Months since, with much doubt and diffidence, I began this simple story. I had never before written expressly for young people, and I knew that the honest little critics could not be beguiled with words which did not tell an interesting story. How far I have succeeded, the readers of this volume, and of the "St. Nicholas" magazine, wherein the tale appeared as a serial, alone can answer.

I have portrayed no actual experience, but have sought to present one which might be verified in real life. I have tried to avoid all that would be impossible or even improbable. The labors performed by the children in the story were not unknown to my own hands, in childhood, nor would they form tasks too severe for many little hands now idle in the cities.

The characters are all imaginary; the scenes, in the main, are real: and I would gladly lure other families from tenement flats into green pastures.

E. P. R.


August 10, 1885.