Puslapio vaizdai

child one mammoth sugarplum, nearly the size of a pullet's egg, and spotted it red with liver juice. Tallow tastes as good to the Eskimo children as candy does to ours.

At last came the time for my great show. My tree stood four feet high, and was not at all a tree to be despised or laughed at. The branches were stiff, but then, they had the advantage of not being weighed down by the presents. I hung icicles in various places; the little church was placed on the tiptop at first, and made a very pretty appearance. Afterward I put that, and the ice cradle with the rag baby in it, on the floor under the tree, where they would keep cold. I took care not to place any of the moss candles near the confectionery.

When everything was ready I let the older people in, and placed them just inside the little "haycocks," but with their heads out, so that they might see what was going on. Signa put her baby into her boot and there it stayed, its head peeping over the top. It didn't seem to hinder her walking about at all.

Ashunki and Sennuh crept in next, and then the children. I couldn't help laughing to see their heads popping up one after the other. To get in they had to creep through a tunnel in the snow four yards long, and then over a hummock at the entrance.

At first there was a dead calm. They were too confounded to speak a word. I said to myself that


one look at those staring faces paid me for all my trouble; though I wanted no pay, for the trouble was a pleasure.

My tree was as brilliant as any tree I ever saw. I won't except one. There were plenty of moss candles, and they did give a splendid light. The icicles glittered, and the red-spotted sugarplums looked gay enough!

Kapaniah looked her doll full in the face, and spoke to it as if it were alive, and then put it in her hood, with its face over her left shoulder where her mother carried her baby. This brought down the house! The older ones were delighted with everything. Such an uproarious time as it was! The drummer drummed, the fifer fifed, and the trumpeter trumpeted!


astly, the refreshments were passed round. Great pains had been taken to provide the delicacies of the season; namely, bears' paws and deer's marrow bones. To get these last, Ashunki stayed out one hundred and forty-four hours! I took great pride in passing round my scalloped cakes, hearts, and rounds, made of frozen tallow. My confectionery was received with screams of joy, and was encored. They sucked it down, licked their fingers, and looked over their shoulders for more. "Poor things!" thought I. "Alas, you will never taste anything sweeter than tallow!" But they liked it.

When all was over, and each family quietly asleep in its own hut, I found myself wide awake. Cruelly wide awake, I might say. For, hard as I had tried to keep my thoughts of home away, they did come.

So I wandered out into the starlight all alone, turned my face to the south, and let myself imagine all about them there. I wished them each a merry Christmas, and prayed that they might be kept alive and in health. Coming away, I threw a kiss to my dear little sister, and thought, "Who knows. but some northern gale may blow it straight upon her cheek!"















There was once a child, and he strolled about a good deal, and thought of a number of things. He had a sister, who was a child too, and his constant companion. The two used to wonder all day long. They wondered at the beauty of the flowers; they wondered at the height and blueness of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the bright water;

they wondered at the power of God who made the lovely world.

They used to say to one another, sometimes, supposing all the children upon earth were to die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky, be sorry? They believed they would be sorry. For, said they, the buds are the children of the flowers, and the little playful streams that gambol down the hillsides are the children of the water; and the smallest bright specks playing at hide and seek in the sky all night must surely be the children of the stars; and they would all be grieved to see their playmates, the children of men, no more.

There was one clear shining star that used to come out in the sky before the rest, near the church spire, above the graves. It was larger and more beautiful, they thought, than all the others, and every night they watched for it, standing hand in hand at the window. Whoever saw it first, cried out, "I see the star!" And often they cried out both together, knowing so well when it would rise, and where. So they grew to be such friends with it, that, before. lying down in their beds, they always looked out once again, to bid it good night; and when they were turning round to sleep, they used to say, bless the star!"


But while she was still very young oh, very, very young-the sister drooped, and came to be so

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »