1. 'Where are we to go?' said the little waves to the great, deep sea. 'Go, my darlings, to the yellow sands: you will find work to do there.'

2. 'I want to play,' said one little wave; 'I want to see who can jump the highest.' 'No; come on, come on,' said an earnest wave; 'mother must be right. I want to work.'

3. 'Oh, I dare not go,' said another; 'look at those great, black rocks close to the sands; I dare not go there, for they will tear me to pieces.'

4. 'Take my hand, sister,' said the earnest wave; 'let us go on together. How glorious it is to do some work.'

5. 'Shall we ever go back to mother?' 'Yes, when our work is done.'

6. So one and all hurried on. Even the little wave that wanted to play, pressed on, and thought that work might be fun after all. The timid ones did not like to be left behind, and they became earnest as they got nearer the sands.

7. After all, it was fun, pressing on one after another— jumping, laughing, running on to the broad, shining sands.

8. First, they came in their course to a great sand castle. Splash, splash! they all went over it, and down it came. 'Oh, what fun!' they cried.

9. 'Mother told me to bring these seaweeds; I will find a pretty place for them,' said one—and she ran a long way over the sands, and left them among the pebbles. The pebbles cried, 'We are glad you are come. We wanted washing.'

10. 'Mother sent these shells; I don't know where to put them,' said a little fretful wave. 'Lay them one by one on the sand, and do not break them,' said the eldest wave.

11. And the little one went about its work, and learned to be quiet and gentle, for fear of breaking the shells.

12. 'Where is my work?' said a great, full-grown wave. 'this is mere play. The little ones can do this and laugh over it. Mother said there was work for me.' And he came down upon some large rocks.

13. Over the rocks and into a pool he went, and he heard the fishes say, 'The sea is coming. Thank you, great sea; you always send a big wave when a storm is nigh. Thank you, kind wave; we are all ready for you now.'

14. Then the waves all went back over the wet sands, slowly and carelessly, for they were tired.

15. 'All my shells are safe,' said one.

16. And, 'My seaweeds are left behind,' said another.

17. 'I washed all of the pebbles,' said a third.

18. 'And I—I only broke on a rock, and splashed into a pool,' said the one that was so eager to work. 'I have done no good, mother—no work at all.'

19. 'Hush!' said the sea. And they heard a child that was walking on the shore, say, 'O mother, the sea has been here! Look, how nice and clean the sand is, and how clear the water is in that pool.'

20. Then the sea, said, 'Hark!' and far away they heard the deep moaning of the coming storm.

21. 'Come, my darlings,' said she; 'you have done your work, now let the storm do its work.'


6. Pressed: Pushed, followed closely.

6. Timid: Wanting courage, not bold.

10. Fretful: Cross, peevish.

10. Eldest: First, foremost.

20. Moaning: Making a low, dull sound, muttering.

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