WEEK 42 |
R EDDY FOX glared up at Sammy Jay. "What's the matter with you?" snarled Reddy Fox. "Why don't you mind your own affairs, instead of making trouble for other people?" You see, Reddy was afraid that Johnny Chuck would hear Sammy Jay and take warning.
"Hello, Reddy Fox! I thought you had gone down to the Green Meadows!" Sammy said this as if he was very much surprised to see Reddy there. He wasn't, for you know he had been watching Reddy hunt for Johnny Chuck's new house, but Reddy had pretended that he was going down to the Green Meadows early that morning, and so now Sammy pretended that he had thought that Reddy really had gone.
"I changed my mind!" he snapped. "What are you screaming so for?"
"Just to exercise my lungs, so as to be sure that I can scream when I want to," replied Sammy, screaming still louder.
"Well, go somewhere else and scream; I want to sleep," said Reddy crossly.
Now Sammy Jay knew perfectly well that Reddy Fox had no thought of
taking a nap but was hiding there to try to catch Johnny Chuck. And
Sammy knew that Farmer Brown's boy could hear him scream, and that he
knew that when Sammy screamed that way it meant there was a fox about.
Sitting in the top of the
Farmer Brown's boy had no gun, so Sammy knew that no harm would come to Reddy, but that Reddy would get a dreadful scare; and that is what Sammy wanted, just out of pure mischief. So he screamed louder than ever.
Reddy Fox lost his temper. He sat up and called Sammy Jay all the bad names he could think of. He forgot where he was. He told Sammy Jay what he thought of him and what he would do to him if ever he caught him.
Sammy Jay kept right on screaming. He made such a noise that Reddy
didn't hear footsteps coming nearer and nearer. Suddenly there was a
great roar right behind him. "Bow, wow, wow!
Bow, wow, wow,
Reddy was so frightened that he didn't even look to see where he was
jumping, and bumped his head against the
Sammy Jay laughed till he lost his breath and nearly tumbled off his perch. Then he flew away, still laughing. He thought it the greatest joke ever.
Farmer Brown's boy had followed Bowser the Hound into the old orchard.
"I wonder what a fox was doing up here in broad daylight," said he, talking to himself. "Perhaps one of my hens has stolen her nest down here, and he has found it. I'll have a look, anyway."
So he walked on down to the far corner of the old orchard, straight to the place from which he had seen Reddy Fox jump. When he got there, of course he saw Johnny Chuck's new house right away.
"Ho!" cried Farmer Brown's boy.
The King of France went up the hill,
With twenty thousand men;
The King of France came down the hill,
And ne'er went up again.
WEEK 42 |
The market-place was an open square in the middle of the town. It had little booths and stalls all about it. The farmers brought their fresh vegetables and flowers, or whatever they had to sell, into these stalls, and then sat there waiting for customers.
Kit and Kat helped their father to unload the boat. Then they sat down on a box, and Father gave them each some bread and cheese to eat; for they were hungry again. They put the cheese between slices of bread and took bites, while they looked about.
Soon there were a good many people in the square. Most of them were women with market baskets on their arms. They went to the different stalls to see what they would buy for dinner.
A large woman with a big basket on her arm came along to the stall where Kit and Kat were sitting.
"Bless my heart!" she said. "Are you twins?"
"Yes, Ma'am," said Kit and Kat. And Kat said, "We're five years old."
"O my soul!" said the large woman. "So you are! What are your names?"
"Christopher and Katrina, but they call us Kit and Kat for short." It was Kat who said this. And Kit said,
"When we are four feet and a half high, we are going to be called Christopher and Katrina."
"Well, well, well!" said the large woman. "So you are! Now my name is Vrouw Van der Kloot. Are you helping Father?"
"Yes," said the Twins. "We're going to help him sell things."
"Then you may sell me a cabbage and ten onions," said Vrouw Van der Kloot.
Father Vedder's eyes twinkled, and he smoked his pipe. Kit got a cabbage for the Vrouw.
"You can get the ten onions," he said to Kat. You see, really Kit couldn't count ten and be sure of it. So he asked Kat to do it.
Kat wasn't afraid. She took out a little pile of onions in a measure, and said to Vrouw Van der Kloot,
"Is that ten?"
Then Vrouw Van der Kloot counted them with Kat, very carefully. There were eleven, and so she gave back one. Then she gave Kat the money for the onions, and Kit the money for the cabbage.
