WEEK 46 |
J OHNNY CHUCK is naturally lazy. You see, Johnny has very simple tastes and usually he is contented. He does not have to go far from his own doorstep to get all he wants to eat. He does not have to hunt for his food, as so many of the little meadow and forest people do, and so he has a great deal of time to sit on his doorstep and watch the world go by and dream pleasant daydreams and grow fat. Now people who do not have to work usually become lazy. It is the easiest habit in the world to learn and the hardest to get over. And so, because he seldom has to work, Johnny Chuck quite naturally is lazy.
But Johnny can work when there really is need of it. No one, unless it is Digger the Badger or Miner the Mole, can dig faster than Johnny Chuck. And when there is real need of working, Johnny works with a will. When he was a very tiny Chuck, old Mother Chuck had taught him this:
"When work there is that must be done
Don't fret and whine and spoil the day!
The quicker that you do your work
The longer time you'll have to play."
Johnny never has forgotten this, and when it is really necessary that he should work, no one works harder than he does. But he always first makes sure that it is necessary work and that he will not be wasting his time in doing foolish, unnecessary things.
And now Johnny Chuck was the busiest he had ever been in all his life. If he felt lazy these beautiful spring days, he didn't have time to think about it. No, Sir, he actually didn't have time to remember that he is naturally lazy. You see, he had a family to look out for—three babies to find sweet, tender young clover for and to teach all the things that every Chuck should know, and to watch out for, that no harm should come to them. So Johnny Chuck was busy, so busy that he hardly had time to get enough to eat.
Every morning Johnny would come out as soon as jolly, round, red
Polly Chuck would come out with a very worried air, and after her would come the three funny little baby Chucks, who would roll and tumble over each other on the doorstep. When he thought they had played enough, Johnny Chuck would lead the way along a little private path which he had made through the grass. After him, one behind another, would trot the three little Chucks, and behind them would march Polly Chuck, to see that none went astray.
When they reached the patch of tender, sweet, young clover, Johnny
Chuck would sit up very straight and still, watching as sharp as he
knew how for the least sign of danger. When the three little stomachs
were full of sweet, tender, young clover, he would proudly lead the
way home again, and then as before he would
sit up very straight and
watch for danger, while the three baby Chucks sprawled out on the
doorstep for a
Oh, those were busy days for Johnny Chuck, and anxious days, too! You see he had not forgotten that Sammy Jay had found out his secret, and he hadn't the least doubt in the world that Sammy Jay would tell Reddy Fox. So, from the first thing in the morning until the very last thing at night, Johnny Chuck was on the watch for danger.
And all the time, though Johnny didn't know it, a pair of sharp eyes
were watching him from a snug
A little old man of Derby,
How do you think he served me?
He took away my bread and cheese,
And that is how he served me.
WEEK 46 |
When church was over and they were out on the street again, Grandmother said,
"Now you are coming home with me to stay all night."
"Really and truly?" said the Twins. "And may we go with Grandfather to carry the milk in the morning?"
"Yes," said Grandfather, "and Kit may drive the dogs."
Kit jumped right up and down, he was so happy even if it was Sunday.
"May I too?—May I too?" asked Kat.
"You are a girl," said Grandfather. "You may ride in the wagon."
"Oh, I wish
Then Kit and Kat said
They lived on a little street in the town, where the houses stood in a row close together. The houses were built of brick and had wooden shutters at the windows, and they were so clean they shone in the sun.
This is a picture of Grandmother's house and of Grandmother and Kit and Kat going in. The door opened right into the kitchen.
Grandmother put away her shawl and psalm book and scent bottle as soon as she was home. Then she put on a big apron and drew out the round table.
She boiled the kettle and made coffee; and, when it was done, she set the coffee-pot on a pretty little porcelain stove on the table to keep hot. She got out bread and cheese and smoked beef and, best of all, a plate of little cakes.
Then they all four sat down to eat. I will not tell you how many cakes Kit and Kat ate, but it was a good many.
After dinner, Grandmother put away the things, and Kat helped her.
Kit sat beside Grandfather in the doorway while he smoked. Pretty soon Grandfather said,
"Bring me my accordeon, Kit."
