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Nursery Rhymes . . . for children.

Once upon a time . . . . .  from our fabulous collection of Fairy Tales for children . . .  they lived happily ever after . . .

Grandmother

GRANDMOTHER is very old, her face is wrinkled, and her
hair is quite white; but her eyes are like two stars, and they
have a mild, gentle expression in them when they look at you,
which does you good. She wears a dress of heavy, rich silk,
with large flowers worked on it; and it rustles when she
moves. And then she can tell the most wonderful stories.
Grandmother knows a great deal, for she was alive before
father and mother- that's quite certain. She has a hymn-book
with large silver clasps, in which she often reads; and in the
book, between the leaves, lies a rose, quite flat and dry; it
is not so pretty as the roses which are standing in the glass,
and yet she smiles at it most pleasantly, and tears even come
into her eyes. 'I wonder why grandmother looks at the withered
flower in the old book that way? Do you know?' Why, when
grandmother's tears fall upon the rose, and she is looking at
it, the rose revives, and fills the room with its fragrance;
the walls vanish as in a mist, and all around her is the
glorious green wood, where in summer the sunlight streams
through thick foliage; and grandmother, why she is young
again, a charming maiden, fresh as a rose, with round, rosy
cheeks, fair, bright ringlets, and a figure pretty and
graceful; but the eyes, those mild, saintly eyes, are the
same,- they have been left to grandmother. At her side sits a
young man, tall and strong; he gives her a rose and she
smiles. Grandmother cannot smile like that now. Yes, she is
smiling at the memory of that day, and many thoughts and
recollections of the past; but the handsome young man is gone,
and the rose has withered in the old book, and grandmother is
sitting there, again an old woman, looking down upon the
withered rose in the book.

Grandmother is dead now. She had been sitting in her
arm-chair, telling us a long, beautiful tale; and when it was
finished, she said she was tired, and leaned her head back to
sleep awhile. We could hear her gentle breathing as she slept;
gradually it became quieter and calmer, and on her countenance
beamed happiness and peace. It was as if lighted up with a ray
of sunshine. She smiled once more, and then people said she
was dead. She was laid in a black coffin, looking mild and
beautiful in the white folds of the shrouded linen, though her
eyes were closed; but every wrinkle had vanished, her hair
looked white and silvery, and around her mouth lingered a
sweet smile. We did not feel at all afraid to look at the
corpse of her who had been such a dear, good grandmother. The
hymn-book, in which the rose still lay, was placed under her
head, for so she had wished it; and then they buried
grandmother.

On the grave, close by the churchyard wall, they planted a
rose-tree; it was soon full of roses, and the nightingale sat
among the flowers, and sang over the grave. From the organ in
the church sounded the music and the words of the beautiful
psalms, which were written in the old book under the head of
the dead one.

The moon shone down upon the grave, but the dead was not
there; every child could go safely, even at night, and pluck a
rose from the tree by the churchyard wall. The dead know more
than we do who are living. They know what a terror would come
upon us if such a strange thing were to happen, as the
appearance of a dead person among us. They are better off than
we are; the dead return no more. The earth has been heaped on
the coffin, and it is earth only that lies within it. The
leaves of the hymn-book are dust; and the rose, with all its
recollections, has crumbled to dust also. But over the grave
fresh roses bloom, the nightingale sings, and the organ sounds
and there still lives a remembrance of old grandmother, with
the loving, gentle eyes that always looked young. Eyes can
never die. Ours will once again behold dear grandmother, young
and beautiful as when, for the first time, she kissed the
fresh, red rose, that is now dust in the grave.


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