;: .-.. ij
WHEELOCK COLLEGE LIBRARY
WHEELOCK COLLEGE LIBRARY
She ran to the footpath, and would have rushed wildly down the
FROM THE GERMAN OF
MAD. JOHANNA SPYRI
D. LOTHROP & CO., PUBLISHERS
Franklin and Hawley Streets
By D. Lothrop & Co.
£. J. PETERS AND SON, BOSTON.
WHFFIOOK COLLEGE LIBRARY
Etttle (Efjtltorrn of Cfjaunrg |fe?all L^tntJrrgartrn,
WHO MAKE EVERY DAY A RED-LETTER DAY,
THESE LITTLE TALES
Chalncy Hall School,
Boston, Nov. 1, 1884.
The Swiss tales in these volumes were
written by Madame Johanna Spyri of Zurich, a
writer of great popularity in her own country
By some critics she is . assigned the first
place among German writers for children.
The "Revue Suisse" of August, 1882, says
of her: "Since 1878 she has published a num-
ber of charming tales which children read and
re-read, and which we, older people, blasSes by
romance of every kind, enjoy as the fruits of
a lost paradise."
Madame Spyri authorizes this translation.
I. Lisa's Christmas 9
II. A New Acquaintance 19
III. The Effect of Concealment 29
IV. A Gift 41
V. Christmas Evening ....*...*< 58
BASTI'S SONG IN ALTORF.
Basti's Song in Altorf 71
In a certain school there was a certain teacher,
not more than fifty jeavs ago, who had certain
very nnnsual and charming ways of doing
In the first place you must know her name.
It was really Miss Sonnenschein ; but, as that is
a long name, and not easy to say, you may im-
agine the children were not long in changing
it to Miss Sunshine. At last everybody had
forgotten what her real name was, and she was
called Miss Sunshine everywhere.
Among other pleasant things which Miss
Sunshine did, one was this : —
Whenever all the children in her room had
been very good and kind, and had worked very
well, she put a big red letter on the black-board
8 Red-Letter Stories.
at the end of the day, to show that it had been
a red-letter day.
If you don't understand what a red-letter is,
you must think of the very best day you ever
had at the sea-shore, or in the country, and then
you will know exactly what it is.
Miss Sunshine did not always make the same
letter on the black-board. Sometimes it was
an A ; sometimes an E, or an H, or a K.
Nobody ever found out exactly what these
letters meant; but the children suspected they
had something to do with the child who had
done the most to make a red-letter day, and
each child would try to see if the letter be-
longed to his or her name. If it was A, Albert
and Amy were glad ; and if it was E, Elsie's
face beamed with joy.
The best thing about these days was that
then Miss Sunshine brought out her red-letter
books. These were big story books marked
with red letters, out of which most charming
tales were read.
One winter, when the boys and girls had been
studying about Switzerland, and had learned
about its high mountains with their famous
Lisa's Christmas. 9
passes, their snowy peaks, and glaciers, Miss
Sunshine took up a book with a big red S on
the cover, and said : " Now, I will read you
some stories about the little Swiss children, so
that you can see how the people live among the
Alps, and how the little people study and work
and play just as you do.
The first story is our Christmas story, and is
called " Lisa's Christinas"
The little village of Altkirch is situated
among beautiful green, willow-covered hills,
which encircle it completely, except on one
side, where one can look across to the green
Rechberg on whose summit stands another
village which, like the mountain, bears the
name of Rochberg. Between the two heights
rushes the wild Zillerbach. A zigzag road leads
down from Altkirch to the Zillerbach, across
the old covered bridge, and on the other side
zigzag again up to Rechberg, nearly two
miles in all. Shorter and much pleasanter is
the narrow foot-path, going directly down to the
Zillerbach, where a narrow wooden foot-bridge
10 Red-Letter Stories.
spans the rushing stream. On all the green
hills around, no human habitation is to be
seen; but near the foot-path is a solitary
chapel, which for many long years has looked
down upon the rushing stream and the little
foot-bridge, which has many a time fallen away
and been renewed during these years.
There are many poor people in Altkirch, for
there is little work. Most of the men go as
day-laborers to the farms in the vicinity. A
few possess a little spot of land which they
At the time of our story one of the poorest
households was that of Joseph of the Willow,
who lived in a lonely old house on the way to
the chapel, quite Iry itself. The little house was
almost entirel}^ covered by the long, over-hang-
ing boughs of an old willow-tree, which had
given to the owner the name of Joseph of the
Willow. He had always lived in the little
house, which had belonged to his father before
Now Joseph was an old man and had only an
aged invalid wife and two grandchildren in
the old house with him. His onty son, Sepp, a
Lisa?s Christmas. 11
careless, good-natured young man, had been
away from them six years, and they did not
even know where he was. He had married,
early in life, an industrious young woman
named Constance, whom everybody liked. She
kept everj^thing in the house in beautiful order,
and Joseph and his wife had a comfortable
time while she lived; she worked early and
late, and did not allow them to want for any-
thing. " Father and mother must rest now,"
she said, "they have done enough, and we two
young people must make their last days plea-
sant." Sepp went every day to his work at the
great farm on the other side of the Zillerbach,
and brought home each week a nice sum of
Three years passed by in undisturbed peace.
Old Father Clemens, who lived in the great
house behind Altkirch, said often, as he entered
Joseph's home, —
" Joseph, it is good to be with you ; one never
hears an angry word here ; all honor to your
good Constance." His kind eyes beamed with
joy when Constance bade him welcome with
her cheerful voice, and little Stanzeli stretched
12 Red-Letter Stories.
out her tiny hands towards him. Then he said
again, "Yes, indeed, it is good to be here,
When Stanzeli was two years old, little Sep-
pli came into the world. That was a great joy
for everybody ; but, soon after, the saddest thing
that could happen came to Joseph's home.
Constance was taken away from her husband
and from her children. From that time Sepp
seemed like one who had no farther aim in life.
A restless, uneasy feeling took possession of
him. He could no longer remain at home on
Sundays. He spent more and more time away,
until he finally left them altogether. For
a long time he sent home money for the support
of his children ; but at last this stopped, and for
six years nothing had been heard from him.
The two old people had grown poorer and
poorer, and more and more feeble. Their only
support came from the baskets which the old
man wove from the willow-twigs and gave to
the dairyman when he took his cheese to the
city to market. He did not earn much in this
way, and the closest economy was necessary to
make both ends meet.
Lisa's Christmas. 13
Stanzeli was now nine years old and Seppli
seven. Stanzeli was the chief dependence of
the family, for her grandmother had been ill
now for more than four months. So she and
her grandfather had to do the cooking, which
was not very laborious, for there was nothing
to cook but meal porridge and potatoes, and
now and then a little coffee. But as Stanzeli
was too small to lift the kettle, and as Joseph
did not understand how to put things together,
the two were necessary in preparing a meal.
Seppli, too, assisted in the work by getting
first in the way of one and then of the other,
with eyes wide open in expectation of the won-
derful porridge. It was useless to drive him
away, for he was back in two minutes.
One warm September day, when the sun was
shining on the green fields around Altkirch, and
some beams strayed through the dingy windows
to the grandmother's bed, the old woman sighed
and said : " Ah me ! Does the sun shine still ?
If I could only go out again ! But I would be
willing to lie still if the bed were not as hard as
wood and the pillow not much better ! And
when I think of the winter and the thin cover-
14 Red-Letter Stories,
let — it makes me cold already — I shall certainly
freeze to death."
" Do n't worry now about the winter,'' said the
old man soothingly. " God will still be with
lis. He has already helped us many times when
things looked dark. You must not forget that.
How would you like a little coffee to warq| you
She thought she would like some very much,
so Joseph went into the next room, which was
the kitchen, to prepare it. He beckoned to
Stanzeli to come with him, and when he had
taken down the coffee-pot and poured some
water into it, he said, "Stanzeli, what comes
first ? "
"I must grind the coffee beans," answered
the child, and, seating herself on the footstool
with the coffee-mill, she turned with all her
might. But something was wrong. She looked
here and there, and finally drew out the little
There, instead of the fine powder which
should have been seen, lay great pieces as large
as half a coffee bean.
With a cry, Stanzeli showed the drawer to
Lisa's Christmas. 15
her grandfather and pointed out the sad condi-
tion of things. He looked at the broken mill,
and said quietly : "Don't make any noise that
your grandmother can hear. It will make her
unhappy, and she will think she can have no
more coffee to drink. Just wait a little."
Thereupon he wpnt out, and soon came back
with a large stone in his hand, with which he
pounded up the coffee kernels on a paper, and
Stanzeli turned the coarsely pulverized mass
into the pot. But as soon as the invalid took
the little dish of coffee in her hand, she cried
out complainingly : " Oh dear ! Oh dear !
Great grains of coffee are swimming about on
the top ; the coffee-mill is broken. Oh, if it
only could have lasted ! We are not able to
buy a new one."
" Don't make yourself ill over it," said Joseph
in a soothing tone. " Many things are brought
about by patience."
" Yes," said his wife ; "but no coffee-mill."
A little cup of the coffee was given to the
children with their potato ; for they had bread
only on Sunday.
Then Joseph found some baskets which were
16 Red-Letter Stories.
finished, and, binding them together in pairs;
gave them to the children, and told them to
set out at once, that they might get home in
good season. Thej^ knew well where they had
to go, for every two weeks they were sent on
such an errand to the dairyman. He lived
quite a distance from the little village. The
way led over the hill, past the chapel, up to the
forest, where his cottage stood.
The children started out together, and, since
Stanzeli kept conscientiously on the way, Seppli
had to do the same, although he would have
preferred to stand still and look at this or that.
