“I love you, mother,” said little John.
Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on,
And he was off to the garden swing,

And left her the water and wood to bring.
“I love you, mother,” said rosy Nell—
I love you more than tongue can tell.”
But she teased and pouted full half the day

Till her mother was glad when she went to play.
“I love you, mother,” said little Fan;
“Today I’ll help you all I can;
How glad I am that school doesn’t keep.”

So she rocked the baby till it fell asleep.
Then slipping softly she took the broom
And swept the floor and dusted the room.
Busy and happy all the day was she,

Helpful and cheerful as a child should be.
“I love you, mother,” again they said,
Three little children going to bed.
How do you think that mother guessed
Which of them really loved her best?

by Joy Allison