The Baldwin Library
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FAIRY. TALES AND TRUE
MORRISON AND GIBB, PRINTERS, EDINBURGB.
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"And the west wind carried her up quickly, but oh, so smoothly."
-FAIRY TALES AND TRUE, page 19.
ALICE F. JACKSON,
AUTHOR OF THE CHORISTERS OF RAVENSWOOD,
4ATTIE'S MISTAKE,' THREE LITTLE SOCIALISTS, ETC. ETC.
W. P. NIMMO, HAY, & MITCHELL.
rHE LADYBIRD'S ADVENTURE, 7
CHARLIE'S ARBOUR, 21
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER, 41
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S DREAM, 61
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS PARTY, 79
A SPOILT PET, 93
A BOY'S VISIT, 109
THE FLOWER ANGEL, 123
THE LADYBIRD'S ADVENTURE.
T was a sweet, bushy old garden, where they
grew, all zig-zag and anyhow, crowded up
together; but, bless you they liked it, and
grew all the better for it, faster and sweeter
than those in the Duke's garden which was just over
the way, coddled, and petted, and spoilt, till some got
cranky, and said they'd rather die, and others became
sulky and disagreeable, just like spoiled girls and boys.
There were no diamond-shaped beds here, nor mossy
lawns. Oh no! nothing of the kind; only a sweet,
bushy old garden, with lilac and laburnum, and a big,
broad-faced bed, only you could not see anything of its
face, it was so overgrown with flowers.
'Dear, dear, what a sultry day !' said a.purple Pansy.
'I feel quite faint.'
'I hope we shan't have a thunderstorm,' said the
Mignonette; 'I'm so afraid of storms.'
'You need not fear to-day, then,' said a beautiful red
Rose ; 'we shall have no storm to-day.'
8 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'You always say such comforting things, dear Rose,'
answered the Mignonette; 'no wonder everybody loves
The Rose bent her head and smiled graciously.
She was used to having flattering things said to her.
What do you know about the rain ?' asked the white
Lily scornfully. She was very proud, and held her
head up towards the sky, and seldom bent to look at
the flowers growing at her feet.
'Experience, my dear Lily, experience,' replied the
Rose in a rather aggravating way. 'Lily must be kept
down,' she thought to herself; 'she forgets her place,
she forgets my position, and what people call me.'
Pouf retorted the Lily, arching her lovely white
neck; 'for the matter of that, I know the storm will
blow away, and something more-we shall have a visit
from one of the Winds before long. Perhaps Mrs.
Experience can inform that conceited Pansy and
cowardly Mignonette which of the four brothers is
coming this way.'
I'm not conceited,' retorted the Pansy; 'and I do
'I know I am a coward,' said the Mignonette
humbly. 'I'm only a simple little flower. I am not
beautiful like Rose, or fair like Lily, but I will not
grumble-I am quite content. Does not our mistress
often call me her little darling ? and other people, too,
are very kind; they often stop to say caressingly,
'You're a good little thing, Mignonette,' said the
Rose patronizingly ; 'you deserve to be happy.'
'Oh, come now!' said the Lily impatiently; 'all
that talk is put on to hide Miss Rose's ignorance.
THE LADYBIRD'S ADVENTURE.
Pray, Mrs. Experience, answer my question. Which of
the Winds will visit us this evening ?'
'I am not quite so ignorant as I appear to look,'
answered the Rose, looking about her consciously.
'You never look anything but beautiful, dear Rose,'
whispered the Mignonette.
'The queen of flowers !' cried the Pansy and Pink in
'Three cheers for our queen !' cried the Foxglove,
bowing low. He was always very polite.
'Fickle,' muttered Lily under her breath. He had
been paying great attention to her during the past week.
Hip, hip, hurrah!' yelled Jacob's Ladder. He
had not heard Lily's angry whisper.
Thank you, my champions all,' said the Rose, with
a dignified and graceful bend,-she has a habit of
talking rather high sometimes,-and her petals glowed a
trifle rosier at the Foxglove's ardent glance. I expect
a visit from West Wind this evening,' she added care-
lessly, speaking to her friends at large, and slightly
turning her back upon the Lily, but speaking loud
enough for her to hear.
'What sharp thorns she carries down her back!' said
the Lily spitefully. Thank goodness, I'm made with-
out thorns !'
'He is on his way to the next county, so will give us
only a flying visit,' continued Rose, as if the Lily had
not spoken; 'but it will be very pleasant after this
He may coax along a gentle shower. It would be
very refreshing,' murmured the Mignonette.
'I hope he will. He must, he must, or I know I
shall faint,' said the Pansy languidly.
1o FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'Rain, rain, go to Spain, never let me see your face
again !' cried the Lily vindictively.
'Nay, Lily,' pleaded Mignonette; 'we are such
humble flowers, Pansy and I'-
Speak for yourself,' interrupted Pansy; I'm sure I
Our roots'are not low down nor strong like yours-
we often get thirsty. Of course, your roots are lower
in the earth, or you'd never be strong enough to grow
into such a beautiful creature.'
The Lily looked rather gratified at that. She was
generally an amiable creature, though always vain and
somewhat frivolous; but yesterday had ruffled her
spirits considerably, and she had not got over it yet.
'Yesterday made Lily cross,' blurted out the Holly-
hock. He was a great admirer of hers till she called
him vulgar to his face, and naturally he did not like
that. 'Yesterday our mistress brought company to
Company /' ejaculated Lily; 'what low language !'
and she curled up a white petal to hide her scorn.
The Hollyhock reddened a little, but went on,-
'And amongst them was a lovely lady from a fashion-
able town, and she praised Rose and never noticed
Lily; and when our mistress, knowing Miss Lily's
vanity, called her friend's attention to her, she said,
"Very fine, but not to be compared to my favourite
Rose." That's what has vexed our Lily, and made her
You need not bring up old scores, Hollyhock,' said
Mignonette; 'it is not kind. I do believe East Wind
has been amongst us without our knowing it. He
always makes us disagreeable. I know he ruffles me.'
THE LADYBIRD'S ADVENTURE. ix
'You are an ignoramus, Mignonette, to talk of East
Wind on a day like this. Oh dear it makes me faint.'
'It's all her kind heart,' said the Hollyhock; 'she's
our little peacemaker. I wish you'd haste about your
fainting, Pansy; we should have a little quiet then.'
He was not such a ladies' man as Foxglove.
'Please, please, don't let us quarrel any more,'
pleaded Mignonette. 'Please let us change the con-
'By all means,' gaily said the ever-ready Foxglove.
'I wonder which of us will be called upon to grace the
church for to-morrow's festival;' and he shot a meaning
glance at the white Lily, which did not escape her
Us, did you say, Foxglove ?' laughed Jacob's Ladder.
'My dear fellow, that honour always falls to the ladies'
share;' and he twisted his long neck in all directions as
he bowed to.his beautiful friends.
'I should like nothing better than to be called to
grace the church, to be admired by a thousand eyes.
Ah !' sighed the Lily longingly.
'The company were talking about the festival yester-
day,' said the Hollyhock.
'The visitors, you mean,' corrected Lily, a shade
passing over her fair face.
'It's all the same,' muttered Hollyhock.
'They ought to invite me-all white as I am-so fit
to grace the church; we Lilies are always in such
request for festivals, weddings, and such like.'
Oh, Lily dear, you would be taken but to die !' said
the Mignonette. 'Think, think of our sweet life here.'
We must all die, child,' replied the Lily; 'it is our
lot. For my part, I'd welcome death a few days sooner
12 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
for all the excitement, and admiration, and glory, and
change. Festivals are so'-
'Talking about festivals,' said a hoarse, deep voice
down in the earth, there's the Christmas festival'-
'Oh, shut up, do! Who wants to hear about
Christmas ?' said the Columbine; 'we're all asleep then.'
'And I'm awake and flourishing, making the desolate
earth fair with my blossoms,' answered the hoarse voice
again. It was the Christmas Rose. 'I was asleep just
now, when you woke me up with your chattering.'
'Then go to sleep again, do,' said the Columbine.
'At Christmas I am valued,' croaked the voice;
'every one runs after me. I grace churches, and tables,
and fair ladies' dresses.'
'Oh, do go to sleep,' said the Columbine.
'Columbine, don't be disagreeable,' pleaded the
Disagreeable !' piped the Columbine shrilly. Ah,
there was a time when I was much admired.'
'A very long time ago, I'm afraid,' said the Lily;
'you're so old-fashioned.'
Old-fashioned!' she screamed; that's just it-old-
fashioned, old-fashioned, old-fashioned .' and each time
her voice grew shriller, till the last word ended in a piercing
scream. 'No wonder I'm so dull-faced. Eh, eh, eh?'
The Lily curled one petal in her ear.
'It's enough to awake the dead,' croaked the
Christmas Rose. 'Snowdrop, are you awake? Wake
up and tell them how we're valued when they're all
asleep. Wake up, I say!'
But the Snowdrop was fast asleep; it never heard.
'Deaf as a door-nail,' croaked the Christmas Rose,
and immediately fell asleep herself.
HAT a row!' cried a delicate little voice,
and a Ladybird stretched itself on the grass
border, and hopped amongst them.
What a coarse expression!' said the Lily,
tossing her head; 'especially for a Ladybird.'
'Oh, you flowers, you flowers !' piped the Ladybird,
-she understood the language of flowers,-' what dull
lives you lead, all stuck up here from year's end to
year's end. You never hear anything new. Yesterday'
-and she pretended to yawn, but she was wide awake
-' I was walking in the Duke's garden; I heard the
Duke say it himself-it's the last new thing.'
'Why don't you stop in the Duke's garden?' asked
the Columbine; 'you'll get old-fashioned amongst us.'
'I was born here,' answered the Ladybird, 'and
childhood's recollections-hum-ha-as the Duchess
herself was singing in the garden, "Home, sweet
home."' And she hummed over the tune.
'It's a sweet air,' said the Mignonette.
'I wonder if the Ladybird knows what a very old-
fashioned thing that is. The gardener's boy was
whistling it yesterday. Ha! ha!' laughed the Lily.
The Ladybird got red. She always was red, with
14 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
little black spots, but she got redder. She changed the
'The Duchess was talking about the festival; the
church is to be decorated beautifully. I've half a mind
to go and see it when it's done.'
You!' said the Lily contemptuously.
'Yes, I You, poor creatures, cannot get away;
stuck here all your lives, to "waste your sweetness on
the desert air "-that's a line from the poets; I have
often heard the Duchess quote it.'
How many poets?' asked the Lily.
'I take a journey whenever I feel inclined,' the
Ladybird went on, as if she had not heard.
I do not call this a desert,' said the Mignonette-
'our sweet old home! I'd rather live and die here.
I never wish to grace a church.'
'You'll never be asked to, child, so never fear,
interrupted the Lily rudely.
'Talking of the Duchess,' said the Mignonette
sweetly, last week, when she paid our mistress a visit,
I heard her say, "In all my hundred acres, I have not
such a delicious spot as this!" and she pointed to
where we grow.'
'Hark cried the Hollyhock; 'there's company
'Visitors,' corrected the Lily for the third or fourth
time, 'to invite us to the church. Oh dear oh dear !
and she arched her neck and curled back her petals
The visitors came towards the flower-bed.
Take all you want,' said the mistress of the garden.
And 'snip snap' went a pair of scissors in answer.
THE LADYBIRD'S ADVENTURE. 15
The Mignonette trembled, and stretched one leaf
protectingly over the Purple Pansy.
'Snip snap' went the scissors again, and the Lily lay
panting in the visitor's basket. She had just time to
say triumphantly, 'Ah, ha!' when the visitor carried
'Oh, Lily, Lily!' sobbed the Mignonette.
'Why do you pity her?' asked the Hollyhock gruffly;
'she wanted to go.'
'I should have liked her to die amongst us, peacefully
and at rest.'
It's the last thing she would have liked,' said the
Hollyhock, with a little choke. 'Proud thing i' and he
pretended to cough. He felt he would give everything
to see her fair face again-even to hear her call him
The daylight wore away, and the West Wind came.
He kissed the beautiful flowers, and whispered many
tender things, and they told him all about the Lily.
'And why is my Pansy so sorrowful?' asked the
I am faint, faint,' she answered wearily; so he kissed
her cheek again, and whispered something that made
her eye brighten and look steadily up to heaven.
'Bless you, my children,' he said at parting, and
the blessing came-a gentle shower, sprinkling all
the upturned, eager faces.
'More, more!' cried the Pansy gloatingly; 'more,
How dear Lily would have enjoyed it!' said the
The morning dawned. The sun wiped all their
16 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
faces, and smiled into their eyes, and they smiled back
The Ladybird hopped from her shelter under the
Rose's kindly leaves.
'Did you sleep well ?' asked the Rose.
'Pretty well. My bed was damp; I'm afraid my
throat is sore ;' and she coughed delicately.
'We had a beautiful night-so refreshing,' said the
You-oh yes, I daresay! you're only flowers. I
wish I had slept in the Duke's garden last night.'
'Pray spend the day there,' said the Columbine;
'don't let our old-fashioned society detain you !'
'I think I'll climb the laburnum and look at the
view,' said the Ladybird, so she hopped up step by step.
'The Duke's garden looks very inviting,' she said.
'Pray don't stop here,' said the Columbine.
'Here's the visitor coming again. Which of you
r'ould like to join Miss Lily in the church? asked the
The visitor came down the walk. She carried some-
thing in her hands, not a basket, nor a pair of scissors.
They are books,' said the Ladybird; the Duchess
has them too. Hers are bound in morocco leather,
with a gold cross.'
The visitor came under the laburnum, and the
Ladybird began to cough. She put her hand to her
mouth, for she was generally refined, and, as she did
so, lost her hold, and fell down, down, right on the
visitor's back hair.
