Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland

Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland

Read FREE!

Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland

Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland

Read FREE!

Synopsis

A Dutch boy and girl work toward two goals--finding the doctor who can restore their father's memory and winning the competition for the silver skates.

Excerpt

On a bright December morning long ago, two poorly clad children were kneeling upon the bank of a frozen canal in Holland.

The sun had not yet appeared; but the gray sky was parted near the horizon, and edges edges shone crimson with the coming day. Most of the good Hollanders were enjoying a placid morning nap: even Mynheer von Stoppelnoze, that worthy old Dutchman, was still slumbering "in beautiful repose."

Now and then some peasant-woman, poising a well-filled basket upon her head, came skimming over the glassy surface of the canal; or a lusty boy, skating to his day's work in the town, cast a good-natured grimace toward the shivering pair as he flew along.

Meanwhile, with many a vigorous puff and pull, the brother and sister, for such they were, seemed to be fastening something upon their feet, — not skates, certainly, but clumsy pieces of wood narrowed and smoothed at their lower edge, and pierced with holes, through which were threaded strings of raw-hide.

These queer-looking affairs had been made by the boy Hans. His mother was a poor peasant-woman, too poor to even think of such a thing as buying skates for her little ones. Rough as these were, they had afforded the children many a happy hour upon the ice; and now, as with cold, red fingers, our young Hollanders tugged at the strings, their solemn faces bending closely over their knees, no vision of impossible iron runners came to dull the satisfaction glowing within.

In a moment the boy arose, and with a pompous swing of the arms, and a careless "Come on, Gretel!" glided easily across the canal.

"Ah, Hans!" called his sister, plaintively, "this foot is not well yet. The strings hurt me on last market-day; and now I cannot bear them tied in the same place."

"Tie them higher up, then," answered Hans, as, without looking at her, he performed a wonderful cat's-cradle step on the ice.

"How can I? The string is too short."

Giving vent to a good-natured Dutch whistle, the English of which was, that girls were troublesome creatures . . .

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