DIAMONDS AND TOADS

NOW, you must know that the Story People met at a certain hour every
day to hear and to tell stories, new and old; for, as you may well
believe, it is no small task to provide stories enough to feed the
story-hungry children of the world.

Accordingly, when all were assembled, the Story King in his place, and
Mary Frances in the seat of honor beside the Story Queen, the Story
Lady began to tell the story of Mischievous Anna and Peter.

* * * * *

Anna and Peter were always in mischief. One day they climbed to the top
of a high wall. It was a fairy wall, and it grew higher and higher,
until at last it went so high that they got frightened, for they did
not know how they should get down again. So they held tight by each
other and the wall, and began to cry.

But no one heard them. For they were far away from home; besides, they
were as high up in the air as the top of a mountain.

“Oh! oh! oh!” sobbed Anna.

“Oh! oh! oh!” sobbed Peter.

And their eyes were red and their faces quite wet and dirty.

“I shall fall,” said Peter.

“I can’t hold on much longer,” said Anna. And then they both sobbed
“Oh! oh! oh!” again.

Then they heard a voice saying, “Oh! oh! oh!” after them. Only it was
not any one crying, for the “oh! oh! oh!” had a very sweet sound.

They could not look round, for they dared not move their heads, and
they dared not look down for fear of getting dizzy. But the voice
seemed to be coming nearer. And so it was, for a fairy gate, with a
tree beside it, and a little bit of ground to stand upon, was shooting
up into the air just as the wall had done. And when it was as high as
the wall it stopped, and Peter and Anna saw that a boy was leaning
against the gate. He was playing on a whistle-pipe, and that made the
sound they had heard.

“I will play you a tune,” said the boy. And he played so softly and
sweetly that Peter and Anna left off crying.

“How did you come up?” asked Anna.

“On the gate,” said the boy.

“How are you going down?” asked Peter.

“On the gate, to be sure,” said the boy; “I have only to say–

“Gate, gate, let me go
Far down to the earth below.”

And as he said the words, down he went.

“Let us also try,” said Anna.

“Wall, wall, let us go
Far down to the earth below.”

Then down went the wall to the ground, and Peter and Anna slid off, and
stood staring at the boy, who was still playing on his pipe.

“What do you want most?” asked the boy. “My pipe will bring anything I
ask for.”

“A silk frock with a flounce and a sash, and a bonnet with blue
ribbons,” said Anna, who was fond of fine clothes.

“A new suit and pair of leather reins to play at horses with,” said
Peter.

The boy played a lively tune, and before Anna could say “ready,” she
found herself dressed in a fine new frock; while Peter had the reins
in his hands, and a new suit of clothes with a great frill and a round
hat.

[Illustration: THEY WERE AS HIGH UP IN THE AIR AS THE TOP OF A
MOUNTAIN]

Then the boy said “Good-by,” and Peter and Anna went towards home.

“I will go this way,” said Peter.

“I will go that,” said Anna.

So they parted.

Anna, as she walked along, heard little feet behind her; and when she
reached the steps leading to her home she looked round, and what was
her surprise when she saw a large mouse dressed like a lady, with a
parasol in its hand.

“I am the Countess Mouse
Coming to your house;
With you I’ll stay
Every day,”

said the mouse.

Now Anna was afraid of mice, and she said, “But I do not want you;
besides, we have a large cat that will eat you up.”

“No, it will not; I am a fairy mouse, and can eat up the cat if I
please.”

Anna was much frightened; this was truly a dreadful mouse.

“Go away! Oh, go away!” she said.

“No,” answered the mouse; “as long as you wear my clothes I shall stay
with you and take care of them.”

“They are not yours,” said Anna; “a boy with a whistle-pipe gave them
to me.”

“But he piped to me for them,” said the mouse; “I have wardrobes full
in my castle. You are quite welcome to them; but I must see that you do
not spoil them. I shall sit by you at dinner, and play with you, and
walk out with you, and sleep on your pillow at night.”

