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And he heard his simple, touching prayer,

Through all their noisy play; Though he tried his very best to put

The thought of him away.

A wise and learned man was he,

Men called him good and just;
But his wisdom seemed like foolishness,

By that weak child's simple trust.

Now when the morn of Christmas came

And the long, long week was done, Poor Gottlieb, who scarce could sleep,

Rose up before the sun,

And hastened to his mother,

But he scarce might speak for fear, When he saw her wondering look, and saw

The Burgomaster near.

He was n't afraid of the Holy Babe,

Nor his mother, meek and mild; But he felt as if so great a man

Had never been a child.

Amazed the poor child looked, to find

The hearth was piled with wood, And the table, never full before,

Was heaped with dainty food.

Then half to hide from himself the truth

The Burgomaster said,

While the mother blessed him on her knees,

And Gottlieb shook for dread:

“Nay, give no thanks, my good dame,

To such as me for aid,
Be grateful to your little son,

And the Lord to whom he prayed!”

Then turning round to Gottlieb,

“Your written prayer, you see, Came not to whom it was addressed.

It only came to me!

“'T was but a foolish thing you did,

As you must understand; For though the gifts are yours, you know,

You have them from my hand."

Then Gottlieb answered fearlessly,

Where he humbly stood apart,
“But the Christ-child sent them all the same;

He put the thought in your heart!"

Gott'liēb; kēep the wolf (woolf) from the door, keep out hunger; fan'cy (făn'si), idea, thought; Bûr' go más'tēr, the mayor; a māzed', overwhelmed with wonder.


Read the stanzas that tell you where Gottlieb and his mother lived and how poor they were.

What did Gottlieb intend to do when he grew up?
What led him to write the Christmas letter?
Why did the postman take it to the Burgomaster?
What did the Burgomaster do when he read it? What did he say?

What did the Burgomaster say to Gottlieb about the answer to his letter? How did Gottlieb explain the answer?



Do not look for wrong and evil –

You will find them if you do;
As you measure for your neighbor

He will measure back to you.

Look for goodness, look for gladness,

You will meet them all the while;
If you bring a smiling visage

To the glass, you meet a smile.
Výs'age, countenance, face.

Commit these stanzas to memory. What lesson do they teach?




You've seen them thrashin' machines they're usin' round here. The sort, you know, where the horses keep steppin' up a board thing 's if they was climbin' uphill or goin' up a pair o' stairs, only they don't never get along a mite; they keep right in the same place all the time, steppin' and steppin', but never gittin' on.

Well, I knew a horse once, that worked on one o' them things. His name was Jack, and he was a nice horse. First time they put him on to thrash, he did n't know what the machine was, and he walked along and up the boards quick and lively, and he did n't see why he did n't get on faster. There was a horse side of him named Billy, a kind o’ frettin', cross feller, and he see through it right off.

“Don't you go along,” he says to Jack; “'t ain't no use; you won't never get on; they ’re foolin' us, and I won't give in to 'em.” So Billy he hung back and shook his head, and tried to get away, and to kick, and the man whipped him, and hollered at him.. But Jack, he went on quiet and quick and pleasant, steppin' away, and he says softly to Billy, “Come along,” he says; "it's all right, we 'll be there bimeby. Don't you see how I'm gittin' on a'ready?” And that was the way things went every day.

Jack never gin up; he climbed and climbed, and walked and walked, jest 's if he see the place he was goin' to, and 's if it got nearer and nearer. And every night when they took him off, he was as pleased with his day's journey 's if he'd gone twenty mile. “I've done first rate to-day,” he says to

1 From "Story-Tell Lib."; copyright, 1900, by Charles Scribner's Sons.

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