| Fifty Famous Stories Retold|
|by James Baldwin|
|Includes fifty legendary tales depicting certain romantic episodes in the lives of well-known heroes and famous men, or in the history of a people. Children naturally take a deep interest in such stories. The reading of them will not only give pleasure but will lay the foundation for broader literary studies, as nearly all are the subjects of frequent allusions in poetry and prose. Ages 6-9 |
THE MILLER OF THE DEE
ONCE upon a time there lived on the banks of the
River Dee a miller, who was the
happiest man in England. He was always busy from morning till
night, and he was always singing as merrily as any lark. He
was so cheerful that he made everybody else cheerful; and
people all over the land liked to talk about his pleasant
ways. At last the king heard about him.
 "I will go down and talk with this
wonderful miller," he said. "Perhaps he can tell me how to be happy."
As soon as he stepped inside of the mill, he heard the
"I envy nobody—no, not I!—
For I am as happy as I can be;
And nobody envies me."
"You're wrong, my friend," said the king. "You're wrong as
wrong can be. I envy you; and I would gladly change places
with you, if I could only be as light-hearted as you are."
The miller smiled, and bowed to the king.
"I am sure I could not think of changing places with you,
sir," he said.
"Now tell me," said the king, "what makes you so cheerful
and glad here in your dusty mill, while I, who am king, am
sad and in trouble every day."
The miller smiled again, and said, "I do not know why you
are sad, but I can easily tell why I am glad. I earn
my own bread; I love my wife and my children; I love my
friends, and they love me; and I owe not a penny to any man.
Why should I not be happy? For here is the River Dee, and
every day it turns my mill; and the mill grinds the corn
that feeds my wife, my babes, and me."
"Say no more," said the king. "Stay where you
are, and be happy still. But I envy you.
Your dusty cap is worth more than my golden crown.
Your mill does more for you than my kingdom can do for
me. If there were more such men as you, what
 a good place this world would be! Good-by, my friend!"
The king turned about, and walked sadly away; and the
miller went back to his work, singing:—
"Oh, I'm as happy as happy can be;
For I live by the side of the River Dee!"
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