Mother Kate and the brownies


Material Information

Mother Kate and the brownies a Christmas story
Physical Description:
61 p., 8 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Heald, Sarah Elizabeth Washburn, 1820-1894 ( Author, Primary )
Sunshine Publishing Company ( Publisher )
Sunshine Publishing Company
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Work ethic -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fairies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Gardening -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1887   ( rbgenr )
Baldwin -- 1887
Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia


Statement of Responsibility:
by Sarah E. Heald.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
notis - ALH1773
alephbibnum - 002231397
oclc - 03226920
lccn - 2006573174
System ID:

Full Text


$ -4. t *j -#=. ~ ~ g 4
t -,- t -.. -.. ', '" -. T *. ,

-. -. 4 ,. 4 +

w r. ^ -^ *i r 4 -7- *

*) *-^ ^. -. t .4 4. 4- 4. b. -i' (Y -
,* -* I .- -- -. .. -I. -. . ,

-# 7 t 4 -- i1. -- t -

l 4- 4. I .. 4 L

4 '. *. .' *. -- A. 4 < -. "- -, .._ -* -
.. .. .- "- .- w*

-" -,. --. j. ,- "<- -" -- q ;.
.. .. -,. ,, *- .It- ** .-

-' -- -- --f--.--- !. ** '- ".*.- --

--- -- ... ,- -*- 9 r *-- t s- i -
_.. -.--w 4:- 7- 4- ... 4- i" + *y- '* "j"L. jL
4'.-- *- 4 t*- 4- <* 4-- ** *-

.:- 4- --- -.. -- --.4 -- 4. 4 .- -. B"

t' # 1 -'- t TheBaldw bray
^- -. 4 -. ^ 4- n X *
j ^m B-. -. -11
W L. ~- -

7 I- -. S--

__- s I -

s -ndrI _ek- his for/urn








.. .

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887,


In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

,Xy 1 2' ./ K. /


THIS little story was written for some dear
children, whom I have watched playing in the
woods and by the sea-shore.
They liked to play something that was "real;"
and, while they made little gardens and shops
filled with pretty pebbles, and rare moss, and
curious things, gathered by their busy hands, they
seemed more happy than with costly toys.
Might not many loving mothers utilize this
characteristic of children, and by the exercise of
a little art, at the same time they gave the
keenest enjoyment to their little ones, train them
in the way of good habits and industry?
S. E. H.





SNCE upon a time, a long while ago, an
Alsatian peasant, called Hans Andre, left
his home, his wife, and his little children,
to go a long way into a strange country
to seek his fortune.
Hans had been, not a rich man, but a "well-to-
do man, as the country folks say. But hard times
came, and few poor people could find work. So
wise Hans said to himself: I will not sit down idly
and see my children crying for bread; I will not go


tramping over the country, trying to find work and
learning bad habits; but I will go to some far-away
place, where there is plenty of work and plenty of
So Hans kissed his wife and children good-bye.
Katrine, the wife, like a brave little woman as she
was, dried her eyes and said: Don't worry about
us, Hans; but keep a good heart, and come home
again soon, for lonely we'll be without you."
"I'll come back again at Christmas, Kate-sure,
and hard I'll work to bring you a bag of gold for a
Christmas present."
So he gave Kate another hug, swung his little
bundle of clothes on his stout stick, over his shoul-
der, and started off with a quick step, whistling a
merry tune. But something seemed to make the
notes hoarse, and Hans often put his hand to his
eyes, as if he were brushing away a tear. But he
did not turn back, though Katrine and the children


stood watching him till he disappeared in the woods.
Then they all went into the cottage and sat down,
looking very forlorn.
Did I tell you they had a cottage? A very small
cottage, to be sure, but all their own. A bit of land,
too, that had once been a garden, but was now rough
and full of stones. That was all.
Nothing in the house but a wooden bench and an
old table, with a few spoons, and plates, and bowls.
One bed for Mother Kate and the little baby Carl
and the two little girls. The boys slept on the floor,
with only a blanket to keep them warm.
Never a cow, or a pig, or a chicken were to be
seen on the place.
Very forlorn they did look, to be sure, all in a row
on the bench, though it was not long enough for all
to sit down; Fritz and Felix and Rob had to sit on
the floor.
The mother's face was pale. The boys winked very


hard to keep the tears from their eyes. Sue and
Jennie, the two little girls, looked solemn, and as if
they did not understand, while baby Carl's big
eyes stared from one to the other, till, not liking
the sober looks, he drew up his little lip in such
a grieved pucker that his mother had to catch
him up and give him a kiss, or he would have
cried outright.
Then the mother said: "Come, boys, this will
never do. Where there's a will there's a way.' We
will be bright and happy, and see if we cannot con-
trive to live till the father comes back with his big
bag of gold. It's time to drive Farmer Hendrik's
cows home" (for Farmer Hendrik had promised them
a quart of milk every day if they would drive his
cows to the mountain pasture in the morning and
home at night).
That quart of milk had sometimes almost kept
them from starving; and they were rich indeed when


their father could get a day's work, and bring home a
bag of meal and a few potatoes.
Sue and Jennie shall get the sticks to make the
pot boil, and baby shall go with them, and while you
are all gone I will think what we will do."
So the girls made a saddle with their hands to
carry the baby, and soon he was sitting on the old,
dry grass, playing with acorns and pig-nuts.
The little girls ran merrily about, picking up dry
sticks and tying them in bundles of fagots to carry
home to make a bright fire in the cool evening.
The boys went off for the cows, and Katrine was
left alone to think and make her pudding.





