I did not know how pleasant ’twas
To study hard before;
But now, I’m very sure, I’ll ask
For easy tasks no more.
[Illustration: “Now Tony might have been often seen sitting in front of his father’s cottage.”—See page 107.]
* * * * *
ABOUT A MILL, AND THE OLD MILLER WHO BECAME TIRED AND SOLD IT TO TONY’S FATHER, AND OF THE ADVICE GIVEN TO THE NEW OCCUPANT.
For many long years there once stood a solitary mill. It was in a valley between two high mountains. The stream that turned the great wheel was so strong and rapid, that its current never ceased the year through. Even in the hottest summer weather, when all other mills had to stop for want of water, or in the depth of winter, when other mill-streams were frozen over, this same mill could go on, ever working, and never standing still.
For this reason people brought their grain from far and near, even from the city on the farthest side of the lake which received the waters of the stream.
Now it came to pass the old miller grew weary of the old mill, and as he had made a handsome fortune by his industry, he determined to sell it and go to the city, there to spend his days in a more social way, and of use to his fellow-men. After having agreed with a purchaser, and received payment, he delivered the key to him with these words—
“Friend, you have paid me honorably, and I must give you a bit of good advice into the bargain. You may be visited sometimes by strange persons of very small stature, who will ask favors of you. Follow my counsel, and oblige them in what they request. You will find it for your good in doing so.” Then the old miller bade him good-by, and went his way.
The new miller took possession of the place, with his wife and only child, whose name was Tony.
Now Tony was a good boy, but very fond of playing, and in the winter season nothing delighted him more than to go a skating with the neighbors’ children.
This his father was very willing he should do, because he believed it to be useful in strengthening his limbs.
Here is a picture of Tony skating, but you see he has fallen down flat on his back; but he never minds trifles, he will be up in a moment.
Tony’s father was very active, industrious, and exceedingly clever at his business, of a frugal turn, and his wife also a good manager; no wonder that they soon became prosperous.
Half a year had passed away without his hearing or seeing any thing of the little people the old miller had mentioned at parting; but at last, one morning as he was standing outside the mill, a little woman appeared before him so suddenly that he started in surprise. With a small clear voice she spoke.