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Agnes Taylor Ketchum

North Wind

O NE bright summer morning, North Wind, a youth fond of play, asked leave of his father, Eolus, to go out of their home, which was in a hollow mountain, and play awhile outside. Leave was granted, and forth he rushed. First he went into a garden, and asked a delicate white lily to play with him. She would not go, so he rudely seized her and gave her such a twist that she fell to the ground. Then he bounded over a fence into an orchard, and asked an apple-tree to be his playmate. But the tree said, "I am busy now getting my apples ready for gathering; come another time." North Wind saucily said, "Take that, then!" and he gave her such a shake that she dropped all her apples to the ground. Scampering along, the rude fellow met a swarm of bees, and invited them to a frolic. But as they were too busy to take a holiday, he became vexed and stamped them down, and left them in the dust. He was treating a field of corn in the same way, when the farmers, whose grounds had been invaded by North Wind, hastened to Eolus and made complaint of the damage he had done them. North Wind was at once called in. He heard the complaint which the farmers made, and was asked what he had to say for himself. He answered, "I did not mean to do any harm. I was only in play. The lily, and the apple tree, and the bees, and the corn, would not play with me, so I gave the lily a little twist, and the tree one little shake, just touched the bees with my foot, and gave the ears of corn a light box with my hand. I was only playing."

"But the lily," said the father, "is dead; the tree has lost her fruit; the bees are killed, and the corn-fields are laid waste. Your play is too rough. Hereafter you will stay in doors in the summer, and go out only in the winter, when gardens, orchards and fields are bare, or covered with snow." And now we may hear him some winter night, howling through the leafless trees, or in the daytime we may see him tossing the white snow against the window-panes or into drifts by the roadside.