3. The twig told it to the branch, and the branch told it to the tree. When the tree heard it, it rustled all over, and sent word back to the trembling leaf.
4. “Do not be afraid,” it said; “hold on tight, and you shall not go off till you are ready.”
5. So the leaf stopped sighing, and went on singing and rustling. It grew all the summer long till October. And when the bright days of autumn came, the leaf saw all the leaves around growing very beautiful.
6. Some were yellow, some were brown, and many were striped with different colors. Then the leaf asked the tree what this meant.
7. The tree said, “All these leaves are getting ready to fly away, and they have put on these colors because of their joy.”
8. Then the little leaf began to want to go, and grew very beautiful in thinking of it. When it was gay in colors, it saw that the branches of the tree had no bright colors on them.
9. So the leaf said, “O branch! why are you lead- colored while we are all beautiful and golden?”
10. “We must keep on our working clothes,” said the tree, “for our work is not yet done; but your clothes are for holidays, because your task is now over.”
11. Just then a little puff of wind came, and the leaf let go without thinking, and the wind took it up and turned it over and over.
12. Then it fell gently down under the edge of the fence, among hundreds of leaves, and has never waked to tell us what it dreamed about.
gold lambs fond’ly crick’et whirl’ing
fields leaves flee’cy fare’well cov’er let
glade vale dream con tent’ flut’ter ing
[Illustration: Large tree.]
“Come, little leaves,” said the wind one day.
“Come o’er the meadows with me, and play;
Put on your dress of red and gold
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold.”
Soon as the leaves heard the wind’s loud call,
Down they came fluttering, one and all;
Over the brown fields they danced and flew,
Singing the soft little songs they knew.
“Cricket, good-by, we’ve been friends so long;
Little brook, sing us your farewell song,—
Say you are sorry to see us go;
Ah! you will miss us, right well we know.
“Dear little lambs, in your fleecy fold,
Mother will keep you from harm and cold;
Fondly we’ve watched you in vale and glade;
Say, will you dream of our loving shade?”
Dancing and whirling, the little leaves went;
Winter had called them, and they were content.
Soon fast asleep in their earthy beds,
The snow laid a coverlet over their heads.