i9S LITTLE BIRDIE AND HER FRIEND.
The children, who were sitting among the trees in the wood, saw them coming from a distance. " I will never forsake you, Birdie," said Lena, quickly. " Will you forsake me ?"
" Never, never !" was the reply.
" Then," cried Lena, "you shall be turned into a rose bush, and I will be one of the roses."
The three servants came up to the place where the old witch had told them to look; but nothing was to be seen but a rose tree and a rose. " There are no children here," they said. So they went back and told the cook that they had found only roses and bushes, but not a sign of the children.
The old woman scolded them well when they told her this, and said, " You stupid fools, you should have cut off the stem of the rose bush, and plucked one of the roses and brought them home with you as quick as possible. You must just go again a second time,"
Lena saw them coming, and she changed herself and Birdie so quickly, that when the three servants arrived at the spot to which the old woman had sent them, they found only a little church with a steeple—Birdie was the church and Lena the steeple.
Then the men said one to another, " What was the use of our coming here? We may as well go home."
But how the old woman did scold. " You fools V she said, " you should have brought the church and the steeple here. However, I will go myself this time." So the wicked old woman started off to find the children, taking the three servants with her.
When they saw the three servants coming in the distance, and the old woman waddling behind, Lena said, " Birdie, we will never forsake each other."
" No, no ! never, never!" replied the little foundling.
" Then you shall be changed into a pond, and I will be a duck swimming upon it."
The old woman drew near, and as soon as she saw the pond she laid herself down by it, and, leaning over, intended to drink it all up. But the duck was too quick for her. She seized the head of the old woman with her beak, and drew it under the water, and held it there till the old witch was drowned.
Then the two children resumed their proper shape, went home with the three servants, all of them happy and delighted to think