From Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard by Eleanor Farjeon

(to Part 1)

He raised his staff, but Young Gerard thrust it aside so violently that he staggered, and the boy went away to his sheep and they met no more till evening. The whole of that day Young Gerard sat on the Mount, not looking as usual to the busy north dreaming of the unknown land beyond the water, but over the silent slopes and valleys of the south, whose peoples were only birds and foxes and rabbits, and whose only cities were built of lights and shadows. Somewhere beyond them was Combe Ivy, and little Thea getting married to the Rough Master of Coates, in the midst of feasting and singing and dancing. He thought of her dancing over the Downs for joy of being free, he thought of her singing to herself as she gathered flowers in his copse, and he thought of her feasting on wild berries he had helped her to find--that also was a feasting and singing and dancing. All day long his thoughts ran, "She will not come any more in the mornings to bathe in the river over the hill. She will not come with her little basket to gather flowers and berries. She will not stop and ask for a cup of milk, or say, Let me see the young lambs, or say, Is your cherry-tree in flower yet, shepherd? She will not ask me with her eyes to come with her--oh, she will not ask me by turning her eyes away, with her little head bent. You! you Rough Master of Coates, what are you like, what are you like?"

In the evening when he gathered his sheep, one was missing. He had to take the flock back without it. Old Gerard was furious with him; it seemed as though on this last night that separated him from the long fulfillment of his hopes he must be more furious than he had ever been before. He was furious at being thwarted of the fun in the valley, furious at the loss of the lamb, most furious at young Gerard's indifference to his fury. He told the boy he must search on the hills, and Young Gerard only sat down by the side of the shed and looked to the south and made no answer. So he went himself, leaving the boy to prepare the mess for supper; for he feared that if he went to Combe Ivy that night with a bad tale to tell, his master for a whim might say that a young sheep was a fair deal for an old shepherd, and take his gold, and keep him a bondman still. For the Lord of Combe Ivy lived by his whimsies. But Old Gerard could not find the lost sheep, and when he came back the boy was where he had left him, looking over the darkening hills.

"Is the mess ready?" said Old Gerard.
"No," said Young Gerard.
"Why not?"
"Because I forgot"

Old Gerard slashed at him with a rope he had taken in case of need. "That will make you remember"
"No," said Young Gerard.
"Why not?"
Young Gerard said, "You beat me too often, I cannot remember all the reasons"
"Then," said Old Gerard full of wrath, "I will beat you out of all reason"

And he began to thrash Young Gerard will all his might, talking between the blows. "Haven't you been the curse of my life for twenty-one years?" snarled he. "Can I trust you? Can I leave you? Would the sheep get their straw? Would the lambs be brought alive into the world? Bah! for all you care the sheep would go cold and their young would die. And down yonder they are getting drunk without me!"
"Old shepherd," said a voice behind him.
The angry man, panting with his rage and the exertion of his blows, paused and turned. Near the corner of the shed he saw a woman in a duffle cloak standing, or rather stooping, on her crutch. She was so ancient that it seemed as though Death himself must have forgotten her, but her eyes in their wrinkled sockets were as piercing as thorns. Old Gerard, staring at them, felt as though his own eyes were pricked.

"Where have I seen you before, hag?" he said.
"Have you ever seen me before?" asked the old woman.
"I thought so, I thought so"--he fumbled with his memory.
"Then it must have been when we went courting in April, nine-and-ninety years ago," said the old woman dryly, "but you lads remember me better than I do you. Can I sleep by your hearth to-night?"
"Where are you going to?" asked Old Gerard, half grinning, half sour.
"Where I'll be welcome," said she.
"You're not welcome here. But there's nothing to steal, you may sleep by the hearth"
"Thank you, shepherd," said the crone, "for your courtesy. Why were you beating the boy?"
"Because he's one that won't work"
"Is he your slave?"
"He's my master's slave. But he's idle"
"I am not idle," said Young Gerard. "The year round I'm busy long before dawn and long after dark"
"Then why are you idle to-day," sneered Old Gerard, "of all the days in the year?"
"I've something else to think of," said the boy.
"You see," said the old man to the crone.
"Well," said she, "a boy cannot always be working. A boy will sometimes be dreaming. Life isn't all labor, shepherd"
"What else is it?" said Old Gerard.
"Ho, ho, ho!" went Old Gerard.
"And power"
"Ho, ho, ho!"
"And triumph"
"Not for serfs," said Old Gerard.
"For serfs and lords," she said.
"Ho, ho, ho!"
"You were young once," said the crone.
Old Gerard said, "What if I was?"
"Good night," said the crone; and she went into the shed.

