Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/151

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

135
THE CHILD AND THE FIG.

pupils a treat, went with them into the garden, which was so bright with blossoms and flowering shrubs; and as they rambled through the walks, admiring the parterres so well laid out in patches of lovely colours, one of the children was attracted towards the rose-tree which grew over the stepdaughter's grave, and plucked one of the deep yellow roses. The instant she did so, she heard a plaintive voice, coming from under the rose-tree, which sang—

Stay that cruel hand, I pray,
Pluck not the golden locks away
That a mother once tenderly dressed,
That a father has fondly caressed!
Oh, why did my stepmother slay me,
And cold in the moist earth lay me?
'Twas the fault of the feather'd thief,
That filch'd the ripe fruit from beneath the broad leaf
Of the wide-spreading fig-tree, and brought me to grief.

The little girl in a fright dropped the rose she had plucked, and ran to tell the mistress what she had heard from under the rose-tree. The mistress went to the magistrate and related to him what had occurred, and he had the ground dug up where the rose-tree grew, and there they found the body of the child, which was still breathing. The stepmother was taken up and punished for her crime, and the kind schoolmistress took charge of the unfortunate little girl, who lived with her ever after, happy and well cared for.

Coimbra.