Once there was a little worm about as long as the nail of my thumb, and no larger round than a big darning needle. This little worm lived in a little house that he had made for himself in the ground, just big enough to hold him when he rolled himself up like a little ball with his head sticking out.
There were no windows nor doors in his house, except one on top which was his door to go in at and his window to look out of. When he had made this house he was tired, and crawled into it and curled himself up and went to sleep and slept all night.
In the morning the sun rose and spread his beams all over the world, and one of the bright sunbeams shone into the window of the little worm’s house and touched his eyes and waked him, and he popped up his head and looked out and saw that it was very pleasant in the garden, and he thought to go out to walk.
He squirmed himself up out of his hole, and, because he had no feet, he crept along the garden path. The warm beams of the sun put their arms all around his cold little body and made it as warm as could be, and the sunbeams went into his little mites of eyes and filled him all full of light, and the songs of the birds went into his little mites of ears and filled him all up with music, and the sweet smell of hundreds of flowers went up that little mite of a nose and filled him up with their perfumes. And so the little worm went creeping along, as glad as he could be that he was alive.
Now in the house that stood in that garden lived a little boy about four years old; and when the morning came, the sunbeams had gone into the window of his nursery and waked him, and he was washed and dressed, and had his breakfast of bread and milk, and then his mamma took him to the door that led down the steps to the piazza into the garden, and told him he might go down the path and have a good run to make himself warm. So down he ran.
Now, if that little boy should put his strong foot on that dear little worm, it would break him all to pieces; but that little boy would not do such a cruel thing for the world!
He saw the little worm creeping along, so glad to be alive, and he ran on the other side of the path; and the little worm nibbled a blade of grass and drank a little dew for his breakfast, and then he felt tired, and went creeping back, full of good food, to the little hole that was his home, and curled himself up like a little ball and went to sleep.