She had just sense enough to hold on to the plaits,
and there she clung, gasping and coughing, and well-
THE LADYBIRD'S ADVENTURE. 17
When she recovered her senses, which seemed a
very long time after, she found herself still clinging to
the visitor's plaits.
And beautiful singing was sung all around her.
It was that that waked her up,' she said afterwards.
'It was a beautiful tune, like a hundred Duchesses
singing their very best,' so she thought, only the air
was not 'Sweet Home !'
'This is a new experience,' said the Ladybird to
herself. I must look about me !' She tried to un-
fasten her hands from the plaits, and unfortunately
tickled the lady's head.
Up went the visitor's hand. The Ladybird felt a
tingling sensation, and down she fell, stunned, on cold,
How long she lay there she never knew. A confused
sound of music was in her ears. Hours must have
passed. At last she roused herself, lifted her head and
looked around. It was all quiet and hushed.
And what was that only a few feet away ?
I must have dreamed all this,' she murmured, with
a sigh of relief. I'll wake up presently in the sweet,
Dld, bushy garden.'
But the wider awake she grew, the less she knew
she was dreaming. A few feet away, reclining daintily
on a mossy bed, was her old friend the Lily. She was
gracing the reading-desk, and this was the church, and
the Ladybird had indeed been to the festival, and that
singing was the oratorio, and she, the Ladybird, was left
behind, crawling in the marble aisle, imprisoned in this
solemn, silent place. Oh, when and how should she
be free again ?
She lifted her wings, and with a little cry flew as
Is FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
much as her strength would let her, and alighted in
the Lily's fragrant cup.
Oh, Lily, Lily !' she said,-' oh, Lily, Lily!' It was
all she could say.
'Poor little Ladybird,' said the Lily caressingly.
There was no angry feeling between them now, they
were both so far from home. 'I have been watching
you so long. I thought you were dead, you lay so long
in the marble aisle! How ever did you get to
And the Ladybird told her all her adventure.
'I have been much admired,' said the Lily, when
the Ladybird paused to wipe away a tear; 'hundreds
of eyes have gazed on me; but, oh, Ladybird, what
would I not give to be at home once more, to chatter
gaily, and quarrel, and make it up again! Oh, home,
'How ever shall we get out of this great solemn
building?' sobbed the Ladybird. Oh dear, dear! the
Duchess's largest room was not half so large as this!'
'We must wait patiently,' said the Lily, 'and meet
death with fortitude.' She had heard so many solemn
words and soothing sounds, she had no mind to be
frivolous again. It was a grand and beautiful service,'
she said. 'I heard flowers mentioned, and wind, and
once a voice said, Consider the Lilies "'
But she did not look proud, as she would once have
They never knew how long they remained there; they
spoke in whispers, and often longed for home.
'Let us die together,' said the Ladybird; 'let me
cling to you all the time.'
At last the flowers were cleared out of the church,
THE LADYBIRD'S ADVENTURE.
and the Lily was thrown outside on a heap. The
Ladybird clung tightly to her, and crept closer into
This Lily is not dead yet, I think I'll take it home,'
said a child's voice; 'pretty thing !'
'Hold rme fa:t,' whispered the Ladybird; 'we'll die
'Oh, home, home !' moaned the Lily.
They were jolted along, not very tenderly, and, after
some minutes' walk, the child gave a little scream, and,
dropping the Lily, flew into a lady's arms, crying, 'Oh,
auntie dear and walked away with her, never think-
ing of Lily.
'What a big world it is!' sighed the Lily.
The Ladybird crept out of its shelter. I shall look
around, Lily dear,' she said, and suddenly gave a cry
of joy. 'Lily, Lily, we're near home! This is our
hedge. It only divides us from the sweet old garden.
Cheer up, cheer up! I can get over easily enough,
-I've often been here before,-but I shall not leave
you, Lily. Hark! a friend is coming !'
'It's West Wind !' cried Lily, almost mad with hope.
'West Wind, dear West Wind, oh, stop-stay !'
'What, Lily !' said the West Wind. 'What do you
here, my poor little flower?' and he gently kissed her
'Take me home, West Wind. Oh, lift me up
before I die Come, Ladybird, we shall go together.'
And the West Wind carried her up quickly, but oh, so
smoothly, and laid her down with her poor drooped
petals close to the Mignonette.
Lily, Lily, Lily !' they all shouted together; it's
Lily come home! Welcome home!'
20 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
But the Hollyhock said, 'Welcome, welcome home !'
'I'm so tired,' whispered Lily; 'just come home to
die. Put your arm round me, Mignonette.'
Then the Ladybird flew out.
Tell them our adventures,' said poor Lily; I'm too
tired to speak.' And the Ladybird did.
No one blamed Lily, or thought of her pride. They
did nothing but pet her.
Forgive me before I die. It's so sweet to die peace-
fully at home. I was often cross to you,' she said.
But they all said they had nothing to forgive.
'And I'll never wander far from this sweet old
garden,' said the Ladybird; 'it's the sweetest place in
the world !' and she blinked away two tiny tears.
HARLIE, Charlie, I'm not going to school
to-day! None of us are-it's mother's
Donovan burst into the room with flushed
cheeks and sparkling eyes.
Charlie was lacing his boots, and Nan was putting
her books into the satchel.
'Oh, jolly!' cried Charlie enviously. 'Has she
given you a holiday? I wish it was my mother's birth-
Charlie's mother laughed. She only said, 'Make
haste, Charlie, you'll be late for the 'bus.'
'What are you all going to do ?' asked Nan.
'Oh, the girls are putting their heads together about-
it,' answered Donovan, with a happy laugh; 'it's such a
glorious day, we're thinking of going right away into
'Oh!' exclaimed Nan, shutting her eyes; 'how
delicious everything will smell in the country to-day!'
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'They sent me to ask if-they said there might be a
chance of'- Donovan hesitated, and looked hard at
The colour leaped into Nan's face, and Charlie
tugged so hard at his lace that it snapped in two.
There, it's broken!' he said impatiently.
'Here's another,' said his mother, getting another
out of her work-basket; I always like to keep these
'Bother it!' said Charlie, tearing away the useless
lace. He remembered how hot the schoolroom would
be to-day in the smoky old town, and thought how stale
the same old road would be with the same old faces in
'The girls thought you might give them a holiday
too, and let them come along with us,' said Donovan
'Oh, mother darling!' cried Nan imploringly, and
Charlie swung one arm around her neck and kissed her
'Love in the tub with the bottom out,' laughed
'No, it isn't, no, it isn't!' cried the children
'There's the 'bus!' exclaimed Donovan in a voice
of despair; 'stale, rumbling old thing I'd know
its wheels a mile off.'
'Oh, mother darling, we'll be ever so good !'
'It is hot and smoky to-day,' said Nan's mother; 'a
day in the country wouldn't be amiss.'
She couldn't say any more. Charlie was hugging her
on one side, and Nan was kissing the cheek nearest
CHARLIE'S ARBOUR. 23
The 'bus driver was slackening the horses' speed, and
looking wonderingly up at the windows. Nan and
Charlie were generally so punctual
'Drive on!' cried Charlie, swinging his cap out of
the window; 'we've got a holiday, old chap.'
'Going into the country !' shouted Nan.
The 'bus driver winked, and urged on his horses, and
Charlie made a face at him out of the fulness of his
heart. The man nodded knowingly; he seemed to
understand it perfectly.
Nan pushed the satchel of books into the cupboard.
Mayn't I put on my new print, mother? '
The mother nodded, and Donovan called after her,
for she was already out of the door, Make haste, Nan !'
but that was wasted advice. In five minutes Nan 'uifEt
in again quite fresh and grand, and Donovan cried,
'What a swell! Are you going to rig up, Charlie?'
No, thank you,' returned Charlie; 'I'm not a girl.
Let's be off. Good-bye, mother; you're an old brick !'
'I feel quite flattered,' laughed the mother, and she
watched them down the road a little way. Then she
said to herself, 'Poor things there's no time like child-
hood;' and all the day she went about her household
duties quite cheered to think that Nan and Charlie
were breathing the country air, and far away from the
'We've planned nothing decided yet,' said Donovan,
'but the girls will make it all right. Cook's making egg
Jolly !' said Charlie, smacking his lips ; 'I hope
she'll put plenty butter in.'
'Trust her,' returned Donovan. 'She's the right sort
for a holiday, if she is crossish on school days.'
FAIR Y TALES AND TRUE.
I he girls were hanging out of the window, and the
minute they caught sight of them, they clattered down
the stairs, and threw open the hall door.
'We said No first, and then we said Yes; we
couldn't tell what to think,' cried Daisy, hugging Nan.
How good of your mother !' said Belle.
'What have you planned ? asked Donovan.
'Oh, mother's got an idea,' returned Belle. 'Don't
you remember, a long time ago, we went to see an old
woman who was mother's servant before we were born,
and she had a garden where we had tea in an arbour?'
'Of course !-old Betty Popnell.'
'Well, mother thinks we might go by train as far as
Hi:ll \ o.:d,. and have a picnic under the trees, and eat
'our sand, iches, and go to Betty Popnell's afterwards
'Capital!' cried the boys. Splendid!'
'It's the best thing we can think of. It's all come so
suddenly. We had no idea we were going to have a
holiday,' said Belle.
It couldn't be befter,' cried Nan, shutting her eyes.
'Oh, all the dog-roses will be out, I know !'
And Charlie said, 'Things all on the hop always turn
out the best.'
The train for Hollywood starts in half an hour,' said
Donovan's mother, coming amongst them. 'I'm so
glad you're able to come, dears. Now, Belle, you must
make haste, don't talk any more; the sandwiches are
ready. Don't lose the basket or the serviette, and
there's a bottle of raspberry vinegar to sweeten the
water, but you must beg the water from some farmhouse
at Hollywood; it's too heavy to carry. You can throw
the bottle away.'
CHARLIE'S ARBOUR. 25
Many happy returns,' said Charlie; 'I'm so glad it's
She thanked him, and would not let them speak
another word, but hurried them off for fear they should
lose the train.
Belle dear, remember the others are in your charge;
bring them back safe. You're the eldest, you know.'
'Oh, don't be afraid,' the boys said together, with a
sort of dignity; 'we shan't hurt, and we'll bring home
'Mind you do; but I trust you, Belle.'
Belle nodded, and the five children started,off at a
They just managed to catch the train, and in less
than an hour's time they reached their journey's
'It's like a different world,' Nan said. Can you
fancy that only an hour ago we were surrounded by
houses and shops and smoky chimneys?'
Daisy gave her arm a sympathizing squeeze.
'How happy the people must be who always live
'I vote we go straight to the wood and make a fire;
there's always a heap of sticks lying about,' Donovan
'But we don't want a fire; we are not going to boil a
kettle,' objected Belle.
'No, of course not, only for the lark of the thing.'
'All right!' cried the others, and they started off
eager to make the most of everything.
It was a lovely day, not too hot, and the freshness
and greenness were charming to the town-bred girls and
boys. It was only a simple day's outing; nothing very
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
excitable happened; but the mere scrambling through
the shady wood, gathering sticks, picking flowers, climb-
ing trees, halloaing and shouting, made it a beautiful
holiday. They ate the egg sandwiches on a fallen log,
which they dragged, after a tremendous pushing and
pulling, close to a piled-up fire.
'This is how gipsies live,' said Nan.
'There-we never got water after all,' said Belle,
producing the bottle of raspberry vinegar.
'What a sell!' laughed Charlie.
'And I'm so thirsty,' cried Donovan. 'Ugh! what
a hot fire. I'm getting roasted.' So he picked another
sandwich out of the basket and sat a few yards away.
'You all look just like gipsies,' he laughed presently,
'and almost as dirty.'
'Dirty !' screamed the girls.
'Rather!' retorted Donovan. 'Charlie's face is all
over smuts from the fire, and as red as a lobster; and
you girls' hair is flying all about your faces, and Nan's
ribbon is hanging half-way down her back.'
'There's no one to see us,' cried Daisy gleefully.
'But we've got to get home,' said prudent Belle,
trying to smooth her dishevelled locks.
'Oh, don't talk of home yet! We must not start till
'No, no; don't talk of home,' echoed the others.
'I'm going to explore,' said Donovan; 'shout when
you've finished.' But before he had gone very far, he
was shouting, with his mouth between his hands,
'Water water! Come along.'
'Why, it's a little trickling brook! How jolly!'
cried Charlie, who reached it first.
CHARLIE'S ARBOUR. 27
'And see how clear it is just there where it falls over
that stone !' cried Nan. 'Let's get leaves and make them
hollow to catch some.'
So every one got leaves, and each took a turn at
catching a few drops. 'Isn't it delicious Better than
'We're like Sir Henry Curtis and Captain Good in
King Solomon's Mines, and Allan Quatermain, when
they were nearly dead from thirst after crossing the
desert,' said Charlie.
We have not made ourselves any cleaner,' said Belle,
when they were tired of that amusement.
'And I'm still thirsty,' said Donovan, with a grimace.
'I vote we go on to Betty Popnell !'
'Yes, yes,' assented the others; 'tea will be jolly!
But hasn't it been a delicious time?'
So they put out the fire, and, gathering up their
belongings, left the wood, and trudged merrily towards
'Let's put ourselves straight a little,' said thoughtful
Belle. We must look like savages.'
So the girls blew into each other's faces to blow the
specks away, and Nan had to have her hair tied again
with the refractory ribbon.
I hope Betty Popnell will remember us a little,' said
Belle; 'it is nearly two years since she saw us last, and
everything was done in such a hurry. Mother hadn't
time to write a note or anything; she said we were to
Oh, easy enough !' cried Charlie. We'll say, "If
you please, mum, we're the little Blakes and Turners,
and.will you give us tea? "'
They had scarcely done laughing at this easy way of
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
getting out of it, when the whitewashed cottage, with
its thatched roof, came in sight.
