WEEK 19 |
W HEN old Granny Fox had sent Reddy Fox into the house and told him to stay there until she returned home, he had not wanted to mind, but he knew that Granny Fox meant just what she said, and so he had crawled slowly down the long hall to the bedroom, way under ground.
Pretty soon Reddy Fox heard a voice. It was very faint, for you know Reddy was in his bedroom way under ground, but he knew it. He pricked up his ears and listened. It was the voice of Bowser the Hound, and Reddy knew by the sound that Bowser was chasing Granny Fox.
Reddy grinned. He wasn't at all worried about Granny Fox, not the least little bit. He knew how smart she was and that whenever she wanted to, she could get rid of Bowser the Hound. Then a sudden thought popped into Reddy's head, and he grew sober.
"Granny did feel trouble coming, just as she said," he thought.
Then Reddy Fox curled himself up and tried to sleep. He intended to mind
and not put his little black nose outside until old Granny Fox returned.
But somehow Reddy couldn't get to sleep. His bedroom was small, and he
was so stiff and sore that he could not get comfortable. He twisted and
turned and fidgeted. The more he fidgeted, the more uncomfortable he
grew. He thought of the warm sunshine outside and how comfortable he
would be, stretched out full length on the
By and by Reddy Fox crept a little way up the long, dark hall. He could
just see the sunlight on the
"Granny Fox is getting old and timid. Just as if my eyes aren't as sharp as hers! I'd like to see Farmer Brown's boy get near me when I am really on the watch," said Reddy Fox to himself. And then he crept a little nearer to the open door.
How bright and warm and pleasant it did look outside! Reddy just knew
that he would feel ever and ever so much better if he could stretch
out on the
"Granny's led them way off on the mountain. Good old Granny!" thought Reddy Fox. Then he crawled right up to the very doorway. He could still hear Jenny Wren scolding and fussing.
"What does ail her?"
If it's hot or if it's cold,
Jenny Wren will always scold.
From morn till night the whole day long
Her limber tongue is going strong.
"I'm going to find out what it means," said Reddy, talking to himself.
Reddy Fox poked his head out and—looked straight into the freckled face of Farmer Brown's boy and the muzzle of that dreadful gun!
If all the seas were one sea,
What a great sea that would be!
And if all the trees were one tree,
What a great tree that would be!
And if all the axes were one axe,
What a great axe that would be!
And if all the men were one man,
What a great man he would be!
And if the great man took the great axe,
And cut down the great tree,
And let it fall into the great sea,
What a splish splash that would be!
WEEK 19 |
T HE Twins were just stepping into their clogs when the front gate opened, and what do you think they saw! In came trotting three brown men, each one pulling a little carriage behind him! They came right up to the porch. Take was just standing on one foot, ready to slip her other one into the strap of her clog, when they came in. She was so surprised she fell right over backward! She picked herself up again quickly, and hopped along, with one shoe on and one shoe off:
"Are we going to ride?" she gasped.
Her Father laughed. "Yes, little
The name of these little carriages drawn by men instead of horses is "jinrickshas," but he called them "rickshaws" for short.
The Twins were so happy they could hardly keep still. They looked at all three rickshaws and all three men, and then they said to their Father:
"May we ride in this one?"
It had red wheels.
"Yes, you may ride in that one," he said.
Then he got into the one with green wheels, and rode away.
Mother and Grannie and the Baby got into the next one, and their rickshaw man trotted away after Father.
"Keep close behind us," the Mother called back to the Twins.
They got into the rickshaw with the red wheels, and away they flew.
The Twins had never been in a rickshaw alone before in all their lives. They sat up very straight, and held on tight because it bounced a good deal, and the rickshaw man could run very fast.
"I feel as grand as a princess," Take whispered to Taro. "How do you feel?"
"I feel like a son of the Samurai," Taro whispered back. That was the proudest feeling he could think of.
There were so very many interesting things to see that the Twins didn't talk much for a while. You see, it's hard work to use your mouth and your eyes and your ears all at once. So the Twins just used their eyes.
It was still quite early in the morning when they reached the city streets. Here they saw men with baskets hung from poles going from house to house. Some were selling vegetables, some had fish, and others were selling flowers, or brooms.
They saw little girls with baby brothers on their backs, skipping rope or bouncing balls. The baby's head wobbled dreadfully when his little sister skipped, but he didn't cry about it. He just let it wobble!
The Twins rode by fruit-shops, and clothing-shops with gay kimonos flapping in the breeze; by little shops where people were making paper lanterns, by tea-shops and silk-shops, by houses and gardens in strange places they had never seen before.
They saw an old priest going from door to door, holding out his bowl for money.
In one street carpenters were putting up a new house, and once they caught a glimpse of the very bridge that leads to the Emperor's palace.
By and by they reached the gate of the Temple grounds. All the rickshaws stopped here, and everybody got out.
The Mother put Bot'Chan on her back, and they all started in a procession for the Temple. First walked the Father, looking very proud. Then came the Twins, looking quite proud, too. Then came Mother and Grannie and Bot'Chan and they looked proudest of all!
