Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Harry dislikes babies
 The fairies grant Harry's wish
 Great changes
 A very old man
 Back Cover

Title: Harry's rash wish, and how the fairies granted it
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080702/00001
 Material Information
Title: Harry's rash wish, and how the fairies granted it
Physical Description: 1 v. (unpaged) : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Green, W. T., fl. 1837-1872 ( Engraver )
Frederick Warne and Co ( Publisher )
Dalziel Brothers ( Printer )
Camden Press ( Printer )
Publisher: Frederick Warne and Co.
Place of Publication: London ;
New York
Manufacturer: Camden Press ; Dalziel Brothers
Publication Date: 1891
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fairies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dreams -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Infants -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poverty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Imagination -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1891   ( local )
Fantasy literature -- 1891   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1891
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Mrs. Greene ; with illustrations.
General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by W. T. Greene.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080702
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002230792
notis - ALH1157
oclc - 189849426

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
    Harry dislikes babies
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    The fairies grant Harry's wish
        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
    Great changes
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    A very old man
        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
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text




Author of' Cushions and Corners," "Star in the Dus, haP," etc.







S HATE babies! I wish
S there were no such
Things in the world !"
cried little Harry
Thompson, as, hav-
ing finished his first
inspection of the new
owner of the nursery
cot, he tripped across
the floor with his
little bare feet and
climbed into bed. "I
"^-> .:.-* wish, nurse, you'd
take that nastycradle

Harry's Rash Wish.

out of the room, and bring back my rock-
ing-horse instead."
Indeed, Master Harry, I ain't a-goin'
to do nothing of the kind, and I am
ashamed of you, that I am, speaking' in
such a heartless way of your little sister,"
replied nurse, reproachfully; it is not so
many years ago since you were a-rocking
in the same cradle yourself, and a very
peevish, cross little baby you were-
always a-screamin' or a-whinin' at sum-
mat or other."
I am sure I was never half so red, or
so ugly, or so small," cried Harry, taking
his fairy-tale book from the head of his
little wooden crib, and thrusting it under
his pillow. "What good are babies?
They can't fight, or kill lions or tigers or
buffaloes, or read fairy-tale books, or do
anything useful."
I can't say as how I see much use in
reading' the silly stuff as is printed now-a-
days in fairy-tale books," replied nurse,
rather contemptuously; "and if I was

Harry dislikes Babies.

you, Master
Harry, I'd be
thinking of
saying my
prayers when I
put my head
down on my
pillow, instead
of gabbling
about hobgob-
lins and such-
and fairies are
not one scrap
like each other;
wrong, nurse,"
cried Harry
" Hobgoblins
are like ghosts
-indeed, they
are generally

NVrse and Baby.

Harry's Rash Wikh.

ghosts, with long white sheets and green
eyes, and very hideous; .but fairies are
most beautiful things, with wings, and
yellow hair, and shining dresses, and
wands, and they can come in and out of
a room, and make people invisible, or do
anything they like."
I wish, then, they'd make you invisi-
ble, Master Harry, or do something with
you to keep you quiet, for there's not
much chance of the baby sleeping' while
you keep up such a chatter and nonsense.
Put your head down on your pillow now.
and don't let me hear another word till
the morning. "
After this admonition from nurse there
was silence in the nursery for a few
minutes; but until Harry was actually
asleep he could seldom cease talking, and
presently he began again in a kind of
loud whisper, I wish-I wish-oh! how
I do wish something."
"What do you wish, Master Harry?
Is it a slice of the cake that I have in the

Harry dislikes Babies.

press?" asked nurse, who, after all, was
not an unkindly soul; and she rose and
walked towards the cupboard.
No, no, I did not mean the cake-
though I should like a bit of that very
much; but I wish so much I could be a
fairy just for one night-only for a single
night-and then I know what I should
"What would you do ?"
And nurse, having cut a slice from the
cake, placed it in Harry's outstretched
"I would turn .ll the babies in the
world into mice or rats or butter, as the
enchanter did to the Queen and her chil-
dren in the golden bower, and then cats
would eat them, and people would catch
them, and soon there would be no more
of them, and I should have my rocking-
horse back in the nursery, instead of that
nasty cradle."
"Well, well, if ever I heard such an
idea!" murmured nurse to herself with a

Barry's Rash Wish.

smile; "a-turnin' of babies into mice and
suchlike. I doubt but you'd be repentin'
of your wish after a bit if the fairies were
just to take you at your word."


C _- ._ .-___ .

Harry's Rocking-Horse.

This speech of nurse's hardly reached
Harry's ears, for, having finished his
cake, he was already half-way into the
land of dreams. He tried to answer her,

Harry dislikes Babies.

but could not, and though his eyes were
still blinking a little, and he could hear
the singing of the kettle on the hob, yet
he had an uncomfortable vision of see-

Baby Asleep.

ing the baby crawl slowly out of the
cradle on to the floor, and, having looked
all around it furtively, suddenly creep up
the side of the nursery press, and dis-
appear, squeezing itself through the well-

Harry's Rash Wish.

