Text of Plan #953
  WEEK 1  

  Monday  


My Father's Dragon  by Ruth Stiles Gannett

My Father Meets the Cat

O NE cold rainy day when my father was a little boy, he met an old alley cat on his street. The cat was very drippy and uncomfortable so my father said, "Wouldn't you like to come home with me?"

This surprised the cat—she had never before met anyone who cared about old alley cats—but she said, "I'd be very much obliged if I could sit by a warm furnace, and perhaps have a saucer of milk."

"We have a very nice furnace to sit by," said my father, "and I'm sure my mother has an extra saucer of milk."


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My father and the cat became good friends but my father's mother was very upset about the cat. She hated cats, particularly ugly old alley cats. "Elmer Elevator," she said to my father, "if you think I'm going to give that cat a saucer of milk, you're very wrong. Once you start feeding stray alley cats you might as well expect to feed every stray in town, and I am not  going to do it!"


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This made my father very sad, and he apologized to the cat because his mother had been so rude. He told the cat to stay anyway, and that somehow he would bring her a saucer of milk each day. My father fed the cat for three weeks, but one day his mother found the cat's saucer in the cellar and she was extremely angry. She whipped my father and threw the cat out the door, but later on my father sneaked out and found the cat. Together they went for a walk in the park and tried to think of nice things to talk about. My father said, "When I grow up I'm going to have an airplane. Wouldn't it be wonderful to fly just anywhere you might think of!"

"Would you like to fly very, very much?" asked the cat.

"I certainly would. I'd do anything if I could fly."


[Illustration]

"Well," said the cat, "If you'd really like to fly that much, I think I know of a sort of a way you might get to fly while you're still a little boy."

"You mean you know where I could get an airplane?"

"Well, not exactly an airplane, but something even better. As you can see, I'm an old cat now, but in my younger days I was quite a traveler. My traveling days are over but last spring I took just one more trip and sailed to the Island of Tangerina, stopping at the port of Cranberry. Well, it just so happened that I missed the boat, and while waiting for the next I thought I'd look around a bit. I was particularly interested in a place called Wild Island, which we had passed on our way to Tangerina. Wild Island and Tangerina are joined together by a long string of rocks, but people never go to Wild Island because it's mostly jungle and inhabited by very wild animals. So, I decided to go across the rocks and explore it for myself. It certainly is an interesting place, but I saw something there that made me want to weep."


[Illustration]

 



Anonymous

The Man in the Moon

The Man in the Moon as he sails the sky

Is a very remarkable skipper,

But he made a mistake when he tried to take

A drink of milk from the Dipper.

He dipped right out of the Milky Way,

And slowly and carefully filled it,

The Big Bear growled, and the Little Bear howled

And frightened him so that he spilled it!

 


  WEEK 1  

  Tuesday  


Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by Edward Eggleston

The First Governor in Boston


[Illustration]

B EFORE the white people came, there were no houses in this country but the little huts of the Indians. The Indian houses were made of bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.

Some people came to one part of the country. Others started settlements in other places. When more people came, some of these settlements grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to fill with people.

The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is now, settled there a long time ago. They had a governor over them. He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John Winthrop.

The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise anything to eat. They had brought flour and oatmeal from England. But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise corn on their new ground.

Winthrop sent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They went to the sea-shore, and found clams and mussels. They were glad to get these to eat.

At last they set a day for everybody to fast and pray for food. The governor had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would get any more.

Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His bread had all been eaten up. His family were hungry. The governor gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel.

Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up toward Boston. It was loaded with food for all the people.

The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The fast day was turned into a thanksgiving day.

One day a man sent a very cross letter to Governor Winthrop. Winthrop sent it back to him. He said, "I cannot keep a letter that might make me angry." Then the man that had written the cross letter wrote to Winthrop, "By conquering yourself, you have conquered me."

 



A. A. Milne

Corner-of-the-Street

Down by the corner of the street,

Where the three roads meet,

And the feet

Of the people as they pass go "Tweet-tweet-tweet—"

Who comes tripping round the corner of the street?

One pair of shoes which are Nurse's;

One pair of slippers which are Percy's . . .

Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

 


  WEEK 1  

  Wednesday  


Among the Farmyard People  by Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Very Short Story of the Foolish Little Mouse

[Illustration]

T HE Mice who lived in the barn and around the granaries had many cousins living on the farm who were pleasant people to know. Any one could tell by looking at them that they were related, yet there were differences in size, in the coloring of their fur, in their voices, and most of all in their ways of living. Some of these cousins would come to visit at the barn in winter, when there was little to eat in the fields. The Meadow Mice never did this. They were friendly with the people who came from the farmyard to graze in the meadow, yet when they were asked to return the call, they said, "No, thank you. We are an out-of-door family, and we never enter houses. We do not often go to the farmyard, but we are always glad to see you here. Come again."

When the Cows are in the meadow, they watch for these tiny people, and stop short if they hear their voices from the grass near by. Of course the Horses are careful, for Horses will never step on any person, large or small, if they can help it. They are very particular about this.

All through the meadow you can see, if you look sharply, shallow winding paths among the grasses, and these paths are worn by the running to and fro of the Meadow Mice. Their homes are in stumps of trees or in the higher ground near the ditches. In these homes the baby Meadow Mice stay until they are large enough to go out into the great world and eat roots, grasses, and seeds with their fathers and mothers. Sometimes they do go out a little way with their mother before this, and they go in a very funny fashion. Of course, when they are babies, they drink warm milk from her body as the children of most four-legged people do. Sometimes a young Meadow Mouse does not want to stop drinking his milk when it is time for his mother to leave the nest, so he just hangs on to her with his tiny, toothless mouth, and when she goes she drags him along on the ground beside her. The ground is rather rough for such soft little babies, and they do not go far in this way, but are glad enough to snuggle down again with their brothers and sisters.

There is no danger of their being lonely, even when their mother is away, for the Meadow Mice have large families, and where there are ten babies of the same age, or even only six, which is thought a small family among their people, it is not possible for one to feel alone.

There were two fine Meadow Mice who built their nest in the bank of a ditch and were much liked by all their relatives. They had raised many children to full-grown Mousehood, and were kind and wise parents. When their children were married and had homes of their own, they still liked to come back to visit. The father and mother were gentle and kindly, as all Mice are, and were almost as handsome as when they first began to gnaw. Nobody could say that he ever saw a bit of dust on either of them.

The brown fur of the upper part of their bodies and the grayish-white fur underneath always lay sleek and tidy, and from their long whiskers to the tips of their hairless tails, they were as dainty as possible. That was one reason why they were so fine-looking, for you know it makes no difference how beautiful one may be in the first place, if he does not try to keep clean he is not pleasant to look at, while many quite plain people are charming because they look well and happy and clean.

Now this pair of Mice had eight Mouse babies in their nest. The babies were no larger than Bumble Bees at first and very pink. This was not because their fur was pink, but only because it was so very short that through it and their thin skin one saw the glow of the red blood in their veins.

"Did you ever see such beautiful babies?" said their mother proudly to her neighbors. "They are certainly the finest I ever had." Her friends smiled, for she always said the same thing whenever she had little ones. Yet they understood, for they had children of their own, and knew that although mothers love all alike, there is always a time when the youngest seems the most promising. That is before they are old enough to be naughty.

The days passed, and the eight baby Meadow Mice ate and slept and pushed each other around, and talked in their sweet, squeaky little voices. They were less pink every day and more the color of their father and mother. They grew, too, so fast that the nest was hardly large enough for them, and the teeth were showing in their tiny pink mouths. Their mother saw that they would soon be ready to go out into the world, and she began to teach them the things they needed to know. She took them outside the nest each pleasant day and gave them lessons in running and gnawing, and showed them how to crouch down on the brown earth and lie still until danger was past. After she had told them many things, she would ask them short questions to make sure that they remembered.

"How many great dangers are there?" she said.

"Five," answered the little Mice.

"What are they?"

"Hawks, Owls, Weasels, Cats, and men."

"Tell me about Hawks."

"Hawks are big birds who seem to float in the air. They have very sharp eyes, and when they see a Mouse they drop suddenly down and catch him. They fly in the daytime."

"Tell me about Owls."

"They are big birds who fly by night without making any noise. They can see from far away, and they catch Mice."

"Tell me about Weasels."

"They are slender little animals, nearly twice as long as a Mouse. They have small heads, four short legs, and sharp claws; have brown fur on their backs and white underneath, and sometimes, when the weather is very cold, they turn white all over."