“Oh dear! oh dear!” said Anna; “I wish I had never asked for a silk
frock and bonnet.”

“Shall I take them back?”

“Oh yes! oh yes! please, Countess Mouse,
Take them all back to your house.”

“Well, as you have made a rhyme, I will do so,” said the mouse, and she
slapped Anna’s arm sharply with her parasol. Then Anna’s new clothes
fell off, and she found herself in her old cotton dress again. And the
mouse grew larger and larger, and ran away to her castle with the silk
frock and the grand bonnet.

Now while this was happening to Anna a queer-looking man in a peaked
hat and long overcoat said to Peter, “Shall I be your horse?”

“Yes,” said Peter. And the man took the reins, and they went along
merrily enough.

When they were close by his home, Peter said, “I am going in here.”

But the man said–

“No, no, you are going with me;
These are my reins, you cannot get free.”

“They cannot be yours,” said Peter; “a boy with a whistle-pipe gave
them to me.”

“Ah, but he got them from me! I am a saddler, and have hundreds of
them. And I want some little boys to help me to make more.”

“I don’t want to go,” said Peter.

But he could not loose the reins, and the man pulled him along faster
and faster.

“Oh! oh! oh! I should be glad
If these reins I hadn’t had,”

said Peter.

“As you have made a rhyme,” said the man, “I’ll take them back, and you
may go home.”

Then the man hit Peter sharply with one end of the reins, and his new
suit fell off, and he found himself in his old pinafore.

Then Peter went home and told Anna what had happened to him; and Anna
told Peter all about the mouse, and they both thought that they had had
a lucky escape.

Just then the boy with the pipe came down the street. And the pipe
played these words–

“Keep out of mischief; you never know
What may come to cause you woe;
What you may think is very good fun,
May give you trouble before you’ve done.”

Then the boy turned round the corner of the street, and Anna and Peter
never saw him again.

* * * * *

“My, but the mouse must have looked cunning!” Mary Frances said. “Thank
you for telling me that story. I–I wish—-”

“Would you like to hear another–about Isabella and her cruel
stepsisters?” asked the Story Lady.

“I should love to hear it!” replied Mary Frances.

The story people smiled and nodded, and the Story Lady proceeded.

ONCE upon a time there was a dear little girl named Isabella. She lived
with her father, and her stepmother, and her two stepsisters.

Isabella was a pretty child and had sweet manners. Her stepsisters were
not pretty, and they and their mother were jealous of Isabella.

They seldom spoke kindly to her; they made her do the hard work of the
home, and treated her in a harsh manner, very much as Cinderella’s
stepmother and stepsisters treated Cinderella.

One of her hard duties was to fetch the water for the household from
the well just outside the village.

It was quite a long walk to the well, and after Isabella had worked all
the morning, cooking, and washing the dishes, and washing and ironing,
or sweeping, she felt sometimes that she was too tired to go so far and
carry home such a heavy load.

One day after washing and ironing, she said, “I wish one of you girls
would go with me to the well to-day, and help me bring back the water.
I am so tired.”

“Indeed, they shall not!” exclaimed her stepmother angrily. “What do
you think–that my daughters shall wait on you?”

“I do not care to get tanned in the sun,” yawned one.

“I do not wish my hands to look as though I work,” said the other
haughtily.

So Isabella set out alone. She sat down to rest several times on her
way, but after a while she reached the well. It was an old-fashioned
affair, and had a moss-covered bucket on a long chain which wound on
a roller. It was not hard work to drop the bucket down the well, but
it was hard work to turn the handle of the roller until the dripping
bucket reached the top. It was still harder work to empty the bucket
into the pail she carried.

This day, when Isabella came to the well there was an old woman sitting
on the well-curb. She was a wretched-looking old woman. She wore an old
shawl about her head and shoulders.

