WEEK 49 |
O NCE upon a time a sly fox lived in a deep forest which bordered a river. One fine winter day he was lying in the sun near a brush heap with his eyes closed, and he was thinking: "It has been several days since I had a dainty supper. How I should enjoy a fine large fish this evening. I'll slip over to the edge of the forest and watch the fishermen as they go home with their day's catch. Perhaps good luck will do something for me."
Now one old man had caught a very fine lot of fish of all sizes. Indeed, he had so many that he was obliged to hire a cart in which to carry them home. He was driving along slowly when suddenly he noticed a red fox crouched under the bush near the road. He stopped his horse, jumped down from the cart, and carefully crept near the spot where he had seen Master Reynard. The fox did not open his eyes nor move a muscle.
"Well," said the old fisherman, "I do believe he is dead! What a fine coat he has. I will take him home and give him to my wife for a present." He lifted the fox and put him into the cart among the fish. The old man then mounted to his seat and drove merrily on, thinking how pleased his wife would be with the fine fish and the fox. When they were well on their way, the sly fox threw one fish after another out of the cart until all lay scattered along on the road; then he slipped out of the cart.
When the old man reached his cottage, he called out to his wife, "Come and see the fine fish I caught to-day. And I have brought you a beautiful gift, also."
His wife hurried to the cart and said, "Where are the fish, my husband, and where is my present?"
"Why, there in the cart," he replied.
"In the cart!" exclaimed his wife. "Why, there is nothing here; neither fish nor present, so far as I can see."
The old man looked and to his great surprise and disappointment he discovered that what his wife said was true.
Meanwhile, the sly fox had gathered up the fish and had taken them to the forest in order to enjoy a fine supper. Presently he heard a pleasant voice saying, "Good evening, Brother Reynard."
He looked up and saw his friend Bruin. "Oh, good evening to you," answered the fox. "I have been fishing to-day, and, as you see, luck certainly attended me."
"It did, indeed," answered the bear. "Could you not spare me one fish? I should consider the gift a great favor."
"Oh," answered the fox, "why don't you go fishing yourself? I assure you when one becomes a fisherman, he thoroughly enjoys the fruits of patience."
"Go fishing, my friend," said Bruin, in astonishment. "That is impossible. I know nothing about catching fish, I assure you."
"Pooh, it is very easy, especially in the winter time when ice nearly covers the river. Let me tell you what to do. Make a hole in the ice and stick your tail down into it. Hold it there just as long as you can and keep saying, 'Come, little fish; come, big fish.' Don't mind if the tail smarts a little; that only means that you have a bite, and I assure you the longer you hold it there the more fish you will catch. Then all at once, out with your tail. Give a strong pull sideways, then upward, and you'll have enough fish to last you several days. But mind you, follow my directions closely."
"Oh, my friend, I am very grateful for your kind information," said Bruin, and off he went to the river where he proceeded to follow Master Fox's directions.
In a short time sly Reynard passed by, and when he saw Bruin patiently sitting on the ice with his tail in a hole, he laughed until his sides ached. He said, wickedly, under his breath: "A clear sky, a clear sky! Bruin's tail will freeze, Bruin's tail will freeze."
"What did you say, my friend?" asked the bear.
"Oh, I was making a wish," replied the fox.
All night long Bruin sat there, fishing patiently. Then he decided to go home. How very heavy his tail felt. He thought to himself that all the fish in the river must be fastened there. In a little while the women of the village came to get water from the river, and when they saw the bear, they called out at the top of their voices: "Come, come! A bear, a bear! Kill him! Kill him!"
The men came quickly with great sticks in their hands. Poor Bruin gave a short pull sideways and his tail snapped off short. He made off to the woods as fast as he could go, but to this day he goes about with a stumpy tail.
|— Norwegian Legend|
|retold by Eleanor L. Skinner|
WEEK 49 |
Not many days after Kit and Kat got their skates, there came a cold, cold wind. It blew over the fields and over the canals all day and all night long; and in the morning, when the Twins looked out, the canal was one shining roadway of ice.
Father Vedder came in from the stable with a great pail full of milk.
