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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.
THE RAVENS AND THE ANGELS.
(_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
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. And I felt as if the dear father was hearing
them too, even through the songs in heaven."
The child's heart was opened, the quivering lips broke into a sob, and
the face was hidden on her knee.
"It will not be for long, mother!" he said. "The master has found fault
with me more than ever to-day. He made me sing passage after passage
over and over, until some of the boys were quite angry, and said,
afterward, they wished I and my voice were with the old hermit who
houses us. Yet he never seemed pleased. He did not even say it was any
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