Kit ran to the press in the corner. He knew where the accordeon was kept.
Then Grandfather took the accordeon, tipped his head back, shut his eyes and began to play, beating time with one foot. Kat heard the music and came out too.
She and Kit sat down on the doorstep, one on each side of Grandfather, to listen.
Grandfather played six tunes.
Then Grandmother said,
"Why don't we go to the woods to hear the band play?"
"No reason at all," said Grandfather. So very soon they were on their way to a grove on the edge of the town.
In the grove a band was playing; and just as the Twins and Grandfather and Grandmother came up, it began to play the national hymn of Holland. All the people began to sing. There were a great many people in the grove, and they all sang as loud as they could; so there was a great sound. Grandfather and Grandmother and Kit and Kat all sang too; for they all knew every word of the hymn.
This is what they sang:—
Let him in whom old Dutch blood flows,
Untainted, free and strong;
Whose heart for Prince and Country glows,
Now join us in our song;
Let him with us lift up his voice,
And sing in patriot band,
The song at which all hearts rejoice,
For Prince and Fatherland,
For Prince and Fatherland.
We brothers, true unto a man,
Will sing the old song yet;
Away with him who ever can
His Prince or Land forget!
A human heart glowed in him ne'er,
We turn from him our hand,
Who callous hears the song and prayer,
For Prince and Fatherland,
For Prince and Fatherland.
Preserve, O God, the dear old ground
Thou to our fathers gave;
The land where we a cradle found,
And where we'll find a grave!
We call, O Lord, to Thee on high,
As near death's door we stand,
Oh! Safety, blessing to our cry
For Prince and Fatherland,
For Prince and Fatherland.
Loud ring thro' all rejoicings here,
Our prayer, O Lord, to Thee;
Preserve our Prince, his house so dear
To Holland great and free!
From youth thro' life, be this our song,
Till near to death we stand:
O God, preserve our sov'reign long,
Our Prince and Fatherland,
Our Prince and Fatherland.
Now, while the people were singing with all their might, and the band was playing, and Kit and Kat were having the most beautiful time they had ever had in their whole lives, what do you think happened?
Down the long drive through the trees came a great, splendid carriage, drawn by a pair of beautiful white horses with wavy white tails and manes. There were two soldiers on horseback riding in front of the carriage, and the driver of the carriage was dressed in blue and orange livery.
The carriage was open, and in it sat a beautiful, smiling young lady. Beside her sat her husband; and a nurse, in the other seat, held a baby in her arms.
When the people saw the carriage and the lady, they waved their caps and shouted, "Long live the Queen!"
"Look! Look! Kit and Kat," said Grandfather. "It is your dear Queen Wilhelmina, and Prince Henry and the little Princess! Wave your hands!"
Kit and Kat waved with all their might, but they were so short, and the people crowded beside the driveway so, that neither of them could see. Then Grandfather caught Kit and lifted him up high, and Grandmother did the same with Kat.
It was fine to be up so high. Kit and Kat could see everything better than anyone else there. And when the carriage came by, the queen saw Kit and Kat! She smiled at them, and the nurse held the little Princess up high for them to see! Kit and Kat threw kisses to the little Princess; and the Princess waved her baby hand to Kit and Kat; and then they were all gone—like a bright dream.
But the soldiers were better to see even than queens, Kit thought. Kat thought the baby—any baby—was nicer than either.
When the carriage was out of sight, Grandfather and Grandmother set the Twins down on the ground. Everyone began to talk about the Queen, about how sweet she was, and how good; and the band played, and everybody was as happy as they could possibly be.
By and by it was time to go home; for, Grandfather said, "Dutch girls and boys must learn to get up early in the morning, especially Twins that are going out with the milk cart."
So they went back to Grandfather Winkle's house; and Grandmother put them to bed in a little cupboard like their own at home, after they had had some supper. And the last thing Kat said that night was,
"O Kit, just to think that
Just as they were dropping off to sleep, they heard a great noise in the street.
"Clap, clap, clap," it sounded, eight times.
"There goes the Klapper-man," said Grandmother Winkle. "Eight o'clock, and time all honest folk were abed."
