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Our Little Swiss Cousin by Wade

Carl had seen many strangers from other lands


They

would lift the great kettles of milk and place them over the fire to heat. At just the right moment, the rennet must be put in to curdle the milk and separate the curds from the whey. Now for the beating with a clean pine stick. Carl's strong arms could aid his mother well in this work, upon which the goodness of the cheese depended.

"Well done," the herder's wife would say. "It is easy enough to make cheese with two such good lads to help me."

She was very fond of Franz, and loved him like a son. The faces of both boys grew bright when they were praised like this, and they were all the more eager to work. There was plenty to do yet, for the boiling and pressing must come next.

At last a big mould was ready to set away; but even now it must be watched and turned, day after day.

Carl's mother proudly watched her store grow larger as the weeks passed by. Those cheeses would bring large sums of money,--at least, it seemed so to her. But, of course, the money would be divided among the different families, according to the number of cows each sent to the pasture.

One morning as Carl was watching the herd, he looked down the mountainside and saw a party of strangers coming up the winding path. Then he heard a voice call:

"Hullo, hullo, little boy! Is your home near by? And can

we get a little something to eat? We are very hungry."

It was a gentleman who spoke these words. A lady and a little girl about ten years old were with him. They looked like Americans. Carl had seen many strangers from other lands, and he said to himself:

"Yes, they must be Americans."

The little girl was very pretty, and she gave Carl a sweet smile when he ran to help her up over a rough place.

"Yes, sir, I'm sure my mother will welcome you," said our little Swiss cousin. "There she is, now." And he pointed to the cottage a short way off, where his mother sat knitting in the doorway.

When Carl went home to dinner an hour afterward, he found the strangers still there. They had lunched on bread and cheese and the rich sweet milk, and they declared they had never tasted anything nicer in their lives.

"Oh, my!" said the little girl, "I believe I was never so hungry in my life before."

"Carl," she went on, for his mother had told her his name, "do you ever carve little houses to look like this one? If you do, I will ask my father to buy one. He told me that Swiss boys do carve all sorts of things."

"I am sorry," answered Carl, "but I never did work of that kind. Over to the west of us are villages where every one carves. The men do so as well as the boys. One family will make the toy houses all their lives; another will carve chamois and nothing else; still another will cut out toy cows. But we in our village have other work."

"But why don't the wood-carvers change? I should think they would get tired of always doing the same thing," said Ruth, for this was the child's name.

"I suppose they never think about it. It is hard work living among these mountains of ours. People wish to earn all they can, and if one makes the same kind of thing, over and over again, he learns how to do it very quickly."


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