THE STAR DOLLARS





There was once a little girl who was very, very poor. Her father and

mother had died, and at last she had no little room to stay in, and no

little bed to sleep in, and nothing more to eat except one piece of bread.

So she said a prayer, put on her little jacket and her hood, and took her

piece of bread in her hand, and went out into the world.



When she had walked a little way, she met an old man, bent and thin. He

looked at the piece of bread in her hand, and said, "Will you give me your

bread, little girl? I am very hungry." The little girl said, "Yes," and

gave him her piece of bread.



When she had walked a little farther she came upon a child, sitting by the

path, crying. "I am so cold!" said the child. "Won't you give me your

little hood, to keep my head warm?" The little girl took off her hood and

tied it on the child's head. Then she went on her way.



After a time, as she went, she met another child. This one shivered with

the cold, and she said to the little girl, "Won't you give me your jacket,

little girl?" And the little girl gave her her jacket. Then she went on

again.



By-and-by she saw another child, crouching almost naked by the wayside. "O

little girl," said the child, "won't you give me your dress? I have

nothing to keep me warm." So the little girl took off her dress and gave

it to the other child. And now she had nothing left but her little shirt.

It grew dark, and the wind was cold, and the little girl crept into the

woods, to sleep for the night. But in the woods a child stood, weeping and

naked. "I am cold," she said, "give me your little shirt!" And the little

girl thought, "It is dark, and the woods will shelter me; I will give her

my little shirt"; so she did, and now she had nothing left in all the

world.



She stood looking up at the sky, to say her night-time prayer. As she

looked up, the whole skyful of stars fell in a shower round her feet.

There they were, on the ground, shining bright, and round. The little girl

saw that they were silver dollars. And in the midst of them was the finest

little shirt, all woven out of silk! The little girl put on the little

silk shirt, and gathered the star dollars; and she was rich, all the days

of her life.





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