Front Cover
 Title Page
 The young donkey
 The little gooseherd
 Back Cover

Group Title: Bessie's country stories
Title: The young donkey
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055073/00001
 Material Information
Title: The young donkey illustrated
Series Title: Bessie's country stories
Physical Description: 64 p. : ill. ; 12 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Miller, Thomas, 1807-1874
Sheldon & Company (New York, N.Y.) ( Publisher )
Boston Stereotype Foundry ( Electrotyper )
Publisher: Sheldon
Place of Publication: New York
Manufacturer: Boston Stereotype Foundry, electrotypers
Publication Date: 1870
Subject: Intergenerational relations -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Misers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Peasantry -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Older people -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Donkeys -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1870
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Thomas Miller.
General Note: Contains prose and verse.
General Note: Added series t.p., engraved.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055073
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002447039
notis - AMF2293
oclc - 30836177

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The young donkey
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    The little gooseherd
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text

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Bessie's Country Stories.







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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern
District of New York.

Electrtyped at the
No. 10 Spring Lane.

The T@Tg DEoney.

SHE donkey which you see
standing knee-deep in the
long grass and fern, and
watching intently the girl
and boy who are making its little
foal look quite smart with a wreath
of flowers and a red handkerchief,
has great cause to be suspicious, as
it lost its foal for full a fortnight,
and went everywhere it could think
of in search of it, for miles round
the Common on which they grazed.
Now, it so happened, that one day


a parcel of boys, who were out for
their half holiday, having come from
the school in the village where you
see the old church tower, commenced
chasing the donkey and foal on the
Common; and having caught the
mother, they had a ride on her back,
just so long as she pleased to carry
them, and not a moment longer;
for no sooner had she made up her
mind that she would not carry one
of them a yard farther, than down
went her head, and up went her
hinder legs, and off -the boy shot,
where she left him sprawling on the
greensward, amid the laughter of
his companions. The pretty foal
they did not chase, for they were


not cruel boys, but fed it with cakes
and other good things they had
bought out of their pocket-money.
Nor were they so unfeeling as to
attempt to get on its back, well
knowing that it was not strong
enough to carry even the least boy
amongst them. There was scarcely
a ,boy but what had mounted the
old donkey, and been thrown, even
those who were artful enough to
throw their arms round her neck;
for she had a knack of almost raising
herself upright, when she got her
head under her fore feet, and her
hind legs in the air. She was not
a vicious donkey, and the boys
believed.that she quite enjoyed the


fun of throwing them over her
head, as much as they did that of
seeing one another thrown for the;
soft turf of the Common was like
an air cushion to fall on. Still, it
was tiring work for the old donkey;
and when she lay down at night,
she fell asleep without any rocking,
I can tell you, and slept so soundly
that she never missed her foal, when
it got up to stretch its long legs,
and look about in the twilight, per-
haps to see if it could find anybody
to feed it with more cakes.
There was a little market town
about four miles from the village
you see- marked out by the square
church tower in the picture; and


one little old woman, who had been
to market to sell her butter and
eggs, stopped to have a dish of
tea" with another old woman, whom
she had supplied with half a pound
of butter a week for many long
years. Having known each other
so long, you may be sure they found
plenty to talk about, for they were
great gossips. Who was ill, and
who was well; who had got up in
the world, and who had gone down;
who was going to be married, and
who was going to be buried; how
this baby got over the measles, and
that got through cutting its teeth;
how bad Billy's ringworm had been;
and how Sally wouldn't be pitted at


;all after the small-pox; and how
ithe drnuken tinker had been beating
his wife again, and much more of '
:similar nature, -kept them so long
over their tea, that when the old
butter-woman turned round to look
at the clock, she could hardly see
what time it was, without getting
out of her chair, and going up to
see at what figures the clock hands
pointed. "Bless my heart alive! "
exclaimed the little old butter-
woman, tying on her bonnet.
"Why, it's getting dark, and I've
got about four miles to walk, and
two of them over that great lone-
some Common, where one seldom
sees a soul, unless it be a gypsy.