When they got inside the gate, the Twins thought they were in fairyland. You would have thought so, too, if you could have been there with them.
They saw so many wonderful things that day that if I were to tell you about every one of them it would fill up this whole book!
First of all, they came into a broad roadway with beautiful great cedar trees on each side. Under these trees were little booths. Great paper lanterns and banners of all colors hung in front of the booths; and when they waved gayly in the wind, the place looked like a giant flower-garden in full bloom.
Near the Temple entrance was a great stone trough full of clear water. There was a long-handled wooden dipper floating on it.
"Come here," said the Father.
The Twins, Grandmother, and Mother, with Baby on her back, all came at once and stood in a row beside the trough. They put out their hands. The Father took the dipper and poured water on their hands.
When their hands were quite clean, they rinsed their mouths, too. Then they entered the Temple vestibule.
There were more little booths in the Temple vestibule, and there were so many people, big and little, crowding about that the Father took the Twins' hands so they wouldn't get lost.
First he led them to a place where they bought some cooked peas on a little plate, and some rice. He gave the peas to Taro and some of the rice to Take.
The Twins wondered what in the world their Father wanted with peas and rice. They soon found out. In the very next place was a little stall, and in the little stall was a tiny, tiny white horse—no bigger than a big dog! Even its eyes were white.
"Oh, Father," the Twins said, both together, "whose little horse is it?"
"It's Kwannon's little horse," the Father said. "Taro, you may give him the peas."
Taro held out the plate. The little white pony put his nose in the plate and ate them all up! He sniffed up Taro's sleeve as if he wanted more.
Take patted his back. "Who is Kwannon?" she asked.
"Kwannon is a beautiful goddess who loves little children," said the Father.
"Does she live here?" asked Taro.
"This is her Temple, where people come to worship," the Father
answered. "We are going to pray to her
"Did you ask her to take care of us, too?" asked Take.
"Yes; we brought you both here when you were a month old, just as we are bringing Bot'Chan now," the Father replied.
"Does she take care of all little children?" Take said.
"She loves them all, and takes care of all who ask for her protection."
"My!" said Take. "She must have her hands full with such a large family!"
Her Father laughed, "But, you see, she has a great many hands," he said. "If she had only two, like us, it would be hard for her to take care of so many."
"I never saw her take care of me," said Taro.
"We do not see the gods," their Father answered. "But we must worship and obey them just the same."
"I think Kwannon must love little children," said Take, "because she wants them to have such good times in her Temple."
They said good-bye to the little horse, and walked through an opening into a courtyard beyond. The moment they stepped into the courtyard a flock of white pigeons flew down and settled all about them.
"Take may feed the pigeons," the Father said. "They are Kwannon's pigeons."
Take threw her rice on the ground. The pigeons picked it all up. So many people fed them that they were almost too fat to fly!
At another booth their Father bought some little rings of perfumed incense. He put them in his sleeve. His sleeves could hold more things than all a boy's pockets put together!
When they reached the great door of the Temple itself, the Father said: "Now, we must take off our shoes." So they all slipped their toes out of their clogs, and went into the Temple just as the bell in the courtyard rang out with a great—boom— BOOM—BOOM! that made the air shiver and shake all about them.
The Temple was one big, shadowy room, with tall red columns all about.
"It's just like a great forest full of trees, isn't it?" Taro whispered to Take, as they went in.
"It almost scares me," Take whispered back; "it's so big."
Directly in front of the entrance there was another bell. A long red streamer hung from its clapper, and under it was a great box with bars over the top. On the box there perched a great white rooster!
The Father pulled the red streamer and rang the bell. Then he threw a piece of money into the box. It fell with a great noise.
"Cock-a-doodle-doo," crowed the rooster! He seemed very much pleased about the money, though it was meant for the priests and not for him. "The rooster is saying thank you," cried Take. "Hush," said her Mother.
Then the Father drew from his sleeve a little rosary of beads. He placed it over his hands, and bowed his head in prayer while Grannie and Mother and Baby and the Twins stood near him and kept very still. When he had finished, a priest came up.
The Father bowed to the priest. "Will you show us the way to the shrine of Kwannon?" he asked.
Away off at the farther end of the Temple, the Twins could see a great altar. Banners and lanterns hung about it, and people were kneeling on the floor before it, praying. Before the altar was an open brazier with incense burning in it.
"Come this way," said the priest. He led them to the altar.
The Father took Bot'Chan from his Mother, and held him in his arms. The priest said a prayer to Kwannon, and blessed the Baby. Then the Father threw incense rings on the little fire that burned in the brazier before the altar. Wreaths of smoke began to curl about their heads. The air was filled with the sweet odor of it. Some of it went up Bot'Chan's nose. It smarted. Bot'Chan didn't like it. He had behaved beautifully up to that time, and I am sure if the incense hadn't gone up his nose he would have kept on behaving beautifully. But it did, and Bot'Chan sneezed just as the priest finished the prayer.
Then he gave a great scream. Then another, and another. Three of them!