When she saw Isabella she said, “Good-morrow, little maid.”

“Good morning,” said the little girl. “How do you do?”

“I should do very well, thank you,” said the old woman, “if I had a
drink of water.”

“That you shall soon have,” said Isabella, forgetting her own tiredness
because she felt sorry for her.

Isabella soon had the well bucket up, filled her pail, and then held it
so that the thirsty woman could drink out of the side. She drank long
and eagerly.

“Thank you,” she said at length. “Dear child, you will never be sorry
for your kindness;” and she rose and walked away.

Isabella threw away the rest of the water, and after refilling her
pail, set out for home.

When she reached the house, her stepmother said, “You are late! Where
have you been?”

Isabella opened her mouth to answer–and what do you think happened?
Out fell diamonds and roses.

Quickly the stepmother called her daughters and they began to sweep
them up.

“Where have you been?” cried the stepsisters. “What has happened to
you?”

Isabella tried to think what could have brought such a thing about, for
she was as much surprised as any of them, but she could not think of
anything unusual except the meeting with the old woman.

“Speak!” demanded her stepmother. “Are you trying to hide something
from us?”

[Illustration: SHE DRANK LONG AND EAGERLY]

Isabella said that she had met a strange old lady at the well, but that
she could not remember anything else that had not happened every time
she had gone for water.

Every once in a while as she was speaking diamonds and roses fell from
her mouth.

“You need not go for the water the next time,” said her stepmother. “I
shall send my own girls.”

The next day the two stepsisters went to fetch the water.

When they came to the well, there sat the old ragged woman on the curb.

“Good-morrow, young maidens,” said the old woman.

The stepsisters just stared at her.

“My, it is a warm day,” said the old woman, “and I am very thirsty.
Will you give me a drink of water?”

“Indeed, we will not!” said the older one haughtily.

“The very idea!” exclaimed the younger one, looking at the old woman’s
ragged clothes. “I should think not!”

Then they drew the water, all the time complaining and groaning about
the hard work.

When they started to go home, the old woman spoke.

“You are not kind,” she said, “you will be sorry.” But they only
laughed and hurried away.

Their mother met them at the door.

“Well, my dears,” she said, “how fared you? Did you meet any good
fortune?”

“All we saw was an old woman at the well–such a ragged, wretched old
thing she was, too!” answered one girl.

“And she wanted us to give her a drink of water. The idea!” the other
girl said at the same time.

With the last words, out of their mouths fell several snakes and toads,
which went scudding across the floor.

Their mother screamed and, gathering her skirts about her, jumped on a
chair.

“Oh, where have you been?” she cried. “What has happened to you?”

And when the girls told her that they did not know, more snakes and
toads fell from their mouths.

“This is an outrage!” exclaimed their mother. “Isabella has formed some
terrible plot against you. She is to blame! Go bring her here, and I
shall punish her. I shall whip her until she tells us the charm she has
found.”

The girls ran out, and soon came back dragging Isabella between them.

Just as they reached their mother a bright light appeared in the room,
and suddenly a beautiful fairy stood before them.

“Do not touch Isabella!” she said to the stepmother. “She is not in
the least to blame for your children’s misfortune. Their cruel fate is
their own fault. When I met Isabella at the well and asked her for a
drink of water, she gave it to me gladly and willingly, but when I met
your daughters and asked them for a drink they treated me proudly and
unkindly.”

“You!” exclaimed the stepmother, looking upon the radiant creature with
her shining fairy robes about her. “Met you, and would not give you a
drink of water!”

The fairy smiled. “Ah, yes; it was I, but I did not look then as I now
do. I was the ragged old woman at the well.”

“If they had known it was you–” said the stepmother.

“If they had known it was I,” the fairy said, “how could I have judged
whether they were kind of heart, and polite to old people, and helpful
to people in need?”

