图书图片
PDF
ePub

Round the splendid columns of marble the vine twined its slender branches, and tbere were many swallows' nests at the top, one of which was the nest of the bird which had brought Little Thumb to this beautiful land.

"This is my house," said the swallow; “but if you will look round and select one of the most beautiful of the flowers, I will place you in it, and you may be as happy as the day is long."

“That will be splendid !” said she; and she clapped her hands with joy. .

On the ground was a white column of marble, that was broken into three pieces. Between each piece was a small hole, out of which grew the most beautiful white flowers. The swallow flew down, and placed Little Thumb on the broad open leaf of one of these flowers; but what was her surprise, on looking down into it, she beheld a little man, so white, and as clear as if he were made of glass. On his head he had a golden crown, and the most delicate wings were on his little body. This was the Spirit of the Flowers. In every flower there was a little man or little woman, but this was the king of them all.

“Oh! how beautiful he is !” said Little Thumb to the swallow.

The little prince was much afraid when he saw the swallow-it was such a large bird; but he was very glad to see Little Thumb-she was such a beautiful little girl. He took off his crown and put it on her head, asking her what was her name, and if she would marry him and be queen

to the little Lit was the Thu

over all the flowers ? That was quite another thing to marrying the toad's son or the tiresome old mole, so she replied “Yes," and so they were married that day with great joy and feasting

"Farewell, farewell !” said the little swallow, and flew back to his own country, pleased with having made Little Thumb happy, who had been in the former time so kind to him.

THE THREE CAKES. There was once a little boy, named Henry, whose parents sent him to a boarding school. He was a very quick boy at his work, and one day did his task so well that he was placed first on the list. When his mamma was told of it she sent him a cake, stuffed with nice almonds and candied lemon-peel, and iced it over with a coat of sugar, so that it was very smooth and white to look at. When Henry saw it, he jumped up and down for joy. He was not patient enough to wait till he had got a knife, but at once began to eat it with his fingers. He ate and ate till school began, and after school was over he ate again. At night, too, when he went to bed, he again fetched out his cake, and thrust large pieces of it into his mouth. Nay, a little fellow that slept in the same room stated that he put the cake under his pillow, and waked up a dozen times in the night that he might take a bit.

As soon as he woke in the morning, he went

to his cake again, and eat it so greedily that. by noon it was all gone. The dinner bell was rung, but Henry, as one may fancy, did not want any dinner, and was vexed to see how heartily the other children ate. At five o'clock in the afternoon, when school was over, his playmates asked him if he would not play at marbles or cricket. Alas! he could not; so they went away, and played without him. In the meantime, Henry could hardly stand upon his legs; he went and sat down in a corner very gloomy. The children said one to another, “What is the matter with poor Henry, who used to skip about and be so merry ? See how pale and sad he looks !” The master himself came to see him, and was afraid he was going to have some serious illness. When they asked him what was the matter with him, he could not be made to speak a single word. At last a boy came forward, and told how Henry's mamma had sent him a great cake the day before, which he had been eating ever since, and that his gluttony was the cause of his being ill. On this the master sent for the doctor, who gave him a bottle of medicine, that was very bitter to take. After a few days had passed, Henry was as well as before; but when his mamma heard of it, she said she should never send him another cake. ..

There was another boy in the same school, whose name was Francis. He wrote his mamma a very pretty letter, which had not a single blot in it; so she sent him as a reward a large cake. Now Francis said to himself, “I will not eat up

my cake at once, like that glutton Henry, and so be sick as he was; no, I will make my pleasure last a far longer time. So he took the cake, which was so heavy that he could hardly lift it, and placed it in his box, which he locked up with care.

At playtime, every day, he slipped away from the other scholars, went up stairs on tip-toe, cut himself a slice of the cake, eat it, and put by the rest. He acted in this way all the week, and even then, half of the cake remained. At last it became dry, and soon after mouldy; nay, the very maggots got into it, and by that means had their share. Francis was then forced to take it out of his box, and throw it away, and no one pitied him for his loss.

There was another boy who went to school with Henry and Francis, and his name was Willie. His mamma sent him a cake one day, because she loved him, and, indeed, he loved her very much. When the cake bad come, Willie called together his friends and playmates, and said, “My mamma has sent me a cake, I want you all to come and share it with me. You may be sure how eager all of them were to get round the cake, and that they did not need asking twice. Willie took his knife, and cut up the cake into as many parts as there were boys to eat it, leaving his own share to be eaten on the next day.

Soon after, while they were all playing together in front of the school, a poor old man, who had a fiddle, came into the yard. He had a very long white beard, and, being blind, was guided by a

little dog, which went before him, with a collar round his neck. A cord was fastened to this collar, which the blind man held in his hand. When he came into the yard, he sat down on a stone, and hearing several children talking round bim, said, "My dear little friends, I will play you all the pretty tunes that I know, if you will give me leave." The boys were highly pleased, and crowded round him to hear him play. Willie saw that while he played his merriest airs, a tear would now and then run down his cheeks, on which he stooped down and asked him why he wept. "Because," said the old man, “I am very hungry. I have no one in the world who will give my dog or me a bit of anything to eat. I wish I could work, and get for both of us a morsel of bread; but I have lost my strength and sight. Alas! I worked hard till I was old, and now I want for bread.” Willie did not say a word, but ran and fetched his share of the cake, and gave it to the poor old man. “Here, good old man,” he said, “here is some cake for you.” “Where,” replied the poor man, “where is it? for I am blind, and cannot see you.” Willie put the cake in his hand, when, laying down his fiddle on the ground, he wiped his eyes and began to eat. At every piece he put in his mouth, he gave his faithful dog a bit, which came and ate out of his hand. Willie was a hundred times more pleased with having fed the poor hungry man with his cake, than if he had eaten it himself.

« 上一页继续 »