THE LOVERS 239
things were lying : cabbage stalks, * sweepings, and dust that had fallen down from the roof. •*
' Here's a nice place to lie in ! The gilding will soon leave me here. Among what a rabble have I alighted ! '
And then he looked sideways at a long leafless cabbage stump, and at a curious round thing that looked like an old apple ; but it was not an apple—it was an old Ball, which had lain for years in the gutter on the roof, and was quite saturated with water.
' Thank goodness, here comes one of us, with whom one can talk ! ' said the Ball, and looked at the gilt Top. ' I am real morocco, worked by maidens' hands, and have a cork within me ; but no one would think it, to look at me. I was very nearly marrying a swallow, but I fell into the gutter on the roof, and have lain there full five years, and become quite wet through. You may believe me, that 's a long time for a young girl.'
But the Top said nothing. He thought of his old love ; and the more he heard, the clearer it became to him that this was she.
Then came the servant-girl, and wanted to turn out the dust-bin.
1 Aha ! there's the gilt top ! ' she cried.
And so the Top was brought again to notice and honour, but nothing was heard of the Ball. And the Top spoke no more of his old love ; for that dies away when the beloved object has lain for five years in a roof-gutter and got wet through ; yes, one does not know her again when one meets her in the dust-bin.
THE UGLY DUCKLING
It was glorious out in the country. It was summer, and the cornfields were yellow, and the oats were green ; the hay had been put up in stacks in the green meadows, and the stork went about on his long red legs, and chattered Egyptian, for this language he had learned from his mother. All around the fields and meadows were great forests, and in the midst of these forests lay deep lakes. Yes, it was