The shepherds looked after her, the old one stupidly, the young one with lighted eyes.

"Will you get supper?" growled Old Gerard.
"No," said Young Gerard, "I won't. I want no supper. Put down that rope. I am taller and stronger than you, and why I've let you go on beating me so long I don't know, unless it is that you began to beat me when you were taller and stronger than I. If you want any supper, get it yourself"
Old Gerard turned red and purple. "The boy's mad!" he gasped. "Do you know what happens to servants who defy their masters?"
"Yes," said Young Gerard, "then they're lords." And he too went into the shed.
"Try that on Combe Ivy!" bawled Old Gerard, "and see what you'll get for it. I thank fortune, I'll be quit of you tomorrow-- What's that to-do in the valley?" he muttered, and stared down the hill.

Away in the hollows and shadows he saw splashes of moving light, and heard far-off snatches of song and laughter, but the movements and sounds were still so distant that they seemed to be only those of ghosts and echoes. Nearer they came and nearer, and now in the night he could discern a great rabble stumbling among the dips and rises of the hills.

"They're heading this way," said Old Gerard. "Why, tis the wedding-party," he said amazed, "if it's not witchcraft. But why are they coming here?"
"Hola! hola! hola!" shouted a tipsy voice hard by.
"Here's dribblings from the wineskin," said Old Gerard; and up the track struggled a drunken man, waving a torch above his head. It was the guest whom he had directed in the morning.
"Hola!" he shouted again on seeing Old Gerard.
"Well, racketer?" said the shepherd, with a chuckle.
"Shall a man not racket at another man's wedding?" he cried. "Let some one be jolly, say I!"
"The bridegroom," said Old Gerard.
"Ha, ha!" laughed the other, "the bridegroom! He was first in high feather and last in the sulks"
"The bride, then"
"Ha, ha! ha, ha! during the toasts he tried to kiss her"
"Wouldn't she?"
"She wouldn't"
"Hark!" said Old Gerard, "here they come." The sound of rollicking increased as the rout drew nearer.

"He's taking her home across the river," said the guest. "I wouldn't be she. There she sat, her pretty face fixed and frozen, but a fright in her that shook her whole body. You could see it shake. And we drank, how we drank! to the bride and the groom and their daughters and sons, to the sire and the priest, and the ring and the bed, to the kiss and the quarrel, to love which is one thing and marriage which is another--Lord, how we drank! But she drank nothing. And for all her terror the Rough could do no more with her than with a stone. Something in her turned him cold every time. Suddenly up he gets. We'll have no more of this,' he says, we'll go.' Combe Ivy would have had them stay, but She's where she's used to lord it here,' says Rough, I'll take her where I lord it, and teach her who's master,' And he pushes down his chair and takes her hand and pulls her away; and out we tumble after him. Combe Ivy cries to him to wait for the horses, but no, We'll foot it,' says he, up hill and down dale as the crow flies, and if she hates me now without a cause I swear she'll love me with one at the end of the dance.' We're dancing them as far as the Wildbrooks; on t'other side they may dance for themselves. Here they come dancing--dance, you!" cried the guest, and whirled his torch like a madman. And as he whirled and staggered, up the hill came the wedding-party as tipsy as he was: a motley procession, waving torches and garlands, winecups, flagons, colored napkins, shouting and singing and beating on trenchers and salvers--on anything that they could snatch from the table as they quitted it. They came in all their bravery--in doublets of flame-colored silk and blue, in scarlet leather and green velvet, in purple slashed with silver and crimson fringed with bronze; but their vests were unlaced, their hose sagged, and silk and velvet and leather were stained bright or dark with wine. Some had stuck leaves and flowers in their hair, others had tied their forelocks with ribbons like horses on a holiday, and one had torn his yellow mantle in two and capered in advance, waving the halves in either hand like monstrous banners, or the flapping wings of some golden bird of prey. In the midst of them, pressing forward and pressed on by the riot behind, was the Rough Master of Coates, and with him, always hanging a little away and shrinking under her veil, Thea, whose right wrist he grasped in his left hand. Breathless she was among the breathless rabble, who, gaining the hilltop seized each other suddenly and broke into antics, shaking their napkins and rattling on their plates. Their voices were hoarse with laughter and drink, and their faces flushed with it; only among those red and swollen faces, the bridegroom's, in the flare of the torches, looked as black as the bride's looked white. The night about the newly-wedded pair was one great din and flutter.

