WEEK 20 |
O LD GRANNY FOX had thought that when she fooled Bowser the Hound up in the old pasture on the edge of the mountain she could take her time going home. She was tired and hot, and she had planned to pick out the shadiest paths going back. She had thought that Farmer Brown's boy would soon join Bowser the Hound, when Bowser made such a fuss about having found the old house into which Granny Fox had run.
But Farmer Brown's boy had not yet appeared, and Granny Fox was getting worried. Could it be that he had not followed Bowser the Hound, after all? Granny Fox went out on a high point and looked, but she could see nothing of Farmer Brown's boy and his gun. Just then Ol' Mistah Buzzard came sailing down out of the blue, blue sky and settled himself on a tall, dead tree. Now Granny Fox hadn't forgotten how Ol' Mistah Buzzard had warned Peter Rabbit just as she was about to pounce on him, but she suddenly thought that Ol' Mistah Buzzard might be of use to her.
So old Granny Fox smoothed out her skirts and walked over to the foot of the tree where Ol' Mistah Buzzard sat.
"How do you do
"Ah'm so as to be up and about, thank yo'," replied Ol' Mistah Buzzard, spreading his wings out so that air could blow under them.
"My!" exclaimed old Granny Fox, "what splendid great wings you have, Mistah Buzzard! It must be grand to be able to fly. I suppose you can see a great deal from way up there in the blue, blue sky, Mistah Buzzard."
Ol' Mistah Buzzard felt flattered. "Yes," said he, "Ah can see all that's going on on the Green Meadows and in the Green Forest."
"Oh, Mistah Buzzard, you don't really mean that!" exclaimed old Granny Fox, just as if she wanted to believe it, but couldn't.
"Yes, Ah can!" replied Ol' Mistah Buzzard.
"Really, Mistah Buzzard? Really? Oh, I can't believe that your eyes are so sharp as all that! Now I know where Bowser the Hound is and where Farmer Brown's boy is, but I don't believe you can see them," said Granny Fox.
Ol' Mistah Buzzard never said a word but spread his broad wings and in a few minutes he had sailed up, up, up until he looked like just a tiny speck to old Granny Fox. Now old Granny Fox had not told the truth when she said she knew where Farmer Brown's boy was. She thought she would trick Ol' Mistah Buzzard into telling her.
In a few minutes down came Ol' Mistah Buzzard. "Bowser the Hound is up in the old back pasture," said he.
"Right!" cried old Granny Fox, clapping her hands. "And where is Farmer Brown's boy?"
"Farmer Brown's boy
"Where? Where?" asked Granny Fox, so eagerly that Ol' Mistah Buzzard looked at her sharply.
"Yo' said you knew, so what's the use of telling yo'?" said Ol' Mistah Buzzard. Then he added: "But if Ah was yo', Ah cert'nly would get home right smart soon."
"Why? Do, do tell me what you saw, Mistah Buzzard!" begged Granny Fox.
"Do tell me what you saw, Mistah Buzzard!" begged Granny Fox.
But Ol' Mistah Buzzard wouldn't say another word, so old Granny Fox started for home as fast as she could run.
"Oh dear, I do hope Reddy Fox minded me and stayed in the house," she muttered.
"I am a gold lock."
"I am a gold key."
"I am a silver lock."
"I am a silver key."
"I am a brass lock."
"I am a brass key."
"I am a lead lock."
"I am a lead key."
"I am a don lock."
"I am a don key!"
WEEK 20 |
Near the Temple they found an orchard of cherry trees in full
bloom. People were sitting under the cherry trees, looking at
the blossoms. Some of them were writing little verses, which
they hung on the branches of the trees. They did this because
they loved the blossoms so much. Children were playing all
about. Near by was a pretty little
Grannie saw it first. "I am thirsty," she said.
"So am I," said Take.
"So am I," said Taro.
"We're all thirsty," the Father said.
Outside the tea-house, under the trees there were wooden
benches. They sat down on these, and soon little maids from the
tea-house brought them trays with tea and sweet
They sat on the benches and sipped their tea, and watched the people moving about, and looked up at the cherry blossoms against the blue sky, and were very happy, indeed.
