BLTC Press Titles

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Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Vanity Fair

William Thackery


by Theodor Storm



Soon the graceful form of a little girl came to him. Her name was Elizabeth, and she was about five years old; he himself was twice that age. Around her neck she wore a little red handkerchief, and very pretty it looked with her brown eyes.

"Reinhardt I" she cried, "we've got a holiday; no school all day, and none tomorrow either."

Reinhardt quickly placed behind the door the slate which he had ready under his arm, and then both children ran through the house into the garden, and through the garden-gate out upon the meadow. The unexpected vacation had come most opportunely, for Reinhardt had built in the meadow, with Elizabeth's help, a house of turf, and they had planned to spend the summer evenings in it. But they were still without a bench, and so the boy went at this work immediately, having the hammer, nails, and necessary boards already at hand. Meanwhile Elizabeth strolled along the embankment gathering in her apron the ring-shaped seeds of the wild mallow, from which to make chains and necklaces; and when Reinhardt, in spite of many a crookedly driven nail, had at last finished his bench and had come out once more into the sunlight, she was far away at the other end of the meadow.

"Elizabeth!" he called, "Elizabeth!" and she came with her curls flying. "Come," said he, "our house is done now. You're as hot as you can be. Come in, and we'll sit on the new bench, and I'll tell you a story."

They both entered the play-house and sat down upon the new bench. Elizabeth took the little rings out of her apron and strung them on long threads. Reinhardt began his story: "Once upon a time there were three spinsters . . . ."

"Dear me," said Elizabeth, "I know

that by heart; you mustn't always keep telling the same one over and over."

So Reinhardt had to give up the tale of the three spinsters, and instead he told the story of the poor man who was thrown into the lions' den. "It was night now, remember—as dark as could be, and the lions were sleeping. But every now and then they yawned in their sleep, and stretched out their long red tongues; then the man got frightened and wished that morning would come. Suddenly a bright light was thrown all around him, and when he looked up an angel stood before him. The angel beckoned to him with his hand, and then disappeared right into the rock."

Elizabeth had listened very attentively. "An angel?" said she. "Did he have wings?"

"Oh! it's j ust a story," answered Reinhardt; "there aren't any real angels."

"Why, Reinhardt I" said she, and stared at him in amazement. But when he looked at her sternly, she asked him, doubting: "Then why do they always say so—my mother, and my aunt, and the teacher, too?"

"I don't know," he answered.

"But tell me," said Elizabeth, "aren't there any lions either?"

"Lions?—Are there any lions? In India, of course; the heathen priests there harness them up in front of carts, and drive them around on the desert. When I grow up I'm going there myself. It's a thousand times nicer there than it is here; they don't have any winter at all. You must go with me. Will you?"

"Yes," said Elizabeth; "but my mother will have to go along, and your mother too."

"No," said Reinhardt, "they'll be too old then j they can't go."

"But they won't let me go alone."

"Oh, yes they will, because you'll be my real true wife then, and the others won't have any thing to say about you." "But my mother will cry."

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