When they came to the chapel, Stanzeli
paused for the first time and said : " Lay the
baskets here on the ground, Seppli ; we must go
into the chapel and say '-Our Father.'' "
But Seppli -was unwilling to go. "I do not
wish to go in, it is too warm," he said, and
seated himself on the ground.
" No, Seppli, come, we must do it," said Stan-
zeli. "Don't you remember that Father
Clemens said that when one passed a church
one must always go in and pray ? Get up and
Lisa's Christmas, 17
Seppli remained stubborn ; but his sister gave
him no rest. She took him by the hand and.
drew him up.
" You must come, Seppli. You are not doing
right. One ought to pray willingly."
At that moment they heard steps coming up
towards the chapel, and Father Clemens sud-
denly stood before the children. Seppli sprang
quickly to his feet, and both children offered
him their hands.
" Seppli, Seppli ! " he said kindly, as he
pressed his hand, " what have I heard ? Are
you not willing to follow Stanzeli when she
wishes to go into the chapel ? I wish to tell
you something : our Heavenly Father does not
command us to go into the church and pray ;
but He gives us the privilege of doing so, and
every time we pray He sends us something,
only we cannot always see it immediately."
The good man went on his way, and Seppli
'went into the chapel without further objec-
tion. When they came out again a few minutes
later they heard the sound of voices coming
from the foot-path which leads down to the Zill-
18 Bed-Letter Stories.
Three heads appeared, one after the other,
and at last three children, two boys and a girl,
came into full view, who stared at the other
two in astonishment.
A NEW ACQUAINTANCE.
The largest of these children, who appeared
so unexpectedly, was the girl, who might have
been eleven years old. One of her brothers
was a year younger, perhaps, and the other was
much younger and smaller, but very fat and
The little girl moved a few steps nearer
Stanzeli and Seppli, and asked, —
" What are your names ? "
The children gave their names.
" Where do you live ? " was the next ques-
" In Altkirch, there, you can see the church
tower from here," answered Stanzeli, pointing
to the red tower between the hills.
" So you have your church there. We have
such a church, too ; but it is closed, and we go
into it only on Sunday. But we have no such
20 Red-Letter Stories.
chapels with us. There is another still higher
above us ; only look, Kurt, up by the forest."
The little girl pointed with her finger high
above, and her brother nodded to indicate that
he saw the designated object. " I should like
to know why you have so many chapels here on
all the hills."
"So that we can go in and pray when we are
passing by," said Stanzeli quickly.
" We can do that without them," responded
the other girl, " we can pray everywhere, where-
ever we are. God hears everywhere ; that I
" Yes but we might not think of it, unless we
came to a chapel; then we should be reminded,"
"We must go now, Lisa," said her brother
Kurt, to whom the conversation was becoming
tiresome. But Lisa was enjoying it. She liked
Stanzeli because she answered so decidedly and
had given her something to think about.
All at once the chapel made a different im-
pression upon her. Until now she had looked
upon it simply as a building winch is left stand-
ing because it was put there a long time ago.
Lisa's Christmas, 2i
Now it seemed to her as if God pointed down
from, heaven to the chapel and said, "There
it stands, that you may think of me."
As Lisa, following her own train of thought,
7 o o
did not speak for some time, Stanzeli continued ;
"And we are not commanded to go in and pray,
but are permitted to do so. And then God al-
ways sends us something, even if we are not
able to see it. Father Clemens has said so."
"Yes; but I would rather have something
we can see," interposed Seppli, who had been
" Do you know Father Clemens, too ? " asked
Lisa eagerly, for he was well-known to all the
children on the other side of the Zillerbach too.
Wherever he was seen in his long coat with
the great crucifix at his side, the children ran
to him, offering their hands eagerly. He always
had his pockets full of beautiful picture cards
for them. Lisa had received many of these, so
the name of Father Clemens recalled to her
mind the pleasantest recollections.
" He lives in Altkirch, up in the old convent,
and he comes often to see us," exclaimed Stan-
zeli. " Yes, and he sometimes brings grand-
22 Med-Letter Stories.
mother a whole loaf of bread," added Seppli,
who remembered this good act most vividly.
"I must go now," said Stanzeli, as she took
up her baskets. " We have still a long way to
" Won't you come some time to Rechberg to
see me ? " asked Lisa, who wanted to continue
" I don't know the way. I have never been
on the other side of the Zillerbach."
" Oh, it is very easy to find. Just cross the
foot-bridge, then up and up until you come to
the top. That is Rechberg. The large house
which stands highest of all is ours. Do come
soon. Come early some afternoon, so that we
can play till evening."
So the children separated. Stanzeli and
Seppli went on up the mountain, and Lisa
looked about for her brothers, who had disap-
Kurt had climbed up an old pine-tree near the
chapel, and was rocking on a bough, which
cracked in a most ominous manner. Lisa
watched to see him come down, considering
that event more amusing than dangerous.
Lisa's Christmas. 23
Karl was lying on the ground near the pine-
tree, sound asleep.
Something came running down the hill, which
brought Kurt from his lofty perch, and woke
Karl from his sleep at once. It was a flock of
sheep, young and old, great and small, all skip-
ping, running, and bleating, while the great dog
barked continually. The shepherd was driving
them towards Altkirch. The three children
looked at the flock as it went by, in silent
admiration. As far as they could see, they
watched the young lambs skipping along by
the sober mothers. When they had all passed,
Karl said with a deep sigh; "If only we had a
lamb like one of those ! "
That was exactly what Kurt and Lisa thought
at the same moment, and for once the three
Lisa immediately proposed that they should
go home, and beg and beg for a lamb until they
got it. She pictured to her brothers how they
could take the lamb everywhere with them, and
play with it in the pasture, until all three be-
came so excited over the prospect, that they
finally ran down the mountain and over the
24 Red-Letter Stories.
foot-bridge. Lisa went first, followed by Kurt,
and they rushed so fast that the bridge swayed
under their feet, and the loose boards moved
up and down in such a manner that Karl, who
was behind them, lost his footing, and almost
fell into the rushing Zillerbach. Kurt turned
and helped him up, and they finally reached the
other side in safety.
It was a long way to Rechberg, and the lights
had been brought into the sitting-room when
the children came in sight of the house. Their
mother had been anxiously watching for them
for more than an hour. She had seen nothing
of them since dinner, and they should have
been at home for four-o'clock coffee. She had
given them permission to spend their afternoon
in the grove near by, of which they had availed
themselves most joyfully.
Now it was dark ; and there was no sight or
sound of them. How could they be so late ?
She conjured up all possible accidents, and ran
from window to window, more and more anx-
But now — ah ! there were their voices ! They
came nearer! She ran out — yes — there they
Lisa's Christmas. 25
were coming up the mountain-side. As they
saw their mother they ran faster, each trying to
be the first to tell the story. Little Karl was
left behind, but Kurt and Lisa came up breath-
less, eager to begin their tale at once.
At the same time a strong voice came from
the opposite direction ; kC Supper ! supper ! "
It was the bailiff's, who had just returned
from his business and wished to enforce the
strict order of his household. When they were
all seated at the supper table, the children were
permitted to give an account of their day's
It seemed that Lisa had grown tired of the
grove, and had proposed to climb up to the old
linden, where there was a fine view of the
chapel, and the Zillerbach with its narrow
bridge. Lisa had had a previous experience of
the trembling and swaying of the little bridge,
and an irresistible desire had seized her to visit
the vicinity again.
Her brothers were very willing to join her,
and the walk was begun which proved a much
longer one than they had anticipated. They
recounted the events of their expedition again
26 Bed-Letter St
and again, the meeting with the two children,
seeing the Hock of sheep, and crossing the
The cousequence of this last account was that
all expeditions to the Zillerbach were strictly
forbidden for the future.
In the meantime little Karl had fallen fast
asleep in his chair.
" See, Karl is resting after his day's work,"
said their father, " and it is high time for yours
to be at an end."
It was not easy to waken the little sleeper, so
the bailiff took him, chair and all, and carried
him into the chamber, while the other children
followed, laughing and shouting at the funny
From that time, at every meal, morning,
noon, and night, one after the other, the chil-
dren would say :
" Oh, if only we had a lamb ! "
One evening, when the mother and children
were sitting around the table, and little Karl,
who found the school-work of the others
rather tiresome, had said for the sixth time :
" Oh, if we only had a lamb ! " the door opened
Lisa's Christmas. 27
Suddenly and in sprang a real live lamb. The
little creature was covered with snow-white
curly wool and was prettier than any the chil-
dren had ever seen.
Such a cry of joy, such a noise arose, that no-
body could hear a word.
The lamb darted from one corner to another
in fright, bleating pitifully, while the children
rushed after him with shouts of joy.
At last their father called : " Come, that 's
enough. We must take the lamb to his new
quarters, and then I have something to say to
The children went out to see where the lamb
was put, full of wonder as to the place. A
little addition had been made to the stable, and
nice, clean straw lay on the floor for the lamb's
bed. There was a little manger, too, in which
to put grass and hay for him.
When the pretty creature had been carefully
placed on his straw bed and was quiet, the
father closed the low door and motioned to the
children to follow him. When they had re-
turned to the sitting-room, he said seriously:
" Now listen to me, and give heed to what I
28 keel-Letter Storie*.
say. I have taken the lamb away from his
mother to give to you. You must take the
mother's place and care for him, so he will not
die of home-sickness. You may take him out
with you during your play-time wherever you
wish ; but you must never leave him alone, and,
whoever takes him out must take care of him
and bring him back to his place. Do you
understand, and are you willing to care for him
in this way ? If not, I will take him back to his
All three, Lisa, Kurt, and Karl, begged their
father to leave the lamb with them, and prom-
ised faithfully to obey his commands in every
respect, and were so full of joy at the prospect
of having a real live lamb that they could not
easily get to sleep that night. Even little Karl,
usually so sleepy, sat up in bed and called out,
again and again :
"Papa shall see that the lamb will not die
here. I will take care of that."