WEEK 46 |
N a far-off country, once upon a time, there was a little girl who was called Goldilocks because of her beautiful golden curls.
Goldilocks loved to romp and play. She loved to run into the woods to gather wild flowers, or to chase butterflies through the open fields.
One day she ran here and she ran there, until at last
she found herself in a strange and lonely wood. In the wood she saw a
snug little house in which three bears lived. But Goldilocks did
not know that three bears lived in this house. One was a Great Big Bear, and one
The door of the little house was open; so Goldilocks peeped in and saw that it was quite empty. She stepped inside to look about a bit; no one was home. The three bears had just gone out for a walk. They had left their three bowls of porridge on the table to cool.
The porridge smelled very good, and Goldilocks thought that she would like to taste it. So she tasted the porridge in the great big bowl, which belonged to the Great Big Bear, but she found it too hot.
Then she tasted the porridge in the middle-sized bowl, which belonged to the
Then she tasted the porridge in the wee little bowl, which belonged to the Wee Little Bear. This porridge was just right, and she ate it all.
Goldilocks then looked about the room and saw three chairs. She thought she would try the great big chair, which belonged to the Great Big Bear, but she found it too hard.
She then tried the middle-sized chair, which belonged to the Middle-sized Bear, but she found it too soft.
So she tried the wee little chair, which belonged to the Wee Little Bear, and she found it just right. But when she sat in the wee little chair, she broke it.
By this time Goldilocks was very tired, and she went into another room where she saw three beds. She tried the great big bed, which belonged to the Great Big Bear, but she found it too high at the head for her.
Then she tried the middle-sized bed, which belonged to the Middle-sized Bear, but she found it too high at the foot for her.
She then tried the wee little bed, which belonged to the Wee Little Bear, and she found it just right; so she lay down upon it and fell fast asleep.
While Goldilocks was lying fast asleep, the three bears came home from their walk, and they went quickly to the kitchen to get their porridge.
The Great Big Bear looked into his bowl and said in his great big voice, "Somebody has been tasting my porridge!"
Then the Middle-sized Bear looked into her bowl and said in her middle-sized voice, "Somebody has been tasting my porridge!"
And the Wee Little Bear looked into his bowl and cried in his wee little voice, "Somebody has been tasting my porridge, and has eaten it all up!"
Then they looked at their chairs and the Great Big Bear said, "Somebody has been sitting in my chair!"
And the Middle-sized Bear said, "Somebody has been sitting in my chair!"
And the Wee Little Bear cried, "Somebody has been sitting in my chair and has broken it all to pieces!"
The three bears then went into their bedroom, and the Great Big Bear said, "Somebody has been lying in my bed!"
And the Middle-sized Bear said, "Somebody has been lying in my bed!"
And the Wee Little Bear cried, "Somebody has been lying in my bed, and here she is!"
At that, Goldilocks woke in a fright and jumped out of the nearest window. She ran away as fast as her legs could carry her, and she never went again to the snug little house of the Three Bears.
Up at Piccadilly, oh!
The coachman takes his stand,
And when he meets a pretty girl
He takes her by the hand;
Whip away forever, oh!
Drive away so clever, oh!
All the way to Bristol, oh!
He drives her four-in-hand.
WEEK 46 |
NE night a maple tree, the very one under which
"I told you so," chirruped a Robin to
her mate. "The Orioles went long ago, and the
Her husband did not answer,
but began to arrange his new coat of
feathers. Perhaps he was used to her fussy ways and
thought it just as well to keep still. He knew that
none of the Robins would start South until the weather
became much colder, and he did not think it necessary
to talk about it yet. Perhaps, too,
Later in the day, a Bobolink came up
from the marsh to say
Mrs. Cowbird came up while they were talking. Now that she did not care to lay any more eggs, the other birds were quite friendly with her. They began to talk over the summer that was past, and said how finely the young birds were coming on. "By the way," said she, in the most careless manner possible, "I ought to have a few children round here somewhere. Can anybody tell me where they are?"
Mrs. Goldfinch looked at her husband and he looked at the sky. The Warblers and the Vireos, who had known about the strange egg in the Goldfinches' nest, had already left for the winter, and there seemed to be no use in telling their secret now or quarrelling over what was past. Some of the other birds might have told Mrs. Cowbird a few things, but they also kept still.
