“Ruth looked puzzled. ‘I guess it was the butterfly,’ she said: ‘it came 분당오피 along, and showed us the way.’

“‘Who is this?’ asked one of the men.

“‘That’s Ally,’ explained Ruth.

“‘Poor boy!’ said the Mother. ‘I thought even the savages were too tender of their babes to let them thus alone in the forest. We will take him home with us, husband, and cherish him. Perchance his friends may seek him out.’

“But to all their words and kind looks the little Indian was deaf. When they pointed to the setting sun in token that night was near, he pointed to the east as if to say that the same sun would rise again before long. They tried to77 entice him with caresses; but he shook himself free, and, signing to some distant part of the wood where his home lay, he emptied the flowers from his quiver, threw back his black hair with a toss, and with a few active bounds disappeared from their sight. Ruth cried after him, ‘Ally! Ally!’ but it was all in vain. He was gone; and he never came back.”

“And what became of Ruth and Baby?” asked Thekla.

“Oh! they went home with their Father and Mother; and good care was taken that they should not stray again. I used to visit them sometimes, and play with their hair and soft cheeks; and I taught them to call the pink blossoms by my name. ‘May-flowers’ they are termed to this day; and they are such favorites, that I plant immense beds of them in that country every spring, and then people grumble that there are not enough.”

“And is that all about the little girls?” persisted Thekla.

“Dear me!” said May, “you are hard to satisfy.78 No: of course it’s not all. Baby grew up. Some one said she married the Governor. Only think, Baby marry a Governor! As for little Ruth, she didn’t grow up: she went to Heaven instead; and so stayed a child for ever. Nobody knows now where her grave is, excepting me; and every year I plant May-blossoms upon it.”

May’s voice was a little sad, and her eyes looked sweet and tender.

“How about Algonqua?” inquired Max, who was rather ashamed of feeling affected.

“He became a great chief,” said May, “and lived to be a hundred. I heard that he was buried in a mound out West, over the top of which a railroad now runs. But about that I am not sure: my business is not with the dead, but the living.”

And saying this, she rose briskly up. “I meant to have done in just half an hour,” she remarked, “and it is nearly an hour and a quarter. I’ll take those moments at once, if you please.”

79 Her manner was so sharp and decided that they did not dare urge her to stay. Max brought the can, and Thekla lighted her to the door. When she had departed with a curt “good-by,” they felt perplexed and puzzled.

“She’s very pretty,” said they, “but somehow not at all what we expected.”
THE lamb speedily became accustomed to his new home. When Thekla brought him food, he would cuddle close, and lick her fingers, bleating softly. Before long he was grown so tame that, if Max seized his two fore feet and waltzed round the room, he made no objection, but frisked funnily, as if enjoying the joke. Best of all, however, he loved to lie beside Grandfather’s chair, within reach of his stroking hand. The old man found continual pleasure in the gentle creature, whose wool was scarcely whiter than his own snowy hair. With the serene faith of old age, he asked no questions as to the new possession, but accepted it calmly and without81 wonderment; for Grandfather was getting very old.
As for Thekla, she thought there was never a lamb like this. For his sake, she loved all lambs; and often, at her wheel, would sing the “Lamb Song,” with which babies are hushed to sleep. It ran something like this:—

“Lambs in the daisies,
Whiter than they;
So in her snowy bed,
Tossing her golden head,
Frolics my baby,—like lamb at its play.
“See how the little one
Frisks by its dam!
Knowing no harm or fear,
Happy if she is near:
Thus to my bosom clings closely my lamb.
“Now comes the Shepherd,
Counts every one,
Leads to the pastures fair
Where the sweet streamlets are,
Shields from the tempest, and shades from the sun.
“Jesu, the Shepherd dear,
Knoweth his sheep;
And in His gracious arm,
Safe from all fear and harm,
Keepeth his lammies, and ever will keep.”
So, with songs and busy days, the month sped quickly away.

83 “Oh dear, I wish it were night!” said Max on the morning of the 30th. “April and May were so nice that I’m really in a hurry to have the day go.”

“I’m not,” replied sensible Thekla. “I like to have to wait a little for pleasant things, because then they last so much longer. And I’m real glad there are so many more Months to come,—six,—no, seven, counting June. Let’s work hard to-day, Brother; and then the time will seem short.”

Max agreed; and by twelve o’clock the famous spoon, upon which he had been so long engaged, was done. It was cleverly carved for a young workman; and, as there was plenty of time before the Fair, he set to work at once upon a fork to match, and grew so interested that when the sun set he cried out, “Oh dear, it’s too bad! The days aren’t half long enough.”

Thekla laughed, but was too wise, and too tender of Max’s feelings, to say, “I told you so,” as some little girls would have done. She only84 put aside her work, and made haste with the supper, that all might be tidy and in order for the coming guest.

The evenings were still cool enough to make a fire comfortable, and the hearth glowed bright as in winter. But the casement stood open; and, one on each side, the children perched themselves to wait for June. She arrived promptly, the pink sunset glowing behind her figure, as it issued, all clothed in white, from the leafy woods. Max and Thekla flew to meet her. On her head was a wreath of flowering hawthorn. She held up the skirt of her gown filled with strawberries.

