rooms for the festivity-which was'to
include a dance in the evening-that they had no time to take
9be Rotgeb boo' Coffee Partp.
any notice of the Moles' digging; in fact they never even
observed it. The younger Hedgehogs were roasting coffee.
The house-mother sugared the cakes in the back-kitchen,
while the Councillor, with a large holland apron, rubbed
down the floor, and gave a final dust to the furniture.
As to Uncle Columbus-he sat on a sort of island of chairs
in one corner, studying a book, and looking on misanthropic-
ally at the preparations.
The Moles, therefore, were quite uninterrupted, and
burrowed away vigorously, until the earth all round the
house was mined to a depth of several feet; and they returned
home to dinner in high spirits.
If that boy dares to venture, may I be made into waist-
coats, if he doesn't fall in cried the Mole-father, wiping
his face with a red cotton pocket-handkerchief-for though
the snow was on the ground the work was exhausting.
The Tinker's family sat round a fire, in one of the tumble-
down wooden cottages that dotted the outskirts of the little
town of Ruhla.
A small stove scarcely warmed the one room, for great
cracks appeared in the walls in every direction.
We've got no dinner to-day; are you going after those
Hedgehogs? said the Tinker to his son Otto. Now you
Cbe tbatgeb)ogs' Coffee iartv. 61
know where they are, it will be an easy thing to get hold
"Yes; we'll have a fine supper to-night," said Otto,
stamping his feet to get them warm. "Come with me,
Johann, and we'll take the old sack over our shoulders to
bring them back in."
They started off over the crisp snow sparkling in the
early sunshine, away to the forest; and straight towards the
great pine tree, which sheltered the underground home of
Come, Johann cried Otto, bounding along over the
slippery pathway; but Johann was small and fat, and his
little legs could not keep pace with Otto's long ones. He
soon fell behind, and Otto raced on by himself.
Do be careful, Otto There's lots of Moles here," cried
little Johann, but Otto did not stop to listen. On he ran
almost up to the pine tree; when Johann saw him suddenly
jump into the air, and disappear through the snow with a
At the sound of the fall, the Councillor ran up the steps to
his front door, and put out his head cautiously to see what
was the matter.
"Gypsies!" said Uncle Columbus without raising his eyes
62 Le )tt cbgetogg' Coffee Jartp.
from his book ; and for the first time in his life he was right
Gypsies it certainly was, as the Councillor soon deter-
mined; and he hastily scratched some snow over the door,
and retired to the back kitchen with his whole family, in a
terrible state of fright and excitement.
"What can the boy have fallen into ? he enquired vainly
of the Hedgehog-mother, and of Uncle Columbus, in turn.
" There are. no houses there that I know of. We have been
saved by almost a miracle "
As they remained shuddering in a little frightened knot-
only Uncle Columbus maintaining his philosophical calm-
the air filled with the odour of burnt sugar; a faint knocking
was heard against the side of the stove pipe, and in another
minute the Mole-father's red nightcap appeared through a
hole, and his kind face shortly followed.
"Don't be frightened," he said reassuringly. "I have
made a little tunnel and come through-merely to
explain things. I thought perhaps you might be a little
"Alarmed!" cried the Hedgehog-mother. "It doesn't
describe it! Terrified, and distracted, is nearer to the real
thing. The sugar biscuits are all spoilt, for I forgot them
in the oven; and my daughter Berta fainted on the top of
the stove, and is so seriously singed, she will be unable to
appear at the party. Not that we shall be able to have a
party now," continued the Hedgehog-mother, weeping, for
Uncle Columbus sat down on the plum cake in mistake for a
EIibe R ggbogz' Coffee iartY.
foot-stool, and Fritz has trodden on the punch bottles. Oh,
what a series of misfortunes !"
"Cheer up, my good neighbour, all will come right in
time," said the Mole-father encouragingly.