The Mother had carried Bot'Chan all the way on her back, so
maybe she was
a little tired. Anyway, she said to the
"If you and the Twins want to go farther, let Grannie and me stay here and rest. You can come back for us."
"Would you like to see the animals?" the Father asked the Twins.
Taro and Take jumped right up, and took their Father's hands, one on each side, and then they all walked away together under the blossoming trees to another part of the park.
In this part of the park there were cages, and in the cages were lions, and tigers, and monkeys, and zebras, and elephants, and all kinds of animals! There were birds, too, with red and blue plumage and beautiful golden tails. There were parrots and cockatoos and pheasants. Wild ducks were swimming in the ponds; and two swans sailed, like lovely white ships, to the place where the Twins stood, and opened their bills to be fed.
In the Father's sleeve was something for each one. Taro and Take took turns. Take fed the swans, and Taro fed the great fish that swam up beside them and looked at them with round eyes. When they saw the food the fish leaped in the water and fought each other to get it, and when they ate it they made curious noises like pigs.
"I don't think they have very good manners," said Take.
By and by they came to a queer little street. This little street must have been made on purpose for little boys and girls to have fun in, for there were all sorts of astonishing things there. There were jugglers doing strange tricks with tops and swords. There were acrobats, and candy-sellers and toy-sellers going about with baskets hung from long poles over their shoulders. It was almost like a circus.
The street was full of people, and every one was gay. The Twins and their Father had gone only a little way up the street when an old woman met them. She had a pole on her shoulder, and from it swung a little fire of coals in a brazier. She had a little pot of batter and a little jar of sweet sauce, a ladle, a griddle, and a cake-turner!
"Would you like to make some cakes?" she said to Take.
Take clasped her hands. "Oh, Father, may I?" she said.
The Father gave the old woman some money out of his sleeve. She set the brazier on the ground.
Then Tale tucked her sleeves back, put the griddle on the coals, poured out some batter, and cooked a little cake on one side until it was brown. Then she turned it over with the cake-turner, and browned it on the other side. Then she put it on a plate and put the sauce on it.
My, my! but it was fun!
The first cake she made she gave to her Father.
He ate it all up. Then he said, "Honorable daughter, the cake is the very best I ever had of the kind. I am sure your honorable brother would like one too."
The Japanese are so very polite that they often call each other "honorable" in that way. They even call things that they use "honorable," too!
So Take said very politely, "Honorable Brother, would you like one of my poor cakes?"
It would be impolite in Japan to call anything good that you had made yourself. It would seem like praising your own work. That was why Take called them "my poor cakes."
"I should like a cake very much," Taro said.
Take poured out the batter. She watched it carefully, to be sure it did not burn. When it was just brown enough she gave it to Taro.
Taro ate it all up. Then he said to Take, "Honorable Sister, I should like to eat six."
The Father laughed. "If you stay here to eat six cakes, we shall not see the dolls' garden," he said. "Take must have one cake for herself, and then we will go on."
Take baked a cake for herself and ate it. She called it a "poor" cake aloud, but inside she thought it was the very best cake that any one ever made!
When she had finished, she and Taro and the Father bowed politely to the old woman.
"Sayonara," they said. That means
The old woman bowed. "Sayonara," she called to them.
The Twins and their Father walked on. They soon found the dolls' garden. In it were many tiny pine trees like theirs at home. There were little plum trees, and bamboos, and a tiny tea-house in it. There was a pond with a little bridge, too.
"Oh!" cried Take, "if it only had little bells on the plum trees, this would be the very garden I sang about to Bot'Chan; wouldn't it?"
She stooped down and peeped under the little trees.
"Let's play we are giants!" she said to Taro.
"Giants roar," said Taro.
"You roar," said Take. "It wouldn't be polite for a lady giant to roar!"
"Giants are different. They don't have to be polite," Taro explained.
