The Story Girl HTML version
Legends Of The Old Orchard
Outside of the orchard the grass was only beginning to grow green; but here, sheltered by
the spruce hedges from uncertain winds and sloping to southern suns, it was already like
a wonderful velvet carpet; the leaves on the trees were beginning to come out in woolly,
grayish clusters; and there were purple-pencilled white violets at the base of the Pulpit
"It's all just as father described it," said Felix with a blissful sigh, "and there's the well
with the Chinese roof."
We hurried over to it, treading on the spears of mint that were beginning to shoot up
about it. It was a very deep well, and the curb was of rough, undressed stones. Over it, the
queer, pagoda-like roof, built by Uncle Stephen on his return from a voyage to China,
was covered with yet leafless vines.
"It's so pretty, when the vines leaf out and hang down in long festoons," said the Story
Girl. "The birds build their nests in it. A pair of wild canaries come here every summer.
And ferns grow out between the stones of the well as far down as you can see. The water
is lovely. Uncle Edward preached his finest sermon about the Bethlehem well where
David's soldiers went to get him water, and he illustrated it by describing his old well at
the homestead--this very well--and how in foreign lands he had longed for its sparkling
water. So you see it is quite famous."
"There's a cup just like the one that used to be here in father's time," exclaimed Felix,
pointing to an old-fashioned shallow cup of clouded blue ware on a little shelf inside the
"It is the very same cup," said the Story Girl impressively. "Isn't it an amazing thing?
That cup has been here for forty years, and hundreds of people have drunk from it, and it
has never been broken. Aunt Julia dropped it down the well once, but they fished it up,
not hurt a bit except for that little nick in the rim. I think it is bound up with the fortunes
of the King family, like the Luck of Edenhall in Longfellow's poem. It is the last cup of
Grandmother King's second best set. Her best set is still complete. Aunt Olivia has it.
You must get her to show it to you. It's so pretty, with red berries all over it, and the
funniest little pot-bellied cream jug. Aunt Olivia never uses it except on a family
We took a drink from the blue cup and then went to find our birthday trees. We were
rather disappointed to find them quite large, sturdy ones. It seemed to us that they should
still be in the sapling stage corresponding to our boyhood.
"Your apples are lovely to eat," the Story Girl said to me, "but Felix's are only good for
pies. Those two big trees behind them are the twins' trees--my mother and Uncle Felix,