Page:La Fontaine - The Original Fables Of, 1913.djvu/39

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(Book VII.—No. 6)

When the Great Mogul held empire, there were certain little sprites who used to undertake all sorts of tasks helpful to mankind. They would do housework, stable-work, and even gardening. But if one interfered with them, all would be spoilt.

One of these friendly sprites cultivated the garden of a worthy family living near the Ganges, His duties were performed deftly and noiselessly. He loved not only his master and mistress, but the garden also. Possibly the zephyrs, who are said to be friends of the sprites, helped him in his tasks. At any rate he did his very best, and never ceased in his efforts to load his hosts with every pleasure. To prove his zeal he would have stayed with these people for ever, in spite of the natural propensity of his kind for waywardness. But his mischievous fellow-sprites fell to plotting. They induced the chief of their band to remove him to another field of labour. This the chief promised and, either by caprice or by policy, finally brought about. Orders came that the devoted worker should set out for the uttermost part of Norway, there to take charge of a house which at all times of the year was covered with