'Belle's funky,' laughed Donovan.
'No, I'm not,' retorted Belle; 'only it is just a little
The gate was standing half-way open, invitingly, and
Belle pushed it farther back, with a little added colour
in her cheek.
'What a dear old garden !' whispered Nan. 'Will
she give us tea outside?'
Belle gave a nervous tap at the door.
That's not enough,' said Charlie, when a quarter of a
minute had elapsed and no one came. I'll show you
how.' He had just lifted his hand, when the door
opened quietly, and a little old woman, with smooth
white hair and a little frilled cap, stood before them.
Charlie retreated precipitately and nudged Belle
forward. Donovan had to cough to hide his laughter
at Charlie's alarmed face.
Well, my dears?' said Betty Popnell, smiling.
'We came to ask if you could give us tea in the
garden,' said Belle, unconsciously adopting Charlie's
fashion. 'You were mother's servant long ago, before
any of us were born.'
Bless your hearts!' said Betty Popnell affectionately,
with a loving glance all round. 'And whose little folk
may you be, my darlings?'
Mrs. Blake's,' said Belle; 'at least we three are,-
those two are our friends. It's mother's birthday, and
we've had a holiday.'
'And you're the image of your mother, bless you!'
cried Betty, a little put out at not recognizing them;
'but it's my old eyes. Come in, my darlings, come in.'
Mother said you would be glad to see us, and give
us tea,' said Belle, emboldened by the warm reception,
' for her sake.'
'Bless her heart!' she said; 'did she? And she's
right. And what a long way you've come,' continued
the loving-hearted old creature, kissing the girls in turn
and affectionately squeezing the boys' hands. Donovan
and Charlie looked ashamed and inclined to laugh, as
boys will, but Belle gave a reproving frown.
'And tell me what you've been doing all the time.
You've been out all day, I know.'
'Do we look so dirty ?' laughed Belle.
'We've been playing at gipsies,' said Charlie
'Bless your little hearts, my darlings! You shall
have tea in Charlie's Arbour." Come along with me.'
'My name is Charlie,' said that individual.
For answer Betty Popnell ran to him and gave him
a sounding kiss, and mumbled lovingly, 'Charlie,
Charlie!' to his consternation and Donovan's unbounded
'She's a dear old thing, any way,' said Charlie,
'Oh, what a lovely arbour!' and 'Oh, look at the
ivy l' and 'Oh, how cosy !' broke from the children's
lips, while the old woman listened well pleased.
Is it called Charlie's Arbour" really ?' asked
Yes, my dear; that's been its name for fifty years
past-" Charlie's Arbour."' She said the last two words
almost in a whisper, and her eyes wandered lovingly to
the real Charlie.
'And may we have tea here?' asked delighted
30 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'To be sure, my darling, with bread and honey, if
that will please you.'
'Delicious !' cried Belle, and 'Rather !' said the
'Bless you, you'll help old Betty to carry out the
cups and plates, I know.'
The children assented willingly, and for the next
five minutes were running backwards and forwards with
their hands full, Belle cautioning them at every turn to
be careful and break nothing. Last of all, the chairs
were fetched, and Betty carried out the teapot.
Belle must make tea, of course,' said every one; so
she took the seat at the head of the table, and Betty
Popnell left them to themselves, after half a dozen
affectionate 'Bless you's.'
HIS beats everything!' said Charlie. 'It's
been three times as nice as the picnic
we planned for a whole fortnight last year.'
'Yes, indeed it is, but unexpected things
always are nicer,' said Belle.
I wish we had such a darling little arbour at home,'
What a rum name to call it!-" Charlie's Arbour,"'
Perhaps somebody called Charlie made it,' suggested
I shouldn't wonder. It's a very old place, isn't it ?
And the ivy looks as if it had been growing a hundred
And how beautiful all those great ferns are growing
round it! Somebody must have taken great trouble
over it years ago.'
'There comes Betty Popnell. I vote we ask her why
she calls it Charlie's Arbour,"' cried Charlie.
'Perhaps she might not like it,' said Nan.
'Not a bit of it. I'm sure she'd like it.-This is
jolly honey, missus,' he said, winking at the old woman,
and helping himself to a large spoonful.
FAIRY TALES AND TR.E.
'Oh, you darling!' said Betty, shaking her
head at him in such a funny way that the children
'Betty, why do you call this "Charlie's Arbour"?'
A shade came into the old woman's eyes as she
"Charlie's Arbour; it's been called that fifty years
Perhaps you'd rather not tell us about it,' said Nan,
patting her hand.
'Ay, but I would,' said Betty Popnell. 'It was
Charlie made it-my Charlie-only four or five year
older than this Charlie he was then. He was my
brother, my dears. Oh, it's a long, long time ago!'
said Betty wistfully, clasping her hands round one of
the posts; 'we was little more than children. He was
sixteen only, was Charlie then. We was a lot of us,
my dears; seven there was, not counting father nor
mother, and me and Charlie was always the best of
friends; and he used to say, When I makes my fortin,
Betty, in foreign parts,"-for he talked o' nothing but
foreign parts,-" I'll buy White Blossom Farm for me
and you to live in, and we'll 'ave a cow, and fowls, and
a pet lamb for your own." There was a pet lamb then
at White Blossom Farm-a pretty woolly creature, with
its tail touching the ground, and I thought, if it was
my own, I'd be as happy as a queen. Dear, dear he
was sixteen or seventeen then, I cannot mind which,
and I was just fifteen. White Blossom Farm was the
prettiest place about. We used to peep at it through
the hedge, did me and Charlie; it had a orchard of
cherries that was always white with bloom in the spring,
and that's why it was so called. There are the
chimbleys, my dears; if you stand up you can see
them now. There's a flower garden in front, and a
cherry orchard and a meadow behind, and seven pretty
rooms in all.'
'What those chimneys through the trees?' asked
Charlie, when they had all stood up to look.
The same, my darling. It was White Blossom Farm
then, and it's White Blossom Farm now.'
Old Betty shaded her eyes with her hands, and
'Go on,' urged the children,-'go on, Betty.'
Where was I? Dear, dear it's fifty year ago,' said
He said he'd buy the farm you wanted so much
when he came home rich,' said Nan, 'and you'd keep
a cow, and fowls, and a pet lamb.'
Ah, to be sure He'd set his heart on foreign parts,
had Charlie. The others got work about. My sisters
went to service, and I was wild to go too; but there
was work at home, and father and mother to mind,
for they was getting old. "But never mind, Betty,"
Charlie'd say; "we'll live together, me and you, some
day at White Blossom Farm;" and then we'd go and
peep through the hedge again, and say what we would
do, and how we'd mind the garden, and feed the fowls,
and sell the eggs, and make butter, when he came back
rich. The vicar told him how he was to get to foreign
parts, and made him sign the pledge, and get confirmed,
to keep him straight in Australy; and me and mother
sewed his shirts and made his socks. Dear, dear and
Charlie, he made this little place for me where you now
sit, my dears, and he said, When I am far away, you'll!
34 FATRY TALES AND TRUE.
sit here, Betty," he said, along with mother, and talk of
me, and how I'll come back rich to buy White Blossom
Farm." He fixed the posts in there, my darlings, and
now and then I'd help him. He brought the ferns,-
they was little uns only then,-and "I'll hope they'll
grow," he said. The ivy, they was only a few little
shoots, my dears, but he planted them, did Charlie, and
tied them again the posts, and feared they'd be long
growing,-" but you must train 'em along here," he said;
"p'r'aps after a few years it'll get along to be shady."
Dear, dear! it's fifty years, my darlings, and the ivy's
old, and covers all the place.'
Old Betty stopped, with a far-away look in her dim
'Didn't he get rich ?' asked Charlie.
'No, my dear, he died. He was full of hope when
he went, and sent us letters regular at first, then we
only got them once a year, perhaps, and then they
stopped altogether. It's more than forty years since we
heard from Charlie.'
'He may not have died,' cried Charlie; 'how do
you know ?'
Oh, he'd have written, would Charlie. He used to
write a deal of White Blossom Farm at first, and "keep
my arbour tidy," he'd say; and mother and me would
sit here with our work. She set a deal of store by
Charlie. She died first, poor mother, and father was
not long following; but they knew that he was dead
afore they went. I'd like to know how Charlie died,
and where, and who was there at the last minute; and
I sometimes think there's somebody in the world who's
got his last messages for me, who's not left Australy yet,
'And you never had White Blossom Farm?' said
'No, my darling; but it was very nice to talk about
when we were young. When I'm alone, I sit here with
my work, and mind how Charlie made this place; and
I watch the chimbleys smoking, and wonder if the folk
at White Blossom Farm are happy. But it's empty
now, my dears; it's been empty this last nine months.'
Betty was silent a minute or two, and then she began
to collect the plates, and carried them back into the
kitchen to wash.
He ought to have written,' said Charlie when they
'He couldn't when he was dead,' said Nan.
'It's rather sad,' said Belle. 'Poor thing! she lives
here all alone. All her brothers and sisters are dead;
she's left the last.'
'Fancy him hammering in those nails, and whistling,
you know, and being happy, and all that-just here
where we sit. It makes one feel quite queer,' said
'I wish he had come back to see his arbour, and
how beautifully the ivy has grown,' said Daisy.
'And bought White Blossom Farm for Betty,' added
As she spoke, the wicket gate clicked, and an old
man with a long white beard, leaning on a stick, came
up the path.
He walked slowly, and looked round wistfully; when
he reached the arbour, he stopped and gazed at it
Good even, little folks,' he said.
'Good evening,' said Belle, rising politely. 'Won't
36 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
you come in and rest in Charlie's Arbour "? Betty
Popnell will be here soon.'
He thanked her, and accepted her invitation, and the
children made room for him on the bench.
It's a pretty place,' he said; 'what did you call it
just now ?'
"Charlie's Arbour,"' answered Belle.
The old man's hands were clasped on his stick.
Nan thought they trembled.
'And what do you here, little folk ?'
'We've been having a picnic,' said Belle, 'and Betty
Popnell has been giving us tea here.'
'And telling us stories about when she was young,'
'What did she talk about?' asked the stranger.
'About White Blossom Farm, and her brother
Charlie; he made this arbour,' said Nan, but he's
'That was the one in Australia, wasn't he ?'
'What! did you know him?' cried Charlie.
'Yes,' said the old man; 'I'm come from Australia
'Then you must be the somebody Betty is expect-
ing,' cried Nan excitedly, 'somebody who took
Charlie's last messages when he was dying?'
'I have a message from Charlie-true!' said the
stranger, with his hands still trembling.
Shall I go and tell Betty?' asked Belle; 'she will
be so unprepared.'
Yes, yes,' cried the old man eagerly; 'go and tell
her a message has come from Charlie.'
'Isn't it queer?' exclaimed Daisy and Nan in a
breath. She was only talking about it.'
CHARLIE'S ARBOUR. 37
'What did she say?' he asked, leaning forward on
'She knew he was dead of course, or he'd have
written, but she never forgot him; he was her favourite
'She used to sit here with her work in his arbour;
he made it,-that's why it's called Charlie's Arbour;"
she says she sits here still, on fine days,' added Nan.
Belle burst into the kitchen.
'Oh, Betty, dear, dear Betty! don't you remember
you said some day some one would turn up, to give
you a message from Charlie? The messenger has
come. He's waiting for you in the arbour.'
Betty turned quite pale. 'Oh, my dear, you must
'No, no, though it does seem like it!' cried Belle in
a great state of excitement. 'He came just when you
left,-an old man leaning on a stick; he told us he had
a message from Charlie. Come and speak to him.'
'I feel afeared, my dear,' said Betty, trembling.
'There's nothing to be afraid of,' said Belle cheer-
fully. 'He looks such a nice old man; he says he knew
'Knew Charlie!' echoed Betty, suffering Belle to
lead her away,-' my Charlie !'
'This is Betty, Charlie's sister,' explained Belle
when they reached the arbour.
The two old people scanned each other narrowly.
'Good even,' said the stranger, baring his white
head, and his lips trembled.
'Sir,' said Betty, dropping a curtsey, 'you bring a
message from Charlie,-my brother he was, fifty years
38 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
More than a message,' said the old man; 'I was
his companion all those fifty years.'
He never wrote for forty year, my Charlie,' said
old Betty, clasping her hands.
'Because he was ashamed,' said the stranger; 'he
grew wild like, and wandered from the old ways of
his mother's home, and knew they could have no
more pride in Charlie. He wished they should
He was never forgot!' cried Betty vehemently.
'But he repented,-say he repented, good stranger,
arid prayed at the last to our Father ?'
'Ay,' said the stranger; 'he remembered the parable
of the Prodigal Son, and says he, says Charlie, "I
will arise and go to my father." Father's dead and
mother too, but who'd have thought that those little
ivy shoots would have covered all this place so nicely,
'Charlie, CharlieI' screamed Betty, and the old
man put his arms round her 'Oh, my darlings! it's
Charlie come home !'
'Come away,' said Belle, beckoning to the others;
'let us run to the end of the garden; they would like
to be alone.' So the children started off, and left the
two old people in Charlie's Arbour.'
'It's not a bit like a picnic,' cried Nan, squeezing
herself; 'it's like a book !'
'Better than a book,' answered Daisy; 'it's all true !'
'It's the rummiest thing I ever knew,' said Donovan.
'But it's so funny to call him Charlie-such an aged
old chap !-if he were John, or even Charles-but
Charlie I' said the other Charlie.
