Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/150

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spoil it, she would kill her instantly. The poor child, terrified at the threat of her cruel stepmother, kept an anxious watch over the fig, armed with a long cane, to frighten away the feathered thieves; but one day, when her attention was drawn away for a moment, a bold bird came, and before she had time to perceive what it was about, flew away with the luscious fruit in its beak. The child, in great distress, ran to tell her stepmother of the robbery, and besought her with many tears to spare her life, for she had done her best to save the fruit, but the naughty bird must have been watching his opportunity to take the fig. The cruel stepmother would not be appeased, and, in a fit of anger, killed the child, and then buried her in the garden. In a few days a beautiful rose-tree grew up over the grave, as though wishful to mark the sacred spot where the innocent child lay. Meanwhile, the mistress of the school that the child attended, having for several days missed her from her usual place, and fearing that she was ill, resolved to go to the house and enquire for her, which she did one day when out walking with her young ladies; but the only answer the lady would give her was that she did not know where her stepdaughter had gone to, and that if she thought proper to run away from home she was welcome to do so. The lady, however, invited the schoolmistress to take a walk round the garden with her pupils. The schoolmistress, glad to give her