|Then Little Boy Blue thanked them both very sweetly and
ran back over the hill and into the valley where his home lay nestled by
the riverside, to tell the good news to his mother.
The poor widow wept tears of joy when she heard his story, and smiled when he told her that his name was to be Little Boy Blue. She knew the Squire was kind and would be good to her darling son.
Early the next morning Little Boy Blue was at the Hall, and the Squire's steward gave him a new silver horn, that glistened brightly in the sunshine, and a golden cord to fasten it around his neck. And then he was given charge of the sheep and the cows, and told to keep them from straying into the meadowlands and the fields of grain.
|It was not hard work, but just
suited to Little Boy Blue's age, and he was watchful and vigilant and made
a very good shepherd boy indeed. His mother needed food no longer,
for the Squire paid her son well, and the Squire's daughter made a
favorite of the small shepherd and loved to hear the call of his silver
horn echoing amongst the hills. Even the sheep and the cows were
fond of him, and always obeyed the sound of his horn; therefore the
Squire's corn thrived finely, and was never trampled.
Little Boy Blue was now very happy, and his mother was proud and contented and began to improve in health. After a few weeks she became strong enough to leave the cottage and walk a little in the fields each day; but she could not go far, because her limbs were too weak to support her long. The most she could attempt was to walk as far as the gate to meet Little Boy Blue as he came home from work in the evening. Then she would lean on his shoulder and return to the cottage with him, and the boy was very glad he could support his darling mother and assist her faltering steps.
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