Father Vedder said,
"Now Kit and Kat, by and by, when you get hungry again, you can go over to Vrouw Van der Kloot's stall and buy something from her. She keeps the sweetie shop."
"Oh! Oh!" cried Kit and Kat. "We're hungry yet! Can't we go now?"
"No, not now," said Father. "We must do some work first."
The Twins helped Father Vedder a long time. They learned to count ten and to do several other things. Then their father gave them the money for the cabbage and the ten onions they had sold to Vrouw Van der Kloot, and said,
"You may walk around the market and look in all the stalls, and buy the thing you like best that costs just two cents. Then come back here to me."
Kit and Kat set forth on their travels, to see the world. They each held the money tightly shut in one hand, and with the other hand they held on to each other.
"The world is very large," said Kit and Kat.
They saw all sorts of strange things in the market. There were tables piled high with flowers. There was a stall full of birds in cages, singing away with all their might. One cage had five little birds in it, sitting in a row.
"O Kit," cried Kat, "let's buy the birds!"
They asked the woman if the birds cost two cents, and she said,
"No, my angels; they cost fifty cents."
You see, now that the Twins could count ten, they knew they couldn't get the birds for two cents when they cost fifty. So they went to the next place.
There, there were chickens and ducks for sale. But the Twins had plenty of those at home. There were stalls and stalls of vegetables just like Father's, and there were booths where meat and fish and wood and peat were sold. But the Twins couldn't find anything they wanted that cost exactly two cents.
At last, what should they see but Vrouw Van der Kloot's fat face smiling at them from a stall just full of cakes and cookies and bread, and chocolate, and honey cakes, and goodies of all kinds.
The Twins held up their money.
There on the counter was a whole row of St. Nicholas dolls with currant eyes, and they knew at once that there was nothing else in all the market they should like so much!
"Do these cost two cents apiece, dear Vrouw Van der Kloot?" asked Kat.
"No," said Vrouw Van der Kloot; "they cost one cent apiece."
The Twins were discouraged.
"I don't believe there's a single thing in this whole market that costs just two cents," said Kat.
"Keep still!" said Kit. "Let me think."
They sat down on the curb. Kat kept still, and Kit took hold of his head with both hands and thought hard. He thought so hard that he scowled all over his forehead!
"I tell you what it is, Kat," he said at last. "If those St. Nicholas dolls cost one cent a piece, I think we could get two of them for two cents."
"O Kit," said Kat, "how splendidly you can think! Does it hurt you much? Let's ask Vrouw Van der Kloot."
They went back to the good Vrouw, who was selling some coffee bread to a woman with a basket.
"O Vrouw Van der Kloot," said Kat, "Kit says that if those St. Nicholas dolls cost one cent a piece, he thinks we could get two for two cents. Do you think so?"
"Of course you can," said Vrouw Van der Kloot; and she winked at the lady with the bread.
"But you've got two cents, and I've got two," said Kat to Kit. "If you should get two Nicholas dolls, why, I should have my two cents left; shouldn't I? Oh! dear, it won't come out right anyway!"
"Let me think some more," said Kit; and when he had thought some more, he said,
"I'll tell you what let's! You get two with your two cents, and I'll get two with mine! And I'll give my other one to Mother and you can give your other one to Father!"
"That's just what we'll do," said Kat.
They went back to Vrouw Van der Kloot.
"We'll take four dolls," said Kat.
"Well, well, well!" said the Vrouw. "So you've figured it all out, have you?" And she counted out the dolls—"One for Kit, and one for Kat, and one for Father, and one for Mother, and an extra one for good measure!"
"O Kit, she's given us one more!" said Kat. "Let's eat it right now! Thank you, dear Vrouw Van der Kloot."
So they ate up the one more then and there, beginning with the feet. Kit bit one off, and Kat bit the other; and they took turns until the St. Nicholas doll was all gone.
Then they took the four others, said good-bye to the good Vrouw, and went back to Father's stall. They found that Father had sold all his things and was ready to go home.
They carried their empty baskets back to the boat, and soon were on their way home. The Twins sat on one seat, holding tight to their dolls, which were growing rather sticky.
The boat was so light that they went home from market much more quickly than they had come, and it did not seem long before they saw their own house. There it was, with its mossy roof half hidden among the trees, and Vrouw Vedder waiting for them at the gate.
Dinner was all ready, and the Twins set the four St. Nicholas dolls in a row, in the middle of the table.
