The Fairy's New Year Gift





BY EMILIE POULSSON (ADAPTED)



Two little boys were at play one day when a Fairy suddenly appeared

before them and said: "I have been sent to give you New Year presents."



She handed to each child a package, and in an instant was gone.



Carl and Philip opened the packages and found in them two beautiful

books, with pages as pure and white as the snow when it first falls.



Many months passed and the Fairy came again to the boys. "I have brought

you each another book?" said she, "and will take the first ones back to

Father Time who sent them to you."



"May I not keep mine a little longer?" asked Philip. "I have hardly

thought about it lately. I'd like to paint something on the last leaf

that lies open."



"No," said the Fairy; "I must take it just as it is."



"I wish that I could look through mine just once," said Carl; "I have

only seen one page at a time, for when the leaf turns over it sticks

fast, and I can never open the book at more than one place each day."



"You shall look at your book," said the Fairy, "and Philip, at his." And

she lit for them two little silver lamps, by the light of which they saw

the pages as she turned them.



The boys looked in wonder. Could it be that these were the same fair

books she had given them a year ago? Where were the clean, white pages,

as pure and beautiful as the snow when it first falls? Here was a page

with ugly, black spots and scratches upon it; while the very next page

showed a lovely little picture. Some pages were decorated with gold and

silver and gorgeous colors, others with beautiful flowers, and still

others with a rainbow of softest, most delicate brightness. Yet even on

the most beautiful of the pages there were ugly blots and scratches.



Carl and Philip looked up at the Fairy at last.



"Who did this?" they asked. "Every page was white and fair as we opened

to it; yet now there is not a single blank place in the whole book!"



"Shall I explain some of the pictures to you?" said the Fairy, smiling

at the two little boys.



"See, Philip, the spray of roses blossomed on this page when you let

the baby have your playthings; and this pretty bird, that looks as if it

were singing with all its might, would never have been on this page

if you had not tried to be kind and pleasant the other day, instead of

quarreling."



"But what makes this blot?" asked Philip.



"That," said the Fairy sadly; "that came when you told an untruth one

day, and this when you did not mind mamma. All these blots and scratches

that look so ugly, both in your book and in Carl's, were made when you

were naughty. Each pretty thing in your books came on its page when you

were good."



"Oh, if we could only have the books again!" said Carl and Philip.



"That cannot be," said the Fairy. "See! they are dated for this year,

and they must now go back into Father Time's bookcase, but I have

brought you each a new one. Perhaps you can make these more beautiful

than the others."



So saying, she vanished, and the boys were left alone, but each held in

his hand a new book open at the first page.



And on the back of this book was written in letters of gold, "For the

New Year."





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