known mouse-hole, out of which Harry
had that very day picked the piece of
cork placed there by the- nursemaid
Harry did not like looking any longer,
lest he should see it come out again; so
he turned on his pillow and covered his
face with his hands. But this was only
a dream; such a thing could not really
happen; and soon-very soon-Harry's
eyelids closed altogether. He heard no
longer the singing of the tea-kettle or the
creak of the cradle-rockers, and when
nurse came to replace the quilt which had
fallen from his bed, he was fast asleep,
with his arm under his head, and his red-
brown curls hanging in wonderful confu-
sion over his pillow.
It was not very long after this that
nurse herself began to yawn and to grow
sleepy. Having glanced at the clock,
she put her knitting aside in the work-
basket, and took the spectacles from her
nose. She then lit the night-light, and

Harry dislikes Babies.

replaced the piece of cake in the cup-
board; and all her preparations for the
night being completed, she raised the
infant in her arms from the cradle, and
as she looked into its little quiet face, she
could not but smile over Harry's strange
wish that there might be no more babies
in the world.
Soon the nursery was as still as might
be. There were no angry gusts of wind
that night rushing against the panes of
glass or moaning in the chimney; the
kettle sang itself quietly to sleep in the
fender; the cinders creaked and tinkled
and fell into the grate below, till at length
the red glow died out, and the grate be-
came black and sombre as everything
else around it. The night-light flickered
a little at first, and cast strange shadows
on the wall, but soon its light also sank
beneath its yellow rim, and only a faint
glowingcircle on the ceilingabove showed
that it still burned: it was a night for
people to sleep, and to sleep deeply.

Harry's Rash Wish

And very deeply little Harry slept, with
his head pressed into his pillow and his
arm thrust under it, holding in loving
embrace his much-prized fairy-tale book.
Had he not slept so very soundly, he
might perhaps have seen-or perhaps,
indeed, even in his sleep he did see-the
fairies one by one, as the clock struck
twelve, creeping out between the leaves
of his book and climbing over the side
of his bed, letting themselves stealthily
down upon the floor.
I think Harry must either have felt
them squeezing themselves out of the
book, or he must have seen them, as they
clambered down, for he raised himself on
his elbow, and though his eyes appeared
shut, still he seemed to follow all their
And such a strange lot as they were,
to be sure! enchanters and witches and
gnomes, and lots of old well known
friends, such as Ali Baba and the Forty
Thie'es, and the Yellow Dwarf, and

Harry dislikes Babies.

Beauty and the Beast walking arm-in-
arm, and Cinderella, whose train was
carried by her two sisters, and at the
head of the procession little Snow White,

whose mother had so long wished that
she might be born, and when she was
born she was so lovely-oh, so lovely !-
Harry could hardly take his eyes off her.
Yes, it was quite plain to see Harry was
awake now, for he was busy counting
them as they marched past his bed, each

Harry's Rash WTish.

with a wand in his or her hand; and so
loudly did he number them, "two and
two and two," that nurse from her bed
cried, "Hush, hush, be quiet there, Master
Harry, with your two and two! this is
the time for sleep, and not to be adding
up your figures." But then the curtains
of nurse's bed were drawn, and she could
not see the fairies all filing along so
grandly and in such order, and creeping
up the legs of the nursery table, till at
last they were all gathered in a crowd
upon the top.
Harry counted them twice over: there
were just a hundred of them; and now
as they all joined hand-in-hand and made
a circle round the night-light, he could
see them much plainer: such gorgeous
robes and dazzling dresses, and, more re-
splendent than all the others, little Snow
White, in a dress of pure silver, who did
not join hands with the others, but stood
just inside the circle, waiting, as it were,
till they had all taken their places.


I, tI
c: f.3


Harry dislikes Babies.

Then some strange kind of ceremonybe-
gan, which interested Harry so much that

'~ ~/I

i \;I'J~~8;';i-/:s

he got up upon his knees and stretched
his head as far as he could to watch them.
Little Snow White seemed to be making

Harry's Rash Wi n.

a speech, for she waved her wand to and
fro, and clasped her hands, and appeared
as if she were in some great trouble; and
sometimes she pointed her wand-which
was shaped like a spear-at the night-
light, and sometimes Harry thought she
pointed it at him, till all at once it seemed
to waver and flicker as it were from side
to side, and to. totter; and then two
knights rushed out from the circle to
catch her, but they were too late, for she
slipped through their arms like water, and
sank into a little white heap on the table,
just for all the world like a flake of snow.
This seemed to cause a great hubbub
and commotion; the circle was quite
broken up, and a crowd of angry faces
gathered round the glass which held the
night-light. Harry could see that they
were all plunging their spears or wands
into the boiling grease, and as each suc-
cessive gnome or fairy drew it out, it
seemed to him they looked furiously
across the room at him, and such a buzz

Harry dislikes Babies.

and hum began, and such a surging of
heads rdund the light, that Harry grew
quite terrified, and crept back under the
clothes, where he would have hidden his
face also, only the night-light seemed to
grow frightened as well at all the row they
were making around it, for it gave two
or three great leaps of red flame in its
socket, and then went suddenly out with
a splutter and crackle, leaving the room
in total darkness, and all the fairies in
dismay and confusion.
Nor could Harry feel quite comfort-
able himself, for he disliked very much
being in the dark, especially with such a
lot of angry fairies creeping about the
room like wasps; and as the thought of
wasps came into his head, he heard sud-
denly a great sounding and humming
and buzzing, and he knew that all the
gnomes and creatures were creeping up
the side of his bed again as fast as ever
they could, in great hurry and confusion,
and as each of them passed by his face

Harry's Rash Wish.

to creep backwards under his pillow, they
hissed out some word in his ear that
sounded to him like "sleep," "sleep,"
"sleep," and at the same moment plunged
the sharp point of the wands into his
eyelids; till at last, when the hundredth
gnome had buzzed the word sleep into
his ear, he did, strange to say, fall asleep,
and into such a deep sleep as I hope
you and I may never experience for our-

The NPiiries grant Harry's Wish.