Then in a trice the dancers all lost breath, and the dance parted as they staggered aside; and at the door of the shed Young Gerard stood, and gazed through the broken revel at little Thea, and she stood gazing at him. And behind and above him, along the walls of the hut, and over the doorway, and making lovely the very roof, she saw a cloud of snowwhite blossom.

Somebody cried, "Here's a boy. He shall dance too. Boy, is there drink within?"
The others took up the clamor. "Drink! bring us something to drink!"
"The red grape!" cried one.
"The yellow grape!" cried another.
"The sap of the apple!"
"The juice of the pear!"
"Nut-brown ale!"
"The spirit that burns!"
"Bring us drink!" they cried in a breath.
"Will you have milk?" said Young Gerard.
At this the company burst into a roar of laughter. They laughed till they rocked. But when they were silent little Thea spoke. She said in a faint clear voice:
"I would like a cup of milk"
Young Gerard went into the hut and came out with his wooden cup filled with milk, and brought it to her, and she drank. None spoke or moved while she drank, but when she gave him the cup again one of the crew said chuckling, "Now she has drunk, now she's merrier. Try her again, Rough, try her on milk!"

Again the night reeled with their laughter. They surrounded the wedded pair crying, "Kiss her! kiss her! kiss her!" Then the Rough Master of Coates pulled her round to him, dark with anger, and tried to kiss her. But she turned sharply in his arms, bending her head away. And despite his force, and though he was a man and she little more than a child, he could not make her mouth meet his. And the laughter of the guests rose higher, and infuriated him.

Then he who had spoken before said, "By Hymen, the bride should kiss something. If the lord's not good enough, let her kiss the churl!" At this the revelers, wild with delight, beat on their trenchers and shouted, "Ay, let her!"

And suddenly they surged in, parting Thea from the Rough; while some pulled him back others dragged Young Gerard forward, till he stood where the bridegroom had stood; and in that seething throng of mockery he felt her clinging helplessly to him, and his arm went round her.
"Kiss him! kiss him! kiss him!" cried the guests.
She looked up pitifully at him, and he bent his head. And she heard him whisper:
"My cherry-tree's in flower"
She whispered, "Yes"
And they kissed each other.

Then the tumult of laughter passed all bounds, so that it was a wonder if it was not heard at Combe Ivy; and the guests clashed their trenchers one against another, and whirled their torches till the sparks flew, yelling, "The bride's kiss! He, ha! the bride's kiss!"

But the Rough Master of Coates had had enough; snarling like a mad dog he thrust his way through the crowd on one side, as Old Gerard, seeing his purpose, thrust through on the other, and both at the same instant fell on the boy, the one with his scabbard, the other with his staff.
"Kisses, will ye?" cried the Rough Master of Coates, "here's kisses for ye!"
"Ha, ha!" cried the guests, "more kisses, more kisses for him that kissed the bride!"
And then they all struck him at once, kicking and beating him without mercy, till he lay prone on the earth. When he had fallen, the Rough shouted, "Away to the Wildbrooks, away!"
And he seized Thea in his arms, and rushed along the brow of the hill, and all the company followed in a confusion, and were swallowed up in the night.

But Young Gerard raised himself a little, and groaned, "The Wildbrooks--are they going to the Wildbrooks?"
"Ay, and over the Wildbrooks," said Old Gerard.
"But they're in flood," gasped Young Gerard. "They'll never cross it in the spring floods"
"They'll manage it somehow. The Rough--did you see his eyes when you--? ho, ho! he'll cross it somehow"
"He can't," the boy muttered. "The April tide's too strong. He will drown in the flood"
"And she," said Old Gerard.
"Perhaps she will swim on the flood," said Young Gerard faintly. And he sighed and sank back on the earth.
"Ay, you'll be sore," chuckled the old man. "You had your salve before you had your drubbing. Lie there. I must be gone on business"
He took up his staff and went down the hill for the last time to Combe Ivy, to purchase his freedom.

