The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES
Animal Sketches And Stories
Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS
CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES
FABLES FOR CHILDREN
FABLES FROM INDIA
FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS
FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
For Classes Ii. And Iii.
For Classes Iv. And V.
For Kindergarten And Class I.
FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
Good Little Henry
JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]
Jean De La Fontaine
King Alexander's Adventures
KINGS AND WARRIORS
LAND AND WATER FAIRIES
Lessons From Nature
LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG
MODERN FAIRY TALES
MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED
MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES
MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES
Myths And Legends
NEGLECT THE FIRE
ON POPULAR EDUCATION
PLACES AND FAMILIES
Poems Of Nature
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"
RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE
ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
Selections From The Bible
SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES
Some Children's Poets
Songs Of Life
STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
STORIES FROM BOTANY
STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
STORIES FROM IRELAND
STORIES FROM PHYSICS
STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA
STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers
The Little Grey Mouse
THE OLD FAIRY TALES
The Princess Rosette
THE THREE HERMITS
THE TWO OLD MEN
UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES
VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES
WHAT MEN LIVE BY
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO
The Little Brown Man
from The Green Forest Fairy Book,
Once upon a time, there lived at the top of a very tall tree a little
magic sprite. Now this magic sprite was called the Little Brown Man, and
the tree was called the Tall Pine Tree. The Little Brown Man was so very
small that had you ever seen him skipping and hopping about in his tree,
you would have thought him some lively little brown squirrel. The Little
Brown Man was always busy as a bee and twice as cheerful. He spent his
days sweeping away the withered pine needles so that fresh new green
needles might grow. With his cunning hands and powers of magic he mended
broken places in the bark with healing herbs. At night the Little Brown
Man rested from his labors. He curled himself up in the topmost boughs
of the Tall Pine Tree, and the tree would rock him gently and sing him
songs about the sea.
Thus the Little Brown Man, scarce bigger than my hand, and the Tall Pine
Tree so high lived on in peace and happiness until an evil time befell
them. It happened on a black winter's night, when the Storm Wind in a
rage went crashing through the forest. Lashing the heavy branches of the
tallest trees, he tore them loose and flung them to the ground as though
they had been but so many twigs. Uprooting tiny trees and saplings by
the score, the Storm Wind tore his way along until he reached the Tall
Pine Tree. There he saw the Little Brown Man asleep in its topmost
"Ha, Little Brown Man!" laughed the Storm Wind wickedly. "At last I've
caught you unaware, and I will do you mischief!" So saying, he blew a
furious blast and flung the Little Brown Man to the ground beneath.
Then, in a wailing voice, the Storm Wind wove a spell of deep
enchantment round the Little Brown Man, singing thus:
"Flaming eye and hand like claw,
You'll dwell at your tree top no more;
No child at your approach will stay,
Your face will scare them all away.
But 'til some child bids you good-day,
You'll dwell down on the ground so low,
And to the Tall Pine cannot go!"
And then the Storm Wind blew away.
For a long time, the Little Brown Man lay still as one dead, for the
fall had hurt him cruelly. The Tall Pine Tree wept bitterly at the
little sprite's misfortune, and by and by its tears, falling like rain,
wakened the Little Brown Man. But alas! The Storm Wind's wicked spell
had changed him, and the Little Brown Man with flaming eye and clawlike
hand was very fierce and terrible to look upon.
"Oh, tell me, my Pine Tree!" cried the Little Brown Man in dismay, "how
am I changed thus? My hands are hands no longer, but claws like those of
wild beasts; my eye flames redder than the wicked wolf's! I cannot hop
or skip; indeed, I scarce can hobble, so bent and twisted have I grown."
"Alas, my Little Brown Man!" the Tall Pine Tree replied. "While you did
sleep, the Storm Wind tore you from my topmost bough, and wove this
wicked spell around you. Until some child will speak to you a kindly
word, you must remain thus bound by this evil spell."
In spite of his twisted back, the Little Brown Man tried again and again
to climb into the Tall Pine Tree, but all his efforts were in vain.
Wearied and tired out at last, he made himself a nest among the withered
pine needles and began to wait for the magic word to break the Storm
Wind's evil spell.
At last the winter passed. The snow began to melt; the brook, freed of
its coat of ice, began to sing and chatter as it splashed along; the
birds built nests; the sun shone down; the pussy willows, gray and
brown, began to bud and bloom. Then boys and girls came out to play
beneath the trees and gather buttercups and bluebells. The Little Brown
Man's heart rejoiced, for he was sure the evil spell that bound him soon
would end. Whenever happy children played beside the Tall Pine Tree, he
would hobble toward them, saying:
"Good day to you! Good day to you, my children!"