'Do you think I'll ever call you anything but
Charlie ?' cried Nan. 'If you lived to be a hundred
years old, with a white beard down to the ground, I'd
always call you Charlie.'
'Of course,' said Belle, 'he is Charlie to Betty,
because he is her brother. She couldn't call him
Presently they saw the old people coming towards
them. Betty was leaning on her Charlie's arm, and
he was leaning on his stick.
'Oh, my darlings, I feel quite young again!' said
Betty,-'just as if I was a girl. And he says, says
Charlie, he's got enough to buy White Blossom Farm
for me to end my days in, and I'm to have a pet lamb.
To think he remembered that all this while dear, dear !
fancy me with a pet lamb now !' and Betty laughed
'For old times' sake, Betty,' said the Charlie who
had made 'Charlie's Arbour;' to mind the old days,
lass. And White Blossom Farm is empty now, you
say? I'd like to peep at it through the old gap in the
hedge again. So come along.'
'And, my darlings, in a fortnight, Charlie says, will
you all come and picnic he"0 again, and tea shall be
served at White Blossom Farm?'
Oh, thank you, thank you !' cried the girls, hugging
Betty in turns. And Rather !' said the boys, shaking
hands with her brother.
'And play with the pet lamb, and feed the fowls,
and walk in the orchard behind the house,' added the
elder Charlie, laughing and rubbing his hands.
Thank you, thank you,' cried Belle, and she urged
the children away. 'Good-bye, dear Betty, or we'll
surely lose our train.'
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'And you'll tell us all your adventures?' shouted
the boys from the gate, as they reluctantly hurried
Ay, ay,' nodded Betty's brother; 'I'll tell them all
in the cool of the evening, when we can stroll down
to "Charlie's Arbour."'
= L-5 J
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER.
T was on the Avon-Shakespeare's Avon-
he was a poet, but he's dead, so has nothing
to do with it. And it was not on the Avon
at all, but in the Avon, and down below,
far, far at the bottom of the river, where the sand and
shingle lay. A long, low cave it was, with a roof of
pearls and a carpet of pink rose petals and white fleecy
clouds,-not wraps that ladies wear round their necks,
but clouds that float high in the sky, but how they got
them down there I don't know, so of course can't tell.
It was a perfect secret; no one knew about it save the
five sea monsters, as they were called, but, bless you !
they were only river griffins. What splendid times they
had, these griffins, in the softly flowing river, or sitting
blinking their eyes in the secret cave which was their
home when they were tired of the water !
There were five of them, so of course they had five
names-Bollobilly, Erramirry, Allitninny, Lootymia,
42 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
Bollobilly and Taltootia were boy griffins, and
splendid fellows they were, with black and yellow
striped bodies, and fins to swim with, and strong arms
with claws at the end, and faces like benevolent parrots
-the others were girl griffins.
'The clock has struck twelve,' said Taltootia, stretch-
ing himself. The clock was in a castle tower close to
the river's edge. But they had such sharp ears they
heard it in their cave.
'Let's have a lark then,' said Bollobilly, shaking his
And visit our friends the swans,' said Lootymia.
So they plunged into the river, and came swimming
up, up till they reached the surface, and lay floating on
its silver bosom.
'What a glorious night!' said Erramirry, and she
kissed her claw to the moon.
Glorious!' echoed the other griffins, and they kissed
their claws to the moon.
And the moon smiled graciously down. It was full
moon, and twelve o'clock at night. They never showed
their faces above the water except at midnight.
Ha !' said Bollobilly; the castle folk are not a-bed.
There are lights in all the windows; something's up
And so there was. The lights came streaming
through the trees, across the park, down to the
water's edge, and floated in a golden line upon the
Let's ask the swans,' cried Lootymia. 'Oh, swans,
my pretty swans !' And she swam swiftly towards the
drooping willow, where the ferry-boat was tied.
But the swans did not answer; their white wings
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER. 43
drooped into the water and their long necks hung
'Sweet swans !' said Lootymia in her softest voice.
Sweet swans i' echoed the other river griffins.
At this tender greeting the two swans made a stately
move, and floated from the shelter of the willow tree.
It was their custom to tell the news about the land-
lubbers to the river griffins, which they did in a con-
descending way, in a scornful tone of voice, with their
proud necks arched.
To-night no sound came from them, neither did they
welcome the griffins with their usual stately nod. They
lifted their necks in a slow, solemn way, and when the
griffins came near they saw large tears in their eyes,
which fell one by one in splashes into the river.
'Oh, swans, why do you weep?' asked the griffins
in alarmed sympathy, ruffling the water in their
For five minutes no answer came, while the tear-
drops still fell splash, splash, splash. The griffins
respected their sorrow, and remained silent too. And
distinctly the sounds of music came floating through
the midnight air, and dancing couples passed and
repassed the lighted windows of the castle.
'They're gay enough there,' said Bollobilly in his
deep-toned voice, jerking his claw in the direction of
'Gay enough !' echoed Erramirry.
'Gay enough!' repeated all the other griffins.
'Ah !' at last said the first swan.
'Ah!' echoed the second swan.
'Ah !' repeated all the griffins in a dejected tone of
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'One heart aches there,' said the first swan.
'Aches!' said the second mournfully. And they
both wept more and more.
'Sweet swans, let us share your griefs,' pleaded
'You tell,' urged the first swan.
'I c-can't,' answered the second swan, and there
was silence for another five minutes, and the tear-drops
went splash, splash, splash.
'Whose heart?' gently asked Taltootia.
'The heart of the Lady Frances,' answered the first
'The beautiful Lady Frances,' said the second swan.
'Is she not to wed Sir Douglas of the Waterfalls ?
'Alas !' cried the swans in a mournful chorus. 'She
was, but she isn't. She was, but she isn't.'
All the griffins began to weep, and Taltootia asked
between his sobs, 'How's that?'
The father of the Lady Frances, Sir Gruffim Gruffer,
vowed he'd give anything the man would like to ask
who happened to slay the great black boar that
ravages the forest.'
'Alas, good griffins the boar's been slain by Sir
Rupert of the Rugged Rocks.'
'Sir Rupert of the Rugged Rocks!' all the griffins
shrieked. Erramirry nearly had a fit, and they feared
Lootymia would be seized with croup.
'Vowed?' asked Bollobilly, as soon as he could find
his voice. You said vowed, swans ? '
'Vowed,' echoed the first swan. 'Once vowed,
cannot take it back.'
'No, no,' assented all the griffins dolefully.
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER.
'Honour, you know, of course, honour,' said the
Yes, yes,' said all the griffins sadly.
'But is it honourable to take her from Sir Douglas
of the Waterfalls?' asked Lootymia. She was always
the one to see the fine points about things.
That was a heart decision; they came together
naturally,' said the first swan.
'There was no vowing, then ?' asked Lootymia.
'Only between themselves. Sir Gruffim Gruffer
didn't vow, that's the great point; he said only, "Take
her, Sir Douglas, take her."'
As he spoke, two figures sauntered slowly from the
castle hand in hand. Their faces did not look as if
they had come from a ball. Sir Douglas of the Water-
falls looked pained and anxious; and a heavy sigh burst
from his heart. The face of the Lady Frances was
pale, and her beautiful eyes were full of sorrow as she
lifted them to his and said,-
Ah, no! I cannot bear the pain of never seeing thee
again. I cling to thee with might and main.'
And Sir Douglas answered, For ever and for ever.'
Then they walked up and down on the bank of the
river, talking softly. The griffins scarcely breathed.
Once Allitninny whispered, 'How beautiful she is !'
and Erramirry answered, How handsome he is !'
'A heaven-made pair,' said Lootymia.
Sir Rupert's as ugly as sin,' said Taltootia.
'Earthquakes and apple-sauce! What a shame to
part them!' said Bollobilly in such an agitated voice
that he forgot he was speaking loud.
'Hush !' said the first swan; 'you intrude on their
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'Hush !' echoed the second swan; 'Sir Douglas of
the Waterfalls is speaking.' And so he was.
Alas if we had never met, we had been spared this
wild regret, this endless striving to forget !'
The Lady Frances answered, 'For ever and for
With slow and reluctant steps they turned back to
It was too much for the griffins; they wept aloud.
Their grief was so great, they could not support them-
selves in the water, they were obliged to throw their
front claws over the ferry-rope that was strung across
the river to guide the ferry-boat, and there they hung,
weeping bitterly, a dismal sight. Their tears fell like
rain. At last the river began to swell.
'Cease, oh, cease, griffins!' urged the swans,
who had cried so much, they could not cry any
But the griffins would not cease. The river began to
overflow its banks.
At last the first swan said sternly,-
'Oh, griffins, ye cannot help true lovers with your
Rather let us think, and plot, and plan, if we cannot
give them aid,' added the second swan.
'Oh, certainly!' said all the griffins, and they
immediately let the ferry-rope go.
'There comes a human form there,' said Bollobilly,
jerking his claw in the direction of the land.
'If I'm not mistaken, Sir Rupert of the Rugged
Rocks,' cried the swans in a breath. 'See the red glow
glowing through the trees.'
The trees seemed on fire wherever he moved, and no
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER. 47
wonder, for, as he approached the river bank, the
griffins saw that his hair was red, his eyebrows red, his
eyelashes red, his fierce moustache all red, waxed and
pointed at the ends like fiery knitting-needles.
He waved his hands in an ecstasy of joy, and cried,
while his eyes looked on fire with gladness, 'My
beautiful, my bride! my beauteous bride, the Lady
'Not if I know it,' growled Bollobilly; and, Does
your mother know you're out?' asked Erramirry
'It'll be "Tommy make room for your uncle," I'm
thinking,' said Taltootia, with a sneer.
All this was in griffin language, so, of course, Sir
Rupert did not understand. He thought it was merely
the surging of the river.
Thunder and dry bones! how the river has swollen !'
Then there was a sound like silver bells, jangling
clear and sweet,-
Tears have made the river swell;
Sir Rupert, then, beware.
Boast not of thy beauteous bride,
The Lady Frances fair.
Tears for her have just been shed,
And for her lover true,
Sir Douglas of the Waterfalls,
And not, Sir Rupert, you.'
-The voices came from the yellow Water Lilies, whose
golden cups lay calmly on the river's bosom.
'Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!' laughed Sir Rupert mock-
ingly; 'ha! ha! ha! I like that,' and, snapping his
fingers at the Water Lilies, he rudely marched off.
48 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'R-r-r-wretch! How I hate him!' said all the
'We thank you, Water Lilies, for your sympathetic
speech,' said the swans, arching their snowy necks
'The Pink Arrows made up the verses,' said the
Water Lilies modestly.
'We thank you also,' said the Swans.
The Pink Arrows merely bowed.
'Can we do nothing to alter that?' asked Taltootia,
jerking his claw after the retreating figure of Sir Rupert
of the Rugged Rocks.
'Friends,' said the first swan, 'we have talked far
into the night. Turn to the east; the sun will soon be
rising, and with him all the landlubbers.'
'The castle lights were put out three half hours ago,'
added the second swan.
Retire, then, oh, griffins, and cogitate went on the
first swan. 'We ourselves will take a nap-just forty
winks; and, being refreshed, will pick up all the news
we can, and to-morrow midnight, as the clock strikes
twelve, we'll hold a council, griffins.'
Good !' returned all the griffins,-' good !'
Then Bollobilly gave the order:
'Eyes right Right about face! Quick ma-a-rch !'
The griffins kissed their claws to the swans, and
disappeared under the water.
H I said Erramirry, as they dashed into their
cave; 'this would be the place to hide the
Lady Frances in. How softly would she lie
on this bed of rose petals, and rest her
pretty head on this fair fleecy cloud!'
'To bed, to bed!' urged Bollobilly. 'Our minds
and bodies need refreshing for the morrow's work. To
bed, to bed!'
They all slept soundly, through what the landlubbers
would call the day. Of course it was night to them.
And when the landlubbers lighted their lamps again,
the griffins stretched themselves and awoke.
'Earthquakes and apple-sauce! How you snored,
Bollobilly !' said Taltootia.
'A harassed mind, griffy boy, a harassed mind,'
retorted the big griffin.
'No doubt, no doubt,' answered the others.
'We ought to hide her here; the safest place, the best
place,' said Erramirry, thinking of her idea last night.
'We can do nothing till we've seen the swans and
heard their say,' said Allitninny.
The clock strikes twelve!' cried Taltootia joyously.
50 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
Then let's be off,' said Lootymia, plunging into the
river. 'I'm so impatient.'
Up, up, up through the glassy river, up, up, up till
they gained its silver bosom. Good even, oh, moon I
and they kissed their claws to her.
'Griffins, oh, griffins!' cried the swans, fluttering
towards them, forgetting in their eagerness to sail
You have news, oh, swans ?' answered the griffins.
A world of news,' the first swan said.
We shall not keep you in suspense,' said the second
Not a moment,' added the first swan. 'Oh, griffins !
lend me your ears.'
The griffins lent them immediately. They did not
unloosen them off their heads, only put their claws
behind them, that they should not miss a word.
The mutiny has broken out in India, griffins.'
Oh, my !' said Bollobilly; 'where's that?'
'A piece of land jutting out into the sea, on the vast
continent of Asia,' said the first swan, with some
contempt at his ignorance.
Oh, lor'!' ejaculated Erramirry.
'The blacks have mutinied in India, and all the
bravest fighting men are going to fight them from
England. The Queen has ordered Sir Rupert of the
Rugged Rocks to go and quell the mutiny. We all
know he is brave-he killed the boar.'
'I hope the Blackies will shoot him dead!' cried
Lootymia, clapping her claws.
'No such good luck, I fear,' said the first swan;
' he's as hard as iron, and as tough as shoe-leather.
Only those the gods love die young. But listen,
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER.
griffins. He has a fortnight to prepare, and he swears he'll
wed the Lady Frances before he goes, to make it sure.'
