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ing eyes upon the people who were carried up into the star; and some came out from the long rows in which they stood, and fell upon the people's necks, and kissed them tenderly, and went away with them down avenues of light, and were so happy in their company, that lying in his bed he wept for joy.
But there were many angels who did not go with them, and among them one he knew. The patient face that once had lain upon the bed was glorified and radiant, but his heart found out his sister among all the host.
His sister's angel lingered near the entrance of the star, and said to the leader among those who had brought the people thither :
“Is my brother come?" And he said, “No."
She was turning hopefully away, when the child stretched out his arms, and cried, “O sister, I am here! Take me!" And then she turned her beaming eyes upon him and it was night; and the star was shining into the room, making long rays down toward him as he saw it through his tears.
From that hour forth the child looked out upon the star as on the home he was to go to, when his time should come; and he thought that he did not belong to the earth alone, but to the star, too, because of his sister's angel gone before.
There was a baby born to be a brother to the child; and while he was so little that he never yet had spoken a word, he stretched his tiny form out on his bed and died. Again the child dreamed of the opened star, and of the company of angels, and the train of people, and the rows of angels with their beaming eyes all turned upon those people's faces.
Said his sister's angel to the leader :-
As the child beheld his brother's angel in her arms, he cried: “O sister, I am here! Take me!” And she turned and smiled upon him, and the star was shining.
He grew to be a young man, and was busy at his books, when an old servant came to him and said :
“Thy mother is no more. I bring her blessing on her darling son!”
Again at night he saw the star, and all that former. company. Said his sister's angel to the leader :
“Is my brother come?"
A mighty cry of joy went forth through all the star, because the mother was reunited to her two children. And he stretched out his arms and cried: "O mother, sister and brother, I am here! Take me!” And they answered him, “Not yet.” And the star was shining.
He grew to be a man whose hair was turning gray, and he was sitting in his chair by the fireside, heavy with grief, and with his face bedewed with tears, when the star opened once again.
Said his sister's angel to the leader, “Is my brother come "
And he said, “Nay, but his maiden daughter."
And the man who had been the child saw his daughter, newly lost to him, a celestial creature among those three, and he said, “My daughter's head is on my sister's bosom, and her arm is round my mother's neck, and at her feet there is the baby of old time, and I can bear the parting from her, God be praised!”
And the star was shining.
Thus the child came to be an old man, and his once smooth face was wrinkled, and his steps were slow and feeble, and his back was bent. And one night as he lay upon his bed, his children standing round, he cried, as he had cried so long ago :
“I see the star!”
And he said: “I am. My age is falling from me like a garment, and I move toward the star as a child. And, O my Father, now I thank thee that it has so often opened to receive those dear ones who await me!”
And the star was shining; and it shines upon his grave. .
Questions for Study
1. Why do you think this sketch, although it has neither rhythm nor rhyme, is really a poem ?
2. What is made more beautiful to you by this prose poem ?
3. What other authors have you read who wrote beautiful as well as humorous stories ?
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT
Beside a pleasant dwelling ran a brook
Ripe were the maiden's years; her stature showed Womanly beauty, and her clear, calm eye Was bright with venturous spirit, yet her face
Was passionless, like those by sculptor graved
Two brothers had the maiden, and she thought,