I must stir my old stumps and be
off, and I thank you kindly for the
nice dish of tea you have made me."
So saying, she fastened her shawl
with a great pin, and away she went-
with her butter-basket on her arm,
and the few groceries and other
things in it, which she had purchased
out of the money she had received
for her butter and eggs.
Now, old as she was, she had
wasted a good deal of time in
gossiping, much more than she
need have done, and had taken two
more cups of tea than she would
have taken had she made tea for her-
self at home in her little thatched:
cottage: the consequence was, it


was nearly quite dark when she
reached the Common, and she
couldn't see a tree, nor a bush,
until she was almost near enough to
run the end of her poor old nose
into them. She passed a rookery,
and heard a rook and his wife
quarrelling, because he had, in
turning himself, nearly pushed his
old woman out of the nest. The
noise they made had awakened their
neighbors, who had poked their
black heads over the edges of their
nests and threatened to get up and
pitch into 'em, if they kicked up
such a row, disturbing the baby
"I hope there's nothing amiss up


there,". said the old butter-woman
to herself; "it's so dark, and they
speak such an unknown tongue,
that there's no knowing what they
are saying, nor what they are
talking to; they almost make me
tremble at times, even when it's
daylight, as they look out at me
from the corners of their wicked
eyes. 0, deary me, what's that?"
It was the donkey's foal, who,
having heard her footsteps on the
Common, came trotting behind her;
and though she could hear well
enough, it was too dark to see, and
every time she stopped to turn
round and look, it stopped, and
when she moved on again, it moved


"It's nothing human," said the
old woman to herself, while she was
all of a tremble; "it has too many
feet for that. Happen it's the same
A-polly-onion that smelt so strong
of fire and brimstone, and stopped
Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress,
when he had to fight it. What can
a poor old woman do? If I had
the courage to bang my butter-
basket about its head, why one of
its sharp horns would run into it,
and there it would stick. I'll try
to say my prayers, and not think
about it." The little old butter-
woman remembered that to pray
becomingly she must kneel down;
and then she thought that, while


kneeling, that which was behind her
might come up and leap on her
back, and so carry her off without
her once seeing what it was like;
Still she thought it would be better
to be carried away while praying,
than any other way; so down she
knelt in the middle of the footpath:
that led across the Common. While
she said her prayers, the little foal
didn't stir a step, but stood as still
as a mouse when it is peeping out
of its hole, and;sees a cheese-paring
on the floor, almost. within reach,
yet is not, sure whether the cat is-
on the lookout or not.
No sooner had she said Amen,"
risen from.her knees,.and jogged on


a few steps again, than she heard
the same trot-ti-ty, trot-ti-ty"
behind her, and this time she felt
certain that it sounded nearer than
it had done before.
"I can't have prayed aright,"
said the little old butter-woman,
" and I haven't confessed my sins,
which our parson says we must do,
if we hope to obtain forgiveness.
I am a very wicked old woman. I
sold Nanny Nettleship six penny-
worth of eggs, and told her they
were fresh-laid when they weren't;
for my brown-speckled hen had been
sitting on them, and had forsaken
her nest, and I greatly fear there
was an unhatched chicken inside


every egg; and she said she had to
throw all her pancake batter away
when she broke them up into it.
"0, I am a very wicked old
woman, though I only got sixpence !
And I mixed lard with that last
churning of butter, and told my
customers that my cow had been
feeding on daisies and lilies of the
valley, and that was why my butter
was so white. And now, Garden
Angel, please don't let A-polly-onion
carry me off this time, and I'll never
sell any more addled eggs for new-
laid ones, nor mix lard with my
butter. Never I world without end.
"Now," thought the little old


woman, it will be very hard lines
to be carried off after making a
clean breast of it, for I don't know
anything else I've done wrong,
unless it be paying the butcher that
bad sixpence, which Nanny Nettle-
ship paid me for the bad eggs, and
which I couldn't give her back
when I found they had spoilt all her
pancakes. If I was but across the
Common, and had shut the great
white gate behind me, I shouldn't
feel so much frightened as I do, for
I should soon be near the church,
and I might run into the porch and
sit down there, for evil spirits don't
often go to church, I believe, though
we are all evil spirits, so far as


that goes; but they don't go with
their prayer-books in their hands;
at least, we don't see 'em."
She mustered courage to stop and
look back once more, and her eyes,
- now inured to the gathering
darkness, and better able to see
objects through it than any one
would be just coming out of a
lighted room, had a dim view of
the foreshortened outline of the foal,
as it stood still before her, its long
ears sticking up like two great horns;
the form of its large head visible
and projecting out over its chest, as
never did human head, in imagina-
tion or picture.
0, deary me, it's very shocking,


