|The Secret Garden 1/3 (LittleFoxKids)|
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An adaptation of the classic children's novel by English author Frances Hodgson Burnett, this series stars a spoiled and sour girl named Mary. When Mary finds a deserted garden, she becomes determined to bring it back to life. As the garden blooms, will Mary bloom too?
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When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everyone said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true too. She had a thin, little face; a thin, little body; and thin, blond hair. She had a sour look on her face, and her skin was pale because she had always been sick. She had been born in India, where her father worked for the English government. Her mother was a great beauty who only wanted to go to parties and amuse herself with interesting people. She had not wanted a little girl at all. So when Mary was born, her mother handed her over to the care of a nanny. The nanny had strict instructions: Keep the baby out of sight as much as possible. The servants always let Mary do whatever she wanted to keep her from crying and making her mother angry. By the time Mary was six years old, she was very selfish and stubborn. A young English governess came to teach her to read and write. But she disliked Mary so much that she stayed only three months. Other governesses came and went even faster. One very hot morning, when she was about ten, Mary awoke feeling grumpy. She was even grumpier when she saw that the woman standing by her bed was not her usual nanny. "Why are you here?" she said to the strange woman. "I will not let you stay. Send my nanny to me." The woman looked frightened. "She cannot come." Mary flew into a rage and beat and kicked the servant. But the frightened woman would only repeat, "The nanny cannot come." "There is a mystery in the air this morning," said Mary to herself after the servant went away. As she walked about the house, she noticed that some of the servants were missing. The ones that she did see looked frightened. She went out into the garden and began to play under a tree near the porch. "I can pretend to make a flower garden," said Mary. She stuck big, red hibiscus blossoms into little heaps of earth, but still felt angry that her nanny had abandoned her. Suddenly someone came out on the porch. It was her mother and a young English soldier. Her mother's face and clothes were as beautiful as ever, but something was wrong. Mary's mother looked upset. "Is it so very bad? Oh, is it?" Mary heard her ask. "Awful," said the young soldier. "You ought to have gone to the hills two weeks ago." Mary did not know what they were talking about. She stayed quiet and listened. "Oh, I know I should have gone," said Mary's mother. "I only stayed to go to that silly party. What a fool I was!" Suddenly the sound of wailing came from the servants' quarters. The noise grew louder and wilder. "What is that?" cried Mary's mother. "Someone has died," said the soldier. "You did not tell me it had broken out among your servants." "I did not know," said Mary's mother. "Come with me!" And she ran into the house with the soldier. Mary soon learned why the servants were wailing. Her nanny had died of cholera, a dreaded disease that was spreading quickly and killing many people. By the next day, three more servants were dead, and the others had run away in terror. During the confusion of the following day, Mary hid in the nursery and was forgotten by everyone. Nobody thought of her and nobody wanted her. Mary alternately cried and slept through the hours. When she awoke the house was perfectly quiet. "I wonder if everyone is better," Mary said. She heard something rustling on the floor, and when she looked down, she saw a little snake gliding along. "It sounds as if no one is here but the snake and me." The next minute she heard footsteps on the porch and voices in the house. Mary jumped out of bed as a soldier came into her room. "There is a child here!" he called to the other soldiers in the house. "A child alone! In a place like this! Who is she?" "I am Mary Lennox," she said. "I fell asleep when everyone had cholera, and I just woke up. Why was I forgotten? Why does no one come?" The soldier looked at her sadly. "Because there is no one left to come." So it was in this strange and sudden way that Mary found out that both her father and mother had died of cholera. There was no one left in the house but Mary and the little, rustling snake.