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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 . . .

The Sunbeam And The Captive

IT is autumn. We stand on the ramparts, and look out over
the sea. We look at the numerous ships, and at the Swedish
coast on the opposite side of the sound, rising far above the
surface of the waters which mirror the glow of the evening
sky. Behind us the wood is sharply defined; mighty trees
surround us, and the yellow leaves flutter down from the
branches. Below, at the foot of the wall, stands a gloomy
looking building enclosed in palisades. The space between is
dark and narrow, but still more dismal must it be behind the
iron gratings in the wall which cover the narrow loopholes or
windows, for in these dungeons the most depraved of the
criminals are confined. A ray of the setting sun shoots into
the bare cells of one of the captives, for God's sun shines
upon the evil and the good. The hardened criminal casts an
impatient look at the bright ray. Then a little bird flies
towards the grating, for birds twitter to the just as well as
to the unjust. He only cries, 'Tweet, tweet,' and then perches
himself near the grating, flutters his wings, pecks a feather
from one of them, puffs himself out, and sets his feathers on
end round his breast and throat. The bad, chained man looks at
him, and a more gentle expression comes into his hard face. In
his breast there rises a thought which he himself cannot
rightly analyze, but the thought has some connection with the
sunbeam, with the bird, and with the scent of violets, which
grow luxuriantly in spring at the foot of the wall. Then there
comes the sound of the hunter's horn, merry and full. The
little bird starts, and flies away, the sunbeam gradually
vanishes, and again there is darkness in the room and in the
heart of that bad man. Still the sun has shone into that
heart, and the twittering of the bird has touched it.

Sound on, ye glorious strains of the hunter's horn;
continue your stirring tones, for the evening is mild, and the
surface of the sea, heaving slowly and calmly, is smooth as a
mirror.


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