"Winter is here now, for good and all," he said, as he set the
pail down. "The canals are frozen over, and soon it will be the
day for the feast of
Kit and Kat ran to him and said, both together,
"Dear Father Vedder, will you please teach us to skate before
"I'll see if the ice is strong enough to bear," said Father Vedder; and he went right down to the canal to see, that very minute. When he came in, he said,
"Yes, the ice is strong; and we will go out as soon as you are ready, and try your skates."
Vrouw Vedder said,
"I should like to go too"; and Father Vedder said to Kit and Kat,
"Your mother used to be the finest skater in the whole village when she was a young girl. You must not let her beat you."
They hurried through with their work—Kit and Kat helped. Then they all put on their heavy shoes and wraps, took their skates over their shoulders, and started for the canal.
"If you learn to skate well enough, we will take you to town
before the feast of
He put on his own skates and Kit's, and the mother put on her own and Kat's.
"I'm sure we can do it almost right away," said Kat.
"Now we'll show you how to skate," said Father Vedder. He stood the Twins up on the ice. They held each other's hands. They were afraid to move. Father Vedder took Mother Vedder's hand.
"See," he said, "like this!" And away they went like two swallows, skimming over the ice. In a minute they were ever so far away.
Kit and Kat felt lonesome, and very queer, when they saw their father and mother flying along in that way. They weren't used to see them do anything but work, and move about slowly.
"It looks easy," said Kit. "Let's try it. We must not be afraid."
He started with his right leg, pushing it out a little in front of him. But it was very strange how his legs acted. They didn'tseem to belong to him at all! His left leg tried to follow his right, just as it ought to; but, instead, it slid out sidewise and knocked against Kat's skates. Then both Kat's feet flew up; and she sat down very hard, on the ice. And Kit came down on top of her.
They tried to get up; but, each time they tried, their feet slid away from them.
"Oh dear," said Kat, "we are all mixed up! Are those your feet or mine? I can't tell which is which!"
"They don't any of them mind," said Kit. "I can't stand up on any of them. I've tried them all! We'll just have to wait until Father and Mother come back and pick us out."
"Ice is quite cold to sit on, isn't it?" said Kat.
Soon Father and Mother Vedder came skimming back again. When they saw Kit and Kat, they laughed and skated to them, picked them up, and set them on their feet.
"Now I'll take Kit, and you take Kat," said Vrouw Vedder to her husband, "and they'll be skating in no time." So Kat's father took her hands, and Kit took hold of his mother's, and they started off.
At first the Twins' feet didn't behave well at all. They seemed to want to do everything they could to bother them. They would sprawl way apart; then they would toe in and run into each other.
Many times Kit and Kat would have fallen if Father and Mother Vedder had not held them up; but before the lesson was over, both Kit and Kat could skate a little bit alone.
"See, this is the way," said Vrouw Vedder; and she skated around in a circle. Then she cut a figure like this 8 in the ice. Then Father Vedder did a figure like this S all on one foot.
"My!" said Kit and Kat.
"I think our parents must skate the best of all the people in the world," said Kat.
"I'm going to some day," said Kit.
"So 'm I," said Kat.
After a while Vrouw Vedder said,
"It's time to go home. Not too much the first time." So they all went back home with their cheeks as red as roses, and their noses too, and such an appetite for dinner!
But the Twins were a little lame next day.
Every day after that, Kit and Kat went out with their skates to
the ditches and tried and tried to skate as
Father and Mother did—they did so
want to skate to town and see the sights before the
"If you will watch at the window, you'll see a great sight on the canal very soon," said Kit to his mother one day.
Of course Vrouw Vedder hadn't the least idea what it would be!
Kit and Kat slipped out through the stable and ran down to the ditch. They put on their skates and skated from the ditch out to the big canal.
Vrouw Vedder was watching at the window. Soon she saw Kit and Kat go flying by, hand in hand, on the canal! They waved their hands to her. Vrouw Vedder was so pleased that she went to call Father Vedder, who was in the hay-loft over the stable.
"Come and see Kit and Kat," she cried.
Father Vedder came down from the loft and looked too. Then Kit cut a figure like this, S, and Kat cut one like this, 6. The round spot is where she sat down hard, just as she was almost around.