"There's one for Father, and one for Mother, and one for Kat, and one for me," said Kit.
"O Mother," said Kat, "Kit can think! He thought just how many dolls he could buy when they were one for one cent! Isn't it fine that he can do that?"
"You've learned a great deal at the market," said Vrouw Vedder. But Kit didn't say a word. He just looked proud and pleased and put his hands in his pockets.
"By and by, when you are four and a half feet high and are called Christopher, you can go with Father every time," said Vrouw Vedder.
"I can think a little bit, too," said Kat. "Can't I go?"
"No," said Vrouw Vedder. "Girls shouldn't think much. It isn't good for them. Leave thinking to the men. You can stay at home and help me."
WEEK 42 |
HE cat and the mouse
Play'd in the malt-house:
The cat bit the mouse's tail off. "Pray, puss, give me my tail."
"No," says the cat, "I'll not give you your tail till you go to the cow and fetch me some milk."
First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the cow, and thus began:
"Pray, Cow, give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my tail again."
"No," said the cow, "I will give you no milk till you go to the farmer and get me some hay."
First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the farmer, and thus began:
"Pray, Farmer, give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again."
"No," says the farmer, "I'll give you no hay till you go to the butcher and fetch me some meat."
First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the butcher, and thus began:
"Pray, Butcher, give me meat, that I may give farmer meat, that farmer may give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again."
"No," says the butcher, "I'll give you no meat till you go to the baker and fetch me some bread."
First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the baker, and thus began:
"Pray, Baker, give me bread, that I may give butcher bread, that butcher may give me meat, that I may give farmer meat, that farmer may give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again."
"Yes," says the baker, "I'll give you some bread,
But if you eat my meal, I'll cut off your head."
Then the baker gave mouse bread, and mouse gave butcher bread, and butcher gave mouse meat, and mouse gave farmer meat, and farmer gave mouse hay, and mouse gave cow hay, and cow gave mouse milk, and mouse gave cat milk, and cat gave mouse her own tail again.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
WEEK 42 |
OT far from the home of the Rabbits was another burrow
They were a
Perhaps if the
However that may have been, the
It was not very long after this that he told the
wondering young Rabbits about his grandfather. When
"Perhaps you may have heard me speak of my grandfather.
Ah, he was a
Just here, a
"You were telling how well your grandfather sat up on his haunches," said the smallest little Rabbit.
"So I was! So I was! I must tell you how my
grandfather came to know the world so well. When he
was only a young fellow, he made his home for a time
by a Hen house, and so heard the talk of the
"The Hens treated my grandfather with great politeness,
and the Black Brahma Cock showed plainly how honored
they felt to have him there. They said that they were
so glad my grandfather stayed out of his burrow awhile
on this winter day when the farmer was watching,
because they were in a hurry for warm weather. My
grandfather did not know what they meant by that, but
he was too
wise to say so, and he found out by
asking questions, that if a
"You see now, children, how important our family is; and yet we are so modest that we had not even known that we made the weather until the Hens told my grandfather. But that is the way! Really great people often think the least of themselves."
"And do you make the weather?" asked the smallest little Rabbit.
"I suppose we do," said the
"And how do you know when the day comes for you to make the weather?" said the smallest little rabbit.
The little Rabbits sat very still, wishing that they
had known their grandfather, when suddenly the biggest
one said: "If you should stay out of your burrow when
that day comes, and another
"Children," said the old
The seven little Rabbits scampered
their mother was not calling them. She
there, and when they went back they
couldn't find the
Ground Hog. They wondered how he happened to make such
a mistake. The
WEEK 42 |
The shepherd was sick and the shepherd's wife looked out from her door with anxious eyes. "Who will carry the sheep to the pasture lands to-day?" she said to her little boy Jean.
"I will," cried Jean, "I will. Mother, let me."
Jean and his father and mother lived long ago in a sunny land across the sea where flowers bloom, and birds sing, and shepherds feed their flocks in the green valleys. Every morning, as soon as it was light, Jean's father was up and away with his sheep. He had never missed a morning before, and the sheep were bleating in the fold as if to say, "Don't forget us to-day."
The sheep were Jean's playfellows. There was nothing he liked better than to wander with them in the pleasant pastures, and already they knew his voice and followed at his call.
"Let the lad go," said his old grandfather. "When I was no older than he I watched my father's flock."
Jean's father said the same thing, so the mother made haste to get the little boy ready.