"Well, you can roar," said Take, "but I shall play I'm a polite lady giant taking a walk in my garden! My head is in the clouds, and every step I take is a mile long!"
She picked up her kimono. She turned her little nose up to the sky, and took a very long step.
Taro came roaring after her.
But just that minute Take's clog turned on her foot, and the first thing she knew she was flat on her stomach on the bridge! She forgot that lady giants didn't roar.
Taro was roaring already.
Their Father was ahead of them. He jumped right up in the air when he heard the noise. He wasn't used to such sounds from the Twins. He turned back.
"What is the matter?" he said.
He picked Take up and set her on her feet.
"We're giants," sobbed Take.
"Her head was in the clouds," said Taro.
"It is well even for giants to keep an eye on the earth when they are out walking," the Father said. "Are you hurt?"
"Yes, I'm hurt," Take said; "but I don't think I'm broken anywhere."
"Giants don't break easily at all," her Father answered. "I think you'll be all right if we go to your castle!"
"My castle!" cried Take. "Where is it?"
"Right over there through the trees." He pointed to it.
The Twins looked. They saw a high tower.
"Would you like to climb to the top with me?" their Father said.
"Oh, yes," Taro cried. "We aren't tired."
"Or broken," Take added.
So they went into the tower and climbed, and climbed, and climbed. It seemed as if the dark stairs would never end.
"I believe the tower reaches clear to the sky!" said Take.
"I don't believe it has any top at all!" said Taro.
But just that minute they came out on an open platform, and what a sight they saw! The whole city was spread out before them. They could see gray roofs, and green trees, and roadways with people on them. The people looked about as big as ants crawling along. They could see rivers, and blue ponds, and canals. It seemed to the Twins that they could see the whole world.
In a minute the Father said, "Look! Look over there against the sky!"
The Twins looked. Far away they saw a great lonely mountain-peak. It was very high, and very pale against the pale blue sky. The top of it was rosy, as if the sun shone on it. The shadows were blue. Below the top there were clouds and mists. The mountain seemed to rise out of them and float in the air.
The Twins clasped their hands.
"It is Fuji!" they cried, both together.
"Yes," said the Father. "It is Fuji, the most beautiful mountain in the world."
By and by Take said, "I don't feel a bit like a giant any more."
And Taro said, "Neither do I."
For a long time they stood looking at it. Then they turned and crept quietly down the dark stairs, holding tight to their Father's hands.
They went back to Mother and Grandmother and Bot'Chan under the cherry trees.
"We must take the Baby home," said the Mother as soon as she saw them. "It's growing late."
"Oh, mayn't we stay just a little longer?" Take begged.
"Please," said Taro.
"If we go now, we can go home by boat," said the Father.
"I didn't believe a single other nice thing could happen this day," sighed Take. "But going home by boat will be nicer than staying. Won't it, Taro?"
But Taro was already on his way to the landing.
There was a pleasure-boat tied to the wharf. The whole family got on board; the boatman pushed off and away they went over the blue waters and into the river, and down the river a long way, through the city and beyond. They passed rice-fields, where men and women in great round hats worked away, standing ankle deep in water. There were fields where tea-plants were growing. There were little brown thatched roofs peeping out from under green trees. There were glimpses of little streets in tiny villages, and of people riding in a queer sort of basket hung from a pole and carried on the shoulders of two men.
At last they came to a landing-place near their home. They were glad to see the familiar roofs again.
Taro and Take raced ahead of the others to their own little house in the garden.
At the door they found ever so many clogs. There were sounds of talking inside the house.
"What do you suppose is going to happen now?" Take asked Taro.
"I don't know—but something nice," Taro answered, as he slipped off his clogs and sprang up on the porch.
They slid open the door.
"Ohayo!" came a chorus of voices.
The room was full of their aunts and cousins!
Taro and Take were very much surprised, but they remembered their manners. They dropped on their knees and bowed their heads to the floor.
"Where are your Father and Mother, and Grannie and Bot'Chan?" said all the aunts and cousins. "They are late."
