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A Child's Dream Of A Star

from Good Stories For Great Holidays - RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)





BY CHARLES DICKENS

There was once a child, and he strolled about a good deal, and thought
of a number of things. He had a sister, who was a child, too, and his
constant companion. These two used to wonder all day long. They wondered
at the beauty of the flowers; they wondered at the height and blueness
of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the bright water; they
wondered at the goodness and the power of God who made the lovely world.

They used to say to one another, sometimes: "Supposing all the children
upon earth were to die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky
be sorry?" They believed they would be sorry. "For," said they, "the buds
are the children of the flowers, and the little playful streams that
gambol down the hillsides are the children of the water; and the
smallest, bright specks playing at hide and seek in the sky all night,
must surely be the children of the stars; and they would all be grieved
to see their playmates, the children of men, no more."

There was one clear, shining star that used to come out in the sky
before the rest, near the church spire, above the graves. It was larger
and more beautiful, they thought, than all the others, and every night
they watched for it, standing hand in hand at a window. Whoever saw
it first cried out: "I see the star!" And often they cried out both
together, knowing so well when it would rise, and where. So they grew
to be such friends with it, that, before lying down in their beds, they
always looked out once again, to bid it good-night; and when they were
turning round to sleep, they used to say: "God bless the star!"

But while she was still very young, oh, very, very young, the sister
drooped, and came to be so weak that she could no longer stand in the
window at night; and then the child looked sadly out by himself, and
when he saw the star turned round and said to the patient, pale face on
the bed: "I see the star!" and then a smile would come upon the face,
and a little weak voice used to say: "God bless my brother and the
star!"

And so the time came all too soon, when the child looked out alone, and
when there was no face on the bed; and when there was a little grave
among the graves, not there before; and when the star made long rays
down towards him, as he saw it through his tears.

Now, these rays were so bright, and they seemed to make such a shining
way from earth to heaven, that when the child went to his solitary bed
he dreamed about the star; and dreamed that, lying where he was, he saw
a train of people taken up that sparkling road by angels. And the star,
opening, showed him a great world of light, where many more such angels
waited to receive them.

All these angels, who were waiting, turned their beaming eyes upon the
people who were carried up into the star; and some came out from the
long rows in which they stood, and fell upon the people's necks, and
kissed them tenderly, and went away with them down avenues of light, and
were so happy in their company, that lying in his bed he wept for joy.

But there were many angels who did not go with them, and among them
one he knew. The patient face, that once had lain upon the bed, was
glorified and radiant, but his heart found out his sister among all the
host.

His sister's angel lingered near the entrance of the star, and said to
the leader among those who had brought the people thither:--

"Is my brother come?"

And he said: "No."

She was turning hopefully away, when the child stretched out his arms,
and cried: "O sister, I am here! Take me!" And then she turned her
beaming eyes upon him, and it was night; and the star was shining into
the room, making long rays down towards him, as he saw it through his
tears.

From that hour forth, the child looked out upon the star as on the home
he was to go to when his time should come; and he thought that he did
not belong to the earth alone, but to the star, too, because of his
sister's angel gone before.

There was a baby born to be a brother to the child; and while he was so
little that he never yet had spoken word, he stretched his tiny form out
on his bed, and died.

Again the child dreamed of the open star, and of the company of angels,
and the train of people, and the rows of angels with their beaming eyes
all turned upon those people's faces.

Said his sister's angel to the leader:--

"Is my brother come?"

And he said: "Not that one, but another."

As the child beheld his brother's angel in her arms, he cried: "O
sister, I am here! Take me!" And she turned and smiled upon him, and the
star was shining.

He grew to be a young man, and was busy at his books, when an old
servant came to him and said:--

"Thy mother is no more. I bring her blessing on her darling son."

Again at night he saw the star, and all that former company. Said his
sister's angel to the leader:--

"Is my brother come?"

And he said: "Thy mother!"

A mighty cry of joy went forth through all the star, because the mother
was reunited to her two children. And he stretched out his arms and
cried: "O mother, sister, and brother, I am here! Take me!" And they
answered him: "Not yet." And the star was shining.

He grew to be a man, whose hair was turning gray, and he was sitting in
his chair by the fireside, heavy with grief, and with his face bedewed
with tears, when the star opened once again.

Said his sister's angel to the leader:--

"Is my brother come?"

And he said: "Nay, but his maiden daughter."

And the man, who had been the child, saw his daughter, newly lost to
him, a celestial creature among those three, and he said: "My daughter's
head is on my sister's bosom, and her arm is around my mother's neck,
and at her feet there is the baby of old time, and I can bear the
parting from her, God be praised!"

And the star was shining.

Thus the child came to be an old man, and his once smooth face was
wrinkled, and his steps were slow and feeble, and his back was bent. And
one night as he lay upon his bed, his children standing round, he cried,
as he had cried so long ago:--

"I see the star!"

They whispered one to another: "He is dying."

And he said: "I am. My age is falling from me like a garment, and I move
towards the star as a child. And, O my Father, now I thank Thee that it
has so often opened to receive those dear ones who await me!"

And the star was shining; and it shines upon his grave.





Next: The Loveliest Rose In The World

Previous: A Lesson Of Faith



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