"It is a shame," she said. "I never laid a finer lot of eggs in my life, and I was very careful where I put them. I wish I knew how many there were, but I forgot to count. I have been watching and watching for my little birds to join our flock; I was sure I should know them if I saw them. Mothers have such fine feelings, you know, in regard to their children." (As though she had any right to say that!)
The Mourning Doves were there with their young son and daughter, and you could see by looking at them that they were an affectionate family. "We shall be the last to go South," they cooed. "We always mean to come North in the very early spring and stay as late as possible. This year we came much later than usual, but it could not be helped." They had spoken so before, and rather sadly. It was said that they could tell a sorrowful story if they would; but they did not wish to sadden others by it, and bore their troubles together bravely and lovingly.
"How do the new feathers work?" asked a Crow, flying up at this minute and looking blacker than ever in his fall coat. Then all the birds began to talk about dress. As soon as their broods were raised, you know, their feathers had begun to drop out, and they had kept on moulting until all of the old ones were gone and the new ones on. When birds are moulting they never feel well, and when it is over they are both happy and proud.
"I changed later than usual this year," said the Crow, "and I feel that I have the very latest fashions." This was a joke which he must have picked up among the Barnyard People, and nobody knows where they got it. Fashions never change in the Forest.
"I think," remarked a
"Mr. Woodpecker's wing feathers are certainly excellent," said his wife, who was always glad to see him well dressed. "I am sure that the strongest wind will never part them. I don't see how the Owls can stand it to wear their feathers unhooked so that some of the air passes through their wings each time they flap them. It must make flying hard."
"Well, if you were an Owl you would understand," chuckled the Crow. "If their great wings were like ours, the noise of their flying would scare every creature within hearing, and there would not be much fun in hunting."
And so they
chatted on, while from the meadow came the sound of the
happy insects piping in the sunshine. It was chilly
now at night and in the early morning, and they could
give concerts only at
The Ground Hog was getting so sleepy now that he would doze off while people were talking to him, and then he would suddenly straighten up and say: "Yes, yes, yes! Don't think that I was asleep, please. The colors of the trees are so bright that they tire my eyes and I sometimes close them." The dear old fellow really never knew how he had been nodding.
The Snakes, too, were growing dull
and slow of motion, while the Bats talked freely of
hanging themselves up for the winter. The Grouse and
Quail made daily trips to the edges of the
Life went on in this way for many days, and the birds had all stopped singing. There were no more happy concerts at sunrise and no more carols at evening; only chirrupings and twitterings as the feathered people hopped restlessly from one perch to another. All could see that they were busily thinking and had no time for music. The truth was that each bird who was not to spend the winter in the Forest felt as though something were drawing—drawing—drawing him southward. It was something they could not see or hear, and yet it was drawing—drawing—drawing all day and all night. They spoke of it often to each other, and the older birds told the young ones how, before long, they would all start South, and fly over land and water until they reached their winter home.
"How do we know where to go?" asked the children.
"All that you have to do," the older ones said, "is to follow us."
"And how do you know?" they asked.
"Why, we have been there before," they answered; "and we can see the places over which we pass. But perhaps that is not the real reason, for sometimes we fly over such great stretches of water that we can see nothing else and it all looks alike. Then we cannot see which way to go, but still we feel that we are drawn South, and we only have to think about that and fly onward. The fathers and sons can fly the faster and will reach there first. The mothers and daughters come a few days later. We never make a mistake."
"It is wonderful, wonderful," thought a young Rabbit on the grass below. "I must watch them when they go."
The very next morning the Forest People awakened to find a silvery frost on the grass and feel the still air stirred by the soft dropping of damp red, brown, and yellow leaves from the trees. Over the river and all the lowland near it hung a heavy veil of white mist.
"It is time!" whispered the Robins to each other.
"It is time!" cooed the Mourning Doves.
"It is time!" cried the Cowbirds in their hoarse voices.
