WEEK 45 |
There's no one ever quite so bad
That somewhere way down deep inside
A little goodness does not find
A place wherein to creep and hide.
T is so with Sammy Jay. Yes, Sir, it is so with Sammy Jay. You may
think that because Sammy Jay is vain, a
Sammy Jay had already made a lot of trouble for Johnny Chuck. You see he had been the first of the little forest and meadow people to find Johnny Chuck's new house. And then, just to make trouble for Johnny Chuck, he had told Reddy Fox about it, and after that he had called Bowser the Hound and Farmer Brown's boy over to it. Now he had discovered Johnny Chuck's greatest secret—that Johnny had a family. What a chance to make trouble now!
Sammy started for the Green Forest as fast as his wings could take him. He would tell Reddy Fox and Redtail the Hawk. They were very fond of young Chucks. It would be great fun to see the fright of Johnny Chuck and his family when Reddy Fox or Redtail the Hawk appeared.
Sammy Jay chuckled wickedly as he flew. When he reached the Green
Forest and stopped in his favorite
Right in the midst of his laughter along came Redtail the Hawk. Sammy Jay opened his mouth to call to Redtail and tell him about Johnny Chuck's secret. Then he closed it again with a snap.
"I won't tell him yet," said Sammy to himself, "for he might catch one of those baby Chucks, and they are such funny little fellows that that would really be too bad. I guess I'll wait a while." And with that, off flew Sammy Jay to hunt for some other mischief. You see, he had had a change of heart. The little goodness way down deep inside had come out of hiding.
But of course Johnny Chuck didn't know this, and over in his new house in the far corner of the old orchard, he and Polly Chuck were worrying and worrying, for they felt sure that now every one would know their secret, and it wouldn't be safe for the dear little baby Chucks to so much as put their funny little noses outside the door.
Bell horses, bell horses, what time of day?
One o'clock, two o'clock, three and away.
WEEK 45 |
O NE Sunday morning in early fall, Kit and Kat woke up and peeped out from their cupboard bed to see what was going on in the world.
The sun was shining through the little panes of the kitchen window, making square patches of light on the floor. The kettle was singing on the fire, and Vrouw Vedder was already putting away the breakfast things.
Father Vedder was lighting his pipe with a coal from the fire. He had on his black Sunday clothes, all ready for church. Father Vedder did not look at Kit and Kat at all. He just puffed away at his pipe and said to himself,
"If there are any Twins anywhere that want to go to church with me, they'd better get dressed and eat their breakfasts."
Kit and Kat tumbled out of the cupboard at once.
Vrouw Vedder came to help them dress.
I can't tell you how many petticoats she put on Kat, but it was ever so many. And over them all she put a skirt of plaid. There was a waist of a different color, and over that a kerchief with bright red roses on it. And over the skirt she put a new, clean apron.
Kit was dressed very splendidly too. He had full baggy trousers of velveteen that reached to his ankles, and a jacket that buttoned with big silver buttons. His trousers had pockets in them.
Kit and Kat both wore stockings, which Vrouw Vedder had knit, and their best shoes of stout leather.
When they were all dressed, Vrouw Vedder stood them up side by side and had them turn around slowly to be sure they were all right.
"Now see that you behave well in meeting," she said. "Sit up straight. Look at the Dominie, and do not whisper."
"Yes, Mother," said Kit and Kat.
Then she tied a big apron over each of them and gave them each a bowl of bread and milk. While they were eating it, Father Vedder went out and looked at the pigs, and chickens, and ducks, and geese, and smoked his pipe.
When he came in, Kit and Kat were quite ready. Vrouw Vedder had
tied on Kat's little white-winged cap, and put
Kit's hat on. She
Mother Vedder looked after them proudly, from the doorway. She did not go to church that day.
They walked slowly along the roadway in the bright sunshine. Many of their neighbors and friends, all dressed in their best, were walking to church, too.