All the griffins began to weep.
'Shouldn't cry out before you're hurt,' said the
second swan, with some disdain.
Certainly not,' answered the griffins, and immediately
smole a smile.
The Lady Frances must be hidden for that fortnight,'
said the first swan in an important voice.
'But where, we haven't yet decided,' added the
second swan a trifle anxiously.
The griffins looked knowingly at each other and
'Oh, griffins, can you aid us?'
'We can,' returned all the griffins solemnly.
'How ?' almost shrieked the swans.
'We can hide her in our secret cave, in our home at
the bottom of the river.'
'Oh, bless you, bless you, griffins!' wept the swans
in their joy. But stay-a difficulty arises. How shall
you take her there?'
'All through the cold, slimy water,' finished the
second swan, shuddering.
And then the bell-like silver tongues of the yellow
Water Lilies began to jangle again :-
'Take some pollen from our cups,
On her sweet eyes gently lay,
In a soft and silent trance
The lady fair will fall away.
Tender arms about her place,
Bear her swiftly, and with care,
On a couch of rose leaves lay,
Fitting bed for one so fair.
52 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
Harm to her-Ah none shall come
In her gentle, dreamless sleep.
For a fortnight full, and more,
Ye may guard her in the deep.
Then, when danger's past away,
To the green bank bring again;
She will open her sweet eyes,
Free from sorrow, care, or pain.'
The soft notes ceased.
'Oh, Water Lilies,' said the swans, 'you will
always have the love of our hearts-beautiful yellow
Water Lilies !'
'The Pink Arrows made up the verses,' said the
Water Lilies modestly.
'The love of our hearts is yours also,' said the
The Pink Arrows bowed in acknowledgment.
'Hearken, griffins,' said the first swan. 'No
time is to be lost. Each day at evening, when
the sun goes down, the Lady Frances comes to
feed us from the bank with brown bread from her
own white hands. This evening we must do the
'This evening,' echoed all the griffins; 'certainly.'
'How shall we place the pollen on her eyes ?' asked
the second swan anxiously.
'Easy enough that,' answered the griffins.
'How ?' cried the swans.
'Easy enough,' said the griffins again.
'Oh, how, how ?' repeated the swans.
'I dunnow,' said all the griffins.
But the bell-tongued voices of the yellow Water
Lilies drowned the ungracious answer:-
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER.
'To the bank the lovely maid
Comes her friends the swans to greet,
Comes with slow, reluctant feet.
"Grieve not, Lady dear," they cry,
"Nay, lift up this face of woe;
Happier days will come for thee,
Lady Frances, weep not so !
Bend thy pretty head, dear maid,
Let us kiss these tears away;
Then upon the snowy lids
The yellow pollen ye must lay.'
The soft notes ceased.
'They always talk in poesy,' said the griffins admiringly.
'And always to the point,' added the swans.
'Oh, yellow Water Lilies, you have made our task
quite easy We thank you.'
'The Pink Arrows made up the verses,' said the
Water Lilies modestly.
We thank you also,' said the swans.
The Pink Arrows simply bowed.
'Griffins,' said the first swan, 'can you be here
punctually at sunset, to bear the lady away?'
'Oh, lor' I yes,' said the griffins.
*Then we shall say adieu. We need all the repose
we can get for the task before us.'
'Adieu, griffins!' and the swans sailed statelily away
towards the shadow of the willow tree.
'Haste, haste!' cried Erramirry, plunging down-
wards; 'the rose leaves must be shaken up to make
her pink bed soft.'
'A cloud shall be her fair head's resting-place,' cried
54 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
So they tossed the pink rose petals for about an
'An inviting bed,' said Lootymia, with a sigh of
Meanwhile sunset came, and, as her wont, the Lady
Frances stole down to the river bank, with a piece of
brown bread in her hands.
'Alas, swans!' she said, and the tears coursed
down her lovely face as she fed them with bits of
The swans had repeated the verses of the yellow
Water Lilies over and over to each other till they
knew them by heart. So they immediately struck
SGrieve not, Lady Frances dear,
Nay, lift up this face of woe;
Happier days will come for thee,
Lady Frances, weep not so !'
'Alas, swans! you know not what you ask,' answered
the Lady Frances, shaking her beautiful head.
The swans continued:-
Bend thy pretty head, dear maid,
Let us kiss these tears away ;
We but strive to heal thy griefs.
Lady, do not say us nay.
The last two lines had been made up for them by the
Pink Arrows beforehand.
'Sweet swans!' answered the Lady Frances, and a
faint smile shone through her tears as she bent her
graceful neck to receive the swans' caresses.
Quickly the swans buried their beaks in the yellow
cups of the nearest Water Lilies, and nipped out some
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER.
of the pollen. Then they kissed the sweet eyes of the
In another moment she had fallen, and went floating
silently down the river. 0
Griffins !' cried the swans warningly.
Ten claws came immediately above the water-the
ten claws of the five river griffins.
'Fear nothing!' they cried; the Lady Frances will
be safe with us.'
The water gurgled and bubbled, and then lay quiet
again. The griffins had carried the death-like maid to
the bottom of the river.
At the same time a.great shrieking arose amongst the
landlubbers at the castle. The gardeners ran in
wringing their hands, and crying that the Lady Frances
had fallen into the river and was drowned. All the
castle folk came rushing to the bank. Sir Rupert of
the Rugged Rocks ran down with a large fishing-line
and flung it into the river. As he did so, he alone
heard the jangling of the silver tongues of the yellow
Water Lilies as they sang mockingly:-
'Too late, Sir Rupert-ha ha ha !
The Lady's met her fate.
Secure and safe sweet Frances is,
She waits another mate I'
'It's an apple-pie trick!' cried Sir Rupert, his face
swelling with fury. 'Bring the nets; we'll drag the
river, or I'll know the reason why;' and he shook his
fist threateningly at the yellow Water Lilies.
They dragged the river for one whole week, but did
not bring up the Lady Frances. She lay in a sound
trance in the griffins' cave on her couch of pink rose
56 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
The griffins lay at the door of their cave and laughed
at the net dragging by, and threw empty egg-shells
'An apple-pi trick!' swore Sir Rupert in fury.
'She never fell into the river, or her body would be
found. An apple-pie trick, I say !'
He scoured the country for the next week without
success, and then the Queen ordered him to go and
quell the Indian Mutiny. He swore some dreadful
oaths, and vowed he'd marry the Lady Frances when he
came back, and went off in a rage.
When he was gone, Sir Douglas of the Waterfalls
came to walk on the river bank. Tears were in his
eyes, and he walked with lingering steps by the side of
his love's watery grave,-as he fully believed,-sadly
SCould you come back to me, Frances, Frances,
In the old likeness that I knew,
We'd be so happy and glad, Frances-
Frances, Frances, tender and true !'
The swans wept at his grief.
Fear not, Sir Douglas of the Waterfalls,' they said;
'all will be well.'
But he would not be comforted. He fully thought
the Lady Frances had drowned herself to escape being
Sir Rupert's bride. 'Better thus,' he said; 'better
At last the news came that Sir Rupert of the Rugged
Rocks was taken prisoner.
'The Blackies have caught him!' cried the swans to
the griffins when they came up as usual as the clock
struck twelve; 'the Blackies have caught him !'
'Earthquakes and apple-sauce!' cried all the
ALL ON A FLOWING RIVER. 57
.griffins, turning somersaults in the water. 'What do
theBlackies do with their prisoners?'
'Chop them in inch pieces for their wives to eat,'
said the swans.
'Oh, lor' !' cried Erramirry.
'Then we'll never see Sir Rupert of the Rugged
Rocks again,' said all the griffins. Hoorah hoorah !
That afternoon Sir Douglas of the Waterfalls came
to weep on the bank. '
'Would thou hadst lived, my li!ve!' he cried;
'would thou hadst lived! Our enemy is dead; thou
art avenged; but I go sorrowing on my way.'
Then he took from his- breast a spray of withered
flowers, and cast them on the flowing river, saying,-
Bear upon thy breast, oh, river,
Ahese bright flowers I fling to thee;
Would the memory of the giver
Could as calmly flow from me!'
The flowers, carried by the current, floated away.
But Allitninny was sporting underneath the waves, and
heard the words; so, swimming after the flowers, he
caught them, and, carrying them triumphantly into the
secret cave, placed them tenderly on the breast of the
Lady Frances, who still lay in a dreamless slumber,
pale, but very beautiful.
It was the delight of the griffins to sit and watch her
on her rose-leaf couch, and trace new beauties in the
lovely features every day,-the curved red lips, and
dark arched brows, the hidden loveliness of her sweet
At last the jangling bells of the Water Lilies were
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'And now all danger's past away,
The fair maid ye may bring,
And lay her gently on the bank,
Then joyous bells shall ring I
Pealing a merry wedding march,
O'er all the country side,
Jangling sweet, tuneful harmony,
For Douglas's fair bride !'
So, on a bright June night, the griffins carried the
Lady Frances up, up, up, and laid her, sound and safe,
on the river bank, with the dead flowers on her breast;
and the swans guarded her jealously, till the morning
sun shone out.
Sir Douglas, walking out as usual, found his love;
and, as he knelt beside her, the Lady Frances opened
Oh, there was joy at the castle, and in all the
country side! The bells pealed out from the old clock
tower, till the griffins heard it in their secret cave.
They were married the very next morning, and in the
evening Sir Gruffim Gruffer gave a ball at the castle.
While the dancing and feasting were going on, a
stranger rode up on a smoking steed, and clattered
down his spurs and sword at the great hall door, and
swore awfully at the hall porter.
'What apple-pie humbug is this?' he roared.
The voice was the voice of Sir Rupert of the Rugged
Rocks, but the face was the face of an Indian warrior.
'It's a weddin',' answered the hall porter. 'Sir
Douglas of the Waterfalls 'as been a-marryin' of the
Let me pass !' thundered Sir Rupert. I knew all
along it was a gooseberry-tart trick !'
ALL ON A FLO WING RIVER.
'Oh, lor'!' said the hall porter; 'we can't 'ave a
Black man at the ball.'
But the noise brought Sir Gruffim Gruffer to the door,
with several of the guests.
Sir Gruffim Gruffer, you have played me false!' roared
'We heard you were taken prisoner by the muti-
neers,' said Sir Gruffim, 'and were minced up long
'Then you heard false !' thundered Sir Rupert,-'a
lot of currant-jam fibs !'
The truth was, that Sir Rupert had got into favour
with a native prince, who had insisted on dyeing his
face and hair with some black fast-coloured juice, to
look as like his own brother as possible. And Sir
Rupert had managed to escape-but not from the
Very sorry, Sir Rupert,' said Sir Gruffim; 'but even
if the knot had not been tied, I should have hesitated
to give my daughter to a black man-a Blackie,' he
added after a moment's thoughtful pause.
Just then a dancing couple waltzed past the door-
way. They were Sir Douglas of the Waterfalls and
the Lady Frances, who were wed that morning.
Sir Rupert turned off in a rage, and knocked the
hall porter's hat off his head.
I gave you eighteenpence to keep your eye on her,
you dog !'
The hall porter began to whimper. "Ow could I
keep my eye on 'er when she was drowned ?'
'You mashed-potato fibber! how can you say she
was drowned when she dances there?'
'It can't be helpedd now,' whimpered the hall porter;
60 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'she can't 'ave two 'usbands-a Blackie neither,
Sir Rupert rushed out into the darkness, cursing his
fate, and swearing at the yellow Water Lilies.
The swans told the griffins all about it at twelve
o'clock that night.
'What a beautiful ending!' cried all the griffins
'Beautiful! beautiful!' echoed the swans, arching
their snowy white necks.
'We did it,' said the griffins, with some pride.
So did we,' added the swans.
Then the sweet-belled voices of the yellow Water
Lilies jangled again :-
SHowe'er it be, it seems to us
The sweetest thing is to be kind;
In aiding others in their joys,
We, too, our own true pleasures find l'
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S
HWACK! thwack! thwack! came the knotted
stick on the sides of the rag-and-bone man's
'Oh, don't I wish the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would catch you !' I
said over and over again, when I saw him driving past
from my bedroom window.
'Gee up, get along, you lazy beast!' and thwack,
He wasn't lazy, bless you! he was as hard-working
a little fellow as the hardest, and-he was lame. Well,
you couldn't get along very fast if you were lame; and
he wasn't always lame, poor Neddy! His limbs were
as sound as anybody's till he got the rag-and-bone
man for his master.
And he had rheumatism! Have you ever had
rheumatism? I hope you have not. You'd never
forget it, if you had. Go and ask the poor old woman
leaning on her stick at her cottage door, afflicted with
62 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
Neddy's complaint, and ask her what rheumatism is.
She'll have a pretty long story to tell you.
'Poor little critter!' she said, shading her eyes with
her hand to look after the rag-and-bone man's donkey,
and she rubbed her own poor leg in sympathy.
'Poor little critter' indeed! The rheumatism was
in one of his back legs, and it dragged along painfully.
The little wooden cart was piled up high with rags,
and on the top of that a sack of heavy bones.
'Get along, you !' cried the rag-and-bone man, poking
him with his stick, and then bringing it down heavily
on the poor donkey's back.
I'm doing my best, master; oh, don't hit me any
more!' The donkey did not say so with his voice, but
his eyes said it plainly enough-such gentle, patient
eyes they were !
'Ugh, you brute!' was all the answer his master
gave, as he kicked him with his heavy boot.
If I hadn't rheumatism, I'd run all the way, I would
indeed, master,' said poor Neddy's eyes again. 'Have
you forgotten how fast I trotted last summer, when
you first had me?'