"As long as the Court Hedgehog doesn't appear in the
middle," wailed the Councillor. It makes me shudder in
every quill to think of it. Not even a front door to receive
him at! "
Oh, as to that, let him come to us, and we will give
him the best we have," replied the Mole-father. Our place
is homely, but I daresay he will condescend to put up with it
till your house is in order again. I sent Karl on'to intercept
him, and explain just how it is. He will take him straight
to our house till you are ready for him."
Well, I must say you have been exceedingly thoughtful,"
said the Councillor, pompously, and I feel sincerely grate-
ful to you; but now, will you kindly explain to me the cause
of this severe disturbance?"
I think I'll come into the room first, if you'll allow me,"
said the Mole-father. I am getting rather a crick in the
neck from sticking my head through here."
Come in by all means," said the Hedgehog-mother,
graciously. "I am sorry to be obliged to receive you in this
Gypsies growled Uncle Columbus, who was brushing
the currants and crumbs off his coat with a duster.
The Mole-father had by this time worked himself into the
Ebl)e Be Ijagot Coffee j3Drtp.
kitchen, dragging his spade after him; and seated on a bench
by the stove, he related the whole story to the Councillor,
but carefully omitted to give the name of the person who
had betrayed the Hedgehogs to the Tinker's family; and not-
withstanding the requests of the whole family, he firmly
refused to do so.
"All's well that ends well," he said cheerfully, "and as I
heard the Tinker forbidding his sons ever to come near the
place again, you will be quite safe in the future."
"What has happened to that dreadful boy? Is he still
in the hole, or have they got him out ? enquired the
Got him out some time ago," said the Mole-father,
" and carried him off to the hospital. Broke his leg, I am
sorry to say, though it's nothing very bad. He will be all
right in six weeks or so. I don't think much of those human
Serves him right," said the Councillor viciously. And
now, my good preserver, in what way can we show our
gratitude to you ? I shall send Fritz and Wilhelm into the
town for more provisions, and we might have our Coffee
Party after all. What do you say to that, my children ? "
The family clapped their hands joyfully.
"I trust you and your family will grace the party?"
said the Hedgehog-mother to the old Mole.
On one condition," he replied, I shall be delighted to
do so; and that is that you will allow me to ask the Rats
Ufbe ttbggeb)og' Coffee I0artp. 65
from the Inn. They are touchy people, and do not readily
forgive an injury."
What I said all along," muttered Uncle Columbus,
lifting his eyes from his dusting. I said 'away with pride,'
but I wasn't listened to."
You will be now," said the Councillor in a soothing and
dignified manner. "Certainly; send an invitation to the
Inn if you wish it. Just write, 'To meet the Court Hedge-
hog,' at the top, Wilhelm; it will make it more gratifying."
The Court Hedgehog, with an escort of six guards, had
meanwhile arrived at the Mole's house, and was being enter-
tained by the Mole-mother and her children, who were all
in a state of great nervousness.
The Court Hedgehog, however, appeared to be more
condescending than could have been expected from his
position. He accepted some refreshment, and a pipe of
the Mole-father's tobacco, and then reclining in the one
easy chair, he awaited the course of events with calmness.
Here the Councillor found him some hours later, when the
confusion in the Hedgehog household having been smoothed
over-a deputation of the father and sons started to bring
the distinguished guest home in triumph.
The rooms in the Councillor's house had all been gaily
Ebe ?rbbob Coffte j3artp.
decorated with pine branches; the stove sent out a pleasant
glow; and the Hedgehog-mother, in her best cap and a stiff
black silk dress, stood waiting to welcome her guests in the
By her side sat Berta, who had fortunately recovered
sufficiently to be present at the entertainment; though still
suffering from the effects of the shock, and with her
S head tied up in a silk handkerchief.
As the Court Hedgehog appeared in the door-
way, three of the younger children, concealed
in a bower of branches, commenced
to sing an ode composed
by Uncle Colum-
Sbus for the
91p Iebre1jaogV' Coffer Bartp.