T was a bitterly cold morn-
ing, a red foggy sun,
and the ground covered
with many inches of
snow, when at length
Harry, having yawned
and stretched himself
many scores of times,
opened his eyes and
thought to himself that it was
perhaps time to get up. The
sleet was drifting against the
unshuttered windows, the
room was grey and gloomy
inside also, but in the yard beneath the
cocks were crowing lustily, proclaiming
aloud, in no faltering tones, that though

Harry's Rash Wish.

the day was dull, it was time to be up and
stirring. Harry had given a promise to
his elder brother Jack, when he had to re-
turn to school, that the rabbits in the hutch
in the harness-room should not be for-
gotten, but have their food given to them
every morning early before breakfast; and
now Jack was gone, and Harry had to
fulfil his promise, so, without waiting for
nurse's usual summons, or the advent of
Lizzie the nursemaid with the bath and
hot water, he determined to get up and
dress himself; and, with another yawn,
which nearly stretched his mouth from
ear to ear, he thrust his hand under the
far corner of his pillow for the grey
worsted stockings, where he had placed
them the night before, intending to make
his feet hot and toasty before putting
them on the uncarpeted floor.
But how was this? some one must
have changed the stockings he wore yes-
terday, and put another pair full of holes
under his pillow, for the moment he

The Fairies grant Harr's Wisk.

thrust his foot into one of them, out
came both his toe and heel through the
sole, and the ribbed top came off with
such a jerk in his hands, that it threw
him right back upon his pillow.
"Somebody has been playing a trick
upon me, and a very silly trick too,"
muttered Harry, half angrily, as he sat
up in his bed again, and tried whether
the second stocking was in the same con-
dition as its fellow; but matters were
even worse with it, for in his efforts to
draw it up his leg, the whole foot came
right off at the ankle, and remained sus-
pended on Harry's toes, while the leg
part flew suddenly into as many holes as
if it had been cut in pieces purposely
with a pair of scissors.
Who on earth can have played such
a silly trick ?" cried Harry again, as he
indignantly kicked the foot of the stock-
ing over the edge of the bed, especially
when I have only to walk across the
room to the press to get out another pair.

Harry's Rash Wisk.

It's one comfort, whoever did it won't
hear the end of it from nurse for some
time-that they won't!" And Harry, re-
gardless of the cold, clambered out of his
bed upon the floor, and crossed the room
towards the old oak press which held the
children's linen. But I say," shivered
Harry, as he gazed around him in some
bewilderment, Lizzie has not even lit
the fire yet: I never saw the grate look
so black and empty; and what can have
become of the cradle ?" And Harry,
stooping down over the spot where the
cradle had stood when he last saw it,
raised up a heavy piece of cumbersome,
painted wood, the shape or form of which
he could not at first make out, but which,
after long inspection, looked to him like
a roughly-carved horse's head. A few
hairs still stuck on the crest for the mane,
and the painted eyeballs, though worm-
eaten and dull, had a sad, meaningless
stare in them, very unlike the fiery orbs
of his own beloved rocking-horse, whose

The Fairies grant Harry's Wish.

absence from the nursery he had so bit-
terly bemoaned.
"Phew !" sneered Harry, replacing
the heavy piece of wood on the ground
as gently as he might, lest he should
wake the baby, "phew! I suppose Lizzie
has dragged this old head out of the
lumber-pit in the yard to make firewood
of; I am sure I wish she had it on the
fire this moment, I do; it's so wretchedly
cold and raw, and so cheerless and dull
an old nursery I never was in, without as
much as a piece of carpet to stand on! "
And, walking delicately on his heels,
Harry turned again towards the oaken
press in search of his hose.
This press was usually locked, and had
a very cranky key, that required much
patient turning and twisting before the
lock would yield to its pressure; but this
morning the press stood open-indeed, it
seemed to have got some kind of wrench,
for it hung forward and downward, as if
depending from a single hinge, and Harry

Harry's Rash Wzsh.

moved it gently enough aside, fearing
from its position it might fall upon his feet.
Gracious me! what on earth has nurse
been doing ?-why, the press is nearly
empty !" cried Harry, standing upon his
tiptoes so as to see up to the higher
shelves. Why, what has become of my
new knickerbocker suit, and all my other
things ? they could not be rolled up in
this filthy bundle." And Harry thrust
his hand into the corner of the middle
shelf, where there seemed to be a heap
of some mouldy clothes; but quickly as
he pushed in his hand, he drew it quicker
forth, for out rushed first a huge fat
mouse with a long horny tail, and imme-
diately afterwards such a host of wood-
lice and earwigs as made Harry spring
several paces back from the press, and
shake his little night-dress frantically, to
free himself from the host of unpleasant
living creatures that had suddenly fallen
upon it.
"Nurse! nurse!" cried poor Harry

The Fairies grant Harry's Wisi.

in great dismay and distress, "what has
happened to the press ? some one has
taken all our nice clothes out, and put in
a lot of dirty rubbish! Nurse, you must
awake and get up, for robbers or people
must have been here in the night and
stolen everything! Nurse, nurse do you
hear ? I 'm calling you."
But therewas no responsive sound from
the bed: nurse must have been in a very
sound sleep, for she never stirred, or even
turned round at poor Harry's terrified
appeal; and only for a faint whining
sound, like the waking yawn of his new-
born sister, Harry would have thought
that nurse must be already up.
Nurse," he pleaded still more pite-
ously, as the cold struck up through his
bones, and his teeth chattered in his head,
do let me get into your bed for a while;
I am half frozen with cold, and I can't
find any clothes to put on; do let me
just creep in at the foot, and I '11 promise
not to disturb the baby."

