WEEK 33 |
OHNNY CHUCK awoke just as jolly, round, red
"Well, well, well! What are you doing here?" cried a sharp voice.
Johnny Chuck looked towards the open end of the old log. There, peeping in, was a little face as sharp as the voice.
"Hello, Chatterer!" cried Johnny.
"I say, what are you doing here?" persisted Chatterer the Red Squirrel, for it was he.
"Just waking up," replied Johnny, with a grin.
"It's time," replied Chatterer. "But that isn't telling me what you are doing so far from home."
"I haven't any home," said Johnny, his face growing just a wee bit wistful.
"You haven't any home!" Chatterer's voice sounded as if he didn't think he had heard aright. "What have you done with it?"
"Given it to Jimmy Skunk," replied Johnny Chuck.
Now Chatterer never gives anything to anybody, and how any one could give away his home was more than he could understand. He stared at Johnny as if he thought Johnny had gone crazy. Finally he found his tongue. "I don't believe it!" he snapped. "If Jimmy Skunk has got your old home, it's because he put you out of it."
"No such thing! I'd like to see Jimmy Skunk or anybody else put me out of my home!" Johnny Chuck spoke scornfully. "I gave it to him because I didn't want it any longer. I'm going to see the world, and then I'm going to build me a new home. Everybody else seems to be building new homes this spring; why shouldn't I?"
"I'm not!" retorted Chatterer. "I know enough to know when I am well off.
"Who has a discontented heart
Is sure to play a sorry part."
Johnny Chuck crawled out of the old log and stretched himself somewhat painfully. "That may be, but there are different kinds of discontent.
"Who never looks for better things
Will live his life in little rings.
"Well, I must be moving along, if I am to see the world."
Chuck bade Chatterer
Johnny Chuck bade Chatterer good‑by and started on.
He was thinking of this, as he sat up to look over the Green Meadows.
His heart gave a great throb. What was that over near the
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living,
But the child that's born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
WEEK 33 |
HE day after the
"I wish I had something to send Bobby."
His little bantam hen was right under the window
scratching for her dinner when he said it.
Johnny heard her very first call.
"My bantie hen has laid an egg," he said; and he put
"Put your hat on before you go into the hot sun, Johnny," called his mother.
Johnny was just about to pick up his hat when he spied the egg inside.
"My bantie hen has laid an egg in my straw hat!" he called.
"My bantie hen has laid an egg in my straw hat!" he called.
"Oh, Mamma, I believe I'll send the egg to Bobby!"
So when the ox-wagon man went to town next day he took
Bantie's egg with him. Johnny's mamma had
packed it in a little box filled with
"Don't forget to tell Bobby where I found it," Johnny called after him.
"I won't," said the ox-wagon man; and he did not.
When Bobby saw the egg and heard all about it, he was one of two happy boys on the Big Road. The other one was Johnny.
M OTHER was making a cake for Sunday's dinner, Father was drawing pictures, and Bobby was lonely.
"I wish I had somebody to play with me," he said; and he had scarcely spoken when an automobile stopped right in front of the house.
There were two men in the car, and one little girl who looked as if she might be just about as old as Bobby. Something was wrong with the automobile and the men got out to work on it, but the little girl sat still and looked at Bobby.
Bobby looked at her, too, but neither of them said a word. Bobby could not keep from smiling, though. He tried his best to keep a straight face, but the corners of his mouth would turn up, and his eyes would twinkle. When he smiled the little girl smiled; and the minute Bobby saw her smiling he had a beautiful thought. It was such a delightful thought that he ran into the house to tell it to his mother. When she heard it she left her cake-making to tell it to Father. And no sooner had she told him, than Father put down his pencil and went out to tell it to the men whose automobile was in the road.
Bobby went with him, and when Father had spoken to the men and offered to help them, he said:
"This is my little boy Bobby, and he would like very much to have the little girl play with him, till you are ready to go."
This is what Bobby had thought of!
One of the men was the little girl's papa, and he liked Bobby's plan very much. So did the little girl.
Her name was Florence Grey, and she was so friendly and merry that Bobby was sorry when the automobile was mended, and she had to go away.
She was so friendly and merry that Bobby was sorry when she had to go away.
When she had gone, Father made a rhyme about her for Bobby:
Little Florence Friendly‑way
Came to our house to‑day,
Had a word for every one,
Joined in every bit of fun.
Oh, how pleasant 'tis to play
With little Florence Friendly‑way!
Bobby thought it was very pleasant to have a playmate.
"My wish came true," he said; "and I'm going to make another."
And he wished that Florence might come again.
WEEK 33 |
O NE morning a little rabbit sat on a bank.
He pricked his ears and listened to the trit-trot, trit-trot of a pony.
A gig was coming along the road; it was driven by Mr. McGregor, and beside him sat Mrs. McGregor in her best bonnet.