" Welcome to our honoured guest," -while a fiddler hired
for the occasion accompanied it upon the violin, behind a
The first visitors to arrive were the Moles; followed by
the Rat family, who were filled with remorse when they
received the invitation, at the thought of their treacherous
"I declare, mother," said the Inn-keeper to his wife in a
whisper, "the Mole-father is such a good creature, I shall
be ashamed to quarrel with any of his friends for the future.
'Live and let live,' ought to be our motto."
Uncle Columbus did not appear till late in the evening,
when he entered the room dressed in an antiquated blue
coat with brass buttons, finished off by a high stand-up
He staggered in, carrying a large plum cake about twice
the size of the one he had unfortunately sat down upon;
which he placed upon the coffee table, where the Hedgehog-
mother was presiding over a large collection of various cups,
mugs, and saucers.
"I have only just come back from town, where I went
to procure a cake fit for this happy occasion," he whispered.
" It does my heart good to see this neighbourly gathering,
and I have made up my mind to promise you something in
memory of the event. I will from this day, give up for ever a
habit which I know has been objectionable to you-the word
'Gypsies' shall never again be mentioned in the family."
A STORY OF A RUSSIAN VILLAGE.
N the one hill of the district, just outside the village
of Viletna, stood the great house belonging to
All round it lay, what had once in the days gone by, been
elaborate gardens, but were now a mere tangle of brushwood,
waving grass, and wild flowers.
Beyond this, again, were fields of rye and hemp, bounded
on one side by the shining waters of the great Seloe Lake,
dug by hundreds of slaves in the time of Madame Olsheffsky's
great-grandfather; and on the other by the dim greenness
of a pine forest, which stretched away into the distance for
mile after mile, until it seemed to melt into the misty line
of the horizon.
Between the lake and the gardens of the great house, lay
Viletna, with its rough log houses, sand y street, and great
Church, crowned with a cupola like a gaily-painted melon;
where Elena, Boris, and Daria, the three children of Madame
tnlder 'VoIobia. 69
Olsheffsky, drove every Sunday with their mother in the
old-fashioned, tumble-down carriage. -
All the week the children looked forward to this expedition,
for with the exception of an occasional visit to Volodia
Ivanovitch's shop in the village, it was the only break in
the quiet monotony of their lives.
They were allowed to go to Volodia's, whenever they had
money enough to buy anything; and often spent the after-
noon there listening to his long tales, and examining the
contents of the shop, which seemed to supply all that any
reasonable person could wish for-from a ball of twine to
a wedding dress.
Volodia himself, had been a servant at the great house
many years before, when the place was kept up as a country
gentleman's should be"-he was fond of explaining to the
children-" but when the poor dear master was taken off to
Siberia-he was as good as a saint, and no one knew what
they found out against him-then the Government took all
his money, and your mother had to manage as well as she
could with the little property left her by your grandfather.
She ought to have owned all the country round, but your
great-grandfather was an extravagant man, Boris Andreie-
vitch and he sold everything he could lay hands on "
Elena and Boris always listened respectfully. They had
the greatest opinion of "Uncle Volodia's" wisdom, and they
could just remember the time of grief and excitement when
their father left them; but it had all happened so long ago
that though their mother often spoke of him, and their old
nurse Var-Vara was never tired of relating anecdotes of his
childhood, they had gradually begun to think of him, not as
a living person, but as one of the heroes of the old romances
that still lingered on the shelves of the dilapidated library.
It was a happy life the children led in the great white house.
It made no difference to them that the furniture was old and
scanty, that the rooms were bare, and the plaster falling away
in many places from the walls and ceilings.
Their mother was there, and all their old friends, and
they wished for nothing further.
Was there not Toulu, the horse, in his stall in the ruined
stable; Tulipan, the Pomeranian dog, Adam, the old butler,
and Alexis, the man of all work," who rowed their boat on
the lake, tidied the garden-as well as the weeds and his own
natural laziness would allow him-and was regarded by Boris
as the type of all manly perfection !