Harry's Rash Wish.

So Harry, shivering and shuddering,
sat upon his heels and gazed earnestly
into the darkness, trying to make out the
exact position of nurse and baby in the
bed, so that he might clamber safely into
a warmer nook; but .by-and-bye, as he
could see things a little better, it seemed
to him that he must be mistaken as to
nurse's being asleep, for he was certain
he saw her eyes wide open and staring
at him in a horrible glaring kind of way,
which made his blood, cold as it was
already, run like ice through his veins.
"What's the matter, nurse ?" he asked,
timidly; "why are you staring at me in
that way ? I asked leave to get into
your bed, and you did not say no." But
the eyes only glared more fiercely than
before, and nurse said never a word.
Nurse-nurse! why don't you answer
me ? You are frightening me on pur-
pose; it's very unkind of you. I can't
stay here if you don't say something!"
And at last, with a cry born both of fear

The Fairies grant Harry's Wish.

and anger, Harry tore back the curtain
of the bed with one sudden wrench, and.
beheld-oh, horrible sight!-neither his
nurse nor little sister asleep upon their
pillows, but in their place a large tabby
cat, gazing steadily at him with scared
eyeballs, from a heap of dirty feathers,
and surrounded by a mewing circle of
tabby kittens.
Poor, poor Harry! what a little object
he looked, gathered up at the end of the
bed, trembling from head to foot, and
still holding in his grasp the faded curtain
of the bed, which had come off the pole
in his hands.
For a moment or so Harry seemed
uncertain what to do : surprise, fear, utter
bewilderment, kept him rooted to the
spot, while a host of vague questions
rushed through his mind. What had
happened ? where was he ? was he in
his own nursery at all ? had he wandered
in his sleep into some strange house, or
could robbers have come in the night and-

h:r'ry's Rash Wish.

stolen every one and everything away?
for even the chairs and tables in the
room, he now remarked, were absent from
their usual places.
It would be well for him to find out
whether he was in his own home 6r not:
one glance out of the window would be,
sufficient for him to recognize the garden,
with its pretty circular flower-bed and
close-clipped yew hedges; and giving one
frightened glance at the cat, whose eyes
seemed to follow all his movements,
Harry crawled back over the footboard
and approached the window.
Yes, it was his own house-there could
be no doubt about it: there were the moun-
tains opposite, so familiar to his eye; they
looked a little strange, to be sure, wrapped
up in their white sheet of snow, but still
he could not mistake them, nor the fami-
liar windmill on the top of the peak, and
the great pine wood in the cleft of the hill,
where Jack had often gone off in search
of squirrels and rare nests; and here

The Fairies grant Harry's Wish.

Harry's eyes travelled downstairs to the
garden which lay beneath the nursery
windows, in the corner of which his
brother had also built a summer-house,
during his last holidays, and covered it
with cones and bright pebbles from the
brook which ran at the foot of the
But where was the summer-house now?
Harry could not see it, though he strained
his eyes across the snow till they ached:
it seemed to him as if the branches of the
lilac-trees must have grown ever so much
taller, for they hid it quite from his view;
either that, or th ose who had robbed the
house had robbed the garden also, for
even the very garden-seats of rustic wood
were missing from their shady corners,
?nd everything had a strange uncared-for
look which the unusual amount of snow
could not account for. But just at this
moment, as Harry was about to turn back
disappointed from his survey, something
stirred below in the garden, some living

Harry's Rash Wish.

thing rushed suddenly from under the
holly bushes and darted beneath the
thickest part of the yew hedge, sputter-
ing up the snow as it hurried past, and
making a dark track across it.
Harry wondered what it could have
been, for it was smaller than their dog
Tray, and many times larger than a bird;
he remained, therefore, at the window,
watching earnestly to see if it would
move again; but though now and then a
spray of yew-tree stirred, and a clump of
snow fell from its branches to the ground,
for some time there was no further sign
of life within its precincts.
At last, with another rush and a scurry,
out came the wild creature again, and
this time, as its goal was much farther off,
Harry had ample time to see it; and not
only did he see it, but gave a loud scream,
for what was it after all but Jack's hand-
some lop-eared rabbit, which had been
committed to his charge, and which must
have escaped from its hutch, and there

The Fairies grant Harry's Wish.

it was now, rushing blindly, madly down
the river-walk!
Just as madly and blindly did Harry
rush cut upon the landing and down the
two flights of steps which led to the hall.
He had no further clothing than his night-
dress, and no boots or stocking on his
feet; but what did all this matter, in com-
parison with the fact that the black-and-
white rabbit, for which Jack had given his
whole year's savings, had escaped from its
house and was loose in the garden ?
Harry took the last three steps of the
stairs at a flying leap in his haste to reach
the garden; but, as the old proverb says,
"more haste, worse speed," instead of
coming down safely on his feet, Harry
seemed to land, first of all, on something
warm, large, and hairy, which, emitting
a cry, rolled over on its side and sen'w
him sprawling on his face and hands into
the vestibule.

