“And here are some more birdies who have come for a Christmas dinner. Of course you shall have some, you dear little things!” and she laughed merrily to see them dive for the crumbs.
After they had finished eating, Elsie (that was the little girl’s name) said: “Now, little birds, it is going to be a cold winter, you would better come here every day to get your dinner. I’ll always be glad to see you.”
“Cheerup chee-chee, cheerup chee-chee! thank
you, thank you,” cried the
“Ter-ra-lee, ter-ra-lee, ter-ra-lee! thank you, thank you!” twittered
“Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee! how kind you are!” sang the Chickadees.
And Thistle Goldfinch? Yes, he remembered his summer song, for he sang as they flew away:
notes.—l. The Robin’s song is from “Bird Talks,” by Mrs. A.D.T. Whitney. 2. The fact upon which this story is based—that is of the other birds adopting and warming the solitary Thistle Goldfinch—was observed near Northampton, Mass., where robins and other migratory birds sometimes spend the winter in the thick pine woods.
* This story was first published in the Youth’s Companion, vol. 77.
It was to be a glorious Christmas at Doctor Brower’s. All “the children”—little Peggy and her mother always spoke of the grown-up ones as “the children”—were coming home. Mabel was coming from Ohio with her big husband and her two babies, Minna and little Robin, the year-old grandson whom the home family had never seen; Hazen was coming all the way from the Johns Hopkins Medical School, and Arna was coming home from her teaching in New York. It was a trial to Peggy that vacation did not begin until the very day before Christmas, and then continued only one niggardly week. After school hours she had helped her mother in the Christmas preparations every day until she crept into bed at night with aching arms and tired feet, to lie there tossing about, whether from weariness or glad excitement she did not know.
“Not so hard, daughter,” the doctor said to her once.
“Oh, papa,” protested her mother, “when we’re so busy, and Peggy is so handy!”
“Not so hard,” he repeated, with his eyes on fifteen-year-old Peggy’s delicate face, as, wearing her braids pinned up on her head and a pinafore down to her toes, she stoned raisins and blanched almonds, rolled bread crumbs and beat eggs, dusted and polished and made ready for the children.
Finally, after a day of flying about, helping with the many last thing, Peggy let down her braids and put on her new crimson shirtwaist, and stood with her mother in the front doorway, for it was Christmas Eve at last, and the station ’bus was rattling up with the first homecomers, Arna and Hazen.