“It seems such a pity, to me, to pick them and let them wither,” said Mrs. Evringham.
“Why, I think they only seem to wither, mother,” replied Jewel hopefully. “A daisy is an idea of God, isn’t it?”
“When one seems to wither and go out of sight, we only have to look around a little, and pretty soon we see the daisy idea again, standing just as white and bright as ever, because God’s flowers don’t fade.”
“That’s so, Jewel,” returned the mother quietly.
The child drew a long breath. “I’ve thought a lot about it, here in the ravine. At first I thought perhaps picking a violet might be just as much error as killing a bluebird; and then I remembered that we pick the flower for love, and it doesn’t hurt it nor its little ones; but nobody ever killed a bird for love.”
Mrs. Evringham nodded.
“Now it’s my turn to choose,” began Jewel, in a different tone, settling herself near the seat her mother had taken.
Mrs. Evringham opened the book and again read over the titles of the stories.
“Let’s hear ‘The Apple Woman’s Story,’” said Jewel, when she paused.
Her mother looked up. “Do you remember good old Chloe, who used to come every Saturday to scrub for me? Well, something she told me of an experience she once had, when she was a little girl, put the idea of this tale into my head; and I’ll read you
Franz and Emilie and Peter Wenzel were little German children, born in America. Their father was a teacher, and his children were alone with him except for the good old German woman, Anna, who was cook and nurse too in the household. She tried to teach Franz and Emilie to be good children, and took great care of Peter, the sturdy three-year-old boy, a fat, solemn baby, whose hugs were the greatest comfort his father had in the world.
Franz and Emilie had learned German along with their English by hearing it spoken in the house, and it was a convenience at times, for instance, when they wished to say something before the colored apple woman which they did not care to have her understand; but the apple woman did not think they were polite when they used an unknown tongue before her.
“Go off fum here,” she would say to them when they began to talk in German. “None o’ that lingo round my stand. Go off and learn manners.” And when Franz and Emilie found she was in earnest they would ask her to forgive them in the politest English they were acquainted with; for they were very much attached to the clean, kind apple woman, whose stand was near their father’s house. They admired her bright bandana headdress and thought her the most interesting person in the world. As for the apple woman, she had had so many unpleasant experiences with teasing children that she did not take Franz and Emilie into her favor all at once, but for some time accepted their pennies and gave them their apples when they came to buy, watching them suspiciously with her sharp eyes to make sure that they were not intending to play her any trick.