1 UT the thinking was all finished; the "stir-
about," yellow and hot, was bubbling up in
the pot, and the blazing fire made the empty room
almost comfortable and very bright.
The girls had piled fagots enough for the morning
in the corner.
Baby wanted his supper, and Mother Kate was
counting his fingers and toes, over and over again,
till the little pigs in the story were tired of going
to market," and Carl added his wail to the "wee-wee"
of the poor little pig that "could not get over the
They were all glad to see Fritz coming at last
with the pail of milk.


How long you have been gone, my boys. You
forgot little Carl wants his supper."
No, motherling; but see what we have got!" and
Fritz showed his hat filled with corn and peas. "We
were just out of the pasture, and driving the cows
along the road, when the baker went by with his cart
full of bags. Two of his bags had got untied and
the corn and peas were running out. He did not
look around, so we called him to stop, and then he
got out and tied up his bags, and said if we would
come to his shop to-morrow morning he would give
us a loaf of fresh bread. We offered to pick up the
corn and peas that had fallen in the road, but he said,
'No; I am in a hurry to get home before dark.'
So we thought we would stop and pick it up for our-
selves-and see, we have all this."
The mother looked pleased, and took some of the
little shining kernels in her hand.
"Ah! I have a bright thought," she said; "but


first little Carl must go to bed; then we'll talk
about it."
When the supper was eaten-the hot pudding and
the little milk-and the baby fast asleep, Mother
Kate sat down and the children gathered around her.
"Now for my bright thought," she said. "I mean
these little seeds shall make our fortune. We will
plant them, boys. We'll make a garden-that is, if
you are not afraid of hard work."
"Who's afraid of hard work?" said Fritz, in a
tone of contempt. "Who's afraid of hard work?"
echoed Felix, while Rob, who always repeated what-
ever his brothers said, chimed in with Who's afraid
of hard work ?"
"Well done, my boys," said the mother. "Who's
afraid of hard work ?-not Mother Kate, to be sure.
So we'll begin bright and early to-morrow morning
to make our garden, and we will see if this old place
won't look as it did long years ago, when the old

I 1 i/, u ils M/ wild bo
*^ ''1 r ^ ^^^;i"1

i I. /^ r -'^ ^ ? ,'"' ;"
'~if "' *^s^ ^^ "

C-Wt^'^ 4' *t~l'^y*"* ^ ^^.A =::~'~^^ -'^'^- ~ s
^ -^^n^ ^- r^ T^~~~,. ^,- "' *- -/ ,Y ^
\V lleii /.il e w l o r


Hans wished to earn money so that they might
buy cows and sheep, and make the old cottage com-
fortable again. And this is why they came to be
living there all alone, and so poor, and yet having a
little home all to themselves.



oT1 HEN all was still in the room, and only
V the children's gentle breathing to be
heard, then the good little house-fairies" came
out-the brownies, that had lived in the nooks and
corners of the old house many and many a year,
helping the industrious and tidy, but playing sad
tricks with the idle and slatternly.
They had heard the fine plans of Mother Kate


and the children, as they peeped out from the holes
in the old chimney-corners. And now, that they
were all fast asleep, they came out and danced softly
on the warm hearth-stone.
They poked the coals together and blew them
gently, so that the room might be kept warm
through the chilly March night.
They went around to the little sleepers and tucked
in the blankets. Kate did not wake, but only dreamed
of poor Hans.
Then the brownies danced gayly around the room,
singing softly this little song:

We are the little house-fairies-
Many a long year
We've kept the hearth-fire burning
Ever bright and clear;
But the bad and idle
Drove us from our home,


So we left the cottage
Cold and bare and lone;
But good Kate,
Mother Kate,
Calls us back again.

So we'll help her make her garden,
Help her tend her flowers,
Watch and guard the hearth-stone
Through the darksome hours;
Cakes and bread ne'er burning,
Blight or mildew come,
Nor a wicked elfie
Dwell within the home
Of good Kate,
Mother Kate,
Who calls us back again.

