"GREENS, Dand'lion greens! G-r-e-e-n-s!"  Shouted a child's voice, as the small, bare feet came pattering up the lane. Presently a face appeared at the open window of my kitchen, where I was busy superintending the baking.

"Please, ma'am, don't you want a basket of fresh greens, all picked with the dew on 'em?  They'll make a good dinner, and only cost five cents."  Poor little fellow! I thought, to work so long and to trudge so far, all for five cents! My dinner was provided, and dandelion greens were not included in the bill-of-fare, but how could I refuse him?

"Yes, Jack, come in here and eat a doughnut, while I empty your basket."  He was not slow to accept the invitation, and chattered like a magpie every minute while he eagerly devoured several doughnuts, and looked longingly at the pan of cookies just taken from the-oven.

"Thank you, ma'am! You see it makes a fellow awful hungry—this dand'lion business does. I like to get 'em when they're fresh and cool, before the sun has been on 'em long, so I start at five o'clock, and sometimes earlier, and of course I don't have any breakfast first; and when it happens that a feller hadn't had any supper either the night before, it makes him feel kind o' empty like."

All this was said without a moment's pause; and swinging his little bare heels together, as he sat perched up on the window-sill, he laughed the merriest laugh in the world, which brought to the surface a great dimple hidden away in each sunburned cheek, and showed all his pretty white teeth.

"But you had your supper last night, didn't you?"

"No, ma'am. You see there was only two potaters to go round, and the round they had to go was mother, Susie, and me; a big round for two small potaters, don't you think so, ma'am?"

And again he laughed, as if it was the funniest thing he ever heard of, instead of a most pathetic story.

"How did you manage?" I asked.

"Well, you see, ma'am, I haven't been to school long enough to know how to divide two potaters among three people so that each shall have a whole one, so I says to mother, You take this one, and Susie and I'll handy-spandy for the other.' Then I held it behind me, and said to Susie, Handy spandy, Jack-a-dandy, upper hand or lower?'

"Lower,' says Susie.

"And lower it was, to be sure, 'cause I held both hands even till she answered, and then dropped the one with the potater in it lower, which wasn't cheatin', ma'am, now, was it?"

"No, my brave little Jack; it surely was not cheating," I answered, turning away, that he might not see the tears in my eyes.

"Well, Sue, you see, didn't like to take it; for she's awful generous; and she tried to get it back on me by saying she thought upper, and 'twas only her lips that said lower. She meant upper all the time. She isn't well, Sue isn't. She's little and white, and one potater isn't much of a supper for the like of her, anyway. And at last I made her eat the whole of it. I told her that we'd have a good dinner today, 'cause I know'd somebody would buy my greens; and I'm going to spend the whole five cents for one dinner. What do you think of that? I'm going to get three herrings at a cent apiece, and the rest in potaters."

And he smacked his lips as he thought of the treat in store for them all.

"I think," he continued, "that you've paid me pretty well for my greens in doughnuts without any five cents at all. Still, as I look at it," he added, with a sly twinkle in his great blue eyes,

"doughnuts is doughnuts, and cents is cents, and the doughnuts is a present, and the cents is pay." I laughed at his reasoning, which certainly was most sensible and true, and then said:-

"Now, Jack, I want you to keep your five cents till some night when you haven't any supper, and let me fill your basket with something that I know will go round. I want you to have a glass of fresh milk; so you must carry this tin pail besides the basket. Do you think you can manage them both?"

"Well, ma'am, I guess you'll see whether I can manage 'em or not. But do you think I can dig greens enough to pay for all them things you're putting in?"

"No, Jack, I don't; for they are not to be paid for. I want to send these to your mother, that is all; and as you said, yourself, doughnuts is doughnuts, and cents is cents."

"To be sure," he answered, merrily. "Well, ma'am, I just wish you could see 'em when I tell'em how good you've been to me. Some folks ain't good, you know," he added with a sigh.

While I filled the basket, he told me their little history, never realizing how full it was of the deepest pathos-the struggles of the poor mother to keep her family together after the death of her husband, a good, kind man, who had left her one morning, full of life and strength, to go to the iron foundry, and was brought back a few hours later, having met his death while toiling for those he loved. He did not realize, either, how his own self-sacrificing spirit shone out through his words, proving to me the strength and sweetness of his character. What a hero he was, this little twelve-year-old Jack!

"Mother has worked so hard for Sue and me that she hasn't much strength left. And don't you think," he added, straightening himself up proudly-"don't you think I'm big enough to take care of us three?  Leastways I've been lucky this morning, for I've sold my greens and found you."

The gratitude in his heart was plainly visible in his little face, as he turned it up to me. I told him that henceforth we would be the very best of friends, and that happier days were in store for him and for those at home; that I could find work for him to do, which would certainly help toward the support of all three.  Such a happy Jack as he was when I sent him home that April morning, with the basket on one arm and a pail of milk on the other; and I wish I could tell you, for I am sure you would like to hear, what pleasant days followed for Jack and those so dear to him; but it would make such a long, long story we should never come to the end of it. Indeed there is no end to it. It is a story which is being lived through now, and it grows more interesting and more beautiful-more tender and true, with every chapter.  Jack is proving himself the hero I knew him to be. He works, early and late, on a small piece of ground which we allow him to cultivate on our farm; and he carries his produce to town in a basket, strapped on his back, and he is as happy as a king-happier than many kings, I am sure. Little, pale Susie, is not half so pale as she was before she, too, had the chance given her to help.

She has free range in my flower-garden, and makes up the daintiest "button-hole bouquets," with which she fills her small basket every morning for Jack to take with him. He never finds the least difficulty in disposing of them all, and a proud little lass she is when he drops the pennies into her hands at night.

The mother, we think, is growing strong and well again-happy in her boy's thoughtful care and cheery, light-hearted ways. He is not yet thirteen years old, but his mother calls him the "head of the house," and he truly deserves the title.. Brave little man!  God bless him!



Marion Mitchell.