Arthur Bancroft was feeling very cross one morning in December. He had a bad cold, and his mother did not think it would be wise for him to go out-of-doors. That was why he was cross. The skating was finer than it had been that season; every other boy he knew was enjoying it.
He walked about the house with a very sulky face; would take no notice of books or games, and seemed determined to be miserable.
He was standing looking out of the window when his sister Laura came into the room. Laura carried in her hand a basket filled with cranberries.
She put the basket on the table, took a needle from her mother's needle book, threaded it with a long, stout thread, and began stringing the berries.
Laura was a dear little thing! She was always busy. No one ever heard her say, "I wish I had something to do." And she was generally doing something for some one else.
She made a sweet little picture as she sat bending over the basket of crimson cranberries. Some such idea may have come into Arthur's mind as he turned and looked at her. As he watched her silently for some moments, the cross expression on his face became a little less cross.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Stringing cranberries for the Mullins' Christmas tree," answered Laura. "Don't you want to help me?"
"It's girls' work," replied Arthur.
"Isn't a boy smart enouhg to do a girl's work?" asked Laura.
"Of course, he's SMART enough. I don't mean that! Perhaps he doesn't want to."
"Oh," said Laura, "I wish you did want to."
"Why?" asked Arthur.
"I promised to string all these for the Mullins' Christmas tree" replied Laura. "The market-man brought them so late, I have not much time now."
"Thread another needle," said Arthur.
In a few moments he was working as busily as Laura, herself. As Arthur finished his last long string, he tied the ends together and threw it around Laura's neck. When she bent her head a little, it reached the floor.
"There," said he, "that proves that a boy can do a girl's work."
"Yes," said Laura, "when"--then she stopped and smiled.
"When what?" asked Arthur.
"When he has a girl to show him how," laughed Laura, as she danced out of the room with the cranberry strings.
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