When they came into the kitchen Father said,
"I think we could take such a fine pair of skaters as that to the
Vink with us on our way to town! The ice is very hard and thick
for so early in the season, and we will go
"We can see the shops too.
Kit and Kat could hardly wait for
"What do you suppose the Vink is?" said Kat to Kit.
"I think it is something like a church," said Kit.
"You don't know what a Vink is—so there," said Kat. "I think it's something to eat."
Then Kit changed the subject.
"I'll race you
"I'll beat," said Kat.
"We'll see," said Kit.
The next day they started, all four, quite early in the morning. Vrouw Vedder took her basket on her arm.
"I shall want to buy some things," she said.
Father Vedder lighted his pipe—"To keep my nose warm," he said.
Then they all went down to the canal and put on their skates.
"Kat and I are going to race to the first windmill," said Kit.
"I'll tell you when to start," said Father Vedder.
"And I'll get a cake for the one who wins," said the mother.
"One, two, three!" Away they flew like the wind! Father and Mother Vedder came close behind.
Kit was so sure he would beat that he thought he would show off a little. He went zigzag across the canal; once or twice he stopped to skate in curves.
Kat didn't stop for anything. She kept her eyes on the windmill, and she skated as hard as she could.
They were getting quite near the mill now. Kit stopped playing and began to skate as fast as he could. But Kat had got the start of him.
"I'll soon get ahead of her," he thought. "She's a girl, and I'm a boy." He struck out with great long sweeps—as long as such short legs could make—but Kat kept ahead; and in another minute there she was at the windmill, quite out of breath, and pointing her finger at Kit!
"I beat—I beat," she said.
"Well, I could have beaten if I wanted to," said Kit.
"I'll get the cake," said Kat.
"I don't care," said Kit. But Kat knew that he did.
"I'll give you a piece," she said.
Father and Mother Vedder came along then; and when Kit and Kat were rested, they all skated for a long time without saying anything. Then Father Vedder said proudly to his wife,
"They keep up as well as anybody! Were there ever such Twins!" And Mother Vedder said,
By and by other people appeared on the canal—men and women and children, all skating. They were going to the town to see the sights too.
One woman skated by with her baby in her arms. One man was smoking a long pipe, and his wife was carrying a basket of eggs. But the man and woman were good skaters. They flew along, laughing; and no one could get near enough to upset them.
As they came nearer to the town, Kit and Kat saw a tent near the place where one canal opened into another. A man stood near the tent. He put his hands together and shouted through them to the skaters,
"Come in, come in, and get a drink
Of warm sweet milk on your way to the Vink."
"We must be getting quite near the Vink," Kat said. "I do wonder what it looks like! Do you think it's alive?"
They passed another tent. There a man was shouting,
"Come buy a sweet cake; it costs but a cent,
Come buy, come buy, from the man in the tent."
Vrouw Vedder said,
"I promised a cake to the one who beat in the race. We'll go in here and get it."
So they went to the tent.
They bought two cakes, and each ate half of one. Kat broke the cakes and gave them to the others, because she won the race.
When they had eaten the cakes, they skated on. The canals grew more and more crowded. There were a good many tents; flags were flying, and the whole place was very gay.
At last they saw a big building, with crowds of merry skaters about it. Many people were going in and out.
"There's the Vink," said Father Vedder.
"Where?" said Kit and Kat.
He pointed to the building.
"Oh!" said Kit. He never said another word about what they had thought it was like.
Soon they were inside the "Vink." It was a large restaurant. There were many little tables about, crowded with people, eating and drinking. Father Vedder found a table, and they all sat down.
"Bring us some pea soup," he said to the waiter. Soon they were eating the hot soup.
"This is the best thing I ever had," said Kit.
When they had eaten their soup, they went out of the building and walked through the streets of the town. All the shops were filled with pretty things. The bake shops had wonderful cakes with little candies on top, and there were great cakes made like St. Nicholas himself in his long robes.
Kit and Kat flattened their noses against all the shop windows, and looked at the toys and cakes.
"And I want some of those," Kat said, pointing to some cakes made in the shapes of birds and fish.
Vrouw Vedder had gone with her basket on an errand. Father Vedder and Kit and Kat walked slowly along, waiting for her. Soon there was a great noise up the street. There were shouts, and the clatter of wooden shoes.
