+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

on the water's account; so, with naked feet
she went into the stream, and shook the
heavy stone. Some time elapsed before she
could move it from its place; but, at length,
by tasking all her strength, she rolled it
out, and got it to remain on the top of the
bank. Then the streamlet flowed merrily
by, and the purling waves seemed to be
murmuring thanks to the gentle child.

And onward still went Amy, for at home
she knew there was no one who cared to
inquire after her. She was disliked by her
step-father, and even her own mother loved
the younger children much better than she
loved her. This constituted the great sorrow
of Amy's life.

Going far about, and ever sad because she
had done good to no one, she at last returned
to the village. Now, by the very first
cottage she came to, there lay, in a little
garden, a sick child whose mother was gone
to glean in the neighbouring fields. Before
she went, however, she had made a toya
little windmill put together with thin slips
of woodand had placed it by her little son,
to amuse him, and to make the time appear
shorter to him during her absence.

Every breath of air, however, had died
away beneath the trees, so that the tiny
sails of the windmill turned round no more.
And the sick child, missing the playful
motion, lay sorrowfully upon the green turf,
under the yellow marigolds, and wept.

Then, Amy stepped quickly over the low
garden-hedge, heedless that it tore her only
Sunday frock, knelt before the little windmill,
and blew with all her might upon its
slender sails. Thus impelled, they were soon
in merry motion, as at first. Then the sick
child laughed, and clapped his little hands;
and Amy, delighted at his pleasure, was
never weary of urging the sails round and
round with her breath.

At last the child, tired out by the joy
which the little windmill had given him, fell
fast asleep; and Amy, warned by the evening
shadows which began to gather round
her, turned her steps towards home. Faint
and exhausted was she, for since noon she
had eaten nothing.

When she reached the cottage door, and
stopped there for a moment with beating
heart, she heard her step-father's voice, loud
and quarrelsome, resounding from within. He
had just returned from the alehouse, and was
in his well-known angry humour, which the
least cause of irritation might swell into a
storm. Unfortunately, as Amy, trembling,
entered the room, her torn frock caught his
eye. His passion was kindled at the sight.
Roused to fury in a moment, he stumbled
forward, and, with his powerful fist, struck
the poor little child on the forehead.

Then, Amy bowed her head like the
withered roses in the field; for the blow had
fallen upon her temple. As she sunk, pale
and dying, to the ground, her mother, with
loud lamentations, sprang forward and
kneeled beside her. Even the stern and
angry man, suddenly sobered by his own
deed, became touched with pity.

So, both the parents wept and mourned
over Amy, and laid her upon her little couch
in the small inner chamber, and strewed
round her green branches, and various kinds
of flowers, such as marigolds and many-
coloured poppies; for the child was dead!

But, while the parents bitterly reproached
themselves, and wished they had been kinder
to poor Amy, behold a wonder!

The door of the chamber gently opened,
and the waves of the Brook which Amy had
set free, came gently rippling by, in the stillness,
and sprinkled the mouth and eyes of
the dead child. The cool drops flowed into
her veins, and once more set the arrested
blood in motion.

Then, she again unclosed her eyes, which
so lately had been dim and motionless, and
she heard the soft waves, like gentle voices,
murmuring these words in her ear:

"This we do unto thee, in return for the
good thou didst unto us."

Yet, a little while, and the chamber was
again stirred by the presence of some kindly

This time it was a gentle Breeze which
entered with softly fluttering wings.
Tenderly it kissed the forehead of the child, and
lovingly it breathed its fresh breath into her

Then, Amy's heart began to thrill with
quicker life, and she stretched out her hand
to the many-coloured flowers, and rejoiced in
their beauty.

And the Breeze softly said:

"I bring thee back the breath, which
thou didst expend upon the sick child's

Then, Amy smiled, as if she were full
of bliss.

When the Breeze had ceased to murmur
its soft words, an Angel came gliding in,
through the low door of the little chamber,
and in his hand he held a garland of fresh
fragrant roses. These he laid against the
cheek of the pale child; and, lo! they
restored to it the hues of life, and they
bloomed again. And the flowers seemed to

"This we do unto thee, in return for the
good thou didst unto us!"

And the Angel kissed Amy on the
forehead, eyes, and mouth; and then came life
back to her in its strength.

And the Angel said to her:

"Forasmuch as thou hast done good
according to thy means, and thou knewest it
not, therefore shall a tenfold blessing rest
upon thee!"