What could children want more ? Especially as Volodia
was always ready at a moment's notice to tell them a story,
carve them a peasant or a dog from a chip of pine-wood,
dance a jig, or entertain them in a hundred other ways dear
to the heart of Russian children.
On one of the clear dry days of an early Russian autumn,
when a brilliant glow of colour and sunshine floods the air,
and the birch trees turned to golden glories shake their
fluttering leaves like brilliant butterflies, Elena, Boris, and
Daria, stood on one of the wide balconies of the great house,
with their mother beside them, sorting seeds and tying them
up in packets for the spring-time.
Some large hydrangeas, and orange trees, in green tubs,
made a background to the little scene.
The eager children with clumsy fingers, bent on being
useful; the pale, thin mother leaning back in her garden
chair smiling at their absorbed faces.
"Children, I have something I must tell you," commenced
Madame Olsheffsky, seriously, when the last seeds had been
put away and labelled. "It is something that will make
you sad, but you must try and bear it well for my sake, and
for your poor father's-who I hope will return to us one day.
I think you are old enough to know something about our
affairs, Elena, for you are nearly thirteen. Even my little
Boris is almost eleven. Don't look so frightened, darling,"
continued Madame Olsheffsky, taking little Daria in her
arms, it is nothing very dreadful. I am obliged to enter
into a lawsuit-a troublesome, difficult lawsuit. One of our
distant cousins has just found some papers which he thinks
will prove that he ought to have had this estate instead of
your grandfather, and he is going to try and take it from us.
I have sent a great box of our title deeds to the lawyer in
Viletna, and he is to go through them immediately-but who
knows how it may turn out ? Oh, children! you must help
me bravely, if more ill-fortune is to fall upon us "
Elena rushed towards her mother, and threw her arms
round her neck. We will! We will! Don't trouble about
it, dear little mother," she cried. "What does it matter if
we are all together. I will work and dig in the garden, and
Boris can be taught to groom Toulu, and be useful-he really
can be very sensible if he likes. Then Var-Vara will cook,
and Adam and Daria can do the dusting. Oh, we shall
manage beautifully! "
Madame Olsheffsky smiled through some tears.
"You are a dear child, Elena! I won't complain any
more while I have all my children to help me. But run now
Boris, and tell Alexis to get the boat ready. I must go to
the other side of the lake, to see that poor child who broke
his arm the other day."
Boris ran off to the stables with alacrity. He found it
difficult to realize all that his mother had just told them.
"Of course it was very dreadful," he thought, but very
likely it wouldn't come true. Then, as Elena said, nothing
mattered much if they were all together; and perhaps, if they
were obliged to move into the village, they might live near
Volodia's shop; and the wicked cousin might let them come
and play sometimes in the garden."
nI le VFoloaia.
"Alexis! Alexis!" he shouted into the hay loft, and a brown
face with a shock of black hair, appeared at one of the
What is it, Boris Andreievitch ? "
Mamma wants the boat immediately," replied Boris.
"She is going over to see Marsha's sick child."
Alexis took a handful of sunflower seeds out of his pocket,
and began to eat them meditatively, throwing the husks
"The mistress won't go another day?" he enquired
Boris shook his head.
The lake's overflowing, and the dam is none too strong
over there by Viletna," continued Alexis; it would be
better for her to wait a little."
"She says she must go to-day," said Boris, but I will
tell her what you say."
Madame Olsheffsky, however, refused to put off her visit;
and Elena, Boris, and Daria, looking out from the balcony,
saw the boat with the two figures in it start off from the
little landing-place, and grow smaller and smaller, until it
faded away into a dim speck in the distance.
Late that afternoon the three children were playing with
Tulipan in the garden, when they heard Volodia's well-
known voice shouting to them-
Elena Boris Andreievitch !"
They fancied he seemed to be in a great hurry, and as
they flew towards him, they noticed that he had no hat, and
there was a look of terror on his face that froze Elena's heart
with the certainty of some unknown but terrible misfortune.
The lake! the lake! he panted; where is the mistress ?"
