Bertha, Our Little German Cousin

E-text prepared by Al Haines

BERTHA

Our Little German Cousin

By

MARY HAZELTON WADE

Illustrated by L. J. Bridgman

Boston

1904

THE LITTLE COUSIN SERIES

Preface

When the word Germany comes to our minds, we think at once of ruined
castles, fairies, music, and soldiers. Why is it?

First, as to the castles. Here and there along the banks of the
River Rhine, as well as elsewhere throughout the country, the
traveller is constantly finding himself near some massive stone ruin.
It seems ever ready to tell stories of long ago,—of brave knights
who defended its walls, of beautiful princesses saved from harm, of
sturdy boys and sweet-faced girls who once played in its gardens.
For Germany is the home of an ancient and brave people, who have
often been called upon to face powerful enemies.

Next, as to the fairies. It seems as though the dark forests of
Germany, the quiet valleys, and the banks of the beautiful rivers,
were the natural homes of the fairy-folk, the gnomes and the elves,
the water-sprites and the sylphs. Our German cousins listen with
wonder and delight to the legends of fearful giants and enchanted
castles, and many of the stories they know so well have been
translated into other languages for their cousins of distant lands,
who are as fond of them as the blue-eyed children of Germany.

As to the music, it seems as though every boy and girl in the whole
country drew in the spirit of song with the air they breathe. They
sing with a love of what they are singing, they play as though the
tune were a part of their very selves. Some of the finest musicians
have been Germans, and their gifts to the world have been bountiful.

As for soldiers, we know that every man in Germany must stand ready
to defend his country. He must serve his time in drilling and
training for war. He is a necessary part of that Fatherland he loves
so dearly.

Our fair-haired German cousins are busy workers and hard students.
They must learn quite early in life that they have duties as well as
pleasures, and the duties cannot be set aside or forgotten. But they
love games and holidays as dearly as the children of our own land.

Contents

CHAPTER
I. CHRISTMAS
II. TOY-MAKING
III. THE WICKED BISHOP
IV. THE COFFEE-PARTY
V. THE BEAUTIFUL CASTLE
VI. THE GREAT FREDERICK
VII. THE BRAVE PRINCESS
VIII. WHAT THE WAVES BRING
IX. THE MAGIC SWORD

List of Illustrations

BERTHA
BERTHA’S FATHER AND MOTHER
THE RATS’ TOWER
COURTYARD OF HEIDELBERG CASTLE
STATUE OF FREDERICK THE GREAT
BERTHA’S HOME

CHAPTER I.

CHRISTMAS

“Don’t look! There, now it’s done!” cried Bertha.

It was two nights before Christmas. Bertha was in the big
living-room with her mother and older sister. Each sat as close as
possible to the candle-light, and was busily working on something in
her lap.

But, strange to say, they did not face each other. They were sitting
back to back.

“What an unsociable way to work,” we think. “Is that the way Germans
spend the evenings together?”

No, indeed. But Christmas was near at hand, and the air was brimful
of secrets.

Bertha would not let her mother discover what she was working for
her, for all the world. And the little girl’s mother was preparing
surprises for each of the children. All together, the greatest fun
of the year was getting ready for Christmas.

“Mother, you will make some of those lovely cakes this year, won’t
you?” asked Bertha’s sister Gretchen.

“Certainly, my child. It would not be Christmas without them. Early
to-morrow morning, you and Bertha must shell and chop the nuts. I
will use the freshest eggs and will beat the dough as long as my arms
will let me.”

“Did you always know how to make those cakes, mamma?” asked Bertha.

“My good mother taught me when I was about your age, my dear. You
may watch me to-morrow, and perhaps you will learn how to make them.
It is never too early to begin to learn to cook.”

“When the city girls get through school, they go away from home and
study housekeeping, don’t they?” asked Gretchen.

“Yes, and many girls who don’t live in cities. But I hardly think
you will ever be sent away. We are busy people here in our little
village, and you will have to be contented with learning what your
mother can teach you.”

“I shall be satisfied with that, I know. But listen! I can hear
father and Hans coming.”

“Then put up your work, children, and set the supper-table.”

The girls jumped up and hurriedly put the presents away. It did not

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