"We came back by the boat, and it stopped at ever so many places," said Taro. "That's why we are late."
Soon their Father and Mother and Grandmother came in. Then there was great laughing and talking, and many polite bows.
Bot'Chan was passed from one to another. Everybody said he was the finest baby ever seen, and that he looked like his Father! And his Mother! And his Grandmother! Some even said he looked like the Twins!
Everybody brought presents to the baby. There were toys, and rice, and candied peas and beans, and little cakes, and silk for dresses for him, and more silk for more dresses, and best of all a beautiful puppy cat. Here is his picture! The Twins thought Bot'Chan could never use all the things that were given him but they thought they could help eat up the candied things.
Bot'Chan seemed to like his party. He sucked his thumb and looked solemnly at the aunts and cousins. He even tried to put the puppy cat in his mouth. Natsu took him away at last and put him to bed. Then everybody had tea and good things to eat until it was time to go home.
It took the Twins a long time to get to sleep that night.
Just as she was cuddling down under her warm, soft mats, Take popped her head out once more and looked across the room to Taro's bed.
"Taro!" she whispered.
Taro stuck his head out, too. She could see him by the soft light of the candle in the tall paper lamp beside his bed.
"Don't you think it's about a week since morning?" she said. "So
many nice things have happened
"There never could be a nicer day than this," said Taro.
"What was the nicest of all?" Take asked. "I'll tell you what I liked the best if you'll tell me."
Then Taro told which part of the day he liked the best, and Take told which she liked the best. But I'm not going to tell whether they said the little horse, or the tiny garden, or the cherry trees, or the animals, or the boat-ride—or the party. You can just guess for yourself!
WEEK 20 |
O NCE upon a time there was an old man, and one day he wanted something nice to eat, so he said to his wife: "My dear, please make me a bun."
But she answered: "What am I to make it of? We have no flour."
"What nonsense," he said, "of course we have! You've only got to scrape the sides of the bin and sweep its floor and you'll get plenty!"
So his wife took a feather brush, and scraped the sides and swept the floor of the bin, and got a little flour together. Then she kneaded the dough with cream, rolled out the bun, spread it over with butter and put it in the oven.
And the bun turned out simply splendid! She took it out of
the oven and put it on the
And there the bun lay and lay, and he began to feel lonely, so he just took and rolled off!
From the window-sill he rolled down on to the bench, from the bench on to the floor, and over the floor to the door.
Then he rolled right over the threshold into the lobby, and out of the lobby on to the front door steps, and down the steps right out of doors, and rolled straight along the road into the field.
Suddenly he met a hare, and the hare said to him:
And when he had finished his song he went
on rolling farther, and was out of sight
And he went on rolling, and by and by he met a wolf,
and the wolf said to him:
And he went on rolling farther, when suddenly he met a bear. And
the bear said to him:
And he went on rolling farther, when suddenly he met a
fox, and the fox said to him, "How do you do,
And Mr. Bun was pleased at being praised,
and he started singing: "I'm
"That's a fine song," said the fox, "please sing it me again; but come and sit on my nose, I've got so deaf lately."
So Mr. Bun jumped up on Mr. Fox's nose and sang his
song again. And the fox said: "Thank you,
The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown,
The Lion beat the Unicorn all around the town.
Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown,
Some gave them plum-cake, and sent them out of town.
WEEK 20 |
NE morning early in June, a fat and shining May Beetle lay
on his back among the grasses, kicking his six legs in the
air, and wriggling around while he tried to catch hold of a
"Oh, yes," he said, "you are quick enough to laugh when you think somebody else is in a fix. I often lie on my back and kick, just for fun." (Which was not true, but when Beetles are cross they are not always truthful.)
"Excuse me," said the Caterpillar, "I did not mean to hurt your feelings. If I smiled, it was because I remembered being in the same plight myself yesterday, and what a time I had smoothing my fur afterwards. Now, you won't have to smooth your fur, will you?" she asked pleasantly.
