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Page 142

SERVICE AND THRIFT
THE KING OF THE GOLDEN RIVER; OR, THE BLACK BROTHERS by
JOHN RUSKIN

CHAPTER ONE
I. TREASURE VALLEY AND THE BLACK BROTHERS

In a secluded and mountainous part of Styria there was, in old time, a valley of the most surprising and luxuriant fertility. It was surrounded on all sides by steep and rocky mountains, rising into peaks which were always covered with snow, and from which a number of torrents descended in constant cataracts. One of these fell westward over the face of a crag so high that, when the sun had set to everything else, and all below was darkness, his beams still shone full upon this waterfall so that it looked like a shower of gold. It was, therefore, called by the people of the neighborhood, the Golden River. It was strange that none of these streams fell into the valley itself. They all descended on, the other side of the mountains and wound away through broad plains and past populous cities. But the clouds were drawn so constantly to the snowy hills, and rested so softly in the circular hollow, that in time of drought and heat, when all the country round was burned up, there was still rain in the little valley; and its crops were so heavy, and its hay so high, and its apples so red, and its grapes so blue, and its wine so rich, and its honey so sweet, that it was a marvel to everyone who beheld it, and was commonly called the Treasure Valley.
The whole of this little valley belonged to three brothers called Schwartz, Hans, and Gluck. Schwartz and Hans, the

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