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From Very Short Stories by W K Clifford.
Start of Story
Age Rating 6 to 8.
The pink parasol had tender whalebone ribs and a slender stick of
cherry-wood. It lived with the wilful child in the white-house, just
beyond the third milestone. All about the trees were green, and the
flowers grew tall; in the pond behind the willows the ducks swam round
and round and dipped their heads beneath the water.
Every bird and bee, every leaf and flower, loved the child and the pink
parasol as they wandered in the garden together, listening to the birds
and seeking the shady spots to rest in, or walking up and down the long
trim pathway in the sunshine. Yet the child tired of it all, and before
the summer was over, was always standing by the gate, watching the
straight white road that stretched across the plain.
"If I might but see the city, with the busy streets and the eager
crowds," he was always saying to himself.
Then all that lived in the garden knew that the child would not be with
them long. At last the day came when he flung down the pink parasol,
and, without even one last look at the garden, ran out at the gate.
The flowers died, and the swallows journeyed south; the trees
stretched higher and higher, to see the child come back across the
plain, but he never came. "Ah, dear child!" they sighed many a time,
"why are you staying? and are your eyes as blue as ever; or have the
sad tears dimmed them? and is your hair golden still? and your voice,
is it like the singing of the birds? And your heart--oh! my dear, my
dear, what is in your heart now, that once was so full of summer and
The pink parasol lay on the pathway, where the child left it, spoilt by
the rain, and splashed by the gravel, faded and forgotten. At last, a
gipsy lad, with dark eyes, a freckled face, and little gold rings in
his ears, came by; he picked up the pink parasol, hid it under his
coat, and carried it to the gipsy tent. There it stayed till one day
the cherry-wood stick was broken into three pieces, and the pink
parasol was put on the fire to make the water boil for the gipsy's