"No, I'm thankful to say I haven't any fur to smooth," snapped the Beetle. "I am not one of the crawling, furry kind. My family wear dark brown, glossy coats, and we always look trim and clean. When we want to hurry, we fly; and when tired of flying, we walk or run. We have two kinds of wings. We have a pair of dainty, soft ones, that carry us through the air, and then we have a pair of stiff ones to cover over the soft wings when we come down to the earth again. We are the finest family in the meadow."
"I have often heard of you," said the Caterpillar, "and am very glad to become acquainted."
"Well," answered the Beetle, "I am willing to speak to you,
of course, but we can never be at all friendly. A
"Upper circles, indeed!" said a croaking voice beside him,
which made the Beetle jump, "I have hopped over your head
for two or three years, when you
were nothing but a fat,
white worm. You'd better not put on airs.
The fine family of
The May Beetle began to look very uncomfortable, and
squirmed as though he wanted to get away, but the
The May Beetle scraped his head with his right front leg, and then said to the Caterpillar, who was nibbling away at the milkweed: "You know, I wasn't really in earnest about our not being friends. I shall be very glad to know you, and all your family."
"Thank you," answered the Caterpillar, "thank you very much,
but I have been thinking it over myself, and I feel that I
really could not be friendly with a
WEEK 20 |
MOTHER and Father Pigeon lived with their two young pigeons in their home, built high on a post in the king's barn-yard. Every bright morning they would fly away through the beautiful sunshine wherever they pleased, but, when evening came, they were sure to come to the pigeon-house again.
One evening, when they were talking together in their sweet,
cooing way, Mother Pigeon
"We each have a story to tell, I know; so let each one take his turn, and Father Pigeon begin."
Then Father Pigeon
"To-day I have been down to the shining little stream that runs through the wood. The green ferns grow on either side of it, and the water is cool, cool, cool! for I dipped my feet into it, and wished that you all were there."
"I know the stream," cooed Mother Pigeon. "It turns the wheels of the mills as it hurries along, and is busy all day on its way to the river."
"To-day I have talked with the birds in the garden," said Sweet Voice, one of the young pigeons, "the thrush, the blackbird, and bluebird, and all. They sang to me and I cooed to them, and together we made the world gay. The bluebird sang of the sunshine, and the blackbird of the harvest; but the thrush sang the sweetest song. It was about her nest in the tree."
"I heard you all," said Fleet Wing, the other young pigeon; "for I sat and listened on the high church tower. I was so high up, there, that I thought I was higher than anything else; but I saw the great sun shining in the sky, and the little white clouds, like sky pigeons, sailing above me. Then, looking down, I saw, far away, this white pigeon-house; and it made me very glad, for nothing that I saw was so lovely as home."
"I never fly far away from home," said
"Coo, coo! Good night!" answered the others; and all was still in the pigeon-house.
Now over in the palace, where the king, and queen, and their one little daughter lived, there was the sound of music and laughter; but the king's little daughter was sad, for early the next morning her father, the king, was to start on a journey, and she loved him so dearly that she could not bear to have him leave her.
The king's little daughter could not go out in the sunshine like Sweet Voice and Fleet Wing, but lay all day within the palace on her silken cushions; for her fine little feet, in their satin slippers, were always too tired to carry her about, and her thin, little face was as white as a jasmine flower.
The king loved her as dearly as she loved him; and when he saw that she was sad, he tried to think of something to make her glad after he had gone away. At last he called a prince, and whispered something to him. The prince told it to a count, and the count to a gentleman-in-waiting.
The gentleman-in-waiting told a footman, and the footman told somebody else, and at last, the boy who waited on the cook heard it.
Early next morning he went to the pigeon-house, where Mother and Father Pigeon and their two young pigeons lived; and putting his hand through a door, he took Sweet Voice and Fleet Wing out, and dropped them into a basket.
Poor Sweet Voice, and Fleet Wing! They were so frightened that they could not coo! They sat very close to each other in the covered basket, and wondered when they would see their mother and father and home again.
All the time, as they sat close together in the basket and wondered, they were being taken away from home; for the king had started on his journey, and one of his gentlemen was carrying the basket, very carefully, with him on his horse.