But Young Gerard lay with his face pressed to the turf. "And that was the bridegroom," he said, and shook where he lay.
"Young shepherd," said a voice beside him. He looked up and saw the hooded crone, come out of the hut. "Why do you water the earth?" said she. "Have not the rains done their work?"
"What work, dame?"
"You've as fine a cherry in flower," said she, "as ever blossomed in Gay Street in the season of singing and dancing"
"Singing and dancing!" he cried, his voice choking, and he sprang up despite his pains. "Don't speak to me, dame, of singing and dancing. You're old, like the withered branch of a tree, but did you not see with your old eyes, and hear with your old ears? Did you not see her come up the green hillside with singing and dancing? Oh, yes, my cherry's in flower, like a crown for a bride, and the spring is all in movement, and the birds are all in song, and she--she came up the hillside with singing and dancing"
"I saw," said the crone, "and I heard. I'm not so old, young shepherd, that I do not remember the curse of youth"
"What's that?" he said moodily.
"To bear the soul of a master in the body of a slave," said she; "to be a flower in a sealed bud, the moon in a cloud, water locked in ice, Spring in the womb of the year, love that does not know itself"
"But when it does know?" said Young Gerard slowly.
"Oh, when it knows!" said she. "Then the flower of the fruit will leap through the bud, and the moon will leap like a lamb on the hills of the sky, and April will leap in the veins of the year, and the river will leap with the fury of Spring, and the headlong heart will cry in the body of youth, I will not be a slave, but I will be the lord of life, because--"
"Because?" said Young Gerard.
"Because I will!"
Young Gerard said nothing, and they sat together in a long silence in the darkness, and time went by filling the sky with stars.

Now as they sat the hilltop once more began to waver with shadows and voices, but this time the shadows came on heavy feet and weary, and the voices were forlorn. One feebly cried, "Hola!" And round the belt of trees straggled the rout that had left them an hour or so earlier. But now they were sodden and dejected, draggled and woebegone, as sorry a spectacle as so many drowned rats.
"Fire!" moaned one. "Fire! fire!"
"Who's burning?" said Young Gerard, and got quickly on his feet; but he did not see the two he looked for.
"None's burning, fool, but many are drowning. Do we not look like drowned men? How shall we ever get back to Combe Ivy, and warmth and drink and comforts? Would we were burning!"
"What has happened?" the boy demanded.
"We went in search of the ferry," he said, "but the ferry was drowned too"
"We couldn't find the ferry," said a second.
"No," mumbled a third, "the river had drunk it up. Where there were paths there are brooks, and where there were meadows, lakes"
The miserable crew broke out into plaints and questions--"Have you no fire? have you no food? no coverings?"
"None," said Young Gerard. "Where is the bride?"
"Have you do drink?"
"Where is the bride?"
"The groom stumbled," said one. "Let us to Combe Ivy, in comfort's name. There'll be drink there"
He staggered down the hill, and his fellows made after him. But Young Gerard sprang upon one, and gripped him by the shoulder and shook him, and for the third time cried:
"Where is the bride?"

"In the water," he answered heavily, "because--there was--no wine"
Then he dragged himself out of the boy's grasp, and fell down the hill after his companions.

Young Gerard stood for one instant listening and holding his breath. Suddenly he said, "My lost lamb, crying on the hills." He ran into the shed and looked about, and snatched from the settle the green and cherry cloak, and from the wall the crystal and silver lantern. He struck a spark from a flint and lit the wick. It burned brightly and steadily. Then he ran out of the shed. The old woman rose up in his path.
"That's a good light," said she, "and a warm cloak"
"Don't stop me!" said Young Gerard, and ran on. She nodded, and as he vanished in one direction, she vanished in the other.
He had not run far when he saw one more shadow on the hills; and it came with faltering steps, and a trembling sobbing breath, and he held up his lantern and the light fell on Thea, shivering in her wet veil. As the flame struck her eyes she sighed, "Oh, I can't see the way--I can't see!"
Young Gerard hurried to her and said, "Come this way," and he took her hand; but she snatched it quickly from him.
"Go, man!" she said. "Don't touch me. Go!"
"Don't be frightened of me," said Young Gerard gently.
Then she looked at him and whispered, "Oh--it is you--shepherd. I was trying to find you. I'm cold"
Young Gerard wrapped the cloak about her, and said, "Come with me. I'll make you a fire"
He took her back to the shed. But she did not go in. She crouched on the ground under the cherry-tree. Young Gerard moved about collecting brushwood. They scarcely looked at each other; but once when he passed her he said, "You're shivering"
"It's because I'm so wet," said Thea.
"Did you fall in the water?"
She nodded. "The floods were so strong"
"It's a bad night for swimming," said Young Gerard.
"Yes, shepherd." She then said again, "Yes." He could tell by her voice that she was smiling faintly. He glanced at her and saw her looking at him; both smiled a little and glanced away again. He began to pile his brushwood for the fire.