The priest smiled. But the Father didn't smile. He gave Bot'Chan back to his mother just as quickly as he could.
He said, "The honorable worshippers will be disturbed. We must go out at once."
They hurried back to the entrance and found their clogs, and the moment they were outdoors again, in the sweet, fresh air, Bot'Chan cuddled down on his Mother's back and went to sleep without another sound.
WEEK 19 |
O NCE there was a rich goose going along with a bag of corn—more than he could eat in all his lifetime. As he walked along, so proud and happy, he met a crow.
The crow said: "Hello, Mr. Goose! You have a nice lot of corn there—too much for you to carry. Let me help you. I'll take some of your load."
"Oh, no," said the goose, dolefully; "riches are a great burden, to be sure, but still I'm not going to give you any of my bag of corn."
"Oh, well," said the crow, "I just made a friendly offer. I suppose you wouldn't mind having more corn. I can tell you a scheme to make your corn pile grow bigger and bigger every minute."
"Tell me quick!" said Mr. Goose, setting down his corn bag in the road.
"First," said the crow, "you must spread all your corn out on the ground, so we can count it."
The goose spread all his corn out, and the crow said: "Now, you count on that side, while I count on this."
So the goose began counting: "One, two, three, four,
At last the goose looked up and said: "Where's my
And Mr. Crow flew off, laughing a loud
Well, Mr. Goose went on, and he met a
"No," said Mr. Goose, "I don't want any help."
"Well," said Mr. Pigeon, "I know a little game you can play, and make your corn into more. I will show you how to play it."
"Well," said Mr. Goose, "I ought to have a little fun as I go along."
"Spread your corn in a circle," said the pigeon. "Begin on the outside to count, and I'll go behind you and count after you."
"Why don't you let me come last?" asked Mr. Goose.
"Because that's not the game," said Mr. Pigeon.
So Mr. Goose spread out some of his corn in a circle,
and began counting: "One, two, three, four, five,
"Where's my corn?" said Mr. Goose.
"That's the game—to find out where it went," said the
pigeon, flying off. And
He went on and on, and he met a crane. And the crane
"No, thank you," said the goose, "I don't need any help."
"If you'll swim around that big rock in the pond," said
"Oh, oh!" said Mr. Goose.
So Mr. Goose swam out into the pond to see the sights,
"Where's my corn?" said Mr. Goose, and Mr. Crane just gave a loud screech and flew off to Canada.
So Mr. Goose went on and on, and he met
"Oh, yes," said Mr. Goose. "No one knows the load we rich folks have to carry."
"Well, Mr. Goose," said
"No, no," said Mr. Goose; "I'm used to it."
"Very well," said
"Your chickabiddies would eat it," said Mr. Goose.
"You must remember," said Mrs. Brown Leghorn, "That they are not common chickens—they're Brown Leghorns."
"Well," said Mr. Goose. "I will throw a little of my corn on the ground, and if those chickens don't eat it I will give you all the corn you wish for yourself."
So the goose threw down the corn, and the chickabiddies
started for it, but
"Where's my corn? Shame on you!" cried Mr. Goose, and he gathered up what was left, and went on until he met a bobtail horse.
"Let me help you carry that load for you, Mr. Goose; it
is too heavy for you," said
"No, no!" said Mr. Goose, and he was just hurrying on, but the horse said: "You ought to open that corn and let the air freshen it. I know the weevils are eating it up."
"The weevils! Are they?" asked Mr. Goose.
So the horse took the goose to a nice big box and poured out the corn. The goose said: "I can't find any weevils."
"Let me look," said the horse, and all the time he was looking he was munching, munching the corn.
So the goose drove Mr. Bob Tail away, and he put the little bit of corn that was left in the great big bag, and went on down the road, till he met a farmer's little boy.
And the boy said: "Mr. Goose, what is that little bit of stuff you have got in that great big bag?"
"It is all the corn I own in the world," said the goose, "and I'm afraid to eat it up, for then I shall have nothing."
"Put it in the ground," said the boy, "and it will make more corn."
"Wouldn't that be throwing it away?" said the goose, sadly.
"No," said the boy; "we farmers are always burying things in the ground, and they spring up and grow."
So the boy took a horse and ploughed and ploughed the
land, and harrowed it, and laid it out in furrows, and
planted the corn. When
And the corn grew and grew, until, at last, harvest
time came. And for every grain the boy put into the
ground there were hundreds of grains in the ears;
Great A, little a,
This is pancake day;
Toss the ball high,
Throw the ball low,
Those that come after
May sing heigh-ho!
WEEK 19 |
T HE first thing our little Spider remembered was being crowded with a lot of other little Spiders in a tiny brown house. This tiny house had no windows, and was very warm and dark and stuffy. When the wind blew, the little Spiders would hear it rushing through the forest near by, and would feel their round brown house swinging like a cradle. It was fastened to a bush by the edge of the forest, but they could not know that, so they just wiggled and pushed and ate the food that they found in the house, and wondered what it all meant. They didn't even guess that a mother Spider had made the brown house and put the food in it for her Spider babies to eat when they came out of their eggs. She had put the eggs in, too, but the little Spiders didn't remember the time when they lay curled up in the eggs. They didn't know what had been nor what was to be—they thought that to eat and wiggle and sleep was all of life. You see they had much to learn.