and my poor old husband will be
expecting me to get his supper ready,
and I shall perhaps soon be miles
high, sitting between its horns, with
my butter basket on my arm, and
my groceries of no use where I am
going, for I don't suppose they make
tea up there? 0, how I wish I
was home, and seated in my arm-
chair, with my spectacles on, and
my good Holy Bible before me, I
would never sell any more addled
eggs for new-laid ones, nor tell
stories about the pretty flowers that
don't wash nor iron, nor toil nor
spin; nor never pay away another
bad sixpence when I really knew it
was a downright bad one. But it's


coming nearer, and I'll have a run
for it; once get the white gate open,
I'll leave it on the full swing, and it
may knock the evil thing down,
should it come up, while the gate is
So off she set, full run, and after
her the little foal came full trot. She
pulled open the great white gate
that shut out the Common, and sent
it back with all her strength, caus-
ing it to swing to and fro, over the
catch and back again several times
without the "sneck catching in the
hollow cut that held it fast. "I'm
all right, praise to my Garden
Angel," said the old woman, now
aloud; "the gate has knocked it


down, and I feel quite fresh again
after that last bit of a prayer." And
on she ran, faster than ever: but no
sooner had the gate stopped swing-
ing and closed with a loud snap,
than she again heard the same foot-
steps following her, and now seem-
ing closer than ever, showing that
whatever it was, it had passed safely
through the gate. Still the little
old woman kept on running, though
she blowed like a pair of bellows
without a spout, and felt a stitch
coming in her side, and had lost
one of her shoes, and the pin out
of her shawl, and was forced to
hold it with one hand to keep it on,
while "pitty-pat, pitty-pat" came


the little foal behind her closer than
ever. On she went down the vil-
lage street, neither shouting nor
shrieking, for she felt she hadn't
strength for that; past the light that
fell across the road from the black-
smith's forge, through the glow
thrown from the scarlet curtain
drawn over the parlor window of
the Old Red Lion; then she came
to her dear old cottage, saw a light
at the window, hit the door with
her basket, called out John!
John and sank down before the
Old John came to the door with
his spectacles on, his short pipe in
his mouth, and the candle in his


hand, and great was his surprise to
find his old wife lying before the
door all doubled up like a bundle
of clothes somebody had thrown
down in a hurry, while behind her
stood the pretty little foal, looking
amazed, as if it couldn't make it
out nohow.
O, John, help me up I've had
such a fright! something so dread-
ful followed me all the way across
the Common, and I heard it close to
me when I called on you," were the
words the old butter-woman uttered,
one at a time, and with many a
long pause and groaf between.
"Why, thou'rt a deal more
scared than hurt, my old wench,"


said her husband, helping her up;
" it seems the little foal that's stand-
ing there had taken a fancy to thee,
as almost all dumb things do.
There isn't much to be scared at in
that, is there?" and he went up
and patted it on the face, while it
rubbed its head against him; and
the old woman looked very foolish,
for she saw at a glance that it was
the same she had looked at when she
turned round and it stood foreshort-
ened, as painters call it, full before
her, with its ears up, just before she
set off running.
0, how silly I've been !" said the
old butter-woman, making prom-
ises I would never sell any more stale


eggs, nor never again do this, that,
and the other. Why, I declare, I've
been a greater donkey than that
little thing which scared me so !"
"Keep thy good promises, my
old wench, then thou wilt not be so
easily scared in future," said her
husband. "I told thee at the time
it was very wicked to sell Nanny
those eggs that had been sat upon.
It's quite bad enough to injure any
one through a mistake, and when
we don't intend it; but to do so
wilfully, and for gain, is downright
wickedness; and if something had
come to thee, and followed thee across
the Common, that oughtn't to come
near a Christian, instead of this


pretty little ass's foal, why thy own
conscience must have told thee that
it was nothing more than thou de-
served; and it did so, I'll be bound.
The kettle is boiling, and a dish of
tea will do thee a world of good
after such a fright; so go in and
make thyself one, while I put up
this little foal in the cow-house, and
make up a bit of a bed for it, and
give it some supper. It will be all
right, as Crumpeltyhorn is out at
Now, the little foal became so
great a favorite that the old woman
used to let it come into the cottage
and feed it out of her hand; and
though she soon found out who was


