IN front of the little house was a pine-tree, and every night at the time when the children went to bed, a bright star appeared over the top of the tree and looked in at the window. The children were brother and sister. They were twins, and so they always had each other to play with.
"Now go to sleep," the mother would say when she had kissed them good-night, but it was hard to go to sleep when such a beautiful, radiant thing was shining in at the window of the little house.
"What do you suppose is in the star?" asked the sister.
"I think there are daisies and honey and violets and butterflies and bluebirds," answered the brother.
"And I think there are roses and robins and berries and humming-birds," said the sister.
"There must be trees and grass too, and I am sure there are pearls and diamonds."
"I can almost see them now," declared the sister. "I wish we could really see them. To-morrow let us go and find the star."
When morning came, the star was gone, but they said, "It was just behind the pine-tree, and so it must be on the blue mountain." The blue mountain was a long way off, but it looked near, and the twins thought they could walk to it in an hour. All day long they walked. They went through the lonely woods, they crossed brooks, they climbed hills, and still they could not find the radiant star that had looked in at their window. The hour had come when their mother always put them to bed and kissed them and said good-night, but now they had no mother, no good-night kiss, and no bed. They were tired and sleepy. They heard strange sounds in the forest, and they were frightened. "I am so tired," the sister whispered. "I am afraid a bear will come. I wish we could see the star."
The sky had grown dark, and a star could be seen here and there, but it was not their star. They went on till they could go no farther. "We will lie down on the grass," said the brother, "and cover ourselves up with leaves, and go to sleep."
Tired as they were, they did not have time to go to sleep before they heard a bear calling "Ugh! Ugh!" in the woods. They sprang up and ran out of the woods, and just before they came to the bottom of the hill, they saw right in front of them a beautiful little lake. They were not frightened any more, for there in the water was something radiant and shining. "It is our own star," said they, "and it has come down to us." They never thought of looking up into the sky over their heads. It was enough for them that the star was in the water and so near them. But was it calling them? They thought so. "Come," cried the brother, "take my hand, and we will go to the star." Then the spirit of the skies lifted them up gently and carried them away on a beautiful cloud.
The father and mother sat alone in the little house one evening, looking sadly out of the window through which the twins had looked. "There is the star that they loved," the mother said. "I have often listened to them while they talked of it. It is rising over the pine-tree in front of the house." They sat and watched the star. It was brighter and more radiant than ever, and in it the father and mother saw the faces of their lost children. "Oh, take us too, good spirit of the skies!" they cried. The spirit heard them, and when the next evening came, close beside the star there was another star. In that were the father and mother, and at last they and the children were all very happy to be together again.