A S soon as they had passed, little Benjamin Bunny slid down into the road, and set off—with a hop, skip, and a jump—to call upon his relations, who lived in the wood at the back of Mr. McGregor's garden.
T HAT wood was full of rabbit holes; and in the neatest, sandiest hole of all lived Benjamin's aunt and his cousins—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.
Old Mrs. Rabbit was a widow; she earned her living by knitting rabbit-wool mittens and muffatees (I once bought a pair at a bazaar). She also sold herbs, and rosemary tea, and rabbit-tobacco (which is what we call lavender).
L ITTLE Benjamin did not very much want to see his Aunt.
He came round the back of the fir-tree, and nearly tumbled upon the top of his Cousin Peter.
P ETER was sitting by himself. He looked poorly, and was dressed in a red cotton pocket-handkerchief.
"Peter,"—said little Benjamin, in a whisper,—"who has got your clothes?"
P ETER replied,—"The scarecrow in Mr. McGregor's garden," and described how he had been chased about the garden, and had dropped his shoes and coat.
Little Benjamin sat down beside his cousin and assured him that Mr. McGregor had gone out in a gig, and Mrs. McGregor also; and certainly for the day, because she was wearing her best bonnet.
P ETER said he hoped that it would rain.
At this point old Mrs. Rabbit's voice was heard inside the rabbit hole, calling: "Cotton-tail! Cotton-tail! fetch some more camomile!"
Peter said he thought he might feel better if he went for a walk.
T HEY went away hand in hand, and got upon the flat top of the wall at the bottom of the wood. From here they looked down into Mr. McGregor's garden. Peter's coat and shoes were plainly to be seen upon the scarecrow, topped with an old tam-o'-shanter of Mr. McGregor's.
L ITTLE Benjamin said: "It spoils people's clothes to squeeze under a gate; the proper way to get in is to climb down a pear-tree."
Peter fell down head first; but it was of no consequence, as the bed below was newly raked and quite soft.
I T had been sown with lettuces.
They left a great many odd little footmarks all over the bed, especially little Benjamin, who was wearing clogs.
L ITTLE Benjamin said that the first thing to be done was to get back Peter's clothes, in order that they might be able to use the pocket-handkerchief.
They took them off the scarecrow. There had been rain during the night; there was water in the shoes, and the coat was somewhat shrunk.
Benjamin tried on the tam-o'-shanter, but it was too big for him.
T HEN he suggested that they should fill the pocket-handkerchief with onions, as a little present for his Aunt.
Peter did not seem to be enjoying himself; he kept hearing noises.
B ENJAMIN, on the contrary, was perfectly at home, and ate a lettuce leaf. He said that he was in the habit of coming to the garden with his father to get lettuces for their Sunday dinner.
(The name of little Benjamin's papa was old Mr. Benjamin Bunny.)
The lettuces certainly were very fine.
P ETER did not eat anything; he said he should like to go home. Presently he dropped half the onions.
L ITTLE Benjamin said that it was not possible to get back up the pear-tree with a load of vegetables. He led the way boldly towards the other end of the garden. They went along a little walk on planks, under a sunny, red brick wall.
The mice sat on their doorsteps cracking cherry-stones; they winked at Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin Bunny.
P RESENTLY Peter let the pocket-handkerchief go again.
T HEY got amongst flower-pots, and frames, and tubs. Peter heard noises worse than ever; his eyes were as big as lolly-pops!
He was a step or two in front of his cousin when he suddenly stopped.
T HIS is what those little rabbits saw round that corner!
Little Benjamin took one look, and then, in
half a minute less than no time, he hid
himself and Peter and the onions underneath
T HE cat got up and stretched herself, and came and sniffed at the basket.
Perhaps she liked the smell of onions!
Anyway, she sat down upon the top of the basket.
S HE sat there for five hours.
I cannot draw you a picture of Peter and Benjamin underneath the basket, because it was quite dark, and because the smell of onions was fearful; it made Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin cry.
The sun got round behind the wood, and it was quite late in the afternoon; but still the cat sat upon the basket.
A T length there was a pitter-patter, pitter-patter, and some bits of mortar fell from the wall above.
The cat looked up and saw old Mr. Benjamin Bunny prancing along the top of the wall of the upper terrace.
He was smoking a pipe of rabbit-tobacco, and had a little switch in his hand.
He was looking for his son.
O LD Mr. Bunny had no opinion whatever of cats.
He took a tremendous jump off the top of the wall on to the top of the cat, and cuffed it off the basket, and kicked it into the green-house, scratching off a handful of fur.
The cat was too much surprised to scratch back.
W HEN old Mr. Bunny had driven the cat into the green-house, he locked the door.
Then he came back to the basket and took out his son Benjamin by the ears, and whipped him with the little switch.