'Now, then, stop when you're told,' bawled the rag-
and-bone man, using his stick freely, and wrenching at
the bridle till poor Neddy's mouth quivered with pain.
He was glad to rest his leg for a moment, and,
turning his patient eyes, watched his master going into
Five minutes passed away, and then Neddy began
to feel cold. He dreaded the Three Jolly Sailor Boys,'
as he generally got double the number of blows when
his master got out of it. Another five minutes passed,
and a drizzling rain began to fall. Neddy shivered, and
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S DREAM. 63
turned his wistful eyes to the doorway, pawing the
ground with his poor rheumatic leg.
'I wish I were home,' thought Neddy, and his mouth
watered at the thought of I is supper.
Home was not a very comfortable one, still it was
'home, sweet home' to Neddy. It meant rest and
freedom from his master's voice and his master's blows.
A cold wind sprang up, and the rain became heavier.
At last the rag-and-bone tnan lurched out of the inn.
He was not able very we] to carry himself, so Neddy
had to carry him instead; the rag-and-bone man
clambered up the little wooden cart, and took his seat
on the sack of bones, shouting at his donkey, and
hating him brutally.
Wearily, wearily jogged on poor Neddy, the poor
leg dragging sorely behind. At last, all drenched with
rain and shivering with cold, Neddy drew a sigh of
relief as he stopped at the master's door.
The poor beast's soaked through,' said the rag-and-
bone man's wife, as she opened the door.
'So be I. Hold yer tongue. And hurl them
bones into the house, will yer?'
She did as she was bid, with a not very pleasant
glance at her husband.
'I s'pose you've bin at the "Three Jolly Sailor
Boys,"' she said sarcastically.
Mind your own business!' retorted the rag-and-bone
man, unharnessing Neddy and leading him off to the
pig-sty at the end of the garden. The pig-sty would
not have been half a bad place, if there had been a
door to keep out the draughts. The roof was good,
and the walls were strong, but the wooden door had
fallen away long ago. Poor Neddy gratefully limped
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
into the shelter, and crouched up in the warmest
corner; but his bed was not too plentiful nor too clean.
His master threw in his allowance, and then went in
for his own tea.
'That donkey's in a bad state. I wouldn't take him
out to-morrow, if I was you,' said his wife.
'Haw, haw, haw_! what's the beast good for if he
ain't meant to work to his death?'
And that's not far off,' said the woman, with a shrug.
'He's got to go to Whitecroft to-morrow, rain or
fine,' laughed the rag-and-bone man.
'Five mile there,' said the woman in a tone of
compassion. You'll have to carry him home yourself,
or bury him where he falls.'
'Shut up!' retorted the man; 'we've 'ad enough
She had a little baby-had the rag-and-bone man's
wife, a sickly little creature, more likely to die than
live. Perhaps she loved it all the better for that; she
loved her baby dearly. It was through the baby she
got a liking for the donkey; there was the same sort of
look in his poor, patient eyes when he came home after
a weary journey, as in her baby's after a long night's
suffering. At least she fancied so. And Neddy, too,
was sickly and likely to die.
The rag-and-bone man was not a bad husband when
he was sober, and he was fond of his little baby; but
he was a real brute to poor Neddy. A great many
men and boys fancy animals have no feeling; perhaps
because the poor dumb mouths never utter a complaint.
They would if they could.
Before it was light next morning, the rag-and-bone man
led Neddy out of the pig-sty. Poor Neddy turned his
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S DREAM.
head wistfully towards his night's shelter. He had had
a bad night. The poor rheumatic leg had twitched and
twitched, keeping him awake for two or three hours,
until through very weariness Neddy at last fell asleep.
But the rest had done him good, he was warm and
comfortable now. If he could stay all day in the
pig-sty, resting and dozing in turns, he thought he
would be as strong as a horse next day.
'And wouldn't I work hard for master to make it.
up !' he thought.
Do you remember the day you were ill-waking up
with a bad headache or a tiresome cold, after the over-
exertion or exposure of the day before? How warm
and restful bed felt You thought you would be quite
happy if you could just lie still, and not bother your
head over school and lessons for that day. And when
mother came into the room, and said kindly, 'Better
stop in bed to-day, darling; never mind school,' how
delightful it was to sink back on the pillow and just
Animals feel as much as boys and girls; so Neddy,
too, wanted rest. There was no kind voice to bid him
take it, or gentle hand to cheer him with a pat. The
rag-and-bone man bawled in brutal tones, helping
Neddy out of the pig-sty with a kick. And Neddj
only laid his ears back dejectedly, with a sorrowful
shake of his poor, patient head, doing his very best to
obey the master's wishes. The cart was empty. They
were going to Whitecroft for a fresh lot of rags and
bones. 'So I'll get there easier with a light weight,'
thought he as cheerfully as he could. And he started
with a little trot, trying to forget the leg that had the
65 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
The rag-and-bone man found a friend on the way,
and was so interested in his talk, that Neddy was
allowed to trot on unmolested till Whitecroft came in
sight. But he was tired then, and naturally too; five
miles was quite enough for a rheumatic, lame little
Then the cart became heavier as the rags and bones
were gathered, and before they started for home it was
as heavy a load as Neddy had ever carried.
Wearily, wearily, jog trot on. Plenty of hard words
and not a few blows.
'Shall I ever get home again ?' thought poor Neddy.
'Oh, shall I ever see the pig-sty again?'
Slower and slower every ten minutes, and heavier
and heavier the load seemed to get !
Take that, you brute, and that, and that!' and with
every 'that,' down came the rag-and-bone man's cruel
'Oh, master, master, have pity on me! I'm so
tired, so ill! If you beat me any more, I think I'11
'That's a poor sort o' beast you've got there,' said a
man on the road, with a contemptuous glance at poor
Ay,' retorted the rag-and-bone man; 'not worth his
salt- an idle, lazy good-for-nothing. Git on, you
brute, and don't stop turning round at me. Git home !'
and thwack, thwack, thwack !
He had turned round imploringly, his eyes saying
as plainly as if he could speak, 'Pity me, pity me! I'm
'Where 'ave you come from ?' asked the man on the
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S DREAM.
'.Vhitecroft,' answered the rag-and-bone man.
The man on the road shrugged his shoulders.
'It's a good step for sich a miserable-lookin' critter !'
and lie good-naturedly placed his hands on the back
of the cart and helped to shove it along.
Neddy turned with a grateful glance; and, to show
his appreciation of the kind act, tried to limp a little
faster, thinking, I wish you were my master.'
But at the turning of the lane they went different
ways; and the man on the road nodded to the rag-and-
bone man, ai2d went whistling on his way.
The 'Three Jolly Sailor Boys' was in sight, and
Neddy painfully dragged the cart along, glad to stop at
the word of command.
If the rag-and-bone man had not taken the last
extra glass of gin, he might have seen how unfit
Neddy was to go any farther, much less carry a
heavier weight. For his own sake he would have
helped the cart along; but, being very far from sober,
he clambered up the cart, and belaboured his donkey
Poor Neddy staggered on a few steps painfully, a
few more still, and then, with a gasp for breath and a
moan and a shiver, he fell.
The rag-and-bone man swore, and jumped off the
cart; but when he saw Neddy lying so still, with droop-
ing head, it sobered him a little.
'Is he dead?' asked two young lads, running up and
helping the rag-and-bone man to undo the straps and
get Neddy out of the shafts.
Dead retorted the man contemptuously; not he.
He's as tough as shoe-leather, and as stubborn as a
mule. No, no, he's not dead.'
68 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'He looks very like it, then,' answered one of the
boyg, lifting up the donkey's head.
But when free from the shafts, Neddy struggled to his
He can't take that cart home to-night, I say, mister,'
said the lad.
'Who said he could?' retorted the man; and in his
anger he struck the suffering creature with his stick.
'We'll help you to push the cart; it's not very far
now,' said the boy, pitying the donkey, not the master.
'Very well,' replied the rag-and-bone man, not too
graciously; but boys love a job of that sort, and are not
So the man took the shafts in front, and the lads
pushed behind, while Neddy limped sadly after them.
The rag-and-bone man's wife was at the door.
'I told you so I knew it would come to that!' she
cried. 'Poor beast!'
The rag-and-bone man thanked the lads as un-
graciously as he had accepted their service, and
dragged Neddy down the garden into the pig-sty.
He was so put out, and so drunk, that he bumped
his head against the clothes-prop with such a bang that
it made a big bruise on his forehead; and he entered
the house in a very bad temper. So quarrelsome and
disagreeable he was, that his wife was glad to give him
his supper, and get him off to bed to sleep himself
sober. He was soon snoring heavily, and he had a
*E dreamed that he was on the way to White-
j ,7 ,. croft again with Neddy and the cart; and
li 4 as they were getting through the lane,-
the lane that was so heavy with mud,
making the cart twice as heavy to drag,-and he was
urging his wretched donkey with hard words and harder
blows, the long-suffering creature suddenly stopped,
planting his four feet firmly on the ground, and, turning
his face towards his master, said sternly,-
SYour turn has come.'
'What do you mean?' asked the rag-and-bone man,
not at all surprised to hear his donkey talk.
'Your turn has come,' repeated Neddy in a louder,
sterner voice, walking out of the shafts.
The rag-and-bone man tried to laugh, but he looked
nervously up and down the lonely lane.
Take my place,' said Neddy, pointing to the shafts,
'unhappy wretch!' and, lifting up his front leg, gave
the rag-and-bone man a tremendous kick on the fore-
Tremblingly the rag-and-bone man obeyed.
Neddy jumped into the cart, and, seizing the reins so
roughly that the rag-and-bone man felt all his teeth were.
70 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
going to tumble out, he struck him on the back and
shoulders, bawling out to make haste and run.
Panting, aching, shivering with fright, the rag-and-
bone man ran on. Oh, how long the way to Whitecroft
was! and every five minutes Neddy brought the cruel
stick down on his forehead,-always in the same place,
until a great swollen bruise appeared, and the rag-and-
bone man's head ached as it had never ached before.
'Mercy!' he cried; have mercy on me !'
'No mercy!' thundered Neddy. 'What mercy
have you ever shown ? It's your turn now !'
Then they passed some people on the road, and the
rag-and-bone man cried out to them to help him; but
they shrugged their shoulders, saying,-
'It's none of our business. You must obey your
master, I suppose. Can't interfere between a man and
And all the way to Whitecroft, Neddy sat up on his
hind legs in the cart like a grim avenger, urging on his
steed, hitting him with the cruel stick on his forehead,
always on the same place. And the people passing
shrugged their shoulders and said, It's none of our
business.' Others said, 'Poor miserable creature! but
we can't help him.'
And the little boys at Whitecroft ran alongside of the
cart whooping and hallooing,-
This is the fellow who was so cruel to his donkey;
ain't he just catching it now !'
They ran all over Whitecroft till the rag-and-bone
man got lame; but Neddy had no pity. There were
five long miles to get back home, and his legs ached,
and his head ached, and his breath came in quick, short
gasps. Oh, should he ever, ever see home again?
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S DREAM.
Let me rest,' he pleaded, 'only one moment, just.to
get my breath ; I'll run all the faster afterwards-I will,
'You must be done to as you did by,' answered
Neddy, with a cruel laugh and contemptuous bray.
' Hee-haw! get along with you, and don't stop till you
get to the "Three Jolly Sailor Boys !' and when they
reached the inn, he had to stand shivering in the shafts,
while the donkey jumped nimbly off the cart, and went
into the 'Three Jolly Sailor Boys' for a drink and a
For twenty minutes he waited there, stamping the
ground impatiently, but dared not run off home as he
would have liked to do, and his teeth chattered in his
head, and the wind blew cuttingly over the sore place
on his brow; and all the while the donkey was sitting
on his hind legs in front of a roaring fire, drinking hot
gin and water. Presently he came out of the inn, hee-
hawing in a foolish sort of waggish way, dancing on his
hind legs, and for no reason whatever brought his front
hoof bang on the sore place on the rag-and-bone man's
forehead. He did not mean to hurt him; but the rag-
and-bone man saw he was not sober, and did not know
very well what he was about.
Then, staggering up into the cart, Neddy laid the
stick about his shoulders unmercifully, and the rag-
and-bone man ran on panting, gasping, aching all over,
on, on, dizzy and faint, till he fell down exhausted at
his own door.
And he awoke.
He awoke trembling and terrified, to find himself
safe in his own bed, and he said-yes, he said, Thank
God !' and he meant it too.
72. FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
But he was still afraid. He put his hand up
cautiously to his forehead, the place that had ached
so horribly all that dreadful time, and lo! there
was a great swelling place there, and it pained dread-
He shook himself and felt again; yes, there was a
decided lump, and the pain, certainly, was not imagi-
Hee-haw, hee-haw;' it was only poor Neddy braying
in his pig-sty at the bottom of the garden, but the rag.
and-bone man fancied it was in the room, and, pulling
the bed-clothes over his ears, lay trembling from head
When morning came, 'It was only a dream,' he
said; but the painful lump on his forehead was still
there, and he was too drunk to remember he had
knocked it against the clothes-prop last evening.
As he was a bully, he was, of course, a coward, and
was also superstitious. He said over and over again,
' It's only a dream;' but he went cautiously down
to the pig-sty, and put his head in at the door, ready
to start off and run should anything extraordinary
Neddy turned his large reproachful eyes on him,
and the rag-and-bone man felt they were stern and
unforgiving, and imagined he saw a revengeful gleam
in the corners.
'Halloa, old Ned!' he said a little nervously.
Neddy never took his eyes off his face, and the rag-
and-bone man dropped his own.
'I'll get you a bundle of thistles, old fellow,' he said,
as an excuse to get away, and went about the garden,
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S DREAM.
pulling up choice, milky thistles, in an uncomfortable
frame of mind.
