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to live here and be no longer tormented as I am now!"
She was, however, obliged to go and tell her stepmother that the castle was finished.
"I will just go and see for myself," she said, and rising from her seat she followed the maiden; but as she entered the castle the brightness and glitter so dazzled her that she was obliged to cover her eyes with her hand. "You see how easy this is to you," she said. "Ah, yes, I ought to have given you something still more difficult 1"
She went into all the rooms, prying into every corner, to see if she could not find something wrong or defective; but this was impossible.
"I will go downstairs," she said at last, looking at her stepdaughter maliciously; "it is necessary for me to examine kitchens and cellars also, and if you have forgotten one single thing you shall not escape punishment!"
But nothing was wanting: the fire burned on the hearth, the supper was boiling in the saucepan; brooms, brushes, fenders, fire irons, were in their proper places, and the walls and shelves were covered with brass and copper, glass and china, which glittered in the lamplight; nothing was wanting, not even the coal scuttle or the water can.
"Where are the steps to the cellars?" cried the woman. "I want to see if the casks are full of wine of the right sort. If not, it will be bad for you!"
She raised the trapdoor as she spoke, and descended the stairs leading to the cellars; but scarcely had she taken two steps when the heavy door, which was not pushed back far enough, fell to with a dreadful crash. The maiden heard a scream, and followed as quickly as she could; but the unkind stepmother had been struck by the door and had fallen to the bottom of the steps, where the maiden found her lying dead.
After this the beautiful castle belonged to the maiden, who hardly knew, at first, how to understand such good fortune. But after a while servants came to wait upon her, and they found in the drawers and wardrobes beautiful dresses in which she could array herself. There was also a large chest filled with gold and silver, pearls and other precious stones, so that she had not a single wish ungratified.
It was not long before the fame of her beauty and riches spread throughout the world, and the maiden soon had plenty of lovers. But she did not care to accept any of them, till at last a prince, the son of a great king, came to see her. He was the first to touch her heart, and she very soon learned to love him dearly.
One day, as they sat talking under a linden tree in the castle garden, the prince said very sadly, "My heart's love, I must leave you to get my father's consent to our marriage, but I will not stay awav long."
"Be true to me!" said the maiden, as she took a sorrowful farewell of him.
But when the prince reached home he found that the king, who did not want him to marry this maiden, had invited many beautiful ladies to his court, and for a time the prince forgot his true bride and the wonderful castle.
One day, while he was riding to the hunt on a beautiful horse, an old woman met him and asked him for alms. As he drew rein to help her she said in a low tone, "The maiden weeps for her false lover under the linden tree!"
In a moment the power which had changed his heart toward her was at an end. He turned away and rode quickly to the castle in the valley which the good fairy had built. When he reached the gates all looked dark and gloomy, and there, under the linden tree, stood his forsaken bride, looking sad and mournful. He alighted quickly from his horse, and advancing toward her he exclaimed, "Forgive me, dearest! I am come back, and we will never, never part again!"
No sooner had he uttered these words than the most brilliant lights shone from the castle windows. Around him on the grass glittered innumerable glowworms. On the steps bloomed lovely flowers, and from the rooms came the song of joyous birds, arrayed in plumage of bright and beautiful colors.
He took the maiden by the hand and led her in. The large hall was full of the castle household, who had assembled, and the priest stood in readiness to marry them. The prince hastened forward, leading the bride who had suffered so much from her stepmother, and had been so true to her lover; and she became at last his wife, to the great joy of the inmates of the castle.
WHERE GO THE BOATS?
By Robert Louis Stevenson
DARK brown is the river,
With trees on either hand.
Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam, Boats of mine a-boating—
Where will all come home?
On goes the river
And out past the mill, Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.
Away down the river,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.
THE SNOW MAIDEN
Adapted By Gbace E. Sellon
N a little village in the far northern part of Europe lived an honest peasant, Ivan, and his good wife, Marie. This couple were well content in each other's company, and they lived at peace with their neighbors; yet at times they were somewhat unhappy, for, although they loved little children, they had none of their own.
They were such simple-hearted folk that they would sit by the hour watching the neighbors' children at play and sharing fully in the delight of the merry games.
It was while thus engaged one day that Ivan called to his wife, "Oh, come here, Marie, and watch these children. They are making a snow lady. Aren't they having a good time, though! I wish that we could make a snow image, too. Suppose we try."
Marie not only agreed to this project, but, after they had gone out into the garden, suggested, "Ivan, wouldn't it be a very pleasant thing to make a little child of snow? Then we could pretend, you see, that she is our own."
"That's a fine idea!" cried Ivan; and immediately he began packing and patting the snow into the form of a little body, and molding handfuls of the soft flakes into small hands and feet. Meanwhile, Marie was busy shaping a little head. She worked so deftly that when the snow child was at length finished, Ivan exclaimed: "O, what beautiful features she has, and how real she looks!"