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there to give her a new and happy home.
This is said as if we were speaking of a real
personand so we are. There was such a
Mary Pickard; and what she did for a
Yorkshire village in a season of fever is TRUE.



A BLOCKHEAD once a stone at Æsop threw:
'A better marksman, friend, I never knew,'
Exclaimed the wit, and gaily rubbed his leg;
'A hand so dexterous ne'er will come to beg.
'Excuse these pence; how poor I am, you know!
'If I give these, what would the rich bestow?
'Look, look! that well-drest gentleman you see;
'Quick, prove on him the skill misspent on me!
'Here, take the stone. Be coola steadfast eye
'And make your fortune with one lucky shy.'
The blockhead took the counsel of the wit;
He poised the pebble, and his mark he hit.
'Arrest the traitor! He has struck the king!'
And Æsop, smiling, saw the ruffian swing.


AN old woman went into a wood to gather
fagots. As she was breaking, with much
difficulty, one very long, tough branch across
her knee, a splinter went into her hand. It
made a wound from which the blood flowed,
but she bound her hand up with a ragged
handkerchief, and went home to her hut.

Now this old woman was very cross,
because she had hurt herself; and therefore
when she arrived home and saw her little
granddaughter, Ellie, singing and spinning,
she was very glad that there was somebody to
punish. So she told little Ellie that she was
a minx, and beat her with a fagot. But the
old woman had for a long time depended for
support upon her granddaughter, and the
daily bread had never yet been wanting from
her table.

Then this old woman told little Ellie that
she was to untie the handkerchief and dress
the wound upon her hand.

"The cloth feels very stiff," said the old

And that was a thing not to be wondered
at, for when the bandage was unrolled, one
half of it was found to be made of a thick
golden tissue. And there was a lump of gold
in the old woman's hand, where otherwise a
blood clot might have been.

At all this Ellie was not much surprised,
because she knew little of gold, and as her
grandmother was very yellow outside, it
appeared to her not unlikely that she was yellow
the whole way through.

But the sun now shone into the little room,
and Ellie started with delight: "Look at the
beautiful bright beetles there among the
fagots!" She had often watched the golden
beetles, scampering to and fro, near a hot
stone upon the rock. "Ah, this is very odd!"
said little Ellie, seeing that the bright specks
did not move. "These poor insects must be
all asleep!"

But the old woman, who had fallen down
upon her knees before the wood, bade Ellie
go into the town and sell the caps that she
had finished; not forgetting to bring home
another load of flax.

Grannie, when left to herself, made a great
many curious grimaces. Then she scratched
another wound into her hand, and caused the
blood to drop among the fagots. Then she
hobbled and screamed, endeavouring, no
doubt, all the while to dance and sing. It
was quite certain that her blood had the
power of converting into gold whatever lifeless
thing it dropped upon.

For many months after this time little
Ellie continued to support her grandmother
by daily toil. The old woman left off fires,
although it was cold winter weather, and the
snow lay thick upon the cottage roof. Ellie
must jump to warm herself, and her
grandmother dragged all the fagots into her own
bedroom. Ellie was forbidden ever again to
make Grannie's bed, or to go into the old
woman's room on any account whatever.
Grannie's head was always in a bandage; and
it never required dressing. Grannie could
not hurt Ellie so much now when she used
the stick, her strength was considerably

One day, this old woman did not come out
to breakfast; and she made no answer when
she was called to dinner; and Ellie, when
she listened through a crevice, could not hear
her snore. She always snored when she was
asleep, so Ellie made no doubt she must be

When the night came, Ellie was frightened,
and dared not sleep until she had peeped in.

There was a stack of golden fagots; and
her grandmother was on the floor quite white
and dead.

When she alarmed her neighbours they all
came together, and held up their hands and
said, "What a clever miser this old woman
must have been!" But when they looked at
little Ellie, as she sat weeping on the pile of
gold, they all quarrelled among each other
over the question, Who should be her friend?

A good spirit came in the night, and that
was Ellie's friend; for in the morning all her
fagots were of wood again.

Nobody then quarrelled for her love; but
she found love, and was happy; because
nobody thought it worth while to deceive

Monthly Supplement of 'HOUSEHOLD WORDS,'
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