The miller smiled again, and said, “I do not know why you are sad, but I can eas-i-ly tell why I am glad. I earn my own bread; I love my wife and my children; I love my friends, and they love me; and I owe not a penny to any man. Why should I not be happy? For here is the River Dee, and every day it turns my mill; and the mill grinds the corn that feeds my wife, my babes, and me.”
“Say no more,” said the king. “Stay where you are, and be happy still. But I envy you. Your dusty cap is worth more than my golden crown. Your mill does more for you than my kingdom can do for me. If there were more such men as you, what a good place this world would be! Good-by, my friend!”
The king turned about, and walked sadly away; and the miller went back to his work singing:—
“Oh, I’m as happy
as happy can be,
For I live by the side of the River Dee!”
A cruel battle was being fought. The ground was covered with dead and dying men. The air was hot and stifling. The sun shone down without pity on the wounded soldiers lying in the blood and dust.
One of these soldiers was a no-ble-man, whom everybody loved for his gen-tle-ness and kindness. Yet now he was no better off than the poorest man in the field. He had been wounded, and would die; and he was suf-fer-ing much with pain and thirst.
When the battle was over, his friends hurried to his aid. A soldier came running with a cup in his hand.
“Here, Sir Philip,” he said, “I have brought you some clear, cool water from the brook. I will raise your head so that you can drink.”
The cup was placed to Sir Philip’s lips. How thank-ful-ly he looked at the man who had brought it! Then his eyes met those of a dying soldier who was lying on the ground close by. The wist-ful look in the poor man’s face spoke plainer than words.
“Give the water to that man,” said Sir Philip quickly; and then, pushing the cup toward him, he said, “Here, my comrade, take this. Thy need is greater than mine.”
What a brave, noble man he was! The name of Sir Philip Sidney will never be for-got-ten; for it was the name of a Chris-tian gen-tle-man who always had the good of others in his mind. Was it any wonder that everybody wept when it was heard that he was dead?
It is said, that, on the day when he was carried to the grave, every eye in the land was filled with tears. Rich and poor, high and low, all felt that they had lost a friend; all mourned the death of the kindest, gentlest man that they had ever known.
Here is another story of the bat-tle-field, and it is much like the one which I have just told you.
Not quite a hundred years after the time of Sir Philip Sidney there was a war between the Swedes and the Danes. One day a great battle was fought, and the Swedes were beaten, and driven from the field. A soldier of the Danes who had been slightly wounded was sitting on the ground. He was about to take a drink from a flask. All at once he heard some one say,—