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William Brighty Rands

Little Christel


Slowly forth from the village church,—

The voice of the choristers hushed overhead,—

Came little Christel. She paused in the porch,

Pondering what the preacher had said.

Even the youngest, humblest child

Something may do to please the Lord;

"Now, what," thought she, and half-sadly smiled,

"Can I, so little and poor, afford?—

"Never, never a day should pass,

Without some kindness, kindly shown,

The preacher said "—Then down to the grass

A skylark dropped, like a brown-winged stone.

"Well, a day is before me now;

Yet, what," thought she, "can I do, if I try?

If an angel of God would show me how!

But silly am I, and the hours they fly."

Then the lark sprang singing up from the sod,

And the maiden thought, as he rose to the blue,

"He says he will carry my prayer to God;

But who would have thought the little lark knew?"


Now she entered the village street,

With book in hand and face demure,

And soon she came, with sober feet,

To a crying babe at a cottage door.

It wept at a windmill that would not move,

It puffed with round red cheeks in vain,

One sail stuck fast in a puzzling groove,

And baby's breath could not stir it again.

So baby beat the sail and cried,

While no one came from the cottage door;

But little Christel knelt down by its side,

And set the windmill going once more.

Then babe was pleased, and the little girl

Was glad when she heard it laugh and crow;

Thinking, "Happy windmill, that has but to whirl,

To please the pretty young creature so."


No thought of herself was in her head,

As she passed out at the end of the street,

And came to a rose-tree tall and red,

Drooping and faint with the summer heat.

She ran to a brook that was flowing by,

She made of her two hands a nice round cup,

And washed the roots of the rose-tree high,

Till it lifted its languid blossoms up.

"O happy brook!" thought little Christel,

"You have done some good this summer's day,

You have made the flowers look fresh and well!"

Then she rose and went on her way.