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The following account of the lamb is from the pen of a cousin, William Brewster Sawyer, and was published in the Boston Transcript:—

‘Mary had a little lamb.’

The famous history from the lips of the original Mary.

There are floating about in the great ocean of literature stray chips of song or story, which from their wit or wisdom, or from some unaccountable reason, become popularized and cherished more carefully than whole navies of world-renowned authors. Their parentage unknown, they come as literary foundlings to our doors, and, once admitted, command their own place in our affections. Among such is the poem, “Mary had a little lamb.” There is hardly a child in the broad land who has not become familiar with the verses, nor a college student but has sung them to a dozen different tunes. It has been parodied, paraphrased, and translated into the dead languages. And yet scarce any one knows who is its author, or whether it is fictitious or founded on fact. It is perhaps in the truth of the story that the secret of its popularity lies. For it is the true account of an incident that happened years ago, not fifty miles from the Cradle of Liberty. The writer, on a recent visit, craved from her own lips the true story of the affair, and will reproduce it as nearly as possible.

“It was when I was nine years old,” she said, “and we lived upon the farm. I used to go out to the barn every morning with father to see the cows and sheep. They all knew me, and the cows, old Broad and Short-horn and Brindle, would low a good morning when I came to their stables. One cold day we found that during the night twin lambs had been born. You know that sheep will often disown one of twins, and this morning one poor little lamb was pushed out of the pen into the yard. It was almost starved and almost frozen, and father told me I might have it if I could make it live. So I took it into the house, wrapped it in a blanket, and fed it peppermint and milk ”

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William Brewster Sawyer (1)
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