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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 60 pages of information about The Beacon Second Reader.

The loaves cried to her, “Oh, pull us out! pull us out, or we shall burn!”

“Indeed I will!” cried the maiden.

Stepping up, she pulled all the sweet brown loaves out of the oven.

As she walked along, she came to a tree full of apples.

The tree cried, “Shake me! shake me! my apples are all quite ripe!”

“Indeed I will!” cried the maiden.

So she shook the tree again and again, until there was not an apple left on its branches.

Then she picked up the apples, one by one, and piled them in a great heap.

[Illustration]

When she had picked up all the apples, she walked on.

At last she came to a small house.

In the doorway sat an old woman who had such large teeth that the girl felt afraid of her and turned to run away.

Then the old woman cried, “What do you fear, my child?  Come in and live here with me.  If you will do the work about the house, I will be very kind to you.  Only take care to make my bed well.

You must shake it and pound it so that the feathers will fly about.  Then the children down on the earth will say that snowflakes are falling, for I am Mother Frost.”

The old woman spoke so kindly that she won the maiden’s heart.

“I will gladly work for you,” she said.

The girl did her work well, and each day she shook up the bed until the feathers flew about like snowflakes.

She was very happy with Mother Frost, who never spoke an angry word.

After the girl had stayed a long time with the kind old woman, she began to feel homesick.

She could not help it, though her life with Mother Frost had been so happy.

At length she said, “Dear Mother Frost, you have been very kind to me, but I should like to go home to my friends.”

“I am pleased to hear you say that you wish to go home,” said Mother Frost.  “You have worked for me so well that I will show you the way myself.”

She took the maiden by the hand and led her to a broad gateway.

The gate was open, and as she went through a shower of gold fell over the maiden.

It clung to her clothes, so that she was dressed in gold from her head to her feet.

“That is your pay for having worked so hard,” said the old woman.  “And here is your spindle that fell into the spring.”

Then the gate was closed, and the maiden found herself once more in the world.

She was not far from her own home, and as she came into the farmyard, a cock on the roof cried loudly: 

“Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Our golden lady has come home, too.”

MOTHER FROST—­II

When the stepmother saw the girl with her golden dress, she was kind to her.  Then the maiden told how the gold had fallen upon her.

The mother could hardly wait to have her own child try her luck in the same way.

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