“When I met Isabella,” the fairy went on, “I looked just as when I met
your daughters, and she was very polite and kind to me, and gave me a
drink, holding the pail while I drank, even though she was very tired.
Because only polite and kind words came from her mouth, I gave her a
good fairy gift, and because only impolite and unkind words came from
the mouths of your daughters, I gave them another kind of gift.”

“Oh, please take back the one you gave them,” pleaded the mother.

“Do you mean Isabella’s gift, too?” asked the fairy.

“Oh, no,” the mother said. “Let her have her gift–but please, please
take away the awful gift of my daughters!”

“Let me see,” said the fairy, “what Isabella says about that. Shall I
take back the gift of your stepsisters, my dear?”

“Oh, please, please do!” cried Isabella. “I am so sorry that they are
unhappy.”

“Very well, then,” said the fairy. “For Isabella’s sake, I shall take
their gifts back, but only on one condition–that they promise to be
kind and polite from now on.”

“Oh, we promise! We promise!” cried both stepsisters at once.

“Unless you keep your promise,” said the fairy, “the snakes and toads
will come from your mouths again.” And the fairy disappeared as
suddenly as she had come.

But the snakes and toads did not come again, for the stepsisters and
their mother were very kind to every one ever after, and Isabella lived
a happy life from that day.

* * * * *

“They just had to keep their promise, didn’t they?” commented Mary
Frances. “I am glad they did, for I do not like people to break
promises.”

“Neither do I,” agreed the Story Lady; “and that reminds me of one of
our favorite stories–Coralie and the Magic Necklace.”

“Oh,” said Mary Frances, “but I like a story with magic in it.”

“Very well,” said the Story Lady, “I will tell you the story.”

ONCE there was a girl whose name was Coralie. She was a very pretty
girl, and very clever. She was so bright in her lessons at school that
all she needed to do was to read them over once, and she knew them.

She lived in a pretty home, and was a great pet. Her parents loved
her dearly, and although they were not well off, they gave Coralie
everything she wished for that they could afford. So, you see, she had
all the comforts of life, if not the luxuries.

You would think she would have been a very happy child, wouldn’t you?
Well, she would have been if she had not had one very dreadful fault.
Sometimes she told only half the truth; sometimes she told only quarter
the truth; sometimes she stretched the truth so far that she broke it.

Her parents did everything they could to cure her of her dreadful
fault, but everything failed. Even being in her room for a whole day
with only bread and butter and milk did not help her. At last they
became almost desperate.

One evening, after Coralie had gone to bed, her father said, “There is
only one thing left, I suppose. We must take Coralie to the magician,
Merlin.”

“Yes,” replied her mother with a sigh, “it is the only thing I can
think of. You need not go, dear husband, for it will mean the loss of
several days’ work. I will take her myself. We can start to-morrow
morning.”

So in the morning, her mother and Coralie set out on their journey.

Now, the enchanter, Merlin, knew untruthful people even a long way
off. He could tell them by their odor. So as Coralie and her mother
drew near his palace, which was built of frosted glass, he threw some
incense on the fire to keep himself from becoming ill.

At length, Coralie’s mother rang the door bell, and Merlin himself came
to the door. “Good afternoon,” he said.

“Good afternoon,” replied Coralie’s mother; “we have come a long
distance to see you, sir, because—-”

Merlin raised his hand. “I know all about the reason,” he said. “You
have come to see me because you cannot make your daughter tell the
truth. She is one of the most untruthful children that ever lived. I
know, because her lies often make me ill. When I smelled her coming, I
had to burn incense;” and he frowned terribly.

You can imagine how this frightened Coralie. She hid behind her mother.
Her mother seemed frightened, too.

“Oh, sir,” she begged, “please deal as gently with her as you can. We
love her so dearly. We are so grieved that we cannot cure her our own
selves.”

“Do not fear,” answered the magician. “I am not going to hurt her. All
that I wish to do is to make her a present.”