Gone to see Marsha's sick child," said Elena, clinging
to little Daria with one hand, and gazing at Volodia with
eyes full of terror.
"Ah, then it is true. It was her I saw! The poor
mistress Ae Aiee! Don't move, children! Don't stir.
Here is your only safety," cried Volodia in piercing tones.
"The river has flooded into the lake, and the dam
may go any moment. The village will be overwhelmed.
Nothing can save it! The water rises rises and any
minute it may burst through! The Saints have mercy!
All our things will be lost; but it is the will of God-we
cannot fight against it." And Volodia crossed himself
devoutly with Russian fatalism.
"But mamma! what will happen to her?" cried Elena
passionately. Can nothing be done ? "
To go towards the lake now would be certain death,"
n cIe Folobia.
replied Volodia brokenly. "No, Elena Andreievna; we
must trust in God. He alone can save her if she is on the
water now! Pray Heaven she may not have started !"
As he spoke, a long procession of terrified peasants came
winding up the road towards the great house. All the in-
habitants of the village had fled from their threatened homes,
and were taking refuge on the only hill in the neighbourhood.
Weeping, gesticulating and talking; the men, women, and
children, rushed on in the greatest state of confusion.
Some carried a few possessions they had snatched up
hastily as they left their houses, some helped the old bed-
ridden people to hobble along on their sticks and crutches;
others led the smaller children, or carried the gaily-painted
chests containing the holiday clothes of the family; while
the boys dragged along the rough unkempt horses, and the
few cows and oxen they had been able to drive in from the
fields close by.
All, as they came within speaking distance of Elena and
Boris, began to describe their misfortunes; and such a babel
of sound rose on the air that it was impossible to separate
one word from another.
Where shall they go to, Matoushka?"* enquired Volodia
anxiously, as the strange procession spread itself out amongst
the low-growing birch trees.
Elena shook herself, as if awakening from a horrible
"Oh, it is dreadful! dreadful! But you are welcome, poor
people!" she cried. "Put the horses into the stables-Adam
will show you where-and the dogs too ; and come into the
house all of you, if you can get in. The cows must go to
the yard. Oh, Var-Vara! she added, as she turned to her
old nurse, who had just come out, attracted by the noise.
Have you heard ? Oh, poor mamma Do you think she
will be safe ? and Elena rushed into the house, and up the
stair of a wooden tower, from which she could see for miles
round, a wide vista of field, lake, and forest.
No boat was in sight, and the lake looked comparatively
peaceful; but just across the middle stretched an ominous
streak of muddy, rushing water, that beat against the high
grass-grown dam, separating the lake from the village, and
threatened every moment to roll over it.
Elena held her breath, and listened. There was a dull
roaring sound like distant thunder.
The streak of brown water surged higher and higher; and
suddenly-in one instant, as it seemed to the terrified child-
a vast volume of water shot over the dam, seeming to carry
it away bodily with its violence; and with a crash like an
earthquake, the pent-up lake burst out in one huge wave, that
rolled towards the village of Viletna, tearing up everything it
passed upon its way.
Elena turned, and, almost falling downstairs in her terror,
ran headlong towards the group of peasants who had gathered
on the grass before the wooden verandah, and in despairing
Inrl t 'loTia.
silence were watching the destruction of their fields and
Beside them stood the old Priest, his long white hair
shining in the sunshine.
My children, let us pray to the good God for any living
things that are in danger he said.
The peasants fell upon their knees.
Save them! Save them they cried, imploringly, and
save our cattle and houses!"
The blue sky stretched overhead, all round the garden the
birch trees shed their quivering glory; the very flowers that
the three children had picked for their mother, in the morn-
ing, lay on a table fresh and unfaded; yet it seemed to Elena
that years must have passed by since she stood there, care-
less and happy.
