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all about her lazy cousin, for the Spring breeze began telling her wonderful tales, and for several days she did not notice her. When she did, what was her surprise to see that her yellow hair had all turned white.
“Why, what is the matter?” she said.
Just then a pert little robin, who thought he knew a great deal, perched on a low bush near her.
"Friend robin,” she said, "you can tell me what is wrong with my little dandelion cousin over there? Her hair has all turned white."
“Oh, ho," laughed the robin, "don't you know what that means ? Why, she is growing old and gray. Dandelions do not live forever. Soon her white hairs will all blow away and she will go down into the earth. Good-bye, I hear my friends calling me,” and he flew away.
Poor little dandelion; her head dropped lower and lower. What did it all mean? grow gray and lose her pretty hair-go down into the earth? She had never thought but that she would always live in that quiet meadow with her dandelion cousins.
Just then a bluebird stopped to rest on the same bush which the robin had lately left. Now the bluebird had lived longer than the robin, and seen many things, and he was also the father of a family, which made him wise and gentle. All the birds were fond of the bright little dandelion, who generally smiled on every one, and seeing her look so sad, he said:
“Dear little friend, what is the matter? Why do you hang your head this pleasant weather?"
"Oh, dear bluebird," said the dandelion, "Robin has just told me something so strange that I do not think that I can ever look up at the sun again. Look at my little cousin over there, who is so gray and you will understand. Ah, there goes some of her hairs now!” And the dandelion shivered as a gust of wind shook her little cousin, and carried away a bunch of white hairs, each with a dark something fastened to it. “Robin says," continued the dandelion, “that I shall soon grow gray, too, and lose my hair, and go down into the dark earth. Is that not enough to make me sad ?"
"Poor little friend," said the bluebird, "the Robin did not tell you all. It is true that your pretty hair will turn white, and that the wind will carry it away; but listen, every tuft of hair will carry with it a tiny seed, which will drop somewhere on Mother Earth and she will take it to her warm bosom and keep it through the Winter. Next Spring little dandelions will spring up from these seeds to gladden the hearts of little children who love them, and these dandelions will all be your
children. You will be here, too, for you only go down into the earth to sleep and rest through the
Winter, so that you may wake up bright and strong next Spring. So do not grieve, little friend, but be brave and happy, and think of next Spring Now I must leave you, for my children will be hungry, There are so mary of them that they keep me and my mate busy finding them food," and away flew the bluebird, thrilling a sweet song of joy and hope and carrying a bit of blue sky on his back.
Slowly little dandelion raised her head, higher and higher, until she looked up at the sun again. “The bluebird is so wise, she said, "and has so many children, that he must be bright, and I will be brave."
And so through the bright Spring days that followed little dandelion smiled up at the sun, and chattered gaily with her friends; and when one after another of her friends turned gray, she sent a loving message to each by the wind.
At length the day came when little dandelion felt very tired and sleepy, so tired that she did not care to take off her green night-cap. And soon, instead of a yellow dandelion, there stood á dandelion with snow white hair. "I am growing old,” she said, “but I do not mind, for my white hairs will give me many chil. dren;" and as the frolicsome Spring wind shook her and carried away her hairs, a few at a time, she called after it: “Be careful where you drop those seeds, good friend." Then, bending near the earth, she whispered: “Take good care of my children for me, dear earth.”
Soon the dandelion was quite bald, and began to grow stiff and dry, and to say goodbye to the birds and bees, and all her little friends. “Tell
my dandelion cousins not to be afraid,” she said to the Wind, "for I am only going to sleep and rest through the Winter, and I shall see them next Spring.
Soon there was nothing left but a tuft of leaves to mark the place where little dandelion had stood, and in the Fall these turned red and brown, and then withered away and sank down into the earth, as little dandelion had done. The Winter snows covered the meadow, and sometimes the wind whistled loudly over it, and sometimes whispered soft lullabys, remembering his little friend.
Was this the end of little dandelion? Oh, no! If you had chanced to go into that meadow the next Spring you would have seen her standing there, only larger, sweeter, and brighter than before; and in distant meadows, along the roadside, and on beautiful lawns, dandelions sprang up from her seeds. And as the wind, the bees, the birds and the butterflies traveled about and saw them, they brought little dandelion word, and she was happier than she had ever been before.
WORK FOR THE HUMBLE.
Teacher's Reading-Life of Christ, Farrar.
CALLING THE DISCIPLES. Matt. 4: 18—23; 9: 9–17; Mark 1: 16—20; Luke 5: 1-11; John 1: 37–51.
Jesus at the sea—the fishermen—the drought of fishes—the call—Matthew-his position—all humble men-No matter how lowly, there is work to be done, and the Lord often chooses humble people to perform His work.
"HIM MAKE SOMEBODY."
"Lady, what you call-a dis?”
The lady's eyes were raised languidly from the book she was reading But as they became focused upon the strange figure before her they acquired a momentary interest.
“What is it?" she asked.
