Then she called her other daughter,—the ugly one,—told her what had happened, and said: “Hasten, daughter! Take the silver pitcher and run to the fountain. If the fairy has given these for a drink from a jug, what will she give for a drink from a silver pitcher!”
The girl sulked off to the fountain swinging the pitcher and loitering along the way. When she reached there no old woman was in sight, but beside the spring was a tall, beautiful young woman who asked her for a drink. The ugly one replied, “There is the pitcher, draw the water for yourself.”
When she was about to go, the young woman said sharply: “Stop! the words that fall from your lips are evil things, and they shall look like the things they are. Every word you speak shall be a spider or a snake, until you learn to speak kindly.”
The girl trudged off home scarcely thinking about what the woman said, little knowing that it was the same fairy who had spoken to her sister. But when she began to answer her mother, spiders and snakes dropped from her lips, and she was very much frightened.
I wonder whether our words would be pearls or spiders if we could see them? Let us make them pearls.
We sometimes hear of people being suffocated by gas, but it is not often we hear of trees being suffocated.
But the other day I was walking down the street, and noticed that all the trees on one side of the avenue for several blocks were dead. They looked as if they had been fine, strong, healthy trees, and I could not understand why they had all died, until I was told that a gas-pipe beneath their roots had leaked, and that the escaping gas had killed the trees.
I am sure you and I know people who are like those dead trees: they have become discouraged and wilted, and if you and I could dig down into their lives we should probably find something like that poisonous gas which has ruined them.
Sin is the most poisonous thing that gets into one’s life.
If a boy or girl has done wrong and is hiding it from his father and his mother, and his conscience is pricking him all the time, then he cannot be sunny and healthy like a growing tree. He becomes cross and easily provoked, and is sulky and wilted.
If you have done something wrong, which you ought to tell your parents about, do not go to sleep until you have told them. If you do, you will wake in the morning with dread, and you will go around all day with a dull ache which will spoil all the sunshine. Moreover, if you begin keeping secrets from your parents in this way you will have no one to check you in your misdeeds. Your parents may punish you, but they are the best friends you have. And besides, there is no punishment like hiding a feeling of guilt. The next best thing after keeping from doing wrong is to own up to it in an honest way when you have done wrong. Many a boy and girl would have been saved untold trouble if they had only been frank with their parents. One of the saddest days in any boy’s or girl’s life is when they first keep a guilty secret from their parents.