All through the forest there was
restlessness and quiet haste. The Juncoes
already come from the cold northland and were resting
from their long flight. The
"They are gone!" sighed
"Jay! Jay!" shrieked a
handsome-crested fellow from the tree above. "What if
they are gone? They will be back in the spring, and we
have plenty to eat. What is the use of feeling sad?
But all people are not so heartless as the
WEEK 46 |
ONCE there was a very dear family,—Father, Mother, big Brother Tom, little Sister Polly, and the baby, who had a very long name, Gustavus Adolphus; and every one of the family wanted a home more than anything else in the world.
They lived in a house, of course, but that was rented; and they wanted a home of their very own, with a sunny room for Mother and Father and Baby, with a wee room close by for the little sister; a big, airy room for Brother Tom; a cosy room for the cooking and eating; and, best of all, a room that Grandmother might call her own when she came to see them.
A box which Tom had made always stood on Mother's mantel, and they called it the "Home Bank," because every penny that could be spared was dropped in there for the building of the home.
This box had been full once, and was emptied to buy a little piece of ground where the home could be built when the box was full again.
The box filled very slowly, though; and Gustavus Adolphus was nearly three years old when one day the father came in with a beaming face and called the family to him.
Mother left her baking, and Tom came in from his work; and after Polly had brought the baby, the father asked them very solemnly: "Now, what do we all want more than anything else in the world?"
"A home!" said Mother and Brother Tom.
"A home!" said little Sister Polly.
"Home!" said the baby, Gustavus Adolphus, because his mother had said it.
"Well," said the father, "I think we shall have our home if each one of us will help. I must go away to the great forest, where the trees grow so tall and fine. All Winter long I must chop the trees down, and in the Spring I shall be paid in lumber, which will help in the building of the home. While I am away, Mother will have to fill my place and her own too, for she will have to go to market, buy the coal, keep the pantry full, and pay the bills, as well as cook and wash and sew, take care of the children, and keep a brave heart till I come back again."
The mother was willing to do all this and more, too, for the dear home; and Brother Tom asked eagerly: "What can I do?—what can I do?" for he wanted to begin work right then, without waiting a moment.
"I have found you a place in the carpenter's shop where I work," answered the father. "And you will work for him, and all the while be learning to saw and hammer and plane, so that you will be ready in the Spring to help build the home."
Now, this pleased Tom so much that he threw his cap in the air and hurrahed, which made the baby laugh; but little Polly did not laugh, because she was afraid that she was too small to help. But after a while the father said: "I shall be away in the great forest cutting down the trees; Mother will be washing and sewing and baking; Tom will be at work in the carpenter's shop; and who will take care of the baby?"
"I will, I will!" cried Polly, running to kiss the baby. "And the baby can be good and sweet!"
So it was all arranged that they would have their dear little home, which would belong to every one, because each one would help; and the father made haste to prepare for the Winter. He stored away the firewood and put up the stoves; and when the wood-choppers went to the great forest, he was ready to go with them.
Out in the forest, the trees were waiting. Nobody knew how many years they had waited there, growing every year stronger and more beautiful for the work they had to do. Every one of them had grown from a baby tree to a giant; and when the choppers came, there stood the giant trees, so bare and still in the wintry weather that the sound of the axes rang from one end of the woods to the other. From sunrise to sunset the men worked steadily; and although it was lonely in the woods when the snow lay white on the ground and the cold wind blew, the father kept his heart cheery. At night, when the men sat about the fire in their great log-house, he would tell them about the mother and children who were working with him for a home.
Nobody's ax was sharper than his or felled so many trees, and nobody was gladder when Spring-time came and the logs were hauled down to the river.
The river had been waiting too, through all the Winter, under its shield of ice, but now that Spring had come, and the snows were melting, and all the little mountain streams were tumbling down to help, the river grew very broad and strong, and dashed along, snatching the logs when the men pushed them in and carrying them on with a rush and a roar.
The men followed close along the bank of the river, to watch the logs and keep them moving; but at last there came a time when the logs would not move, but lay in a jam from shore to shore while the water foamed about them.
"Who will go out to break the jam?" said the men. They knew that only a brave man and a nimble man could go, for there was danger that the logs might crush him and the river sweep him away.
They looked at each other. But the father was not afraid, and he was surefooted and nimble; so he sprang out in a moment, with his ax, and began to cut away at the logs.
