Poison-mouth





There was once a poor father and mother who had a little daughter,

called "Poison-Mouth."



And it happened on a day that a great number of cows came into the

garden, and when the mother saw them she cried angrily, "You but destroy

our garden. I would you were all dead."



"Poison-Mouth" hearing her mother's angry words, called out, "Die, all

of you, for you are destroying our garden." And immediately all the

cattle dropped dead.



Upon another day, the bees were swarming and great companies flew over

the house, and the mother said complainingly, "Why do you never come to

us that we may have honey?"



Little "Poison-Mouth" called: "Come to us that we may have honey." And,

lo, before the eye of day had closed, the house was filled with bees and

the poor people had more honey than they could use.



Word of "Poison-Mouth" reached a great chow, and, prompted by the god of

love to sweeten the poisoned mouth, he sent ten men with this message to

the child's parents: "Take good care of your child; let her hear no

evil, and when she is old enough, I will take her to wife."



When the men approached the home of "Poison-Mouth" they said, "O, poor

people," but the mother would not permit them to finish, as their words

angered her, and she exclaimed, "You are bad dogs!" And the men were no

longer men, but dogs, snapping and snarling, for little "Poison-Mouth"

had also cried, "Bad dogs are you."



Though greatly distressed, the chow sent yet again twenty men with his

message. And again, when the mother beheld these men, she exclaimed,

"See, the dogs coming yonder!" "Poison-Mouth" echoed, "Yes, twenty dogs

are coming now," and they also changed into dogs, fighting on the

streets.



"Who can help me?" cried the chow, distressed though not despairing.



An old man answered, "I will help you. I will go to the child." And,

while the mother was absent, he sought the little one, and thus softly

said, "My child, thy tongue is given thee to bless with, and not to

curse. Come with me, and learn only that which is good." The little one

answered, "I will come," and the old man took her to the chow, who, from

that time forth, spoke no evil, and, little "Poison-Mouth," hearing none

but beautiful and good words, grew beautiful and good, and her words

brought blessings ever.





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