"Eat your dinner when the shadows lie straight across the grass," she said as she kissed him good-by.
"And keep the sheep from the forest paths," called his sick father.
"And watch, for it is when the shepherd is not watching that the wolf comes to the flock," said the old grandfather.
"Never fear," said little Jean. "The wolf shall not have any of my white lambs."
There were white sheep and black sheep and frolicsome lambs in the shepherd's flock, and each one had a name of its own. There was Babbette, and Nannette, and Pierrot, and Jeannot,—I cannot tell them all, but Jean knew every name.
"Come, Bettine and Marie. Come, Pierrot and Croisette. Come, pretty ones all," he called as he led them from the fold that day. "I will carry you to the meadows where the daisies grow."
"Baa," answered the sheep, well satisfied, as they followed him down the king's highway, and over the hill to the pasture lands.
The other shepherds were already there with their flocks, so Jean was not lonely. He watered his sheep at the dancing brook that ran through the flowers, and led them along its shady banks to feed in the sunny fields beyond, and not one lambkin strayed from his care to the forest paths.
The forest lay dim and shadowy on one side of the pasture lands. The deer lived there, and the boars that fed upon acorns, and many other creatures that loved the wild woods. There had been wolves in the forest, but the king's knights had driven them away and the shepherds feared them no longer. Only the old men like Jean's grandfather, and the little boys like Jean, talked of them still.
Jean was not afraid. Oh, no. There was not a lamb in the flock so merry and fearless as he. He sang with the birds and ran with the brook, and laughed till the echoes laughed with him as he watched the sheep from early morn to noon, when the shadows fell straight across the grass and it was time for him to eat his dinner.
There were little cakes in Jean's dinner basket. He had seen his mother put them there, but he had not tasted a single one when, out on the king's highway, beyond the hill, he heard the sound of pipes and drums, and the tramp, tramp of many feet.
The other shepherds heard too, and they began to listen and to stare and to run. "The king and his knights are coming," they cried. "Come let us see them as they pass by."
"Who will take care of the sheep?" asked Jean, but nobody answered, so he too left his dinner and ran with the rest, away from the pastures and up the hillside path that led to the highway.
"How pleased my mother will be when I tell her that I have seen the king," he said to himself, and he was hurrying over the hill top when all at once he remembered the forest, and the wolf, and his grandfather's words.
"Come on," called the others.
"I must stay with the sheep," answered he; and he turned and went back, though the pipes and drums all seemed to say, "Come this way, come this way." He could scarcely keep from crying as he listened.
There was nothing in sight to harm the sheep, and the pasture lands were quiet and peaceful, but into the forest that very day a hungry gray wolf had come. His eyes were bright and his ears were sharp and his four feet were as soft as velvet, as he came creeping, creeping, creeping under the bushes and through the tanglewood. He put his nose out and sniffed the air, and he put his head out and spied the sheep left alone in the meadows. "Now's my chance," he said, and out he sprang just as little Jean came down the hill.
"Wolf, wolf, wolf!" shouted Jean. "Wolf, wolf, wolf!" He was only a little boy, but he was brave and his voice rang clear as a bugle call over the valley, and over the hill, "Wolf, wolf, wolf!"
The shepherds and knights and the king himself came running and riding to answer his cry, and as for the gray wolf, he did not even stop to look behind him as he sped away to the forest shades. He ran so fast and he ran so far that he never was seen in the king's country again, though the shepherds in the pastures watched for him day after day.
Jean led his flock home at even tide, white sheep and black sheep and frolicsome lambs, not one was missing.
"Was the day long?" asked his mother who was watching in the doorway for him.
"Are the sheep all in?" called the sick father.
"Did the wolf come?" said the old grandfather; but there is no need for me to tell you what Jean said. You can imagine that for yourself.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5!
I caught a hare alive;
6, 7, 8, 9, 10!
I let her go again.
WEEK 42 |
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. And 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 went up
past the kitchen door and past
the shed and past the barn and past the orchard to a
gate in a stone wall, where
the bars were across; and through that field and
another gate where the bars
were across, into the
When the summer was nearly over and the corn and most
of the other things had got ripe and
had been gathered,
Then Uncle John took the plough off the drag and
unhooked the chain from the drag and
hooked it to the plough.