Harry's Rash Wish.


"HAT could it have
been ? surely that
H'' stupid old Tray
had not remained
lying on the rug
O' x when he heard
some one running
down the stairs?
--r No, old Tray was
-*. :.- far too careful of
h;s limbs to have
quietly run such a risk; and as Harry
rubbed the palms of his blue hands and
his poor bruised knees, he could not resist
turning back to see what had been the
cause of his fall, and there in the inner
hall, at the foot .of the stairs, still seem-

Creal Chanzges.

inglymuch annoyed at what had occurred,
lay an old goat, with long beard and
solemn eyes, licking with an earnest solici-
tude the side of its body on which Harry
had so unceremoniously descended.

711e Goat.

So many extraordinary things had oc-
curred this morning, that this almost
astounding sight did not produce as great
an effect on his mind as it might other-
wise have done, so having for a moment
tried to unravel the why and the where-
fore in his puzzled brain, Harry gave it

Harry's Rash Wish.

up, and hurried down the narrow vesti-
bule passage to the hall door, eager above
all to rescue old Lop-ears from an un-
timely end, and save his reputation in
the eyes of Jack.
Judging by the noise of nibbling,
scratching, scrabbling, and skirmishing
about in the passage, the mice seemed
to be holding an early parliament, but
all fled at the sound of the boy's eager
footsteps, and no further impediment pre-
sented itself till Harry actually stood out-
side, knee-deep in the cold snow which
lay heaped up in the vestibule.
Here, indeed, he did pause, poor child,
and looked around him in dismay and
utter bewilderment. He did not even
seem to feel the cold, or to be sensible
of the scantiness of his attire; his whole
mind had evidently become absorbed in.
the endeavour to take in the extraordinary
position of everything around him, and
to arrive at some conclusion as to how it
had all happened,

Great Changes.

First, right across his path lay one of
the great stone pillars which supported
the portico; another, though not actually
fallen, leaned in a helpless way against
its neighbour; and the portico itself
in many places seemed crumbled and
fallen away. Nor was this the only
token of ruin and disaster. The staunch
oak-tree, between whose branches hung
the children's swing, and at whose base
was built the circular seat, so secluded
and sociable, lay also on its side-a fallen
giant, with the snow piled high on its
gnarled roots; and the very wall which
bounded the pleasure- ground itself
seemed nothing now but an irregular
heap of stones, with great gaps leading
out upon the highway.
There must have been an earthquake
in the night! Some awful thing must have
happened while I was asleep!" cried
Harry, trembling from head to foot as
he gazed around him. Perhaps every
one but myself has been killed !" And

Harry's Rash Wish.

as this terrible thought occurred to his
mind, his lip quivered, and the cry burst
from his lips, Papa-mamma, where are
you ? What has become of you ? What
has happened ?" But only a kind of
hollow echo seemed to rush up through
the empty house, which answered him
mournfully, "Where are you ?-where
are you ? "
Harry darted back into the house, down
the dark vestibule to the foot of the
stairs, eager to ascertain if they had really
responded to his cry; but the goat had
now taken possession of the lowest step,
and would not allow him to pass by; and
though he shouted and screamed to his
father and mother, and all who ought to
have heard and answered him, there was
not a sound to be heard, but the scurry-
ing hither and thither of mice and other
wild but timid animals.
Harry again took refuge in the open
air, and, more frightened and confused at
every step, made his way towards the

Great Changes.

yard leading to the garden. Here there
was not the same dismal loneliness, but
stiB greater seemed the confusion and

Jack's Rabbis,

disorder. In the centre of the yard,
under cover of the horse-mill roof, there
were at least a dozen cows lying down

Harry's Rash Wish.

lazily chewing the cud, and gazing calmly
out through their large thoughtful eyes;
scores of cocks and hens were pecking
and scraping in the snow, or crowing
hoarsely in defiance of each other; and
as to Jack's lop-eared rabbits, there were
not scores but hundreds of them bobbing
in and out of old sheds and outhouses, or
pursuing each other in wild skirmishes
across the yard.
This strange sight, and the thought of
Jack's delight and pride at being the
possessor of so many rabbits, gave a mo-
mentary check to poor Harry's stupefied
terror. He tried to choose some of them,
and catch them, but they were wary and
swift of limb, and, after several fruitless
efforts, he was obliged to give up and
rest himself, sitting down on the old stone
trough by the pump, for his knees trem-
bled, his feet ached with the cold, and the
sleet, which was still falling in long slant,
ing lines from the heavy clouds above,
seemed to cut him through and through

Great Changes.