After a short pause she said timidly, "Are you sore, shepherd?"
"No, I feel nothing," said he.
"They beat you very hard"
"I did not feel their blows"
"How could you not feel them?" she said in a low voice. He looked at her again, and again their eyes met, and again parted quickly.
"Now I'll strike a spark," said Young Gerard, "and you'll be warm soon"

He kindled his fire; the branches crackled and burned, and she knelt beside the blaze and held her hands to it.
"I was never here by night before," she said.
"Yes, once," said Young Gerard. "You often came, didn't you, to gather flowers in the morning and to swim in the river at noon. But once before you were here in the night"
"Was I?" said she.
He dropped a handful of cones into her lap, throwing the last on the fire. She threw another after it, and smiled as it crackled.
"I remember," she said. "Thank you, shepherd. You were always kind and found me the things I wanted, and gave me your cup to drink of. Who'll drink of it now?"
"No one," he said, "ever again"
He went and fetched the cup and gave it to her. "Burn that too," said Young Gerard. Thea put it into the fire and trembled. When it was burned she asked very low, "Will you be lonely?"
"I'll have my sheep and my thoughts"
"Yes," said Thea, "and stars when the sheep are folded. The stars are good to be with too"
"Good to see and not be seen by," he said.
"How do you know they don't see you?" she asked shyly.
"One shepherd on a hill isn't much for the eye of a star. He may watch them unwatched, while they come and go in their months. Sometimes there aren't any, and sometimes not more than one pricking the sky near the moon. But to-night, look! the sky's like a tree with full branches"
Thea looked up and said with a child's laugh, "Break me a branch!"
"I'd want Jacob's Ladder for that," smiled Young Gerard.
"Then shake the tree and bring them down!" she insisted.
"Here come your stars," said Young Gerard. Suddenly she was enveloped in a falling shower, white and heavenly.
"The stars--!" she cried. "Oh, what is it?"
"My cherry-tree--it's in flower--" said Young Gerard, and his voice trembled. She looked up quickly and saw that he was standing beside her, shaking the tree above her head. And now their eyes met and did not separate. He put out his hand and broke a branch from the tree and offered it to her. She took it from him slowly, as though she were in a dream, and laid it in her lap, and put her face in her hands and began to cry.

Young Gerard whispered, "Why are you crying?"
Thea said, "Oh, my wedding, my wedding! Only last year I thought of the night of my wedding and how it would be. It was not with torchlight and shouting and wine, but moonlight and silence and the scent of wild blossoms. And now I know that it was not the night of my wedding I dreamed of"
"What did you dream of?" asked Young Gerard.
"The night of my first love"
"Thea," said Young Gerard, and he knelt beside her.
"And my love's first kiss"
"Oh, Thea," said Young Gerard, and he took her hands.
"Why did you not feel their blows?" she said. "I felt them"
Their arms went round each other, and for the second time that night they kissed.

Young Gerard said, "I've always wondered if this would happen"
And Thea answered, "I didn't know it would be you"
"Didn't you? didn't you?" he whispered, stroking her head, wondering at himself doing what he had so often dreamed of doing.
"Oh," she faltered, "sometimes I thought--it might--be you, darling"
"Thea, Thea!"
"When I came over the Mount to swim in the river, and saw you in the distance among your sheep, there was a swifter river running through all my body. When I came every April to ask for your cherry-tree, what did it matter to me that it was not in bloom? for all my heart was wild with bloom, oh, Gerard, my--lover!"
"Oh, Thea, my love! What can I give you, Thea, I, a shepherd?"
"You were the lord of the earth, and you gave me its flowers and its birds and its secret waters. What more could you give me, you, a shepherd and my lord?"
"The wild white bloom of its fruit-trees that comes to the branches in April like love to the heart. I'll give it you now. Sit here, sit here! I'll make you a bower of the cherry, and a crown, and a carpet too. There's nothing in all April lovely and wild enough for you to-night, your bridal night, my lady and my darling!"