the right owner, she did not want
to part with it; and that was why it
was missing for a whole fortnight.
Then, as people will gossip in a
country place, it soon became known
how frightened the old woman had
been, and what she had done when
it followed her across the Common
in the dark, and all about the addled
eggs, and the bad sixpence, and the
lard; for her husband said a confes-
sion was nothing unless everybody
knew it; and as he was a good old
man, and did not approve of the
things his wife had done, he talked
about them, as he said, "to shame
her, and make her better."
And I must tell you that it is


our evil conscience which accuses us
when we have done wrong, and
makes us fancy a-many things which
we feel we deserve, though they
may not happen to us; and this it
was that caused the little old butter-
woman to believe that something
evil was following her, though it
proved to be only an ass's foal. As
to ghosts, and such-like things,
coming to frighten people, such
tales are all stories, though we be-
lieve in the existence of the soul in
a future state, as we do in heaven
itself; but there is something too
grand and godlike in a spiritual
existence, to be degraded to such
purposes as we read of in ghost


And now I must tell you that my
story of the Donkey's Foal is
founded on a poem by Robert
Bloomfield, who wrote The
Farmer's Boy," and that he called
it The Fakenham Ghost; and my
reason for telling the story as I have
done, is, that he keeps the secret of
the foal to the end of the poem, and
tries to make you believe all through
that it was a ghost or a goblin
which followed the old woman.
Very simply and very prettily does
Bloomfield tell the story in poetry;
and as I should like you to read it,
I have here printed it, in justice to
his genius, though I disapprove of
the little foal being made a goblin


of, and wish you had been let into
the secret at the beginning, so that
you might commence it by laughing
at the fears of the old woman.


THE lawns were dry in Euston Park-
Here truth inspires my tale, -
The lonely footpath, still and dark,
Led over hill and dale.

Benighted was an ancient dame,
And fearful haste she made
To gain the vale of Fakenham,
And hail its willow shade.

Her footsteps knew no idle stops,
But followed faster still,
And echoed to the darksome copse
That whispered on the hill, -


Where clamorous rooks, yet scarcely
Bespoke a peopled shade;
And many a wing the foliage brushed
And hovering circuits made.

The dappled herd of grazing deer
That sought the shades by day,
Now started from her path with fear,
And gave the stranger way.

Darker it grew; and darker fears
Came o'er her troubled mind,
When now a short quick step she hears
Come patting close behind.

She turned: it stopped nought could she
Upon the gloomy plain !
But as she strove the sprite to flee,
She heard the same again.

Now terror seized her quaking frame;
For when the path was bare,
The trotting Ghost kept on the same!
She muttered many a prayer.


Yet.once again, amidst her fright,
She tried what sight could do;
When, through the cheating glooms of
A monster stood in view!

Regardless of whatever she felt,
It followed down the plain!
She owned her sins, and down she knelt,
And said her prayers again.

Then on she sped, and hope grew strong,
The white park gate in view;
Which, pushing hard, so long it swung
That Ghost and all passed through.

Loud fell the gate against the post-
Her heart-strings like to crack:
For much she feared the grisly ghost
Would leap upon her back.

Still on, pat pat, the goblin went,
As it had done before; -
Her strength and resolution spent,
She fainted at the door.


Out came her husband, much surprised, -
Out came her daughter, dear, -
Good-natured souls! all unadvised
Of what they had to fear.

The candle's gleam pierced through the
Some short space o'er the green;
And there the little trotting sprite
Distinctly might be seen.

An ass's foal had lost its dam
Within the spacious park,
And simple as the playful lamb,
Had followed in the dark!

No goblin he, no imp of sin;
No crimes had ever known:
They took the shaggy stranger in,
And reared him as their own.

His little hoofs would rattle round
Upon the cottage floor;
The matron learned to love the sound
That frightened her before.


A favorite the Ghost became,
And 'twas his fate to thrive:
And long he lived and spread his fame,
And kept the joke alive.

For many a laugh went through the vale,
And some conviction too;
Each thought some other goblin tale,
Perhaps, was just as true.



SAR behind that rising
ground, overspread here
and there with low shrubs,
and beyond the trees and
the brown road, which stretches to-
wards the opening of the sky seen
in the picture, lies a low, marshy
expanse of land which you cannot
see, covered with acres upon acres
of goose-grass, so called, because it
is the favorite food of geese. That
little girl, with the branch in one
hand and a pitcher in the other, in
which she carries the milk that is

- ,- .- -- .....