Then he took out his nephew Peter.
T HEN he took out the handkerchief of onions, and marched out of the garden.
W HEN Mr. McGregor returned about half an hour later he observed several things which perplexed him.
It looked as though some person had been walking all over the garden in a pair of clogs—only the footmarks were too ridiculously little!
Also he could not understand how the cat could have managed to shut herself up inside the green-house, locking the door upon the outside.
W HEN Peter got home his mother forgave him, because she was so glad to see that he had found his shoes and coat. Cotton-tail and Peter folded up the pocket-handkerchief, and old Mrs. Rabbit strung up the onions and hung them from the kitchen ceiling, with the bunches of herbs and the rabbit-tobacco.
Black within and red without;
Four corners round about.
WEEK 33 |
HERE were more Ants in the meadow than there were of any
other kind of insects. In their family there were not only
There were many different families of Grasshoppers, but they
were all related. Some had short horns, or feelers, and red
legs; and some had long horns. Some lived in the lower part
of the meadow where it was damp, and some in the upper
The Katydids, who really belong to this family, you know,
stayed in trees and did not often sing in the daytime. Then
there were the great Road Grasshoppers who lived only in
places where the ground was bare and dusty, and whom you
could hardly see unless they were flying. When they lay in
the dust their wide wings were hidden and they showed only
that part of their bodies which was
Perhaps those Grasshoppers who were best known in the meadow
were the Clouded Grasshoppers, large
It was queer that they were always spoken of as Grasshoppers. Their great-great-great-grandparents were called Locusts, and that was the family name, but the Cicadas liked that name and wanted it for themselves, and made such a fuss about it that people began to call them Seventeen-Year-Locusts; and then because they had to call the real Locusts something else, they called them Grasshoppers. The Grasshoppers didn't mind this. They were jolly and noisy, and as they grew older were sometimes very pompous. And you know what it is to be pompous.
When the farmer was drawing the last loads of hay to his barn and putting them away in the great mows there, three young Clouded Grasshopper brothers were frolicking near the wagon. They had tried to see who could run the fastest, crackle the loudest, spring the highest, flutter the farthest, and eat the most. There seemed to be nothing more to do. They couldn't eat another mouthful, the other fellows wouldn't play with them, they wouldn't play with their sisters, and they were not having any fun at all.
They were sitting on a
The biggest Clouded Grasshopper said to his brothers, "You dare not sit still while they put this hay on the load!"
The smallest Clouded Grasshopper said, "I do too!"
The second brother said, "Huh! Guess I dare do anything you do!" He said it in a rather mean way, and that may have been because he had eaten too much. Overeating will make any insect cross.
Now every one of them was afraid, but each waited for the others to back out. While they were waiting, the wagon stopped beside them, the shining fork was run into the hay, and they were shaken and stood on their heads and lifted through the air on to the wagon. There they found themselves all tangled up with hay in the middle of the load. It was dark and they could hardly breathe. There were a few stems of nettles in the hay, and they had to crawl away from them. It was no fun at all, and they didn't talk very much.
When the wagon reached the barn, they were pitched into the mow with the hay, and then they hopped and fluttered around until they were on the floor over the Horses' stalls. They sat together on the floor and wondered how they could ever get back to the meadow. Because they had come in the middle of the load, they did not know the way.
"Oh!" said they. "Who are those
"Kittens!" sang a Swallow over their heads. "Oh,
The Clouded Grasshoppers had never seen Kittens. It is true that the old Cat often went hunting in the meadow, but that was at night, when Grasshoppers were asleep.
"Meouw!" said the Yellow Kitten. "Look at those queer little brown people on the floor. Let's each catch one."
So the Kittens began crawling slowly over the floor, keeping their bodies and tails low, and taking very short steps. Not one of them took his eyes off the Clouded Grasshopper whom he meant to catch. Sometimes they stopped and crouched and watched, then they went on, nearer, nearer, nearer, still, while the Clouded Grasshoppers were more and more scared and wished they had never left the meadow where they had been so safe and happy.
At last the Kittens jumped, coming down with their sharp little claws just where the Clouded Grasshoppers—had been. The Clouded Grasshoppers had jumped too, but they could not stay long in the air, and when they came down the Kittens jumped again. So it went until the poor Clouded Grasshoppers were very, very tired and could not jump half so far as they had done at first. Sometimes the Kittens even tried to catch them while they were fluttering, and each time they came a little nearer than before. They were so tired that they never thought of leaping up on the wall of the barn where the Kittens couldn't reach them.
At last the smallest Clouded Grasshopper called to his brothers, "Let us chase the Kittens."
The brothers answered, "They're too big."
The smallest Clouded Grasshopper, who had always been the brightest one in the family, called back, "We may scare them if they are big."
