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Pot of gold.

From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.

Start of Story

Once upon a time there stood by the roadside an old red house. In this house lived three people. They were an old grandmother; her grandchild, Rhoda; and a boy named Christopher. Christopher was no relation to Rhoda and her grandmother. He was called Chrif for short. The grandmother earned her living by picking berries. Every day in fair weather she went to the pastures. But she did not take the children with her. They played at home. Rhoda had a flower garden in an old boat. The boat was filled with earth. There grew larkspur and sweet-william. Rhoda loved her flowers and tended them faithfully. Chrif did not care much for flowers. He preferred to sail boats. He would cut them out of wood with his jack-knife, and load them with stones and grass. Then he would send the boats down the little stream that flowed past the old red house. "This ship is going to India," he would say to Rhoda. "She carries gold and will bring back pearls and rice." "How much you know, Chrif," said Rhoda. "I mean to go to India some day," said Chrif. "People ride on elephants there." Rhoda would sail little twigs in the stream. Her boats were small, but they sometimes went farther than Chrif's. His were loaded so heavily that they often overturned. One day the children were sailing boats when a thunder-storm arose. How fast the rain fell! And how fast they ran to the house!

"Poor grandmother will be all wet!" said Rhoda. She and Chrif were watching the falling rain from the window. Suddenly the sun came out. A little rain was still falling, but the children ran into the yard. "Look, there's a rainbow!" cried Chrif. "What pretty colours! and how ugly our old red house looks! I wish I were where the rainbow is." "I see just the colour of my larkspur in the rainbow," said Rhoda. "O pooh!" said Chrif, "only a flower! That's not much. Now if I were only rich, I wouldn't stay here. I'd go off into the world. How grand it must be over there beyond the rainbow." "One end is quite near us," said Rhoda. "Are ye looking for a pot of gold, children?" said a voice behind them. It was the old broom-woman. She had a little house in the woods and sold brooms for a living. "A pot of gold!" cried Chrif. "Where is it?" "It's at the foot of the rainbow," said the broom-woman. "If ye get to the foot of the rainbow and then dig and dig, ye'll come to a pot of gold." "Rhoda! let's go quick!" said Chrif. "No," said Rhoda, "I ought to weed my flowers." "Ye must hurry," laughed the old broom-woman. "The rainbow won't stay for lazy folks." "I'm off!" cried Chrif; and away he went in search of the pot of gold. Rhoda watched him out of sight. Then she turned to weed the boat-garden. When her grandmother came from the berry pasture, Rhoda told her where Chrif had gone. "We shall all be rich when he comes back with his pot of gold," said the little girl. "He will not find it," said the grandmother. Rhoda, however, was not so sure.

Chrif ran straight across the fields toward the glowing rainbow. One end of the lovely arch seemed to touch the top of a distant hill. Chrif climbed the hill, but the rainbow was no longer there. It rested on the far side of a valley. He hurried down the hill and into the valley. When he reached the spot where the end of the rainbow had rested, the rainbow was gone. Chrif could see it nowhere. The lad stopped and looked around him. Not far away a flock of sheep were feeding. A shepherd-boy lay on the ground near them. He was reading a book. Chrif crept to the shepherd-boy's side and read over his shoulder. This is what he read: "Beyond the setting of the sun lies the New Land. Here are mountains, forests, and mighty rivers. The sands of the streams are golden; the trees grow wonderful fruit; the mountains hide strange monsters. Upon a high pillar near the coast is the famous pot of gold." "Oh, where is this country?" cried Chrif. "Will you go?" asked Gavin, the shepherd-boy. "Go! That I will," said Chrif. "The pot of gold is there, and that is what I have set out to find."

"Yes," said Gavin, "the pot of gold is there and many other things. I long to see them all. Let us hurry on our way." The two boys first went through a forest. Then they came out upon the ocean side. The sun was setting in the sea. A path of gold lay across the water. A gay ship was about to set sail. Her white canvas was spread; her oars were in place. Her deck was crowded with lads. They were all starting for the wonderful New Land across the sea. Chrif and Gavin climbed on board and the ship bounded from the land. On and on they went, straight into the sunset. The rowers sang as they worked. Gavin tried to read his book, but Chrif looked eagerly ahead. How he longed to see the new country to which they were going! And very soon the New Land came in sight. Then a party landed; Chrif, Gavin, and a boy named Andy were among them. They walked some distance and then night darkened down around them. The mountains looked cruel; the fields barren. "Let us return to the ship," said many. But Chrif would not turn back. "I must find the pot of gold," he said, "it cannot now be far away." And Gavin and Andy went with him. "I should like to dip my fingers into your pot of gold," said Andy. "You shall have your share," said Chrif. "It is on the top of a pillar not far from the coast. If you'll stand below, I'll get on your shoulders, and then perhaps I can reach it."


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