At last the horses stood still and the basket was taken to the king; and when he opened it, the two little pigeons looked up and saw that the sun was high in the sky, and that they were far from home.
When they saw that they were far from home, they were more frightened than before; but the king spoke so kindly and smoothed their feathers so gently, that they knew he would take care of them.
Then the king took two tiny letters tied with lovely blue ribbon out of his pocket; and, while his gentlemen stood by to see, he fastened one under a wing of each little pigeon.
"Fly away, little pigeons!" he cried; and he tossed them up toward the sky. "Fly away, and carry my love to my little daughter!"
Fleet Wing, and Sweet Voice spread their wings joyfully, for they knew that they were free! free! and they wanted to go home.
Everywhere they saw green woods, instead of the red roofs
and shining windows of the town, and Sweet Voice was afraid;
but Fleet Wing
"I saw these woods from the tall church steeple. Home is not so far away as we thought."
Then they lost no time in talking, but turned their heads homeward; and as they flew the little gray squirrels that ran about in the woods called out to ask them to play, but the pigeons could not stay.
The wood dove heard them, and called from her tree: "Little cousins, come in!" But the pigeons thanked her and hurried on.
"Home is not so far away," said Fleet Wing; but he began to fear that he had missed the way, and Sweet Voice was so tired that she begged him to fly on alone.
Fleet Wing would not listen to this; and, as they talked, they came to a little stream of water with green ferns growing all about, and they knew that it must be the very stream that Father Pigeon loved. Then they cooled their tired feet in the fresh water, and cooed for joy; for they knew that they were getting nearer, nearer, nearer home, all the time.
Sweet Voice was not afraid then; and as they flew from the shelter of the woods, they saw the tall church steeple with its golden weather vane.
The sun was in the west, and the windows were all shining in its light, when Fleet Wing and Sweet Voice reached the town. The little children saw them and called: "Stay with us, pretty pigeons." But Sweet Voice and Fleet Wing did not rest until they reached the white pigeon house, where Mother and Father Pigeon were waiting.
The cook's boy was waiting, too, and the little pigeons were taken in to see the king's little daughter. When she found the letters which they carried under their wings, she laughed with delight; and Fleet Wing and Sweet Voice were very proud to think that they had brought glad news to their princess.
The little pigeons were taken in to see the king's daughter.
They told it over and over again out in the pigeon-house, and Mother and Father Pigeon were glad, too.
In the morning, the birds in the garden were told of the wonderful things that had happened to Fleet Wing and Sweet Voice; and even the hens and chickens had something to say when they heard the news.
The thrush said that it all made her think of her
own sweet song; and she sang it again to
"Wherever I fly from my own dear nest,
I always come back, for home is the best."
Hey diddle dinkety poppety pet,
The merchants of London they wear scarlet,
Silk in the collar and gold in the hem,
So merrily march the merchant men.
WEEK 20 |
NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and
it was painted white
and had green blinds and it stood not
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 little track that led up past
the kitchen door and past the shed and
past the barn and past the orchard to
When little John was a very little boy,
only about four years old, Uncle Solomon
had a bull. The bull had never done any
harm, so Uncle Solomon thought it was a
pleasant bull, and he used to let it out
One day Aunt Deborah was getting
dinner ready and she wondered where
little John was. She looked out of the
and she didn't see him, so she thought
that perhaps he had gone to the barn to
play, and she looked that way, but she
didn't see him. Then she was afraid that
little John might be in the barn and get
near the bull and be hurt. So she
started out to the barn, and while she
was going she heard the bull making a
noise, so she knew the bull was in the
When Aunt Deborah heard the bull, she
began to run, and she called to little
John. And just as she called, she saw
little John go up in the air higher than
Then she called to Uncle John, as loud as she could, but Uncle John was far off in the field and he did not hear. So Aunt Deborah ran to the kitchen again and took down the horn and blew it very hard, and Uncle John heard the horn and he knew something was the matter and he dropped his hoe and ran home, but he didn't get there soon enough.