"Tell me about Cats."

"Cats are very much bigger than Weasels, and are of many colors. They have long tails and whiskers, and dreadful great eyes. They walk on four legs, but make no noise because they have cushions on their feet."

"Tell me about men."

"Men are very big, two-legged people, and when they are fully grown are taller than Cows. They make noise in walking, and they can neither smell nor see us from afar."

"And what are you to do when you see these dangers coming?"

"We are to run away as fast as we can from Hawks, Weasels, Owls, and Cats. If a man comes near us, we are to lie perfectly still and watch him, and are not to move unless we are sure that he sees us or is likely to step on us. Men do not know so much about Mice as the other dangers do."

"And what if you are not sure that the creature is a Hawk, an Owl, a Weasel or a Cat?"

"If we even think it may be, we are to run."

"When are you to run?"

"At once."

"Say that again."

"We are to run at once."

"Very good. That is all for to-day."

You can see how well the Meadow Mouse mother brought up her children, and how carefully she taught them about life. If they had been wise and always minded her, they would have saved themselves much trouble.

Seven of them were dutiful and obedient, but the largest of the eight, and the finest-looking, liked to decide things for himself, and often laughed at his brothers and sisters for being afraid. Because he was so big and handsome, and spoke in such a dashing way, they sometimes wondered if he didn't know as much as their mother.

One sunshiny day, when all the eight children were playing and feeding together in the short grass, one of them saw a great black bird in the air. "Oh, look!" she cried. "That may be a Hawk. We'd better run."

"Pooh!" said the biggest little Meadow Mouse. "Who's afraid?"

"Mother said to run," they squeaked, and seven long bare tails whisked out of sight under a stump.

"Ho-ho!" said the biggest little Meadow Mouse. "Before I'd be so scared! I dare you to come back! I dare you to——"

Just then the Hawk swooped down. And that is the end of the story, for after that, there was no foolish little Meadow Mouse to tell about.


[Illustration]

 



Dinah Mulock

The New Year

Who comes dancing over the snow,

His soft little feet all bare and rosy?

Open the door though the wild winds blow,

Take the child in and make him cozy.

Take him in and hold him dear,

For he is the wonderful glad New Year.

 


  WEEK 1  

  Thursday  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Around the Fire  by Lisa M. Ripperton

Rumpelstiltskin


[Illustration]

dropcap image HERE was once a miller who was poor, but he had one beautiful daughter. It happened one day that he came to speak with the king, and, to give himself consequence, he told him that he had a daughter who could spin gold out of straw. The king said to the miller,

"That is an art that pleases me well; if thy daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to my castle to-morrow, that I may put her to the proof."

When the girl was brought to him, he led her into a room that was quite full of straw, and gave her a wheel and spindle, and said,

"Now set to work, and if by the early morning thou hast not spun this straw to gold thou shalt die." And he shut the door himself, and left her there alone.

And so the poor miller's daughter was left there sitting, and could not think what to do for her life; she had no notion how to set to work to spin gold from straw, and her distress grew so great that she began to weep.


[Illustration]

Then all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, who said,

"Good evening, miller's daughter; why are you crying?"

"Oh!" answered the girl, "I have got to spin gold out of straw, and I don't understand the business."

Then the little man said,

"What will you give me if I spin it for you?"

"My necklace," said the girl.

The little man took the necklace, seated himself before the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr! three times round and the bobbin was full; then he took up another, and whirr, whirr, whirr! three times round, and that was full; and so he went on till the morning, when all the straw had been spun, and all the bobbins were full of gold. At sunrise came the king, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and very much rejoiced, for he was very avaricious. He had the miller's daughter taken into another room filled with straw, much bigger than the last, and told her that as she valued her life she must spin it all in one night. The girl did not know what to do, so she began to cry, and then the door opened, and the little man appeared and said,

"What will you give me if I spin all this straw into gold?"

"The ring from my finger," answered the girl.

So the little man took the ring, and began again to send the wheel whirring round, and by the next morning all the straw was spun into glistening gold. The king was rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but as he could never have enough of gold, he had the miller's daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said,

"This, too, must be spun in one night, and if you accomplish it you shall be my wife." For he thought, "Although she is but a miller's daughter, I am not likely to find any one richer in the whole world."

