The Little Elder-Tree Mother 3

“What is this woman’s name?” asked the little boy.

 

“Well, the Romans and Greeks used to call her a Dryad,” said the old man; “but we do not understand that. Out in the sailors’ quarter they give her a better name; there she is called elder-tree mother. Now, you must attentively listen to her and look at the beautiful elder-tree.

 

“Just such a large tree, covered with flowers, stands out there; it grew in the corner of a humble little yard; under this tree sat two old people one afternoon in the beautiful sunshine. He was an old, old sailor, and she his old wife; they had already great-grandchildren, and were soon to celebrate their golden wedding, but they could not remember the date, and the elder-tree mother was sitting in the tree and looked as pleased as this one here. ‘I know very well when the golden wedding is to take place,’ she said; but they did not hear it—they were talking of bygone days.

 

“‘Well, do you remember?’ said the old sailor, ‘when we were quite small and used to run about and play—it was in the very same yard where we now are—we used to put little branches into the ground and make a garden.’

 

“‘Yes,’ said the old woman, ‘I remember it very well; we used to water the branches, and one of them, an elder-tree branch, took root, and grew and became the large tree under which we are now sitting as old people.’

 

“‘Certainly, you are right,’ he said; ‘and in yonder corner stood a large water-tub; there I used to sail my boat, which I had cut out myself—it sailed so well; but soon I had to sail somewhere else.’

 

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