One morning the little Spiders found that the food was all gone, and they pushed and scrambled harder than ever, because they were hungry and wanted more. Exactly what happened nobody knew, but suddenly it grew light, and some of them fell out of the house. All the rest scrambled after, and there they stood, winking and blinking in the bright sunshine, and feeling a little bit dizzy, because they were on a shaky web made of silvery ropes.
Just then the web began to shake even more, and a beautiful great mother Spider ran out on it. She was dressed in black and yellow velvet, and her eight eyes glistened and gleamed in the sunlight. They had never dreamed of such a wonderful creature.
"Well, my children," she exclaimed, "I know you must be hungry, and I have breakfast all ready for you." So they began eating at once, and the mother Spider told them many things about the meadow and the forest, and said they must amuse themselves while she worked to get food for them. There was no father Spider to help her, and, as she said, "Growing children must have plenty of good plain food."
You can just fancy what a good time the baby Spiders had. There were a hundred and seventy of them, so they had no chance to grow lonely, even when their mother was away. They lived in this way for quite a while, and grew bigger and stronger every day. One morning the mother Spider said to her biggest daughter, "You are quite old enough to work now, and I will teach you to spin your web."
The little Spider soon learned to draw out the silvery ropes from the pocket in her body where they were made and kept, and very soon she had one fastened at both ends to branches of the bush. Then her mother made her walk out to the middle of her rope bridge, and spin and fasten two more, so that it looked like a shining cross. After that was done, the mother showed her something like a comb, which is part of a Spider's foot, and taught her how to measure, and put more ropes out from the middle of the cross, until it looked like the spokes of a wheel.
The little Spider got much discouraged, and said, "Let me finish it some other time; I am tired of working now."
The mother Spider answered, "No, I cannot have a lazy child."
The little one said, "I can't ever do it, I know I can't."
"Now," said the mother, "I shall have to give you a Spider
scolding. You have acted as lazy as the
So the little Spider spun the circles of rope in the web,
and made these ropes sticky, as all careful spiders do. She
ate the loose ends and pieces that were left
over, to save
them for another time, and when it was done, it was so fine
and perfect that her brothers and sisters crowded around,
saying, "Oh! oh! oh! how beautiful!" and asked the mother to
teach them. The little
WEEK 19 |
GRANDMOTHER'S garden was a beautiful place,—more beautiful than all the shop windows in the city; for there was a flower or grass for every color in the rainbow, with great white lilies, standing up so straight and tall, to remind you that a whole rainbow of light was needed to make them so pure and white.
There were pinks and marigolds and princes' feathers, with bachelor's buttons and Johnny-jump-ups to keep them company. There were gay poppies and gaudy tulips, and large important peonies and fine Duchess roses in pink satin dresses.
There were soft velvet pansies and tall blue flags, and broad ribbon-grasses that the fairies might have used for sashes; and mint and thyme and balm and rosemary everywhere, to make the garden sweet; so it was no wonder that every year the garden was full of visitors.
Nobody noticed these visitors but Grandmother and Lindsay.
Lindsay was a very small boy, and Grandmother was a very old lady; but they loved the same things, and always watched for these little visitors, who came in the early spring-time and stayed all summer with Grandmother.
Early, early in the spring,
when the garden was bursting into bloom in the warm
southern sunshine, Grandmother and Lindsay would sit in the arbor,
where the vines crept over and over in a tangle
of bloom, and listen to a serenade. Music, music everywhere!
Over their heads, behind their backs, the little brown bees
would fly, singing their
"Hum, hum, hum!
Off and away!
To get some
Sweet honey to-day!"
while they found the golden honey cups, and filled their pockets with honey to store away in their waxen boxes at home.
One day, while Grandmother and Lindsay were watching, a little brown bee flew away with his treasure, and lighting on a rose, met with a cousin, a lovely yellow butterfly.
"I think they must be talking to each other," said Grandmother, softly. "They are cousins, because they belong to the great insect family, just as your papa and Uncle Bob and Aunt Emma and Cousin Rachel all belong to one family,—the Greys; and I think they must be talking about the honey that they both love so well."
"I wish I could talk to a butterfly," said Lindsay, longingly; and Grandmother laughed.
"Play that I am a butterfly," she proposed. "What color shall I be?—a great yellow butterfly, with brown spots on my wings?"
So Grandmother played that she was a
great yellow butterfly with brown spots on its wings, and
she said to
So Grandmother played that she was a great yellow butterfly.
"Never in the world can you tell, little boy, what I used to be?"
"A baby butterfly," guessed Lindsay.
"Guess again," said the butterfly.
"A flower, perhaps; for you are so lovely," declared Lindsay, gallantly.
"No, indeed!" answered the butterfly; "I was a creeping, crawling caterpillar."
