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The Maple-Leaf And The Violet
by [?]

“Story-telling must please children, so that it will influence, strengthen, and elevate their lives.”–FROEBEL

The Maple-tree lived on the edge of the wood. Beside and behind her the trees grew so thick and tall that there was plenty of shade at her roots; but as no one stood in front, she could always look across the meadows to the brown house where Bessie lived, and could see what went on in the world.

After the cold winter had gone by, and the spring had come again, the Maple-tree sent out thousands of tiny leaf-buds, that stretched themselves, and grew larger day by day in the warm sunshine. One little Bud, on the end of a tall branch, worked so hard to grow that by and by he finished opening all his folds, and found himself a tiny pale green leaf.

He was curious, as little folks generally are, and as soon as he opened his eyes wanted to see everything about him. First he looked up at the blue sky overhead, but the sky only looked quietly back at him. Then he looked across the meadows to where Bessie lived, but Bessie was at school and the house was still.

Then he gazed far down below him on the ground; and there, just beneath, was a little Violet, She had uncurled her purple petals a few days before, and was waiting to welcome the first leaf-bud that came out.

So when the Maple-leaf looked down, she smiled up at him and said, “Good-morning.” He answered her politely, but he was very little, and did not know quite what to say, so he didn’t talk any more that day.

The next morning they greeted each other again, and soon they grew to be good friends, and talked together very happily all day. The Maple- leaf lived so high up in the tree that he could easily see across the fields, and he watched every day for Bessie as she started for school. When she came out of her door, he told the Violet, and the Violet always said every morning, “Dear Bessie! I should like to see her, too!”

Sometimes, when the day was chilly and it was almost too damp in the shade, the Violet used to wish she might be high up on the branch above her, waving about in the sunshine like the Maple-leaf; but she was a contented little thing, and never fretted long for what she could not have.

It was generally pleasant on the ground, and the bugs and caterpillars and worms, as they crawled about at her roots, often told her very interesting things about their families and their troubles.

One day it was very dry and warm. The Maple-leaf was not at all comfortable, high in the hot air, and he said to his mother, “Mother- tree, won’t you let me go down by the Violet and be cool?”

Then the Maple-tree answered, “No, no, little leaf, not now; if I once let you go, you can never come back again. Stay quietly here; the time will soon come for you to leave me.”

The Maple-leaf told this to the Violet, and then they began to fear that when the mother-tree let him go, by and by, he might not be able to fall close beside the Violet.

So the next day, when the wind came whistling along, the Violet asked him if he would kindly take care of the leaf, and send him to her when the mother-tree let him go. The wind was rough and careless, and said he really didn’t know. He couldn’t be sure how he’d feel then. They would have to wait and see.

The two little friends were rather unhappy about this, but they waited quietly. By and by the weather grew cold. The air was so chill that the Maple-leaf shivered in the night, and in the morning, when the sun rose, and he could see himself, he found he was all red, just as your hands and cheeks are on a frosty morning. When the mother-tree saw him, she told him he would soon leave her now, and she bade him good- by. He was sorry to go, but then he thought of his dear Violet, and was happy again.