So he invited them into the palace, and led the way to his workroom.
All the woodwork in the room was light green. The windows were studded
with red and blue and green jewels, and they threw rainbow colors on
the floor.

Merlin went to a golden table, and, opening a drawer, took out a
beautiful amethyst necklace, with a diamond clasp. He threw the
necklace around Coralie’s neck.

“That is all,” he said to her mother. “You may go. I am going to lend
my magic necklace of truth to Coralie. I shall come for it in one
year.” Then he turned to Coralie, and said, “Do not take it off. If
you do, great harm may come to you. Good-by,” and he clapped his hands
twice.

[Illustration: HE THREW THE NECKLACE AROUND CORALIE’S NECK]

Two slaves appeared, and after bowing before Merlin, showed Coralie and
her mother to the door.

Coralie, of course, was delighted with the necklace. All her life long
she had wished for jewelry, but her parents could not afford to get her
anything but the pretty seal ring which she wore. As to getting such a
necklace as Merlin had given her, it would have taken everything they
owned in the world to so much as buy the diamond clasp.

When she went back to school, the girls all gathered about her and
began to admire the necklace.

“Isn’t it beautiful!” they exclaimed. “What a lucky girl! Your people
must have fallen heirs to a fortune!”

“Isn’t it pretty!” said Coralie, lifting the sparkling string for them
to see better. “Yes, my father and mother gave it to me. You see, I
have been ill, and they were so glad when I got well that they gave me
this for a present.”

“Oh! Oh! Oh!” cried the girls.

And no wonder they did, for all the sparkle left the necklace, and it
looked dull and old and scratched.

“What is the matter?” asked Coralie. “Don’t you think my parents could
give it to me? They bought it, and paid an immense sum for it.”

At that falsehood, the necklace turned from the light purple amethyst
color to a dull gray agate, and the diamond clasp to a mud-color shade.
Then Coralie saw what had happened, and she was frightened.

“No,” she said, “they did not give it to me. We went to the magician,
Merlin, and he lent it to me.”

At these truthful words, the necklace became as beautiful as ever. But
the children began to laugh.

“What are you laughing at?” asked Coralie. “You needn’t make fun.
Merlin was very glad to see us. When he saw us in the distance he sent
his carriage to meet us. It was drawn by two fawn-colored horses, and
the coachman wore livery. There was a great feast spread for us, and
each of us had a servant in back of our chairs. We had golden plates to
eat from, and—-”

Suddenly Coralie stopped speaking, for the children were laughing at
her harder than ever. She looked down at her necklace. No wonder they
laughed. It was dull again in color, and had grown so long it rested
upon the ground.

“Ho, ho, Coralie!” cried one. “Come, now! You are stretching the truth!
Set us right!”

“Well,” confessed Coralie, “Merlin didn’t send any one to meet us. We
walked, and we were in his palace only a little while.”

At these words, the necklace shrank to its right size, and resumed its
own beautiful color.

“But now, Coralie,” cried the children, “but now tell us truly where
you got the necklace. Did the magician give it to you?”

“Yes,” said Coralie, “he just handed it to me without saying a word. I
think he—-”

She did not finish the sentence, for the necklace had suddenly grown so
tight that it was choking her, and she was gasping for breath.

“Come, come, Coralie!” cried one of the girls. “You are keeping back
part of the truth! Tell the truth! What happened?”

“He said I was one of the most untruthful persons in the world,”
admitted Coralie; and the necklace became itself again.

And so things kept on. Every time Coralie tried to say one untruthful
thing, the necklace behaved in some queer, frightful way. Even the
children became sorry for her, for she began to look worried all the
time.

“If I were you, I’d take the necklace back,” one of the girls told her.
“It gives you no happiness at all.”

“Indeed it doesn’t,” said Coralie, “I wish I—-”

“Why don’t you take it back?” the girl asked.

Now, Coralie did not wish to tell her, and kept still, for she was
wondering what she could possibly say; but the necklace began to act
wildly. The stones began to dance up and down so hard that they hurt
her.