Sometimes they went to the pasture.
THE EFFECT OF CONCEALMENT.
The next clay the great question was what
the lamb's name would be.
Liza proposed calling it " Eulalia" for that
was the name of her friend's cat, and it seemed
to her an especially fine name. But the boys
did not like it. It was too long. Kust pro-
posed " Nero," as the big dog at the mill was
called. But Lisa and Karl were not pleased
with this name.
In despair, they went to their mother, who
suggested he should be called " Curlyhead,"
and Curlyhead he was from that time forth.
The little creature soon became a great pet
for the children. They took him out for a
frolic whenever they had a few spare moments.
Sometimes they went to the pasture, and Kurt
and Karl would search for rich, juicy clover-
leaves to bring him, while Lisa sat on a bank
with the little creature's head in her lap.
30 Bed-Letter Stories.
Whenever a child was sent on an errand to
the mill, or to the baker's, the lamb must go,
and he listened so intelligently to all the con-
versation his companion addressed to him that
it was evident he understood every word. He
grew every day more trustful, and thrived so
well under this excellent care that he grew
round as a ball, and his wool was as white
and pretty as if he were always in his Sunday
The beautiful, sunny autumn was drawing to
an end, and November came. Christmas was
coming, and every child's mind was filled with
expectations of that joyful event. Kurt and
Karl disclosed all their cherished dreams to
Curlyheacl, and assured him he should have his
share of holiday presents. Curlyhead listened
attentively and seemed to appreciate these con-
Lisa had a particular friend, Marie, who lived
in the great farmhouse on the way to the Ziller-
bach. Lisa was very anxious to visit this
friend, for she could talk over her prospects
fur Christmas more fully with her than with
her brothers. She had permission to go on her
Lisas Christmas. 31
first free afternoon, and when the time came she
was so impatient to start that she could hardly
hold still long enough for her mother to tie on
her warm scarf. Then she ran bounding off,
while her mother watched her until she was
half-way down the hill ; then she turned and
went into the house again.
At that moment it came into Lisa's mind that
Curlyhead would enliven the long way if her
brothers had not already taken him. She
quickly turned around, ran back to the barn,
and took oat Curlyhead. Together they ran
down the hard path where the bright autumn
leaves were dancing about in the wind. They
soon reached the end of their journey, where
Lisa and her friend were quickly lost in deep
conversation, walking up and down on the sunny
plot of ground in front of the house, while
Curlyhead nibbled contentedly at the hedge.
The two friends refreshed themselves oc-
casionally with pears, and juicy, red apples,
which grew in great abundance on the farm.
Marie's mother had brought out a great
basketful, and Lisa was to carry home what
were left. When it was time for Lisa to go
32 Red-Letter Stories.
home, Marie accompanied her a little way, and
they still had so much to say, that they were in
sight of Lisa's home before they knew it. Marie
quickly took leave of her, and Lisa hurried
up the path. It was already dark. Just as
she reached the house, the thought flashed
through her mind like lightning : " Where is
She knew she had taken him with her. She
had seen him nibbling the hedge, and then she
had entirely forgotten him.
In a most dreadful fright she rushed back
down the mountain again, calling, " Curlyhead,
Curlyhead, where are } r ou? Oh, come, come ! "
But all was still. Curlyhead was nowhere to
be seen. Lisa ran back to the farmhouse. There
was a light already in the window of the sitting-
room, and she could look in from the stone steps
by the house. They were all at the supper-table ;
father, mother, Marie, and her brothers and the
servants. The old cat lay on a bench by the
stove ; but nowhere was there a trace of Curly-
head to be seen, as Lisa peered into all the
corners. Then she ran around the house into
the garden, around the hedge, again into the
Lisas Christmas. 83
garden, and along the inside of the hedge,
calling, " Curly head, come now, oh, come,
come ! "
All in vain. There was no sight or sound of
the lamb. Lisa grew more anxious. It grew
darker and the wind howled louder and louder,
and almost blew her from the ground.
She must go home. What should she do?
She did not dare to say she had lost Curlyhead.
If she could see her mother alone, first !
She ran as fast as she could up the mountain.
At home supper was ready, and her father was
already there. She burst into the room in such
a heated, disordered condition, that her mother
said : " You cannot come to the table so, child ;
go and make yourself ready first." And her
father added : " You must not come home so
late ! Now go, and come soon in a neater con-
dition, or you will have nothing to eat."
Lisa obeyed quietly. As far as supper was
concerned, it was all the same to her ; she would
much rather not come in at all ; but that would
not do. With a very sad face she returned to
her place. She had a fearful anxiety in regard
to the remarks and questions sure to follow*
34 Red-Letter Stories.
But before any one could say anything to her,
a new occurrence claimed the attention of the
Hans put his head in at the door and said :
" Excuse me, sir, but Trina saj^s the children are
all at home and the lamb is not yet in the
" What ? " cried the bailiff. " What can this
mean? Who has taken him out?"
« Not I ! " " Not I ! Certainly not I ! " " Nor
I," cried out Kurt and Karl so loudly that one
could not hear whether Lisa spoke or not.
" Not so fast," said their mother gently. " It
certainly was not Lisa, she went alone this
afternoon to visit Marie, and has only just come
" Then it is one of you boys," cried their
father hastily, looking sharply at the two
A great cry came as answer, " Not I ! " ; * Not
I ! " and both of them looked so honest that the
bailiff said at once: "No! No! It is not you;
Hans must have left the door open an instant,
and the lamb took the opportunity of running
out. I must look into it,"
Lisa's Christmas. 35
He left the room hastily to make an examin-
ation of the barn.
When the first excitement was over another
idea became uppermost. All at once Karl
covered his eyes with his hands, and sobbed
" Now Curly head is lost. We shall never see
him any more. Perhaps he is already dead."
And Kurt added, weeping aloud : " Yes, it
grows colder, and he has nothing to eat and
will surely freeze and die in misery."
Lisa began to cry more violently than her
brothers. She said nothing, but one could easily
see how much deeper her grief was than theirs,
and Lisa herself knew why. Long after Kurt
i and Karl were asleep, dreaming happy dreams
of Curlyhead, Lisa lay tossing uneasily, and
could not sleep. Besides her grief for the lamb
left to wander alone. in the cold night, she had
to bear the torture of the thought that she was
the cause of this, and that she had concealed it
when she ought to have confessed it. She had
not, it is true, called out " Not I, not I; " but she
had been silent when her mother said : " It cer-
tainly cannot be Lisa," and she rightly felt that
36 Bed-Letter Stories.
by her silence she had done the same wrong as
if she had told an untruth. She could not rest
until she determined to tell her mother the
whole story in the morning. Perhaps he would
The next morning was bright and sunny, and
at breakfast it was decided that, as soon as school
was out, all three children should go out to look
for Curlyhead. In the afternoon they would do
the same. He must be somewhere, and they
would find him. Their mother told them, too,
that their father had already, in the early
morning, sent Hans out to search for the little
creature everywhere ; so there was every hope
that he would be found. Lisa was most happy
at this prospect, and thought she would not
need to say anything now ; everything would
come right. The whole Rechberg was searched
during the day, and inquiries made in every
house; but Curlyhead seemed to have dis-
appeared from the face of the earth. Nobody
had seen him, and nowhere was there any
trace of him. The search was continued for
several days ; but in vain. Then the bailiff
s;.id it was of no use: either the poor animal
And one looked here, and one there at the window.
Lisa?s Christmas. 87
was no longer alive, or it had wandered far
A few days after, the first snow fell, and so
thick and large were the flakes that in a short
time the whole garden lay in deep snow, which
came half way up the hedge. Generally, the
children rejoiced greatly in the first snow ; and
the more the flakes whirled about, the more they
shouted and exulted.
Now they were quiet, and one looked here,
and one there, at the window, and each one
thought in silence of Curlyhead, wondering if
he lay under the cold snow or was trying to wade
through it and could not, and was calling for
help with his well-known voice, and no one was
near to hear. When their father came home at
night, he said : " It is a bitterly cold night ; the
snow is already frozen hard. If the poor ani-
mal is not already dead, it will certainly perish
to-night. Would that I had never brought the
poor creature home ! " Then Karl broke out in
such bitter weeping, and Kurt and Lisa joined
in such a heartrending manner, that their
father left the room, and their mother sought to
88 Red-Letter Stories.
From that time the bailiff never mentioned
the lamb again, and when the children grieved
for it, their mother talked to them about the
Christmas celebration. She told them that the
Christ-child came to make all hearts glad, and
that this festival, which Avould soon come, would
make them happy again. And when tender-
hearted Karl began, as the cold, dark evenings
came on to say despondingly : " Oh, if only Curly-
head were not freezing in the cold outside ! "
Then his mother comforted him, by saying:
" See, Karl, the good God takes care of animals,
too. It may be that he has prepared a warm bed
for Curlyheacl elsewhere, and it is well with him ;
and since we can care no more for him, let us be
content and leave him with the good God."
