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The Little Gold Ring that Knew One's Thoughts.
THERE was once a little gold ring – "That is not wonderful!" you say, – but indeed this ring was wonderful, for it had a way of turning black whenever the wearer of it did anything he or she shouldn't.
Now you open your eyes – and well you may! for if you had such a ring, how much of the time do you think it would be black, and how much of the time bright and golden? Besides, this little ring knew one's thoughts; and that is the reason the little girl, to whom it belonged, hid it away in her bureau drawer, and said she would never put it on her finger again.
Astonishing! Did the little girl want to be naughty?
No, she wanted to be good, – but she wasn’t willing to try hard enough; and you know there is a long road to travel between wanting to be good and being good.
day a maid-servant took the ring out of the drawer and put it on her
when flash! it turned black, as she was not doing right.
Since it was no longer pretty and shining, the maidservant threw it aside; and on sweeping day it was swept out into the street, where it rolled and rolled, goodness knows how far, till it hid under a leaf.
"Dear! dear!" cried the little ring, "what a journey I have had! Now I am free to find some little girl or boy whose thoughts are right, so I can be always golden."
And when you think of it, you see that the little ring would much prefer to be golden; and it was a pity, when it had done nothing wrong, that it should have to turn black.
The ring lay hid, till one day the rain washed the leaves away and left it in plain sight. "Surely," it thought, "with a world so full of good children, I will be found by one." True enough, soon a little girl came along and picked up the ring and put it on her finger.
The ring was silent, – otherwise the little girl would have known it was a marvellous ring; and it did not wish to be marvellous, – it only wished to be shining and golden on some good little girl's or boy's good little finger.
It was very bright however, for this was quite the prettiest little girl it had ever seen. Her hair was like the yellow of egg beaten to a fluff, and her pretty white petticoat stood out like flower petals. "Indeed!" thought the ring, "if prettiness is the sign of goodness (and real prettiness is), she cannot do anything wrong."
When the little girl got home she ran to show her mother the ring.
"It is very pretty," said her mother, "but we must advertise it, for some child may feel very bad over having lost it."
"I found it and it is mine!" cried the little girl, stamping her foot, "and I won't give it up!" Then all of a sudden she caught sight of the ring and it was black!
"Why!" she said and stopped crying at once. "What made you turn black, little ring?"
"Because you were naughty," it replied sadly. "O dear! O dear! you did look like such a nice little girl! I shall have to search for another owner, for I do want to be shining and golden."
"Oh, please do not!" begged the little girl. "I'll be good and let Mamma advertise you." She promised so earnestly that the ring slowly turned bright and was happy again.
The mother did advertise it, but no one answered the advertisement. So the little girl, with plenty of jewelled rings of her own, kept this one, caring more for it than for any of the others.
But one day, while she was washing her dolly's clothes, a little bad temper crept in, and what do you suppose! that ring slipped off her finger and was washed away! Later a workman found it and took it home to his little daughter.
The workman's home was very different from the rich little girl's home. There was not nearly so much crying and stamping of feet, and there was very little pouting or selfishness, – so the ring had no chance to turn black for some time. It had less chance than it might have had, for it was the only gold ring that the workman's daughter, or any of his children, had ever owned, and it was worn only on Sunday.
One Sunday when the workman's children, dressed in their best clothes, were on their way to Sunday-school, they met their friend Elsa.
"Elsa is proud because she has a new hat with daisies on it!" whispered the workman's daughter to her brothers and sisters. And she held her hand so Elsa could see the gold ring, – but the ring was black.
"Oh!" she cried, and the children stared and asked what was the matter. But she put her hand behind her and would not tell, and two big tears rolled down her cheeks.
All the time she was in Sunday-school she kept her hand hid, but as soon as she reached home she ran to her room crying, "Please tell me, little ring, what made you turn black?"
"Dear! dear! it's too bad! I was very happy with you!" cried the little ring. "You were such a loving little girl, and now you've said such an unloving thing about Elsa! O dear!" and the little ring gave a sigh.
Well, the workman's little daughter wondered and wondered what she could do to make the ring golden again. Then, one day, without saying a word to anyone, she put the ring in a little box, pinned a note to it, and took it to Elsa's house and left it.
When Elsa read the note, she could hardly believe her eyes. It said:
"Dear Elsa: – I said you were proud because you had daisies on your hat. I was the proud one, so I give you my ring so it may be golden.
Of course the ring turned golden, and Katy was very happy, even though she did not have it any more.
The adventures of the little ring were not yet at an end, however, for one day, when Elsa was angry at her little sister, it slipped off her finger into the cake she was stirring for her mother, and she didn’t know it.
When the cake was baked, she cut several slices and gave one to her friend Tommy. Tommy bit on something hard, and it was the gold ring.
Tommy said something that you would not understand if I wrote it, but it meant that he was astonished to find a gold ring in a slice of cake. He put it on his third finger and strutted about saying, "See my gold ring!" not thinking that he ought to ask Elsa if it belonged to her.
The little ring turned very black indeed!
Tommy stared at it hard while the ring sighed softly "Oh, Tommy!"
Tommy, very uncomfortable, blushed; but he pretended that he didn’t know what the ring meant, and went to playing ball with the boys. The more he played, the more uncomfortable he felt, for the ring kept saying, "Oh, Tommy, I want to be golden! Oh, Tommy, be an honest little boy so I can be golden!"
He kept throwing the balls harder and harder, till all at once, the ring flew off and fell in the dusty street. Tommy searched and searched, but didn’t find it. When he went to bed, he felt very sad, for he was a kind-hearted little boy, and he thought the ring would have to stay black, because he couldn't find it and return it to Elsa.
The next day he told Elsa all about it.
"Oh, Tommy," she cried, "I am so glad you told me! for now the little ring will turn golden again, and even if we never find it, some one will see it shine and pick it up."
And then, I am sorry to say, I lost track of the little ring; though I have reason to believe that it was found – by – a little girl? – no – a little boy? – I really have forgotten which. Perhaps – yes – it is quite possible – if you have a little gold ring, that it is the one! And you wouldn’t think even one wrong thought to find out – would you?