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sensible than to wash little Bridget, and so they gathered around her, and, with all gentleness, some of them lifted her up and carried her down toward the brook, while the others danced about her, and jumped over her, and hung on to long fern leaves, and scrambled among the bushes, and were as merry as a boxful of crickets.
When they approached the brook, one of the fairies jumped in to see if the water was warm enough, and the Principal One and the Next Biggest held a consultation as to how little Bridget should be washed.
"Shall we just souse her in?" said the Next Biggest.
"I hardly think so," said the Principal One. "She may not be used to that sort of thing, and she might take cold. It will be best just to lay her down on the bank and wash her there."
So little Bridget, who had never opened her eyes all this time, was brought to the brook and laid softly down by the water's edge.
Then all the fairies set to work in good earnest. Some dipped clover blossoms in the water, and washed and rubbed her mouth and cheeks until there was not a sign left of strawberry or blackberry stain; others gathered fern leaves and soft grass, and washed her little feet till they were as white as lambs' wool.
The Very Least, who had been the one to carry her
hand, now washed it with ever so many morningglory-blossomfuls of water and rubbed it dry with soft, clean moss.
Other fairies curled her hair around flower stalks, while some scattered sweet-smelling blossoms about her, until there never was such a sweet, clean, and fragrant little girl in the whole world.
And all this time she never opened her eyes. But no wonder; for if you are ever washed by fairies while you are asleep, you will find that you will never know it.
When all was done, and not a speck of dirt was to be seen anywhere on little Bridget, the fairies took her gently up and carried her to her mother's house, for they knew very well where she lived.
There they laid her down on the doorstep, where it was both warm and shady, and they all scampered away as fast as their funny little legs could carry them.
It was now about the right time in the morning to get up, and very soon the front door opened and out came Aunt Ann, with a bucket on her arm, which she was going to fill at the well, for the purpose of giving little Bridget her morning wash.
When Aunt Ann saw the little girl lying on the doorstep, she was so astonished that she came near dropping the bucket.
"Well, I never!" said she, "if it isn't little Bridget, and just as clean as a new pin! I do declare! I believe the sweet innocent has jumped out of bed early, and gone and washed and combed herself, just to save me the trouble!"
Aunt Ann's voice was nothing like so soft and gentle as a fairy's, and it woke up little Bridget.
"You lovely dear!" cried her aunt, "I hadn't the least idea in the world that you were such a smart little thing.
"There is no doubt but you are now old enough to wash and dress yourself, and after this you may do it!"
So, after that, Bridget washed and dressed herself, and was just as happy as the birds, the butterflies, and the flowers.
FRANK R. STOCKTON. "Roundabout Rambles." Copyright, 1872, by Charles Scrib
[From ner's Sons.]
The Fairy flew about from field to field, and, I am sorry to say, seldom went anywhere without saying something unkind or ill-natured; for she was very hasty, and had a sad habit of judging her neighbors.
She had been several days wandering about in search of adventures, when one afternoon she came back to the old oak tree, because she wanted a new pair of shoes, and there were none to be had so pretty as those made of the yellow snapdragon flower in the hedge hard by.
While she was fitting on her shoes, she saw the Lark's friend.
"How do you do, Grasshopper?" asked the Fairy. "Thank you, I am very well and very happy," said the Grasshopper; "people are always so kind to me.' Indeed," replied the Fairy, "I wish that they were always kind to me. How is that quarrelsome Lark, who found such a pretty brown mate the other day?"
"He is not a quarrelsome bird, indeed," replied the
Grasshopper. "I wish that you would not say that he is."
"Oh, well, we need not quarrel about that," said the Fairy, laughing; "I have seen the world, Grasshopper, and I know a few things, - depend upon it. Your friend the Lark does not wear those long spurs for nothing."
The Grasshopper did not choose to contend with the Fairy, who all this time was busily fitting yellow slippers to her tiny feet. When, however, she had found a pair to her mind
Suppose you come and see the eggs that our pretty friend the Lark has got in her nest," said the Grasshopper. "Three pink eggs spotted with brown. I am sure she will show them with pleasure."