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The Squire dismounted from his horse and came to where the boy was lying.

"Awake!" he said, shaking the boy by the shoulder, "and depart from my lands, for you have betrayed my trust, and let the sheep and the cows stray into the fields and meadows!"

Little Boy Blue sat up at once and rubbed his eyes; and then he did as Isaac foresaw, and began to weep bitterly, for he felt terrible that he had failed in his duty.

But the Squire's daughter was moved by the child's tears, so she took him upon her lap and comforted him, asking,

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"Why did you sleep, Little Boy Blue, when you should have watched the cows and the sheep?"

"My mother has broken her leg," answered the boy, between his sobs, "and I did not sleep all last night, but sat by her bedside nursing her.  And I tried hard not to fall asleep, but could not help myself; and oh, Squire! I hope you will forgive me this once, for my poor mother's sake!"

"Where does your mother live?" asked the Squire, in a kindly tone, for he had already forgiven Little Boy Blue.

"In the cottage down by the river," answered the child; "and she is all alone, for there is no one near to help us in our trouble."

"Come," said Mistress Madge, rising to her feet and taking his hand; "lead us to your home, and we will see if we cannot assist your poor mother."

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