“Merlin told me I must not take it off,” she said. “If I should do so,
great harm would come to me. He is coming for it when I’ve worn it for
a year.”

And the necklace shone just a little more brightly than before, and the
diamond clasp sparkled so that it would have dazzled your eyes to look
at it.

And after that Coralie began to lose the worried look, for the telling
of the truth was beginning to be a habit with her. The necklace very
seldom had to remind her, for every day it grew easier for her to tell
the truth.

And when Merlin came for his necklace, he brought her a far more
beautiful gift than the necklace, but it was one that she could not
wear showily. It was a necklace of pearls, pearls of great price which
she wore just over her heart. You see, Merlin needed his magic necklace
for another child who did not tell the truth.

Nobody knows where the magic necklace is to-day; but if I were a child
in the habit of telling falsehoods, I should not feel quite sure that
it would not be found again.

* * * * *

“Will it?” asked Mary Frances, as the Story Lady finished the story.

“It may be,” said the Story King. “I have an idea where it is. Why? Do
you know any children who do not speak the truth?”

“I–I am sorry to say that I do,” Mary Frances said. “I do not know
many, though. I know two who do not always tell the truth; and I know
one child who isn’t kind to her pet cat. I wish I knew a story to tell
her when I go home.”

“All right, perhaps you would like to hear the story of Linda.”

“Please tell it to me?” she asked.

So the Story Lady told the story of “The Cat and the Carrots.”

LINDA was a little girl who rarely thought of any one but herself. She
would take the warmest place by the fire and the largest piece of cake
on the dish, or the finest apple or pear; and she would take away the
toys from the other children, and did not care for anything as long as
she was amused herself.

Her mother was very sorry to see that Linda was selfish, and used to
talk very seriously to her about it, and to tell her that no one would
love her if she did not mend her ways.

But Linda did not care, and she did not believe what her mother said.

“You will always love me, Mother,” said she.

“Perhaps so,” said her mother; “but then you are my own little girl,
and it is my duty to take care of you. Besides, I shall be very sorry
for you, because you will be very unhappy. But no one else will care
for you. Every one will dislike you because you are selfish–every one
in the world.”

Linda did not say anything, but the words “every one in the world”
came into her head many times during the day, and at night they came
into her dreams, and she fancied she saw the words written in letters
of fire, from which the flames shot up in all directions, and she was
saying half aloud, “The bed will be on fire,” when a voice said–

“But you are not in bed, you are in the farmyard.”

Then she looked round, and saw that she was near the barn, and that
there was a ladder not far off, and a great barrel close by. Also
there was a heap of carrots, which Linda began to toss about, and to
snap in two, and to pull the leaves off; and at last she was throwing
them all into the duck-pond, when a voice suddenly said, “Stop!”

Linda looked round, but no one was to be seen.

“Stop!” said the voice again.

Then Linda looked down, and seated upon a stone she saw a carrot whose
green top-knot of leaves she had broken off. Two little legs and two
little arms had sprouted out, and it had eyes and a mouth, but no nose.

“Have you no feelings?” said the carrot. “Is it not enough to be taken
from my home in the earth, without being knocked about and flung into a
duck-pond? How would you like it?”

“I’m not a carrot,” said Linda.

“You don’t care for any one but yourself,” replied the carrot, growing
redder and redder; “no one likes you, not even carrots, and you will
find that some day people will pay you back for being so selfish. I am
going to begin at once. Come carrots, carrots, carrots!” he shouted.

“In and out
Whirl about;
Pinch and beat her;
Let her know
Selfishness will bring her woe;
Come at once and greet her.”

Then suddenly all the carrots that were lying about sprang up, and
those that were in the duck-pond sprang out of it. They were joined by
those in the gardens near, and they came trooping along like an army.
They could walk as well in the air as on the ground; and they whirled
around Linda and pulled her hair and pinched her arms, till she cried
aloud for mercy.