When Aunt Deborah had blown on the horn,
she ran out again, and she saw little
John go up in the air again, higher than
Carried him into the house.
Then Uncle John came running, and they looked little John all over, but he wasn't hurt, only frightened. And they were all very glad. And when Uncle Solomon heard about it, he sold the bull because he thought bulls were too cross for him to have on that farm, and he didn't keep a bull any more.
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
the wagons through to the barn. And the
wagons, going through, had made a little
track that led up past the kitchen door
and past the shed and past the barn and
past the orchard to the
One morning in the spring, after the garden field was all ploughed and harrowed and ready to be planted, Uncle John went out to the barn, and he took down from a peg in the loft a little bag of squash seeds. Then he got his hoe and little John came and took the bag of squash seeds, and they both walked across the little track and across the grass place to the garden field.
Then Uncle John made little holes in the dirt with his hoe handle, all along in the edge of the garden. The holes were just about as far apart as one of little John's steps. And little John went along behind with the bag of squash seeds, and he dropped a seed in each hole and covered it over with dirt. And when seeds were planted all along the edge of the garden, Uncle John and little John went away and left them.
And the rain fell upon the garden and the sun shone and warmed the ground, and the squash seeds began to grow. And after awhile, little stems pushed up through the dirt, and on the top of each stem were two little leaves, folded together and down against the stem. But when they got out into the sunlight, the two little leaves stood up and unfolded, and some more leaves began to come between those two, and the stem grew longer and more leaves kept coming. And when the stems were about as high as little John's knees, they began to bend over and lie down upon the ground. And Uncle John stuck little sticks into the ground, so as to make the vines go the way he wanted them to.
Uncle John stuck little sticks into the ground.
He wanted them to go over toward the wall and away from the other things in the garden. For that kind of squash vine grows very long, and they would have covered up a great many things in the garden.
So the vines kept on growing and more leaves kept coming, and they were great enormous leaves, as big as little John's big straw hat. And pretty soon there were some big yellow flowers on the vines. Then the bees came, and they went into these flowers, first into one and then into another, and they got some yellow powder on their backs from one flower and that scraped off into another, and when the yellow flowers withered up and dropped off, there were little squashes where some of them had been. At first these squashes were about as big as little John's fist, but they grew very fast, and the vines got longer and longer, and when they came to the wall, they climbed right up the wall and over the top and down on the other side. And they grew along the grass place toward the little track, and more little squashes started and grew bigger and bigger until, at the end of the summer, some of them were bigger than the long leather footballs that little boys play with now. The squashes were almost as big as watermelons, and they looked a good deal like watermelons, only not so smooth. They weren't the kind that is round and yellow, but they were long, and green on the outside. And when Aunt Deborah cut them open to use, they were bright yellow on the inside.
When the summer was all over, and things had stopped growing and it was beginning to get cold, the squash vines dried and withered, and the leaves all withered. Then Uncle John got the wheelbarrow from the shed and he wheeled it over across the little track and across the grass place, and there he stopped. And he began to gather the squashes. Each squash had a great strong stem, as big as little John's wrist. And Uncle John took the squash by the stem and it broke off the withered vine, and he put the squash into the wheelbarrow. The squashes were so big that the wheelbarrow wouldn't hold many of them, and when it was full, Uncle John wheeled it over to the kitchen door.
Then he took the best and the biggest of
the squashes, and he tied a
strong string to the stem of each one,
took them into the cellar and hung them
on pegs that were stuck into the great
logs that held up the floors. And when
he had hung up all the first load, he
went back to the garden field and got
another load, and so he did until he had
gathered all the squashes. And the best
and the biggest he hung in the cellar to
use in the winter, and when he had hung
up enough for all the people that lived
And that's all.
WEEK 20 |
V ERY great and very strong were the heathen kings who ruled in Assyria. It was no wonder that the people of Judah lived in terror of those heathen kings, and that they forgot sometimes that, though the Jews were such a small, weak nation, they had a great Defender, and that God would protect His people.