'There!' he cried, throwing them into the pig-sty,
but not venturing in himself. And he added slowly,
'We shan't go out to-day; I'll sort the rags at home.
A rest will do you good, a-a-after that fall.' And
suddenly remembering the swollen lump on his fore-
head as a shooting pain passed through it, he reddened
furiously, and turned his back on the pigsty. Bah!'
he said ; 'what a fool I am !'
But there was the painful swelling on his brow, and
he was a superstitious man.
'What's come to your forehead?' asked his wife at
'Nothing much,' he answered confusedly; 'a knock.
I'd like a bit of rag to tie it up.'
She found a strip of soft white rag amongst the
bundles he had brought home yesterday, and, wetting
it under the pump, tied it kindly about his head.
'Thank ye, missus,' he said humbly. Oh, it was
so good to find a friend, and feel the touch of a
gentle hand, after the sensations of that awful cruel
night, under the merciless lash of his hard task-
His head ached frightfully, as he went on sorting
the rags, while his little baby crawled on the floor
about him, playing with the bright-coloured strips,
'You'll have an eye to her; don't let her hurt herself,'
said his wife, looking in from her washing in the next
Ay, that he would; he wouldn't like his little tender
baby to hurt herself. And then, as he moved to haul
74 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
another bundle nearer, the little creature moved too,
and he almost brought his heavy boot down on her
rosy fingers. With a start and a cry he stepped back
in time, and caught up the baby in his arms, shudder-
ing at the thought of what might have happened-the
little tender -fingers crushed and bleeding, and such a
helpless mite !
The sudden stooping to pick up the child had
brought the pain back in the wound on his brow; he
could only sit still very quietly, nursing her and it,
when Hee-haw, hee-haw' came from the pig-sty, a very
plaintive bray. Well, well, there was another helpless
creature there, a little lame, rheumatic donkey, frail
and small and ill. All the horrors of last night came
upon the rag-and-bone man. Again he was running,
panting, gasping, feeling the cruel stick upon his brow;
again he was shivering in the rain and cold outside the
'Three Jolly Sailor Boys.'
Well, well, Neddy had shivered there day after day
-day after day had borne the lash, feeling always
what he had felt once, and he-the rag-and-bone man-
had been the cruel taskmaster.
His thoughts were not very happy ones. A sickly,
lame, rheumatic little donkey, that he had beaten
unmercifully with needless blows !
What if some rough boy were to come into his room,
and seize his little baby, and beat and kick her till the
helpless little creature could only fall down and moan ?
Why, hanging would be too good for such a brute!
And yet-and yet he had been a cruel brute to his
patient donkey. Poor long-suffering, helpless Neddy!
He knew how donkeys felt now. And, giving the baby
on his knee a hearty kiss, he set about sorting the rags
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S DREAM.
again, and made up his mind to be kind to poor
And all that day Neddy dozed and rested in the
pig-sty. He was too ill to wonder why he was not
made to work; he was just thankful to be let alone.
But when the rag-and-bone man. came into the pig-sty
towards evening, his poor limbs shook with fear.
But the master only led him gently out, and when
Neddy turned his head, he saw him cleaning out the
pig-sty as hard as he could. Then he went away and
presently returned with a nice bundle of sweet-smelling
straw, and made up a soft bed for the donkey, throw-
ing in a plentiful supper as well. And when he said
rather sheepishly, 'Come along, old Ned,' and left
him in the pig-sty, Neddy could hardly believe his eyes
or his ears.
'Ain't you going out with the cart to-day?' asked the
rag-and-bone man's wife next morning after breakfast,
when she saw him take his spade and go into the
garden to dig.
'Not to-day,' he answered; 'the donkey wants a bit
more rest. I've got a job to do in the garden.'
Next morning Neddy trotted out of the pig-sty in
good spirits. 'I'll make it up to him,' he thought;
'I'll make it up. I feel as strong as a horse after all
And he did. He forgot his rheumatism in his
eagerness to please-to be sure, it was much better
'Your donkey's had the rheumatism, I see,' said a
man on the road, joining the rag-and-bone man.
He's had it bad,' said Neddy's master; he's better
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'You ought to try a bottle of embrocation on his
leg,' said the man on the road; 'a horse of mine that
had it bad is quite well now. I used to rub him with
it every evening.'
'Well, I don't mind trying it,' answered Neddy's
master; and he got a bottle that very day. Neddy's
leg felt soothed after the rubbing, but he could not
understand the change that had come over the rag-and-
'Well, old Ned, we're good friends now, ain't us?'
asked the rag-and-bone man, patting the donkey's head,
a week or so after the dream he dreamt.
Neddy could not speak ; but his eyes turned affection-
ately to his master's face, and he rubbed his nose
against his sleeve.
'That pig-sty wants a door,' said the rag-and-bone
man; 'but I'm afraid I can't afford to have one
'Why don't you get Jim Watkins to put up one in
exchange for work?' asked his wife.
I'll try,' said Neddy's master. 'Look here, Jim,' he
said, I want a door for the pig-sty, to keep the draught
from my donkey. Neddy and me '11 carry your planks
to Whitecroft a dozen times in exchange.'
Jim Watkins was a big, burly, surly fellow, who
knew the worth of a bargain. He was also a clever
Make it thirteen times,' he said, and I'll put up the
door.' So the agreement was made.
Neddy seemed to understand all the transaction, for
he trotted cheerfully to Whitecroft over and over again,
while the rag-and-bone man and he continued the best
THE RAG-AND-BONE MAN'S. DREAM. 77
'What a fool I've been all along!' said the rag-and-
bone man. 'Treat your donkey well, and he'll treat
you well. Neddy does twice the work for me since
I've been kind to him. It ain't every man that will
understand that neither. But then,' he added, turning
away with a shudder, knoww how a donkey feels/'
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS
HRISTMAS was coming nearer every day.
Boys and girls were studying hard for
examinations, and talking of the holidays
after, and little children were thinking of
toys and Christmas trees, and all the delights that
The shopkeepers were considering how they would
decorate their windows, and some had already given
orders for holly and evergreens. Everybody had a
bright face, and everybody walked with a quick, bound-
ing step. Only. Mr. Temple leaned heavily on his
stick, and walked slowly, slowly, with a sad, sad face.
He looked the image of a Christmas man, with his
long white beard and his snow-white hair. But he did
not seem to care for Christmas at all, and never noticed
the bright faces about him; and when his eye, by
chance, fell on a bit of holly or mistletoe, it seemed to
make him sadder.
When he reached the door of his own home he was
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
glad to get inside and shut out the merry noises; and,
drawing his chair up to the table, close to a large fire,
he leaned his head on his hand and began to think.
His thoughts were very, very sad.
Ah once he loved Christmas as much as any child.
Why, he had loved it only last year-only last year!
And the tears trickled through his thin old hands as
he said softly to himself, 'Oh, my darling, my little
He meant his little grandchild, Connie, who was
alive and well last Christmas, but now she was lying in
a little cold grave. No wonder he was sad. No
wonder Christmas could not make him glad.
He loved little children. He loved them better
than anything else in the world. When he was a young,
strong man, he had six little children of his own, but
one by one they all died save one, and that one was his
darling till she grew up and married, and had five little
- children of her own.
Those were happy days for old Mr. Temple. Five
little children to climb upon his knees; five little
children to buy toys for, and decorate Christmas trees.
Well, they too died,-four of them one winter. He
loved little children so much, perhaps, because he
could never keep them long. Only Connie was left for
two more years, and all his heart was bound up in her.
And then last year she died. No wonder Christmas
could not make him glad.
There were no toys to buy, no stockings to fill up,
no Christmas trees to get ready secretly, as a pleasant
Old Mr. Temple was very sad. He went to bed
with a heavy heart, but in his sleep he had a dream.
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS PARTY. 81
He dreamed that Connie came back from the dead and
stood beside him. Her golden hair was crimped just
as it always used to be, and her white pinafore was tied
with a pink sash. She looked at him very sadly because
he was so sad, and then her face brightened as she
'Grandfather, there are other little children in the
world besides me.'
Then she vanished. All the next day old Mr.
Temple thought and wondered about that dream. It
seemed as if Connie had come from the other world to
give him a message: 'Grandfather, there are other
little children in the world besides me.'
'Yes, yes,' he said, shaking his snow-white head; 'lots
of other little children, but not my little children.'
Then a great longing came upon him to be with
little children again, even if they were not his own.
'I will go into the streets,' he said, 'and listen to
The streets were the best place to see and hear them,
for the streets are always full of little children, especially
the big streets' of London. So he put on his greatcoat
and leaned upon his stick-the very image of an old
The streets were full of children laughing and
talking, some running home with presents in their
arms; he looked very wistfully after those. Then he
found himself in front of a beautiful toy-shop, full of
drums, and dolls, and kites, and tin soldiers, and dolls'
tea-sets, all shining and lighted up with big gas-lights;
and outside the shop, close under his elbow, in the
cold, frosty air, were two little children, a boy and a
girl, staring longingly at the beautiful toys.
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'Suppose we 'ad some money and was gwine to buy
some !' said the little boy.
'Suppose some one was to give us some for presents,'
said the little girl.
Old Mr. Temple looked down at her when she spoke,
and gave a little start, for she was very like his darling
Connie. Only Connie's cheeks were pink and round,
and this little girl's were pale and pinched, and Connie's
white pinafore was spotlessly clean, tied back with a
pink sash, and this little girl had no pinafore on at all,
only a very old shabby frock, which was not very, very
Let's shut our eyes and pretend as some one told
us to choose,' she said. So they shut their eyes for a
second and began to pretend.
'I'll 'ave the tin soldiers, please,' said the little boy.
'And I'll 'ave that beautiful doll, please,' said the
Then they opened their eyes and laughed a little
wistfully, and the boy said very sorrowfully, 'It ain't
no use to pretend, Polly.' And Polly shook her head
sadly, and they went away.
'Stay, children, stay!' cried old. Mr. Temple; but
they did not hear, their quick little feet had carried
them many yards off. So he hurried after them as fast
as he could, and all the while he thought of the words
Connie had said to him in his dream: 'Grandfather,
there are other little children in the world besides me.'
'Yes, yes,' he said to himself; 'many other little
children, some so poor that they have never had toys
in their lives, and Polly and her brother must be some
of them.' He could not have kept up with them if
they had not stopped very often to look in at the shop
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS PART. 83
windows, and that just gave him time to keep them in
sight. He followed them through many streets till
they turned down a dim, dark alley, and Polly lifting
the latch of a worn old door, the children went inside.
There was a battered old cloth across the windows
for a blind, but so many holes were in it that Mr.
Temple could easily see into the room through the
largest of them. He saw a woman, very tired-looking,
sitting close up to a little spluttering candle-light, making
button-holes. She did not stop sewing when the children
came in, though she turned her head, but went on making
button-holes as fast as she could. Sometimes she put
her hand to her head, and then to her side, and sewed
faster than ever to make up the time.
Polly and her little brother curled themselves up in
a corner and began whispering about the toys. The
room was very poor and very cheerless. Suddenly
the candle spluttered up high and lighted up the whole
room, then burnt out immediately, leaving only a
smoking red tip on the wick. Mr. Temple could not
see any more, but he heard the woman sigh as she laid
aside her work. He could not go away, for he was
thinking of the little children there.
One pane of glass was broken, stuffed up with an
old rag, and when they began to talk he could hear
'Tell us about the time when you was a little girl,
an' 'ad toys at Christmas, mother,' Polly said.
'An' when you lived in the country,' said the little
'It was a long, long time ago,' said the mother
wearily. 'I wish we was in the country now. The
poor are not so poor in the country as in big tpwns,
zfAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
and the fresh air's always to be had for the wishing.
We was always poor, father and mother and me,-he
was a cobbler,-but we had the fresh air and wild-flowers
in the summer, and there was always a toy come
Christmas time for me. I 'ad a woolly lamb once, and
a train, and a cart on wheels, and a doll.'
Mr. Temple heard little Polly sigh.
'An' soldiers?' asked the little boy.
'No, I never 'ad no soldiers, for I was a girl, and
liked dolls better.'
'We've never 'ad no toys,' said Benny mournfully.
And Mr. Temple thought he heard the mother sob.
Then he looked carefully at the house and the name
of the alley before he went away, that he might know it
again, putting down the names of the different streets
he passed through in his pocket-book, and he said over
and over again to himself, 'Yes, yes, lots of other little
children in the world besides Connie who want toys-
lots of poor little children '
He walked back quite briskly, and when he got
home his housekeeper said, 'Ah, you've had a pleasant
walk, sir !' because she saw his face was bright and
happy, happier than it had ever been since his darling
Connie died. And he answered quite cheerfully,
'A very pleasant walk, thank you, Mrs. Mansfield !'
Mr. Temple could scarcely sleep that night for think-
?ng. He made such heaps of plans for giving toys to
little children who had never, never had any to play
with in their lives.
I shall have a Christmas tree on Christmas Day,
and hang it full of toys for them,' he said, 'and
look up twenty little children who have never had
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS PARTY. 85
Ah, it would be very easy indeed to look for
twenty little children in London who had never had
a toy !
And then he thought of their pinched, hungry faces,
and wished he could give them a good tea as well;
but he was not very rich, and was afraid he could not
afford toys and tea too.
But, before morning came, he had thought of a very
good plan to give the children toys and tea as well.
He wrote a little letter to little children who had had
toys all their lives, and told them about the London
ones who had had none at all, and begged them to
send him just one each from their own toys, to hang
on the Christmas tree, putting his address quite clear
at the bottom, and said he would provide tea.
Then he sent this letter to a children's magazine,
and asked the editor to put it in, that all the children
who took the magazine might read his letter, and give
him each a toy.
