A sweet story of four little girls, hand-me-down dresses, and a new frock cut out by a crab.
The Last Little Girl
– A Fairy Tale –
Once a poor woman had four little girls—four little girls who wanted bread to eat, and frocks and hats and shoes and socks to wear.
Every spring their mother bought some wool and wove it into cloth, and made a new frock for the oldest of the little girls.
Then the oldest girl gave her old frock to the second little girl; the second little girl gave her old frock to the third little girl; and the third little girl gave her old frock to the fourth little girl, who was the last.
So the Last Little Girl never had a new frock at all.
But she was always very glad when spring came and she could have a frock from the third little girl. By that time her own was so patched and mended that you could hardly tell how much of the old stuff was left.
One day the four little girls went to play in the woods, and were happy till it began to grow dark. Then the three oldest girls started for home.
The Last Little Girl stayed alone among the trees to pick flowers.
When she saw that her sisters had gone home she ran to catch them.
As she ran her little frock was caught on a thorn and torn from neck to hem.
The Last Little Girl began to sob, for she knew that she could not have another frock till the next year.
While she sobbed a White Lamb came to her and asked, “Little Girl, why do you cry?”
The Last Little Girl said, “I am crying because I have torn my frock and I cannot have another one till next spring.”
“Don’t cry, Little Girl,” said the White Lamb. “I will give you some wool to make a new dress.”
And the White Lamb gave her some soft white wool.
The Last Little Girl went on her way, and by and by she came to a Wild Rose Bush.
“What have you there?” asked the Wild Rose Bush.
“The White Lamb has given me some wool to make a new frock,” said the Last Little Girl.
“Let me have it,” said the Wild Rose Bush; “I will comb it for you.”
The Last Little Girl gave the white wool to the Wild Rose Bush, and the Wild Rose Bush combed it with strong thorns, and combed till it was all ready for spinning.
The Last Little Girl walked on and saw a Spider sitting by a silver web on an old oak-tree.
“What have you there?” called the Spider.
“The White Lamb gave me some wool to make a new frock, and the Wild Rose Bush combed it for me,” said the Last Little Girl.
“Let me have it,” said the Spider; “I will spin it for you.” At once he set to work, and did not rest till the spinning was done.
The Last Little Girl went on, and saw a Wren sitting on the branch of a tree.
“What have you there?” called out the Wren.
“The White Lamb gave me some wool for a frock, and the Wild Rose Bush combed it for me, and the Spider spun it into thread,” said the Last Little Girl.
“I can weave moss into a nest,” said the Wren. “Let me have the thread and I will weave it into cloth.”
So the Wren took the thread and wove it into cloth.
Then the Last Little Girl went on till she saw a crab sitting on the bank of a stream.
She told him how the cloth had been made.
“Let me have it,” said the Crab, “and I will cut out a dress.”
The Last Little Girl gave the piece of cloth to the Crab, and the Crab used his sharp claws to cut out a frock.
The Last Little Girl went on a little farther and saw a tom-tit swinging on a tree.
“What have you there?” asked the Tom-tit.
“The White Lamb gave me some wool for a frock, the Wild Rose Bush combed it for me, the Spider spun it into thread, the Wren wove it into cloth, and the Crab cut it out for me,” said the Last Little Girl.
“Let me have it,” said the Tom-tit, “and I will sew the pieces together.”
The Tom-tit took a long thread in his beak, and then he drew the long thread in and out of the cloth till all the pieces were sewn together, and the little frock was made.
The Last Little Girl was filled with joy. She put on her new frock and ran home singing all the way:
“The Lamb and the Bush,
They both did their best.
The Spider, the Crab,
And the Birds did the rest.
“They made me a frock,
Because mine was torn,
A sweet little frock
That no one has worn!
“Oh, each was so clever,
And all worked so fast,
I’ll thank them for ever
My frock’s not the last!
“They made me a gown,
Because mine was torn—
A sweet little gown
That no one has worn!”
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