How long he sat there, leaning his
poor tired head against the iron handle,
he could not tell; the cold had so numbed
him, he did not care to move, and the
thought of returning to the empty deso-
late house was more dreadful to him than
anything else. There was some com-
panionship at least in the cows and the
fowls and the lop-eared rabbits. But
what would it be when night came on
again, and the red sun behind the snow-
clouds gave no more light ? And Harry,
suddenly thinking of this, covered his
face with his hands, and, though he was
a hero, a soldier, a brave boy, to whom
tears were a real pain and a more real
disgrace, he burst out into such loud and
piteous sobs, that even the cows stopped
'chewing the cud to listen, and the hens,
who had been pecking at his little blue
toes in the snow, fled from him in fear
and surprise.
All the long morning not one soul had
entered the yard, usually alive with work-

Halrry's Rash Wish.

men, and resounding -with cheery farm
sounds of the flail, or the whetting of the
scythe, or the tinkle of the milk-cans.
Not a human footstep had been heard
in the lane close beside him, or the
whistle of a passer-by; it was as if the
whole place had been suddenly forsaken
in the night, and some ban had fallen
upon it. Supposing he were to wander
a little way down the road, and see if all
were changed in the outer world, as well
as in his own home and his own house ?
He could not feel more lonely and miser-
able than he did now, go where he would,
and he might meet with some one who
would have pity on him and give him
shelter in his helpless, lonely condition.
So at length, the sun being now on
the decline, and the darkness coming on
with giant strides, Harry rose from beside
the pump and walked straight cut through
the gap in the hedge into the lane beyond.
This lane led to the main road on the
one side, and right up the mountain on

Creat Chianges.

the other, and for some seconds he hesi-
tated which way he would go, but at
length something determined him to
choose the more secluded of the two
roads, and without further delay he turned,
tired as he was, and breasted the furzy
It was a puff of blue smoke curling up
from a distant cabin roof on the mountain-
side that had attracted poor Harry's
attention, and made hope stir suddenly
in his breast. Had he not often read in
books before now of lost children, poor
wandering babes, being called back to
life and energy by the sight of just such
a wreath of pale smoke emerging from a
hut where lived some good old dame or
tender-hearted ruffian ? Was it not so
with Willy the Woodman and his dog
Caesar ? And did not Hop-o'-my-Thumb,
when he had given up all for lost, spy
just such a friendly beacon, and find rest
and cheer for the night ? And as each
fresh tale of fairy lore rose up comfort-

Ha;rry's Rash Wish.

ingly before his mind, he quickened his
pace, and passed on through the still
drifting snow and increasing darkness to
the cottage on the moor. Not one living
soul did he meet on all this long and
toilsome walk. All the cabins by the
roadside were deserted, and most of them
in ruins ; not a creature wished him God
speed, or held out a welcoming hand. It
was like walking through a dead world,
without life or sound, save when an owl
screeched at him from the ivy, or a startled
rook flapped about overhead in the snow-
laden branches.
At last-yes, at last-after, oh! such
a weary climb-Harry came in full view
of the cabin. No light burned as yet
within its window, but still up from the
chimney issued a ghostly cloud of smoke.
Harry now having reached the longed-
for goal, almost feared to advance farther.
What if out of the darkness were to spring
some creature more terrible than the dark-
ness itself-some evil gnome or black

Great Changes.

enchanter? But this was not the ex-
perience of little bewildered Willy, nor
the fate that awaited the other heroes
and heroines of his favourite books ; and
gathering up all the courage left within
his little perished frame, Harry pushed
open the gate that separated the cabin
from the road, and, going up the narrow
path, knocked timidly at the door.
At first there was no answer, nor till
the knock was repeated many times did
he hear any one move within; but at last
there was a stir, a kind of groan, and a
trembling voice cried querulously,
"Eh! what's that ?-what's that a-
knockin' itself against the door ? I can-
not rise to see. Some poor wild thing,
driven, na doot, by the cold to seek
shelter within; but I canna rise to see.
Be off with you, whatever you are, and do
not come troubling' me more."
But Harry could not turn back now.
If he did not find the rest and shelter
he had so long toiled for, he felt he must

H-larry's -a/sh Wisz.

lie down and die. The sleet was coming
down more pitilessly than ever, and a
piercing wind had sprung up upon the
moors. No, there was no turning back;
he must go and seek the fate within, let
it be what it might.
Once again, therefore, Harry knocked,
and pushing against the door with all his
force, it slowly yielded to his pressure,
the rusty hinges creaked, the panels
groaned at the unusual strain put upon
them, but still the opening grew wider
and wider, till at length he stood inside
the portal, trying with dazed eyes and
beating heart to fathom the darkness
That there was some living inhabitant
of the cabin he could not doubt; he had
heard the voice, and he could even dis-
tinguish already something in shape and
form like a human figure crouching on a
bench by the side of a waning fire; but
whether it was some homely countryman,
ready and willing to give him help when

Great Changes.

he should hear his sad tale, or some evil
being lying in wait for his destruction,
he could not by any means discern.
Whatever it was, let it be man or
woman, witch or enchanter, the opening
of the door did not seem to make any
impression upon it, for there was no
movement of surprise, or raising of the
angry querulous voice he had heard when
outside. All the energies of the strange
being seemed centred about the fire, for
as Harry still looked earnestly in its di-
rection, he could see two long shrivelled
arms stretched out over the embers, and
the head bent low down almost to the
knees, as if to draw in with its breath the
dull heat emitted by the dying fire.
It must be the Old Man of the
Mountain, of whom I was reading yes-
terday in my fairy-tale book," murmured
Harry to himself with a shudder, as a"
sudden leap of flame in the grate re-
vealed still more clearly the outlines of
the figure before him. And a strange

Harry's Rash Wish.