"Oh, Boris, come with me! she cried, passionately, "I
can't bear it "
Boris, with the tears falling slowly from his eyes, followed
his sister up to the tower, and there they remained till
evening, straining their eyes over the wide stretch of desolate-
It was some months afterwards. The flood was over,
and the people of Viletna had begun to rebuild their log
78 ndcle 'ToIobia.
houses, and collect what could be found of their scattered
A portion of the great dyke had remained standing, so
that the lake did not completely empty itself; and the
peasants were able, with some help from the Government,
to rebuild it.
Everyone had suffered ; but the heaviest blow had fallen
upon the great house, for Madame Olsheffsky never returned
to it. Her boat had been upset and carried away, with the
sudden force of the current, and though Alexis managed to
save himself by clinging to an uprooted pine tree, Madame
Olsheffsky had been torn from him, and sucked under by
the rush of the furious water.
Elena's face had grown pale and thin during these sad
weeks, and she and Boris looked older; for they had begun
to face the responsibilities of life, with no kind mother to
stand between them and the hard reality.
To add to their misfortunes, the wooden box containing
the title-deeds of their estate, and all their other valuable
papers; had been swept away with the rest of Lawyer
Drovnine's property, and there seemed no chance that it
would ever be recovered again.
In the interval, as no defence was forthcoming, the lawsuit
had been decided in favour of the Olsheffsky's cousin; and
the children were now expecting every day to receive the
notice that would turn them out of their old home, and leave
them without a place in the world that really belonged to them.
The few relations they had, made no sign to show
they knew of their existence; but they were not with-
out friends, and one of the first and truest of these was
Don't trouble about this law-suit, Elena Andreievna," he
said, on one of his frequent visits to the great house. If
the wickedness of the world is so great, that they rob you
of what rightfully belongs to you; take no notice of it-it
is the will of God. You will come down with Boris
Andreievitch, and Daria Andreievna, to my house, where
there is plenty of room for everyone; and my wife will be
proud and honoured. Then Var-Vara can live with her
brother close by-a good honest man, who is well able to
provide for her; and Adam will hire a little place, and retire
with his savings. Alexis shall find a home for Toulu-You
know Alexis works for his father on the farm now, and is
really getting quite active. You see, Matoushka, every one
is nicely provided for, and no one will suffer! "
But how can we all live with you, when we have no
money ? said Elena. "Good, kind Volodia! It would
not be fair for us to be a burden to you! "
How can you talk of burdens, Elena Andreievna It's
quite wrong of you, and really almost makes me angry!
Your grandfather gave me all the money with which I started
in life, and it's no more than paying back a little of it.
Besides, think of the honour! Think what a proud thing it
will be for us. All the village will be envious !"
80 Incle 'Voloia.
Elena smiled sadly. I suppose we shall have a little
money left, shan't we, Volodia ?"
Of course, Matoushka. Plenty for everything you'll
And so, after much argument and discussion, with many
tears and sad regrets, the three children said good-bye to the
great house; and drove with Toulu down the hill for the last
time, to Volodia's large new wooden house, which had been
re-built in a far handsomer style than the log hut he had lived
Fortunately the winter that year was late in coming, so
that the peasants of Viletna were able to build some sort of
shelter for themselves before it set in with real severity.
Volodia's house, which stood in the centre of the village,
had been finished long before any of his neighbours'.
That's what comes of being a rich man," they said to
each other, not grumbling, but stating a fact. "He can
employ what men he likes; it is a fine thing to have money."
Volodia's shop had always been popular, but with the
arrival of the three children it became ten times more so.
Everyone wished to show sympathy for their misfortunes;
and all those who were sufficiently well off, brought a little
present, and left it with Volodia's wife, with many mysterious
nods and explanations.
Don't tell them anything about it, but just cook it. It's
a chicken we reared ourselves-one of those saved from the
Volodia would have liked to give the things back again,
but his wife declared this would be such an affront to the
donors that she really couldn't undertake to do it.
It's not for ourselves, Volodia Ivanovitch, but for those
poor innocent children; I can't refuse what's kindly meant.
Many's the rouble Anna Olsheffsky (of blessed memory) has
given to the people here, and why shouldn't they be allowed
to do their part?"
