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When she knew that she must soon pass away, she was very sad, grieving for husband and daughter that she must leave behind on earth; and especially was she anxious for the future of her loving daughter. Calling the girl to the bedside, she said:
“My beloved child, you see that I am so very sick that soon I must die and leave you and your father alone. Promise me that when I am gone, every
am ei er ne:
morning when you get up and every night when you go to bed, you will look into the mirror which your father gave me long ago. In it you will see me smiling back at you, and you will know that I am ever near to protect you.”
Having spoken these words, she pointed to the place where the mirror was hidden, and the girl, with tears on her cheeks, promised to do as her mother wished. Tranquil and resigned, the mother then passed quickly away.
The dutiful daughter, never forgetting her mother's wishes, each morning and evening took the glass from the place where it was hidden and gazed at it intently for a long time. There she saw the face of her dead mother brilliant and smiling, not pallid and ill as it was in her last days, but young and beautiful. To this vision each night she confided the troubles and little faults of the day, looking to it for help and encouragement in doing her duty. In this manner the girl grew up as if watched over and helped by a living presence, trying always to do nothing that could grieve or annoy her sainted mother. Her greatest pleasure was to look into the mirror and feel that she could truthfully say: "Mother, to-day I have been as you wished that I should be.”
After a time the father observed that his daughter looked lovingly into the mirror every morning and every evening, and appeared to converse with it. Wondering, he asked her the cause of her strange behavior. The girl replied:
“Father, I look every day into the glass to see my dear mother and to speak with her.”
She then related to him the last wishes of her dying mother, and assured him that she had never failed to comply with them.
Wondering at such simplicity and loving obedience, the father shed tears of pity and affection. Nor did he ever find the heart to explain to the loving daughter that the image she saw in the mirror was but the reflection of her own beautiful face. Thus, by the pure white bond of her filial love, each day the charming girl grew more and more like her dead mother.
THE GOLDEN TOUCH
By NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
rich man, and a king besides, whose
So, because I love odd names for little girls, I choose to call her Marygold.
This King Midas was fonder of gold than of anything else in the world. He valued his royal crown chiefly because it was composed of that precious metal. If he loved anything better or half so well, it was the one little maiden who played so merrily around her father's footstool. But the more Midas loved his daughter, the more did he desire and seek for wealth. He thought, foolish man! that the best thing he could possibly do for this dear child would be to bequeath her the immensest pile of yellow, glistening coin that had ever been heaped together since the world was made. Thus he gave all his thoughts and all his time to this one purpose. If he ever happened to gaze for an instant at the gold-tinted clouds of sunset, he wished that they were real gold and that they could be squeezed safely into his strong box.
When little Marygold ran to meet him with a bunch of buttercups and dandelions, he used to say, “Pooh, pooh, child! If these flowers were as
golden as they look, they would be worth the plucking!”
And yet in his earlier days, before he was so entirely possessed with this insane desire for riches, King Midas had shown a great taste for flowers. He had planted a garden in which grew the biggest and beautifulest and sweetest roses that any mortal ever saw or smelled. These roses were still growing in the garden, as large, as lovely, and as fragrant as when Midas used to pass whole hours in gazing at them and inhaling their perfume. But now, if he looked at them at all, it was only to calculate how much the garden would be worth if each of the innumerable rose-petals were a thin plate of gold. And though he once was fond of music (in spite of an idle story about his ears, which were said to resemble those of an ass), the only music for poor Midas now was the chink of one coin against another. • At length (as people always grow more and more foolish unless they take care to grow wiser and wiser) Midas had got to be so exceedingly unreasonable that he could scarcely bear to see or touch any object that was not gold. He made it his custom, therefore, to pass a large portion of every day in a dark and dreary apartment underground, at the basement of his palace. It was here that he kept his wealth. To this dismal hole-for it was little better than a dungeon–Midas betook himself whenever he wanted to be particularly happy. Here, after carefully locking the door, he would take a bag of gold coin, or a gold cup as big as a washbowl, or a heavy golden bar, or a peck measure of gold dust, and bring it from the obscure corners