As he went along by the canals, then quite full,—for it was in October, and the autumn rains had swelled the waters,—the boy now stopped to pull the little blue flowers which his mother loved so well; now, in childish gayety, hummed some merry song. The road gradually became more solitary; and soon neither the joyous shout of the villager, returning to his cottage-home, nor the rough voice of the carter, grumbling at his lazy horses, was any longer to be heard. The little fellow now perceived that the blue of the flowers in his hand was scarcely distinguishable from the green of the surrounding herbage, and he looked up in some dismay. The night was falling; not, however, a dark winter night, but one of those beautiful, clear, moonlight nights, in which every object is perceptible, though not as distinctly as by day. The child thought of his father, of his injunction, and was preparing to quit the ravine in which he was almost buried, and to regain the beach, when suddenly a slight noise, like the trickling of water upon pebbles, attracted his attention. He was near one of the large sluices, and he now carefully examines it, and soon discovers a hole in the wood, through which the water was flowing. With the instant perception which every child in Holland would have, the boy saw that the water must soon enlarge the hole through which it was now only dropping, and that utter and general ruin would be the consequence of the inundation of the country that must follow. To see, to throw away the flowers, to climb from stone to stone till he reached the hole, and to put his finger into it, was the work of a moment; and, to his delight, he finds that he has succeeded in stopping the flow of the water.
This was all very well for a little while, and the child thought only of the success of his device. But the night was closing in, and with the night came the cold. The little boy looked around in vain. No one came. He shouted—he called loudly—no one answered. He resolved to stay there all night; but, alas! the cold was becoming every moment more biting, and the poor finger fixed in the hole began to feel benumbed, and the numbness soon extended to the hand, and thence throughout the whole arm. The pain became still greater, still harder to bear; but still the boy moved not. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he thought of his father, of his mother, of his little bed, where he