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« Thou art a handy maiden,'

The fairy lady said; “ Thou hast not spilled a drop, nor yet

The fairy spring troubled !

“And for this thing which thou hast done,

Yet mayest not understand, I give to thee a better gift

Than houses or than land.

“ Thou shalt do well whate'er thou dost,

As thou hast done this day;
Shalt have the will and power to please,

And shalt be loved alway.”

Thus having said, she passed from sight,

And naught could Mabel see
But the little bird, the sky-blue bird,

Upon the leafy tree.

“ And now go,” said the grandmother,

“ And fetch in fagots dry; All in the neighboring fir-wood,

Beneath the trees they lie.”

Away went kind, good Mabel,

Into the fir-wood near,
Where all the ground was dry and brown,

And the grass grew thin and sere,

She did not wander up and down,

Nor yet a live branch pull, But steadily of the fallen boughs She picked her apron

full.

And when the wild-wood brownies

Came sliding to her mind,
She drove them thence, as she was told,

With home-thoughts sweet and kind.

But all that while the brownies

Within the fir-wood still, They watched her how she picked the wood,

And strove to do no ill.

Said one,

“And, 0, but she is small and neat,"

“'t were shame to spite A creature so demure and weak,

A creature harmless quite;

“Look only,” said another,

“ At her little gown of blue ;
At her kerchief pinned about her head,

And at her little shoe;"

“O, but she is a comely child,”

Said a third ; “and we will lay A good-luck penny in her path,

A boon for her this day,

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Seeing she broke no living wood;

No live thing did affray!'
With that the smallest penny,

Of the finest silver ore,
Upon the dry and slippery path,

Lay Mabel's feet before.
With joy she picked the penny up,

The fairy-penny good;
And with the fagots dry and brown

Went wandering from the wood.
“Now she has that,” said the brownies,

“ Let flax be ever so dear,
'T will buy her clothes of the very best,

For many and many a year!”

“And go now,” said the grandmother,

“Since falling is the dew,
Go down unto the lonesome glen,

And milk the mother-ewe!”

All down into the lonesome glen,

Through copses thick and wild, Through moist, rank grass, by twinkling streams,

Went on the willing child.

And when she came to the lonesome glen,

She kept beside the burn,

And neither plucked the strawberry-flower

Nor broke the lady-fern.

And while she milked the mother-ewe

Within this lonesome glen, She wished that little Amy

Were strong and well again. And soon as she had thought this thought,

She heard a coming sound, As if a thousand fairy-folk

Were gathering all around.
And then she heard a little voice,

Shrill as the midge's wing,
That spake aloud,—“A human child

Is here; yet mark this thing,

“ The lady-fern is all unbroke,

The strawberry-flower unta'en! What shall be done for her who still

From mischief can refrain ?"

“Give her a fairy cake!” said one;

“ Grant her a wish!" said three; “ The latest wish that she hath wished,"

Said all, “ whate'er it be!”

Kind Mabel heard the words they spoke,

And from the lonesome glen,

THE LITTLE STAR.

165

Unto the good old grandmother

Went gladly back again.

Thus happened it to Mabel

On that midsummer day, And these three fairy-blessings

She took with her away.

'Tis good to make all duty sweet,

To be alert and kind; 'Tis good, like little Mabel,

To have a willing mind.

MARY HOWITT.

THE LITTLE STAR.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star;
How I wonder what

you

are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky.

When the glorious sun is set,
When the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

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