Then all the Clouded Grasshoppers leaped toward the Kittens
and crackled their wings and looked very, very fierce. And
the Kittens ran away as fast as they could. They were in
such a hurry to get away that the
"There!" said the smallest Clouded Grasshopper to them, "we won't do anything to you this time, because you are young and don't know very much, but don't you ever bother one of us again. We might have hopped right on to you, and then what could you have done to help yourselves?"
The Clouded Grasshoppers started off to find their way back to the meadow, and the frightened Kittens looked at each other and whispered: "Just supposing they had hopped on to us! What could we have done!"
WEEK 33 |
T HERE was once upon a time an old woman who wanted an apple dumpling for supper. She had plenty of flour and plenty of butter, plenty of sugar and plenty of spice for a dozen dumplings, but there was one thing she did not have; and that was an apple.
She had plums, a tree full of them, the roundest and reddest that you can imagine; but, though you can make butter from cream and raisins of grapes, you cannot make an apple dumpling with plums, and there is no use trying.
The more the old woman thought of the dumpling the more she wanted it, and at last she dressed herself in her Sunday best and started out to seek an apple.
Before she left home, however, she filled a basket with plums from her plum-tree and, covering it over with a white cloth, hung it on her arm, for she said to herself: "There may be those in the world who have apples, and need plums."
She had not gone very far when she came to a poultry yard filled with fine hens and geese and guineas. Ca-ca, quawk, quawk, poterack! What a noise they made; and in the midst of them stood a young woman who was feeding them with yellow corn. She nodded pleasantly to the old woman, and the old woman nodded to her; and soon the two were talking as if they had known each other always.
The young woman told the old woman about her fowls and the old woman told the young woman about the dumpling and the basket of plums for which she hoped to get apples.
"Dear me," said the young woman when she heard this, "there is nothing my husband likes better than plum jelly with goose for his Sunday dinner, but un-less you will take a bag of feathers for your plums he must do without, for that is the best I can offer you."
"One pleased is better than two disappointed," said the old woman then; and she emptied the plums into the young woman's apron and putting the bag of feathers into her basket trudged on as merrily as before; for she said to herself:
"If I am no nearer the dumpling than when I left home, I am at least no farther from it; and that feathers are lighter to carry than plums nobody can deny."
Trudge, trudge, up hill and down she went, and presently she came to a garden of sweet flowers; lilies, lilacs, violets, roses—oh, never was there a lovelier garden!
The old woman stopped at the gate to look at the flowers; and as she looked she heard a man and a woman, who sat on the door-step of a house that stood in the garden, quarreling.
"Cotton," said the woman.
"Straw," said the man.
"It is," they cried, and so it went between them, till they spied the old woman at the gate.
"Here is one who will settle the matter," said the woman then; and she called to the old woman:
"Good mother, answer me this: If you were making a cushion for your grandfather's chair would you not stuff it with cotton?"
"No," said the old woman.
"I told you so," cried the man. "Straw is the thing, and no need to go farther than the barn for it;" but the old woman shook her head.
"I would not stuff the cushion with straw," said she; and it would have been hard to tell which one was the more cast down by her answers, the man or the woman.
But the old woman made haste to take the bag of feathers out of her basket, and give it to them.
"A feather cushion is fit for a king," she said, "and as for me, an apple for a dumpling, or a nosegay from your garden will serve me as well as what I give."
The man and the woman had no apples, but they were glad to exchange a nosegay from their garden for a bag of fine feathers, you may be sure.
"There is nothing nicer for a cushion than feathers," said the woman.
"My mother had one made of them," said the man; and they laughed like children as they hurried into the garden to fill the old woman's basket with the loveliest posies; lilies, lilacs, violets, roses—oh! never was there a sweeter nosegay.
"A good bargain, and not all of it in the basket," said the old woman, for she was pleased to have stopped the quarrel, and when she had wished the two good fortune and a long life, she went upon her way again.
Now her way was the king's highway, and as she walked there she met a young lord who was dressed in his finest clothes, for he was going to see his lady love. He would have been as handsome a young man as ever the sun shone on had it not been that his forehead was wrinkled into a terrible frown, and the corners of his mouth drawn down as if he had not a friend left in the whole world.
"A fair day and a good road," said the old woman, stopping to drop him a courtesy.
"Fair or foul, good or bad, 'tis all one to me," said he, "when the court jeweler has forgotten to send the ring he promised, and I must go to my lady with empty hands."
"Empty hands are better than an empty heart," said the old woman; "but then we are young only once; so you shall have a gift for your lady though I may never have an apple dumpling." And she took the nosegay from her basket and gave it to the young lord which pleased him so much that the frown smoothed away from his forehead, and his mouth spread itself in a smile, and he was as handsome a young man as ever the sun shone on.
"Fair exchange is no robbery," said he, and he unfastened a golden chain from round his neck and gave it to the old woman, and went away holding his nosegay with great care.
