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The Little People of the Snow   By: (1794-1878)

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[Illustration: Cover]

THE LITTLE PEOPLE OF THE SNOW.

THE LITTLE PEOPLE OF THE SNOW.

BY

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

Illustrated FROM DESIGNS BY ALFRED FREDERICKS, ENGRAVED BY A. BOBBETT.

NEW YORK: D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, 549 & 551 BROADWAY.

1873.

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872,

BY D. APPLETON & CO.,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

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[Illustration]

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THE LITTLE PEOPLE OF THE SNOW.

Alice. One of your old world stories, Uncle John, Such as you tell us by the winter fire, Till we all wonder it has grown so late.

Uncle John. The story of the witch that ground to death Two children in her mill, or will you have The tale of Goody Cutpurse?

Alice. Nay, now, nay; Those stories are too childish, Uncle John, Too childish even for little Willy here, And I am older, two good years, than he; No, let us have a tale of elves that ride, By night, with jingling reins, or gnomes of the mine, Or water fairies, such as you know how To spin, till Willy's eyes forget to wink, And good Aunt Mary, busy as she is, Lays down her knitting.

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Uncle John. Listen to me, then. 'Twas in the olden time, long, long ago, And long before the great oak at our door Was yet an acorn, on a mountain's side Lived, with his wife, a cottager. They dwelt Beside a glen and near a dashing brook, A pleasant spot in spring, where first the wren Was heard to chatter, and, among the grass, Flowers opened earliest; but, when winter came, That little brook was fringed with other flowers, White flowers, with crystal leaf and stem, that grew In clear November nights. And, later still, That mountain glen was filled with drifted snows From side to side, that one might walk across, While, many a fathom deep, below, the brook Sang to itself, and leaped and trotted on Unfrozen, o'er its pebbles, toward the vale.

Alice. A mountain's side, you said; the Alps, perhaps, Or our own Alleghanies.

Uncle John. Not so fast, My young geographer, for then the Alps, With their broad pastures, haply were untrod Of herdsman's foot, and never human voice Had sounded in the woods that overhang Our Alleghany's streams. I think it was Upon the slopes of the great Caucasus, Or where the rivulets of Ararat Seek the Armenian vales. That mountain rose So high, that, on its top, the winter snow Was never melted, and the cottagers Among the summer blossoms, far below, Saw its white peaks in August from their door.

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One little maiden, in that cottage home, Dwelt with her parents, light of heart and limb, Bright, restless, thoughtless, flitting here and there, Like sunshine on the uneasy ocean waves, And sometimes she forgot what she was bid, As Alice does.

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Alice. Or Willy, quite as oft.

Uncle John. But you are older, Alice, two good years, And should be wiser. Eva was the name Of this young maiden, now twelve summers old. Now you must know that, in those early times, When autumn days grew pale, there came a troop Of childlike forms from that cold mountain top; With trailing garments through the air they came, Or walked the ground with girded loins, and threw Spangles of silvery frost upon the grass, And edged the brook with glistening parapets, And built it crystal bridges, touched the pool, And turned its face to glass, or, rising thence, They shook, from their full laps, the soft, light snow, And buried the great earth, as autumn winds Bury the forest floor in heaps of leaves... Continue reading book >>




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