Father Vedder and Kit and Kat went a little out of their way, in
order to pass a large windmill that was swinging its arms around
and creaking out a kind of sleepy windmill song. This is the song
it seemed to
Around, and around, and around, I go,
Sometimes fast and sometimes slow.
I pump the water and grind the grain,
The marshy fields of the Lowlands, drain.
I harness the wind to turn my mill,
Around, and around, and around with a will!
Perhaps it was listening to the windmill song that made Kat say,
"Why do we have windmills, father?"
Kit and Kat said "Why?" every few steps on that walk. You see, they didn't often have their father all to themselves, to ask questions of.
"Why, what a little Dutch girl," said Father Vedder, "not to know what windmills are for! They pump the water out of the fields, to be sure! Don't you know how wet the fields are sometimes? If we didn't keep pumping the water out, they would be so wet we could not make gardens at all."
"Does the wind pump the water?" asked Kat.
"Of course it does, goosie girl! and grinds the grain too. The wind blows against the great arms and turns them round and round. That works the pumps; and the pumps suck the water out of the fields, and it is poured out into the canals. If it weren't for the good old windmills working away, who knows but the water would get the best of us some day and cover up all our land!"
"Wouldn't the dykes keep out the sea?" asked Kit.
"Suppose the dykes should break!" said Father Vedder. "Even one little break can let in lots of water. The dykes have to be watched day and night all the time, and the least bit of a hole stopped up right away, so it can't grow any bigger and let in the sea."
"Oh dear," Kat said, "what a leaky country!"
She ran near the mill and let the wind from the fans blow her hair and the white wings on her cap.
As the great fans swung near the ground, Kit jumped up and caught hold of one. It lifted him right off the ground as it swung around, and in a minute he was dangling high in the air.
"Jump, jump, quick," shouted Father Vedder.
Kit let go and dropped to the ground just in time. In another minute he would have been carried clear over.
As it was, he sat down very hard on the ground, and had to have the dirt brushed off of his Sunday clothes.
"I am surprised at you," Father Vedder said, while he brushed him. "You are too small to swing on windmills, and besides it is the Sabbath day. Don't you ever do it again until you are big enough to be called Christopher!"
Sitting down so hard in the dirt had hurt Kit a little bit, and scared him a good deal, so he said, "No, father."
Then they walked all around the mill. They peeped inside a door which was open, and saw the pumps working away.
"Yes," said Father Vedder, "it is nip and tuck between wind and water in Holland. Let us sit down here on the canal bank, in the sunshine, and I will tell you what hard work has to be done to keep this good land of ours. And it is a good land! We should be thankful for it! Just see the rich green meadows over there, with the cows grazing in them!"—Father Vedder pointed to the beautiful fields across the canal. "The grass is so rich and fresh, that the cows here give more milk than any other cows in the whole world!"
"That's what Mother says," said Kat.
"The Holland butter and cheese are famous everywhere," went on Father Vedder; "and we have all the good milk we want to drink, besides. The Dutch gardens, too, are the finest in the world."
"And ours is one of the best of Dutch gardens, isn't it, Father?" said Kit.
"It's a very good garden," said Father Vedder, proudly. "No one can raise better onions and cabbage and carrots than I can. And the Dutch bulbs! Our tulips and hyacinths make the whole world bloom!"
"Holland is really the greatest country there is; isn't it?" said Kit.
"We—ll, not in point of size, perhaps," Father Vedder admitted; "but in pluck, my boy, it is! Did you know that sometimes people call Holland the Land of Pluck?"
"I don't see why," said Kat. "I'm Dutch, but I'm afraid of lots of things! I'm afraid of spiders and of cross geese, and of falling into the water!"
"You're a girl, if you are Dutch," said Kit. "Boys are always pluckier than girls; aren't they, Father?"
"Really plucky people never boast," said Father Vedder.
Kit looked the other way and dug the toe of his shoe into the dirt. Kat snuggled up to her Father and sniffed at Kit.
"So there, Kit!" was all she said.
"There's pluck enough to go round," said Father Vedder mildly, "and we all need it—boys and girls, and men and women too. It was pluck that made Holland, and it's pluck that keeps her from slipping back into the sea."
