The Blue Bead.

Two LITTLE girls had been playing prettily together!

I could hear their sweet voices calling to each other as I sat by my window:

"Susan, come over here; there's a bit of sun to warm you." "O Sarah! Such a pleasant spot! Now come here; there's a bush with scarlet leaves to hang over us like curtains."

It was autumn-time, and there was a chill in the air, so that the sun felt good to the children, and the rich colors of the foliage have a certain glow that made them forget the cold.

Sarah went and sat down under the red bush upon a stone. She called the seat a throne; and, as the name means a princess, that was all in good keeping.

She had a dark complexion, and red roses in her cheeks; and she wore a red riding-hood, that was tied over her black hair.

She made a bright figure in the landscape! Susan means "lily." She was fair, with soft,brown curls; and her mother had wrapped her in a blue cloak, with hood to match.

The little girls made a pretty contrast as they sat side by side with their arms clasped around each other.

It did me good to watch them at their play, to be happy and merry were they, and so gentle, and yielding, and polite.

The lily made beautiful garlands of the gay leaves, and twined them around the princess, until she was brighter than royal diamonds would have made her; and the princess bowed her head, and held the lily close to her cheek, and kissed it, as if she felt that it was the sweetest flower in the world.

Then they came out from under the scarlet canopy, and went hunting among the withered leaves upon the ground for things with which to make a show. They had each of them a bit of window-glass; and they made a little cavity in the earth, and put bits of crockery and tiny pieces of autumn flowers, as the velvet marigold and the many-colored dahlia, in a hole, and covered it with the glass; and they asked so many pins a sight.

I was interested for the success of the exhibition; for I know what little things make up a child's world; so I began to gather together pins enough to take me frequently to the show when I should hear the summons: 

"Aunty, we are ready for spectators."  I had not been a minute away from the window when I felt that there was a change in the tone outside. The sweet voices had grown discordant; and the children, my princess and my lily, were contending about something."

"It is mine; I found it first," said one.

"But I picked it up first," if you did see it," said the other.

They had worked themselves quite into a quarrel by the time I had reached them, although I had made haste, for I cannot bear one harsh note from a little child's voice; and I thought, "maybe I can settle the dispute, and bring peace again."

What do you think it was that had bred such trouble and sorrow between the little playmates?

Nothing but a tiny blue bead!

"Is this all?" I asked the little people, who stood abashed, with flushed faces, as I took the pretty thing in my hand and held it out before them. For one little blue bead they had made the whole beautiful nature around them seem sorrowful!

Perhaps you do not understand this; but I think you all know that when your hearts are full of peace and joy and love, the things that are external have a greater brightness and beauty in them than when you cherish anger and other wicked tempers in your soul. Is it not so?

It would have been so much wiser for the princess, who first saw the bead, to say, "You may have that, Susie dear!" and for the pure, white lily to have kept her petals unsullied by answering, "No, Sarah darling, you shall have it; it will make such a pretty show!"

That was the way they began their play, each trying to find the best place for the other.

To be sure, they saw their folly about the pretty thing that made the trouble when I talked to them for a half minute; but it would have been a happier day to think about at night if there had been no strife in it.   

However, they were very, very sorry, and showed their penitence by trying very hard to do right the rest of the day. And I believe they accomplished it; for I saw no more cross looks, and heard no angry words; and when they said their evening prayers, and were tucked into their pretty white bed, and I went for my good-night kiss, my princess said, "Aunty, I didn't forget, after you told me, that I was the great King's daughter, and that I was to try and do honor to my Heavenly Father."

And my lily said, "And I tried to remember and not trail my white leaves in naughty dust."

"You know who it is that helps us to do right. I hope you have asked him to make tomorrow better than to day," said I. "If God keeps you safe from all harm through the night, and brings you to the light of another morning, you must give him thanks, not only with your lips, but in your lives, by walking in his holy ways. Will you try?"

The children were quite ready to promise; and it was such joy the next evening to hear their little voices as they talked to each other in the twilight:

"You've been a real sweet, white lily today, Susie."

"And you've been a grand, good princess, Sarah."

 Child at Home.

SINCERITY is speaking as we think, believing as we pretend, acting as we profess, 

performing as we promise, and being as we appear to be.