"Now, Grandmother, you're joking!" cried Lindsay, forgetting that Grandmother was a butterfly.
"Not I," said the butterfly. "I was a crawling, creeping caterpillar, and I fed on leaves in your Grandmother's garden until I got ready to spin my nest; and then I wrapped myself up so well that you would never have known me for a caterpillar; and when I came out in the Spring I was a lovely butterfly."
"How beautiful!" said Lindsay. "Grandmother, let us count the butterflies in your garden." But they never could do that, though they saw brown and blue and red and white and yellow ones, and followed them everywhere.
It might have been the very next day that Grandmother took her knitting to the summer house. At all events it was very soon; and while she and Lindsay were wondering when the red rose bush would be in full bloom, Lindsay saw, close up to the roof, a queer little house, like a roll of crumpled paper, with a great many front doors; and, of course, he wanted to know who lived there.
"You must not knock at any of those front doors," advised Grandmother, "because Mrs. Wasp lives there, and might not understand; although if you let her alone she will not hurt you. Just let me tell you something about her."
So Lindsay listened while Grandmother told the
Once there was a little elf, who lived in the heart of a bright red rose, just like the roses we have been talking about.
There were many other elves who lived in the garden. One, who lived in a lily which made a lovely home; and a poppy elf, who was always sleepy; but the rose elf liked her own sweet smelling room, with its crimson curtains, best of all.
Now the rose elf had a very dear friend, a little girl named Polly. She could not speak to her, for fairies can only talk to people like you and me in dreams and fancies, but she loved Polly very much, and would lie in her beautiful rose room, and listen to Polly's singing, till her heart was glad.
One day as she listened she said to herself, "If I cannot speak to Polly, I can write her a letter;" and this pleased her so much that she called over to the lily elf to ask what she should write it on. "I always write my letters on rose petals, and get the wind to take them," said the rose elf. "But I am afraid Polly would not understand that."
"I will tell you," answered the lily elf, "what I would do. I would go right to Mrs. Wasp, and ask her to give me a piece of paper."
"But Mrs. Wasp is very cross, I've heard," said the rose elf timidly.
"Never believe the gossip that you hear. If Mrs. Wasp does seem to be a little stingy, I'm sure she has a good heart," replied the lily elf. So the rose elf took courage, and flew to Mrs. Wasp's house, where, by good fortune, she found Mrs. Wasp at home.
"Good morning Mrs. Wasp," called the little elf, "I've come to see if you will kindly let me have a sheet of paper to-day."
"Now," said the wasp, "I have just papered my house with the last bit of paper I had, but if you can wait, I will make you a sheet."
Then the rose elf knew that Mrs. Wasp had a kind heart; and she waited and watched with a great deal of interest while Mrs. Wasp set to work. Now, close by her house was an old bit of dry wood, and Mrs. Wasp sawed it into fine bits, like thread, with her two sharp saws that she carries about her. Then she wet these bits well with some glue from her mouth, and rolled them into a round ball.
"Oh, Mrs. Wasp!" cried the rose elf, "I'm afraid I am putting you to too much trouble."
"Don't fret about me," said the wasp; "I'm used to work." So she spread out the ball, working with all her might, into a thin sheet of gray paper; and when it was dry, she gave it to the rose elf.
"Thank you, good Mrs. Wasp," said the elf; and she flew away to invite the lily elf and the poppy elf to help her with the letter, for she wanted it to be as sweet as all the flowers of spring.
When it was finished they read it aloud.
I'm a little elf;
I live within a flow'r;
I love to hear your happy song,
It cheers my ev'ry hour.
That I love you, I'd like to say
To you, before I close,
And please sing sweetly ev'ry day
Your friend within a Rose."
The letter was sent by a bluebird; and the elf was sure that Polly understood, for that very day she came and stood among the flowers to sing the very sweetest song she knew.
Out in Grandmother's garden, just as the sun was up, a very cunning spinner spun a lovely wheel of fine beautiful threads; and when Grandmother and Lindsay came out, they spied it fastened up in a rose bush.
The small, cunning
spinner was climbing a silken rope near by with her
eight nimble legs, and looking out at the world with
her eight tiny eyes, when Grandmother saw her and pointed
her out to Lindsay; and Lindsay
"Oh, Mrs. Spider! come spin me some lace!" which made Grandmother think of a little story which she had told Lindsay's papa and all of her little children, when they were lads and lassies, and this garden of hers had just begun to bloom.
She sat down on the steps and told it to Lindsay.
Once, long, long ago, when the silver moon was shining up in the sky, and the small golden stars were twinkling, twinkling, a little fairy with a bundle of dreams went hurrying home to fairyland.
She looked up at the stars and moon to see what time it was, for the fairy queen had bidden her come back before the day dawned.
All out in the world it was sleepy time; and the night wind was singing an old sweet lullaby, and the mocking bird was singing too, by himself, in the wood.
"I shall not be late," said the fairy, as she flew like thistle-down through the air or tripped over the heads of the flowers; but in her haste she flew into a spider's web, which held her so fast that, although she struggled again and again, she could not get free.