"Look! Look!" cried Kit.
There, in the midst of the crowd, was a great white horse; and riding on it was the good St. Nicholas himself! He had a long white beard and red cheeks, and long robes, with a mitre on his head; and he smiled at the children, who crowded around him and followed him in a noisy procession down the street.
"Where is he going?" asked Kit and Kat.
"He's carrying presents to houses where there are good girls and boys," Father Vedder said. "For bad children, there is only a rod in the shoe."
"I'm glad we're so good," said Kit.
"When will he come to our house?" asked Kat.
Kit and Kat were in a hurry to get home, for fear the Saint would get there first.
It was growing late, so they all went to a waffle shop for their supper.
In the shop a woman sat before an open fire. On the fire was a big waffle iron. She made the waffles, put sugar and butter on them, and passed a plate of them to each one. Oh, how good they were!
When they had eaten their waffles, Father and Mother Vedder and the Twins went back to the canal and put on their skates. It was late in the afternoon: They took hold of hands and began to skate toward home, four in a row. Father and Mother Vedder were on the outside, and the Twins in the middle.
It was dark when they reached home. Vrouw Vedder lighted the fire, while Father Vedder went to feed the cow and see that the chickens and ducks and geese were all safe for the night.
Kit and Kat ran for their wooden shoes. They each took one and
put some hay in
it. This was for
WEEK 49 |
NCE there was a Little Fir Tree, slim and pointed, and shiny, which stood in
the great forest in the midst of some big fir trees, broad, and tall, and
shadowy green. The
"Come down, come down, rest in my branches!"
But they always
And when the splendid wind came blowing and
singing through the forest, it bent
and rocked and swung the tops of the
big trees, and murmured to them. Then the
Little Fir Tree looked up, and
"Oh, please, dear wind, come down and play
with me!" But he always
"Oh, no; you are too little, you are too little!"
And in the winter the white snow fell
softly, softly, and covered the great
trees all over with wonderful caps and coats of white.
The Little Fir Tree,
close down in the cover of the others,
"Oh, please, dear snow, give me a cap, too!
I want to play, too!" But the snow
"Oh no, no, no; you are too little, you are too little!"
The worst of all was when men came into the wood, with sledges and teams of
horses. They came to cut the big trees down and carry them away. And when one
had been cut down and carried away the others talked about it, and nodded their
heads. And the
But by and by, one cold winter's morning, men came with a sledge and horses, and
after they had cut here and there they came to the circle of trees round the
"There are none little enough," they said.
Oh! how the Little Fir Tree pricked up his needles!
"Here is one," said one of the men, "it is just little enough."
And he touched
The Little Fir Tree was happy as a bird, because he knew they were about to cut
him down. And when he was being carried away on the sledge
he lay wondering,
contentedly, whether he should be the
mast of a ship or part of a fine city
house. But when they came to the town
he was taken out and set upright in a tub
and placed on the edge of a sidewalk
in a row of other fir trees, all small, but
none so little as he. And then the
People kept coming to look at the trees and to take them away.
But always when
they saw the
"It is too little, too little."
Until, finally, two children came along,
hand in hand, looking carefully at all
the small trees. When they saw the
"We'll take this one; it is just little enough!"
They took him out of his tub and carried him away,
between them. And the happy
He kept wondering, while they took him in through some big doors, and set him up
in another tub, on the table, in a bare little room. Pretty soon they went away,
and came back again with a big basket, carried between them. Then some pretty
ladies, with white caps on their heads and white aprons over their blue dresses,
came bringing little parcels. The children took things out of the basket and
began to play with the
After a time every one went away and left him.
It grew dusk, and the
All at once, the doors opened and the two
children came in. Two of the pretty
ladies were with them.
They came up to the
The Little Fir Tree had a sudden sight of a long room with many little white beds in it, of children propped up on pillows in the beds, and of other children in great wheeled chairs, and others hobbling about or sitting in little chairs. He wondered why all the little children looked so white and tired; he did not know that he was in a hospital. But before he could wonder any more his breath was quite taken away by the shout those little white children gave.
"How pretty! How beautiful! Oh, isn't it lovely!"
He knew they must mean him, for all their shining
eyes were looking straight at
him. He stood as straight as a mast, and
quivered in every needle, for joy.
