FRAULEIN, the young schoolmistress, to her pupils said one day,

"Next week, at Pfingster holiday, King Ludwig rides this way;

And you will be wise, my little ones, to work with a will at your tasks,

That so you may answer fearlessly whatever question he asks.

It would be a shame too dreadful if the king should have it to tell

That Hansel missed in his figures, and Peterkin could not spell!"

"Oho! That never shall happen," cried Hansel and Peterkin too;

"We'll show King Ludwig, when he comes, what the boys in this school can do."

"And we," said Gretchen and Bertha, and all the fair little maids

Who stood in a row before her, with their hair in flaxen braids,

"We will pay such good attention to every word you say,

That you shall not be ashamed of us when King Ludwig rides this way."

She smiled, the young schoolmistress, to see that they loved her so;

And with patient care she taught them the things it was good to know.

Day after day she drilled them, till the great day came at last

When the heralds going before him blew out their sounding blast;

And with music, and flying banners, and the clatter of horses' feet,

The king and his troops of soldiers rode down the village street.

Oh, the hearts of the eager children beat fast with joy and fear,

And Fraulein trembled and grew pale, as the cavalcade drew near;

But she blushed with pride and pleasure when the lessons came to be heard,

For in all the flock of her boys and girls not one of them missed a word.

And King Ludwig turned to the teacher, with a smile and a gracious look;

"It is plain," said he, "that your scholars have carefully conned their book.

"But now let us ask some questions to see if they understand;"

And he showed to one of the little maids an orange in his hand.

It was Christel, the youngest sister of the mistress fair and kind—

A child with a face like a lily, and as lovely and pure a mind.

"What kingdom does this belong to?" as he called her to his knee;

And at once—"The vegetable," she answered quietly.

"Good," said the monarch kindly, and showed her a piece of gold;

"Now tell me what this belongs to, the pretty coin that I hold."

She touched it with careful finger, for gold was a metal rare,

And then—"The miner al kingdom!" she answered with confident air.

"Well done for the little madchen!" And good King

Ludwig smiled

At Fraulein and her sister, the teacher and the child.

"Now answer me one more question:"—with a twinkle of, fun in his eye—

"What kingdom do I belong to?" For he thought she would make reply,

"The animal;" and he meant to ask, with a frown, if that was the thing

For a little child like her to say to her lord and master, the king.

He knew not the artless wisdom that would set his wit at naught,

And the little Christel guessed nothing at all of what was in his thought.

But her glance shot up at the question, and the brightness in her face,

Like a sunbeam on a lily, seemed to shine all over the place.

"What kingdom do you belong to?" her innocent lips repeat;

"Why, surely, the kingdom of heaven!" rings out the answer sweet.

And then for a breathless moment a sudden silence fell,

And you might have heard the fall of a leaf as they looked at little Christel.

But it only lasted a moment, then rose as sudden a shout—

"Well done, well done for little Christel!" and the bravos rang about.

For the king in his arms had caught her, to her wondering, shy surprise;

And over and over he kissed her, with a mist of tears in his eyes.

"May the blessing of God," he murmured, "forever rest on thy head!

Henceforth, by his grace, my life shall prove the truth of what thou hast said."

He gave her the yellow orange and the golden coin for her Own,

And the school had a royal feast that day whose like they had never known.

To Fraulein, the gentle mistress, he spoke such words of cheer

That they lightened her anxious labor for many and many a year.

And because in his heart was hidden the memory of this thing,

The Lord had a better servant, the Lord had a wiser king!


Wide Awake.