As the months passed by they grew sleek and fat. They were kittens no longer, but had grown as large and could hunt as well as Mother Topsy; and although they learned no new tricks now, the old ones, taught them by their little mistress, were never forgotten by Tipkins and Trotkins.
Ethel was a little girl who lived in the great city of New York, but she loved the country very much and often wished that she could play in the big, green fields or pick wild flowers in the wood. She remembered one summer, when she was a very little girl, staying in the country for ever so many days, almost a whole month, and having such a happy time lying on the grass, listening to the birds, and watching the cows and horses and sheep, the cunning little lambs, and the old white hen with her brood of downy chicks. Oh, how she did wish that she could see them all again! But the country was far, far away, and Ethel’s papa and mamma were too busy to take their little daughter there.
There was a place in the big city called Central Park that seemed to Ethel like the country. She loved to go there, and had a happy time watching the sparrows as they scratched for seeds and looked about for crumbs, and trying to get the gray squirrels to come nearer and take nuts from her hand. Here, some days, O happiest times of all! she could lie with her rosy face buried in the short, green grass, and press it close, oh! so close to the “great brown house,” the home of the flowers.
One sunshiny day in June Ethel had been playing in the park for a long time. Though she had coaxed and coaxed the squirrels, they would not come near; and though she had listened for a long time to the hoarse croak of a frog, and watched and waited, and looked about with big bright eyes, she could not get even so much as a peep at him. At last she grew very tired and sat down upon a bench near by to rest before going home. Scarcely was she seated when she heard some one call her name. “Ethel! Ethel!” a sweet voice said. She looked all about but could see no one. “Ethel! Ethel!” it called again, this time very near. She looked around, saying, “Here I am; who is calling?” “It is I. Don’t you see me? I am close beside you,” said the same sweet voice.
Looking down Ethel saw at her feet a tiny creature all dressed in dainty green. “Oh!” thought she, “this must really and truly be a fairy. Why, I supposed fairies were only make-believe people!” and Ethel was so surprised that she forgot to answer the little creature.
Soon the fairy said: “Ethel, because you love the birds and the flowers and the trees and all the animals, I have come to take you out into the country to visit your friends.”
Ethel clapped her hands and said: “Oh, I should love to go to the country! but I haven’t any friends there.”
“Yes, you have,” said the fairy, “come and see.”