Then Uncle John unhooked the chain from the plough and
hooked it to the harrow; and
the old oxen started and walked slowly back and forth
across the field, and the teeth
of the harrow broke up the
lumps of dirt and made it all soft. And when the field
was all harrowed,
The next morning, Uncle John put some whole wheat in a
big bag and put the bag over his
shoulder and walked
along past the orchard to the
And the rain fell and the sun shone on the field and the wheat began to grow. And soon the little green blades pushed up through the ground like grass; and the wheat grew higher and higher until it was as high as little John's knees. And then the summer was all over and it was beginning to get cold; so the wheat stopped growing and stayed just as high as that all winter and the snow covered it.
And when the winter was over and it began to get warm,
the snow melted away and the
wheat began to grow again; and it got taller and taller
until it was as tall as
Then Uncle John and Uncle Solomon got their scythes and
their whetstones and started
very early in the morning to the
The next morning Uncle John got out the oxen and they
put their heads down low, and he
put the yoke over and the bows under and hooked the
tongue of the cart to the yoke and
said "Gee up there." And the old oxen walked slowly
along, past the barn and past
the orchard to the
And the sun had dried the stalks of wheat and the tassels. The tassels are a lot of little cases, on a fine stem; and in each little case is a grain of whole wheat. When the tassels are dry, the little cases are all ready to break open.
Then Uncle Solomon and Uncle John took their long forks and put the wheat in the cart, and when the cart was full the old oxen walked slowly back to the barn and in at the great doors.
There were great enormous doors in the side of the barn, big enough for a wagon to go through when it was piled up high with a load of hay or of wheat. And in the other side of the barn were other great enormous doors, so that the wagon could go right through the barn; and between the doors was only the great open floor with nothing on it. On one side of this open place were the cows, and on the other side were the horses and the oxen, and the cart went in between, with the wheat in it.
Then Uncle Solomon and Uncle John took the wheat out of
the cart and put it
on the floor of the barn; and the old oxen started
again and walked out the
other door and back to the
The next morning Uncle Solomon and Uncle John went to the barn, and each took down from a nail a long smooth stick that had another smooth stick fastened to its end by a piece of leather so that it flapped about. This was to beat the wheat with, and they called it a flail.
And so Uncle Solomon and Uncle John stood amidst the wheat on the barn floor and whacked it with the flails so that they made a great noise—whack! whack!—on the floor. And the little cases broke open and the grains of whole wheat fell out and dropped between the stalks to the barn floor. And the pieces of the broken cases blew out from the great barn doors; for the doors were open at both sides and the wind blew through. These broken pieces that blow away, they call chaff.
Then when Uncle Solomon and Uncle John had whacked for
a long time, and they
thought that all the whole wheat had come out of the
cases, they hung up the flails and
took their long forks and lifted up the stalks of the
wheat and shook them so that all the
grains of wheat might drop through; and they put the
dried stalks of the wheat in a corner
These dried stalks they call straw, and they put it for the horses and the cows and the oxen to sleep on.
And when the straw was all put away, there was all the wheat on the floor; and they gathered it up and put it into bags. And they had enough to make whole wheat flour to last all winter, and to feed the chickens and every kind of a thing that they wanted to use wheat for, and there was enough to take some to market besides.
And that's all.
WEEK 42 |
T HERE were many reasons why Jacob should love his son Joseph more than all his other sons, but there was one special reason above all. The little lad's mother had been more to him than any one else in all the wide world, and when she died, leaving Joseph and a new-born baby brother, Benjamin, all the love in the father's heart turned to his two little sons. The elder brothers were strong, grown-up men, quite able to look after themselves; it was on Joseph that all his father's tenderness, all his hopes, were fixed.
At first the other brothers took no notice of their father's preference; but as Joseph grew older they began to feel uneasy and envious, especially when Jacob made a beautiful coat for the boy, a coat of many pieces of cloth all of different colours joined together. So gay and beautiful a coat it was, that every one who saw him wearing it said, "This must be the son of a great chief."
But if the gay coat made them angry, they were more angry still when Joseph began to dream strange dreams and to tell them to his brothers. He must be full of wicked pride, they said, or how could he dream such dreams. There, in a cornfield, so Joseph said, his sheaf had stood upright, while all their sheaves had bowed down before it; and another time in his dream he had seen the sun and moon and eleven stars all doing reverence to him.
Joseph Telling His Dreams
Was he indeed going to rule over all of them? It was more than his brothers could bear, and they began to hate him with all their hearts.
