THE GOLDEN TREASURE
THE drummer's wife wentinto the church．Shesawthe new altar with thepainted pictures and thecarved an－gels： they were so beautiful， both those upon the canvas，in colours and with haloes， and those that were carved inwood，and painted and gilt into thebargain． Theirhairgleamed golden in the sunshine， lovely to behold； but thereal sunshine was more beautiful still． It shone redder，clearer through the dark trees， when thesunwentdown．It was lovelythustolook at the sunshineofheaven．Andshe looked at the red sun， and she thought about it sodeeply，andthought of the little one whomthestork wasto bring；and the wife of the drummer was very cheerful， and looked and looked， and wished that the child mighthavea gleam ofsunshine given to it， sothat itmightatleastbecome like oneofthe shining angels over the altar．
And when she really had the little child in herarms，and held it up to its father，then it was like one ofthe angels in the church to behold， with hair like gold—the gleamofthesettingsunwasuponit．
"My golden treasure，my riches， my sunshine！'said the mother； and she kissed the shining locks， and itsounded like music and song in the roomofthedrummer；and there was joy， and life， and movement． The drummerbeata roll—a roll of joy． And the Drum， the Fire－drum， that was beaten when there was a fire in the town， said："Red hair！the little fellow has red hair！Believe thedrum， and not what your mother says！ Rub-a－dub， rub- a- dub！"
And the town repeated what the Fire－drum had said．
The boywastaken to church; the boy was chris-tened．There was mothing much tobe saidabouthisname；he was called Peter． The whole town， and theDrum too， called him"Peter the drummer's boy with thered hair"； but his mother kissedhis red hair， and calledhim her golden treasure. In the hollow way in the clayey bank，many hadscratched their names as a remembrance．
"Celebrityis always something！"said the drummer；
and so he scratched his own name there， and his littleson's name likewise．
And the swallows came： they had， on their long jour－ney， seen more durablecharacters engraven on rocks， andon thewallsofthe temples inHindostan, mightydeeds ofgreatkings， immortal names， so old that no one now couldread or speak them． Remarkablecelebrity！
In theclayeybankthe martins built their nest：theyboredholesinthedeepdeclivity，andthesplashing？rainand the thin mist came and crumbled and washed thenames away，and the drummer's name also，andthat of hislittle son．
"Peter's name remained， however， a yearand ahalf！"said the father．
"Fool！"thought the Fire－drum； but it only said，"Dub， dub， dub， rub-a-dub！"
He was aboyfulloflife and gladness， this drum－mer's son with the red hair． He had a lovely voice： hecouldsing， and he sanglike a bird in the woodland．
There was melody， and yet no melody．
He must become a choir－boy， said his mother．
"He shallsing inthe church， and stand under the beau－tiful gilded angels who are like him！"
"Fierycat！'said some ofthe witty onesofthetown．
The Drum heard thatfrom the neighbours'wives．
"Don't go home， Peter，"cried the street boys．"Ifyou sleep in the garret， there'll be afire in thehouse， and the fire－drum will have to be beaten．
"Look out for the drumsticks，"replied Peter； and，small as he was， he ran up boldly， and， gave the foremost such a punch in the body with his fist that the fel－low lost his legs and tumbled over， and the others tooktheirlegs offwith themselves very rapidly．
The town musician was verygenteel and fine．He wasthe sonofthe royal plate－washer． He was very fond of Pe－ter， and would sometimes take him to his home， and hegave him a violin， and taught him to play it． It seemed asif the whole art lay in the boy's fingers； and he wanted tobemore than adrummer—hewanted to become musicianto the town．
"I'll be a soldier，"said Peter；for he was still quitealittlelad， anditseemedtohimthefinestthingintheworldto carry a gun， and to beable tomarch"left， right， left，right，" and to wear auniformand a sword. "Ah，youmust learnto obeythedrum-skin，drum， dum， dum！"said the Drum．
"Yes，if he could only march hisway up to be a gen－eral！"observed his father；"but before he can do that theremustbe war．"
"Heaven forbid!" said his mother．
"We have nothing to lose，"remarked the father．
"Yes， we have my boy， "she retorted．
"But suppose he came back a general！" said thefather．
"Withoutarmsand legs！" criedthe mother．"No，Iwould rather keepmygolden treasure whole．""Drum， dum，dum！ TheFire-drum andall theotherdrums were beating， for war had come.The soldiers all setout， and the son of the drummer followed them．" Red－head．Golden treasure！"The mother wept； thefather infancy saw him"fa-mous"；the townmusicianwasofopinionthatheoughtnotto go to war， but shouldstay at home and learn music．
"Red－head， "said the soldiers， and little Peterlaughed； but when one ofthem sometimes said to anoth－er，"Foxey，"he would bite his teeth together and lookanother way—into the wide world： he did not care forthe nickname．
The boy was active， pleasant of speech， and good－humoured； and these qualities are the best canteen， saidhis elder comrades．
And many a night he had to sleep underthe opensky，wet throughwith thedrivingrain or thefallingmist；but hisgoodhumour never forsookhim． The drum-stickssounded，"Rub-a-dub， allup，allup！"Yes， he was cer－tainly born to be a drummer.
