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THE PEBBLE AND THE ACORN.
The children of men arise, and pass
Out of the world like blades of grass;
And many a foot on me has trod,
That's gone from sight, and under the sod!
I am a Pebble! but who art thou,
Rattling along from the restless bough?”
The Acorn was shocked at the rude salute,
And lay for a moment abashed and mute;
She never before had been so near
This gravelly ball, the mundane sphere;
And she felt for a time at a loss to know
How to answer a thing so coarse and low.
But to give reproof of a nobler sort
Than the angry look, or the keen retort,
At length she said, in a gentle tone:
"Since it has happened that I am thrown
From the lighter element, where I grew,
Down to another, so hard and new,
And beside a personage so august,
Abased, I will cover my head with dust,
And quickly retire from the sight of one
Whom time, nor season, nor storm, nor sun,
Nor the gentle dew, nor the grinding heel
Has ever subdued, or made to feel!"
And soon, in the earth, she sunk away
From the comfortless spot where the Pebble lay.
But it was not long ere the soil was broke
By the peering head of an infant oak!
And, as it arose and its branches spread, The Pebble looked up, and wondering said, "A modest Acorn! never to tell
What was enclosed in its simple shell;
That the pride of the forest was folded up
In the narrow space of its little cup!
And meekly to sink in the darksome earth,
Which proves that nothing could hide her worth!
And oh! how many will tread on me,
To come and admire the beautiful tree,
Whose head is towering towards the sky,
Above such a worthless thing as I!
Useless and vain, a cumberer here,
I have been idling from year to year.
But never, from this, shall a vaunting word
From the humbled Pebble again be heard,
Till something without me or within
• Shall show the purpose for which I've been!" The Pebble its vow could not forget,
And it lies there wrapt in silence yet.
A SPIDER is a little thing,
But once a spider saved a king;
The little bees are wiser far
Than buffalos and lions are;
Little men may do much harm;
Little girls may learn to charm;
Little boys may shame their sires,
And little sparks become great fires;
A little pen may write a word
By which a nation shall be stirred;
A little money, wisely spent,
A world of sorrow may prevent;
A little counsel, rightly given,
May lift a sinful soul to heaven.
Little losses, day by day,
Would waste old Rothschild's wealth away;
A little needle in the eye
May cause an elephant to die;
A little fault, if left to grow,
An emperor may overthrow;
A little word, but spoke in jest,
May rob your neighbor of his rest;
A little selfishness and pride
The kindest household may divide;
Little vices many times
Out-Herod felonies and crimes;
And little virtues in the sum
Great excellences do become.
ONCE Sultan Nushirvan the just, hunting,
Stopped in an open field to take a lunch.
He wanted salt, and to a servant said,
"Go, get some at the nearest house, but pay
The price the peasant asks." "Great king," exclaimed
The servant," thou art lord o'er all this realm;
Why take the pains to buy a little salt?
"It is a little thing," said Nushirvan,
"And so, at first, was all the evil whose
Most monstrous load now presses so the world.
Were there no little wrongs, no great could be.
If I from off a poor man's tree should pluck
A single apple, straight my slaves would rob
The whole tree to its roots: if I should seize
Five eggs, my ministers at once would snatch
A hundred hens. Therefore strict justice must
I, even in unimportant acts, observe.
Bring salt, but pay the peasant what he asks."
WHAT if the little rain should say,
"So small a drop as I
Can ne'er refresh those thirsty fields;
I'll tarry in the sky."
What if the shining beam of noon
Should in its fountain stay,
Because its single light alone
Cannot create a day.
Does not each rain-drop help to form
The cool refreshing shower?
And every ray of light to warm
And beautify the flower?
Then let each child its influence give,
O Lord! to truth and thee;
So shall its power by all be felt,
However small it be.
SUPPOSE a little twinkling star,
Away in yonder sky,
Should say, what light can reach so far
From such a star as I?
Not many rays of mine so far
As yonder earth can fall,
The others so much brighter are,
I will not shine at all!