figure it was, with shoulders twisted and
distorted, a long grey beard hanging
almost to its very feet as it leaned for-
ward, and matted locks of white hair,
which nearly hid from sight a face
wrinkled and yellow like a withered
"The Old Man of the Mountain, the
Old Man of the Mountain, it can be no
other! Had not I better make my escape
before he looks up and discovers me, and
perhaps leaps upon my back and strangles
me?" muttered Harry, anxiously; and he
gazed from the figure to the open door,
where the sleet was still beating in re-
morselessly, and from the door to the aged
figure in front of him.
Yes, it was better to make his escape
if he could, even in the face of the cold
and the wind, the snow and the darkness,
and the utter loneliness without: with the
warning of Sindbad the Sailor before his
eyes, it were folly to remain within the
reach of such a heartless man as this;

Great Changes.

death itself might be even more to be
desired than to be chained to such a being
for life.
At this moment, while Harry hesitated
whether to go or stay, the figure moved,
it raised its head, withdrew its hands from
their outstretched position over the fire,
and looked Harry full in the face.
Harry would have made his escape
now if he could, but he could not; his
numbed feet and legs seemed to have
lost all power of movement, and he stood
opposite the old man, as if frozen to the
spot, gazing into the 'ire in an agony of

Harry's Rash Wish.


ND such a strange
old face as it was,
wrinkled and
sunken and care-
worn, and with
eyes tnat looked
.-. at one as it were
through a fog,
but which, cloud-
ed by age or trouble, seemed to
conceal no angry fire or cruel
revengeful purpose.
Nay, there was something curiously
simple in the face of the old man, almost
like a child's, as he sat gazing and gazing
at Harry in a sort of amazement, and by-
and-bye stretching his hands out over

A very Old Man.

Harry's head, as he had done a moment
before over the fire, he murmured some-
thing which Harry could not hear, and
tears came up into his dim eyes and ran
down his cheeks.
At this Harry seemed to lose all fear,
and he began to question his companion,
to ask him his name, and to know if he
might remain under the shelter of his
roof for the night; but he received to all
his questions never an answer,' save that
the old man drew him nearer and nearer
as he spoke, and gazed at him still more
earnestly, muttering to himself all the
while words which to Harry's ear had
no meaning. "A hundred years-ay, a
hundred years since I saw the like; a
hundred years, my pretty one, since I
saw a face like thine;" and so on, the
same words, it might be a score of times.
But presently he seemed to notice that
Harry's feet and hands were numbed with
cold, and that he needed warmth and
shelter; for with tottering steps he rose

Harry's Rash Wish.

and closed the open door, and threw
some wood upon the fire, and having
done this, he drew the child down on
the settle beside him, and began to chafe
his little hands between his own horny
palms, and muttering still for ever to
himself the same words,-" A hundred
years-ay, a hundred years and full, since
I saw the like."
"Since you saw what?" asked Harry
at length, driven to despair by the mono-
tony of his companion's remarks, and
hoping to gain some information; what
is it you have not seen for a hundred
years ?"
The like o' thee-the like o' thee; I
have not seen the face o' a child like thee
for nigh a hundred year."
"Why, what is there curious about
me ?" asked Harry, uneasily; "how am
I unlike other children ?"
Poor innocent," murmured the old
man compassionately, "he speaks o' other
children, as if he had seen a many o' them.

A very Old Man.

Why, dear heart, one has not seen the
smilin' face o' a babe i' this wicked world
for a hundred year-not for a hundred
year, and a lonesome world it has been
without them; all the bright laughs, and
the innocent tears, and the pretty dimples
in their cheeks all gone, all flown away
in the little babies: it was almost enough
to break one's heart, to see all the empty
cradles a-standin' by the fireside, and the
mothers a-walkin' about wi' nothing' i' their
arms, and no song of love in their mouths,
instead o' singing their wee ones to sleep
on their breasts wi' sweet songs and
I don't understand what you mean,"
said Harry, plaintively, as he noticed tears
rising again in his companion's eyes;
"why, I am not very old, and I have
seen hundreds and thousands of children
and babies. Why, I have a little sister
of my own who is only a few days old."
"Then, if that be so," replied the old
man, gloomily, "thou must have dropped

Harry's Rask WI'ish.

into a strange world in the middle o' the
night; thou must have fallen fro' the sky
i' the flakes of snow, or risen from thy
grave i' the kirk-
: yard, for not one
babe has been born
"- Bi~ in this world of ours
for a hundred years,
not for a hundred
years since the night
when the fairies
i walked abroad i'the
fields and houses,
and granted many
a wicked wish to
rl them as had wicked
The Old Man. wishes i' their
mouths and hearts."
"When was that ?-tell me more about
it all," asked Harry eagerly, as some dim
recollection came creeping over his mind,
which made him feel unhappy and ill at
ease: could it be possible that he had
really passed into some new world in the

A very Old Man.

middle of the night, or could he have
been sleeping in his grave, or elsewhere,
for a hundred years, and that now that
he was awake again all he loved were
gone, dead, perhaps, and buried-his
mother, his father, Jack-oh! not Jack
-Jack, with his rosy cheeks and ringing
laugh, he could not be dead and gone
and hidden from sight! and the baby-
the little cosy baby with the dimple in
its cheek, and the tiny hands stretched
out so helplessly! All these strange sad
thoughts had arisen like ghosts them-
selves to haunt him, and he waited
eagerly but fearfully for the reply to
his question, "When did all this hap-
pen ?"
It happened o' a night-let me see,"
and the old man paused a moment and
ran his fingers through his long grey hair
-" ay, it happened just a hundred year
ago, come last night. The fairies, they
say, do fly in swarms o' nights when the
moon is at her full, and play their pranks

