The Little Lamb
CHRISTINA, a poor little girl of about ten years, was in the woods gathering strawberries. It was a very hot afternoon; and in the open, sunny part of the wood, where there was not a breath of air, the heat was very great. Her light straw bonnet scarcely protected her from the burning rays of the sun.
The clear drops stood upon her forehead, and her cheeks glowed like fire; still she con-tinued diligently to gather the strawberries, without ever looking up. "For," said she, cheerfully, as she wiped her forehead with her handkerchief, "they are for my poor, sick mother. The money for which I shall sell my berries, will procure some little things to do her good, I will buy her some nice tea and an orange,"
Towards evening, with her basket full of strawberries, she went through the woods back home. It began to grow very dark. The drops of rain fell faster and faster, and the heavy peals of thunder resounded in the distance. As she came out of the woods a tempest arose, the rain beat furiously against her, and black clouds arose in the fiery evening sky, towering over one another like mountains.
Christina knew that the lightning most frequently strikes the highest trees, and there-fore she sought shelter at a distance from them, beneath some hazel-bushes; and here she stood waiting until the storm should pass away. But suddenly she heard among the bushes close at hand, a mournful cry, almost like that of a little child.
The storm and rain and thunder and lightning did not prevent this good little girl from going to see what it was. She went, and lo! there was a tender little lamb, all dripping with rain and shivering in the storm, "Ah, you poor little creature!" said Christina; "you must not perish—come, I will take you home with me."
And she took the lamb carefully in her arms, and as soon as the rain ceased, she hur-ried home with it to her little cottage. "Oh, dear mother!" said she, as soon as she entered their clean, tidy little room, "look what I have found! Look what a beautiful little sheep! Oh, how lucky I was ! What care I shall take of it. It shall be my only pleasure."
"Child," said the sick mother, raising herself up in bed, and supporting her head on her hand, "in your joy you forget that this lamb must have an owner. It has only strayed away, and, therefore, we must give it back again. It probably belongs to the rich farmer over the hill. It is not right to keep other people's property a single night in the house. So you had better carry it home tonight."
"What nonsense!" cried a rough voice through the open window. "It is folly to be so particular!" The man who said this was a mason, who, while outside repairing the wall of their cottage, had overheard their conversation. The mother and daughter looked at him in alarm; but he continued: "Why do you make such strange faces?” I only speak for your good. We will cut up the lamb and divide it.
" We shall have a couple of little roasting pieces from the flesh, and the skin, too, is worth something. The rich farmer has more than a hundred fine large sheep; and, doubtless, he will never feel the loss of this poor little thing. So I will kill it immediately. And you need not be afraid. No one sees us, and you may trust me; I can be as silent," said he, flinging a trowel full of mortar on the wall—" as silent as a wall."
Christina was shocked at what the mason said. The thought how wicked it would be to keep the lamb, now became clear to her. " You are wrong," said she to the mason. " Though no man sees us, yet God does ! But you, dearest mother, are right—and I only wonder that what you said did not occur to myself. Gladly, in-deed," continued she, while the tears started into her eyes, "gladly would I have kept the little lamb! Yet we ought to be willing to obey our good God."
She wrapped the lamb in her apron, and went with it towards the farmer's, though the rain had not yet quite ceased, and the sun had almost set.
To be continued next week....
From the Metropolitan Second Reader 1883
A blessed Friday to you all! We are starting a new 'season' here at St. Fiacre's Farm with a Friday blog series for our young farmer readers. Each week we will feature a lovely, oldie but goodie, story about farm life, the great outdoors, animals or the like. Along with this story we hope to add a free downloadable activity sheet to go along with the story. Jjoin us every week to see what is new. For Pope Pius XII says, "The farm is the ideal nursery for the family", and we hope that family young and old (er) will benefit from our little homesteading journey. Without further ado....
THE FOUR SEASONS
“I WISH it were always winter!” said Ernest, who had returned from a sleigh-ride, and was making a man out of snow. His father desired him to write down this wish in his notebook; and he did so.
The winter passed away, and the spring came. Ernest stood with his father by the side of a bed of flowers, and gazed with delight upon hyacinths, the violets, and the lilies of the valley. “These are the gifts of spring,” said his father; “but they will soon fade and disappear.” “Ah!” said Ernest, “I wish it were always spring!” “Write that down in my book,” said his father; and Ernest did so.
The spring passed away, and summer came Ernest went with his parents, and some of his playmates, into the country, and spent the day there. Everywhere the meadows were green and decked with flowers, and in the pastures the young lambs were sporting around their mothers.
They had cherries to eat, and passed a very happy day. As they were going home, the father said, "Has not the summer its pleasures too, my son?" "Oh, yes," said Ernest; "I wish it were always summer!" And this wish Ernest wrote down in his father's book.
At last autumn came. Ernest again went with his parents into the country. It was not so warm as in the summer, but the air was mild and the heavens were clear. The grape-vines were heavy with purple clusters; melons lay upon the ground in the gardens; and in the orchards the boughs were loaded with ripe fruit.
"This fine season will soon be over," said the father, "and winter will be upon us." "Ah!" said Ernest, "I wish it would stay, and always be autumn!"
"Do you really wish so?" said his father. "I do, indeed," replied Ernest. "But," contin-ued his father, taking at the same time his note-book out of his pocket, "see what is writ-ten here."
Ernest looked and saw it written down, "I wish it were always winter." "Now turn over another leaf," said his father, " and what do you find written there ?" " I wish it were al-ways spring." "And farther on, what is written?" "I wish it were always summer."
"And in whose hand-writing are these words?" "They are in mine," said Ernest. "And what is now your wish?" "That it should always be autumn." " That is strange," said his father. "In winter, you wished it might always be winter; in spring, you wished it might always be spring and so of summer and of autumn. Now, what do yon think of all this?"
Ernest, after thinking a moment replied, "I suppose that all seasons are good.'' "That is true, my son: they are all rich in blessings, and God, who sends them to you, knows far better than we what is good for us. Had the "wish you expressed last winter been granted, we should have had no spring, :no summer, no autumn.
"You would have had the earth always covered with snow, so that you might have had sleigh-rides and made snow-men. How many pleasures would you have lost in that event! It is well for us that we cannot have all things as we wish, but that God sends us what seems good to him." - The Metropolitan Second Reader Published in 1883 ~*~ By A Member of the Order of the Holy Cross
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