Presently one little weak
"It's the nicest Christmas tree I ever saw!"
And then, at last, the Little Fir Tree knew what he was; he was a Christmas tree! And from his shiny head to his feet he was glad, through and through, because he was just little enough to be the nicest kind of tree in the world!
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down on a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
WEEK 49 |
"M OTHER," said Jack, "may I have some money to buy Christmas presents with?"
"Dear," said his mother, "I have no money. We are very poor, and I can hardly buy enough food for us all."
Jack hung his head; if he had not been ten the tears would have come to his eyes, but he was ten.
"All the other boys give presents!" he said.
"So shall you!" said his mother. "All presents are not bought with money. The best boy that ever lived was as poor as we are, and yet He was always giving."
"Who was He," asked Jack; "and what did He give?"
"This is His birthday," said the mother. "He was the good Jesus. He was born in a stable, and He lived in a poor working-man's house. He never had a penny of His own, yet he gave twelve good gifts every day. Would you like to try His way?"
"Yes!" cried Jack.
So his mother told him this and that; and soon after Jack started out, dressed in his best suit, to give his presents.
First, he went to Aunt Jane's house. She was old and lame, and she did not like boys.
"What do you want?" she asked.
"Merry Christmas!" said Jack. "May I stay for an hour and help you?"
"Humph!" said Aunt Jane. "Want to keep you out of mischief, do they? Well, you may bring in some wood."
"Shall I split some kindling, too?" asked Jack.
"If you know how," said Aunt Jane. "I can't have you cutting your foot and messing my clean shed all up."
Jack found some fresh pine wood and a bright hatchet, and he split up a great pile of kindling and thought it fun. He stacked it neatly, and then brought in a pail of fresh water and filled the kettle.
"What else can I do?" he asked. "There are twenty minutes more."
"Humph!" said Aunt Jane. "You might feed the pig."
Jack fed the pig, who thanked him in his own way.
"Ten minutes more!" he said. "What shall I do now?"
"Humph!" said Aunt Jane. "You may sit down and tell me why you came."
"It is a Christmas present!" said Jack. "I am giving hours for presents. I had twelve, but I gave one to mother, and another one was gone before I knew I had it. This hour was your present."
"Humph!" said Aunt Jane. She hobbled to the cupboard and took out a small round pie that smelt very good. "Here!" she said. "This is your present, and I thank you for mine. Come again, will you?"
"Indeed I will," said Jack, "and thank you for the pie!"
Next Jack went and read for an hour to old Mr. Green, who was blind. He read a book about the sea, and they both liked it very much, so the hour went quickly. Then it was time to help mother get dinner, and then time to eat it; that took two hours, and Aunt Jane's pie was wonderful. Then Jack took the Smith baby for a ride in its carriage, as Mrs. Smith was ill, and they met its grandfather, who filled Jack's pockets with candy and popcorn and invited him to a Christmas tree that night.
Next Jack went to see Willy Brown, who had been ill for a long time and could not leave his bed. Willy was very glad to see him; they played a game, and then each told the other a story, and before Jack knew it the clock struck six.
"Oh!" cried Jack. "You have had two!"
"Two what?" asked Willy.
"Two hours!" said Jack; and he told Willy about the presents he was giving. "I am glad I gave you two," he said, "and I would give you three, but I must go and help mother."
"Oh, dear!" said Willy. "I thank you very much, Jack. I have had a perfectly great time; but I have nothing to give you."
Jack laughed. "Why, don't you see?" he cried; "you have given me just the same thing. I have had a great time, too."
"Mother," said Jack, as he was going to bed, "I have had a splendid Christmas, but I wish I had had something to give you besides the hours."
"My darling," said his mother, "you have given me the best gift of all—yourself!"
|— Laura E. Richards|
What can I give Him?
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part.
Yet what can I give Him?
Give my heart.
WEEK 49 |
It was a joyful day for the McMulligan children when Mrs. McMulligan made the Christmas cake. There were raisins to seed, and eggs to beat, and pans to scrape, and every one of the children, from the oldest to the youngest, helped to stir the batter when the good things were mixed together.
