| Kindergarten Gems|
|by Agnes Taylor Ketchum|
|A full collection of stories and rhymes for the youngest listeners. In addition to the usual fairy tales, folk tales, and fables, there are numerous stories about animals, tales of everyday doings, and stories of the seasons. The material is conveniently arranged in groups, with several stories and rhymes for each holiday and season throughout the year. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 4-8 |
CHARLOTTE AND THE TEN DWARFS.
RANDMOTHER CHARLOTTE had been young once, although it was
difficult to believe it when one looked at her silvery locks and
hooked nose, almost reaching her pointed chin, but those of her own age
said that in her youth, no young girl jad a more charming countenance,
or a greater love for fun and gayety.
Unfortunately, Charlotte was left alone with her father at the head of
a large farm more burdened with debts than profits, so that labor succeeded
labor. The poor girl was not fitted for such a place, and often fell into
despair, and while vainly seeking some means to accomplish everything,
ended by doing nothing.
One day, as she was sitting on the doorstep, her hands under her
apron, and her head bent forward with a weary air, she began to say
to herself in a low voice, "My cares are too great for so young a girl to
bear. Even though I was as prompt as the sun, as untiring as the waves,
I could not accomplish all my work. Oh, why is the good fairy Bountiful
no longer in the world—if she could only hear me and aid me!"
"Be satisfied, then, for here I am," interrupted a voice, and Charlotte
saw before her the fairy Bountiful, looking at her attentively, as she leaned
upon her little crutch.
At first, the girl felt afraid, because the fairy was very old, wrinkled
and ugly, and wore a costume seldom seen in this country. Nevertheless,
Charlotte recollected herself, and asked the fairy in a trembling voice, in
what manner she could be of service to her.
"It is I who come to help you," replied the old woman. "I have
heard you complain, and bring you that which will relieve you in all your
"Oh! are you in earnest, good mother?" eagerly cried Charlotte, having
quite forgotten her embarrassment. "Do you come to give me a piece of
your wand with which I can render all my labor easy?"
 "Better than that," replied the fairy; "I bring you ten little workmen,
who will obey all your commands."
"Who are they?" said the little girl.
"You can see them directly," was the answer.
The old woman opened her basket, and the dwarfs of different sizes
hopped out. The first two were very short, but strong and robust. "These,"
said the fairy, "are the most vigorous; they will aid you in all your work,
and supply in strength what they lack in dexterity. The two you see
following them, are tall and more skilled; they know how to thread
needles, and apply themselves to all the work of the house. Their two
brothers next to them, are remarkable for their great height, and while they
are both useful in many ways, one is particularly skilled in pushing the
needle, for which reason I have crowned him with a little silver crown
(thimble). The nest two, one of whom you perceive has a ring for a girdle,
are less active, but still valuable for the aid they give the others. As
for the last two, their small size and lack of strength render them of little
use; but they are entitled to esteem, on account of the good will and
sympathy they manifest."
The old woman made a sign, and the ten dwarfs glided away to perform their duties.
Charlotte saw them do all kinds of work. They hesitated at nothing.
They could do everything.
"Oh, good mother, lend me these ten workmen and I shall have
nothing more to wish for."
"I will give them to yon," replied the fairy, "only as you will find
it troublesome to take them everywhere with you, I shall order each one
to hide in one of your fingers." "You know not what a treasure you
possess," said the fairy, when this was accomplished. "It will depend
now on the use you make of your knowledge. If you do not govern
your little servants, you will receive no benefit from them, but if you
employ them, they will do all your work for you."
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