. .



allowed her for the day, is employed
to mind the geese all day long
while they feed in the wild marshes.
She is now driving the flock home,
and in advance of the three geese
you see, is a large flock as long as
a good-sized street, for they walk
behind one another singly, never in
couples, on their way home, though
the little goslings cluster together
and get along anyhow. There is
not room in the picture to show you
the long, white, streaky line of geese
which the Little Gooseherd is
driving before her, the foremost of
which has nearly reached the village.
Every now and then, when she
waves the branch to make them


move on, they poke out their necks to-
wards her, and make a loud, hissing
noise, which she is quite used to.
Very often, for days together,
the Little Gooseherd never sees a
living soul from morning to night,
in that wild marsh-land where she is
watching the geese; nothing but her
geese and goslings feeding around
her! and were you near, and were
to listen, the only human sound you
would hear would be her voice
shouting to the geese when they
were wandering too wide, or singing
some pretty hymn she had been
taught at the Sunday-school during
her only day of rest. She has a
little shed, a farmer's son made her


of sods, or turf, covered in with
long goose-grass, and into that she
creeps when it rains, while numbers
of the geese get round her as close
as they can; for though they are
fond of water, they do not like
standing out in the rain for long
together. She leaves the village
early in the morning with a large
piece of bread tied up in her little
cotton handkerchief, on which is
printed the history of Joseph and
his Brethren, and with her brown
jug, filled with milk, which before
she has emptied it she fills up again,
very often with water, to make it
last, so that it is scarcely even col-
ored with milk at dinner-time. She


has her tea when she gets home,
and her breakfast before she starts,
and now and then two slices of
bread and treacle along with her
day's bread. She has no father,
and as she has a good many brothers
and sisters, who all work, she joins
in the labor cheerfully, and brings
home her eighteen-pence on a Satur-
day night with a smile, when she
has a half-penny out of it, to put
in her money-box. Her Sunday-
school teacher tried to get a penny
a month from her to support the
Missionaries, but the little girl said
she couldn't spare so much, so gave
a half-penny : perhaps she thought,
left to herself all day in those lonely


marshes, it would be quite as much
charity to instruct her as the
Blacks. The girl with the child in
her arms is a nursery-maid at a
farm house in the village, and often
comes to meet her little sister when
she drives home her flock of geese
in the evening.
Do you not wonder what she
does to pass the time away in that
vast solitude, with no one to speak
to, or play with, no other compan-
ions save the geese and goslings,
and the wild animals and birds, that
feed and fly around her? I can
tell you. Excepting in dull or rainy
weather, she never feels sad nor
lonely, for she is of a happy nature,


carrying about her what, for a
better expression, is called the
"sunshine of the heart," which is a
joyous happiness within her, that
finds pleasure in everything. Dur-
ing the season she could show you
a score of plovers' nests made on the
ground, in some of which would be
eggs or young ones; and though
the plovers, with their beautifully
tufted heads, would hover around
her by scores, crying "pee-wit,
pee-wit," all the time, yet they
would settle down on their nests
again almost as soon as her back
turned, as if they knew well that
she wouldn't harm either themselves
or their young ones. On the


ground also, the skylarks make their
nests, and it is her delight on a
sunny day to lie down on the grass,
and, shading her eyes with her old
straw hat, watch them as they go
singing into the sky, until they
seem no bigger than bees, and are
sometimes lost to sight, they soar so
high; and she can tell you how
many hundreds she has counted to
herself, during the time a skylark
first started from the ground sing-
ing, until it came back again
to its nest, which is often several
minutes. Then there are no end
of water-rats in the streams that
flow through the marshes, and she
will tell you to keep very still, and


move very softly, and lead you up to
the edge of one of the brooks, when,
if you look down you will see the
pretty little animals swimming
about, and nibbling at the green
leaves on the branches which touch
the water, for they live only on
vegetables and water, not even in-
dulging in little fishes. There are
no end of rushes growing in these
marshes, and unless you saw her at
work, you wouldn't believe how
beautifully the Little Gooseherd can
plait them. She can make herself
a pretty green belt, or a cap of
open-work, even a pretty cage that
would hold a bird; though the only
thing she ever weaves together out


of the green rushes, that she can
sell, are little mats to stand dishes
on; and sometimes, when she can
find anybody who wants them, she
will make a set of these, big and
little, six in a set, and get three-
pence for them. The thread she
uses to sew the plaits together in an
oval form, is green rushes, and very
neat do they look when finished.
One great event in her almost
changeless life, was when two gentle-
men came with guns to shoot grebe,
as the wings were wanted for the
hats of some wealthy young ladies,
and are considered the most beauti-
ful ornaments that can be worn.
Grebes are scarce birds, and though