Kurt listened attentively as their mother com-
forted Karl, and so it happened that, gradually,
the two brothers became happy again, and re-
joiced more every day in the prospect of the
pleasant Christmas time. But Lisa did not
grow cheerful with them. A heavy burden lay
upon her, which crushed her down and kept her
always unhappy. At night she dreamed of
seeing Curlyhead lying out in the snow, hungry
Lisa's Christinas. 89
and freezing, looking at her with reproachful
eyes which said, "You have done it." Then
she would wake up weeping, and afterwards,
when she tried to be merry with her brothers,
she could not, for she always kept thinking, If
they knew what she had done, how they would
reproach her ! She dared not look straight in
the eyes of her parents, for she had concealed
from them what she ought to have revealed, and
now she could not bring the words to her lips;
she had let them believe so long that she knew
nothing about the affair.
So Lisa had no more happy minutes, and
every day she appeared more mournful and full
of grief; and when Kurt and Karl came to her
and said: "Do be happ} r , Lisa; Christmas is
coming, and only think of what may happen,"
then the tears came to her eyes, and, half weep-
ing, she said, "I can never be happ}^, no, never,
not even at Christmas."
That grieved tender-hearted Karl, and he said
comfortingly : " Do you know, Lisa, when we
can do nothing more, then we must leave all to
God, and then we are happy again if we have
done nothing wrong? Mamma said so." Lisa,
40 lied-Letter titorieS,
then, began to cry in earnest, so that it alarmed
Karl, and he ran away, as Kurt had already
done. Lisa's altered demeanor had not escaped
her mother's notice. She often watched the
child in silence, but asked her no questions.
November came to an end. The snow had
become deeper, and every day the cold grew
more bitter. Stanzeli's grandmother in Alt-
kirch moved her thin coverlet here and there,
and could hardly keep warm under it. The
room was cold, too, for their supply of wood
was very scanty, and with the deep snow there
were no sticks to be found. Coffee was very
rarely made, and it had to be ground with
stones, as the mill was useless, and there was no
money for a new one. The poor grandmother
had many things to complain of. Her husband
sat, most of the time, by the stove, seeking to
soothe her, and weaving at the same time his
little willow baskets.
It had snowed for so long, and the deep snow
was so soft, that the old man had been obliged
to take his baskets to the dairyman himself, for
42 tted-tetter Stories.
the children would have been buried in the
snow. No path had been made up the moun-
tain, so that even the grandfather had trouble
in getting through. Bat at last the sky was
clear, and the high fields of snow, far and wide,
were frozen so hard that one could go over them
as over a firm street ; the ice did not crack un-
der the heaviest man.
Now the children could be sent out again.
Stanzeli wound a shawl about her, Seppli put
on his woollen cap, and they started out, eacli
with a bundle of baskets. As they came to the
chapel in about half an hour, Stanzeli laid her
baskets down, and took Seppli by the hand to
go in. But Seppli was obstinate again. "I will
not go in. I do not wish to pray. My fingers
are freezing," he said, and planted his feet
on the ground so that Stanzeli could not move
But she begged and entreated, and reminded
him of what Father Clemens had said, and was
very anxious, for Seppli might bring them both
a great good. Stanzeli had heard and under-
stood so much of grief and misery that it
seemed to her a great happiness and comfort to
Lisa's Christmas. 4S
kneel down and pray to a Father in heaven
who will help all poor people. Seppli finally
gave up, and they entered the quiet chapel.
Stanzeli said her prayer softly and thoughtfully.
AH at once a peculiar cry sounded through the
stillness. Stanzeli was a little frightened, and
turned to Seppli, saying softty, "Don't do so in
the chapel; you must be still." Seppli replied
just as softly, but indignantly, " I don't do it ;
it is you."
A that moment the cry sounded again, and
louder. Seppli looked carefully at a place in
the rear of the church by the altar. Suddenly
he touched Stanzeli's arm and drew her so
forcibly from her seat towards the altar, that she
could do nothing but follow. Here, at the foot
of the altar, half covered by the altar cloth under
which it crouched, lay a white lamb, trembling
and shaking with the cold, and stretching out its
thin legs as if it could move no more from
"It is a lamb ; now we have something given
to us that we can see," exclaimed Seppli in de-
Stanzeli looked in great astonishment at the
44 Red-Letter Stories.
little animal. Father Clemens's words Lad come
into her mind also, and she believed nothing
else than that God, who gives something to
everyone who prays, had sent the lamb to them
to-day. Only she could not understand how the
little creature seemed so weary, and lay as if
half dead. Even her caresses failed to arouse
the poor lamb.
" We will take him home with us and give
him a potato," said Seppli, who knew no other
cause of misery than hunger.
"What are you thinking of, Seppli? We
must go to the dairyman's," said faithful Stan-
zeli ; " but we cannot leave the little thing here
alone," and the child looked thoughtfully at
the poor creature with its troubled breathing.
" I know, now," she continued, after some re-
flection. " You take care of the lamb, here, and
I will run up with the baskets as fast as I can,
and come back for } r ou."
Seppli was pleased with the proposition, and
Stanzeli ran on immediately. She darted over
the fields of snow as nimbly as a deer. Seppli
seated himself on the floor and looked at his
present. The lamb was covered with such
Lim's Christmas. 45
beautiful thick wool, that he took great pleasure
in burying his hand in it, and it became at once
so beautifully warm that he quickly thrust in
the other also. He drew very near to the little
creature, and it was like a small stove for him ;
for although it trembled with the cold itself, yet
its woolly covering afforded an excellent means
of warmth to Seppli. In less than half an hour
Stanzeli came back, and now they wished to take
their gift home to their grandparents. But in
vain did they try to place the lamb on its feet ;
it was so feeble that it fell down at once with a
mournful cry, when they had raised it a little.
"It must be carried," said Stanzeli; "but it is
too heavy for me, you must help me ;" and she
showed Seppli how he must take hold so as not
to hurt the lamb, and they carried it away to-
gether. Their progress was a little slow, for
it was quite inconvenient for the two to go
far with their load ; but they were so delighted
that they did not give up until they reached
their cottage, and could rush in with their new-
" We have a sheep ; a live sheep with very
warm wool," cried Seppli, as he entered; and
46 Bed-Letter Stories.
when they were inside the room, they laid the
lamb on the seat near the stove, by their aston-
ished grandfather. Then Stanzeli told how
everything had happened, and how it had come
exactly as Father Clemens had said : that God
sends something whenever one prays ; only it
cannot always be seen at once.
"But to-day we can see it," interposed Seppli
Joseph looked at his wife to see what she
thought, and she looked at him, saying, "you
must tell them, Joseph."
After some reflection he said, "Somebody must
go up to Father Clemens, and ask him how
we are to understand that. I will go myself.""
With that he rose from his seat, put on his old
fur cap, and went out.
Father Clemens came back with him.
When he had greeted the invalid, he sat down
and looked carefully at the poor, exhaust ed
lamb. Then he drew the children to him and
said kindly ; "This is how it is : when we pray,
God gives us cheerful and courageous hearts,
and that is a beautiful gift on which many
others depend. This lamb is lost ; it must be-
Lisa's Christmas. 47
long to the large flock which passed through
late in the autumn, and the shepherd will cer-
tainly enquire for it. It must have been lost a
long time, for it is nearly starved and almost
dead ; perhaps we cannot bring it back to life.
First it must have a little warm milk, and then
we can see what more it can take."
With the last words the good Father had
lifted the lamb a little and laid his hand ten-
derly under its head.
Joseph said faintly, " We will do what we
can. Stanzeli, go and see if there is a drop of
But Father Clemens prevented Stanzeli from
going and said ; "I do not mean that ; if it is
agreeable to you, I will take the lamb. I have
room and can take care of it."
That was a great relief to the old people, for
they did not wish to leave the lamb to die of
hunger, and where there was anything to feed
it they did not know.
So Father Clemens took the tired animal
on his arm, and went with it to the old cloister.
For a long time Seppli looked after him and
grumbled a little.
48 Red-Letter Stories.
A few days after, the grandfather saw Father
Clemens coming again to their house, and said
to the grandmother, in astonishment, " What
does it mean ; why is the good Father coming
so soon again ? "
" The lamb is probably dead, and he wishes
to tell us, so that we may not expect in vain a
reward from the shepherd for finding it."
Father Clemens entered ; one could see that
he had no pleasant message to bring. Stanzeli
and Seppli sprang quickly towards him to offer
him their hands.
He caressed them kindly, then said in a low
tone to the grandfather, " it would be well to
send the children away for a while ; I have some-
thing to say to you."
The grandfather became a little uneasy, and
thought to himself, " If I could only put mother
out of the way, so that she would not hear if
there is anything disagreeable to be related."
He gave Stanzeli the tin can and said, " Go
with Seppli and get the milk, and if it is a little
too early you can wait; at the farm ; it is warm
in the cow-shed."
When the children were gone, Father Clem-
Lisas Christmas. 49
ens moved his chair nearer to the bed and said,
" Come a little nearer, Joseph ; I must disclose
something to you. I do it unwillingly, however.
Sepp has disgraced himself somewhat."
Hardly were these words spoken when the
grandmother raised a fearful lamentation, and
cried again and again, " Oh, my God, that I
must pass through this ! It was my last hope
that Sepp would sometime reform and come
home and help us in our last days, and now
all that is past. Perhaps we must bear a great
shame, and we have kept ourselves honorable
and honest to a good old age. How willingly
I would lie on my hard bed without com-
plaining, and with never a good taste of coffee,
if only this were not true ! Oh, if he had not
brought us to misf< >rtune and shame ! "
The old man sat affrighted and thunder-
struck. " What has he done, Father," he asked,
hesitatingly ; " is it a wicked deed ? "
Father Clemens answered that he did not
know at all what it was ; he had only under-
stood that Sepp had done something over on
the other side of the Zillerbach, for which he
must answer to the bailiff on the Rechberg, who
would certainly have him imprisoned.