Meanwhile, Elena and Boris, were getting slowly used to
their changed life. It still seemed more like a dream than a
reality; but they began to feel at home in the wooden house,
and Elena had even commenced to learn some needlework
from Var-Vara, and to help Maria in as many ways as that
active old woman would allow of.
"Don't you touch it, Elena Andreievna," she would say,
anxiously, it's not fit you should work like us. Leave it to
Adam, and Var-Vara, and me. We're used to it, and it's
And so Elena had to give herself up to being waited upon
as tenderly by the old servants, as she had been during their
time of happiness at the great house.
Boris had no time for brooding, for he was working hard
at his lessons with the village Priest; and as to little Daria,
she had quickly adapted herself to the new surroundings.
82 t81nclI Volobia.
She played with Tulipan, made snow castles in Volodia's
side yard, and whenever she had the chance, enjoyed a sledge
drive with Alexis, in the forest.
If only mamma were here, I should be quite happy," she
said to Elena. "It does seem so dreadful, Elena, to think
of that horrible flood. You don't think it will come again,
do you? "
Elena's eyes filled with tears, as she answered reassuringly.
"You'll see mamma some day, Daria, if you're a very
good girl; and meantime, you know, she would like you to
learn your lessons, and be as obedient as possible to Var-
Well, I do try, Elena, but she is so tiresome sometimes.
She won't let me play with the village children! They're
very nice, but she says they're peasants. I'm sure I try to
remember what you teach me, though the things are so
difficult. I'm not so very lazy, Elena "
Elena stooped her darkbrown head over the little golden one.
"You're a darling, Daria! I know you do your best,
when you don't forget all about it! "
Volodia Ivanovitch had devoted his two best rooms to the
children. He had at first wished to give up the whole of his
house to them, with the exception of one bedroom; but Elena
had developed a certain strength of character and resolution
during their troubles, and absolutely refused to listen to this
idea; so that finally the old man was obliged to give way,
and turn his attention to arranging the rooms, in a style
of what he considered, surpassing elegance and comfort.
They were plain and simple, with fresh boarded walls and
The furniture had all been brought from the great house,
chosen by Volodia with very little idea of its suitability, but
because of something in the colour or form that struck him
as being particularly handsome.
A large gilt console table, with marble top, and looking
glass, took up nearly one side of Elena's bedroom; and a
glass chandelier hung from the centre of the ceiling-where
it was always interfering with the heads of the unwary. The
bed had faded blue satin hangings; and a large Turkish rug
and two ricketty gilt chairs, completed an effect which Uncle
Volodia and his wife considered to be truly magnificent.
Boris slept in the room adjoining.
This was turned into a sitting-room in the daytime, and
furnished in the same luxurious manner. Chairs with enor-
mous coats-of-arms, a vast Dresden china vase with a gilt
cover to it; and in the corner a gold picture of a Saint with
a little lamp before it, always kept burning night and day by
the careful Var-Vara-Var-Vara in her bright red, gold-
bordered gown, and the strange tiara on her head, decorated
with its long ribbons.
If ever they wanted the help of the Saints, it's now,"
she would say, as she filled the glass bowl with oil, and hung
it up by its chains again. The wickedness of men has been
too much for them. Ale! Ale! It's the Lord's will."
84 iLnde Yolobia.
Volodia Ivanovitch's house stood close to the village
street, so that as Elena looked from her windows she could
see the long stretch of white road-the snow piled up in
great walls on either side-the two rows of straggling, half-
finished log huts, ending with the ruined Church, and the
In the distance, the flat surface of the frozen lake, the dark
green of the pine forest, and the wide stretches of level
country; broken here and there by the tops of the scattered
Up the street the sledges ran evenly, the horses jangling
the bells on their great arched collars, the drivers in their
leather fur-lined coats, cracking their whips and shouting.
Now and then a woman, in a thick pelisse, a bright-coloured
handkerchief on her head, would come by; dragging a load
of wood or carrying a child in her arms.
