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The little girl came into her papa's study, as don't go on, I 'll give it to you ! And at this she always did Saturday morning before breakfast, her papa darted off like lightning, and began to and asked for a story. He tried to beg off that tell the story as fast as he could. morning, for he was very busy, but she would not let him. So he began :
Well, once there was a little girl who liked “Well, once there was a little pig
Christmas so much that she wanted it to be ChristShe put her hand over his mouth and stopped mas every day in the year; and as soon as Thankshim at the word. She said she had heard little giving was over she began to send postal cards to pig stories till she was perfectly sick of them. the old Christmas Fairy to ask if she might n't
“Well, what kind of story shall I tell, then ? " have it. But the old Fairy never answered any of
“ About Christmas. It 's getting to be the the postals ; and, after a while, the little girl found season. It 's past Thanksgiving already." out that the Fairy was pretty particular, and
“It seems to me," argued her papa, “that I've would n't notice anything but letters, not even told as often about Christmas as I have about correspondence cards in envelopes; but real letters little pigs."
on sheets of paper, and sealed outside with a mon“No difference! Christmas is more interest- ogram, or your initial, any way. So, then, she ing."
began to send her letters; and in about three “Well!” Her papa roused himself from his weeks or just the day before Christmas, it was writing by a great effort. “Well, then, I 'll tell - she got a letter from the Fairy, saying she you about the little girl that wanted it Christmas might have it Christmas every day for a year, and every day in the year. How would you like that?” then they would see about having it longer.
“First-rate !” said the little girl; and she The little girl was a good deal excited already, nestled into comfortable shape in his lap, ready for preparing for the old-fashioned, once-a-year Christlistening
mas that was coming the next day, and perhaps “ Very well, then, this little pig, Oh, what the Fairy's promise did n't make such an imare you pounding me for ?"
pression on her as it would have made at some “ Because you said little pig instead of little other time. She just resolved to keep it to hergirl.”
self, and surprise everybody with it as it kept “ I should like to know what is the difference coming true; and then it slipped out of her mind between a little pig and a little girl that wanted it altogether. Christmas every day!”
She had a splendid Christmas. She went to “Papa,” said the little girl, warningly, “if you bed early, so as to let Santa Claus have a chance
at the stockings, and in the morning she was up pouring in that the expressman had not had time the first of anybody and went and felt them, and to deliver the night before; and she went 'round found hers all lumpy with packages of candy, giving the presents she had got for other people, and oranges and grapes, and pocket-books and and came home and ate turkey and cranberry for rubber balls and all kinds of small presents, and dinner, and plum-pudding and nuts and raisins her big brother's with nothing but the tongs in and oranges and more candy, and then went out them, and her young lady sister's with a new silk and coasted and came in with a stomach-ache, cry. umbrella, and her papa's and mamma's with po- ing; and her papa said he would see if his house tatoes and pieces of coal wrapped up in tissue was turned into that sort of fool's paradise another paper, just as they always had every Christmas. year; and they had a light supper, and pretty Then she waited around till the rest of the family early everybody went to bed cross. were up, and she was the first to burst into the library, when the doors were opened, and look at Here the little girl pounded her papa in the the large presents laid out on the library-table back, again. books, and portfolios, and boxes of stationery, and Well, what now? Did I say pigs?” breast-pins, and dolls, and little stoves, and dozens “You made them act like pigs." of handkerchiefs, and ink-stands, and skates, and “Well, did n't they?” snow-shovels, and photograph-frames, and little “No matter; you ought n't to put it into a easels, and boxes of water-colors, and Turkish paste, story.” and nougat, and candied cherries, and dolls' houses, “Very well, then, I'll take it all out."
THE SECOND CHRISTMAS MORNING.
and waterproofs,- and the big Christmas-tree, Her father went on:
The little girl slept very heavily, and she slept She had a splendid Christmas all day. She ate very late, but she was wakened at last by the other so much candy that she did not want any break- children dancing 'round her bed with their stockfast; and the whole forenoon the presents kept ings full of presents in their hands.
“What is it?" said the little girl, and she day, and it did n't skip even the First of April, rubbed her eyes and tried to rise up in bed. though everything was counterfeit that day, and
“Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” they that was some little relief. all shouted, and waved their stockings.
After a while, coal and potatoes began to be “Nonsense ! It was Christmas yesterday." awfully scarce, so many had been wrapped up in
Her brothers and sisters just laughed. “We tissue paper to fool papas and mammas with. Turdon't know about that. It's Christmas to-day, keys got to be about a thousand dollars apiece any way. You come into the library and see.”