50 Bed-Letter Stories.
" Alas, has lie done it over there ? " broke out
the grandmother anew, " Ah, Iioav will it go
with him ? Thev will certainly punish him
severely enough, because he is of another
" No, no, you must not take it so, grand-
mother," said Father Clemens deprecatingly ;
"it is not so. The bailiff is not unjust, and he
is right-minded as far as belief is concerned. I
have heard him say more than once; C A
virtuous and God-fearing man on this side of
the Zillerbach, and such a one on the other side,
both pray to the same Father in Heaven, and
the prayer of one is just as precious to Him as
the pra}^er of the other ! ' I have known the
bailiff for many years, and I can tell you that I
have had edifying conversations with him and
his wife hundreds of times, and we have under-
stood each other so well that it has done us
good, and I feel a real inclination to go again
when I have not been there for a long time. I
have it now in my mind to go there soon to
see how it stands with Sepp, and to speak a
good word for him to the bailiff."
The old people were very glad and grateful
Lisa's Christmas. 51
for this proposal. But her distress prompted
the grandmother to say once more, complain-
ingly, "If I only did not have to blame
myself! I have brought this on us because
I have lamented and complained so much
over our narrow means. I will do it no more,
I will be patient. Do you think our Father
in Heaven will accept my repentance, and not
punish me so severely?"
Father Clemens comforted her, and advised
her to keep her good resolution.
Then he arose and promised tier to come again
as soon as he had been to the Rechberg, to bring
news of Sepp.
Joseph accompanied the priest outside the
house, and then asked, " How is the lamb ? Is it
still living, or has it perished?"
"No signs of perishing," answered Father
Clemens cheerfully, "it is round and fat and
plays merrily again, and it is such a trustful
little creature that I shall be sorry to give it up
when the shepherd comes. I have sent him
word that the lamb is with me, so he will prob-
ably leave it until he c</mes to this region again ;
and now, God be with vou."
52 Bed-Letter Stories.
He shook Joseph's hand and went quickly
away, for he had other sick ones to comfort who
waited longingly for him ; for in all Altkirch
and far beyond, Father Clemens was the com-
forter for the poor and sick.
The long-desired Christmas Day bad come at
last. Kurt and Karl had been in a fever of ex-
pectation all day, and wandered restlessly from
one room to another, unable to keep still any-
where. They had the feeling that they might
bring the evening more quickly by constant
Lisa sat quietly in a corner, and gave no
attention to what her brothers were saying.
She had never known such a Christmas. A
heavy burden lay upon her, which stifled every
feeling of joy. "When she tried to force herself
to throw off this weight and to be merry with her
brothers, she found it impossible. She fancied
all the time she heard some one coming who
had found Curlyhead dead, and who would tell
her father that it was she who had forgotten
and left him.
54 Red-Letter Stories.
Towards evening Kurt and Karl found a
moment's rest, and sat together in a state of
listening expectation, talking in subdued whis-
" What should you think of a croquet game
with colored balls ? " whispered Karl: " Do
you suppose the Christ-child thinks of that?"
" Perhaps," answered Kurt ; " but do you
know, I would much rather have a new sled ;
for you see Kessler does not run well, and we
have only (Zeiss besides. When Lisa feels like
playing again, she will want to coast, and then
she will have Gfeiss and there is not room for us
both on Kessler."
" Yes. But then there are the soldiers. Don't
you know how many thousand times we have
wished for a set of soldiers?" said Karl. "I
would almost rather go without the sled than
" Perhaps," said Kurt slowly, for a new
thought had already come to him.
" But suppose the Christ-child should bring a
paint-box, then we could paint those pictures of
soldiers, and make our own."
Lisa's Christmas. 55
u Oh ! Oh ! " ejaculated Karl, quite taken by
t lie charming prospect.
Just then their mother entered the room, and
said, " Children, the candles are lit on the
piano and we will go and sing. Where is
Lisa ? "
In the twilight, she had not noticed that Lisa
was sitting in the corner of the room, neither
had her brothers known she was there. She
came out now and went to the piano with the
others. Her mother seated herself and played
for them to sing. Kurt and Karl sang lustily
and Lisa joined in softly.
When they came to the words in the song:
" Jesus is greater, Jesus is greater, He ivlio
rejoices our sad hearts" Karl sang them so
joyfully and loudly that one could see he did
not have a sad heart. But Lisa had known
what it was to have a sad heart ; she swallowed
a lump in her throat, and could not sing any
When the song was ended, their mother rose
and said : " Now stay here quietly until I come
again." But Lisa ran after her and said mourn-
56 Red-Letter Stories.
" Mamma ! Mamma ! may I ask you some-
The mother drew the child into her sleeping-
room and asked her what she wanted.
" Mamma, can Jesus make all sad hearts
happy again ? " asked Lisa anxiously. " Yes,
child, all," answered the mother, " all, whatever
burdens them. Only one He cannot make
happ}~, and that is one which holds a wrong and
will not lay it aside."
Lisa broke out into loud crying. " I will
hold it no longer," she sobbed. " I will tell it.
I took Curlyheacl away with me and forgot him,
and lost him, and' then I was silent, and I am
the cause of his starving and freezing, and I
cannot rejoice any more, not over anything."
Her mother drew Lisa lovingly to her, and
said comfortingly, —
u Now you have experienced, my child, how
a wrong deed hidden in our hearts can make us
terribly unhappy. You will think of it, and
never wish to do it again. But now you have
confessed it repentantly; and the holy Christ
can and will come into your heart, and make it
happy again, for to-day He wishes especially to
Lisa's Christmas. 57
make all hearts glad. Now dry your tears and
go to your brothers. I will come soon."
Such a weight had been taken from Lisa's
heart, and she felt all at once so light and free,
that she could almost have jumped over all the
Suddenly the thought came to her — to-day
is Christmas ! Anything may happen to-day !
Everything within her rejoiced. There was
only one shadow — Curlyhead ! Where was
he now ?
As she went skipping towards her brothers,
Karl said gladly, " I knew Lisa would be merry
again at Christmas."
While Lisa was talking very fast about what
she expected and hoped for, the house-bell
sounded, loud and long, and Karl, pale with ex-
citement, cried, " The Christ-child ! "
At that moment their mother opened the
door, and a flood of light streamed in from the
next room. The children rushed in. There
was such a blaze and sparkle and splendor that
at first they could distinguish nothing.
Ah! Yes; in the middle of the room was
a great pine-tree, gleaming with candles from
58 Red-Letter Stories.
top to bottom, covered with beautiful angels,
brilliant birds, red strawberries and cherries,
and golden apples and pears.
The children ran around the tree in speech-
less admiration. Suddenly, something came
running in which almost knocked Lisa down.
She uttered a shout of joy. Surely — it was —
Round as a ball, and pretty as ever, he came
and rubbed his head good-naturedly against
Lisa's dress, bleating for joy. Kurt and Karl
could hardly believe their eyes. Not hungry,
not cold, — alive and well ! it was really Curly-
head. They almost smothered him in their joy.
But Karl had seen something else. He made a'
dive towards the table.
"Kurt! Kurt!" he cried, almost beside him-
self, " the soldiers ! the soldiers ! "
But Kurt had already darted to the other
side and called back : " Come here ! Here is
the new sled, a splendid sled ! "
As Karl ran towards him he cried again :
" Oh, here is the paint-box ! Only see how
Lisa still hugged Curlyhead. He was her
Lisa's Christmas. 59
best present. Now she could be perfectly
happy again. Everything was right.
Suddenly she saw two great eyes staring in
wonder at the splendid tree. They belonged to
Seppli, and there was Stanzeli standing near
Lisa went to the children.
" So you have come at last to see me ? " she
said. "Isn't the tree beautiful? Did you
know the Christ-child would come to-day?"
" Oh, no," said Stanzeli shyly. " Your
mother brought us here. Father Clemens told
us to-day that the lamb belonged to you, and
that we might bring it over."
" And you brought Curlyhead? Where from ?
Where did you find it? How can he look so
fat and well?"
64 You will know all that some other time,
Lisa," said her mother, coming towards the
children. "Now you must lead your little
friends to their Christmas table by the win-
dow. The Christ-child has remembered them,
At first, nothing could induce Seppli to move
from the wonderful tree. Such a gleaming,
CO Iled-Letter Stories.
splendid thing lie had never seen in all his life.
He could not take his eyes off it.
At last Lisa said : " Do come, Seppli. You
can see the tree just as well by the table, and
then you can find out what the Christ-child has
brought to you."
Seppli moved slowly away, without taking
his eyes from the tree. But when he looked at
the table, there was another pleasant sight. In
the centre was the largest loaf of cake he had
ever seen, flanked by apples and nuts. Near by
was a school-bag, with books, a slate, and pencils.
There was a thick, warm jacket, such as he
never had in his life. When Lisa said : " These
are Seppli's," he stood, as if glued to the spot,
and could hardly believe it.
He looked first at Stanzeli, and then at his
treasure, but Stanzeli was busy with her own
presents, a beautiful new dress, and a handsome
She was much frightened when the bailiff
came straight towards her, with a strange man
who had been standing in the door with Hans
wv You would hardly know them now," said
the bailiff, turning away again.
Lisas Christmas. 61
The man put out his hand.
" Give me your hand, Stanzeli," he said. The
child obeyed, looking at him doubtfully.
" Stanzeli, Stanzeli," cried the stranger, much
moved, " Don't look at me so. I am your
father; do say one word to me. Your eyes are
so like your mother's," and he wiped his eyes as
" We have nobody but grandfather and grand-
mother," said Seppli decidedly, who had heard
" No, Seppli. You have a father, too, and I
am he," said the man, taking each of the children
by the hand. " You must learn to know me,
Stanzeli. You will be kind to your father,
will you not ? You have grown just like your
mother," and the man wiped his eyes again.
