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Frosty-bearded Father Time,
Stop your footfall on the rime!
Hard you push, your hand is rough;
You have swung me long enough.
“Nay, no stopping,” say you? Well,
Some of your best stories tell,
While you swing me-gently, do!
From the Old Year to the New.

The title tells you that this poem is not about a real swing, under an apple tree. Why is Time asked to push “twelve times only”? What month is it when the swinging begins? How many times does the swing move in the first stanza ? How many times in the second? Do the birds begin to twitter while the trees are still bare? Should we expect to see lilac buds in February or March?

Do you know the “smell of sprouting grass”? Do the violets pass in May? Does it seem to you that the author has chosen the right flowers and birds to represent each month? Do the pond lilies, the cardinal blossoms, the golden-rod, the asters, and the gentians follow each other in that order?

If you are familiar with the flowers mentioned, you will know that they almost all grow in damp, marshy places. Where do sedges grow? Does it not seem to you that the illustrations are particularly well chosen?

There is a series of beautiful little pictures in the words, “underneath the pine's tall spire cardinal blossoms burn like fire”; “the golden-rod flashes from the dark green sod”; “asters light the fading year”; “gentians fringed...glimmer out of sleety



By Mary Howitt JE HERE were, in very ancient times, 092YOS

two brothers, one of whom was rich, and the other poor. Christmas was approaching, but the poor man had nothing in the house for a Christmas

dinner; so he went to his brother and 2 asked him for a trifling gift. The rich man was ill-natured, and when he heard his brother's request he looked very surly. But as Christmas is a time when even the worst people give gifts, he took a fine ham down from the chimney, where it was hanging to smoke, threw it at his brother, and bade him be gone and never show his face again.

The poor man thanked his brother for the ham, put it under his arm, and went his way. He had to pass through a great forest on his way home, and when he reached the thickest part of it, he saw an old man, with a long, white beard, hewing timber.

“Good evening,” said the poor man.

“Good evening,” returned the old man, raising himself from his work, and looking at him. “That is a fine ham you are carrying.”

On hearing this, the poor man told him all about the ham and how it was obtained.

“It is lucky for you,” says the old man, “that you have met with me. If you will take that ham into the land of the dwarfs, the entrance to which

lies just under the roots of this tree, you can make a capital bargain with it; for the dwarfs are very fond of ham, and rarely get any. But mind what I say; you must not sell it for money, but demand for it the old hand-mill which stands behind the door. When you come back I'll show you how to use it.”

The poor man thanked his new friend, who showed him the door under a stone below the roots of the tree, and by this door he entered into the land of the dwarfs. No sooner had he set foot in it than the dwarfs swarmed about him, attracted by the smell of the ham. They offered him queer, oldfashioned money and gold and silver ore for it; but he refused all their tempting offers, and said that he would sell it only for the old hand-mill behind the door. At this the dwarfs held up their little old hands and looked quite perplexed.

“We cannot make a bargain, it seems,” said the poor man, “so I'll bid you all good day.”

The fragrance of the ham had by this time reached the remote parts of the land. The dwarfs came flocking around in little troops, leaving their work of digging out precious ores, eager for the ham. “Let him have the old mill,” said some of the newcomers; “it is quite out of order, and he does not know how to use it. Let him have it, and we will have the ham.”

So the bargain was made. The poor man took the old hand-mill, which was a little thing, not half so large as the ham, and went back to the woods. Here the old man showed him how to use it. All this had taken up a great deal of time, and it was midnight before he reached home.

“Where in the world have you been?” said his wife. "Here I have been waiting and waiting, and we have no wood to make a fire, nor anything to

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put into the porridge-pot for our Christmas sup


The house was dark and cold; but the poor man bade his wife wait and see what would happen. He placed the little hand-mill on the table, and began to turn the crank. First, out there came

some grand, lighted wax candles, and a fire on the hearth, and a porridge-pot boiling over it, because in his mind he said they should come first. Then he ground out a tablecloth, and dishes, and spoons, and knives and forks, and napkins.

He was himself astonished at his good luck, as you may believe; and his wife was almost beside herself with joy and astonishment. Well, they had a capital supper; and after it was eaten, they ground out of the mill every possible thing to make their house and themselves warm and comfortable. So they had a merry Christmas eve and morning, made merrier by the thought that they need never want again.

When the people went by the house to church the next day, they could hardly believe their eyes. There was glass in the windows instead of wooden shutters, and the poor man and his wife, dressed in new clothes, were seen devoutly kneeling in the church.

“There is something very strange in all this,” said every one.

“Something very strange indeed,” said the rich man, when three days afterwards he received an invitation from his once poor brother to a grand feast. And what a feast it was! The table was covered with a cloth as white as snow, and the dishes were all of silver or gold. The rich man could not in his great house, and with all his wealth, set out such a table, or serve such food.

"Where did you get all these things?” exclaimed he. His brother told him all about the bargain he had made with the dwarfs, and putting the mill on the table, ground out boots and shoes, coats and

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