Her bundle of dreams fell out of her arms, and lay on the ground under the rose-bush; and the poor little fairy burst into tears, for she knew that daylight always spoiled dreams, and these were very lovely ones.
Her shining wings were tangled in the web, her hands were chained, and her feet were helpless; so she had to lie still and wait for the day time which, after all, came too soon.
As soon as the sun was up, Mrs. Spider came out of her den; and when she saw the fairy she was very glad, for she thought she had caught a new kind of fly.
"If you please, Mrs. Spider," cried the fairy quickly, "I am only a little fairy, and flew into your web last night on my way home to fairyland."
"A fairy!" said Mrs. Spider crossly, for she was disappointed; "I suppose you are the one who helps the flies to get away from me. You see well enough then!"
"I help them because they are in trouble," answered the fairy gently.
"So are you, now," snapped the spider, "But the flies won't help you."
"But perhaps you will," pleaded the fairy.
"Perhaps I won't" said the spider, going back into her house and leaving the little fairy, who felt very sorrowful.
Her tears fell like dew drops on the spider web, and the sun shone on them, and made them as bright as the fairy queen's diamonds.
The fairy began to think of the queen and the court, and the bundle of dreams; and she wondered who would do the work if she never got free. The fairy queen had always trusted her, and had sent her on many errands.
Once she had been sent to free a mocking bird that had been shut in a cage. She remembered how he sang in his cage, although he was longing for his green tree tops.
smiled through her tears when she thought of this, and
"I can be singing, too! It is better than crying."
Then she began to sing one of her fairy
"Oh! listen well, and I will tell,
Of the land where the fairies dwell;
The lily bells ring clear and sweet,
And grass grows green beneath your feet
In the land where the fairies dwell,
In the land where the fairies dwell."
Now though the fairy did not know it, Mrs.
Spider was very fond of music; and when she heard
the sweet song, she came out to listen. The little
fairy did not see her, so she sang
"Grasshoppers gay, by night and day,
Keep ugly goblins far away
From the land where the fairies dwell,
From the land where the fairies dwell."
Mrs. Spider came a little farther out, while the fairy
"There's love, sweet love, for one and all—
For love is best for great and small—
In the land where the fairies dwell,
In the land where the fairies dwell."
Just as the fairy finished the song she looked up, and there was Mrs. Spider, who had come out in a hurry.
"The flies are not going to help you," said she, "so I will;" and she showed the fairy how to break the slender threads, until she was untangled and could fly away through the sunshine.
"What can I do for you, dear Mrs. Spider?" the fairy asked, as she picked up her bundle of dreams.
"Sing me a song sometimes," replied Mrs. Spider. But the fairy did more than that; for soon after she reached fairyland, the fairy queen needed some fine lace to wear on her dress at a grand ball.
"Fly into the world," she said, "and find me a spinner; and tell her that when she has spun the lace, she may come to the ball and sit at the queen's table."
As soon as the fairy heard this, she thought of the spider, and made haste to find her and tell her the queen's message.
"Will there be music?" asked the spider.
"The sweetest ever heard," answered the fairy; and the spider began to spin.
The lace was so lovely when it was finished, that the fairy queen made the spider court spinner; and then the spider heard the fairies sing every day, and she too had love in her heart.
A mocking bird sang in Grandmother's garden. He was king of the garden, and the rose was queen. Every night when the garden was still, he serenaded Grandmother; and she would lie awake and listen to him, for she said he told her all the glad tidings of the day, and helped her understand the flower folk and bird folk and insect folk that lived in her garden.
Lindsay always thought the mocking bird told Grandmother the wonderful stories she knew, and he wanted to hear them, too, late in the night time; but he never could keep awake. So he had to be contented with the mocking bird in the morning, when he was so saucy.
There were orioles and thrushes and bluebirds, big chattering jays, sleek brown sparrows, and red-capped woodpeckers; but not a bird in the garden was so gay and sweet and loving as the mocking bird, who could sing everybody's song and his own song, too.
Night after night he sang his own song in Grandmother's garden. But there came a night when he did not sing; and though Grandmother and Lindsay listened all next day, and looked in every tree for him, he could not be found.
"I'm afraid somebody has caught him and shut him up in a cage," said Grandmother; and when Lindsay heard this he was very miserable; for he knew that somewhere in the garden, there was a nest and a mother bird waiting.
He and Grandmother talked until bedtime about it, and early next morning Lindsay asked Grandmother to let him go to look for the bird.
"Please do, Grandmother," he begged. "If somebody has him in a cage I shall be sure to find him; and I will take my own silver quarter to buy him back."
So after breakfast
Grandmother kissed him and let him go, and he ran
down the path and out of the garden gate, and
asked at every house on the
"Is there a mocking bird in a cage here?"
This made people laugh, but Lindsay
did not care. By and by, he came to a
little house with green blinds; and the little lady who
came to the door did not laugh at all when
she answered his
"No; there are no mocking birds here; but there are two sweet yellow canaries. Won't you come in to see them?"
