The Sad Shepherd by Henry Van Dyke


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Sad Shepherd, by Henry Van Dyke

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Sad Shepherd

Author: Henry Van Dyke

Release Date: May 29, 2005 [EBook #15936]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE SAD SHEPHERD ***




Produced by Michael Gray





THE SAD SHEPHERD

[Illustration]

THE SAD SHEPHERD


A CHRISTMAS STORY
BY
HENRY VAN DYKE

NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1911


Copyright, 1911, by Charles Scribner's Sons


Published October, 1911


THE SAD SHEPHERD




I

DARKNESS


Out of the Valley of Gardens, where a film of new-fallen snow lay
smooth as feathers on the breast of a dove, the ancient Pools of
Solomon looked up into the night sky with dark, tranquil eyes,
wide-open and passive, reflecting the crisp stars and the small, round
moon. The full springs, overflowing on the hill-side, melted their way
through the field of white in winding channels; and along their course
the grass was green even in the dead of winter.

But the sad shepherd walked far above the friendly valley, in a region
where ridges of gray rock welted and scarred the back of the earth,
like wounds of half-forgotten strife and battles long ago. The solitude
was forbidding and disquieting; the keen air that searched the wanderer
had no pity in it; and the myriad glances of the night were curiously
cold.

His flock straggled after him. The sheep, weather-beaten and dejected,
followed the path with low heads nodding from side to side, as if they
had traveled far and found little pasture. The black, lop-eared goats
leaped upon the rocks, restless and ravenous, tearing down the tender
branches and leaves of the dwarf oaks and wild olives. They reared up
against the twisted trunks and crawled and scrambled among the boughs.
It was like a company of gray downcast friends and a troop of merry
little black devils following the sad shepherd afar off.

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