“Put in a thumb, and pull out something nice,” she said merrily, as she saw them coming.

Both thumbs and fingers were soon red as cherries; for all the time June told her tale they kept going in and out of the fragrant, fascinating lap, and conveying red, delicious mouthfuls to the little lips dyed deep with juicy stains. It was wonderful how the children took to June. It seemed as if they could not get close enough.85 They lay on her lap, put their arms about her neck, kissed and played with her hands, were not one bit afraid of her;—and she evidently was used to and liked it, for she only smiled when they did so. This was her story:—

“Last year I had to take a long ride over the Desert, and it was extremely hot. So, as soon as was possible I came away, and went to a place among the hills, to cool off. A very nice, old-fashioned, little place it is. People from the city go there in the summer; and this time, as it happened, they were earlier than usual.

“I love children very much, so I soon got acquainted with all in the village. There were ever so many of them. Some, in fine ruffled frocks, were thin and white, and had blue circles round their eyes. That was because they had been taken to parties in the winter till they were almost dead. And some were all worried out with going to school, and had round shoulders and tired faces. And a few were dear natural little boys and girls, with lips and cheeks the right color, and plenty of clean common clothes86 to romp in. I loved all of them, and they me; but these last loved me best. We used to spend whole days out-doors together, playing ‘I spy’ and ‘hide-and-seek’ in the bushes. As a general thing, they were pretty good. There was an Anna Maria, to be sure, who slapped her little sister now and then; and one boy named Johnny who would climb trees after the robins’ nests: so that I was forced at last to push him off a bough and sprain his ankle, to make him let them alone. But, on the whole, I was well satisfied with them. And my prime favorite—the roundest, jolliest, nicest, prettiest of all—was little Dotty Dexter.

“Dotty was six years old, the dearest, cunningest mite of a romp you ever saw, and at the same time a born housewife. All her life it had been so. When two years old, she used to take her small apron and trot round the nursery rubbing the furniture clean, as she had seen nurse do. She could only reach to the seats of the chairs, and about half way up the legs of the tables; but so far she always made87 them shine till you could almost see your face in them.

“Dotty had an admirer. He was one year older than she, and his name was Willy Pringle. She loved him very much, partly because he had a jacket with two pockets, and gilt buttons down the front, and partly because when his mamma gave him any gum-drops he always brought her half of them to suck. So when he asked, ‘Would she be his little wife?’ she said she would.

“Down the village street stood a queer little house, which nobody lived in. Once it had been painted brown; but the paint had rubbed off, and now it was all yellow and spotty. The door wasn’t locked, because doors never were locked in that place; and one day Willy and Dotty opened it, and strayed in to take a look.

“It was a most beautiful house. There was a hall, with an upstairs and a downstairs to it. The upstairs went to the bed-rooms, and the downstairs to the cellar. There were two rooms,—a parlor and a kitchen; and two bedrooms,88 and the cellar: that made five. There was a stove in the kitchen, with real holes in the top, and a pipe. It was rather rusty, but a delightful stove notwithstanding. In the parlor was a chair and a stool and another chair, all three quite ragged; and upstairs, on one of the window-sills, stood a long row of bottles. ‘Hair Dye’ was written on the outside of them; and they smelt dusty, when you put them to your nose. That was all the furniture; except some pieces of plaster, which had fallen down from the ceiling.

“Dotty and Willy trotted over the place, hand in hand. Their conclusion was that there never was such a nice house before for two young people to go to housekeeping in.

“‘We’ll call it ours, you know,’ said Dotty, ‘and play we live in it. Only we won’t stay at night, ’cause Mamma says mice always get into old houses. And it scares me dreadful when I hear them scratch.’

“‘Pooh!’ said Willy, ‘to be afraid of mice! But then you’re a girl, Dotty, so it’s no wonder. Ain’t it a nice house? We’ll stay here89 ’most all the time, won’t we? Only sometimes we’ll let the others come and play with us.’

“‘Sometimes,’ replied Mistress Dotty, with an air of experience,—‘sometimes; but not fekently, ’cause visitors is a bother! I heard Ma say so. Now the first thing we’ve got to do is to clear up. Where can we get a broom, dear?’

“Dotty said ‘dear,’ because Mamma sometimes called Papa so.

“‘I guess Miss Hepsy would lend us one,’ answered Willy.

“Miss Hepsy was a kind old lady who lived next door. When she heard who her new neighbors were, she laughed till her sides ached, and lent them the broom with all the good-will in the world.

“‘Keep it as long as you like,’ she said: ‘you’ll find it handy.’

“You should have seen Dotty, with her sleeves rolled up, sweeping away for dear life, and ordering ‘Dear’ about as if she had been ninety years old! When the sweeping was finished, they got some water in a ‘Hair Dye’90 bottle, and washed the stairs with Dotty’s pocket-handkerchief. That was fine fun!