"How did pluck make Holland?" asked Kit.
"There wasn't any Holland in the first place," Father Vedder answered. "There were only some marshes and some lands under water. But people built a wall of earth around these flats; and then they pumped out the water from the space inside the wall, and made canals through the land, and drained it. And after all that work, we have our rich fields."
"How does pluck keep them?" asked Kat.
"The dykes have to be watched and mended all the time," said
Father Vedder. "And the windmills have to work and work, to keep
the fields drained. No one can be lazy in Holland. Each one has
to work well for what he gets. If Holland should grow
would soon be back again in the Zuyder Zee! So, my children, you
see you must learn well and work hard. And that is all my sermon
"It is a better sermon than the Dominie will preach, I know," said Kat.
"Tut, tut! You must never say such things," said Father Vedder. He got up and held out his hands to the Twins.
"Come! we must walk along, or we shall be late for church," he said. "Here comes the Dominie now."
There indeed was the Dominie! Kit and Kat knew him well. No one else dressed as he did. He wore a high silk hat, and long, black coat and trousers, such as city people wear.
As he came along the road, all the people bowed respectfully; the little boys took off their caps, and the little girls bobbed a courtesy. Kit and Kat bobbed and courtesied too, and the Dominie smiled at them and laid his hand on Kit's head.
"I wish he'd come to see us again," said Kit, after the Dominie had passed by.
Father Vedder was pleased.
"I am glad to see that you love your pastor, my son," he said.
"Well," said Kit, "I don't really like him so very much, because we have to be washed, and recite the catechism, and mind all our manners when he comes. But Mother always has such good things to eat when the Dominie comes—doesn't she, Kat?—cake and preserves—and everything!"
"If it weren't for the catechism and such
things, it would be
something like St. Nicholas day!" sighed Kat. "But the Dominie
never forgets! And last time I couldn't tell what saving grace
was! The cakes are good,
"Good Dutch boys and girls always learn their catechism well," said Father Vedder; "then they are glad to see the good Dominie as well as the cakes. Now no more chatter! Here is a penny for each of you to put in the bag when it is passed."
He gave them each a penny. Kit put his in his pocket. Kat didn't have a pocket, so she held hers tight in her hand.
At the church door they met Grandfather and Grandmother.
Grandfather looked very fine indeed, in his black clothes; and Grandmother was all dressed up in her best black dress, with a fresh white cap, and a shawl over her shoulders. She carried a large psalm book with golden clasps in one hand, and a scent bottle in the other. She had some peppermints too. Kit and Kat smelled them.
They all went into the church together, and an old woman led them to their seats. Kit and Kat sat one each side of Grandmother. Grandfather and Father Vedder sat on the other side of the church with all the rest of the men.
"You must sit very still and look straight before you," said Grandmother.
Kit remembered the peppermints and sat up like a soldier. So did Kat.
Pretty soon the schoolmaster came in and went up into the pulpit. He read a chapter from the Bible, and then the Dominie stood up in the pulpit and began to preach. He preached a long time.
Kit and Kat tried very hard to sit still, just as Grandmother had said; but pretty soon their heads began to nod.
Grandmother gave them each a peppermint.
They waked up for a minute. But the Dominie kept right on preaching, until they were both sound asleep with their heads on Grandmother's shoulders,—one on each side; and if they had been awake to see, they might have thought that Grandmother took a nap too.
The sermon was so very long that a great many people went to sleep. So, by and by, the Dominie said,
"We will all sing the Ninety-first Psalm."
Everybody woke up.
Grandmother opened the great golden clasps of her psalm book, and stood up with all the rest of the people. She stood up quickly, so that no one would think she had been asleep. She forgot that the Twins were asleep too, with their heads on her shoulders. That was why, when she got up, Kit and Kat fell against each other and bumped their heads!
They forgot that they were in church. They said "Ow!" both together, and Kat began to cry. But Grandmother said "Sh! sh!" and gave them each a peppermint; and that made them feel much better.
