The Louisa Alcott Reader for Children
Rosy was a nice little girl who lived with her mother in a small house in the woods. They
were very poor, for the father had gone away to dig gold, and did not come back; so they
had to work hard to get food to eat and clothes to wear. The mother spun yarn when she
was able, for she was often sick, and Rosy did all she could to help. She milked the red
cow and fed the hens; dug the garden, and went to town to sell the yarn and the eggs.
She was very good and sweet, and every one loved her; but the neighbors were all poor,
and could do little to help the child. So, when at last the mother died, the cow and hens
and house had to be sold to pay the doctor and the debts. Then Rosy was left all alone,
with no mother, no home, and no money to buy clothes and dinners with.
"What will you do?" said the people, who were very sorry for her.
"I will go and find my father," answered Rosy, bravely.
"But he is far away, and you don't know just where he is, up among the mountains. Stay
with us and spin on your little wheel, and we will buy the yarn, and take care of you, dear
little girl," said the kind people.
"No, I must go; for mother told me to, and my father will be glad to have me. I'm not
afraid, for every one is good to me," said Rosy, gratefully.
Then the people gave her a warm red cloak, and a basket with a little loaf and bottle of
milk in it, and some pennies to buy more to eat when the bread was gone. They all kissed
her, and wished her good luck; and she trotted away through the wood to find her father.
For some days she got on very well; for the wood-cutters were kind, and let her sleep in
their huts, and gave her things to eat. But by and by she came to lonely places, where
there were no houses; and then she was afraid, and used to climb up in the trees to sleep,
and had to eat berries and leaves, like the Children in the Wood.
She made a fire at night, so wild beasts would not come near her; and if she met other
travellers, she was so young and innocent no one had the heart to hurt her. She was kind
to everything she met; so all little creatures were friends to her, as we shall see.
One day, as she was resting by a river, she saw a tiny fish on the bank, nearly dead for
want of water.
"Poor thing! go and be happy again," she said, softly taking him up, and dropping him
into the nice cool river.
"Thank you, dear child; I'll not forget, but will help you some day," said the fish, when he
had taken a good drink, and felt better.
"Why, how can a tiny fish help such a great girl as I am?" laughed Rosy.