"Oh mix it, and stir it, and stir it and taste;
For ev'rything's in it, and nothing to waste;
And ev'ryone's helped—even Baby—to make
The nice brown sugary Christmas cake,"
said Mrs. McMulligan, as she poured the batter into the cake pan.
The Baker who lived at the corner was to bake the Christmas cake, so Joseph, the oldest boy, made haste to carry it to him. All the other children followed him, and together they went, oh, so carefully, out of the front door, down the sidewalk, straight to the shop where the Baker was waiting for them.
The Baker's face was so round and so
jolly that the McMulligan children thought
he must look like Santa Claus. He could
bake the whitest bread and the lightest
cake, and as soon as the children spied him
they began to
"The cake is all ready. 'Tis here in the pan;
Now bake it, good Baker, as fast as you can";
"No, no," said the Baker, "'Twould be a mistake
To hurry in baking the Christmas cake.
I'll not bake it fast, and I'll not bake it slow,
My little round clock on the wall there will show
How long I must watch, and how long I must bake,
The nice brown sugary Christmas cake."
The little round clock hung on the wall
above the oven. Its face was so bright,
and its tick was so merry, and it was busy
night and day telling the Baker when to
sleep and when to eat and when to do his
baking. When the McMulligan children
looked at it, it was just striking ten, and it
seemed to them very plainly to
" 'Tis just the right time for the Baker to bake
The nice brown sugary Christmas cake."
The oven was ready, and the Baker made haste to put the cake in.
"Ho, ho," he cried gayly, "Now isn't this fun?
'Tis ten o' the clock, and the baking's begun,
And 'tickity, tickity,' when it strikes one,
If nothing should hinder the cake will be done."
Then the McMulligan children ran home to tell their mother what he had said, and the Baker went on with his work. It was the day before Christmas, and a great many people came to his shop to buy pies and cakes, but no matter how busy he was waiting on them, he never forgot the McMulligan's cake, and every time he looked at the clock, it reminded him to peep into the oven.
So well did he watch it, and so carefully
did he bake it, that the cake was done on
the stroke of one, just as he had promised,
and he had scarcely taken it out of the
oven when the shop door flew open, and in
came the McMulligan children, every one
"The clock has struck one. The clock has struck one.
We waited to hear it—and is the cake done?"
When they saw it they thought it was the nicest, brownest, spiciest cake that was ever baked in a Baker's oven. The Baker himself said it was a beautiful cake, and if you had been at the McMulligans' on Christmas day, I am sure you would have thought so too.
Joseph carried it home, walking very
slowly and carefully, and all the other
children followed him, out of the Baker's shop,
down the sidewalk, straight home where
Mrs. McMulligan was waiting for them.
She was smiling at them from the window,
and when they spied her they all began to
"Hurrah for our Mama! She surely can make
The nicest and spiciest Christmas cake.
Hurrah for the Baker! Hurrah for the fun!
Hurrah for our Christmas cake! Now it is done."
Joseph carried it home, and all the other children followed him.
WEEK 49 |
A LITTLE boy six years old wanted the green wagon with red wheels as soon as he saw it in the Toy Shop, and when he told Mother about it she said that she thought a good plan would be to save the money to buy it for himself.
"So do I," said the little boy, and he began to save that very day.
He had birthday money that Uncle George had sent him. Father always gave him a dime on Saturday to spend as he pleased; Mother sometimes paid him for running errands. And when Grandmother heard what he was trying to do she gave him as many quarters as there were wheels on the wagon.
"You must have something to keep your money in," said Mother; and the next time she went shopping she bought him a bank, the largest one that the Toy-Lady had.
"When this is full, I believe you will have enough money for the wagon," she told him.
"Oh, yes," said the little boy; "and if I get it by Christmas I can go with Father to buy our Christmas tree and bring it home myself."
When he got the wagon, he was going to bring Mother's groceries from the store, and take Grandmother's bag to the station whenever she went to see Aunt Alice; and haul dirt for his garden when spring came; and play expressman and milkman and everything.
But it took a long time to fill the bank. Whenever the little boy shook it, the money inside would dance up and down, and Mother said, "As long as the money dances, there's room for more."