they heard that a few had been seen
in the marshes, they were unable
to find one, after having hunted
about for three or four hours. The
little maid stood watching them
from a distance, and wondering to
herself what they were doing, not
without suspicion, seeing that they
had dogs and guns, that they in-
tended shooting some of the geese
she had the care of. One of the
dogs came up to her, and after smell-
ing about, reared up, and nearly
stood on a level with her head. She
was not at all afraid, but began to pat
him on the back, having first filled her
little jug, and offered him a drink.
"The very thing we wanted,"


said one of the gentlemen, sending
her to refill the jug, where the water
was clear as crystal; he then put
something into it out of a flask, and
drank it off at a draught, sending
her to fill it again for his friend.
"Did she know where there were
any grebes ?" She shook her little
head she had never heard the
name before, then asked what they
were like. The young lord, who
had promised to get the wings for
his sisters' hats, described them,
simply and clearly. She listened
attentively, asked one or two ques-
tions, then, while her face lighted
up with a smile of intelligence,
said, "I know; you'll find plenty


swimming about on Bulrush Mere."
She led the way as far as to where
they could see the tops of the tall
black bulrushes standing in the
water, then went back to watch her
flock of geese, which were very
much frightened when they heard the
sportsmen firing at the grebes. In
about an hour they came back,
having shot several birds, and again
she supplied them with water.
"And now, my little maid, as
we are indebted to you for showing
us where to find the grebes, and
supplying us so bountifully with
such pure water, you must accept
this to buy you a new dress for
Sundays" and he placed a sover-


eign in her little brown hard hand,
telling her to mind and not lose it.
She thanked him very prettily, and.
soon plaited herself a little purse of
rushes to keep it in, for she knew
its value, having once been sent to
the public-house for change, whether
mistress had sold some of her geese;
and as she was a ready reckoner,
said, Why, it's as much wages as
my mistress pays me in three
months for minding the geese."
Now it was rumored in the vil-
lage, that the old woman, who
owned the flock of geese, was very
rich, and a very great miser; and it
was well known that she never
changed a shilling unless she was


fairly forced, and would make
almost any kind of shift rather than
send out for change. She had even
gone so far as to send the Little
Gooseherd home on a Saturday
night with only a portion of her
wages, to prevent herself, as she
said, "from breaking into half-a-
crown." Still the old woman was
very honest, and though it seemed
to grieve her to part with her
money, she never owed anything
for long; for if she said "I will pay
as soon as I have to get change," she
kept her promise. One or two of the
village tradesmen who knew her odd
ways, always took care to be pre-
pared with plenty of change, though,


unless it was a largish sum she
had to pay them, they could never
get her to change a sovereign.
Sometimes at Michaelmas, and just
before Christmas, she received a
deal of money, after selling as many
as two or three dozen of her fat
geese to a single customer, who
bought them to sell again. But
she never kept much money in the
house for long ; and everybody
knew she had gone to the Bank
with it, when they saw her start off
after breakfast in her red cloak and
coal-scuttle-shaped old bonnet, with
black mittens drawn on her arms;
for the little market-town in which
she banked was five miles off, and
that made her always start early.
The clerks in the Bank said she
never had a check-book in her life,


and that if she wanted to draw any
money out which she seldom did,
unless it was to buy a cottage or a
bit more land she went to the
Bank and asked for it, and had it
put down in her banking book,
which she signed, and took home
with her. Neither would she, if
ill, send for a doctor, but gather
herbs out of her large old-fashioned
garden, and make herself all sorts
drinks, doctoresss herself," as
she used to say; "for she knew
better than any doctor could do,
what was the matter with her."
She had not a relation in the world.
The old woman had long been a
sufferer through an affliction in her
eyes, and as usual, refused to see a
doctor, but rubbed them with this,
and bathed them with that; put on


poultices, and wore shades, and got
so bad in the course of time that
she couldn't see whether the money
she took for her geese was good or
bad, and dared not venture out
so far as the Bank, for fear of
being run over on the road. The
little maid who had been her goose-
herd was by this time a fine big
girl, and the old woman had now
to depend upon her for everything,
and a faithful servant she proved;
for at last the old woman became
totally blind.
She had a boy now for her goose-
herd; and I do think I ought all
through to have called the girl a
"gooseherdess," as we call a female
who looks after sheep a shepherdess.
If so, ought I not to have said the
old woman was considered to be a