Harry's Rash Wish.

all over the earth with beast and fowl
and suchlike, and then they come creepin'
at dead o' night into the houses, and
making' such mischief as is in their power
to make, granting to silly folk their silly
wishes, and harmin' those besides who
never harm them. However, as I heard
tell, for I was but a lad then, just turned
o' fifteen-ay, you may look at me wi'
your wide-open eyes in wonder, lad, for
a hundred and fifteen years old I am this
blessed day. I would I had died when
I was a babe, I do," broke in the old man
with a sob, for to live on all alone i' the
world is weary work, without seeing the
face o' a living being. But to finish what
I had in my mind to tell you. One of
these nights, with the big moon a-glowin'
in the sky overhead, they all came a-
buzzin' and a-swarmin' about the country-
side here, and seeing what harm they
could do quiet folk, till by-and-bye a host
of them walked in at twelve o' the clock
to a house down yon i' the valley, where

A very Old Man.

there lived, I heard tell, an honest gen-
tleman and his wife and some little folk."
"And what ?" asked Harry, with eyes

and what-what-what were you going
to say ?"
to say ?"




Harry's Rash Wish.

Eh, dear lamb, don't thee a-look at
me so; it were better I told thee no
more; I feel thy wee hand a-tremblin'
like a bird."
Go on-go on," urged Harry, I
must hear it all."
"Well, an thou must, thou must, I
suppose," replied the old man, sadly; I
was never a good hand at contradicting
o' children, and as I say, there was a wee
chap had fallen asleep i' his cot, with some
foolish wish in his mouth, for I cannot
a-think he had it a rightly set in his
head: he had some foolish wish, as I say,
on his lips, as how he would there were
no more babies i' the world, or something
o' the kind, and like a poor innocent lamb
he bleated out his idle fancy to some one
who sat by him, and the fairies, who were
a-clustering round his head like a swarm
o' bees, just caught up the very words as
he spake them, 'he would that no more
babies would be sent into the world;'
and so, as I was told, they not only

A very Old Man.

carried out his silly babbling words, but
they made away wi' the poor child him-
self, at least his cot was empty next
morning, and though his father and
mother hunted the world up and down,
they never saw his pretty face again.
Some said as how the nurse was also to
blame, for she had wished the fairies
would make the little chap invisible; but,
be that as it may, they never saw him
more-never, never : they stole the
pretty bird from his nest, they did, the
thieves "
What was the boy's name?" asked
Harry, in a voice so low, so sad, so trem-
bling, it would never have reached the
old man's ears had it not been so full of
His name-nay, I misdoubt if I can
call it to mind, but bide a bit and I will
try. There is many a thing as happened
long ago I remember better than I do o'
late years, but bide a while and I will

Harry's Rash Wish.

And while he waited Harry's poor
little brain seemed to spin round and
round with misery: the empty nursery
at home-the forsaken house-the lonely
world-the biting cold and drifting sleet,
with no one to love him or care for him
but this one old man, who soon must die
himself, and all for why ?
"Ay, ay, I mind it now, I mind it
now; his name was--"
But before the words could leave the
old man's lips, Harry leaped from the
bench with a scream: his pain was too
great to bear any longer, his agony of
mind too keen for endurance. Don't
say it was Harry, don't say it was me!"
he shrieked, with such bitterness, that
the old man seemed to shrink and wither
away from before his sight, the walls of
the cabin rocked, the snow seemed to
hiss outside in its fury, and then some
one shouted into Harry's ears with a voice
which sounded like a peal of thunder,
"Awake, Master Harry! awake, it is

A very Old Man.

time for you to get up, you have slept
quite long enough!"
Ay, one would think so.; a hundred
years is a good long sleep for a little boy
of five years old; and as Harry awoke
and rubbed his eyes in utter bewilder-
ment as to where he was, where was he,
think you ? Why, in his own snug nur-
sery: the fire was burning brightly in the
shining grate; the kettle, not the snow,
was hissing on the hob ; the tea was made
already, and slices of nice white bread
and butter were cut and temptingly laid
upon a plate; the cradle was in a corner
by the fire; nurse, singing happily, sat
plying the rockers with her foot: how
cosy, how bright, how comfortable they
all looked!
And so our old friend Harry had his
breakfast in bed, Lizzie gave it to him
on a little tray, and nurse laughed as she
poured out his tea, and said he must have
been dreaming in the night, he tumbled
about so, and screeched like, and she did

Harry's Rash Wish.

not wish to rouse him in the morning, as
he seemed to have fallen into an easier
And so he had been dreaming, poor
Harry, though he did not tell nurse what
the terrible dream was all about; but,
when he was washed and dressed, and
his curls were all combed out and
smoothed, before he left the nursery he
paused and leaned over the little pink-
lined cradle where his sister lay fast
asleep, and looking at her for a long
time, he stooped down and gave her such
a kiss on her little dimpled cheek, that
nurse looked up in amazement; but Harry
in his own heart knew why.



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