As soon as the girl was left alone, the little man appeared for the third time and said,

"What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time?"

"I have nothing left to give," answered the girl.

"Then you must promise me the first child you have after you are queen," said the little man.

"But who knows whether that will happen?" thought the girl; but as she did not know what else to do in her necessity, she promised the little man what he desired, upon which he began to spin, until all the straw was gold. And when in the morning the king came and found all done according to his wish, he caused the wedding to be held at once, and the miller's pretty daughter became a queen.

In a year's time she brought a fine child into the world, and thought no more of the little man; but one day he came suddenly into her room, and said,

"Now give me what you promised me."

The queen was terrified greatly, and offered the little man all the riches of the kingdom if he would only leave the child; but the little man said,

"No, I would rather have something living than all the treasures of the world."

Then the queen began to lament and to weep, so that the little man had pity upon her.

"I will give you three days," said he, "and if at the end of that time you cannot tell my name, you must give up the child to me."

Then the queen spent the whole night in thinking over all the names that she had ever heard, and sent a messenger through the land to ask far and wide for all the names that could be found. And when the little man came next day, (beginning with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar) she repeated all she knew, and went through the whole list, but after each the little man said,

"That is not my name."

The second day the queen sent to inquire of all the neighbours what the servants were called, and told the little man all the most unusual and singular names, saying,

"Perhaps you are called Roast-ribs, or Sheepshanks, or Spindleshanks?" But he answered nothing but

"That is not my name."

The third day the messenger came back again, and said,

"I have not been able to find one single new name; but as I passed through the woods I came to a high hill, and near it was a little house, and before the house burned a fire, and round the fire danced a comical little man, and he hopped on one leg and cried,

"To-day do I bake, to-morrow I brew,

The day after that the queen's child comes in;

And oh! I am glad that nobody knew

That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!"


[Illustration]

You cannot think how pleased the queen was to hear that name, and soon afterwards, when the little man walked in and said, "Now, Mrs. Queen, what is my name?" she said at first,

"Are you called Jack?"

"No," answered he.

"Are you called Harry?" she asked again.

"No," answered he. And then she said,

"Then perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin!"

"The devil told you that! the devil told you that!" cried the little man, and in his anger he stamped with his right foot so hard that it went into the ground above his knee; then he seized his left foot with both his hands in such a fury that he split in two, and there was an end of him.


[Illustration]

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

The Lamplighter

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.

It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;

For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,

With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.


Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,

And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be;

But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,

O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!


For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,

And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;

And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;

O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

 


  WEEK 1  

  Friday  


On the Shores of the Great Sea  by M. B. Synge

The Home of Abraham

"In the faith of little children, we went on our ways."

—Kipling.

I T is strange to think of a very old world, when men knew nothing of the great salt sea that washed their shores, and nothing of the wonderful lands, that lay beyond. Each day the sun rose and set as it does to-day, but they did not know the reason why: the rivers flowed through the land, but they did not know whence they came, or whither they went.

These men of old, knew one great fact. They knew that they must live in a land, where there was plenty of water. How else could their sheep and oxen stay their thirst? how else should they and their children get food and drink? and how should the grain grow to save the land from famine?

So wherever a man settled down with his family in the old days, he chose some place near a river or spring. Perhaps others would wander over the land till they came to the same river, and there they would settle too, until there would be quite a little colony of families all attracted to the same spot by the fact that fresh, clean water, was flowing through the land.

And so it was that, long ago, the old stories tell us of a group of men, women, and children, who came and settled around a great river, called the Euphrates, away in the far East. It was one of the four rivers that watered the garden of Eden—a very beautiful and fertile spot.

This little group of settlers—known as the Chaldeans—grew corn in their rich country and became very prosperous, while other men were wandering about the trackless land with no fixed abode or calling.

These Chaldeans taught themselves many things. They made bricks and built houses to live in, they looked at the deep blue sky over their heads and learnt about the sun; they wandered about by night and learnt about the moon and the stars, they divided their time into seven days and called the days after seven stars, they taught themselves arithmetic and geometry. Of course they had no paper and pens to write with, but they scratched simple pictures on stones and tablets. For instance, a little drawing of one nail meant the figure I., two nails meant II., three nails in a row meant III., and so on.