ELL, the editor put the letter in a favourite
magazine, and hundreds of children that
had had toys all their lives read old Mr.
Temple's letter. Some took no notice of
it, because, though they were not selfish, they were care-
less, and too idle to take the trouble to look up and
pack the toys; and some had kind, generous hearts,
who immediately set about to send off their toys in
time, quite pitiful for the children that had never had
I can tell you how only one family who took in the
magazine managed, as more would take up too much
time. It was a large family of children,-three girls
and three boys,-so they had a good many toys amongst
Jack, the eldest, read the letter out, and all the
others listened eagerly.
'Just fancy !' cried Minnie; 'never had a toy !'
'Poor little things! said Kate.
'We have lots of half-used toys,' said Guy.
Mother, may we each send them a toy ?' asked
'I can't,' said Edwin. 'I couldn't spare one of my
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS PARTY. 87
soldiers; it would spoil the set; and I still want to
play with my top and ball. Besides, they are too good
to give away to beggar children yet.'
Mother looked round on them all. 'Any one who
wishes to send a toy willingly may,' she said; 'but only
those who are willing. I shall pay for the carriage of
them to London.'
They were all active children. They began at once
to rummage out their toys, and arrange them in the
Why, here's this old sailor fellow, with one arm off I
I can spare that,' said Guy.
And I'll give my doll's tea-set, as one or two cups
are broken,' said Minnie.
'I'll send my kite; it wouldn't fly properly last
summer,' said Jack; 'it's good enough for London
children, I suppose.'
'I'll give my woolly lamb,' said Kate; 'it's got one
eye knocked in.'
'I can't give anythingg' said Edwin; my toys are all
too good to give away.'
Effie said nothing at all. Her treasures were all dolls
of different sizes and different kinds.
One was a beaut), two feet high, with real hair, and
blue eyes that opened and shut, with a smart pink
frock and sash. Her hand was on the one that had
a flattened nose and washed-out cheeks-the beauty
was quite new.
Aren't you going to give anything either ?' asked
Minnie, who was carefully packing up her doll's tea-set
with little bits of paper between the saucers.
'They have never had anything nice,' said Effie;
'never a beautiful new toy.'
88 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
'Oh, they'll be quite as pleased with these,', said
Jack; 'they don't know how it feels to have a toy at
'I should like one to feel iho BEAUTIFUL it is to
have quite a new toy,' said Effie; and I have had so
Then she looked at all her dolls again, beginning
from the shabbiest to the best; and last of all took the
beauty in her arms, and pressed it tight, and kissed her
hair, and cheeks, and eyes.
'Good-bye, Polly,' she said, with a sigh,-' good-bye,
Perhaps you will make one little girl beautifully happy.'
'Surely you're not going to give Polly away!' cried
the others in a chorus.
'Yes,' said Effie decidedly. 'Yes.'
The toys were then shown to mother, who looked
out for a wooden box to pack them in. And Effie
pinned a card on Polly's dress with these words: Her
name is Polly-for a little girl who has never had any-
Well, this box arrived in London at Mr. Temple's
house, with about twenty other boxes all laden with
toys from girls and boys who were unselfish, and cared
for those who were worse off than themselves.
Mr. Temple was as busy as could be unpacking, and
arranging, and mending; for some of the toys had
lost arms and legs; and he sat at a piled-up table,
with the glue-pot on the fire, and a gum-bottle at
When he read the words on Effie's card,-' Her name
is Polly-for a little girl who has never had anything
nice,'-he laughed aloud and rubbed his hands.
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS PARTY. 89
By and by the housekeeper looked in, and smiled
to see him so busy, and presently she came in with
a reel of cotton, a thimble, and a needle, saying, Let
me help you, sir !'
And Mr. Temple said, 'Thank you, Mrs. Mansfield,
I shall be much obliged to you;' so they both worked
Full a week before Christmas, old Mr. Temple
knocked at Polly's mother's door, in the close little
alley, and invited Polly and her brother to tea at his
house, at five o'clock on Christmas Day.
They were very much surprised, of course, and tears
came into the mother's eyes as she thanked him.
Then he asked Polly to help him to find fifty other
children to come to his tea-party-yes, fifty, for the
toys were sufficient to make fifty little children happy;
and Mr. Temple thought he could manage tea for that
Polly was shy at first, but he was so kind, she soon
began to chatter away; and in a couple of hours' time
fifty happy children were invited to tea on Christmas
Day. Their pale, pinched faces grew almost rosy at
the very thought.
The Christmas tree, itself, was a secret. He loved
pleasant surprises, this good old grandfather of little
The tree was set up in the big dining-room, for
the tea was to be served in the large, comfortable
And Christmas Day came at last.
Mrs. Mansfield put on her black silk dress and her
best cap, which pleased Mr. Temple very much. And *
he looked more like a Christmas man than ever, with
90 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
his kind old face, and cheeks quite pink from excite-
ment- something like Santa Claus, too--but only
little children who always have toys know who thal
And then they came in threes and fours, ard fives
and sixes,-little starving children,-very punctual, you
may be sure, with faces well washed for the party, and
as neat and clean as their poor mothers could make
Old Mr. Temple welcomed them, with Mrs. Mansfield's
help; and as every one was punctual, and nobody failed,
the tea was not kept waiting a minute.
How their eyes wandered over the table-those poor
little hungry ones! And some imagined that they
could eat up everything themselves there !
And the tea-it was not exactly what little children
who always have toys would have at a tea-party; but
it was very good, I can tell you. Roast beef, and
vegetables, and bread, and three or four huge plum-
puddings, with mugs of hot tea with plenty of milk
and sugar. And the children did eat!
Mr. Temple and Mrs. Mansfield were kept busy
serving all the time, and the cook was asked in to give
her help as well. And when every one had had enough,
Mr. Temple slipped into the dining-room, and lighted
all the candles on the tree, making the toys shine and
glitter as if they were all quite new. And then the
door was thrown open and the children invited in.
Oh, their little faces It would have done the children
who had sent the toys good to see them, and those
who were selfish and careless would have been perfectly
And when Mr. Temple, who enjoyed his pleasant
OLD MR. TEMPLE'S CHRISTMAS PARTY. 91
surprise as much as any one there, said, 'Little
children, there's a toy for each of you on this tree !'
they were too awe-struck to speak.
Then he told them who had sent the toys, and bade
them give three cheers for the children who had spared
And they cheered so lustily that the people next
door thought it was a fire !
Right on the top of the tree was a beautiful doll,
with real hair, and a pink frock and sash. Little
Polly's eyes saw it from the first; but she wouldn't
look much; for such a beautiful creature as that could
never come to her.
Mr. Temple reached down the toys and handed
them round, and when he unhooked Polly, the doll,
the real Polly turned away, she could not bear to
loolt; and when he read little Effie's. card aloud, and
said laughingly, 'If her name is Polly, she ought to
be given to a Polly;' and 'Here, Polly, take your
namesake,' Polly was speechless, and could not even
say, 'Thank you.' But he knew why it was, and
was satisfied. And then' Polly shut her eyes, and
clasped her treasure close, as if it were too much
And Benny? Yes, Benny actually had a set of tin
soldiers that some less selfish child than Edwin had
Well, well-the party was over. I cannot tell how
much the children, enjoyed it, nor how happy they
were; because no words ever could express the feelings
of these little children who had never had a toy before.
And old Mr. Temple had a beautiful dream that night,
and his darling Connie seemed to smile at him and
92 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
say, 'Dear grandfather, I'm so glad you've found
out that there are other children in the world besides
And little Effie? Well, she never knew what joy
and beauty her doll Polly brought into the real Polly's
life; but she had a beautiful Christmas herself; for
Christ our Lord Himself has said, It is more blessed
to give than to receive.'
A SPOILT PET.
HE black cat's home was over the wall; but
he was a good walker, and knew the
country well for ten miles round. He was
rather a Paul Pry cat, because he was
curious, and liked poking into his neighbours' affairs,
and finding out all about them.
What had worried him very much for the last year
was the garden over the wall, or, to speak quite correctly,
something in the garden.
The garden over the wall was a beautiful place,
especially on moonlight summer nights. There were
great spreading trees, and green shaven lawns, and
lovely flower-beds, over which the black cat and his
friends scampered in high glee, playing at Puss, puss
in the corner.
'Drat they cats! I'd lay poison for 'em,' said the
gardener in the day-time, when he found his flowers
broken, and the beds scrambled over, 'if'- But he
always shook his head at 'if.' There was a reason for
FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
The black cat, dozing in the day-time under the
kitchen stove, over his side of the wall, had never
heard the threat, as he never made his appearance in
the garden except at night-time, so he didn't care; but
he did care about the thing in the garden that he was
so curious about, yet had never been able to gratify his
curiosity concerning it. There was the smell of a
strange cat about that garden, he knew. There were
marks of a strange cat's paws, and nice dusty holes
where a strange cat had basked in the sun during the
day. He knew all the cats for ten miles round; but
these marks were none of those cats' marks. It made
him mad to think there was a cat next door that he
had never seen. And he knew better than to trust
himself in sight of that gardener in the day-time.
Sometimes at midnight he had walked round the
house that stood in the beautiful garden, and sniffed
about, and even given a persuasive mew, but no
answer had come. It puzzled him, and aggravated
him very much, because he was so curious.
If the gardener had finished his if' in the hearing
of the black cat, he would have found out something
of the secret. 'If it wasn't for Miss Persian.' The
gardener did finish his sentence, after scratching his
head a bit, and looking ruefully at his flower-beds-
and that cleared up the whole mystery.
If it wasn't for Miss Persian.'
As he said the words, Miss Persian herself came
down the garden walk slowly and statelily, with the sun
shining full upon her high-lifted, bushy tail.
Oh, you beauty !' said the gardener; we couldn't
lay poison on the chance of poisoning young and he
stooped to stroke her.
A SPOILT PET.
Miss Persian let him touch her as if it were a
favour, then proudly glided away with her long
fawn-coloured fur almost sweeping the ground, and
her beautiful brush of a tail lifted higher than
That evening, after sundown, Miss Persian sat in her
favourite nook on a cushioned seat in the arbour, when
the gate clicked, and a carrier boy carried a parcel up
to the side door.
Miss Persian watched him under her eyes.
'I hate boys,' she said to herself; 'they have great
nails in their boots, they always smell of shoe-leather
and twine. There, he's left the gate open, of
It was a great wooden gate that shut in the garden
beautifully with its high stone walls; but the carrier
boy, boy-like, had left it open, to Miss Persian's
'Careless creature!' she said; 'just like him-just
like all of them. I hate boys!'
And she began thinking of the time when the two
old ladies' nephews had come to spend a few days at
the house. She hadn't a very happy time of it then.
It was on account of these nephews she hated
The gate creaked again, something pushed it heavily
back, and a great shaggy dog, with its tongue lolling
out, marched into the garden as if it belonged to him.
His eyes fell on Miss Persian, and, with a low, deep
bark, he dashed into the arbour.
Poor Miss Persian She thought her last hour had
come. Almost paralyzed with fear, she scrambled up
the ivy that covered the arbour in a most undignified
96 FAIRY TALES AND TRUE.
way, and then on, on, higher and higher, into the
great ash tree, whose spreading branches made a shelter
from the sun over the little arbour where the two old
ladies loved to sit and work. Never had such a thing
happened to Miss Persian before; never had she
climbed so high till now; never had she felt more
undignified, or more indignant.
The great dog lolled out his tongue, and barked in a
laughing sort of way, as if he enjoyed frightening Miss
Persian; but as soon as she felt herself safe, and had
recovered from her fear a little, she looked down with
the greatest contempt at him, and growled in a low,
rumbling way, that somewhat astonished Mr. Doggie,
who was only used to common cats' spitting and
He gave one or two short, sharp barks, half delighted,
half disappointed. And Miss Persian, as soon as she
found herself safe, merely curled her great brush of a
tail over her front paws, and surveyed him with calm
Then they heard a low, long whistle, and Mr.
Doggie, with another short bark, rushed off at his
The barking had attracted the gardener's attention,
and he now came on the scene.
A dog's footmarks! Drat him! The gate left open,
Df course It's all they parcel boys. Why won't Mary
Jane tell 'em every time to shut it after 'em! Mary
Jane's a simpleton.'
Then he banged the gate hard till the latch clasped
tight, and went off muttering, with his hands in his
trousers pockets. He didn't know that Miss Persian
was up there in the ash tree.
A SPOILT PET. 97
'What a beautiful view!' said Miss Persian to her-
self; 'quite extensive I declare I never thought the
world was so large!'
She did not know much of the world,-not a quarter
as much as the black cat did. How could she ? When
she was quite a baby they had taken her from her
mother, and packed her in a little wooden box, with
holes at the top to let in air, and sent her a long
journey by train. And when she saw the light again,
she was in quite a different place, and two dear old
ladies with kind faces were bending over her, and offer-
ing her a saucer of delicious creamy milk, and crying
out, Oh, you beauty you darling little sweet oh, my
After that day Miss Persian's life had been all sun-
shine. She was pampered and petted, and, I'm afraid,
spoilt. You would think so, when I tell you she
never would drink milk unless it had a teaspoonful of
fresh cream in it.
She roamed all over the nice house, and slept on all
the drawing-room chairs, and knew every nook in the
beautiful, shady garden; but had never once been over
,Ae wall, because she was a bad climber,-in fact, she
was too lazy to try. The house and garden were her
world; no wonder she was astonished at the extensive
view from the ash tree.
I declare I'm obliged to that dog for frightening me
up here,' said Miss Persian. 'What an enormous
She was so entertained with looking about that the
time flew by, and the moon came out.
I ought to be going in,' said Miss Persian; 'there's
fish for supper to-night. But they'll have to come and