Pretty Tales


7. The Pond In The Field

Mary lived with her mother in a little house. She often sat by the door on a long seat, and then would run about the field on the other side of the road. There was a narrow path in the field, and people used to walk along it when they came that way from the town. Down at the corner of the field, near the stile, there were some tall trees, and under the trees there was a pond. The water in the pond was not very deep, but it was deep enough to drown a little girl like Mary, so her mother told her she must never play near the pond, for fear she should slip in.

While Mary was at play, her mother was at work in the house. For her mother was poor, and had to work to find them food, and things to wear to keep them warm. So she could not spare time to look after her little girl when she was at play.

Mary's mother came home from market one day, and in her basket she had a little tin can, with a handle, and she gave it to Mary for her own. So she always drank her milk and her tea out of this can. Now Mary had seen her mother go down to the pond to fetch a pail of water, and it came into her head that she would fetch the water in her own little can, to fill the kettle for tea. So when her mother was busy at work, she got on a chair, and took her can off the shelf, and away she ran down to the pond, not saying a word.

Mary went close to the pond with her little can in her hand, to stoop down and dip it into the water. But the can fell into the water. The grass at the edge of the pond was muddy and wet, and so, just as she was going to stoop down, Mary's foot went slip--slip, and she fell into the water. Poor Mary! she gave one loud scream, and that was all that she could do.

Now not far from the spot where Mary fell into the pond, a kind girl named Jane, who lived close by, was reading a book as she sat under a tree. She heard a splash in the water, and saw Mary fall into the pond. She soon threw down her book on the grass, and ran to help the poor little girl out of the water. She took hold of Mary's frock, and pulled her out of the pond. Then she took her up in her arms, and ran with her along the narrow path to the house, for she well knew that the house by the side of the field was little Mary's home.

Mary's mother met them at the door, and when she saw her little girl, she began to cry. But kind Jane said, "Do not cry. Your little girl is not hurt." So they took off Mary's wet frock, and put on her a nice dry nightgown, and laid her in bed. And her mother made her some warm tea, and then she went to sleep. When she woke up again, she was quite well.

Jane went back to the field to pick up her book, but Mary's little can was nowhere to be seen. It was never heard of again; and Mary had to drink her milk and her tea out of a tea cup, for the little tin can was quite gone. I do not think she went near the pond again. It was a lesson to her ever after, to mind and do as her mother told her.