The old woman was delighted.
"With this golden chain I might buy all the apples in the king's market, and then have something to spare," she said to herself, as she hurried away toward town as fast as her feet could carry her.
But she had gone no farther than the turn of the road when she came upon a mother and children, standing in a doorway, whose faces were as sorrowful as her own was happy.
"What is the matter?" she asked as soon as she reached them.
"Matter enough," answered the mother, "when the last crust of bread is eaten and not a farthing in the house to buy more."
"Well-a-day," cried the old woman when this was told her. "Never shall it be said of me that I eat apple dumpling for supper while my neighbors lack bread;" and she put the golden chain into the mother's hands and hurried on without waiting for thanks.
She was not out of sight of the house, though, when the mother and children, every one of them laughing and talking as if it were Christmas or Candlemas day, overtook her.
"Little have we to give you," said the mother who was the happiest of all, "for that you have done for us, but here is a little dog, whose barking will keep loneliness from your house, and a blessing goes with it."
The old woman did not have the heart to say them nay, so into the basket went the little dog, and very snugly he lay there.
"A bag of feathers for a basket of plums; a nosegay of flowers for a bag of feathers; a golden chain for a nosegay of flowers; a dog and a blessing for a golden chain; all the world is give and take, and who knows but that I may have my apple yet," said the old woman as she hurried on.
And sure enough she had not gone a half dozen yards when, right before her, she saw an apple-tree as full of apples as her plum-tree was full of plums. It grew in front of a house as much like her own as if the two were peas in the same pod; and on the porch of the house sat a little old man.
She saw an apple-tree as full of apples as her plum-tree was full of plums.
"A fine tree of apples!" called the old woman as soon as she was in speaking distance of him.
"Aye, but apple-trees and apples are poor company when a man is growing old," said the old man; "and I would give them all if I had even so much as a little dog to bark on my door-step."
"Bow-wow!" called the dog in the old woman's basket, and in less time than it takes to read this story he was barking on the old man's door-step, and the old woman was on her way home with a basket of apples on her arm.
She got there in plenty of time to make the dumpling for supper, and it was as sweet and brown a dumpling as heart could desire.
"If you try long enough and hard enough you can always have an apple dumpling for supper," said the old woman; and she ate the dumpling to the very last crumb; and enjoyed it, too.
Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home!
Your house is on fire, your children all gone,
All but one, and her name is Ann,
And she crept under the pudding pan.
WEEK 33 |
O NCE upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.
He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always wore his overalls when he was playing.
They were building a new house in the field next to David's house, and the masons were through their work, and the bricklayers were through, and the water men were through, and the plumbers were through, and the gas men were through, and the plasterers were through, and the carpenters were almost through, for they were laying nice clean boards on the floors, and they had the floors almost done.
David had watched them do it, and had seen how they put one board down after another, and gave the last board whacks with a hammer, to drive it close up against the next board, and nailed it through the edge, so that the nails shouldn't show.
But they always put a piece of a board against the floor board, and whacked the hammer on that, because they wanted the floor to be all smooth and shiny and not to show any marks of a hammer.
And now the house had to be painted.
So, one morning, a great big wagon came to the new house.
And on the wagon were ladders, some of them very tall,
and they stuck out far beyond the ends of the wagon and
there were great enormous hooks, and boards that were
all painty and a great many pots of paint, some dark
green for the blinds, and some a
But most of the paint was white.
There were two kinds of white paint, one kind for the outside of the house and another for the inside.
And there were all the kinds of brushes that the painters would need, and there were great bundles of cloth, which the painters would spread over the floors, so that the nice clean floors shouldn't get all spattered with paint, and there were some odds and ends besides.
And the painters came, and they took the things all off the wagon.
Of course, the carpenters had some ladders that would reach, but those were the carpenters' ladders, not the painters'; and the carpenters had some boards, but those were the carpenters' boards, not the painters'.
That is why the painters had brought boards and ladders.
David had gone on the train with his father and his mother, that morning, but the painters didn't know about him, so they kept right on with their work.
The foreman was there, and he was sorry that David wasn't there to see what the painters were doing, but he knew that David would see them before they were through with their work.
The wagon was unloaded, and some of the painters went inside the house, to paint the parts that had to be painted in there and some of the painters got ready to paint the outside of the house.
And they took thick pieces of board, and bored a hole in the middle, and they nailed those pieces of board on the roof, near the edge.
And they put the great enormous hooks up there, with the pointed ends in the holes in the boards, and the other ends hanging over the edge of the roof, over the gutter and the eaves.
The ends of the hooks which hung over had pulleys in them, and through the pulleys ran long ropes which hung down to the ground.
And the painters fastened the end of one of the ropes to one end of a ladder, and the end of another rope to the other end of the ladder.
