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Story-Tell Lib   By: (1838-1926)

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Story Tell Lib

[Illustration]

Story Tell Lib

By Annie Trumbull Slosson

Author of "Fishin' Jimmy"

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS NEW YORK . . . . . 1908

Copyright, 1900 BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS All rights reserved

CONTENTS

PAGE

I. STORY TELL LIB 3 II. THE SHET UP POSY 13 III. THE HORSE THAT B'LEEVED HE'D GET THERE 25 IV. THE PLANT THAT LOST ITS BERRY 37 V. THE STONY HEAD 47 VI. DIFF'ENT KIND O' BUNDLES 57 VII. THE BOY THAT WAS SCARET O' DYIN' 71

STORY TELL LIB

I

Story Tell Lib

That was what everybody in the little mountain village called her. Her real name, as she often told me, ringing out each syllable proudly in her shrill sweet voice, was Elizabeth Rowena Marietta York. A stately name, indeed, for the little crippled, stunted, helpless creature, and I myself could never think of her by any name but the one the village people used, Story tell Lib. I had heard of her for two or three summers in my visits to Greenhills. The village folk had talked to me of the little lame girl who told such pretty stories out of her own head, "kind o' fables that learnt folks things, and helped 'em without bein' too preachy." But I had no definite idea of what the child was till I saw and heard her myself. She was about thirteen years of age, but very small and fragile. She was lame, and could walk only with the aid of a crutch. Indeed, she could but hobble painfully, a few steps at a time, with that assistance. Her little white face was not an attractive one, her features being sharp and pinched, and her eyes faded, dull, and almost expressionless. Only the full, prominent, rounding brow spoke of a mind out of the common. She was an orphan, and lived with her aunt, Miss Jane York, in an old fashioned farmhouse on the upper road.

Miss Jane was a good woman. She kept the child neatly clothed and comfortably fed, but I do not think she lavished many caresses or loving words on little Lib, it was not her way, and the girl led a lonesome, quiet, unchildlike life. Aunt Jane tried to teach her to read and write, but, whether from the teacher's inability to impart knowledge, or from some strange lack in the child's odd brain, Lib never learned the lesson. She could not read a word, she did not even know her alphabet. I cannot explain to myself or to you the one gift which gave her her homely village name. She told stories. I listened to many of them, and I took down from her lips several of these. They are, as you will see if you read them, "kind o' fables," as the country folk said. They were all simple little tales in the dialect of the hill country in which she lived. But each held some lesson, suggested some truth, which, strangely enough, the child herself did not seem to see; at least, she never admitted that she saw or intended any hidden meaning.

I often questioned her as to this after we became friends. After listening to some tale in which I could discern just the lovely truth which would best help some troubled soul in her audience, I have questioned her as to its meaning. I can see now, in memory, the short sighted, expressionless eyes of faded blue which met mine as she said, "Don't mean anything, it don't. It's jest a story. Stories don't have to mean things; they're stories, and I tells 'em." That was all she would say, and the mystery remained... Continue reading book >>




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