"miseress" instead of a miser, by
the villagers? The young maiden
had now to look after the house, do
the washing, cook the old woman's
victuals, and even take her money
to the Bank. She had been a hard
mistress to the little maiden while
she looked after her geese, often
putting water to her milk before she
sent her out to the marshes with her
flock, though she kept a cow at that
time, and had so much milk that
she gave it to her pigs. No doubt
the old woman often thought of
these things as she sat blind in her
cottage, and heard the faithful ser-
vant moving about doing her house-
hold duties; for it was part of the
agreement that she was to find the
milk the little maiden took with her
to drink while watching the geese


in the wild marshes; and during all
the years she guarded the flock she
never lost but one little gosling, and
that fell from the bank into a brook,
and was drowned: for the stream
was running very strong, and carried
it away. Often and often the blind
woman sat and thought what a
faithful little servant her maid had
always been, and what a hard mis-
tress she was at times.
And now she had a deal of
money in the Bank, and land and
houses, which she could not see, nor
even find her way to, unless she
was led. The little maid had taught
herself to read and write, and had
to sign all the receipts for rent, and
other things; and the old woman
had no relation in the world that
she knew of, to whom she could
leave her wealth.


"I think, Hannah," she said one
day, "I shall sell all my geese, for
Jack doesn't look after them as you
used to do. I know he tells stories
when he says a fox ran off with one,
and another flew away, and two
others were stolen by gypsies. None
of these things ever befell the flock
when they were under your care;
and I have heard of him having
fires in the turf shed, and other
boys with him, and I do believe
they've been roasting some of my
fattest geese; and Farmer Hewitt
says, when he crept into the shed
one day, there was quite a strong
smell of roast goose; and that he
found a saucepan in which apple-
sauce had been made; and that his
finest apple-tree had been nearly
stripped the night before."


It was quite true Jack and his
companions had been roasting and
eating the old woman's geese; for
one boy, who was caught stealing
sage, onions, and potatoes out of a
garden, confessed to all: and Jack
ran away from the village, and left
the geese to take care of themselves.
So, after a good deal of bargain-
ing, Farmer Hewitt bought all the
flock, and made one of his little sons
his gooseherd; and the old woman,
as they say in the country, lived
on her means."
What a change was that from
what the little maiden had been com-
pelled to endure when she spent the
long day in the wild marshes, where
the plover went wailing above her,
and the geese were ever babbling
and hissing around, while milk and


dry bread was her only food for
days, and very often she had hardly
a bit of shoe to her feet, and her
dear mother was too poor to buy her
a new pair, and the old ones were
so bad that the village cobbler
couldn't mend them any more, he
said !
Now she dressed quite neatly
when her work was done, and sat
down and had tea and hot short-
cakes with her blind mistress ; was
a teacher at the Sunday-school, and
could afford to give money for both
missionaries and tracts, and was,
besides, one of the prettiest girls in
the village. Farmer Hewitt's son,
who was a fine young man, and two
years older than herself, was always
coming to ask questions about the
geese and how to manage them; and


one day, when he was gone, the
blind woman said, I do believe,
Hannah, his inquiries about the
geese are only excuses for coming
to see you. But he's a worthy
young man, and a good son."
Then the old woman was taken
very ill, and confined to her bed,
while Hannah nursed her with as
much affection as if she had been
her own mother. Before she died
she left all she possessed to Hannah,
excepting a few sums she gave to
charities; and after the funeral her
maiden became mistress of the
house, and kept a servant; and
though many young men tried to
get acquainted with her, and she
was civil to all, yet she cared for
none so much as Farmer Hewitt's
son, and never forgot how he had


made a shed for her of turf and
sods, to shelter in from the rain,
when she was a poor little girl, and
had to mind the large flock of
geese. In time they were married.
It was at Michaelmas; and every
poor cottager in the village was pre
sented with a fat goose the evening
before her wedding-day, and plenty
of potatoes, sage, and onions, and
apples, with an order on the public-
house for as much ale as they could
I need not say how kind she was
to her family after she came into so
great a fortune, and how the people,
who thought they were conferring a
great boon on her mother when they
left her a tract, now sat down and
took tea with her.

15k .wre

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