And in a great fit of joy he broke branch after branch from the tree as she sat at its foot, and set them about her, and filled her arms to overflowing, and crowned her with blossoms, and shook the bloom under her feet, till her shy happy face, paling and reddening by turns, looked out from a world of flowers and she cried between laughing and weeping, "Oh, Gerard, oh, you're drowning me!"
"It's the April floods," shouted Young Gerard, "and I must drown with you, Thea, Thea, Thea!" And he cast himself down beside her, and clasped her amid all the blossoming, and with his head on her shoulder kissed and kissed her till he was breathless and she as pale as the flowers that smothered their kisses.

And then suddenly he folded her in the green mantle, blossoms and all, and sprang up and lifted her to his breast till she lay like a child in the arms of its mother; and he picked up the lantern and said, "Now we will go away for ever"
"Where are we going?" she whispered with shining eyes.
"To the Wildbrooks," he said.
"To drown in the floods together?" She closed her eyes.
"There's a way through all floods," said Young Gerard.
And he ran with her over the hills with all his speed.

And Old Gerard returned to a hut as empty as it had been one-and-twenty years ago. And they say that Combe Ivy, having never set eyes on the boy in his life, swore that the shepherd's tale had been a fiction from first to last, and kept him a serf to the end of his days.

A long while ago, dear maidens, there were Lords in Gay Street, and up and down the Street the cherry-trees bloomed in Spring as they bloomed nowhere else in Sussex, and under the trees sang and danced the loveliest lads and lasses in all England, with hearts like children. And on all their holiday clothes they worked the leaf and branch and flower and fruit of the cherry. And they never wore anything else but their holiday clothes, because it Gay Street it was always holidays.

And a long while ago there were Gypsies on Nyetimber Common, the merriest Gypsies in the southlands, with the gayest tatters and the brightest eyes, and the maddest hearts for mirth-making. They were also makers of lanterns when they were anything else but what all Gypsies are.

And once the son of a Gypsy King loved the daughter of a Lord of Gay Street, and she loved him. And because of this there was wrath in Gay Street and scorn on Nyetimber, and all things were done to keep the lovers apart. But they who attempt this might more profitably chase wild geese. So one night in April they were taken under one of her father's own wild cherries by the light of one of his father's own lanterns. And it was her father and his father who found them, as they had missed them, in the same moment, and were come hunting for sweethearts by night with their people behind them.

Then the Lord of Gay Street pronounced a curse of banishment on his own daughter, that she must go far away beyond the country of the floods, and another on his own tree, that it might never blossom more. And there and then it withered. And the Gypsy King pronounced as dark a curse of banishment on his own son, and a second on his own lantern, that it might never more give light. And there and then it went out.

Then from the crowd of gypsies came the oldest of them all, who was the King's great-grandmother, and she looked from the angry parents to the unhappy lovers and said, "You can blight the tree and make the lantern dark; nevertheless you cannot extinguish the flower and the light of love. And till these things lift the curse and are seen again united among you, there will be no Lords in Gay Street nor Kings on Nyetimber"

And she broke a shoot from the cherry and picked up the lantern and gave them to the lady and her lover; and then she took them one by each hand and went away. And the Lord of Gay Street and the Gypsy King died soon after without heirs, and the joy went out of the hearts of both peoples, and they dressed in sad colors for one-and-twenty years.

But the three traveled south through the country of the floods, and on the way the King's son was drowned, as others had been before him, and after him the Rough Master of Coates. But the crone brought the lady safely through, and how she was at once delivered of her son and her sorrow, dear maidens, you know.

And for one-and-twenty years the crone was seen no more, and then of a sudden she re-appeared at daybreak and bade her people put on their bright apparel because their King was coming with a young Queen; and after this she led them to Gay Street where she bade the folk to don their holiday attire, because their Lord was on his way with a fair Lady. And all those girls and boys, the dark and the light, felt the child of joy in their hearts again, and they went in the morning with singing and dancing to welcome the comers under the cherry-trees.

This story is from Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard by Eleanor Farjeon - first published in 1921. My thanks to Batsy Bybell, who has put this volume Online for us to enjoy.

Eldrbarry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Batsy

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