Then the brownies held a grand council, sitting
around the coals: for fairies love the bright fire, the
pale moonlight, and the warm sunshine. So they


talked the matter all over, and resolved to help brave
Kate and her children.
"We'll loosen all the big stones," said one. Never
a worm or bug shall eat their vines." "All the
rain-drops and beads of dew shall be turned to the
roots of the corn, and beans, and potatoes," said the
others; and then they added: "We'll not forget that
Mother Kate's bread shall be always light, her cakes
never burn, and her puddings never boil over in the
And so these friendly little people talked and
danced till the day began to dawn, and Mother Kate
had opened one eye, and the boys had turned them-
selves over for the last time. Then they scampered
away as fast as possible.
The little pattering of their feet made Mother Kate
open the other eye, and wonder why so many mice
should be running about when there was so little for
them to eat-


grandfather lived in the cottage, and had as nice a
bit of garden as any in the country. It was the bad
uncle, with never a wife or child, who drank up all
the good things-the cows, and the ducks, and hens,
and pigs, and even the wee field of barley. Ah, but
it was a pleasant place once, and, please God, it shall
be so again. Now to bed, to be up with the larks in
the morning. I'll tell you an old country saying: 'The
fairies help those who work before the sun rises.' "


S~1 OW that they are all in bed, I will tell you
( how it happened that they were so very
poor, and yet owned this little place.
Many years before, Kate's grandfather had been
forester and gamekeeper for the lord who owned
the estate on which the cottage stood. It was many


miles to the castle, which stood quite on the other
side of a deep, thick wood.
One day the master had been hunting in the forest,
and, wandering away by himself, had been attacked
by a fierce boar.
He would surely have been killed (for his strength
was almost exhausted defending himself) had not
Willheim, the forester, heard his cries and gone to
his rescue. But even for him the boar was a hard
match, so large and fierce he was. However, he
managed to kill him at last. The master was grate-
ful, and gave him as a reward some land and this
cottage, which he had built on purpose for him. And
he gave it in such a way that it would always be
his, and his children's, and their children's. So,
although the wicked uncle could drink and waste
everything else, he could not sell the land or the
house. That stood all forlorn and dreary, to be sure,
but waiting for the good Kate to come and live in it.



S NLY a rosy tint in the east, and a line of light
Along the distant hills, when Kate, with an
old shawl wrapped around her, went out into what
was once the garden.
The boys soon followed, jumping around to keep
their bare feet warm, and hiding their cold hands in
the pockets of the old, worn trousers.
Not much like a garden did it seem, to be sure.
The brook that once was turned into a stone trough,
and again into a little pond, now found its way
directly through the middle of the garden, and briers,
and brambles, and dead branches blown from the
trees had almost covered the ground.


It was a cold morning, too-not much like weather
for making gardens.
Just in the middle of the brook you could see
water running, but under a blanket of thin ice; and
the muddy sand on each side had patches of white
ice wherever the water had collected.
The boys stuck their toes into the holes, and the ice
broke into a hundred pieces, dry and thin. Cold as
it was, it was great fun. Fritz, indeed, soon came back
to his mother's side. His toes had too much respon-
sibility to play: for was he not Mother Kate's "right-
hand man ?"
"0, motherling," he said, "sure, if the fairies
don't help us, we will never make a garden here."
"Wait a bit, my Fritz. The bright sun will soon
melt the ice and leave the ground soft and moist-
too wet it will be. I wish we could turn the brook,
or dam it up in the old pond. We must wait for
that awhile. Run now with the cows, and after

I I 'I


ri 4
- i -M VwdJ


breakfast we'll dig up the dry strip of land on top
of the bank to plant the peas. When the maple
leaves are as 'big as a mouse's ear,' then we will
plant the corn, and before that we will have a nice
dry place to put it."
When they all met in the garden again, after eating
their breakfast of pudding and milk, the sun was
shining bright and warm, and the ice was all gone.
The black, soft mud was just as good a play-ground
though, for it left the mark of the little feet and
toes pressed into it, and it was fun to see the water
gurgle up between their toes, and then disappear
when they took them away. But they had not come
there to play. No, indeed.
So the little ones were given the sticks and stones
to pick up and put in piles, while Fritz was to try
what he could do with his father's old spade.
Mother Kate put sticks in the corners of a long
strip of ground on the bank, which was high and


already looked dry and warm, as if it were saying,
"Give me the little seeds; I'll take good care of
them, see if I do not."
And so they all worked with a will. Fritz dug up
the dry ground with his old spade, and the others
piled up the stones. They found them all loose.
They thought it was the wet that made them so, and
the warm sun. But you and I know it was the good
little brownies that loosened them, poking their long
fingers in around them and pushing the hard dirt
You will hardly believe how soon that ground was
dug up and nicely smoothed, with not a stone or
stick to be seen.
To be sure, the little backs and arms ached, and
Mother Kate's head ached, too.





c-VT last they left the garden and new-made bed
to dry all night, and all went together into
the woods to get sticks for the evening fire.
The little girls picked a nice big handful of the
leaves of the spicy checkerberry, to make the mother a
cup of tea; but, best of all, Fritz found a rabbit in his
trap. Ah! I wish they might let him run away. But
the poor, little, tired, hungry children much needed
the nice "stew" Mother Kate would make for them.
Besides, would not the rabbits eat their peas and
corn when the first green leaves came up above the
ground? So into the pot must Bunny go; and I am
sure you would have thought it right if you could
have seen the little pale faces grow red and bright


as they ate the nourishing food. For, although milk
is nice, one quart among so many, with only a bit of
bread or a little mush, is not very strengthening.
They grew quite merry that evening around the
bright fire; and when at last they were fast asleep,
their good friends, the brownies, came out of their
holes in the fire-place and walked around among
them. They gently touched their rosy cheeks, and
nodded to one another: "This is quite another set of
children. We must often drive a rabbit into that



