For a minute or two Tom’s face shone with delight. Then he caught sight of Bertie and turned to his aunt.
“Dear Aunt Laura,” he said, “I am very sorry, but I can’t go.”
“Can’t go? and why not?”
“Because I can’t go and leave Bertie here all alone,” he said stoutly. “When I was going to be alone he wrote and asked his mother to let me go home with him. She could not have either of us because Bertie’s sister has scarlet fever. He has to stay here, and he has never been away from home at Christmas time before, and I can’t go away and leave him by himself, Aunt Laura.”
For a minute Aunt Laura looked at the boy as if she could not believe him. Then she caught him in her arms and kissed him.
“You dear little boy, you shall not leave him. You shall bring him along, and we shall all enjoy ourselves together. Bertie, my boy, you are not very old yet, but I am going to teach you a lesson as well as I can. It is that kindness is never wasted in this world.”
And so Bertie and Tom found that there was such a thing as a fairy after all.
THE GREATEST OF THESE*
This story was first printed in the Youth’s Companion, vol. 76.
JOSEPH MILLS HANSON
The outside door swung open suddenly, letting a cloud of steam into the small, hot kitchen. Charlie Moore, a milk pail in one hand, a lantern in the other, closed the door behind him with a bang, set the pail on the table and stamped the snow from his feet.
“There’s the milk, and I near froze gettin’ it,” said he, addressing his partner, who was chopping potatoes in a pan on the stove.
“Dose vried bodadoes vas burnt,” said the other, wielding his knife vigorously.
“Are, eh? Why didn’t you watch ’em instead of readin’ your old Scandinavian paper?” answered Charlie, hanging his overcoat and cap behind the door and laying his mittens under the stove to dry. Then he drew up a chair and with much exertion pulled off his heavy felt boots and stood them beside his mittens.
“Why didn’t you shut the gate after you came in from town? The cows got out and went up to Roney’s an’ I had to chase ’em; ’tain’t any joke runnin’ round after cows such a night as this.” Having relieved his mind of its grievance, Charlie sat down before the oven door, and, opening it, laid a stick of wood along its outer edge and thrust his feet into the hot interior, propping his heels against the stick.
“Look oud for dese har biscuits!” exclaimed his partner, anxiously.
“Oh, hang the biscuits!” was Charlie’s hasty answer. “I’ll watch ’em. Why didn’t you?”
“Ay tank Ay fergit hem.”
“Well, you don’t want to forget. A feller forgot his clothes once, an’ he got froze.”
“Ay gass dose taller vas ketch in a sbring snowstorm. Vas dose biscuits done, Sharlie?”