The Big Poor People
"And so, one bright morning, Fair-shoulder and her brothers were swimming near the Isle of Glory, when, of a sudden, there came to them from the shore the sweet sound of a bell. Then Fair-shoulder called to her brothers, and they all swam to the shore. And as soon as they were on shore their form of swans was gone. Fair-shoulder was a beautiful young girl again, and the brothers were strong, beautiful boys. They walked up to the little chapel together, and there a monk baptized them.
"And as soon as they were baptized they were young and strong no longer. Fair-shoulder was an old, old woman, and her brothers were old, old men. They were so weak with the age of a thousand years that they fell upon the floor of the chapel. The monks took them up and cared for them for a few days, and then they died. And so the word of the Druid came to pass, that when the strange men should ring their bells the children of Lir should be swans no longer, and should be happy forever."
They all waited for a few minutes, to be sure that there was no more of the story, and then John said: "Mother, it's easy for you to be tellin' us them tales, and they may be all thrue enough, and I'm not sayin' they're not. But what good are they to us? The word of the Druid came thrue, but how long was it in comin' thrue? A thousand years?"
"A thousand years or more," said his mother; "but the stories can teach us to be patient, if they can do nothing else."
"They may do that," said John; "the blessed Lord He knows you've been patient, and He knows the rest of us have tried to be. But what does it all come to? We can't wait a thousand years for the betther times. Pether, here, is right. The States would be a betther place for all of us. If we had the money I'ld say that we ought to go there."
"It's not the bad times alone that's in it," said Peter. "As I told you before, I could stand them. It's the bother that we're put to all the time. It's that would make us go to the States this minute, if we had the chance.