~N)ND so bright they were the next morning, too.
-A The peas were counted, and a little hole
made for each one in the nice bed they had dug.
The children, each taking their turn, dropped them


in as carefully and covered them as tenderly as if
they had been so many babies.
When the last one was hidden under the ground,
they took hold of hands, and danced around the bed,
singing this little verse, that the peasant children often
sing in planting-time:
Go down in the ground, pretty grain,
And sleep for a little while;
In fourteen days we'll come again
To see you peep out and smile,
With a little green feather
To shield from the weather-
Good-bye, little seeds.

We've made a bed both soft and deep,
And there you can safely stay;
The brownies watch over your sleep,
And drive bug and worm away,
Till you come creeping, creeping,
While we are sleeping, sleeping-
Good-bye, little seeds.




OR several days after the peas were planted no
more work could be done in the garden. The
brook was full of water, and it threatened not only to
wash the garden away, but the little old cottage also.
It tumbled along in a great rage, bringing so many
sticks, and stones, and dead leaves with it that poor
Mother Kate, as she looked out the window, gave
many a sigh, and puzzled her head trying to think
how she could persuade it to run another way, or
shut the water up again in its old pond-prison.
The boys were gone all day, sitting on the floor
of the farmer's big barn, sorting piles of potatoes that
were to be planted in the nicely plowed fields as soon
as the rain was over. And for every six bushels
sorted out and cut they were to have half a bushel.


When the potatoes were finished the corn was to
be shelled, and the beans, and turnips, and other
vegetables looked over.
Every night they carried home a little sack on
their back, well filled. They had many suppers of
baked potatoes and boiled turnips, besides putting
away plenty to plant.
Mother Kate would have a fine blazing fire to dry
their wet clothes, and while they sat around it in the
evening they told stories and laid plans for making
their garden, always ending with a wish that Hans
were with them, wondering where he was, and hoping
he would bring home plenty of money when he came.
When they laid down on their hard beds their sleep
was sound, for work and loving hearts will bring rest,
far sweeter than money and idleness.
And now I am going to tell you a wonderful thing
that happened to Mother Kate.





hHE rain was over and the sun shone hot on
the wet ground, as if it were angry. So the
drops of water and the slimy mud made haste to get out
of sight. Some went up in the air in a great smoke,
like steam, and some went down in the deep ground
and hid away among the stones and roots.
But all the bright sunshine could not show Mother
Kate, who stood looking at her garden, a way to keep
that troublesome brook within proper bounds, and
she knew, however small and gentle it might be in
pleasant weather, the first heavy rain would send it
tumbling about again. The peas were safe, to be
sure, on the high bank, but she could not trust her
potatoes and corn near such a deceitful neighbor.

'- 'i i' I. 'I
i 'I I '

-c r II,,


The queer old man.


So there she stood, quite forlorn, wondering what
she should do.
All of a sudden she heard some one speak, and,
turning round, saw a funny-looking old man by her
side, making queer bows and bidding her good-
He was a very short man, with a large head, and
ever so much bushy black hair. His shoulders grew
out almost in a hump. His arms were long and
strong, with big, black, broad hands. He had a
large bag on his back, filled with something that
seemed heavy, for he rested it upon a stump of a tree
while he was talking.
Kate was almost afraid of him, but his eyes were
blue and friendly, though they had black rings
around them, and his whole face looked as if it had
been in a coal-scuttle. So Mother Kate did not run
away, but bade him good-morning, and asked him
if he would not rest awhile, he seemed so tired.


"No, ma'am," he said; "I'm in a hurry-saw you
looking so worried like, I made bold to stop and ask
what was the matter." Mother Kate told him.
"Oh!-ah!-too much water-wants to be dammed
up-old pond up there-stones loose-I see-stones
heavy-Oh!" And the queer old man set his bag
down and went off to look, first at the pond, then at
the stone trough, turned upside down, and then at
the wet, muddy garden.
"Oh!--ah!-sad mess-wants some strong arms-
never mind-don't worry-good moonlight to-night.
Don't look out the window-mind-good-bye! And
he swung his big bag over his back again and walked
off into the woods, leaving Mother Kate in a great
wonder. But she could not help feeling a little
If the snow had not been so deep Hans could have
mended the pond and put the trough to rights; but it
was deep and cold when he came there, and not quite


all melted when he went away. He never thought of
having a garden at all. That was Kate's thought.
When the boys came, and Kate told them of her
strange visitor, there was great wonder and curiosity.
But they concluded it was best to do as they were
told; and so, as soon as it was dark, Mother Kate
pinned her apron up at the window.