Pretty soon the schoolmaster came along with a little bag on the end of a long stick. He passed it to each person. Kit and Kat each put in a penny, though Kit had a hard time to get his out of his pocket. But Grandmother was so upset about the Twins getting bumped, that she forgot and put in a peppermint instead.
WEEK 45 |
NE day Henny-penny was picking up corn in the cornyard
when—whack!—something hit her upon the head.
"Goodness gracious me!" said Henny-penny; "the sky's
So she went along and she went along and she went along
till she met Cocky-locky.
"Where are you going, Henny-penny?" says
"Oh! I'm going to tell the king the sky's
They went along, and they went along, and they went along,
till they met Ducky-daddles.
"Where are you going to, Henny-penny and
"Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's
So they went along, and they went along, and they went along,
till they met Goosey-poosey.
"Where are you going to, Henny-penny,
Cocky-locky, and Ducky-daddles?"
said Goosey-poosey. "Oh! we're going to tell the king
So they went along, and they went along, and they went along,
till they met Turkey-lurkey.
"Where are you going, Henny-penny, Cocky-locky,
Ducky-daddles, and Goosey-poosey?"
says Turkey-lurkey. "Oh! we're going to tell
the king the sky's
So they went along, and they went along, and they went along,
till they met Foxy-woxy, and Foxy-woxy said to Henny-penny, Cocky-locky,
Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey: "Where are you
going, Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey?"
And Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey
said to Foxy-woxy: "We're going to tell
the king the sky's
So Foxy-woxy went into his cave, and he didn't go very far, but turned round to wait for Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey. So at last at first Turkey-lurkey went through the dark hole into the cave. He hadn't got far when "Hrumph," Foxy-woxy snapped off Turkey-lurkey's head and threw his body over his left shoulder. Then Goosey-poosey went in, and "Hrumph," off went her head and Goosey-poosey was thrown beside Turkey-lurkey. Then Ducky-daddles waddled down, and "Hrumph," snapped Foxy-woxy, and Ducky-daddles' head was off and Ducky-daddles was thrown alongside Turkey-lurkey and Goosey-poosey. Then Cocky-locky strutted down into the cave, and he hadn't gone far when "Snap, Hrumph!" went Foxy-woxy and Cocky-locky was thrown alongside of Turkey-lurkey, Goosey-poosey, and Ducky-daddles.
But Foxy-woxy had made two bites at Cocky-locky, and when the first snap
only hurt Cocky-locky, but didn't kill him, he called out to Henny-penny.
But she turned tail and off she ran home, so she never told the king the
Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief,
Taffy came to my house and stole a piece of beef;
I went to Taffy's house, Taffy was not home;
Taffy came to my house and stole a marrow-bone.
I went to Taffy's house, Taffy was not in;
Taffy came to my house and stole a silver pin;
I went to Taffy's house, Taffy was in bed,
I took up the marrow-bone and flung it at his head.
WEEK 45 |
HE Wild Turkeys are a
wandering people, and stay in one place only long
enough to rear their young. One could hardly say that
they lived in the Forest, but every year when the
acorns and beechnuts were ripe, they came for a visit.
It is always an exciting time when the Turkeys are seen
gathering on the farther side of the river and
making ready to fly over. Some of the
It was so this year. One morning a
"I've never seen Turkeys in my life," said the young
Rabbit, "and they say it is great fun to watch them.
Oh, please come with me to the
won't be sleepy when you reach the
At this, the
When they reached the
"Look at them now!" he cried. "Why do those largest ones walk up and down in front of the rest and scold them?"
"They are the
Gobblers," answered the
"Now the others are doing the same thing," said the Rabbit, as the mothers and young Turkeys began to strut back and forth.
that they are willing to cross," answered the
The Rabbit wandered around and ate all the good things he could find. Then he fell to wondering how it would feel to be a bird. He thought it would be great fun to fly. To pass so swiftly through the air must be delightful, and then to sweep grandly down and alight softly on the ground without having people know that you were coming!
