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Raindrops Go Home To Old Ocean

( Originally Published 1891 )

" TODAY we must tell you the last story. When the evening shadows creep into our valley, other raindrops will fill the brook-bed, but we shall be home in the sea.

"'The sea! the sea! the open sea !
The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
Without a mark, without a bound,
It runneth the earth's wide regions round ;
It plays with the clouds; it mocks the skies,
Or like a cradled creature lies.'


"But watch for us ! We may come again

"While the loom of winter weaves
The shroud of flowers and fountains.'

" We may sift down like apple-blossoms on the hillside, and spread our warm snow-blanket over Bunny's home.

" You may see us, Dick, hanging from the boughs of your old oak.

" We may fly away on our light vapor-wings to the sunny south, where Robin will sing his sweet songs all winter.

" Look for us in the early showers, next April. You may find us bubbling from the hillside,

"'When spring comes round again,
By greening slope and singing flood.'

"When the pretty pink earthworms come crawling from their dark holes, ask them if they have met the raindrops at work in the cold earth.

" Speak kindly to each little rill, and cheer it on its way.

" When the new buds begin to unfold: and the tender grass-blades shoot from the dark soil, you will know that we are busy, and will soon be with you again.

"Away in the ocean our tiny brothers may be waiting for us. We shall have a merry time, and see wonderful sights.- Next year, if you are here, we will tell you another story of our travels."

" Little brook," whispered the wild-flower, " won't you please tell us a story about your home in the sea ? I shall think of you often when you are gone, and shall be so happy when I see your pretty dimpled waves go dancing by again. 0, I hope I may grow in this same spot next summer ! "

" So do I, little wild-flower," replied the brook. " You are always so cheerful that you make every-one near you happy. Yes, I will tell you a true story about a storm at sea, and then I must bid you a long, long farewell."

"It . is evening on the ocean. The weary sun has just hidden. its face behind a cold gray misty veil.

"'The twilight is sad and cloudy,
The wind blows wild and free,
And like the wings of sea-birds
Flash the white-caps of the sea.'

"Now heavy clouds roll up in the east, and spread out over the whole sky. The trembling stars put out their lights and hide behind the dark curtain.

" The night wind sighs and moans as if in answer to the lonely call of the stray sea-bird, seeking a pathway shoreward through the darkness.

"Now comes a sound of rushing water. The surface is churned into foam. Great waves spring from the angry sea, and lash themselves in foaming fury.

" Suddenly a tongue of flames flashes through the clouds, and shoots across the sky. The air seems filled with barking, howling monsters, whose voices shake the very depths of old ocean.

" Rain pours down in torrents. The grand storm at sea has begun !

"Flash after flash lights every corner of the heavens. The clouds are torn into shreds. Peal upon peal of jarring thunder rolls out over the water. Then the sky becomes dark again, and the wind settles down with a dreary moan.

" Ah ! but you should see old ocean now !

"Far as the eye can reach, the phosphorescent sea is filled with pale flame, as if swarms of fire-flies were flashing their tiny lanterns in every wave !

" Flying spray looks like shooting-stars. Shoals of fish dart about like flights of flaming arrows. The breaking waves are fringed with brightest silver on every crest.

"Now the sky becomes a vast fireplace. Dark clouds hang overhead like thick smoke. Plunging whales are burning logs. Leaping fish are sparks thrown up only to fall back again into the fiery sea.

" Again and again the lightning flashes through the clouds. Heavy thunder crashes and groans. Rivers of water seem to pour from the broken clouds. Now above, now below, Nature shows her grandest fireworks.

" At length the storm goes by. The dark clouds are drawn aside, and beautiful stars look down once more.

But for a long time the water rises and falls as if panting from its long struggle with the fierce gale.

" Then the weary raindrops lie down in the cradle of the sea, and the great waves rock us to sleep."

As the brooklet ended its story, its pretty ripples broke for the last time over the rounded pebbles, with a low sad murmur, as if to bid farewell to its little friends.

They followed along the banks, and saw it glide into the waiting ocean. They watched its silver ripples join the dark-blue of the sea. The rain-drops were home at last.

Sadly and silently the little band moved along the lonely valley where other raindrops filled the brook-bed.

They greeted the gentle wild-flower, but to ! its petals had fallen, and its weary head had drooped for the long winter sleep.

Then the robin turned to its pretty friends, and.. softly chirped, " I, too, must leave our lovely valley where we have spent so many happy days together. To-morrow's sun will light me many miles on my journey towards the bright and sunny south-land.

Think not that I shall forget you, or the pleas-ant times we have had together. 0, how closely will I watch the changing seasons.

" The April clouds shall not fly faster than I to meet you here when spring returns, but, till then, .a long farewell."

No word was spoken as Bunny, Dick and Chip turned with moist eyes to watch their parting friend fade away in the gathering shadows.

But listen ! what word of cheer is this ?

A happy voice comes floating in on the evening breeze

"The brooklet came from the mountain,
As sang the bard of old,
Running with feet of silver,
Over the sands of gold.

"Far away in the briny ocean,
There rolled a turbulent wave,
Now singing along the sea-beach,
Now howling along the cave.

" And the brooklet has found the billow,
Though they flowed so far apart,
And has filled with its freshness and sweetness,
That turbulent, bitter heart."


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