Y HAT evening the stories were all about fairies,
a2 and brownies, and the queer people who live
in the dark forest; of the charcoal-burners and wood-
men who lived and toiled so far away from the rest
of the world, in the thick, dark, damp woods, so that
they seemed different from people upon whom the
bright sun shone.


At last they went to bed; but it was hard to go to
sleep, especially when they began to hear strange
sounds around the house. They pulled the blankets
tight around their heads, and tried not to be afraid,
and so at last got to sleep-all but Fritz, who
thought to himself: "I am large and strong. I am
not going to lie still and shiver. I shall just peep out
the corner of the window and see what all this noise
Then he crept softly to the window and lifted the
apron. In the bright moonlight he could see five or
six dark objects, like the man his mother had
described, running about and working busily among
the old stones.
Just as he was almost brave enough to open the
window and ask what they were doing, something
ran up his leg and gave his knee such a bite he almost
screamed with pain. He was frightened enough to go
quickly back to bed and lay still the rest of the night.


Fritz thought it was a mouse that had bitten him;
but you and I know it was one of the little "hearth-
fairies," who knew that little "brown men," who
work at night to help good people, do not like to be
watched. So he gave Mr. Fritz a bite that kept him
quiet the rest of the night.



"jp HEY were all up, you may be sure, with the
,., first dawn of day, and out in the garden.
Somebody had been at work there, certainly: for the
broken sides of the little pond were all mended, and
the stones laid up so nicely the water could not get
through, and it had already nestled in the bottom, as
if it were glad to get. back to its old home.


Then the stone trough was set right side up, on
two big stones, and the water was trickling into it
through a little pipe of birch bark.
There was a new place for the brook to go down
into the glen, where another brook was waiting for
it to run a race.
The old leaves and dead branches of trees had
been carried away. Only one long, black stick was
left, curling along on the ground. It had been so
covered with leaves they had never seen it before.
The children could not think why it was left, but
when Mother Kate saw it she knew it was a grape
See! it grows deep in the ground by the window.
Now, if we can manage to tie it up on the wall, by
and by we'll have plenty of grapes."
Then they saw, too, that the bushes were left all
along where the old wall used to run.
"Ah, see!-currant bushes, and perhaps black-


berry, and raspberry. Now we can have a garden-
that is, if we work hard, for the old bushes will need
a deal of digging around, and we must tie them up."
"What joy! Whatjoy!" said the children. But
who has done this for us ? Was it the little brown
men,' motherling ?"
It was the good Father who sent them. So we
will thank Him. Think of the nice things that will
grow here now, and no fear of being washed away
by the troublesome brook."



' vtOTHER KATE and her children worked
hard for many weeks after this, making and
planting their garden. Every corner of the little
spot was filled with something useful. Farmer


Hendrik was glad to let the boys have seeds and
roots for such little jobs as they could do. So their
garden was filled with many plants and herbs, besides
the berries that grew by the wall, and the strawberry
beds, that by and by would pay for all the trouble of
making them.
Then there was an old apple tree at the corner of
the house that bore a good many apples-not very
good, to be sure; but they were apples, and Mother
Kate made many nice dishes of them; and roasted
apples were always first rate," as Fritz said.
The long grape vine, with much trouble, was trained
over the side of the house, though Fritz was obliged
to climb on the roof of the low cottage, and fasten it
around the chimney besides. But when the leaves
came out it made the old cottage look very pleasant,
and Mother Kate said next year it would bear
But the weeding was the hardest. Even brave


I"' I' i


Comnghom frm Ik e fa rme rs.
,-; --S
__ ,. _- ., ,

v):I ': ; '

--j : o ,. ,

Coming" home from the f! rler's.


Fritz hated that. But Mother Kate watched, and
would not let them grow lazy in the hot days.
But if there were weeds-many weeds, too, thick
and strong-there were no bugs and worms to eat
the leaves of the young plants. Silently creeping and
hopping about among the nice vegetables, were many
little brown creatures, whose bright, black eyes saw
every worm and bug, and snapped it up before it
could get even a mouthful of breakfast.
Little Rob one day raised a stick to drive away an
" ugly old toad" that was going to spoil his cabbages,
but Fritz quickly caught his hand, and whispered:
"It is a brownie. lie is killing the bad worms, and
if you frighten him he will go away." So they all
worked hard together-brownies and boys.
Sometimes the biggest brownie, who lived under
the door-step, would come out just at night, and sit
and look at Mother Kate. Then she would go and
get a dipper of water and pour it gently on his back.