He had a good mind to try it. There was nobody to watch him, and he crept up the trunk of a fallen tree which leaned over against its neighbors. It was a foolish thing to do, and he knew it, but young Rabbits are too full of mischief to always be wise.
"I will hold my hind legs very still," he thought, "and flap my forelegs for wings." With that he jumped off and came crashing down upon the dry leaves. He felt weak and dizzy, and as he picked himself up and looked around he hoped that nobody had seen him. "It may be a great deal of fun to fly," he said, "but it is no fun alighting from your flight unless you have real feather wings. It is too bumpy when you fly with your legs."
At this minute he
heard an old Gobbler call out, and saw the flock of
Turkeys coming toward him. "Wake up! Wake up!" he
cried to the
Still the Turkeys came nearer. The Rabbit
could see that the fat old ones were getting ahead of
the others, and that here and there a young or weak
Turkey had to drop into the river and swim, because his
wings were tired. They got so near that he could see
the queer little tufts of wiry feathers which the
hanging from their breast, and
could see the swaying scarlet wattles under their
beaks. He called again to the
The Ground Hog turned over, stretched, yawned, moved his jaws a few times as though he dreamed of eating fresh spring grass, and then fell asleep once more. After that the Rabbit left him alone.
The first to alight were the Gobblers, and they began at once to strut and chatter. Next came the mother Turkeys and their young, and last of all came the weak ones who swam across. It was a fine sight to see them come in. The swimmers spread their tails, folded their wings tightly, stretched their necks, and struck out swiftly and strongly with their feet.
The young Rabbit could hear a group of mothers talking together. "The Gobblers are growing quite fond of the children," said one.
"Yes," said another; "my husband told me yesterday that he was very proud of our little ones."
"Well, it is the season for them to begin to walk together," said the first speaker; "but I never in my life had such a time as I had this spring. I thought my husband would break every egg I laid."
"I had a hard time too," said the other. "None of my eggs were broken, but after my chicks were hatched I had to hurry them out of their father's sight a dozen times a day."
"It is very trying," said a third mother Turkey with a sigh; "but that is always the way with the Gobblers. I suppose the dear fellows can't help it;" and she looked lovingly over at her husband as he strutted around with his friends. You would not have believed if you had seen her fond looks, and heard her husband's tender "Gobble," that they had hardly spoken to each other all summer. To be sure, it was not now as it had been in the springtime. Then he would have beaten any other Gobbler who came near her, he loved her so; still, the Rabbit could see as he watched them that when he found some very large and fine acorns, this Gobbler would not eat them all, but called his wife to come and share with him; and he knew that they were happy together in their own Turkey way of being happy.
At this minute the
"That is right,"
When he was gone, the Turkeys said: "How very kind of him!" and "What fine manners!" And the young Rabbit thought to himself: "It is queer. He was sleepy and his fur was rumpled, and that leaf bobbed around his ear when he talked. He said 'evening' instead of 'morning,' and spoke as though Turkeys came here to eat grass. And yet they all liked him, and were pleased by what he said."
You see the young Rabbit had not yet learned that the power of fine manners is more than that of looks; and that people could not think of the Ground Hog's mistakes in speaking because they knew his kindness of heart.
WEEK 45 |
One afternoon, as Mama sat out on the long porch, paring apples, the children came running in. There were Cousin Pen, who was visiting at the farm, and Brother Fred and little Ben, and they all began to talk at the same time.
"To-morrow is Grandmother's birthday," they cried. "What can we give her for a birthday present?"
"I think a silk dress would be nice if we had enough money to buy it," said Cousin Pen.
"Let's give her a watermelon, the biggest one we can find," said Brother Fred.
"Or one of the new kittens; Grandmother likes cats," said little Ben.
"A roll of fresh butter, as yellow as gold and as sweet as clover," said Mama, "if you will do the churning yourselves."
"Oh, yes, we will churn," promised the children, and they ran off to their play, well satisfied, for they could think of nothing nicer than a roll of fresh butter as yellow as gold and as sweet as clover, for Grandmother's birthday present.