"Some of these logs may help to build a home," he said; and he found the very log that was holding the others tight, and as soon as that was loosened, the logs began to move.
"Jump! Jump!" cried the men, as they ran for their lives; and, just as the logs dashed on, with a rumble and a jumble and a jar that sent some of the logs flying up in the air, the father reached the bank safely.
The hard work was over now. After the logs had rested in the log "boom," they went on their way to the saw mills, where they were sawed into lumber to build houses; and then the father hurried home.
When he came there, he found that the mother had baked and washed and sewed and taken care of the children, as only such a precious mother could have done. Brother Tom had worked so well in the carpenter's shop, that he knew how to hammer and plane and saw, and had grown as tall and as stout as a young pine tree. Sister Polly had taken such care of the baby, that he looked as sweet and clean and happy as a rose in a garden; and the baby had been so good, that he was a joy to the whole family.
"I must get this dear family into their home," said the father; and he and Brother Tom went to work with a will. And the home was built, with a sunny room for Father and Mother and Baby, a wee little room close by for good Sister Polly, a big airy room for big Brother Tom, a cosy room for the cooking and eating, and best of all, a room for the dear grandmother, who came then to live with them all the time.
So the House was built; a cozy room for the cooking and eating.
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread.
She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
WEEK 46 |
NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and
it was painted white and had green
blinds; and it stood not far from the
road. In the fence was a wide gate to
the wagons through to the barn. And the
wagons, going through, had made a little
track that led up past the kitchen door
and past the shed and past the barn and
past the orchard to the
One morning, after the summer was all
over, when the leaves were turning brown
on the trees and falling off, little
Charles and little John ran out of the
kitchen door. They didn't say anything,
but they knew where they were going, and
they ran down the little track, out the
wide gate and along the road, not the
way to the pasture, but the other way.
And they went past some fields and past
the little house where the
The two little boys turned into this lane and walked along until they came to the woods, and they walked on into the woods, along the little track that went winding in among the trees. And pretty soon they came to a place where a little path led in away from the track. It wasn't much of a path, and a good many people wouldn't have seen it at all. But the boys saw it and they thought they would like to know where it went, so they walked in among the underbrush. The underbrush is the bushes and little baby trees that grow under the big trees. Some of the little trees were only as high as little John's knees, and some were as high as his head, and some were higher than his head. And under them were the dead leaves that fell from the trees. Some of the leaves had just fallen and some had fallen the year before, and some the year before that, and the underneath ones were all soft and wet, and they helped the seeds that fell from the big trees to start growing.
So the two little boys walked along carefully, so as not to make any noise, and pretty soon little Charles stopped and said, "Look, John." And little John looked and he saw a hole in the ground near a big tree. And he said, "Yes, I see. It's a woodchuck hole."
Then they walked on tiptoe and went
nearer, and they saw where the dirt was
trodden down hard by the woodchuck's
feet. And little Charles said, "I tell
what, John. Let's catch him." And little
John said, "Yes, let's. We'll make a
Little Charles thought that would be a
good thing, so they looked about, and
they saw a little slim tree that was
growing near the hole. Then they both
caught hold of that tree and pulled it
it was bent nearly to the ground. And
little John held on to it while little
Charles felt in his pocket and found a
knife. Little John was too little to
a knife, but little Charles had one. And
he cut off the little branches with his
knife, and he cut off the leaves at the
top, so that it was something like a
Then little Charles looked about and got
some sticks that were the right size,
and he fixed them in the ground so that
they would hold the little tree bent
over. But if one of the sticks got
the little tree would spring back
straight again. Then little John let go
tree and it stayed bent over. And he
felt in his pocket and found some grains
yellow corn and he put them on the
ground near the sticks that were holding
little tree down. Then little Charles
Little Charles and little John didn't go
back the way they came, but they went
on, farther into the woods, and after
awhile they came to a stone wall. On the
side of the wall was a field, and they
climbed over into that field and went
across, and climbed over another wall
and went across another field and then
another, and then they came to a stone
wall that was beside some other woods.
