C. S. B. Adapted from a Russian folk-tale.
ONCE upon a time there lived an old man and an old
woman in a little hut on the border of a wood. They
 tended their cow and horse, and worked in the
fields and were busy from morning till night. There
were other people living near them who worked in the
fields also, but no one had ever dared go into the
forest—not even to chop wood. There were no paths, the
trees had grown together like a wall, and it was very
dark to look at.
After a while a little girl was born to the old woman
and the old man. She was the most wonderful baby, and
she grew into the most wonderful little girl—all
dimples and smiles and love. Whoever looked at her
became happy at once, and people came from miles around
to see her smile, or touch her fingers. And they named
her Little Sunshine.
The mother taught her to bake and sew and spin, so she
might be industrious as well as loving. She could work
in the fields, too, but whatever bit of work she
started it was finished before you could so much as
turn around; or else some one would come and help
Little Sunshine complete it.
"This will never do," said her mother one day. "Little
Sunshine must learn to work alone, or she will grow up
a lazy girl. Take this, my child," she said, as she
gave Little Sunshine a snarl of flax nearly as large as
she was, "and do you go into your own room alone to
So Little Sunshine laughed merrily and took the flax
into her own room, and shut the door fast.
"Whirr, whirr" went her spinning-wheel—"whirr"—but the
flax seemed to untangle itself and soon lay in smooth
coils of thread upon the floor. Just as it was
finished Little Sunshine heard: "Squeak, squeak," and
a gray mouse scuttled from a hole in the chimney corner
and perched himself upon her distaff.
 "What do you want, mouse?" asked Little Sunshine.
"Something good to eat," squeaked the mouse.
"Why, I don't believe I have a thing for you," said
Little Sunshine, "unless you like this," and she
offered the mouse a bit of the fat with which she
greased her wheel.
The mouse nibbled away gratefully, but, all at once,
Little Sunshine heard a rap at the door, and a gruff
voice called out: "Let me in, let me in!"
She hastened to open the door, and who should walk in
but a great, grizzly, brown bear—so tall and fierce
that he seemed to fill the whole room!
"I have come to play blind-man's-buff with you, Little
Sunshine," said the bear.
Poor Little Sunshine! She was too much afraid to
speak, but the gray mouse whispered in her ear: "Do
not be afraid; I will help you, Little Sunshine."
So Little Sunshine tied her apron about the bear's eyes
to blind him. While she was counting "one, two three,"
the mouse blew out the fire, so that it was quite dark,
and he hung a little string of bells about his neck.
He motioned to Little Sunshine to hide in the farthest
corner of the room, and then he began dancing about,
shaking his bells, while the bear ran after him. This
way and that went the nimble mouse: under the chairs,
on the top of the spinning-wheel, over the table; and
the clumsy bear could not put a paw on him. It grew to
be night, but still they were playing their queer game.
"I will catch you yet, Little Sunshine," said the bear,
but the mouse only shook his bells the louder and ran
faster. At last the bear grew quite dizzy with so much
twisting and turning about, and just as the first
daylight came in through the windows he pulled
 the bandage from his eyes and cried out: "Enough,
enough, Little Sunshine; you are a better player than
The mouse ran up the chimney, and Little Sunshine came,
laughing, out of her corner and sat down at her
spinning-wheel again. The bear looked at her sunny
little face, all smiles and dimples, and he said:
"Will you pull me out of my skin, Little Sunshine?"
"Oh, I could never do that," said Little Sunshine.
"Just try," said the bear, holding out his paw.
Little Sunshine pulled, and pulled, and pulled and off
fell the bear-skin, and there stood a splendid prince
smiling down at her.
"You are to come home with me," said the prince, "and
live in my palace always."
So Little Sunshine said good-bye to her father and
mother, and the prince gave them twelve wagonloads of
grain and twelve horses, that they might not feel too
badly at losing her. The thick, dark forest opened
wide into paths to let the prince and Little Sunshine
through, and she went away to be the Princess Sunshine.
The first thing she did was to decree that all the
tabby-cats in her kingdom should wear little strings of
bells about their necks when they played
blind-man's-buff with the mice. And every morning she
rode through the streets in her gold chariot, that she
might show her sunny face to all her subjects and turn
their work into play.