There had been many bad kings in Judah who had forgotten God and brought evil on the city of Jerusalem. But now a new king had come to the throne, and as the people shouted, "God save the king," they hoped he would be strong and courageous and keep them safe from their heathen enemies.
Hezekiah, the new king, was a young man, but he was wise and brave, and, best of all, he trusted God with all his heart. The kings before him had been afraid of the great armies of the Assyrians, and had, in their fear, paid money or tribute every year to the heathen king, which really made them vassals or servants. Hezekiah would not do this.
"We serve the Lord God," he said, "and not the kings of Assyria."
But did the people really serve God? The king looked at the beautiful Temple, God's house, and there were no priests there, no service going on. The doors were shut. There was dust and ruin everywhere. The golden lamps had gone out, and were hanging all tarnished and dim; there was no sweet scent of incense, no sacrifice to God.
That was bad enough, but it was a sign of something worse. The people had become careless, their faith in God had grown dim; they had shut the door of their hearts against Him, had forgotten all His goodness to them, and had covered themselves with sin, as the dust that lay thick on His altar.
Then Hezekiah set to work suddenly to sweep away the evil from the Temple and from the hearts of the people. In a few days the Temple was cleaned and made beautiful once more; the people were warned that if they forgot God He would cease to be their defender, and were bidden to come to a great service in the Temple to ask for forgiveness and help.
Hezekiah reopens the Temple.
The wise king did not stop there. He knew that God would help them, but they must also help themselves. So he ordered the walls of Jerusalem to be built up and made strong. And he stored up food, and made a wonderful underground channel to bring water into the city.
And it was well that this was done: for ere long the news came that Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, was on his way to punish the king for refusing to pay tribute and be his vassal.
The news, brought in by the poor country people, who were fleeing from their burning villages, struck terror to the hearts of the people of Jerusalem. They knew what a terrible man this King of Assyria was. He was as strong as a lion and as cruel as a tiger, and his army was so mighty that no one could stand against it. Far away on the horizon they could see the smoke of the burning villages, rolling nearer and nearer as the conquering army swept on. Who was to help them now? Even Hezekiah's courage failed him for a while. He tried to make peace by promising to give all his gold and all the treasures of the Temple to Sennacherib. He sent secretly to ask the mighty Egyptians to help him. But it was all of no use. The whole country of Judah was laid waste, and still the army marched on to destroy Jerusalem. It was but a little thing for such a powerful army to do. They would sweep it away as easily as a child sweeps a fly off the wall.
Sennacherib laughed at the very idea that Hezekiah would dare to stand up and fight against him.
"I have shut him up as a bird in a cage, in his royal city of Jerusalem," he wrote boastfully.
All day long the people in Jerusalem watched with terrified eyes for the great armies that were marching, marching onwards. The sound of their feet was like thunder from the hills, the sheen of their spears like blinding lightning.
But it was then that Hezekiah's courage returned. In the time of greatest danger he remembered God's promise. The people were crouching in fear, but the king's voice sounded out clear and strong above their cries of terror and the weeping of the women.
"Be strong and courageous," he cried; "be not afraid nor dismayed for the King of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that are with him: for there is more with us than with him. With him is an army of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles."
Those brave words cheered the people. But all night long they watched from the walls: perhaps the great army was resting; the attack would come in the morning.
The morning dawned, and the watchers still looked out with straining eyes. But as the light grew stronger they saw that something strange had happened. There was no attack. God had indeed fought their battle. The Angel of Death had passed over the camp, and the dead lay there in thousands. God's angels had stood between them and the enemy and had saved them, as God's angels can always do. Hezekiah had done well to bid them put their trust in the Lord their God.
"The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
"Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen;
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed on the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever were still!
"And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
"And there lay the rider, distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
"And the widows of Asshur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord."
I had a little husband no bigger than my thumb,
I put him in a pint pot, and there I bid him drum,
I bought a little handkerchief to wipe his little nose,
And a pair of little garters to tie his little hose.