Marjorie's Three Gifts HTML version

Marjorie's Three Gifts
Marjorie sat on the door-step, shelling peas, quite unconscious what a pretty picture she
made, with the roses peeping at her through the lattice work of the porch, the wind
playing hide-and-seek in her curly hair, while the sunshine with its silent magic changed
her faded gingham to a golden gown, and shimmered on the bright tin pan as if it were a
silver shield. Old Rover lay at her feet, the white kitten purred on her shoulder, and
friendly robins hopped about her in the grass, chirping "A happy birthday, Marjorie!"
But the little maid neither saw nor heard, for her eyes were fixed on the green pods, and
her thoughts were far away. She was recalling the fairy-tale granny told her last night,
and wishing with all her heart that such things happened nowadays. For in this story, as a
poor girl like herself sat spinning before the door, a Brownie came by, and gave the child
a good-luck penny; then a fairy passed, and left a talisman which would keep her always
happy; and last of all, the prince rolled up in his chariot, and took her away to reign with
him over a lovely kingdom, as a reward for her many kindnesses to others.
When Marjorie imagined this part of the story, it was impossible to help giving one little
sigh, and for a minute she forgot her work, so busy was she thinking what beautiful
presents she would give to all the poor children in her realm when THEY had birthdays.
Five impatient young peas took this opportunity to escape from the half-open pod in her
hand and skip down the steps, to be immediately gobbled up by an audacious robin, who
gave thanks in such a shrill chirp that Marjorie woke up, laughed, and fell to work again.
She was just finishing, when a voice called out from the lane,--
"Hi, there! come here a minute, child!" and looking up, she saw a little old man in a queer
little carriage drawn by a fat little pony.
Running down to the gate, Marjorie dropped a curtsy, saying pleasantly,--
"What did you wish, sir?"
"Just undo that check-rein for me. I am lame, and Jack wants to drink at your brook,"
answered the old man, nodding at her till his spectacles danced on his nose.
Marjorie was rather afraid of the fat pony, who tossed his head, whisked his tail, and
stamped his feet as if he was of a peppery temper. But she liked to be useful, and just
then felt as if there were few things she could NOT do if she tried, because it was her
birthday. So she proudly let down the rein, and when Jack went splashing into the brook,
she stood on the bridge, waiting to check him up again after he had drunk his fill of the
clear, cool water.
The old gentleman sat in his place, looking up at the little girl, who was smiling to herself
as she watched the blue dragon-flies dance among the ferns, a blackbird tilt on the
alderboughs, and listened to the babble of the brook.