"I will sometime, thank you, if Grandmother will let me," said Lindsay; "but not to-day; for if that mocking bird is in a cage, I know he's in a hurry to get out."
Then he hurried on to the next house, and the next; but no mocking birds were to be found. After he had walked a long way, he began to be afraid that he should have to go home, when, right before him, in the window of a little house, he saw a wooden box with slats across the side; and in the box was a very miserable mocking bird!
"Hurrah! hurrah!" cried Lindsay, as he ran up the steps and knocked at the door. A great big boy came to the window and put his head out to see what was wanted.
"Please, please," said Lindsay, dancing up and down on the doorstep, "I've come to buy the mocking-bird; and I've a whole silver quarter to give for it, because I think maybe he is the very one that sang in Grandmother's garden."
"I don't want to sell it," answered the boy, with a frown on his face.
had never thought of anything like this, and his face
grew grave; but he went bravely
"Oh! but you will sell it, maybe. Won't you, please? Because I just know it wants to get out. You wouldn't like to be in a cage yourself, you know, if you had been living in a garden,—'specially my Grandmother's."
"This bird ain't for sale," repeated the boy, crossly, frowning still more over the bird-cage.
"But God didn't make mocking-birds for cages," cried Lindsay, choking a little. "So it really isn't yours."
"I'd like to know why it isn't," said the boy. "You'd better get off my doorstep and go home to your Granny, for I'm not going to sell my mocking-bird,—not one bit of it;" and he drew his head back from the window and left Lindsay out on the doorstep.
Poor little Lindsay! He was not certain that it was the bird, but he was sure that mocking-birds were not meant for cages; and he put the quarter back in his pocket and took out his handkerchief to wipe away the tears that would fall.
All the way home he thought of it and sobbed to himself, and he walked through the garden gate almost into Grandmother's arms before he saw her, and burst into tears when she spoke to him.
"Poor little boy!" said Grandmother, when she had heard all about it; "and poor big boy, who didn't know how to be kind! Perhaps the mocking-bird will help him, and, after all, it will be for the best."
Grandmother was almost crying herself, when a click at the gate made them both start and then look at each other; for there, coming up the walk, was a great big boy with a torn straw hat, and with a small wooden box in his hand, which made Lindsay scream with delight, for in that box was a very miserable-looking mocking-bird.
"Guess it is yours," said the boy, holding the box in front of him, "for I trapped it out in the road back of here. I never thought of mocking-birds being so much account, and I hated to make him cry."
"There now," cried Lindsay, jumping up to get the silver quarter out of his pocket. "He is just like Mrs. Wasp, isn't he, Grandmother?" But the boy had gone down the walk and over the gate without waiting for anything, although Lindsay ran after him and called.
Lindsay and Grandmother were so excited that they did not know what to do. They looked out of the gate after the boy, then at each other, and then at the bird.
Lindsay ran to get the hatchet, but he was so excited with joy that he could not use it, so Grandmother had to pry up the slats, one by one; and every time one was lifted, Lindsay would jump up and down and clap his hands, and say, "Oh, Grandmother!"
At last, the very last slat was raised; and then, in a moment, the mocking bird flew up, up, up into the maple tree, and Lindsay and Grandmother kissed each other for joy.
Oh! everything was glad in the garden. The breezes played pranks, and blew the syringa petals to the ground, and up in the tallest trees the birds had a concert. Orioles, bluebirds, and thrushes, chattering jays, sleek brown sparrows, and red-capped woodpeckers, were all of them singing for Grandmother and Lindsay; but the sweetest singer was the mocking bird who was singing everybody's sweet song, and then his own, which was the sweetest of all.
"I know he is glad," Lindsay said to Grandmother; "for it is, oh, so beautiful to live inside your garden gate!"
Flour of England, fruit of Spain,
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag tied round with a string;
If you'll tell me this riddle,
I'll give you a ring.
WEEK 19 |
NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and it was painted
white and had green blinds; and it
stood not far from the road. In the fence was a wide
gate to let the wagons through to the barn.
And the wagons, going through, had made a track that
led up past the kitchen door and past the
shed and past the barn and past the orchard to the
All about were other fields where
different things grew. There were squashes and turnips and melons
and corn and oats and potatoes
and cabbages and onions and peas and beans. Some of the
bean plants grew like little short
trees, but the others wanted to climb on something. So
Uncle John took his axe and a big sharp knife and he
got out the old oxen. They put their heads
down and he put the yoke over and the bows under, and
hooked the tongue of the cart to the
yoke. Then he said "Gee up there;" and the old oxen
started walking slowly along, past the
barn and past the orchard to the
And Uncle John took down the bars, and the oxen went
Then Uncle John stopped the oxen, and he took his axe and cut down a great many of the little slim trees. They were so little that he cut down each tree with one whack of the axe. And when the trees were cut down, as many as he wanted, he took the big sharp knife and he cut off all the branches of each tree. The trees grew so close together that there weren't many branches, and what there were, were very small.