Then all at once it flashed on the little girl that “Papa ! ” the Fairy was keeping her promise, and her year of “Well, what?” Christmases was beginning. She was dreadfully “You 're beginning to fib.” sleepy, but she sprang up like a lark —a lark that “Well, two thousand, then." had overeaten itself and gone to bed cross — and darted into the library. There it was again ! Books, And they got to passing off almost anything for and portfolios, and boxes of stationery, and breast- turkeys,— half-grown humming-birds, and even pins
rocs out of the “ Arabian Nights,”— the real tur
keys were so scarce. And cranberries — well, they “You need n't go over it all, Papa; I guess I can asked a diamond apiece for cranberries. All the remember just what was there," said the little girl.woods and orchards were cut down for Christmas
trees, and where the woods and orchards used to be, Well, and there was the Christmas-tree blazing it looked just like a stubble-field, with the stumps. away, and the family picking out their presents, After a while they had to make Christmas-trees but looking pretty sleepy, and her father perfectly out of rags, and stuff them with bran, like oldpuzzled, and her mother ready to cry. “I'm fashioned dolls; but there were plenty of rags, sure I don't see how I'm to dispose of all these because people got so poor, buying presents for one things,” said her mother, and her father said it another, that they could n't get any new clothes, seemed to him they had had something just like it and they just wore their old ones to tatters. They the day before, but he supposed he must have got so poor that everybody had to go to the poordreamed it. This struck the little girl as the best house, except the confectioners, and the fancy kind of a joke; and so she ate so much candy she store-keepers, and the picture-booksellers, and did n't want any breakfast, and went 'round carry- the expressmen; and they all got so rich and ing presents, and had turkey and cranberry for proud that they would hardly wait upon a person dinner, and then went out and coasted, and came when he came to buy; it was perfectly shameful ! in with a
Well, after it had gone on about three or four
Well, the next day, it was just the same thing over again, but everybody getting crosser; and at the end of a week's time so many people had lost their tempers that you could pick up lost tempers anywhere ; they perfectly strewed the ground. Even when people tried to recover their tempers they usually got somebody else's, and it made the most dreadful mix.
The little girl began to get frightened, keeping the secret all to herself; she wanted to tell her mother, but she did n't dare to; and she was ashamed to ask the Fairy to take back her gift, it seemed ungrateful and ill-bred, and she thought she would try to stand it, but she hardly knew how months, the little girl, whenever she came into the she could, for a whole year. So it went on and room in the morning and saw those great ugly lumpy on, and it was Christmas on St. Valentine's Day, stockings dangling at the fire-place, and the disand Washington's Birthday just the same as any gusting presents around everywhere, used to just
sit down and burst out crying. In six months she flowed, and then they used to let them lie out in was perfectly exhausted; she could n't even cry the rain, or anywhere. Sometimes the police used any more; she just lay on the lounge and rolled to come and tell them to shovel their presents off her eyes and panted. About the beginning of the sidewalk, or they would arrest them.
“I thought you said everybody had gone to the poor-house," interrupted the little girl.
“They did go, at first," said her papa; “but after a while the poor-houses got so full that they had to send the people back to their own houses. They tried to cry, when they got back, but they could n't make the least sound.”
Why could n't they?"
Because they had lost their voices, saying Merry Christmas' so much. Did I tell you how it was on the Fourth of July ?”
No; how was it?” And the little girl nestled closer, in expectation of something uncommon.
and, instead of running their tongues out and taking before twelve o'clock, as usual, expecting to be great pains to write “For dear Papa,” or “Mam- wakened by the bells and cannon. But it was ma,” or “Brother,” or “Sister,” or “Susie,” or nearly eight o'clock before the first boy in the
Sammie,” or “ Billie,” or “Bobby,” or “ Jim- United States woke up, and then he found out mie,” or “ Jennie,” or whoever it was, and troub- what the trouble was. As soon as he could get ling to get the spelling right, and then signing his clothes on, he ran out of the house and their names, and “'Xmas, 188—," they used to smashed a big cannon-torpedo down on the pavewrite in the gift-books, “ Take it, you horrid old ment; but it did n't make any more noise than a thing !" and then go and bang it against the front damp wad of paper, and, after he tried about door. Nearly everybody had built barns to hold twenty or thirty more, he began to pick them up their presents, but pretty soon the barns over- and look at them. Every single torpedo was a big