" Yes, I will, indeed," said Stanzeli. " But I
do not know you."
The bailiff, who had been watching them, now
came nearer. " Sepp," he said gravely, "I know
another father and mother whom it grieves that
their child does not know them, and has no
grateful service for them. But it is Christmas
to-day, and we must all be merry. Go and
62 Red-Letter Stories.
harness Brownie into the sleigh now, and
drive your children home. I leave the rest to
" May God reward you a thousandfold," said
Sepp gratefully. " You shall be satisfied with
me, as surely as I wish God to have mercy on
my poor soul."
" Right. Now be off, Sepp. This goes in the
sleigh," said the bailiff, pointing to a large roll
near the children's table. Sepp took it on his
shoulders and went off.
The children's presents were soon packed up,
and they took their leave, promising to come
again on the first fine Sunday.
Then Trina put the children in the sleigh,
and Lisa's mother called to her :
" Wrap them up well in the robe, Trina, so
that they will not be cold."
Then the merry-making went on inside,
around the Christmas-tree, where all the pre-
sents were admired, and Curlyhead most of
Just as the little party were leaving Reeh-
berg, Father Clemens was walking along the
moonlit path by the old foot-bridge, smiling, as
Lisas Christmas. 63
lie thought of the visit lie had made ten days
before, at Rechberg, when he had learned the
truth in regard to Sepp.
The facts of the case were: Sepp had. run
away from a hard master, and as the master was
a rich farmer of some importance, he did not
like to lose a servant for such a reason, so he
had complained of Sepp, and put the affair in
the hands of the bailiff.
The bailiff had defended Sepp, and told him
he had done perfectly right.
Then Father Clemens apppeared, and told
the bailiff about Sepp's parents and the two
children, and how Sepp had been affected by
the loss of his wife.
" He is not a bad fellow," the good man said.
" If you will give him a little advice, it may
make a good impression on him."
The bailiff promised to do so, and his wife
asked further concerning the old people and the
children. One thing followed another until the
priest told about the lamb which the children
had found ; and finally, it came out that it was
their Curly head. The bailiff and his wife were
overjoyed, and charged Father Clemens to bring
64 Red-Letter Stories.
the children over on Christmas evening, to share
in the festival.
That was a great joy to the good priest. He
said nothing about the tree, to either the old
people or the children ; and he smiled again as
he thought of their surprise. Now he was going
to Joseph's house, that he might see their happy
faces on their return.
When he entered the sitting-room, the invalid
called out : "I am glad you have come to give
us a word of comfort. It is dark ahead}-, and
the children have to cross the Zillerbach. God
forbid that anything should happen to them."
" No, no, grandmother," said the priest cheer-
fully. " Don't let us complain to-day. There
is joy everywhere to-day ; and Christ is watch-
ing, especially over all children. Nothing will
happen to them. Now let us have a good talk
Meantime Brownie was flying over the snow,
for Sepp felt such a desire to get home again,
that he could not go fast enough. He had not
been there for six years ; and at times, when the
thought of home had arisen, he had felt a great
heaviness and emptiness, such as he had ex-
Lisa's Christmas. 65
perienced when Constance died. To get rid of
these thoughts Sepp had run still farther away.
But to-day, since he had seen the children,
everything seemed different to him ; and Stan-
zeli had brought her mother so vividly before
his eyes, and all the peaceful days which he had
passed with her and his parents in the home by
the willow, that he thought he could not hold
out until he should see the house, and father
and mother, again. Now the sleigh stopped by
the willows. Sepp took the children out, and
threw the thick robe over Brownie ; then he
took the children, one on each side, and entered
He was so overcome that he ran sobbing to
the bed, and called out : " Mother ! Father !
Do not be angry with me, but forgive me. I
will certainly do what I can, that you may see
better days. I know well that you must have
had a hard time ; but, God willing, it will be
better from this day."
The old people wept for joy, and his mother
kept saying: "Ah! Sepp, Sepp, is it indeed
possible ? I would never have believed that
God could so change your heart. I will give
66 Red-Letter Stories
praise and thanks as long as there is any breath
in me." And his father gave his hand, and said:
" It is well, Sepp. All shall be forgiven and
forgotten, and } t ou are welcome ! But, tell us
now how you came with the children, and how
things are with you."
First, Sepp had to press the hand of Father
Clemens, who had heard all with a satisfied smile.
Then the parents learned, to their astonishment,
that the bailiff had employed Sepp as a servant,
and had already trusted him with his horse and
sleigh. At New Year's, Hans and Trina wished
to settle for themselves, so there was a servant's
place to fill ; and Sepp added delightedly : " And
what a place ! Such a good master, who talks
to me like a father, and good pay besides, and
many an article of clothing through the year, — -
that I know from Hans. I have begged the
bailiff, however, not to give me any of my pay,
that I may not mis-spend it ; and, at the end of
the month, you will get it all. I have nothing
to bring now but good will."
" Which is worth everything ; and may our
Heavenly Father add his blessing to it," said
Lisa's Christmas. 67
Seppli, in the meantime, bad been wandering
up and down, looking for a place to deposit bis
many treasures. When be saw bis opportunity,
be crowded up to bis grandmother's bed and
quickly covered over half of it with his presents ;
when Stanzeli saw him, she came, too, and
covered the other half with hers. It looked
like a table at a fair, and the poor woman could
only clasp her hands and say : " Is it possible ? "
But when Sepp brought in the big bundle, and
unrolled several beautiful, warm blankets, she
was dumb with surprise and gratitude.
Joseph picked up something which rolled
out of the blankets, and his eyes shone for joy,
for now his only wish was fulfilled. It was a
I new coffee-mill. Such a joyful Christmas had
never been known in the little house by the
willows. Sepp held his children as if he could
not let them go ; and when they saw how their
grandparents loved him, they were willing to
love him, too.
At last Sepp had to go back to Rechberg ;
but the bailiff had promised him that he should
come every Sunday afternoon to visit his family,
so the separation was not to be a long one.
68 Red-Letter Stories.
As he was about to drive away, Seppli called
after him : " Father, wait. I must tell you
When his father bent down to him he whis-
pered, impressively : " Father, when you pass by
the chapel, do not forget to go in and pray. God
always gives you something, you know ; you
cannot always see it at the time, but it is sure
Seppli had connected all the joys of the day
with the lamb, which he believed God had sent
to them in the chapel, in answer to their prayers.
Sepp has proved a trusty and valuable ser-
vant at Rechberg. Every Sunday he comes
home to Altkirch, bringing a loaf of fresh, white
bread for supper.
The delicacies sent by the bailiff's wife, to-
gether with the coffee from the new mill, have
given new strength to the grandmother, so
that she is able to be about the house again,
and the little cottage under the willow is so
neat and cheerful that Sepp often says to him-
self, during the week : " Well, home is the
Lisa's Christmas. (>'.'
Stanzeli and Seppli often go to play with
Lisa, and her brothers, and Cnrlyhead.
And Lisa, whenever she looks at Cnrlyhead,
thinks, " How happy I am ! I will never again
conceal a wrong deed in my heart."
BASTI'S SOXG IN ALTORF.
INTKODUCTO R Y.
When the Christmas holidays were over,
and Miss Sunshine's school reopened, each
child was allowed to tell what he had enjoyed
most during the vacation.
Then Miss Sunshine told them how Christmas
Avas celebrated in different lands. The children
were especially pleased with her description of
the old English and German custom of sending
out children to awaken people, by singing carols
under their windows on Christmas morning,
and Lawrence remembered that his father had
told him that Martin Luther had been famous
for his beautiful, silvery voice, when he was a
poor boy at school, and used to go from house
to house, singing Christmas carols.
When Miss Sunshine promised them that the
next story should be about a New Year's
feaxtVs Song in Altorf, TL
carol in Switzerland, everybody tried to get a
red letter that very day. And they succeeded.
A big &c. appeared on the blackboard.
While they were all wondering what &c. could
possibly mean, Miss Sunshine began the story.
BASTI'S SONG IN ALTORF.
The green fields of Burgeln are very gay
in summer, with fragrant grasses and bright
The little village is surrounded by shady nut-
trees, and a busy brook rushes past them, leaping
over the stones, in its way.
A foot-path leads along by the brook to an
old ivy-covered tower at the end of the village.
A very large walnut-tree stands here, in whose
shade the traveller pauses to rest, and look up
to the high cliffs above, which seem to touch
the blue sky.
On the other side of the stream a narrow
path goes up the steep mountain-side. Near
the bridge stands a little house with a small
barn ; higher up is another, and still another,
and then, near the top, is the smallest house of
all. The door is so low that a man has to
72 Red-Letter Storl
stoop to get in, and the shed for the goat is so
small that when the goat goes in, there is room
for nothing else. The house has only two rooms,
and in the summer time the door is left open to
let in the light ; otherwise, it is quite dark. At
the time of our story, a poor woman lived in
this house, with her two children, Basti and
Franzeli. When the little boy was born, his
father looked in the calendar, and found it was
St. Sebastian's day; so the child was named
Sebastian, which was shortened to Basti. The
little girl came on St. Francis's day, and was
Afra, the mother, was a most diligent, hard-
working woman, and after the death of her hus-
band, she still kept her children so tidy, that no
one would have guessed that they belonged
to the poorest woman in the whole region.
Clean clothes were always ready for them on
Sunday, and warm stockings were knitted for
winter. In summer they wore neither shoes
When these two children came down the
mountain hand-in-hand, one man would often
say to another, —
Basti Is Sony in Altorf. To
" I wonder what Afra does to her children.