They were the best friends in the world-Mother
Kate and the brownies.
As the summer passed away, there was less to do
in the garden, and so the children wandered about in
the woods. They would get the wild flowers and tie
them in bunches to sell at the little town at the foot
of the mountain.
It was a long walk, to be sure, but these hardy
children did not mind long walks, and were well paid
if they could bring home a few pennies to add to
Kate's store. Berries and wild grapes, the leaves of
the checkerberry and its bright red fruit, and the bark
of the sassafras, they would find to sell.
So the store of pennies grew so fast, there was
great hope of a new gown for Mother Kate before
Christmas-perhaps shoes and warm coats.
Mother Kate knit many a pair of. stockings
and mittens with yarn bought with some of this


But when the nuts ripened in the fall they were
busy indeed. Mother Kate would go with them to
distant places in the woods, for she was afraid they
would get lost if they went alone.
Many a big bag of nuts did they carry home.
Often they found them heaped up in sly places, as if
some one had piled them there on purpose to save
the children the trouble of running around. If they
had thought to look up in the trees they would have
seen more little brown creatures watching them. The
brownies kept their word, and helped good Kate and
her children.
Once, after they had wandered a long way in the
forest, they heard the sound of some one chopping
trees, and when they had gone a little farther they
could look down into a deep valley. They saw
smoke coming up from little heaps of dirt on the
ground, and a number of little men running about,
tending the fires, and bringing the wood. Such black


faces, and hands, and clothes, and such a wild place,
they had never seen.
But Mother Kate was not afraid, for one of the
men looked like the queer old man who had talked
so kindly to her about the garden. She told the
children they were charcoal-burners; but Fritz
remembered the time he peeped out the window and
got that terrible bite, and he thought they were
They went softly away, and Fritz was glad when
they were safely at home.





T last the cold weather came, and there was
S_ no more working in the garden-no more
flowers or nuts to gather. Cold winds swept through
the forest, blowing all the leaves from the trees and
whirling them about, until at last, tired with such a
wild dance, they nestled down and went to sleep in
the hollows, or under the rocks and old logs.
Mother Kate was busy enough trying to make the
cottage snug and warm for the long winter. She
stopped up all the cracks with moss. All the vege-
tables from the garden had been carefully stored
away in the cellar, and strings of dried apples, and
pumpkins, and crook-necked squashes, and bunches
of onions, hung from the beams in the kitchen.


But Mother Kate was most anxious of all that a
big pile of fagots should be brought from the woods.
She knew how deep the snow would be in a little
while, and that it would be so cold they could not go
out in the woods to gather sticks. So, as long as the
snow did not come, they went every day into the
forest and brought home bundles of fagots. It was
hard work, and the little fingers and bare toes often
ached with the cold.
But Mother Kate dreaded the long winter and the
deep snows that would shut them up so long in their
mountain home. But she would not worry about it.
Besides, they hoped the father would come back at


I I ,

*1.. I'

lv -: -.-S K ^

^ ^^ -,: ^ 'J '^ y'^

The B i
Th rwisa ok




Y iNE day Mother Kate took all the pennies out
of the old pitcher and counted them. There
was quite a big pile, and she thought a long time
what she should buy with them.
They needed a great many clothes to keep them
\warm, but, alas, the pennies, though they seemed so
many to the children, Kate knew would only buy a
Warm tippets, and jackets, and shoes there must be
for big boys, who would have to go out every day in
the cold. Some flannel for baby Carl. His mother
made his shoes of birch bark, and slippers for herself
to wear in the house, so that her shoes might be kept
for going out doors.


Would the pennies buy these things, and more yarn
to knit in the winter, and perhaps an apron for Sue
and Jennie ? She was afraid not. But the next day
she would go down the mountain with Fritz and try
what she could do.
They started early in the morning, for it was a
long way to the little hamlet, although it seemed
near-very near-as they stood on the platform of
rock and grass, before the path began to go down
the steep side of the mountain.
The road wound round and round, and went over
many high rocks, and on the edge of steep precipices.
It took them a long time, and the sun was near the
noon-mark when they reached the foot of the
Fritz carried a little bag of nuts, which Kate had
saved for the children of the good Pere, for they had
sometimes, in the long summer days, come down to
the little church, and the Pere always spoke kindly


to Mother Kate and her children, and never failed to
ask if she had heard from Hans. Once, indeed, he
had climbed the steep mountain with his two boys
to Kate's cottage, that he. might know where she
So they went first to the little parsonage to leave
their nuts. The good Pere and his wife came out to
speak to Kate, and asked her to sit down and rest.
They were given a cup of milk and some cakes, and
glad were they of the food, especially Fritz.
"And have you heard from Hans yet? and will
he not soon come home?" said the Pere.
"Please God, at Christmas, your reverence; but
we have no tidings yet."
"Ah! and the cold weather coming. Can you live
through the winter, Kate?"
Mother Kate told him how she had stored vege-
tables, and gathered wood from the forest. "Good
Farmer Hendrik will let us have milk for caring for


the cows, and my boys earn a little now and then
besides. But the clothes do wear out so fast. I've
come to-day with a little money we have saved to buy
some cloth and yarn. Ah! we shall do very well, I
doubt not," said Mother Kate, cheerily.
"Brave Kate," said the pastor's wife, "you will:
for He who keeps the birds and the squirrels in your
woods will take care of you and your children. Look,
I have a little gift for you. See, it is a nice, warm
dress, only a little worn; and this bundle of gar-
ments my children have outgrown, and they have
put some of their books and toys in the bundle, too.
Doubtless some of your children can wear the
clothes, and will like the books."
"Oh!" said Mother Kate, "I thank you-indeed I
do." And the tears ran down her cheeks as she told
them how glad and grateful she was, and how she
could now buy the shoes and jackets for the boys,
who-would have to go out so much in the cold storms.


