48o SNOW-WHITE AND RED-ROSE.
Presently the bear said, " Dear children, will you sweep off the snow from my fur?"
So they got the broom, and cleaned the bear's skin, till it looked quite smooth, and then he stretched himself at full length before the fire, grunting now and then, to show how contented and comfortable he felt. In a very short time, they lost all fear of their unexpected guest; and even began to play wTith him. They jumped on his back, rolled him over on the floor, and tapped him with a hazel twig, pulled his thick fur, and, when he growled, they only laughed.
The bear allowed them to do as they liked, only saying, when they were too rough with him, " Leave me my life, dear children, and don't quite kill your old sweetheart."
When bed-time came, the mother said to him, " You can stay here by the fire all night, if you like. I will not turn you out in this dreadful weather; and here you will at least be sheltered from the cold."
In the morning, when they all rose, the two children let him out, and he trotted away over the snow into the wood.
After that, he came each evening at the same hour, laid himself on the hearth, and allowed the children to play with him just as they pleased. They became so used to his visits that no one thought of bolting the door till his black muzzle was pushed in. The winter passed, and spring was again covering the meadows and forest trees with her robe of green, and one morning the bear said to Snow-white, "I am going away now, during the summer, and you will not see me again till the end of autumn."
"Where are you going, dear bear?" asked Snow-white.
" I must go to the forest," he replied, " to hide my treasures from those wicked dwarfs. In winter these treasures are safe under the frozen earth, but now, when the sun has warmed and softened the ground, it is easy for them to break it and dig uj what I have buried, and when once anything valuable is in thei. hands it is not easy to recover it They will take care that it does not see daylight again."
Snow-white felt quite sorrowful when the bear said good-bye but as he passed out of the door, the latch caught his fur and tore a little piece off. Snow-white thought she saw something glittering