Once upon a time there was a great family of limestones, all piled up on the bank of a river. They had been so close together that one could not be told from another. They had finished the work they had to do together. The time had now come for them to separate and do another kind of work.
Away up on top. Stony and Rocky, two lively boys of this family, could look down into the river. There they saw some of their brothers and sisters who long ago had left their home, and whose sharp comers and edges had been worn away by the water, which rolled them over and over, rubbing them against each other until all the rough edges were gone, and they were smooth and round.
These little pebbles kept calling to Stony and Rocky up on the cliffs, to come down. They wanted to go very much, but they could not break off from their old home without some help. As they sat up there wishing very much to go into the river below. Jack Frost went rushing by on the wings of the wind. Rocky called to this jolly little fellow and asked if he could not help them. Jack said, “Of course I can ; what help do you need?”
“Oh!” said Stony, “we are fastened here so tight that we can’t get away. Can’t you set us free? Our brothers and sisters are having a good time down in the water, and we want to go there.”
“All right,” said Jack, “you shall go, and I will help you.”
So he set to work, and marked off with his ice pencil a cold, white line. “The sunshine will soon be along,” he said, “and will help you, too.”
Then away he flew. Sure enough, the sunshine did come, and set to work to thaw out Jack Frost’s ice lines, and make the rocks warm. The wind blew on them, and the tiny raindrops came to help, too. All worked very hard together, and the rocks felt themselves loosening from their old homes. At last, one night, Jack Frost brought his ice chisel and gave them a hard knock, and they kept getting looser and looser, until — plunge!!! — they went headlong into the water.
Oh, dear, how frightened they were! The water was so cold and dark, and rushed around them so rapidly, that they were shaken up and trembled with fear. How they wished they had never left their quiet home to come down here in this busy rush.
In a little while they had the courage to look up, and there they saw the tiny twinklers up in the sky, looking down at them as they had always done, and the moon sending them light and smiling upon them as she had done ever since they could remember. Their little pebble brothers and sisters comforted them, and they were soon better contented.
The next day, Stony and Rocky began to run and play in the water, like the pebbles. They had rather a hard time of it at first, because they never had been with such busy people before, and they had such sharp comers that they were always getting badly hurt. They soon grew to love the soft, singing water, and to like the busy life, even with the sharp knocks — much better than the old life on the cliffs.
After a long, long time, more years than any of us have lived. Rocky and Stony were worn down into round, smooth pebbles, and others from their old home were falling down into the water.
Their work here, in the water, had made them ready for another kind of work. One day, a man came down to the river with a wheelbarrow and gathered it full of pebbles out of the river. The pebbles wondered what work they had to do now.
The man carried them away off into the great city, and made with them some beautiful walks in a large park where a great many little children come to play, as soon as the spring comes every year. They love to play with the pebbles, and the pebbles like to take care of their tiny feet and keep them out of the mud.
This is the last home that Stony and Rocky ever had and they lived there ever after.