And that night, as she and Fritz went climbing up
the steep mountain-side, they forgot how tired they
were and how heavy the bundles, they were so glad
and thankful.
There was joy that evening as they sat by the fire
and looked over the nice things the kind pastor's
wife had given them. Fritz could read very well,
and he read a story to them from one of the books.
Sweetly and soundly they slept that night, dreaming
of their gifts, and of Christmas-for then, as Mother
Kate had said, "please God, the father will come
And poor Hans-was he too thinking of home and
of Christmas ?





E ITTERLY cold was the weather now, and
2 every week the snow grew deeper and
deeper. Now and then there would come a bright,
sunshiny day, when the distant mountains were
almost dazzling with rosy light, that softened and
deepened as the shadows crept slowly up their sides
and lingered in the beautiful "after-glow," as the
sun disappeared behind their distant summits.
Mother Kate and the children would go out on the
broad rock, in front of the cottage, to see the beauti-
ful picture; and sometimes they could hear the bells
down in the hamlet, or a shepherd's horn sound-
ing across the valley from some distant mountain or
rocky cliff.


On these days, too, they would go a little way into
the wood to bring home branches that had been
blown off. It was so cold the snow would bear
them very well; but often they were obliged to stay
in the cottage all day-all, at least, but the two oldest
boys. The storms did not often keep them from the
farmer's barn, where there was plenty of work for
them to do.
Mother Kate was always busy, and would not let
even the little ones be idle. She taught them to
make mats of the soft corn-husks that Fritz would
bring them from the corn-huskings. The inner
husks, that were folded so carefully around the ears of
corn, were soft and white, and the little fingers soon
learned to braid them even and tight. After the
long strips were wound round and round, and sewed
with coarse thread, they made nice, useful mats.
In the evening Kate would light one of their pine
knots, and stick it in a hole in the old chimney, and


that, with the blazing fire, made light enough for Kate
to sew or knit, and Fritz to read. The others would
work at little tasks, or lie on the warm hearth and
They had learned to work steadily in the garden
all through the long summer, and now they loved
work, and it was to them what play would be to
other children. But in the evening they might do
as they pleased, and so they were trying to make
Christmas presents.
The boys were working on a chair for the mother.
They were making it of roots and crooked branches,
which they had well dried in the sun. They were
ambitious to put rockers upon the chair. They were
sure they could do it, and also make small chairs for
the little girls, and a bedstead for little Carl. And
surely they did, for they were patient workmen.
The rocking-chair would tip on one side; but, by
sitting down carefully and not rocking too hard,


(;ettinu ready /br (.h,-ri 'm/ 's.


it would go very well, and was, as Mother Kate said,
"ever so much better than the hard bench."
The small chairs, too, were finished; and if the
legs were a little uneven, and sometimes let the little
folks tumble on the floor, it was all the more fun.
As for the little bedstead, when Mother Kate had
made a soft bed of moss and husks, and stuffed the
little pillow with the feathers of the birds they some-
times found dead in the woods, Carl slept all night in
it without waking, and that was the best praise it
could have.
They made whistles of the hollow elder-berry-
whistles that would sound long and loud-and pin
boxes filled with long, sharp thorns from the thorn
bushes, which were the only pins they ever had.
Pretty baskets of cones they made and filled with
moss and ferns, and these made the room so pleas-
ant they did not mind bare floors and scanty furni-


But they had many plans for another year, when
the garden would give them more fruit and vegeta-
bles, and when they hoped to keep hens, and perhaps
a goat. The boys would be larger and could earn
more money-and 0! if the father would but come
home with money enough to buy a cow-then they
would be rich indeed.



(HjHE day before Christmas, Fritz and his
>_j brothers went out in the woods for a
Christmas tree: for poor indeed must the children be
in that country if they could not get at least a green
branch for a Christmas tree.
But Fritz's tree was so large it took all the boys to


drag it home over the sno\, and Mother Kate besides
to help stand it up in a corner. It had to stand in the
corner, for it would not stand anywhere else without
tumbling down. So they put it in a corner near the
fire-place, and little Carl immediately crept under the
branches, looking so funny, as if he were a big
Christmas doll.
But there were no dolls or gay toys for these
children, and they could not go to sleep and wake up
in the morning to find their tree loaded with candies,
and swectmeats, and beautiful toys, as some children
do. They just hung their own little gifts upon it
-things they had made themselves.
Mother Kate popped some corn, and strung it on
thread, and hung it from one branch to another, and
tied on a few red apples, and, best of all, brought to
put upon it the new socks and mittens-two pair of
stockings and one pair of mittens for each child-
that she had knit.