By and by the cows came home. Their names were Daisy and Dandelion and Dolly, and as soon as the children heard the tinkle of their bells in the lane they made haste to open the big back gate, for it was milking time.
Papa milked, and when he carried his buckets of sweet white milk to the house, Mama strained the milk into the bright tin pans that stood in a row on the dairy room shelves. The next afternoon every pan was covered with thick yellow cream, all ready for the churning. Mama skimmed the cream into the great stone churn.
"Who will churn first?" she asked.
"I will," said Cousin Pen. "I like to make the dasher go dancing up and down."
So Cousin Pen put on one of Mama's
gingham aprons and began to churn. "It
is easy to churn," she said at first, but after
a little her arms grew tired and the dasher
grew heavy. She did not think of giving
up, though, for she was churning to get her
Grandmother's birthday butter, and the
dasher seemed to say to her as it splashed
Oh, the cream to butter's turning,
In the churning, churning, churning.
It will turn, turn, turn,
As you churn, churn, churn,
All the cream to butter turning,
In the churning, churning, churning.
"Brother Fred's time," called Mama, and Brother Fred came running up the kitchen steps to take the dasher from Cousin Pen.
"I think it is fun to churn. I don't believe I will ever get tired," he said.
He did get tired, but he would not stop
even to rest, for he was churning to get his
Grandmother's birthday butter, and the
dasher seemed to say to
Hear the buttermilk a-bumming,
For the yellow butter's coming.
It will come, come, come,
With a bum, bum, bum,
All the buttermilk a-bumming,
When the yellow butter's coming.
"Little Ben's time," called Mama. Little Ben had to stand on a box to churn, and his cheeks were as red as roses as he worked away.
"Don't you want us to help you?" asked the other children.
"No, indeed," said little Ben; "I guess
I can churn to get my Grandmother some
birthday butter," and he churned with a
will, till the dasher seemed to say to
Mama looked in the churn, and sure enough the flakes of golden butter were floating on the milk.
"Hurrah!" cried little Ben, "Hurrah!" cried Cousin Pen and Brother Fred, and they hurried into the kitchen to watch Mama as she gathered the butter, and worked it, and salted it, and patted it into a very fine roll. When she had done that she printed a star on top of the roll, and the butter was ready to take to Grandmother.
"You must make Grandmother guess what it is," said Mama, as she put the butter into a nice little basket and covered it with a white napkin.
"All right," said the children; so when they got to Grandmother's house they called, "Grandmother, Grandmother, guess what we have brought you for a birthday present."
"Grandmother, Grandmother, guess what we have brought you for a birthday present."
"It is yellow as gold," said Brother Fred.
"It's sweet as clover," said Cousin Pen.
"We churned it ourselves," said little Ben; and Grandmother guessed what it was with her very first guess.
"It is just what I wanted," she said, and she kissed them every one. She had been thinking about them, too, all the long day, and she had baked a beautiful birthday cake for their tea.
Mama and Papa came to tea, and all together they had a merry time.
The children thought the birthday cake was the nicest thing they had ever tasted, but Grandmother said she thought nothing could be nicer than her birthday butter.
The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then,
He'll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
WEEK 45 |
NCE upon a time there was a farm-house and
it was painted white and had green
and it stood not far from the road. In
the fence was a wide gate to let the
through to the barn. And the wagons,
going through, had made a little track
led up past the kitchen door and past
the shed and past the barn and past the
orchard to the
One day, after the summer was all over and all the things had got ripe and had been gathered, Uncle John called to little John and told him to come to the garden field. For they had to clear up all the old withered things, and get the field ready to use the next year. So little John ran over, across the little track and across the grass place and in at the wide gate of the garden field. And there were the pea vines, all dried and brown, and no peas on them. And there were the bean vines and the squash vines and all the other things, some of them vines and some of them little bushes.