They climbed over that wall and went
through some underbrush until they came
a little road, and they knew they were
The next morning, as soon as they had finished their breakfast, little Charles and little John hurried out and went down the track and out the gate and along the road. And they turned into the little lane and ran along into the woods, and when they came to the little path they turned in there. Then they walked very carefully, and pretty soon little John cried out, "There he is, Charles. We've got him." And little Charles looked, and so they had.
The little tree was trying to stand up
straight, but the woodchuck was so heavy
that it couldn't lift him off the
ground. But the woodchuck couldn't touch
front feet to the ground, and he was
standing up high on his hind feet. The
noose was around both his front legs and
around his shoulders where he couldn't
reach it to bite off the string, and the
When the little boys saw how the wind made the woodchuck dance, they thought that was funny, and they took hold of the little tree and moved it about, to make him dance. And the woodchuck didn't like that, but he couldn't help it, so he had to dance. It wasn't a very nice thing to do, but boys sometimes do things that are not kind, and they thought it was fun.
When they were tired of making the
woodchuck dance, they wondered what they
should do with him. Little John thought
he would like to take him home and keep
him to play with. He knew a
way to do it, so little Charles stayed
there to watch the woodchuck, to see
he didn't get away or any other boys
come there and get him, and little John
hurried off. He went on, through the
path and over the wall and across all
fields into the
Then the two little boys took hold of the bag and they put it carefully over the woodchuck's head, and they lifted it up and the woodchuck fell into the bag, and went to the bottom.
They put it carefully over the woodchuck's head.
And little John held
the mouth of the bag together while
little Charles cut the string off the
And they tied up the mouth of the bag
with the string and took the bag between
them, and they went back along the
little path to the lane, and down the
the road and along to the
Uncle John didn't think much of having a
woodchuck for a pet, but he liked to
please his little boys, so he made a
cage out of some boards and some thin
pieces of wood. The thin pieces of wood
were on the front, like bars, so that
The woodchuck stayed in that cage for three days, and the little boys fed him with corn and other things. But he didn't like being in a cage, so in the night he bit off some of the thin pieces of wood and got out.
And he ran off to the woods and the boys never saw him again. And Uncle John was glad the woodchuck was gone.
And that's all.
WEEK 46 |
O N the banks of the river Jordan a great army was encamped; the fields were covered with tents, and there was the constant sound of the marching of feet and the clash of weapons. For this was the army of the children of Israel, led by their great general, Joshua. It was waiting there to cross the river and attack the city of Jericho, which could be seen across the plain, clear against the distant line of the horizon.
Moses was dead, but God had given His people a new leader, who was to carry on the great work of conquest and lead the people into the Promised Land. No one knew yet what sort of a leader Joshua would prove to be. The test would come in the battle which awaited them when they would march against the city across the river. They could not know how powerful and how splendidly brave he was; they had not heard the message of his commission from God: "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
It is a great sight to see an army march out with banners flying and drums beating; but there is another part of war which always seems almost mean and contemptible, although it is most necessary. It is the part which is played by spies, men so cunning and quick and clever that they can steal the enemies' secrets, and find out many things that may save the lives of their own soldiers, and help to give them the victory.
Now Joshua knew just how useful a spy could be, and he wanted to know what was happening behind the high walls of Jericho, and what the people there were thinking about. So early one morning two figures went stealing across the plain, and crept nearer and nearer to the distant city until they came quite close to one of its gates.
It was a wonderful city, with high, thick walls and strong gates, fortified against every kind of enemy; and it was a beautiful city too, for palm trees grew all around it, and the sweet scent of spices came floating over its streets. So it was called Jericho, which means "fragrant," and some of the people called it "the city of palm trees."
As soon as the sun began to sink and the dusk crept on, the two spies slipped through the open gate, hoping that no one would notice them as they mixed with the crowd that always gathered there. They listened carefully to what the people were saying to each other, they noted everything with their quick eyes, and they soon learned all they wanted to know, and especially the fact that the people were desperately afraid of the army encamped on the river bank. It was not its strength and fighting power they feared—these men of Jericho were brave men and great fighters; but there was something strange and mysterious about that army, and they had heard wonderful tales of how that wandering people were guided and protected and helped by the unseen God whom they worshipped.
