THE SNOWFLAKE AND THE LEAF
Helen Preble, in the "Christian Register."
THE big sky above the hard, frozen ground was dark. The
little stars had hidden their winking, yellow eyes, and
the round old moon had forgotten to
 shine. Big,
black clouds were hurrying past each other, back and
forth, from east to west.
Up on the old oak tree, at the corner of the lane, a
little leaf still clung. He was very tiny, very brown,
and very much wrinkled; but still he kept a tight hold
on the stiff old branch where he had lived all his
"Ugh!" he said, as he shivered, and clung still closer,
"it's going to rain again. I'm sure I felt a drop just
But it was not a drop of rain, but a soft, cold
something else, which nestled down among the brown
wrinkles. The leaf stirred, and then shivered again.
"What is the matter?" queried a sweet voice.
"I'm very cold," said the leaf.
"Are you? What makes you cold?" asked the voice.
"I think it is—you," said the leaf, slowly; for he did
not want to hurt any one's feelings.
"Oh, no; I'm sure it's not I, because I'm not cold; and
if I made you cold I would be cold, too, wouldn't I?"
"I suppose you would," said the leaf, thoughtfully.
"But, anyway, I'm not as warm as I am in the
summertime. I'm lonesome, too, up here alone—that is,
I am when you are not here," he added, politely.
"What is summer?" asked the snowflake. "I never heard
"It is a very nice time," said the leaf, hugging the
old tree, and drawing his tight edges close. "It's the
time when you are green and soft—and warm," he added,
with a sigh.
"I don't believe we have it, then, up where I live,"
said the snowflake; "for I never remember being green."
 "It is very pleasant in summer," went on the
leaf. "The birds perch upon the branches here, and
sing so sweetly. Once a robin built a beautiful nest
just here, where we are now. It was a large nest made
of hay and threads, woven nicely together. One day,
after the nest was built, and the mother bird had been
staying there nearly all the time, I saw four tiny
birds, with great big mouths, wide open. It seemed to
me that they were always calling to be fed, and the
mother and father were busy from morning till night
fetching worms for those hungry little ones. But
before long they learned to fly, and, one by one, they
left the nest and flew out into the world.
"I am never alone in the summer, for the tree is full
of leaves, but they have all fallen off until only I am
left. Every time the wind blows, I expect to go, too."
"Where will you go?" asked the snowflake, with much
"Oh, I shall drop to the ground below, and grow smaller
and smaller. Then I shall sink down underneath, where
the new grass is getting ready to sprout in the spring
and the violets are waiting for the sun to bid them
unfold their buds."
"Is it nice down there, in the dark?" asked the
"Oh, yes," said the leaf. "It is very warm and sweet,
and not a bit lonely, for the worms and bugs and roots
and seeds are all busy, getting ready for the spring."
Just then a heavy gust of wind shook the old oak tree,
and down fell the little brown leaf and the snowflake,
too. The snowflake melted at once, but the little leaf
waited happily there until he should reach the busy
little world under the ground.