“Ho! ho! ho! only see
What it is our foe to be,”

shouted the carrots, as they twirled up and down and round and round.

[Illustration: “HAVE YOU NO FEELINGS?” SAID THE CARROT]

The air was full of carrots, and the ground was covered by them, and
Linda made up her mind that if she ever got clear of them she would
never meddle with a carrot again as long as she lived. She kept off
their blows as long as she could, but at last she was too tired to do
so any longer, and she sank down to the ground crying, “Oh, please
leave off! please leave off!”

“We now have done,
But we’ve had some fun,”

said the carrot who had first spoken to her.

“Carrots, depart,” said he, waving his hand.

The last carrot had said “Good-by,” but Linda had not spoken.

She waited till she thought he had gone, and then she looked up. The
carrot certainly was not there, but a large cat was sitting beside her.

“Topsy, poor Topsy!” said Linda.

But Topsy put up her back, and her eyes looked very fierce.

“Poor Topsy, indeed!” said the cat, angrily; “don’t think to coax me,
you never think of me in the house, you pull my whiskers and my tail,
and you never give me a bit of meat, or anything nice that you are
eating; and this morning, though I sat on the chair beside you, longing
for a little new milk, you drank it all up–you did not leave me a
drop. You are the most selfish little girl I know, and I don’t like
you, so I am going to scratch you.”

“Oh dear! oh dear!” said Linda, “please don’t. The carrots have
punished me till I am quite sore.”

“Cats, cats, one and all,
Tabby, tortoise-shell, come when I call,
Gray and yellow, black and white
Cats and kittens, come hither to-night.”

called the cat loudly.

Ah! all the cats and kittens in the world must have come. So many! And
they all thronged round her, and sat upon her shoulders, and clung
round her arms.

“All the cats in the world hate you,” said Topsy.

“We do! we do! we do!” mewed the cats. “She never cares what becomes of
poor cats and kittens.”

Then the cats tumbled over each other, and tumbled over Linda, and
crowded round her and upon her, until she was sitting under a heap of
cats, with only her face peeping out, and Topsy was crouching in front,
looking fiercely at her.

“Now that you cannot stir,” said Topsy, “I am going to scratch you.”

“Oh! oh! oh!” shrieked Linda, and she gave such a start that all the
cats fell down upon the ground; and at that moment she opened her eyes,
and found herself in her bed, with her mother standing beside her.

“What is the matter?” asked her mother, for she had heard Linda scream.

“Oh! oh! oh!” sobbed Linda, “I have had such a horrid dream.”

“Well, it was only a dream. You are awake now, and I am with you.”

“Every one in the world hates me, even the cats and the carrots,”
sobbed Linda, and bit by bit she told her mother all her dream.

“It was such a horrid dream, and I was so frightened,” said Linda, “I
can’t think why it came.”

“I will tell you,” said her mother; “it came out of your own heart.
You had been thinking of the words I said to you, that every one would
dislike you but myself. I am glad that you have had this dream, for it
shows me that my words have sunk into my little girl’s heart, and I
hope now that she will try to improve.”

“I will try,” said Linda.

And she did try, and whenever she was inclined to do any selfish act
she thought of her wonderful dream, and said to herself, “I should not
wish all the world to be like the cats and the carrots.”

* * * * *

“That’s a good story,” said Mary Frances to the Queen. “I shall try to
remember it.”

“It is a good story,” replied the Queen, smiling; “but we have still
better, as you shall hear.”

Here a page boy who sat on a stool at the foot of the Story Lady began
to fidget, as if to ask a question.

“Well, what is it, Roland?” asked the Story Lady.

“If you please, can’t we have a story about a boy?” answered Roland.

“Yes,” said the Story Lady; “you shall have two stories–one about a
tiger, and the other about a page boy who killed a dragon.”

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