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A Little Book of Profitable Tales   By: (1850-1895)

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[Transcriber's notes: before and after a word or phrase indicate italics, indicate bolded text]

THE WRITINGS IN PROSE AND VERSE OF EUGENE FIELD

A LITTLE BOOK OF PROFITABLE TALES

NEW YORK 1901

By EUGENE FIELD.

TO MY SEVEREST CRITIC, MY MOST LOYAL ADMIRER, AND MY ONLY DAUGHTER, MARY FRENCH FIELD, THIS LITTLE BOOK OF PROFITABLE TALES IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED. E.F.

INTRODUCTION

I have never read a poem by Mr. Field without feeling personally drawn to the author. Long after I had known him as a poet, I found that he had written in prose little scraps or long essays, which had attracted me in just the same way, when I had met with them in the newspapers, although I had not known who the author was.

All that he writes indeed is quite free from the conventionalisms to which authorship as a profession is sadly liable. Because he is free from them, you read his poems or you read his prose, and are affected as if you met him. If you were riding in a Pullman car with him, or if you were talking with him at breakfast over your coffee, he would say just such things in just this way. If he had any art, it was the art of concealing art. But I do not think that he thought much of art. I do not think that he cared much for what people say about criticism or style. He wrote as he felt, or as he thought, without troubling himself much about method. It is this simplicity, or what it is the fashion of the day to call frankness, which gives a singular charm to his writing.

EDWARD E. HALE.

The Tales in this Little Book

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

THE SYMBOL AND THE SAINT

THE COMING OF THE PRINCE

THE MOUSE AND THE MOONBEAM

THE DIVELL'S CHRYSTMASS

THE MOUNTAIN AND THE SEA

THE ROBIN AND THE VIOLET

THE OAK TREE AND THE IVY

MARGARET: A PEARL

THE SPRINGTIME

RODOLPH AND HIS KING

THE HAMPSHIRE HILLS

EZRA'S THANKSGIVIN' OUT WEST

LUDWIG AND ELOISE

FIDO'S LITTLE FRIEND

THE OLD MAN

BILL, THE LOKIL EDITOR

THE LITTLE YALLER BABY

THE CYCLOPEEDY

DOCK STEBBINS

THE FAIRIES OF PESTH

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

Once upon a time the forest was in a great commotion. Early in the evening the wise old cedars had shaken their heads ominously and predicted strange things. They had lived in the forest many, many years; but never had they seen such marvellous sights as were to be seen now in the sky, and upon the hills, and in the distant village.

"Pray tell us what you see," pleaded a little vine; "we who are not as tall as you can behold none of these wonderful things. Describe them to us, that we may enjoy them with you."

"I am filled with such amazement," said one of the cedars, "that I can hardly speak. The whole sky seems to be aflame, and the stars appear to be dancing among the clouds; angels walk down from heaven to the earth, and enter the village or talk with the shepherds upon the hills."

The vine listened in mute astonishment. Such things never before had happened. The vine trembled with excitement. Its nearest neighbor was a tiny tree, so small it scarcely ever was noticed; yet it was a very beautiful little tree, and the vines and ferns and mosses and other humble residents of the forest loved it dearly.

"How I should like to see the angels!" sighed the little tree, "and how I should like to see the stars dancing among the clouds! It must be very beautiful."

As the vine and the little tree talked of these things, the cedars watched with increasing interest the wonderful scenes over and beyond the confines of the forest. Presently they thought they heard music, and they were not mistaken, for soon the whole air was full of the sweetest harmonies ever heard upon earth.

"What beautiful music!" cried the little tree. "I wonder whence it comes."

"The angels are singing," said a cedar; "for none but angels could make such sweet music."

"But the stars are singing, too," said another cedar; "yes, and the shepherds on the hills join in the song, and what a strangely glorious song it is!"

The trees listened to the singing, but they did not understand its meaning: it seemed to be an anthem, and it was of a Child that had been born; but further than this they did not understand... Continue reading book >>




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