THE LITTLE ONES 83
'We never do that. We shouldn't like to be counted.'
' Why ?'
' It wouldn't be smooth. We would rather not know.'
' Where do the babies come from first ? '
' From the wood—always. There is no other place they can come from.'
She knew where they came from last, and thought nothing else was to be known about their advent.
' How often do you find one ? '
' Such a happy thing takes all the glad we've got, and we forget the last time. You too are glad to have him—are you not, good giant ? '
I Yes, indeed, I am !' I answered. ' But how do you feed him ? '
'I will show you,' she rejoined, and went away—to return directly with two or three ripe little plums. She put one to the baby's lips.
' He would open his mouth if he were awake,' she said, and took him in her arms.
She squeezed a drop to the surface, and again held the fruit to the baby's lips. Without waking he began at once to suck it, and she went on slowly squeezing until nothing but skin and stone were left.
' There !' she cried, in a tone of gentle triumph. ' A big apple it would be with nothing for the babies ! We wouldn't stop in it—would we, darling? We would leave it to the bad giants !'
' But what if you let the stone into the baby's mouth when you were feeding him ? ' I said.
'No mother would do that,' she replied. 'I shouldn't be fit to have a baby!'