Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Bimbi: Stories for Children
Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramée) (1839–1908)
Bimbi: Stories for Children (1882). Ouida has done nothing so perfectly as her stories of child-life. In ‘Bimbi’ we see her at her best. The stories are simply but charmingly told, and show a wonderfully intimate sympathy with children. The characters are mostly little peasants, sweet, natural, and thoughtful, filled with a love of beauty and of old legends, and touched with the simple spontaneous heroism that is possible only to a child.  1
  ‘Hirschvogel,’ which opens the volume, is the story of a German boy’s romantic attachment for a beautiful porcelain stove, made by the great master Hirschvogel. August’s father having sold the stove, the child secretes himself in it, and after a terrible journey of three days is found inside by the young king who has bought it; and who, pleased with the child’s devotion, allows him to stay with his beloved Hirschvogel and receive an artist’s education.  2
  ‘Moufflou’ takes its name from a clever poodle, which Lolo, his little lame master, had taught to do many tricks. Lolo’s mother having sold the dog while he was away, the child takes the loss so much to heart that he becomes ill, and is saved from death only by the opportune arrival of Moufflou, who has escaped and walked many miles to find his little master.  3
  Findelkind is a boy whose whole life is saddened because some twin lambs from his flock stray, and are frozen to death, while he is away upon a quest for money with which to found a monastery.  4
  The Little Earl who gives his name to the last story in the book learns early the lesson that “It is the title they give me and the money I have got that makes people so good to me. When I am only me you see what it is.”  5
  ‘In the Apple Country’ relates how a young Englishman receives into his home Gemma, a hot-tempered, warm-hearted little Italian girl, with her grandfather and brother, who have been arrested for strolling. And when Gemma has grown into a beautiful girl, impulsive still, but sweet and gentle, she consents to give up forever the grapes and oranges of Italy to live in the “Apple Country,” as Philip Corey’s wife.  6
  Perhaps the most charming of the stories is ‘The Child of Urbino.’ Two friends of the child Rafaelle—Luca, a noble youth, and his sweetheart Pacifica, a gentle maiden—are in great trouble. Pacifica’s father, a great artist, has promised his daughter’s hand to the painter winning in a contest to be decided by the duke, and Luca could paint but ill. On the day of the decision the duke and all present gaze in wonder upon one piece, which is found to be the work of the seven year-old child Rafaelle. Modestly and quietly the child claims Pacifica, takes her hand and places it in Luca’s. They tell Luca that an angel has come down for him. “But Luca heard not: he was still kneeling at the feet of Rafaelle, where the world has knelt ever since.”  7

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