Little Bo Peep
“Little Bo-Peep she lost her sheep And didn’t know where to find them.
Let them alone, and they’ll come home, And bring their tails behind them!”
So runs the nursery rhyme. Little Bo-Peep was a very nice little girl. Her cheeks had a bloom on them like a lovely peach, and her voice sounded like a sweet silver bell.
But though Little Bo-Peep was as good as she was beautiful, she sometimes met with misfortunes that made her very sad. Once, when she lost her sheep, she was very doleful indeed. And this is how it happened.
One summer evening, when the sun was setting, Little Bo-Peep, who had to rise very early in the morning, felt tired, and sat down on a bank covered with daisies. Being very weary, she soon fell fast asleep. Now the Bell-wether of Bo-Peep’s flock was a most stupid and stubborn fellow. I dare say you know that all the sheep in a flock will follow the Bell-wether, and that he always wears a bell round his neck. It was a great pity, but the Bellwether of Bo-Peep’s flock was very wild, and was much given to wander far away into the wood, where of course the rest of the sheep would follow him.
Finding Little Bo-Peep asleep, the tiresome fellow began by standing on his hind legs and making a great bow to his shadow before him on the grass. After this he whirled himself round like a top, shaking his head all the time, and ringing his bell.
Very soon the rest of the flock began to dance and caper too. And when they had wheeled round their leader for a time, they ran off after him with a bound into the wood. Away they went, till they were quite tired out; and then they came to a stand-still, staring at their leader with very blank faces. But the Bell-wether looked foolish enough now, and did nothing but shake his head slowly and ring his bell, which seemed to say quite clearly,
“You are lost, you are lost!”
When Little Bo-Peep awoke she found her sheep gone, and hardly knowing what she did, she walked on and on, far into the wood. She met some people with hoes and rakes in their hands, and asked them if they had seen her sheep. But they only laughed at her, and said, No. One man was very cross, and threatened to beat her.
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