The day of battle dawned． The sun had not yet risen，but the morning has come． The air was cold， the battle washot， therewasmist in the air， but stillmore gunpowder-smoke．The bullets and shells flew over the soldiers'heads， and into their heads， into their bodies and limbs；but still they pressed forward. Hereorthere one orotherofthemwould sinkon hisknees， with bleeding temples and aface as white as chalk． The little drummer still kept hishealthy colour; he had suffered no damage；he lookedcheerfully at the dog of the regiment， which was jumpingalong asmerrilyasifthewhole thing had been got up forhis amusement， and as if the bullets were only flying aboutthat he might have a gameof playwiththem.
"March！ Forward！ March！" These were the words ofcommand for the drum， and they were words not to be tab－en back； but they may be taken back at times， and theremay be wisdom in doing so； and now at last the word"Re－tire"was given；but ourlittledrummer beat"Forward！march！" for so he had understood the com－mand，and the soldiers obeyed the sound of the drum．Thatwasa good roll，and provedthesummonsto victoryforthemen，whohadalreadybeguntogiveway．
Life and limb were lost in the battle． Bomb- shellstoreawaytheflesh inredstrips；bomb-shellslit up into aterrible glow the straw－heaps to which the wounded haddragged themselves， to lie untended for many hours， per－haps for all the hours they had to live.
It's no use thinking of it； and yet one cannot helpthinking of it， even far away in the peaceful town． Thedrummer and his wife also thought of it， for Peter was atthe war．
"Now， I'm tiredofthesecomplaints," said the Fire- drum．
Again the day ofbattle dawned; the sun had not yetrisen， but it was morning．The drummer and his wife wereasleep， which theyhadnot beennearlyall night： theyhadbeen talking about their son，who was out yonder，inGod'shand．Andthefatherdreamt that the war was over，that the soldiers had returned home， and that Peter wore asilver cross onhis breast． But themother dreamt that shehad gone into the church，and had seen the painted pic-tures and the carved angels with the gilded hair， and herown dear boy， the golden treasureof her heart， who wasstanding among the angels in white robes，singingsosweetly， as surely onlythe angels can sing；andthathehad soared up with them into the sunshine， and nodded sokindly athis mother．
"My golden treasure!"she criedout； and sheawoke．"Now the goodGod has taken him to Himself！" She folded her hands， and hid her face in the cotton cur－tains of the bed， and wept．"Where does he rest now？among the many in the big grave that they have dug forthe dead？ Perhaps he's in the water in the marsh! No- body knows his grave； noholy wordshave been read overit！" And the Lord' s Prayerwent inaudibly overher lips；she bowed her head， and was so weary that she went tosleep．
And the days went by， inlifeand in dreams！
It was evening：overthebattle－field a rainbowspread， which touched the forest and the deep marsh. It has been said， and is preserved in popular belief， that where the rainbow touches the earth a treasure liesburied， a golden treasure； and here there was one. Noone but his mother thought of the little drummer， andtherefore she dreamt of him．
And the days went by， in life and in dreams！
Not a hair of his headhadbeenhurt， not a goldenhair．
"Drum-ma－rum！ drum－ma－rum！ there he is！ theDrum might have said， and hismother might have sung， ifshe had seen or dreamtit．
With hurrah and song， adorned with green wreathsof victory， they came home， as the war was at an end， and peace had been signed． The dog of the regimentsprang on in front with large bounds， and made the waythreetimes as longforhimselfas it really was．
And days andweeks went by， andPeter cameintohis parents' room： he was asbrown as a wild man， andhis eyes werebright， and his face beamed like sunshine.And his mother held him in her arms； she kissed his lips，his eyes， his red hair．She had her boy back again； he hadnot a silver cross on his breast， as his father had dreamt，but he had sound limbs， a thing the mother had notdreamt．And what a rejoicingwasthere！ They laughed andthey wept； and Peter embraced the old Fire－drum．
"There stands the old skeleton still！" he said．
"One would think that a great fire had broken outhere，"said the Fire－drum．"Bright day！fire inthe heart！golden treasure！skrat！skr-r-at！skr-r-r-r-at！"And what then？ What then？—Ask the town musi－cian．
"Peter' s far outgrowing the drum，" he said．"Peterwill be greater thanI．"And yet hewasthesonof a royalplate-washer；butall that he had learned in half a lifetime， Peter learned inhalfayear．
There was something so merry about him， somethingso trulykind－hearted．Hiseyesgleamed，andhishairgleamed too—there was no denying that！
"He ought to have his hair dyed，"said the neigh－bour'swife．"Thatanswered capitally with the policeman'sdaughter， and she got a husband．"
"Butherhairturned as green as duckweed，andwasalways having to be colouredup．""She canaffordthat，"saidthe neighbours，"and socan Peter． He goes to the most genteel houses， even to theburgomaster's， where he gives Miss Charlotte pianofortelessons." He could play！ He could play， fresh out of his heart，the most charming pieces， that had never been put uponmusic－paper． He played in the bright nights， and in thedark nights too． The neighbours declared it was unbear－able， and the Fire－drum was of the same opinion．