Sue and Jennie filled some small cone baskets
they had made with nuts, and hung them on
the tree, while the boys tied their whistles and pin
boxes to it.
They all helped to trim the branches with bunches
of red winter-berries, with their shining green leaves,
and dried grass, and ferns, and red and yellow leaves,
together with the white flower they called "live-for-
ever," because they found it all summer in the grass,
and in the winter in the hay, and always looking
fresh and white.
So their Christmas tree was as bright as many
that cost much money; and, although there were no
wax candles to light it, it stood so near the fire that
the light shone on it and made it bright.
The new chairs were close to it, and Mother Kate
sat in hers, while the children danced around her and
sung their Christmas hymn.




This little hymn we children sing
To Christ, the Saviour dear,
For He was born on Christmas day,
The happiest of the year.

Far down the vale we hear the chime
Of bells so loud and clear,
And sweetly sound at Christmas-time
Soft voices in the air.

His star shines bright, o'er Bethlehem's plains,
While angel voices sing:
"Joy to the world-the Christ has come,
And peace and love He brings."

"Then wreathe the holly, twine the bay,"
And light the tapers bright;
Ring, bells, with all your sweetest tones,
For this is Christmas night.

No happier or merrier children could there be in
all the land. So Mother Kate thought, and she gave
a little sigh, that poor Hans could not see them too.
And when the fire burned very low, and the children


were all asleep, out came the brownies on the warm
hearth; and they danced, too, and chirped and sung
very low. Then they ran all over and under the
Christmas tree, smelling and tasting the apples and
nuts. They made merry until the light came creeping
in the windows, and Mother Kate began to wake.
Then they all ran away and hid among the warm
bricks of the chimney and hearth. They were glad
of all the joy, and felt they had helped to bring about
the nice, cheerful times in the dreary, old house.


1OTIHER KATE would not feel sad in the
S( morning, either-the Christmas morning-
but got up early and made the mush for breakfast;
and, because it was that morning, she baked a little

I :-- r -- r *^ 't'
I^r -r -. _

L i- ii

Trimming ti,. (Christmas Tree.


cake, and roasted some apples before the fire, for a
treat. Then she tied up a bundle for the farmer's
children-the good farmer who had always been so
kind to them-a few nuts in a basket of cones, and
whistles, and two of the largest and best mats.
They all walked a little way with Fritz and Felix.
It was a clear, cold morning, and the snow sparkled
as if little diamonds had been scattered over it. They
could hear the church bells down in the valley; but
Kate was afraid to go down the mountain to church,
it was so cold and icy. So they soon turned to go
back to the nice, warm fire.
When they came in sight of the cottage, Mother
Kate saw that some one was sitting on the door-step-
a man with a bundle by his side. Now Kate could not
see so far away who it was, and she thought it must
be the queer little man who often stopped to speak
with her as he went by, and who had done her many
a good turn, she was sure. But when he raised his


head from his hands, she saw that this was a tall, large
man, not at all like the friendly dwarf. And then
Mother Kate knew it was Hans. The children could
not think what was the matter when she began to run
so fast with Carl in her arms.
But soon they shouted: "The father has come!"
"The father has come!"
Yes, it was Hans-poor, tired Hans, who had trudged
many a weary mile through the cold and snow, that
he might keep his word to Kate, and spend the Christ-
mas day with his children.
Poor, tired Hans-but no longer sick and forlorn.
He was strong'and well; and, if ihe had not brought a
big bag of gold, he had earned something, and, best
of all, he had found a place where he could work all
the time, and in their own forest, too(, among the
charcoal-burners-"And good, friendly people they
are, my Kate." Ah! was not this good news?
Soon the boys came home, tugging between them


such a big turkey-Farmer Hendrik's present to the
I could not tell you half the joy of that day-how
they showed Hans all their wonderful improvements.
He was so astonished, and pleased, and thought
never was such a fine Christmas tree, or such good
children in the whole land, or such a wise woman as
Mother Kate.



i i "

S .. .. ..

". i .. ". -4. *.. ", 1

N 4 -.. "c *. ,- *I- 4 I ". "
,, .. 4. .. .. *

C .1 ,' ... ,* . *. *, i, .. ..

-, 11 ,- *A .. 1- *. -,
S ... 4 .. .. '. .- .'. t. '*. -
1 L- ;. 4' 4 *.- I'. *- t -4 ; 4

. .. *.. A 4 .. .. 4. ".

-* ,. ., -. ,,.r... -.. q. ..
S. *' i .4. .4. .4.- -4 *4- 4 '- t

.. *4, *.. 4 .. 4*. '. ..,

', 4 ... -- -4' "? .9. 4 -I. ., p .4 -

.4, ,.. .4. ... 4 .. .. __-

.l. *4.. .. 4 C, .*4. .4 '
+ t*(. < I4. *- s. 4- .* 4- -- 4d

4. 3. .,. *. .- -f .. w, -.- p .. .

*I 4 .. -* -. ,_.. .. I- .
4 .4,. ., -, t, ,4 .- 1 *' -- *,..- -.4. -

.. ^ -.. p. *.. .

4 r -*. -< *. .#t 4- -- 4

.;-.. ..- .- *-., -. 4- . -i ,L

--- A t:-- ^ -* 4p. "^ ..