The air was still cold, with a sparkling clearness; the
sky as blue and brilliant as midsummer.
Elena felt cheered by the exhilarating brightness. She
was young, and gradually she rose from the state of indiffer-
ence into which she had fallen, and began to take her old
interest in all that was going on about her.
I want to ask you something, Uncle Volodia," she said
one day, as they sat round the samivar,* for she had begged
niclde 'iVolobia. 85
that they might have at least one meal together, in the
Maria was rather constrained on these occasions, seeming
oppressed with the feeling that she must sit exactly in the
centre of her chair. She spread a large clean handkerchief
out over her knees, to catch any crumbs that might be
wandering, and fixed her eyes on the children with re-
Volodia, on the contrary, always came in smiling genially,
in his old homespun blouse and high boots; and was ready
for a game with Daria, or a romp with Boris, the moment
the tea things had been carried away by his wife.
What is it, Elena Andreievna ?" he asked. Nothing
very serious, I hope ? "
"Not very, Uncle Volodia. It's only that I want to
learn something-I want to feel I can do something when
our money has gone, for I know it won't last very long."
Why trouble your head about business, Elena Andreievna ?
You know your things sold for a great deal, and it is all put
away in the wooden honey-box, in the clothes chest. It will
last till you're an old woman "
But I would like to feel I was earning some money,
Uncle Volodia. I think I might learn to make paper flowers.
Don't you think so, dear Uncle Volodia? You know I
began while mamma was with us; the lady in Mourum taught
me. I wish very much to go on with it."
Uncle Volodia pondered. It might be an amusement for
86 MnlCC 7o010bia.
the poor girl, and no one need know of the crazy notion of
If you like, Matoushka. Do just as you like," he said.
So it was decided that Elena should be driven over to
Mourum on the next market day.
Volodia had undertaken, in the intervals of shop-keeping,
to teach little Daria how to count; with the elaborate arrange-
ment of small coloured balls, on a wire frame like a gridiron,
with which he added up his own sums-instead of pencil
They sat down side by side with the utmost gravity. Old
Volodia with the frame in one hand, Daria on a low stool,
her curly golden head bent forward over the balls, as she
moved them up and down, with a pucker on her forehead.
Two and one's five, and three's seven, and four's twelve,
and six's -- "
Oh, Daria Andreievna! You're not thinking about what
you're doing! "
Oh, really I am, Uncle Volodia; but those tiresome little
yellow balls keep getting in the way."
And then the lesson began all over again, until Daria sprang
up with a laugh, and shaking out her black frock, declared
she had a pain in her neck, and must run about a little!
What a child it is cried Volodia admiringly. If she
lives to be a hundred, she'll never learn the multiplication
UincIt 'olobia. 87
A post-sledge was gliding rapidly over the frozen road
towards Viletna; and as it neared the village, a thin worn
man, with white hair, who was sitting in it alone, leant
forward and touched the driver.
I want to go to the great house. You remember? "
Oh, you're going to see Mikhail ? He hasn't come to the
great house yet, though. It's all being done up."
No, I'm going to Madame Olsheffsky's! "
Anna Olsheffsky Haven't you heard she was drowned
in the flood ? Washed away. Just before the children lost
their property to that thief of a cousin "
The driver went on adding the details, not noticing that
the gentleman had fallen back, and lay gasping as if for air.
You knew Anna Olsheffsky, perhaps ? he said at last,
turning towards the traveller. Then seeing his face, Holy
Saints What is the matter? He'll die surely, and no help
to be had "
She was my wife," said the gentleman hoarsely. You
don't remember me ? I am Andr6 Olsheffsky."
"To think that I shouldn't have known you, Barin!" cried
the driver in great excitement, dropping the reins. Not
that it's much to be wondered at, and you looking a young
man when you left! Welcome home! Welcome home!"
"Where are the children ? said Andr6 Olsheffsky,
brokenly. Perhaps they're dead, too ? "