“Why don’t you sell your feather?” said Hans, sneeringly. “Out with you.”
“A little bit,” said the old gentleman.
“Be off!” said Schwartz.
“Off!” cried Hans, seizing him by the collar. But he had no sooner touched the old gentleman’s collar than away he went after the rolling-pin, spinning round and round, till he fell into the corner on the top of it.
Then Schwartz was very angry, and ran at the old gentleman to turn him out. But he also had hardly touched him, when away he went after Hans and the rolling-pin, and hit his head against the wall as he tumbled into the corner. And so there they lay, all three.
Then the old gentleman spun himself round until his long cloak was all wound neatly about him, clapped his cap on his head, very much on one side, gave a twist to his corkscrew mustaches, and replied, with perfect coolness: “Gentlemen, I wish you a very good morning. At twelve o’clock to-night, I’ll call again.”
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NOTE.—“The King of the Golden River,” from which the selection is taken, is a charming story for children. It was written in 1841, for the amusement of a sick child. It is said to be the finest story of its kind in the language.
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elf en cir’ cled jerk hur’ ri cane rein’deer min’ i a ture tar’ nished
the night before Christmas, when all through the
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse:
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In the hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! now, Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall,