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A Village Stradivarius

Anthony Croft in boyhood had been exactly like all the other boys in Edgewood, save that he hated school a trifle more, if possible, than any of the others. The only place where he found peace with himself was out in the woods. When he should have been poring over the sweet, palpitating mysteries of the multiplication table, his vagrant gaze was settled upon the open window near which he sat.

Yet he had learned about the world, in his own way . . . and now, many years later, he had his own way of passing it along.

Lifting his violin to his chin, he inclined his head fondly toward it -- and began to play . . . and the tone rang out with velvety richness and strength until the atmosphere was satiated with harmony. No more ethereal note ever flew out of a bird's throat than Anthony Croft set free from this violin, his "swan song" . . . the treasure he had made in the year he lost his eyesight.

Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923), author of such works as "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and "Penelope's English Experiences," was one of America's most popular writer of books for young people.

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