58 THE ROGUES HOLIDAY.
guests who had arrived so late the night before. He went out to look for them, and found they were gone. Then he took an oath that he would never again admit such knaves into his house,— ragamuffins who ate a great deal, paid nothing, and, above all, instead of thanks, performed knavish tricks.
There were once a brother and sister, who loved each other dearly; their mother was dead, and their father had married again a woman who was most unkind and cruel to them. One day the boy took his sister's hand and said to her, " Dear little sister, since our mother died, we have not had one happy hour. Our stepmother gives us dry hard crusts for dinner and supper; she often knocks us about, and threatens to kick us out of the house; even the little dogs under the table fare better than we do, for she often throws them nice pieces to eat Heaven pity us ! Oh, if our dear mother knew! Come, let us go out into the wide world."
So they went out, and wandered over fields and meadows the whole day till evening. At last they found themselves in a large forest; it began to rain, and the little sister said, " See, brother, heaven and our hearts weep together." At last, tired out with hunger and sorrow, and the long journey, they crept into a hollow tree, laid themselves down, and slept till morning.
When they awoke the sun was high in the heavens, and shone brightly into the hollow tree, so they left their place of shelter and wandered away in search of water.
" Oh, I am so thirsty," said the boy; " if we could only find a brook or a stream." He stopped to listen, and said, "Stay, I think I hear a running stream." So he took his sister by the hand, and they ran together to find it
Now the stepmother of these poor children was a wicked witch; she had seen the children go away, and, following them cautiously like a snake, had bewitched all the springs and streams in the forest The pleasant trickling of a brook over the pebbles wai