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The Brownie And The Princess
by [?]

She was not a real Brownie, but a little girl named Betty, who lived with her father in a cottage near a great forest. They were poor; so Betty always wore a brown frock, a big brown hat, and, being out in the sun a great deal, her face was as brown as a berry, though very pretty with its rosy cheeks, dark eyes, and curly hair blowing in the wind. She was a lively little creature, and having no neighbors she made friends with the birds and flowers, rabbits and squirrels, and had fine frolics with them, for they knew and loved her dearly. Many people drove through the beautiful wood, which was not far from the King’s palace; and when they saw the little girl dancing with the daisies in the meadow, chasing squirrels up the trees, splashing in the brook, or sitting under her big hat like an elf under a mushroom, they would say, “There is the Brownie.”

Betty was wild and shy, and always tried to hide if any one called to her; and it was funny to see her vanish in a hollow tree, drop down in the tall grass, or skip away into the ferns like a timid rabbit. She was afraid of the fine lords and ladies, who laughed at her and called her names, but never thought to bring a book or a toy or say a kind word to the lonely little girl.

Her father took care of the deer in the King’s park and was away all day, leaving Betty to sweep the little house, bake the brown bread, and milk Daisy the white cow, who lived in the shed behind the cottage and was Betty’s dearest friend. They had no pasture for her to feed in; so, when the work was done, Betty would take her knitting and drive Daisy along the road where she could eat the grass on either side till she had had enough and lay down to rest under some shady tree. While the cow chewed her cud and took naps, the little girl would have fine games among her playmates, the wood creatures, or lie watching the clouds, or swing on the branches of the trees, or sail leaf boats in the brook. She was happy; but she longed for some one to talk to, and tried vainly to learn what the birds sang all day long. There were a great many about the cottage, for no one troubled them, and they were so tame they would eat out of her hand and sit on her head. A stork family lived on the roof, swallows built their clay nests under the eaves, and wrens chirped in their little homes among the red and white roses that climbed up to peep in at Betty’s window. Wood-pigeons came to pick up the grain she scattered for them, larks went singing up from the grass close by, and nightingales sang her to sleep.

“If I only knew what they said, we could have such happy times together. How can I ever learn?” sighed Betty, as she was driving Daisy home one day at sunset.

She was in the wood, and as she spoke she saw a great gray owl fluttering on the ground as if he was hurt. She ran at once to see what ailed the bird, and was not afraid, though his round eyes stared at her, and he snapped his hooked beak as if very angry.

“Poor thing! its leg is broken,” she said, wondering how she could help it.

“No, it isn’t; it’s my wing. I leaned out of my nest up there to watch a field mouse, and a ray of sunshine dazzled me so I tumbled down. Pick me up, child, and put me back, and I shall be all right.”

Betty was so surprised to hear the owl speak that she did not stir; and thinking she was frightened at his cross tone, the gray bird said more gently, with a blink of its yellow eyes and a wise nod,–