“Don’t you know that?” asked the ragged shoe, which lay near. “Why, the smith who drinks so much lives here, and his wife who wore me out.”
And then she told how it looked inside, how life went on there, and it was not cheering; no, but fearfully sad. The shoe knew it all well, and told a whole lot in a few minutes, because she had such a well-hung tongue.
Now there came a pair of ragged children, running—the smith’s boy and girl; he was six years old and the girl eight, so the shoe said, after they were gone.
“Oh, see, what a pretty little plant!” said the girl. “So now, I shall pull it up,” said the boy, and the plant trembled to the root’s heart.
“No, do not do it!” said the girl. “We must let it grow. Do you not see what pretty crinkly leaves it has? It will have lovely flowers, I know, when it grows bigger.”
And it was allowed to stay there. The children took a stick and dug up the earth round about, so it looked like a plowed field. Then they threw the shoe and the sweepings a little way off, because they thought to make the place look better.
“You cannot think,” said the shoe, after the children had gone, “you cannot think how in the way folks are!”
“The children have to give themselves airs, and pretend to be very orderly,” said the half of a coffee-cup; and she broke in another place she was so disturbed.
But the sun shone warmly and the rain filtered down in the upturned earth. Then leaf after leaf unfolded, and in a few days the plant was several inches high.
“Oh, see!” said the children, who came again; “see how beautiful it is getting!”
“Come, father, come! brother and I have discovered such a pretty plant! Come and see it!” begged the girl.
The father glanced at it. The plant looked so lovely on the little rough bit of soil which lay between the piles of sweepings.
The smith nodded to the children.
“It looks very disorderly here,” he said to himself, and stopped an instant. “Yes, indeed, it does!” He went along, but thought of the little green spot, with the lovely plant in the midst of it.
* * * * *
pet’ als in’ mates scrubbed fra’ grant
The children ran into the house.
“Mother,” said they, “there is such a rare plant growing right by the window!”
The mother wished to glance out, but the window was so thick with dust that she could not do so. She wiped off a little spot.
“My! My!” said she, when she noticed how dirty the window looked beside the cleaned spot; so she wiped the whole window.
“That is an odd plant,” said she, looking at it. “But how dreadfully dirty it is out in the yard!”
Now that the sun shone in through the window it became very light in the cottage. The mother looked at the ragged children and at the rubbish in the room, and the blood rushed over her pale cheeks.