It was hard for Joseph, because he had not meant to boast when he told them of his dreams. If he was proud of his coat of many colours, it was only because it was a gift from his father. He was a straight-forward, good-natured boy, clever and brave, and ready to take his turn in watching the flocks or helping his brothers with their work in the field.
But it grew day by day more difficult to keep the peace between them, and the only quiet times were when the elder brothers went farther afield to find new pasture for their flocks.
It was at one of these times when the brothers had been gone for some time that Jacob called Joseph to him and bade him go and find his brothers, and bring back news if they were safe and well.
Joseph was now a lad of about seventeen, and this would be the first journey he had taken by himself; so he was eager to show that he was to be trusted, and set out most cheerfully.
After some days he arrived at Shechem, where his father had told him he would find his brothers, but there were no signs of them there. Unwilling to return home without news, Joseph wandered about until he met a man, who directed him to a place farther on; and at last he caught sight of their tents in a field far ahead, and he hurried forward with a light heart to greet them.
It was a clear day and the shepherds' keen eyes could see far along the winding road that stretched out towards Shechem. So, long before Joseph arrived they saw his figure in the distance hastening towards them.
Perhaps it was the gay colour of his coat that first told them who it was, and perhaps it was the coat that reminded them of their hate and their envious feelings, and brought to their memory again those prideful dreams.
"Behold, this dreamer cometh," they said to one another. "Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams."
With dark looks of hate they watched the gay figure coming so joyfully to meet them, and only one heart felt any pity for the boy. Reuben, the eldest brother, made up his mind quickly that he would save him if possible. Only he must set to work cunningly, for those other brothers were very determined men. What was the use of killing him outright? he suggested; why not put him into the pit close by and leave him there to die? (for he meant to come back and save Joseph after the others had gone).
Never dreaming of evil Joseph came on, and now he ran to them and began to give them his father's message. But the rough hands held out to him were not held out in welcome. The brothers seized the boy and savagely tore off his coat, as if the very sight of it hurt their eyes, and then they hurried him towards the pit which Reuben had pointed out.
Then Joseph knew that they meant to kill him. He knew that if they threw him into one of those deep narrow pits there was no chance of climbing up its steep sides, even if he were not immediately drowned in the water which often gathered there. Was he never to see his father and little brother again? nevermore to spend happy days in the green fields under the blue sky? It was useless to cry out or beg for pity, and Reuben was not there to help him. The pit was reached, strong hands pushed him forward, and into the blackness he fell, down, down, until with a terrible thud he reached the bottom. There was no water to break his fall, for the pit was dry.
There!—that was done! The cruel brothers went off to a little distance and began sullenly to eat their midday meal. But scarcely had they begun when they saw a company of travellers coming towards them, a long train of camels laden with spices, on their way down to Egypt.
Here was a splendid opportunity of making some money out of their evil plan. Instead of leaving Joseph to starve in the pit, they would fetch him out and sell him to these merchants, who would most likely give a good price for such a strong young slave.
Perhaps for a moment, when Joseph heard their voices at the pit's mouth, and when they drew him up and lifted him out into the sunshine again, he thought they were sorry and meant to be kind to him, but that thought soon vanished.
The Midianite merchants were waiting, and very soon a rope was bound round his hands and he was tied to the saddle of the man who had bought him, and he knew now that they had drawn him up from the pit only to sell him as a slave.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites.
Meanwhile Reuben had been keeping out of sight, waiting to return and rescue Joseph as soon as it was safe to do so. Very cautiously he at last stole back. But alas! when he reached the pit he found that it was empty. What had happened? In his distress he forgot his caution; he no longer cared to hide his intentions from his brothers.
"The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?" he cried to them in bitter sorrow, when at last he found them.
With angry, sullen looks they told him that Joseph was now far away on his road to Egypt. He must keep their secret. There was but one thing to be done. Joseph's coat lay there, just as they had torn it off him: they would dip the coat in goat's blood and carry it to their father.
The poor, gay-coloured little coat, all bloodstained and torn, was brought and laid out before Jacob's eyes.
"This have we found," said the brothers: "know now whether it be thy son's coat or no."
Did he not indeed know that coat of many colours? Had not his heart been filled, many a time, with pride and love as he watched his boy wearing it with the gallant air of a young chieftain.
"It is my son's coat," he cried, with a bitter cry of grief; "an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces."
Read my riddle, I pray.
What God never sees,
What the king seldom sees,
What we see every day.