"Dis;" and the boy leaned eagerly over her chair without removing his dirty finger from the picture which he held up for her inspection.
She drew back with a slight frown. But it was only momentary, and was succeeded by a quiet look of amusement.
"It is an elephant,” she answered “Have you never seen
“Dey ain't lib in my country—no. I tink dey is Ameriky.”
"Oh, no; they are not Americans," she answered, smiling. “They belong to a warm climate. You have not been over long, I suppose ?"
"I t’ink it be tree—what vou call him ? mont's," he replied, doubtfully. "But here is anudder I like for you tell me.”
He turned the leaves of his little picture book rapidly and again held it up for her inspection.
“That is a tiger.”
"I glad of dat. Me an' my brudders an' sisters be Ameriky, an’I no like dat t’ing be same as we. He bad ur!r!”
“What made you come to this out-of-the-way place ?" she asked, after a moment's silence. “Surely there is no work here for your father and mother.”
Instantly the merry smile disappeared, and his face became grave and thoughtful.
"De fader an’ moder die on de vesseel wid de fever," he said slowly, with an awed look in his blue eyes. “I haf two_t'ree dolla, and I no like stay in de big Noo York wid de brudders an' sisters. It bad place for small peoples. We come on de boat til the monna be gone, den we walk an’ walk till de little ones be tired. Den we stop. Den we be here."
Th lady had unconsciously allowed the book to slip from her lap to the sand at her feet, and her face was losing its expression of bored in difference.
"Are you the oldest ?" she asked.
"I be de fader now," he replied gravely. "I t'ink we lib here It be nice place for bring up de little ones.
I lik it more as any place I seen. It make me t’ink of home country-only betta.'
"Not better than your own country?” she said, in some surprise.
"Ye, Ameriky de betta country for teach little ones. Dey learn t'ings an' make somebody. maybe. We lib here always, and I make the brudders an’ sisters to be good people for Ameriky. I ask you dem eflants an' tiger-rs for de little ones. I learn all t’ings I can for dem."
“How many of you are there?” she asked, "and how do you manage to get along? What do you do?”
“Dere. be two brudders an' two sisters,” he replied, with the smile returning to his face, “and dey be all more little as me. An’ we get along fust-a-rate. We find de clams an' de crabs an' sell to de peoples, an' de sisters do sell flowers. We haf some room in a barn, an' it not cost-a much to live in Summer.”
“So you catch crabs and fish. I am very fond of them. What are crabs worth ?"
"Fi cent," eagerly.
“Well, suppose you bring me a dozen tomorrow—to Mrs. Roper at the stone house on the hill.”
As he was turning away he caught sight of the book on the ground, and with a graceful movement and a smile which displayed his even, white teeth, he picked it up and handed it to her.
She watched him as he went leisurely down the beach and across to the narrow bit of wharf where there were several men fishing. Here he evidently found a job, for she saw a man give
him a rod and a fish basket and point across to one of the hotels. Then she opened the book and soon lost herself in its contents.
But hers were not the only eyes that had glanced curiously at the gay figure of the boy. He was a bright dash of color för the dull background of these quiet New England streets, and there was artist enough in the hearts of the on-lookers to be pleased with the innovation. Once upon a time his jacket had been brave with bright colors and gay buttons, but time and the sun and the rains had been at work and now it was an uncertain mixture of dull greens and yellows, and the buttons had all disappeared. But his trousers had fared better. Perhaps the plant which had furnished the coloring material had more vitality, or the dyer had been more conscientious in his work; at any rate, their flaming glory had been scarcely dimmed by the vicissitudes they had been through. They reached only as far as his knees-below that was the firm brown skin—but they, and the saucy little head-covering which was neither hat nor cap, soon became the envy of the small boys at Seaview.
Originally Seaview had been a small settlement whieh had furnished the surrounding farmers with the few necessary things they could not raise. But one day an artist lounger strolled in and did the place the honor to be pleased.
After that came à gradual transformation. A dozen or so cottages took possession of the more picturesque points, and here and there a hotel rose to meet the wants of those who could not own cottages. It had the reputation of being very exclusive. Its
people came in the Spring and left in the Fall.
There were few short-time visitors, no excursionists, no rabble.” Perhaps this was owing to the fact that Seaview had neither railroad nor steamboat. People who have but a few days to spend on
the shore do not care for å twelve-mile stage ride through a rough country. But whatever the reason, it was a point of much satisfaction to the favored few. They had the boating and the bathing and the fishing to themselves, and there was no elbowing crowd to mar the enjoyment.
When the group of strangely-dressed children came into town there were many who gazed at them with suspicion. But as the days and weeks went by, and nothing was missed, the distrust gradually gave place to idle curiosity. A few even showed some friendly interest. The children were neither beggars nor thieves, that much was now conceded by all. At present they seemed perfectly able to take care of themselves. When cold weather arrived it would be time enough to take some action in the matter.
Every day they could be seen on the beach, along the banks of the river, on the wharf; catching crabs, digging clams and fishing. Even the tiny little fellow in picturesque kirtle spent