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at sunset.

From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Age Rating 2 to 4.

Start of Story

A tiny pool lay looking up at the cloud-flecked sky. His water-spiders and insect-babies went about their eager businesses beneath his surface, but he took very little notice of them. His thoughts were busy with the clouds so far above him; all day he was longing to be with them. The evening came and the clouds flocked round the setting sun, turning gold and crimson in the wonderful light; then the little pool longed more than ever to be with them. "If that could only be my life!" he sighed. "To live in the blue sky and to be made beautiful!" A passing wind heard his words and repeated them to the clouds. They told the kindly sun, and he sent a message by his sunbeams to comfort the little pool. "You shall come up here some day," he bade them say; "but you have many duties to perform before you can be a sunset cloud. Do well your present work, and wait with patience." Then the pool rejoiced. Day after day he did his lowly work with infinite care, nourishing his flowers and rushes and tiny water-creatures, and turning a bright and patient face to the sky and his loved clouds. One hot day the wonderful change came. The sun looked down, saw the work so well done, and gently lifted him through the air to the sky. This was glorious. He was now a fluffy white cloud, sailing over the sky and joining the other clouds in their games and dances. In the morning they played shadow-flight across the hills of the earth; in the afternoon they danced slow dances high above the sea.

The time of sunset came, and the new cloud wished to go with the others to be made beautiful. But they said: "No, little brother; that is not possible till you have done cloud work." So he was left lonely and white in the east, untouched by the sun's lovely light. In the night came his old friend the wind. "You are to go down again to the earth," was the message it brought. It blew coldly on the little cloud till he shivered and fell in a thousand drops of rain upon the earth. There the drops lay till morning amongst the grateful flowers and grasses, giving them fresh life, and bearing bravely the disappointment of being sent to earth again. The sun looked down in the afternoon and raised him up, and once more he floated joyfully across the sky. Then the fierce storm wind came and froze him with its icy breath. Down he fell again upon the earth, this time as clattering hailstones. "This is all very trying," he said; "but it seems to be my work, so I must not grumble." Again he was drawn up. Then the snow-wind came and silently froze him into feathery snowflakes, and drove him down upon a mountain side. Here he lay for many days, till at last he was drawn up once more. And now the sun said: "You have done well and waited patiently, little cloud. To-night you shall have your reward." So when the time of sunset came the little cloud sailed into the west with the others. There the sun smiled at him and shone so gloriously on him that he turned golden and red, and glowed more brightly than any there.


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