Then Uncle John said, "Gee up there," and the oxen
started and turned around, and walked
slowly along, through the
Then Uncle John took the poles out of the cart, one at
a time, and he stuck a pole into the
ground near each bean plant, so that the vine, when it
was feeling around for something to
climb on, would find the pole. The poles, after they
were stuck into the ground, went up in
the air just a little higher than
Then the bean vines kept on growing, and they got
higher and higher, and they twisted around and found
the poles, and they held on to the poles and kept on
twisting and climbing until they had
reached the tops of the poles. Then the flowers came on
the vines, and
afterward the pods with beans in them grew where the
flowers had been. For
the beans are only the seeds that the flowers change
into after they wither
away. And at the end of the summer, when the beans had
and were ripe,
And that's all.
NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and it was painted
white and had green blinds; and it stood
not far from the road. In the fence was a wide gate to
let the wagons through to the barn. And
the wagons, going through, had made a track that led up
past the kitchen door and past the shed
and past the barn and past the orchard to the
In that farm-house lived Uncle Solomon
and Uncle John; and little Charles and little John and
Little John and Uncle Sam used to play together; and
one day when little John was wheeling
So Uncle Solomon was angry, and he grabbed little John
by the back of his collar and the
back of his trousers, and he lifted him up and gave him
a great swing,
and he tossed little John right over the wall. And
little John came down in some bushes
and got his face scratched a little, but he didn't cry.
He just got up and ran
around the wall and went into the house another way,
and kept out of
And that's all.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
WEEK 19 |
T HE days of Elijah the prophet were ended, but Elisha, his faithful servant, was ready to carry on his work. He knew that, as God had helped the master, so would He continue to help the servant.
Now it so happened that as Elisha travelled backwards and forwards on his way doing God's work, he came to a place called Shunem; and there, as he often passed a certain house, a kind-hearted, rich woman noticed him, saw how weary and footsore he looked, and invited him to come in and rest. Each time he came she had a meal prepared for him, and she wondered if he had any home, and if it might not be possible for her to do something more for him.
"Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually," she said to her husband. "Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither."
So the little room was all prepared and ready, with its bed and table and stool and candlestick, and the next time that Elisha passed by she not only fed him, but invited him to rest in the little room which was to be his very own.
The kindness of the woman touched Elisha's heart, and he made up his mind that he would show her how grateful he was. Was there anything she specially wanted? he asked. As God's prophet, he had a certain power in the country and at the king's court. But the woman only shook her head. She wanted no honours; she was quite happy and contented in her own home.
"What, then, is to be done for her?" he asked his servant.
The servant knew all about the household, and answered at once that there was one thing which the woman wanted with all her heart, and which she did not possess, and that was a child.
Then Elisha called for the woman, and when she came and stood at the door he told her that God Himself would reward her for her kindness by sending her a little son.
"Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care."
It had been a happy home before, but it was twice as happy when the baby came. He was the only child, and the joy of his mother's heart. His father, too, was very proud of him, and when the boy grew old enough he would take him out into the fields when he went to look after the workers.
But one harvest day, when his father had taken him out to watch the reapers cut the golden corn, the boy began to complain of the hot sun, which was beating down with such burning heat. "My head, my head!" he cried to his father.
"Carry him to his mother," said the master to one of his servants. His mother would put everything right.
But the poor mother could do nothing to make him well again. She could only hold him on her lap and try to soothe the pain and cool the little hot head, while she watched him grow worse and worse, until at mid-day he died.
In her bitter grief his mother thought of Elisha, the man of God. He had promised her that the little son should be given to her. He might help even now.
With tender, careful hands she laid her child upon Elisha's bed in the little room, and then set out to find the prophet.
She was still some way off when Elisha caught sight of her. The moment he saw her he was sure she was in some trouble; and he sent his servant to meet her and to ask, "Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child?"
And to all the questions the woman answered steadily, "It is well."
But when she came up to Elisha and looked into his kind face, she bowed her head in her bitter grief and knelt down at his feet. Why had this happened? she asked. She had not asked for a son; why should she have been given the joy only to suffer the greater pain?
Elisha understood at once, and at once was ready to help her. He gave his staff to his servant and bade him go on quickly ahead and lay it upon the child's face. But although this was done, yet there was no sign of life in the child.
Elisha and the Shunammite
"The child is not awaked," said the servant when his master and the mother arrived.
Then Elisha went alone into the little room and prayed to God. And God heard his prayer. As he held the child close to him, he felt the cold little body grow warm, and then came the sound of faint breathing, and the child opened his eyes.
Outside the mother was waiting patiently, and her trust was rewarded. Elisha called to her and put the living child into her arms, and she knelt there at his feet, so full of joy and gratitude that she could not even thank him. She had been sure the man of God would help her, and she blessed the day when she had in the kindness of her heart made that little room ready to welcome the stranger, who had returned her kindness with good measure pressed down and overflowing.
Here sits the Lord Mayor,
Here sit his two men,
Here sits the cock,
Here sits the hen,
Here sit the little chickens,
Here they run in.
Chin-chopper, chin-chopper, chin-chopper, chin!