All this the spies discovered; and then, as daylight began to fade, they looked for a place where they could safely rest for the night. It was but a poor place they found, a little house built into the city wall, and the woman, Rahab, who lived there, was not at all what we would call a good woman. But, as it turned out, it was a place of real safety, and the woman proved a very good friend indeed to those two weary spies who had come to seek for a night's lodging in her house.
For so it was that scarcely had the men gone in and settled themselves to rest, than a loud knocking sounded on the door, and the voice of the king's messenger was heard ordering the woman Rahab to open and deliver up the two men who had come to spy out the city. There had been keen eyes on the look-out at the gate that evening. The men had been noticed and watched, and a message had been sent to tell the king that there were spies in the house of Rahab. "Bring forth the men which are entered into thy house," the messenger shouted.
But Rahab was quite sure that the mysterious army from the other side of the river would soon come marching on to take Jericho, as it had taken so many other cities; and so she made up her mind quickly to save the spies, and perhaps gain their friendship. Very hastily, then, she made up her plan, and taking the men on to the roof where her store of flax was laid out to dry, she told them to lie down flat, while she spread the flax over them, and hid them completely. After that she went down to open the door, and to answer the king's messenger.
"Spies!" she said; "how could I know that the two men who came here were spies? And besides, they left long ago before the city gates were shut. If you go quickly, you may overtake them."
Never doubting her word, the messenger hurried away; and in a short time a company of men rode out, the city gates clanging shut behind them, while they hurried on their way, hoping to overtake the spies before they should reach the river.
But as soon as the men were gone Rahab brought the spies down from the roof, and told them what she had done, and begged them in return to save her and all her relations when the great army should sweep on, and the city should be taken.
The two men promised at once that this should be done if she still kept their secret. "And it shall be," they said, "when the Lord hath given us the land that we will deal kindly and truly with thee."
Then she took a scarlet rope and lowered the men out of the window, which was built into the city wall, and told them to go up into the mountains and hide there for three days until the king's messengers should grow tired of looking for them.
There, in the dark shadow of the city wall, the men must have stood looking up at the face of the woman who leaned out of the window, above the scarlet thread that dangled down from her hand. And before they left they whispered up that they would surely remember their promise, but that she must bring all her kindred safely into those rooms and mark the house with the scarlet cord, and then, as a reward for her great kindness, not one of them should come to harm.
Three days later the spies managed to get back to the camp, and told the great leader what they had seen and learned, and of the promise they had made. It was exactly what Joshua had wanted to know, and so ere long the great army began its onward march.
Just as He had done at the Red Sea, so God again made a passage through the deep wide river for His army to pass through, and it soon reached the city and encamped before it. The soldiers did not begin to fight or try to climb the walls of the city, or to break down the gates. The people of Jericho would have understood that kind of warfare and would have been quite ready to defend themselves. No, the movements of the great army were very strange and difficult to understand. Very silently and in perfect order the men marched round the city in a circling ring, in front the soldiers, then the priests carrying the golden shrine of the Ark of God, then the people following. Not the whispering sound of one single voice came up from that great silent marching host, only the steady tramp of their feet, and the sound of the trumpet call which the priests blew from their horns as they carried the Ark of the Lord.
"Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people."
Day after day passed, and each day the same thing happened. The
mighty army marched silently round the city in the same mysterious
way. At last came the seventh day, and the uneasy people within the
city saw that the enemy was very early astir and that they began their
marching at dawn. And this day they did not stop their march. On and
on they went until, when they had been round the city seven times, and
the priests were blowing their trumpets, a word of command rang out
At that word a mighty sound went up from the whole host, a shout that rose to heaven and seemed to shake the very earth. And behold! the walls of the city fell down flat and the gates were broken, and the children of Israel were able to go up and enter in and take the city in God's name. Joshua had done exactly as God directed, and had proved that he was a great leader.
The Taking of Jericho
And in the day of victory the promise made by the spies was not forgotten. The cord bound in the window of the little house was a flag of safety, and there Rahab and her kindred found shelter under its scarlet sign.
I went to the wood and got it;
I sat me down to look for it
And brought it home because I couldn't find it.