But alas! The boys and girls were frightened of his clawlike hands and
flaming eye, and so they screamed and ran away. Thus springtime went,
and summer followed after; the maple leaves flamed red and gold in
autumn, and winter came again to wrap the forest in its cloak of snowy
white. Still the magic words to break the Storm Wind's spell remained
unspoken. Thus years and years rolled on. In winter now the Storm Wind
tore the branches of the Tall Pine Tree and flung them to the ground.
The Little Brown Man, with his cunning hands and powers of magic, could
no longer bind them fast. The Tall Pine Tree, once so green, grew old
and rusty looking, because the Little Brown Man could no longer sweep
the withered needles from its boughs. The Little Brown Man, down upon
the ground, was in despair. It seemed the wicked spell would never be
broken. No children ever lingered near the Tall Pine Tree. Indeed, when
once they passed that way, they never came again. They thought the
Little Brown Man was a wicked pixie who would do them harm.
Then at last the Little Brown Man peered from his nest one bright
morning and saw a little girl walking slowly toward the Tall Pine Tree.
Little Nannie always walked very slowly, because she was quite lame, and
leaned upon a crutch. Sometimes she paused to watch a bee or butterfly;
sometimes she leaned against a tree to rest, and all the while the
Little Brown Man watched her eagerly. At last she reached the Tall Pine
Tree, and then he hobbled forward, saying:
"Good day to you! Good day to you, my child!"
His flaming eye and clawlike hand so startled Little Nannie that she
dropped her crutch; but when she saw that the Little Brown Man was also
very lame, she was sorry for him, and so she answered bravely:
"Good day to you, good sir! I hope your health is fine," and so the
magic words were spoken.
The Little Brown Man could scarcely believe his ears and began to caper
about and prance with glee. Then presto! In a twinkling vanished all his
ugly features, his back grew straight, and he was once more kindly-eyed.
"Oh, Tall Pine Tree! Oh, Tall Pine Tree!" he cried in joy. "Behold now
I am free to climb up to your topmost boughs once more!" But in his joy
the Little Brown Man did not forget Little Nannie, who stood staring,
wide-eyed, at the wonders she had seen.
"And now, my child!" cried he, "what can I do to serve you?"
"Oh, please, sir," answered Little Nannie timidly, "if you would give me
my crutch, I would be most grateful. I am so lame that I cannot stoop to
pick it up myself."
"Your crutch!" screamed the Little Brown Man in a passion of rage. "It
is a wicked stick that holds you back when you would run and play, and
so I treat it thus!" He seized the crutch and flung it in the brook, and
there it floated swiftly in the current.
"Oh, Little Brown Man, what have you done!" wept Little Nannie. "Now I
can never wander in the forest any more, but must sit always in my
chair. I cannot walk without my crutch, and my mother is too poor to buy
me another." She leaned against the Tall Pine Tree and sobbed aloud.
"Stop, stop, Little Nannie!" cried the Little Brown Man, "I meant you
no harm, as you will see. Now tell me this: Is it your wish to walk
always with a crutch? If so, say but a word, and I will bring it back
again, for now my powers of magic are returned."
"Oh, Little Brown Man!" answered Little Nannie through her tears, "I do
not wish to walk always with a crutch; indeed, I often weep because I
wish to run and play like other boys and girls."
"Then try and see if your wish come true, Little Nannie," commanded the
Little Brown Man.
Little Nannie took a step forward, and then another and another, and
found her feet like wings. So, singing and laughing, she danced home
through the forest, the happiest child in all the world. When she
reached her gate, she cried out:
"Oh, Mother! Mother! Come quickly and see! I can run and play like other
boys and girls! The Little Brown Man has granted my wish to me!"
"My child!" cried her mother in amazement, "this is the work of a good
fairy without doubt! And what did you say to thank the Little Brown
"Oh, mother, I was so happy I forgot," replied Little Nannie, hanging
"Then let us go in search of him at once," said her mother.
So hand in hand they sought the Little Brown Man, but though they called
loud and long at the foot of the Tall Pine Tree, they could not find the
Little Brown Man. For at the magic of a kindly word, he had flown to the
topmost boughs, and there he dwelled for evermore.
Next: A Tale For Halloween
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