Then they put some of the painty boards along over the rungs, so that the men shouldn't fall through or drop their pots of paint through, and they had made a sort of a staging which could be highered or lowered by the ropes.
And they tried the ropes, to see that it was all right, and two painters got on it, with their pots of paint and their brushes and everything they needed.
And one man sat at each end, and they pulled on the ropes, and hoisted the staging, with themselves sitting on it, up off the ground.
And the staging, with the two men on it, and their pots of paint, went slowly higher and higher, until it was as high as it could go, and the men could reach the highest board that they had to paint.
Then they fastened the ropes carefully, and they
stirred up the paint, and they took up the brushes and
they dipped the
brushes in the paint, and they knocked them gently
against the side of the
And the first thing you knew they had all those boards painted, and they had to lower the staging so that they could reach the boards lower down.
"Hello!" called a little clear voice, and the painters looked down.
The foreman was standing there, watching the painters;
and he looked, and there was David, all dressed in his
And the foreman looked again, and there was David's mother, standing by her gate and waiting for David.
And she had on her
"Hello, Davie," the foreman called. "You're all dressed up, aren't you? You'd better go and get into your overalls, quick, and then come back."
David's mother had heard what the foreman said, and she nodded and smiled to thank him, because she would have to call very loud, indeed, to make him hear, and she didn't like to.
And David nodded, and he ran back to his mother.
"Mother," he said, "the foreman said to get into my overalls. What did he mean, mother? Does that mean to put them on?"
"Yes, dear," his mother said, smiling.
So David paid no attention to his cat, who was coming to meet him and to rub against him, but he hurried to change his clothes and to put on his overalls.
And when he had his clothes changed and his overalls on, he ran out, and there was his cat waiting for him.
And he took up the handle of his cart, and he walked off as fast as he could, dragging his cart, and his shovel and his hoe rattled in the bottom of it and his cat ran on ahead, with her bushy tail sticking up in the air.
I don't know why David took his cart that
time, for there wasn't any mortar man, and there wasn't
When David got to the house, there was the foreman standing in almost the same place, but the painters had lowered the staging some more.
And David didn't say anything, but he dropped the handle of his cart, and he went to the foreman and reached up for the foreman's hand.
And the foreman's big hand closed over David's little one, and the foreman smiled, but he didn't say anything, either. He waited for David to speak.
David watched the painters for some time.
"What color are they painting it?" he asked at last. "It looks like white on the brushes, but sort of watery when they put it on, just as my paints look when I put a great deal of water with them. Have they got a great deal of water with their paint?"
"Not water, Davie," the foreman answered, "but oil. This is the first coat of paint, you see, put right on the bare wood, and the wood soaks the oil out of the paint at a great rate. They won't put so much oil in the second and third coats."
"Oh," said David, "will they paint it three times?"
"Three times for new wood," the foreman said.
He didn't say any more then, but he watched and so did
David while the painters dipped their brushes and
patted them against the sides of their
"Come with me, Davie," the foreman said at last, "and let's see if we can't scare up something else that's interesting."
And so David went with the foreman, and they went around by the cellar door.
And there they saw a great pile of shutters or blinds which were to go on the outside of all the windows of the house.
These blinds were leaning, one against another, and they had already been painted a kind of bluish gray, and each one had whole rows of little slats that you could turn back and forth.
And beyond the pile of bluish gray blinds was a smaller pile of dark green blinds, and the dark green blinds glistened with fresh paint, and they were leaning, one against another.
And between the pile of bluish gray blinds and the pile of dark green blinds were two painters, painting for dear life, and they were painting the bluish gray blinds dark green.
David watched them for a few minutes. It seemed to be a good deal of trouble to get the slats well painted.
"These," said the foreman, putting his hand on the bluish gray blinds, "are just as they come from the mill—the factory where they are made. This first coat of paint is put on there. Then our painters paint them whatever color is wanted."
David nodded, but he didn't say anything, for he didn't understand why the carpenters didn't make the blinds.
Pretty soon he pulled at the foreman's hand.
"I want to go back," he said.
So they went back to the painters who were painting the side of the house.
They had lowered the staging so low that the foreman could reach it.
"I'll tell you what, Davie," the foreman said. "Do you suppose you could paint a clapboard?"
"Oh," cried David, "will they let me?"
"I guess so," the foreman answered. "You ask them."
David looked up at the painters, and the painters looked down at David, and they were smiling.
David started to speak, but he couldn't ask what he wanted to. And the painters saw what was the matter, and one of them spoke.
"Want to paint a board?" he asked. "Well, come on up here."
So the foreman put his hands under David's arms, and he
lifted David right up, over the staging, and set him
down with his feet hanging over. And the painter dipped
his brush into the paint, and patted it gently against
the side of the
"Oh," David said, "it's heavy!"
