Danish Fairy and Folk Tales/The Sunshine

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ONCE there was a little girl who had an old grandmother—such a very, very old grandma, with white hair, and wrinkles all over her face. But Katherine, the little girl, loved her, and did all she could to please the old lady.

Katherine's father owned a very large house, the front of which turned towards the south, receiving all the splendor of the bright sunshine. But the old grandmother occupied a room at the north side, where no sunshine would come. Kate often wondered why it never took a notion to peep into her grandmother's room, and one day she asked her father why it was so.

"The sunshine cannot reach her room," answered her father, "because it is at the shady side of the house."

"Why can't we turn the house around, papa, and have grandma's room placed where the light may reach it?" inquired the little girl.

"You little goose," replied he, "do you think we can turn the whole house so easily? But even if we could, why, we should live ourselves in the shade!"

Katherine was, however, not yet satisfied, but continued: "Will grandma never have sunshine in her room, then?"

"No," returned her father, smilingly, "of course not—that is, unless you can carry it over to her."

After that day Kate often wondered how she could manage to bring the sunshine over to her grandmother's room. She looked at the flowers in the open air. They seemed to support the bright rays that rested like a golden net upon every object in the quivering summer air; even the green foliage and the glittering wings of the birds seemed to support their floating splendor. When Kate herself walked out and in she often thought that the shining mass clung to her face and her clothes. Could she not keep it with her, then, and bring it into the little, dreary room at the shady side of the house? She resolved to try.

Every bright day she went out and in the garden, where the sun would shine on her, and hastened back into the old lady's room. As soon as she had crossed the door-step, the rays were, however, gone—at least, she saw them no more. Still, her grandmother said: "I am always glad to see you come in, my little girl; it is dark and dreary here, but as soon as you open the door the bright sunshine peeps out of your eyes and cheers the room about me."

Katharine wondered much at her grandmother's words, and tried to find out, by looking in the mirror, whether the sunshine really did peep out of her eyes. She saw none; but one day after another she brought the beautiful sunshine to the old lady, who told her stories about kings and heroes until the little girl's eyes sparkled with joy.

When Kate became grown, she often thought of those happy days. She lived long enough to feel how necessary it is that childish eyes and smiles should bring sunshine into dark and dreary places, and how often our old friends need to feel the presence of a bright little ray amidst their sorrows and troubles.

For life is not all gladness and pleasure. Thank God, most of it is; but every bright day grows from a dark night!