The supper is over, the hearth is swept,
And in the wood-fire’s glow
The children cluster to hear a tale
Of that time so long ago,
When grandmamma’s hair was golden brown,
And the warm blood came and went
O’er the face that could scarce have been sweeter then
Than now in its rich content.
The face is wrinkled and careworn now,
And the golden hair is gray;
But the light that shone in the young girl’s eyes
Has never gone away.
And her needles catch the fire’s light
As in and out they go,
With the clicking music that grandma loves
Shaping the stocking’s toe.
And the waking children love it too,
For they know the stocking song
Brings many a tale to grandma’s mind
Which they shall hear ere long.
But it brings no story of olden time
To grandma’s heart tonight,–
Only a ditty quaint and short
Is sung by the needles bright.
‘Life is a stocking,’ grandma says,
‘And yours is just begun;
But I am kniting the toe of mine,
And my work is almost done.
‘With merry hearts we begin to knit,
And the ribbing is almost play;
Some are gay-colored, and some are white,
And some are ashen gray.
‘But most are made of many a hue,
With many a stitch set wrong,
And many a row to be sadly ripped
Ere the whole is fair and strong.
‘There are long plain stretches without a break,
That in youth are hard to bear;
And many a weary tear is dropped
As we fashion the heel with care.
‘But the saddest, happiest time is that
We court and yet would shun,
When our Heavenly Father breaks the thread,
And says our work is done.’
And the children come to say good-night,
With tears in their bright young eyes;
While in grandma’s lap, with broken thread,
The finished stocking lies.