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Evenings al llome142
The Wind in a Frolic.........
................... William Howitt. 60
The Beggar Man ...............
Lucy Aikin. 81
The Lily and the Rose.......
Eliza Cook. 101
Better than Gold....
A. Smart. 109
The Inchcape Bell..
The llare and the Tortoise
The Homes of England.........
Mrs. Hemans. 169
The Wreck of the Hesperus...
Never Give Up............
The Diverting History of John Gilpin.........
The Village Blacksmith.......
GRUMBLE AND CHEERY,
GRUMBLE and Cheery were two millers who kept a large mill between them. Every one in the neighbouring village looked upon Cheery as the kindest, merriest fellow alive. But Grumble was not in very good favour; for he always found fault with the times—the weather—the neighbours—the millMadame Grumble, or with his partner, Cheery. Somehow or another accidents seemed to fall thicker on him than on any one else. Folks said, if it were not for Cheery, bread and cheese would be scarce at the mill : for Grumble's sole delight seemed to be to stroll about with his hands in his pockets, doing nothing but grumble, grumble, grumble; while Cheery worked and sung, as blithe as a lark.
One bright morning, Cheery and Grumble set off to buy a horse.
As they walked, they passed by a turn of the road where there was a small, narrow cave, in the chalky side of a hill, all fringed about with boxtrees; and as they drew near it, two or three very shrill voices screamed out, “ Let us out, masters ! let us out! let us out!”
Grumble said, “Get out as you got in—who's to blame but yourselves ?” But Cheery said, “Nay, Grumble, if one won't help another, how shall we live ?”
Then Cheery turned towards the mouth of the cave, and found a great lump of chalk had rolled down close against it, so that one could not get in or out. He set his shoulder well to work, and he called loudly to those inside, saying, “Push, pushi away, my fine fellows !” and after moving the great stone three or four times, away it rolled, and left the mouth of the cave open.
Out from the cave walked three fat little men, the queerest little fellows possible, with long hair, long noses, long chins, and very long hands. And as they came out, they danced and sprang about like young frogs. Then one said, “Stop! here's Master Cheery, who let us out. In return for his kindness, I promise him that the horse he shall buy at market shall have the speed of the wind.” “And I," said the second, " say the horse shall never tire under weight or work.” And the third little old man promised that, after three years' service, the horse should run away with all the ill luck in the house. As he finished, the three little mèn scampered back into the cave as fast as they could, singing in chorus:
"A smiling face and a ready hand
Outweigh the riches of all the land;
Cheery laughed hard enough at the little men's promises; and Grumble muttered, “Ah ! ah ! promises are ready payment. 'Twas a pity they hadn't better thanks in their pocket.”
On the two millers trudged to market; and when they got there, they found so many horses tied by their tails to be sold, that Cheery could not make up his mind which to buy; and Grumble did not help him, but managed to find some fault with every one of them.
After they had wandered half the day long, quite undetermined what to do, an odd, grim-looking, little old man, who had been standing with his arms folded, and his back against the warm, sunny wall, cried out that his pony (as fat and as sleek as could ke) was for sale ; and more, too—that Cheery should have him at his own price.
Grumble said that the pony was much too fat for work—that he was sure he could not be soundthat he had a vicious eye—that his hind legs were clumsy. Here the pony gave him such a switch with his tail, that Grumble clapped his hands to his mouth, and of needs held his tongue.
Cheery bought the pony, and paid twenty gold pieces down for him.
So home they went, Grumble in a sad way, and Cheery better pleased every step he took with his purchase.
The next morning, when Cheery went to feed the pony in the manger, there lay the twenty gold pieces in the bin; the very same Cheery had paid the day before !
From that day all went well at the mill. The flour was always the earliest in the market, and
krought the highest price. There were more sacks on the pony's back than three horses could carry. Cheery bought a cart; and let him fill it as heavily as he would, the pony never slacked his pace, but trotted on, and seemed as fresh and as fat after a day's work, as when he was first taken out of the stable.
In a year's time Cheery married a merry little cherry-lipped wife, as lively and sprightly as himself; and things went on so very well that Grumble got worse-tempered than ever, at having nothing to find fault with. Above all, he had the strongest dislike to the pony; for not long after he had been taken to the mill, Grumble tried to ride him, and the pony ducked him in the pond, dragged him through the briers, and soused him at last into a ditch. So Grumble for a long time brooded over this, but could not find an opportunity for his revenge.
After three years, as the little old men had declared, Cheery's affairs were so thriving that he and Grumble were nearly the head inen of the parish, and they were both made overseers of the poor. Cheery was always for kindness to the poor old people; but Grumble was a harsh tyrant, and would never give them an atom more help than he could avoid.
Grumble had never forgiven the pony, and when these millers got rich enough to have other horses, he took it into his head one night to run down to the stable and take the pony out, and kill him in some field far away. He had thought often and often how to harm the pony, but all his trials had been baffled somehow or another. Sometimes people