First Uncle John went to the pea vines,
and little John helped him. Uncle John
pulled up the
Then Uncle John went out of the garden
field, across the grass place and across
the little track to the shed. And he got
the wheelbarrow and wheeled it back to
gate of the garden, where all the
While Uncle John was wheeling the
pea-brush across to the shed and piling
little John began on the squash vines.
First he took hold of the vine near the
root, where it came out of the ground,
and he pulled as hard as he could, and
after awhile, the vine came up and the
root came right out of the
sometimes the root broke off and stayed
in the ground. When he had pulled up
that end of the vine, little John
started walking along to the middle of
field, where all the old pea vines were.
And the withered squash vine pulled
away from all the things it had been
holding on to, and it dragged after, and
the end came dragging over the grass
place and over the wall and over the
garden, behind little John. But
sometimes the vine broke off in the
then little John had to go there and
take the broken end and pull all the
of it over the wall. And when he had
pulled it to the middle of the garden,
dropped it on the top of the heap
Then Uncle John went to the beans that
had been climbing up poles. And he
up the poles, one by one, and little
John held on to the bean vines and
them off the poles. When the vines were
all pulled off the poles, Uncle John put
the poles in the wheelbarrow and wheeled
them over to the shed and piled them up
When the bean vines were on the pile, it
was a pretty high pile. But there were
some other old
So Uncle John looked, and he saw that
the wind was blowing away from the house
and the barn, so that they wouldn't
catch afire, and he went out the gate
across to the kitchen. And pretty soon
little John saw him come out of the
kitchen door with a shovel, and on the
shovel were some
And Uncle John came across to the field and in at the gate, and to the middle of the field, and he emptied the burning wood out of the shovel into the pile of old dried vines, at one side, near the bottom. Then the vines caught afire, and the fire crackled and blazed up, and in a minute it was a great enormous high fire, and it was so hot that little John had to get farther away, and he thought it was great fun to have such a big fire. And the fire was so hot and blazed so high that a lot of little white ashes went straight up into the air for a long way, but there wasn't much smoke.
It was so hot that little John had to get farther away.
The fire didn't last long, because things like old dried vines burn up quickly. And pretty soon the fire wasn't so high, and it got lower and lower, and little John was sorry that it didn't last longer. And in a few minutes there wasn't any fire, but a heap of hot coals and white ashes. And after awhile the coals turned to ashes and the fire was all out.
Then the garden field was all ready for the oxen to come and plough it.
And that's all.
Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown,
Rapping at the window, crying through the lock,
"Are the children in their beds, for now it's eight o'clock?"
WEEK 45 |
S O Moses grew up in the palace, treated as a prince instead of as a slave. He learned his lessons with the other boys of the palace, and was taught all that the wisest Egyptians could teach him. As he grew to be a man he learned also to be a soldier, and took rank as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. But deep down in his heart he never forgot his own people.
The poor Israelites were worse off now than ever. They were forced to work harder and harder, were beaten and ill-treated in a most cruel way, and there was no one to speak a good word for them. In vain Moses tried to help them. His interference only seemed to bring fresh trouble upon them, and they looked with suspicion on the grandly-dressed, royal-looking young man who came from the king's palace. How could he understand their misery?
Then a day came when Moses found one of the Egyptian taskmasters beating a poor Israelite most unmercifully, and the sight made him so angry that he rushed in to defend the slave, and dealt the cruel task master such a heavy blow that it killed him. The Israelites, instead of being grateful, only mistrusted him the more; and the next time he tried to help them they asked him if he meant to kill them as he had killed the Egyptian.
Moses knew at once then that the story had been whispered throughout the country, and that as soon as it reached Pharaoh's ears his life would not be safe. The only thing to be done was to escape to some distant land; and so, with sorrow and disappointment in his heart, he fled from the palace, leaving behind all the riches and honours he had enjoyed so long.
A very different kind of life began now for Moses. He had journeyed far into the desert, and joined company there with an Arab tribe, which wandered from place to place feeding their flocks, and instead of being a prince he now became a shepherd.
