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Aqua; Or, The Water Baby
by [?]

[Footnote: The plan of this story was suggested to me many years ago; so many, indeed, that I cannot now remember whether it was my friend’s own, or whether he had read something like it in German.–K. D. W.]

“This standing above life, and yet grasping life, and being stirred by life, is what makes the genuine educator.”–Froebel

It was a clear, sunshiny day, and out on the great, wide, open sea there sparkled thousands and thousands of water-drops. One of these was a merry little fellow who danced on the silver backs of the fishes as they plunged up and down in the waves, and, no matter how high he sprung, always came down again plump into his mother’s lap.

His mother, you know, was the Ocean, and very beautiful she looked that summer day in her dark blue dress and white ruffles.

By and by the happy water-drop tired of his play, and looking up to the clear sky above him thought he would like to have a sail on one of the white floating clouds; so, giving a jump from the Ocean’s arms, he begged the Sun to catch him up and let him go on a journey to see the earth.

The Sun said “Yes,” and took ever so many other drops, too, so that Aqua might not be lonesome on the way. He did not know this, however, for they all had been changed into fine mist or vapor. Do you know what vapor is? If you breathe into the air, when it is cold enough, you will see it coming out of your mouth like steam, and you may also see very hot steam coming from the nose of a kettle of boiling water. When it is quite near to the earth, where we can see it, we call it “fog.” The water-drops had been changed into vapor because in their own shape they were too heavy for sunbeams to carry.

Higher and higher they sailed, so fast that they grew quite dizzy; why, in an hour they had gone over a hundred miles! and how grand it was, to be looking down on the world below, and sailing faster than fish can swim or birds can fly!

But after a while it grew nearly time for the Sun to go to bed; he became very red in the face, and began to sink lower and lower, until suddenly he went clear out of sight!

Poor little Aqua could not help being frightened, for every minute it grew darker and colder. At last he thought he would try to get back to the earth again, so he slipped away, and as he fell lower and lower he grew heavier, until he was a little round, bright drop again, and alighted on a rosebush. A lovely velvet bud opened its leaves, and in he slipped among the crimson cushions, to sleep until morning. Then the leaves opened, and rolling over in his bed he called out, “Please, dear Sun, take me with you again.” So the sunbeams caught him up a second time, and they flew through the air till the noon-time, when it grew warmer and warmer, and there was no red rose to hide him, not even a blade of grass to shade his tired head; but just as he was crying out, “Please, King Sun, let me go back to the dear mother Ocean,” the wind took pity on him, and came with its cool breath and fanned him, with all his brothers, into a heavy gray cloud, after which he blew them apart and told them to join hands and hurry away to the earth. Helter-skelter down they went, rolling over each other pell-mell, till with a patter and clatter and spatter they touched the ground, and all the people cried, “It rains.”