"So it is," the painter said. "The paint is mostly lead, that's why. Now, you move the brush away from you as if you were sweeping the floor or dusting the board. Then, when it has gone as far as you can reach, you bring it back on the other side."
David tried, but he didn't do it very well, and the paint squeezed out of the brush and ran down and dripped from the edge of the clapboard.
"Not that way," the painter said. "I'll show you."
Then he took hold of David's wrist, but he left the brush in David's hand, and he moved it the way it ought to go, and he swept up all the little rivers of paint and all the little drips, and spread it smoothly over the clapboard.
"There!" said the painter. "Now, do you see?"
David nodded, and he tried again.
This time he did better, but the paint was all gone from the brush, and he held it out to the painter for more.
So the painter dipped it again, and David took it, and painted some more.
And each time he did better than he had done the last time, and he hitched along on the staging, and that clapboard was all painted before he knew it.
And David sighed and started to get up on his feet.
But the other painter called to him.
"Hey, David!" he called. "Aren't you going to do any painting for me? That isn't fair. You come over and do a board for me."
David smiled with pleasure. "Yes, I will," he said.
So he crawled on his hands and knees along the staging, and the foreman walked along on the ground beside him.
And he painted a clapboard for that other painter, but a great drop of the paint got on the leg of his overalls.
"Oh," he said, "I got some paint on my overalls."
"Gracious!" said the painter. "That's nothing. Look at my overalls."
The painter's overalls were made of strong white cloth, and they were all splashed up with paint, all colors. But he had painted a great deal more than David had.
So David finished the clapboard, and then he got up on his feet, and the foreman took him and lifted him down to the ground.
"Thank you," said the painter.
"Thank you," said the other painter.
"You're welcome," David said.
"Good-bye," said both the painters.
And David began to run to his cart.
"Good-bye, Davie," the foreman said.
David stopped a moment and looked around.
"Good-bye," he said.
Then his cat came running to meet him, and he grabbed up the handle of his cart, and he kept on running, dragging his cart, and his shovel and his hoe rattled away like everything in the bottom of it.
And when he got to his house, he didn't stop running, but just dropped the handle of the cart, and he climbed up the steps as fast as he could and ran into the house.
"Mother," he called, "I painted two boards and I got some paint on my overalls. But you ought to see the painter's overalls. They're awful painty."
And that's all.
Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can't tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, and they'll come home,
And bring their tails behind them.
Little Bo-peep fell fast asleep,
And dreamt she heard them bleating;
But when she awoke, she found it a joke,
For they were still a-fleeting.
Then up she took her little crook,
Determined for to find them;
She found them indeed,
but it made her heart bleed,
For they'd left all their tails behind 'em.
WEEK 33 |
I N the far-off city of Tarsus, at the time when Jesus lived at Nazareth, a little boy was born, to whom his parents gave the name of Saul. He was a Roman citizen, because he was born in the Roman province; but he was also a Jew, and was brought up as a very strict Jew indeed. As soon as he could understand anything he was taught lessons out of the Old Testament; and the very first thing he learned would be to reach up and touch the metal box which was fastened to the side of the door, and which held some verses of the Bible written on parchment. Then he would reverently kiss the little hand which had touched the box, just as he saw the grown-up people do.
Although the Bible was his great lesson book, as he grew older there were many other and more difficult things he had to learn; and by the time he was a man he knew all that a strict Pharisee should know, and was very wise and learned indeed.
Rumours, of course, had reached the far-off city of Tarsus about the new Jewish teacher, whom some people called a prophet, and some even said was the Christ. There were tales of His wonderful cures and the miracles He worked; then the news of His Crucifixion and how His followers declared He had risen from the dead. But Saul only grew angry as he listened. The Christ he looked for was a king, not a peasant of Nazareth, and he hated the people who called themselves His followers and said He was the King.
It seemed no use to punish these people, to beat and imprison them, or even to condemn them to death. Nothing daunted them or silenced them. Day by day they grew bolder and bolder, day by day more and more people joined them and shared their belief. It was time to put an end to all this, and Saul eagerly threw himself into the work, determined to stamp out this new religion. Those followers of the Nazarene might try to hide, but his spies would find them and drag them out; they might think to escape him by fleeing to other cities, but he would follow them wherever they went. He was so busy hunting the poor Christians that he had now no time to do anything else.
It happened just then that one of the chief of those Christians, whose name was Stephen, had been seized at Jerusalem and dragged before the High Priest; and hearing this, Saul eagerly hastened to the great city, that he might help in the trial and punishment.
Surely, as he watched that trial, he must have wondered what made these men so bold and fearless. There stood the young man Stephen, alone amongst his enemies, who crowded round him like a pack of hungry wolves eager to devour a lamb. No sign of terror showed in his calm face. Absolutely fearless, he stood out to meet his accusers and make his defence. The lying witnesses could not meet his straightforward gaze, but watched him with shifty eyes, and acknowledged even to themselves that his face was as the face of an angel.