Mine never look so tidy/'
And his neighbor would answer : " Just
what I was thinking. I will ask my wife how
it is done."
So five years passed away. Basti was now
six years old, and Franzeli five ; but she was so
small and delicate that she looked fully two
years younger than her brother.
It had been a cold autumn. Winter set in
early, and promised to be a severe one. Snow
fell in October, and, in November, Afra's cot-
tage was buried so deep that she could hardly
get outside. The children sat in the corner by
the stove and never went to the door. Afra
went out only when there was not a mouthful
of food left in the house. The snow was so deep
it was almost impossible for her to get down
the mountain, and there was nobody to make a
path, except one man who lived above, in whose
footprints she tried to step. When she came
back she was so weaiy that she would almost
fall down by the way.
But it was not weariness alone which made her
sigh when she reached home and sat down to
?4 Bed-Letter Stories.
mend her children's clothes. A great anxiety
weighed her down, and grew with every day.
Often she did not know where the next piece
of bread was to come from. She got little work ;
and for a week at a time she would earn nothing.
So she could "buy no bread, and the goat's milk
would not feed three people. For hours in the
night, Afra would lie awake, trying to think
how she could earn a little money for the three
long winter months before her. She did not sing
any more when she put the children to bed ; but
sat still with her work.
One evening, when the wind was howling
outside and shaking the house as if it would
overthrow it, Basti's eyes were still wide open ;
and he lay watching his mother. Suddenly he
said : " Why don't you sing any more, mam-
"My child," she sighed, "I cannot."
" Have you forgotten the song ? I will show
you how it goes ; " and the child sat up in bed
and began to sing : —
" Now the night is coming on ;
Father, keep thy children still
In thy tender care."
BastVs Song in Altorf. ?o
Basti sang the hymn which he had heard his
mother sing so often, with a firm clear voice.
Suddenly a thought came to the poor woman.
" Basti, you can help me earn something to buy
bread," she said. "Would you like to do it?"
" Yes, yes, I will. Now ? " asked the child
eagerly, springing out of bed.
" No, no, get into bed again ; see, how cold
you are ! To-morrow I will teach you a song,
which you can sing on New Year's Day, which
will soon be here. Then people will give you
bread, and perhaps, some nuts."
Basti became so excited at the prospect that
he could not sleep, and called out again and
again : "Is it morning yet? "
At last he closed his eyes ; but in the morn-
ing he woke with the same idea uppermost.
He had to wait till evening, however, for his
mother said : " I cannot sing during the day ; I
have too much to do."
When it was dark at last, Afra lighted a
lamp, and seated herself at the table with a
child on each side ; then she took up her knitting,
and said : " Listen, Basti ; I will sing the first
verse a few times, and then you can try it."
76 Red-Letter Stories.
Very soon Basti was able to join in, and
suddenly Franzeli began to sing, too.
"That is right, Franzeli," said her mother.
"Perhaps yon will learn it, too."
When they had sung it together many times
the mother said : " Now try it alone, Basti. And
will Franzeli help, too ? "
The little girl nodded, and began to sing in
so clear and silvery a voice that her mother
was astonished; and when Basti lost the air,
Franzeli sang on, like a bird who knows his
melody from beginning to end. It was so
sweet that the poor woman thought she could
They practised the song every night, and by
the end of the week they knew it perfectly.
The last day of December had come, and for the
last time the children sang the carol to their
These were the words : —
A NEW YEAR'S SONG.
The old year is departing,
A glad new year draws nigh ;
O, may it bring thee blessings,
And songs for every sigh.
A large number of children were already out singing New Year Carols.
Bastes Song in Altorf. 77
Cold winter sternly reigneth,
The earth with ice is bound ;
Yet God is ever working
Where'er his own are found.
Yet many a little birdling
For food may hunt in vain ;
And children, too, will hunger
Before the winter's wane.
Now, to all, late or early,
Much good this year may bring ;
God's friends ne'er lack a blessing —
He helps in everything.
New Year's Day came. Afra went to church
early, and then she began to wrap up the chil-
dren in their warmest things, which were not
any too warm.
She wound an old shawl round and round
little Franzeli, took the child on her arm, and
said ; " Now Ave can go."
Basti went ahead, and struggled manfully
through the deep snow until he came to the path
by the brook, where he could go beside his
He had so many questions to ask and the
time passed so quickly, that they reached Altorf
before they knew it.
78 Red-Letter Stories.
A large number of children were out already
singing New Year carols. Afra went directly
to the great inn which stood near the old tower.
No singers had yet been here.
She put Franzeli down and sent the children
into the house, while she stood back by the
tower, where she could watch them.
Hand in hand they went inside and began to
The door of the guest room was opened and
some people called the children in, and praised
them for their singing, and many a bit of bread
and now and then a small coin was put into
their basket. The landlady dropped in a hand-
ful of nuts, saying; "At New Year's time yon
must have something to eat with your bread."
The children thanked them all and ran joy-
fully out to their mother.
They went on to other houses ; but so main-
different bands of children were trying to sing
at once, that often a man or woman would come
out of the house and say they would rather give
every one of them a loaf of bread than hear
such a noise. Sometimes they had to go away
BastVs Song in Altorf. 79
At more than one place the mistress of the
house came out and called Franzeli and said
kindly, "Come, little one, you are nearly
frozen. Take this, and then go home."
It was so bitterly cold that Afra herself was
almost numb, and Franzeli was shivering so she
could scarcely sing. Basti could no longer hold
the basket in his hands, they were so stiff; but
was obliged to hang it on his arm.
Their mother saw they could endure it no
longer, so she took Franzeli again in her arms.
" And you, Basti," she said, " run fast and
you will get warm."
When they were at home again, they all sat
by the fire to warm their hands and feet, and
Basti brought out the basket to see what was
Their mother said the little coins would buy
food for many days, and she gave them some
bread and the nuts, and they had a merry New
Many sad, anxious days followed, it is true ;
but at last the long winter was at an end, the
warm sun appeared, and the children could go
80 Red-Letter Stories.
Poor Afra was no longer obliged to go out
and search for wood to warm the little house ;
but she had worked so hard during the winter,
and suffered so many privations, that she had
used up all her strength and could not regain it.
She still struggled on, however, in order that
the town authorities might not separate her
from her children.
Now the long summer days had come. The
sun cast a red glow over all the mountain sides
where the late hay was spread out to dry.
Afra had gone up with her children to the
top of the cliffs, where there was a little spot of
land, from which she got hay to feed her goat
in the winter. She had cut the grass some
days before, and now she bound it up in a great
bundle and carried it home on her shoulders.
Little Franzeli held on to her dress, and Basti
with his little bundle of hay walked by her side.
They had eaten nothing since morning, except
a small bit of bread, and it was now five o'clock.
When Afra took the rest of the loaf out of
the cupboard, she was frightened to see how
small it was, and she could get no money
until the stockings she was knitting were done.
BastVs Song in Altorf. 81
She gave half of the bread to Franzeli and
half to Basti, saying; "I know you are very
hungry; but you must understand there is
nothing more when this is gone. I will knit
fast this evening and we will soon have
Basti took his piece : but before he bit into
it, he looked at his mother, who poured some
milk into a little cup for them, and then sat
down and laid her head in her hands.
Basti watched her closely.
" Where is your piece ? " he asked at last.
"I am not hungry; I do not want anything,"
replied his mother.
Franzeli came and put a bit of bread into her
mouth, but she said, " No, no ; eat it yourself ;
I cannot eat. If I could only go to the doctor
in Altorf to-morrow he might help me."
She uttered the last words in a low tone, and
suddenly sank back in her chair with closed
Basti looked at her awhile, and then said,
softly : " Come, sister, I know what I will do.
But we must be quiet and not wake mamma ;
she wants to sleep, don't you see ? "
82 Bed-Letter Stories.
The two children went out softly, and started
down the mountain side together. As they
went along Basti explained : " You see, Fran-
zeli, we are going to Altorf to sing our song
again, and we shall get some bread and perhaps
some nuts, and we will bring it all to mamma.
But can you sing the song still ? "
She said she could still sing it, and she was so
delighted at the prospect that she walked mer-
rily through the meadows and along the stony
street in spite of her bare feet.
They sang as they went, until they found
themselves in Altorf. Then they stopped sing-
ing, and Basti said : " I know where we must
sing first ; it is not here."
He went on to the inn, " The Golden Eagle,"
where their mother had sent them on New Year's
Day. But how different it was now ! The after-
noon sun sent golden beams across the open
s<juare in front of the door, and a great noise
came from within.
A party of strangers had recently arrived;
they were young men in gay-colored caps. They
had ordered the great table carried out into the
garden, and there they were sitting eating and
BastV* Song in Altorf. 83
drinking in great merriment, for they had had a
long tramp that day, and were now bent on hav-
ing a good time.
When Franzeli saw all these } r oung men at
the table she stood still in fright; and Basti
thought it best to sing at a safe distance. So
he began with all his might, in order to be
heard above the din.
" Quiet ! " suddenly thundered the voice of the
large, powerful man who sat at the head of the
table. " Quiet ! I say ; I hear singing. We are
having a serenade."
The young men looked around, and when they
saw the children, who had placed themselves a
little behind the old tower, they beckoned, and
I called to them, " Come here, come here."
The little ones had stopped singing, and Basti
came forward willingly, but he had to drag Fran-
zeli, who was in great terror.
The young man at the head of the table
stretched out his long arm and drew Basti
nearer, and all the others cried, " Now the song.
Barba, let them sing."
"Yes," said the tall man, "your song. Out
84 Red-Letter Stories.
Basti sang lustily, and Franzeli's voice chimed
in like a silver bell.
