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The Cripple


Later in the afternoon the lady called both his parents up to her. She and her husband had talked about Hans - he was a fine and clever boy, with a keen appreciation of reading and a capacity for learning. Our Lord always rewards the good.

That evening the parents were really happy when they returned home from the manor house, especially Kirsten.

But the following week she cried, for then little Hans went away. He was dressed in good, new clothes. He was a good boy, but now he must travel far away across the sea, go to school, and learn Latin. And many years would pass before they would see him again.

The book of fairy tales he did not take with him, because his parents wanted to keep that in remembrance. And the father often read from it, but only the two stories, for those he understood.

And they had letters from Hans, each one happier than the last. He lived with nice people, in good circumstances. But best of all, he liked to go to school; there was so much to learn and to know. He only wished to live to be a hundred years old, and eventually to become a schoolmaster.

"If we could only live to see it!" said the parents, and held each other's hands.

"Just think of what has happened to Hans!" said Ole. "Our Lord thinks also of the poor man's child! And to think that this should have happened to the Cripple! Isn't it as if Hans might have read it for us from the book of fairy tales!"

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