It was easier to spend pennies than to save them. The baker, whose shop was just around the corner, had gingerbread cats and dogs to sell; the apple-man with his cart full of red and yellow apples went up and down the street; there was barley-sugar candy, the nicest that ever was, at the candy store and the popcorn-man had his stand right where the little boy had to pass it whenever he went on an errand for Mother. And he liked popcorn and candy and apples and gingerbread.
But he saved more than he spent, and by and by the bank began to grow heavy. When he shook it there was not much dancing inside.
Christmas was coming and Mother had many errands for the little boy to run. She paid him every time, though, of course, he would have gone, anyway.
"This is to help buy the green wagon," she told him whenever she gave him a penny or a nickel. He went to the grocer's for sugar and spice and raisins for the Christmas cake, and to the dry-goods store for ribbons to tie on Christmas presents. He dropped Christmas letters in the mail-box, and once he went to the Post Office with a Christmas package that was almost as large as he was, though it wasn't heavy.
"When I get my wagon I can carry packages or anything in it," he told the man at the Post-Office window.
"Oh," said the man, "is Santa Claus going to bring you a wagon?" When he heard that the little boy was going to buy it for himself he was astonished.
"Well, you are getting to be a big boy," he said. And that is just what the milkman and the postman and the big jolly policeman said when they heard about the wagon and the bank, and the dancing money.
The Toy-Lady said the same thing when the little boy stopped to look at the wagon and told her he was going to buy it; and she said she hoped the bank would be full by Christmas.
"I do, too," said the little boy, and he ran every step of the way home; he was in such a hurry to shake the bank once more. Chink, clink, the money scarcely stirred.
"When you put another dime in, I believe it will be full," said Mother; and when Father came home with the Saturday dime the little boy could only just get it into the bank.
Then Mother opened the bank and all the money came tumbling out; the nickels and pennies that he had earned, and the dimes that he had saved instead of spending; the four bright quarters that Grandmother had given him and the birthday money that Uncle George had sent. When the money was counted there was enough to pay for the wagon and one penny more.
The little boy bought the wagon that very day; and I wish you could have seen the beautiful tree that he brought home in it at Christmas time.
I wish you could have seen the beautiful tree he brought home.
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
WEEK 49 |
When Saint Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, there were among his people three beautiful maidens, daughters of a nobleman. Their father was so poor that he could not afford to give them dowries, and as in that land no maid might marry without a dowry, so these three maidens could not wed the youths who loved them.
At last the father became so very poor that he no longer had money with which to buy food or clothes for his daughters, and he was overcome by shame and sorrow. As for the daughters they wept continually, for they were both cold and hungry.
One day Saint Nicholas heard of the sad state of this noble family. So at night, when the maidens were asleep, and the father was watching, sorrowful and lonely, the good saint took a handful of gold, and, tying it in a purse, set off for the nobleman's house. Creeping to the open window he threw the purse into the chamber, so that it fell on the bed of the sleeping maidens.
The father picked up the purse, and when he opened it and saw the gold, he rejoiced greatly, and awakened his daughters. He gave most of the gold to his eldest child for a dowry, and thus she was enabled to wed the young man whom she loved.
A few days later Saint Nicholas filled another purse with gold, and, as before, went by night to the nobleman's house, and tossed the purse through the open window. Thus the second daughter was enabled to marry the young man whom she loved.
Now, the nobleman felt very grateful to the unknown one who threw purses of gold into his room and he longed to know who his benefactor was and to thank him. So the next night he watched beneath the open window. And when all was dark, lo! good Saint Nicholas came for the third time, carrying a silken purse filled with gold, and as he was about to throw it on the youngest maiden's bed, the nobleman caught him by his robe, crying:—
"Oh, good Saint Nicholas! why do you hide yourself thus?"
And he kissed the saint's hands and feet, but Saint Nicholas, overcome with confusion at having his good deed discovered, begged the nobleman to tell no man what had happened.
Thus the nobleman's third daughter was enabled to marry the young man whom she loved; and she and her father and her two sisters lived happily for the remainder of their lives.
|— A Legend adapted by William S. Walsh|
"Little one, who straight hast come
Down the heavenly stair,
Tell us all about your home,
And the father there."
"He is such a one as I,
Like as like can be.
Do his will, and, by and by,
Home and him you'll see."