But all unmoved Saul looked on, and when at last the sentence was given that the prisoner should be stoned, there was no pity in his heart, but rather a fierce joy as he went to look on at the execution.
Steadfastly and unmoved, Stephen stood and faced his murderers. Then, looking up towards heaven, a great glory seemed to shine there as if reflected from above. Little wonder that there was no room for fear in Stephen's heart; for there, as he gazed upwards, he saw his Master's face, and knew that He was waiting at God's right hand to welcome His faithful servant.
The cruel stones came hurtling through the air. Little by little the life was beaten out of his body, but never a sign of shrinking did he show. Only as he knelt there the same prayer rose to his lips which his Master had prayed upon the Cross: "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."
That was the end. Death, stooping down over the poor, bruised body, showed none of its terrors, but was like a kindly sleep, bringing only healing, rest, and peace.
Saul, looking on, saw all this, but still he fiercely held to his own opinions. The man deserved to die. It was the murderers who were right, not the martyr.
But perhaps the remembrance of St. Stephen's face troubled him more than he knew, and made him try to escape from it by hunting the poor Christians more fiercely than ever, so that soon the very name of Saul was a terror to all the followers of the Master.
He hunted them from their hiding-places. Wherever they fled he followed them. It seemed as if he could not rest; and when news was brought to him that many of the Christians had found a refuge in the city of Damascus, five days' journey from Jerusalem, he prepared at once for a fresh hunt. Taking a guard of soldiers with him, he set out with all haste, anxious to reach Damascus as soon as possible.
At last the city came in sight in all its fair beauty of white buildings, set in a garden of green trees and silver olive groves. But Saul was not thinking of its beauty.
It was mid-day, and most travellers rested then in some shade where they might escape the blinding heat of the sun; but Saul was in too great a hurry to rest, and he pressed forward with his band of soldiers.
The fierce heat beat down upon the white road, and dazzled their eyes; but it was not the sunlight which suddenly wrapped them round with such a blinding glare that the whole company fell with their faces to the ground, as if struck by lightning. The light was brighter than any sunlight, and from the midst of the light came a strange sound—a sound which to the soldiers seemed only a confused noise, but which Saul knew to be the voice of God.
"Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" said the voice.
From the blinded helpless figure lying there upon the ground the words burst out, "Who art Thou, Lord?"
"I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest," came the voice again.
Saul's proud, fierce spirit was broken. He was as humble as a little child as he listened to that voice. "What shall I do, Lord?" he asked.
There, in the midst of the light, stood Jesus Christ, the King whom he had believed was an impostor. Now, seeing Him as St. Stephen had seen Him, he knew that it was the Master, the Captain of his soul, who spoke to him.
There was a great work before him, said the voice; but first he must go on to the city and wait there until a messenger should come and tell him what he was to do.
The terrified, listening soldiers began to recover. The light had vanished, the noise had ceased, and they stood up upon their feet again. But Saul still lay there, trembling and bewildered, and when they went to raise him they found that he was blind, and could only hold out groping hands in the darkness. So they went on their way as best they could, and led Saul stumbling along the road, until they reached the city.
There for three black days he waited. But in the darkness he learned to pray, and on the third day God's messenger came, and brought light and comfort. The blindness was lifted not only from his eyes, but also from his heart, and he saw clearly that now he must obey the King and fight His battles.
At first the Christians would scarcely believe that the man they so feared was now their friend, and they still distrusted him; but as time went on they were forced to believe in the great change. Just as thoroughly as he had once led the persecution, he now worked with all his might to help them, eager to show his love for the Master, no matter how much pain and suffering fell to his share.
And before many weeks were past he began to suffer with his fellow-Christians. As he had persecuted others, now he himself was the persecuted, and the Jews made up their minds that he must be seized and put to death. Soldiers were set to guard the city gates, and orders were given to arrest him if he tried to escape.
Now the city walls around Damascus were so solid and broad that many houses were built upon them, and their windows looked over the surrounding fields across the moat below. Some of Saul's friends lived in one of these wall houses, and they felt sure that if Saul was to escape the best plan would be to lower him from one of the windows, out of sight of the city guards. So they took a large basket, and fastened it with a rope, and when Saul had climbed into the basket, they lowered it slowly down against the wall, swaying to and fro until it touched the ground.
"The disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket."
No one was in sight. It was easy now to cross the moat and make his way across the fields. Saul had for that time, at least, escaped his enemies.
There was a man and he had naught,
And robbers came to rob him;
He crept up to the chimney pot,
And then they thought they had him.
But he got down on t'other side,
And then they could not find him;
He ran fourteen miles in fifteen days,
And never looked behind him.