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St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 4, February 1878   By:

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[Illustration: AFTER THE SNOW STORM.]


VOL. V. FEBRUARY, 1878. No. 4.

[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]



Little Roy led his sheep down to pasture, And his cows, by the side of the brook; But his cows never drank any water, And his sheep never needed a crook.

For the pasture was gay as a garden, And it glowed with a flowery red; But the meadows had never a grass blade, And the brooklet it slept in its bed;

And it lay without sparkle or murmur, Nor reflected the blue of the skies. But the music was made by the shepherd, And the sparkle was all in his eyes.

Oh, he sang like a bird in the summer! And, if sometimes you fancied a bleat, That, too, was the voice of the shepherd, And not of the lambs at his feet.

And the glossy brown cows were so gentle That they moved at the touch of his hand O'er the wonderful rosy red meadow, And they stood at his word of command.

So he led all his sheep to the pasture, And his cows, by the side of the brook; Though it rained, yet the rain never patter'd O'er the beautiful way that they took.

And it wasn't in Fairy land either, But a house in a commonplace town, Where Roy as he looked from the window Saw the silvery drops trickle down.

For his pasture was only a table, With its cover so flowery fair, And his brooklet was just a green ribbon That his sister had lost from her hair.

And his cows they were glossy horse chestnuts, That had grown on his grandfather's tree; And his sheep they were snowy white pebbles He had brought from the shore by the sea.

And at length, when the shepherd was weary, And had taken his milk and his bread, And his mother had kissed him and tucked him, And had bid him "good night" in his bed,

Then there enter'd his big brother Walter, While the shepherd was soundly asleep, And he cut up the cows into baskets, And to jack stones turned all of the sheep.


( A Story of the Middle Ages. )



The next day, Gottlieb began his training among the other choristers.

It was not easy.

The choir master showed his appreciation of his raw treasure by straining every nerve to make it as perfect as possible; and therefore he found more fault with Gottlieb than with any one else.

The other boys might, he could not but observe, sing carelessly enough, so that the general harmony was pretty good; but every note of his seemed as if it were a solo which the master's ear never missed, and not the slightest mistake was allowed to pass.

The other choristers understood very well what this meant, and some of them were not a little jealous of the new favorite, as they called him. But to little Gottlieb it seemed hard and strange. He was always straining to do his very best, and yet he never seemed to satisfy. The better he did, the better the master wanted him to do, until he grew almost hopeless.

He would not, for the world, complain to his mother; but on the third evening she observed that he looked very sad and weary, and seemed scarcely to have spirits to play with Lenichen.

She knew it is of little use to ask little children what ails them, because so often their trouble is that they do not know. Some little delicate string within is jarred, and they know nothing of it, and think the whole world is out of tune. So she quietly put Lenichen to bed, and after the boy had said his prayers as usual at her knee, she laid her hand on his head, and caressingly stroked his fair curls, and then she lifted up his face to hers and kissed the little troubled brow and quivering lips.

"Dear little golden mouth!" she said, fondly, "that earns bread, and sleep, for the little sister and for me! I heard the sweet notes to day, and I thanked God... Continue reading book >>

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