But God had more difficult work for him to do than feeding sheep; and ere long, out on the lonely hillside, the message came. He was to go back, he was to set himself to the task of freeing his people from Pharaoh's power, and to lead them out into the land of Canaan, where they would be no longer slaves but a free people.
At first, when Moses heard God's voice bidding him do all this, he thought it was an impossible task for him to attempt. Pharaoh would never listen to him. His own people would not trust him. He was not a great speaker, and he would most certainly fail. But God bade him do his best, and trust in the help that would be given him. Aaron, his brother, should be the spokesman, and God would work such wonders that both Pharaoh and the Israelites would be forced to listen to him.
Now Moses was a born leader of men, strong and fearless, and a splendid general, and above all he had now a firm faith that God's strong arm would fight for him. So he left his quiet life, and began the great work at God's command.
At first it seemed quite hopeless. Pharaoh refused to let his slaves go, even for a few days' journey into the wilderness. Time after time God sent terrible plagues on Pharaoh and all the land of Egypt. Punishment after punishment fell on them, and still they refused to allow the Israelites to leave the country. Then at last God sent the angel of death, and killed all the eldest sons in every house, so that the whole land was filled with mourning. A great wail went up from the palace and from the poorest dwellings, and Pharaoh was so terrified that he told Moses to lead the people away at once. They might take anything they liked with them, only they must go quickly.
So the great company of people set out with all their families, their wives and children, their flocks and herds, and the gifts which the Egyptians thrust into their hands in their eagerness to get rid of them. It was Moses, the great leader, who arranged everything, and guided them on their way, and brought them to the shores of the Red Sea.
But by that time Pharaoh began to recover from his terror, and to think he had made a mistake in letting the people go so easily. A great army was sent in hot haste after them; and the poor Israelites, looking back, could see the Egyptians coming towards them from behind, while in front stretched the wide waters of the Red Sea. What was to become of them? Of course it was the fault of their leader, they thought. He had only brought them here to be cut to pieces or drowned.
But Moses knew better. He knew that God would make a passage for them through the sea, so he ordered them to go forward. In fear and trembling they did as he bade them, and behold! God sent a strong wind which divided the water so that a passage appeared, and they walked over on dry land.
Behind them the army of Pharaoh swept on. The chariots were driven at full speed, the horsemen came thundering along. They too reached the passage that led across the water, but it was too late; the people had all reached the other side, and the sea had begun to flow back. The chariot wheels sunk in the wet sand, the horses began to flounder, and before long all the great army was swept away by the returning tide.
So the people were saved from the Egyptians. But there were still many other enemies to be faced, and for forty long years they journeyed, a tribe of wanderers, across the desert. Many were the battles they fought, and many were the troubles they suffered. Sometimes they had no food to eat, sometimes they almost died for want of water, and when anything went wrong it was always Moses whom they blamed.
But the great leader was very patient with them. Only once he was so angry with their murmuring that he was tempted to disobey God's direction; and then he sorrowfully knew that, as a punishment, he would not be allowed to lead them on into the Promised Land of Canaan. His work was nearly done, and others, he knew, would be able to finish what he had begun; but it must have been a sore grief to him. He was quite an old man now, but yet he showed no sign of age, and was as strong and full of courage as when he had been first called to do God's work.
And now the word had come that he must lay down his leadership. From the top of Mount Pisgah God would show him the Promised Land, and there he must die.
With strong, firm steps the great leader climbed the rocky mountain side, and from the top of the mount he saw the land of Canaan stretched out before him, that fair land so rich and fruitful, "flowing with milk and honey." The people, watching below, had seen him as he climbed higher and higher until he disappeared from their sight. Did they know, as they caught the last glimpse of his tall, straight figure, that their eyes would never look on him again, that he would never return to lead them and watch over them as he had so faithfully done until now?
Alone upon the mountain top he stood, as solitary and grand as those everlasting hills, ready to obey God's call; and then he "was not, for God took him."
The Death of Moses
There was an old woman of Harrow,
Who visited in a wheelbarrow;
And her servant before,
Knocked loud at each door,
To announce the old woman of Harrow.