He played until his thoughts soared up， and burstforth in great plans for the future：
"To be famous！"
And Burgomaster's Charlotte sat at the piano.Herdelicate fingersdanced overthekeys， andmadethemringintoPeter'sheart．It seemedtoo muchforhim to bear; andthishappenednotonce，butmany times； and at lastone day he seized the delicate fingers and the white hand，and kissed it， and looked into her great brown eyes．Heaven knows what he said； but we may be allowed toguess at it． Charlotte blushed to guess at it． She reddenedfrom brow to neck， and answered not a single word; andthen strangers came into the room， and one of them wasthe state councillor's son： he had a lofty white forehead，and carriedit so highthat itseemedto gobackinto hisneck．And Peter sat with them a long time， and shelooked at him with gentle eyes．
At home that evening he spoke of travel in the wideworld， and of the golden treasure that lay hidden for himin his violin．
"To be famous！"
"Tum-me-lum，tum-me-lum，tum-me-lum！"saidthe Fire-drum．" Peter has gone clean out of his wits．Ithink there must be a fire in the house．"
Next daythe mother went to market．
"ShallItell you news，Peter？ sheaskedwhenshecamehome."A capitalpieceof news. Burgomaster'sCharlottehas engaged herself tothestate councillor'sson； the betrothal took place yesterday evening．""No！" cried Peter， andhesprangupfromhischair．Buthis mother persisted insaying"Yes"．She hadheard it from the barber's wife， whose husband had itfrom the burgomaster's own mouth．
And Peter became as pale as death， and sat downagain. "Good Heaven！What' s thematter withyou？" askedhis mother．
"Nothing， nothing； only leave me to myself，"heanswered， but the tears were running down his cheeks．
"My sweet child， my golden treasure！" cried themother，andshewept；but the Fire-drum sang—notoutloud，but inwardly， "Charlotte' s gone！ Charlotte's gone！ And now thesong isdone．"
But the songwasnotdone； there weremany moreverses in it， long verses， the most beautiful verses， thegolden treasures of a life．
"She behaves like a mad woman，" said the neigh－bour's wife．"Alltheworldis to seetheletters she getsfrom her golden treasure，and to read the words that are written in the papers about his violin－playing． And hesends her money too， and that's very useful to her sinceshe has been a widow．""He playsbefore emperors and kings，" said the townmusician．"Inever hadthatfortune;buthe's my pupil， and he does not forget his old master．
And his mother said， "His father dreamt that Peter came home fromthe warwith a silver cross．Hedid notgain one in thewar；butitis still more difficult togain one in thisway． Now hehasthe cross of honour.If his father had only lived to see it！" "He'sgrown famous！ "saidtheFire－drum；andallhis native town said the same thing， for the drummer'sson， Peter with the red hair—Peter whom they had knownas a little boy，running about in wooden shoes，andthen asa drummer， playing forthe dancers—was become famous！
"He played at our house before he played in the pres－ence ofkings， said the burgomaster's wife．"At that timehe was quite smitten with Charlotte．Hewasalways ofanaspiring turn．Atthat time he was saucyandan enthusiast．
My husband laughed when he heard of the foolish affair， and now our Charlotte's a state councillor's wife．"A golden treasure had been hidden in theheartandsoul of the poor child， who had beaten the roll as adrummer—a roll of victory for those who had beenready toretreat．There was a golden treasurein hisbosom， thepowerofsound： itburstforth on his violin as iftheinstru－ment had been a complete organ， and as if all the elves ofa mid－summernightwere dancing across the strings． In itssounds were heard the piping of the thrush and the fullclear noteof the human voice； therefore thesoundbroughtrapture to everyheart， and carried his name triumphantthrough the land． That was a great firebrand—the firebrandof inspiration. "And then he looks so splendid ！"said the youngladies and the old ladies too； and the oldest of all procuredan album for famous locks ofhair， wholly and solely thatshe might beg alook of his rich splendid hair， that trea－sure，that goldentreasure. And the son cameinto thepoorroomof the drummer，elegantas a prince， happierthan a king．His eyes were as clear and his face as radi-ant as sunshine； and heheld his mother in his arms，andshe kissed his mouth，and wept as blissfully as any onecan weep forjoy；and he nodded at everyold piece offurniture in the room， at thecupboard with the tea－cups，and at the flower－vase． He nodded at the sleeping－bench，where hehad slept as a little boy；but the old Fire－drumhe brought out， and dragged it intothe middle of theroom， and said to it and to hismother：
"My father would have beaten afamous roll this evening． NowI mustdoit！"And he beata thundering roll－callon the instrument， and the Drumfelt so highly honoured that the parch－ment burst with exultation．
"Hehasa splendidtouch!"saidthe Drum．"I've a remembrance ofhim now that will last． Iexpect thatthe same thingwillhappen tohismother，from pure joy over her goldentreasure．"And this is the story of the Gold－en Treasure．