" The old year is departing;
The glad ISew Year draws nigh ;
Oh, may it hring thee blessings,
And songs for every sigh."
" Dear me ! We must have got to the other
side of the globe ; they are celebrating New
Year's Day here," cried Barba loudly, which
called forth a shout of laughter.
"Be quiet now," said the dark-haired one.
" Don't you see how the little Madonna is trem-
bling with fright ? "
" You take her, Max," said Barba, " and let
us have more of the song."
Max took the child kindly by the hand, and
said, " Come, little girl, nobody will harm you."
Franzeli took his hand trustfully, and they
sang again : —
" Cold winter sternly reigneth,
The earth with ice is bound ;
Yet God is ever working,
Where'er His own are found."
" I have been spared from the frost to-day,"
interposed Barba, whose face was glowing with
JSastVs Song in Altorf,
Another peal of laughter, followed by shouts
of " Go on ! go on ! "
The children sang : —
" Yet many a little birdling
For food may hunt in vain;
And children, too, may hunger
Before the winter's wane.'"'
" They shall not hunger here," called several
voices, and some plates of goodies were placed
before the children.
But Basti finished his song : —
" Now to all, late or early,
Much good this year may bring.
God's friends ne'er lack a blessing,
He helps in everything."
A great uproar followed, and every one called,
" That is a good wish ! That will bring us good
luck on our journey ! "
Barba, however, drew Basti to the table, and
put a plate before him heaped with good things,
saying : —
" Now, my boy, go to work, and don't give up
till you have finished it all."
The little boy looked at the plate with longing
eyes, but he did not touch anything. Another
&6 Red-Letter Stories,
plate had been given to Franzeli, and she was
urged to eat ; but, in spite of her great hunger,
after the long walk, she laid the bit of bread
she had taken up back on the plate, when she
saw her brother was not eating.
" What is the matter ? Why don't you take
hold, my little fellow ? What is your name ? "
asked Barba. " Basti," was the answer.
" Good. Well, Basti, what deep thoughts
have taken away your appetite?"
"If I only had a bag ! " was all the answer.
" A bag ? And what for ? "
" Then I would put everything in it, and take
it to mamma. She has had nothing to eat to-
Some of the party immediately cried out for
somebody to bring a bag ; others asked him
where his mother lived. When Basti said she
lived up in Burgeln, on the mountain, they were
filled with astonishment, and Barba said, "If
you have come from there, you must be very
hungry. Now confess it, Basti."
" Yes," admitted the boy. " We have not had
much bread to-day, but to.-morrow mamma can
finish the stockings, and perhaps we shall have
Bast V 8 Song in Altorf. 87
The child's tale aroused great sympathy.
Everybody wanted, to do something, — one to
get a bag, one to get a man to carry it, — but
Barba silenced them all, by saying : —
" First I want to see these children eat all
they can, and then we will talk about some-
thing else. Now listen, Basti; you must eat
all that is on this plate, and the rest your
mother shall have."
"All that?'' asked Basti.
"All. Now ^o to work."
Basti grasped his fork, and began to eat with
such avidity that the company looked on in
"Did your mother send you here to sing?"
" No, she went to sleep, because she had eaten
nothing, and was tired ; and she wants to go
and see the doctor," explained Basti. "And so
I came here to get something for her when she
wakes up. We got some bread the first time
we sang here."
Now the students understood how it was that
the New Year's Carol had been sung to them,
and Barba said : " I propose we should all ac-
88 Red-Letter Stories.
company our singers to Burgeln. It will make
a pleasant moonlight excursion."
" And you can have a chance to display your
medical skill," suggested Max.
But when he saw all his friends getting
ready to set out, he cried: "What are you
thinking of? Can that little creature keep
step with us, especially after having been
over the road once to-day? Let mine host
harness his horse, and we will put the lit-
tle girl, with the basket, in the wagon, and
then go on."
" That's a good idea," observed Barba, with a
glance at the huge basket, which the landlady
had brought for them instead of a bag.
"The best thing of all," continued Barba,
turning to Max, " is for you to remain, and come
with the little Madonna and the basket in the
wagon. We will start off at once, and Basti
shall be guide."
This was agreed upon.
At last they were under way. Barba marched
at the head, and Basti beside him.
Max put Franzeli in the open carriage, and
seated himself beside her, and they drove on in
Basti' s Song in Altorf. 89
the beautiful glow, which still lingered in the
sky from the setting sun.
Franzeli grew so confidential that she told her
companion all about her mother, and Basti and
the goat, and what they all did.
In the meantime their mother, at home, awoke
from her sleep, but she did not have sufficient
strength to get up from the chair. Finally she
roused herself a little. It was twilight, and she
could not see her children.
She was so tired she could not stir.
" Basti," she called, after some time. " Fran-
zeli, where are you ? "
She received no answer. Her anxiety sud-
denly gave her strength. She rose quickly, and
ran out of the little cottage ; but nobody was
there. She ran around the house, calling the
children's names. All was still. Only the
sound of the rushing stream reached her ears.
A fearful thought came into her mind. She
ran to the footpath, and wo aid have rushed
wildly down the mountain, but she saw a party
of people coming up. They were talking
loudly, and she thought she saw them point-
90 Red-Letter Stories.
ing up to her little cottage with their alpen-
" Oh, God ! " she cried, in the greatest terror ;
" can it be a message for me ? "
She stood as if paralyzed.
" Mother ! mother ! " she heard all at once ;
"we are coming, and you must see what we
are bringing. And the gentlemen are coming
with us, and Franzeli in a carriage with a
And Basti, rushing on ahead of them all,
tried to tell the whole story before he reached
Afra's astonishment increased every moment,
as she saw the party of young men, who greeted
her in the friendliest manner, like old acquaint-
ances. Two of them were carrying an immense
basket, on two sticks, put over their shoulders,
and last of all came Franzeli with her com-
Afra did not know what to think. She gath-
ered from Basti's account the fact that the young
men had shown the children great kindness, and,
indeed, the well-filled basket proved that. She
turned to Barba. As the largest, she considered
Basti' s Song in Altorf. 9±
him the leader, and she thanked him so heartily
that he was much affected.
Overwhelmed with thanks, the students at
last took up their line of march down the moun-
tain, and Basti ran to the highest point of the
cliff and called as long as he could see them,
" Good luck to you, Barba ! Good luck to you,
Max?" for he had soon learned their names.
When quiet reigned in the little household
once more, the children tried to tell their mother
everything that had happened since their de-
parture, and Franzeli could hardly find words
to express the splendor of it all, especially the
driving home in a carriage. But when the great
basket was unpacked, and all sorts of good things
were taken out, and three whole loaves of white
bread remained at the bottom, Basti jumped all
over the room in his joy, crying, " Good luck to
you, Max ! Good luck to you, Barba ! "
In the meantime the students were going back
to Altorf in a state of high glee. Max had
been silent for some time, when he suddenly
burst forth witli these words : " It is not right
yet. No, it is not right. We have only pro-
vided means against starvation for a few days
92 Recl-Letter Stories.
and nothing more. What will they do up there
in the winter without warm clothes, without
food or anything ? We have not done enough.
We must take up a collection now, to-day, and
the landlord can deliver it for us."
" Sir Max," said Barba, " that is a beautiful
idea ; but it is not practicable. You forget that
we are on a journey, that we are far from home,
and need something to get us back again. What
is there to collect ? I will make another propo-
sition. We will found a new league, the Basti-
ana, — yearly fee, four marks.* We will make
our mothers and sisters honorary members, to
furnish the necessary frocks and garments for
Basti and the little Madonna. Let us collect
the fees for the first year as soon as we get home,
and invite the honorary members to make their
contribution at once."
This plan met with high approval. They re-
entered Altorf, seated themselves again at the
table in the garden, and there, in the clear moon-
light, the Bastiana was formally established.
Great was the astonishment of Afra some
weeks later, when the post-carrier appeared
* One dollar.
Basti's Song in Altorf, 93
at her Louse with such an enormous package
that he could hardly get it through the door.
He threw it on the floor, and said as he wiped
his brow: "I cannot imagine what acquaint-
ances you can have in Germany, Afra. Neither
has the postmaster been able to guess who has
sent you such a package from so far away."
" There must be some mistake," replied Afra.
" You can read for yourself," returned the
carrier as he went on his way.
Yes, the name and residence of Afra were
written upon it plainly. With trembling hands
she began to undo the bundle, while the chil-
dren gazed expectantly at the mysterious object.
All at once the wrappings gave way, and out
fell an astonishing number of little garments,
stockings, and shoes, and in the midst of all
was a heavy roll of silver money.
" From whom does it come ? Who can have
sent it ? " cried Afra again and again, clasping
her hands in joy.
The mystery was solved when Franzeli
brought her a bit of paper which had fallen on
the floor. On it were these words : —
" God's friends ne'er lack a blessing,
He helps in everything."
94 Red-Letter Stories.
" That was in the song," cried Basti. " The
young men who were at the inn have sent it."
Yes, it conld be no one else. An unspeakable
joy filled the poor mother's heart as she thought
that now she could pass the winter free from
anxiety and still keep her children with her.
She was equally surprised next year when a
similar package arrived, and the next, and the
next, for the Bastiana became a permanent in-
stitution, and the contributions of clothing and
money were sent regularly every year.
As a constant reminder, Afra fastened up on
the wall of her room the bit of paper which the
students put in the first package : —
" God's friends ne'er lack a blessing,
He helps in everything."
MMiEELOCK COLLEGE LIB.kARY.
Spyri, Johanna, 1827-1901 020103 019
Red-letter stories : Swiss tal
D 1137 D037mD 5
Wheelock College Library
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