Even to-day men go out to this old country, which has long since ceased to take any part in the world's history, and they find the old stones and tablets scratched by the Chaldeans, and learn more about these industrious people.

The Chaldeans knew a great deal, but they knew nothing beyond their own country, for how should they? There were no carts, no trains, no bridges over the rivers, no ships, in those early days. Travelling was very slow and difficult. On the backs of camels or asses the journeys must be made, under the burning sun and over the trackless desert land: food must be carted, and even water; for how could they tell where rivers ran in those unknown, unexplored regions?

But the day was at hand when one man with his whole family should travel from this land beyond the Euphrates, travel away from the busy life of the Chaldean cities into a new and unknown country.

That man was known as Abraham.

He was a great man in the far East; he was well read in the stars, and had learnt much about the rising and setting of the sun and moon. Why he was called to leave his native land is not known. "Get thee out of thine own country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee."

These were Abraham's orders.

And one day he rose up, and taking his old father Terah, his wife Sarai, and his fatherless young nephew Lot, with camels and asses bearing all his possessions, he left Chaldea.

The little party journeyed for a day, perhaps more, until they came to the frontier fortress of their own country, and here the old father Terah died before ever he had crossed that river that bounded the land of his birth.

And Abraham started off again to travel into the unknown land. The great river Euphrates rolled its vast volume of waters between him and the country to which his steps were bent. Two days' journey would bring him to the high chalk cliffs, from which he could overlook the wide western desert. Broad and strong lay the great stream below. He crossed it, probably near the same point where it is still forded. He crossed it and became known as the Hebrew—the man who had crossed the river flood—the man who came from beyond the Euphrates.

 



Richard B. Sheridan

The Months

January snowy, February flowy, March blowy;

April showery, May flowery, June bowery;

July moppy, August croppy, September poppy;

October breezy, November wheezy, December freezy.

 


  WEEK 1  

  Saturday  


The Swiss Twins  by Lucy Fitch Perkins

The Responsible Cuckoo

H IGH on the kitchen wall of an old farm-house on a mountain-side in Switzerland there hangs a tiny wooden clock. In the tiny wooden clock there lives a tiny wooden cuckoo, and every hour he hops out of his tiny wooden door, takes a look about to see what is going on in the world, shouts out the time of day, and pops back again into his little dark house, there to wait and tick away the minutes until it is time once more to tell the hour.

Late one spring afternoon, just as the sun was sinking out of sight, lighting up the snow-capped mountains with beautiful colors and sending long shafts of golden light across the valleys, the cuckoo woke with a start.

"Bless me!" he said to himself, "Here it is six o'clock and not a sound in the kitchen! It's high time for Mother Adolf to be getting supper. What in the world this family would do without me I really cannot think! They'd never know it was supper time if I didn't tell them, and would starve to death as likely as not. It is lucky for them I am such a responsible bird." The tiny wooden door flew open and he stuck out his tiny wooden head. There was not a sound in the kitchen but the loud ticking of the clock.

"Just as I thought," said the cuckoo. "Not a soul here."

There stood the table against the kitchen wall, with a little gray mouse on it nibbling a crumb of cheese. A long finger of sunlight streamed through the western window and touched the great stone stove, as if trying to waken the fire within. A beam fell upon a pan of water standing on the floor and sent gay sparkles of light dancing over the shining tins in the cupboard. The cuckoo saw it all at a glance. "This will never do," he ticked indignantly. There was a queer rumbling sound in his insides as if his feelings were getting quite too much for him, and then suddenly he sent a loud "cuckoo" ringing through the silent room. Instantly the little gray mouse leaped down from the table and scampered away to his hole in the wall, the golden sunbeam flickered and was gone, and shadows began to creep into the corners. "Cuckoo, cuckoo," he shouted at the top of his voice, "cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo,"—six times in all,—and then, his duty done, he popped back again into his little dark house, and the door clicked behind him.

Out in the garden Mother Adolf heard him and, raising her head from the onion-bed, where she was pulling weeds, she counted on her fingers, "One, two, three, four, five, six! Bless my soul, six o'clock and the sun already out of sight behind old Pilatus," she said, and, rising from her knees a little stiffly, she stood for a moment looking down the green slopes toward the valley.

Far, far below, the blue waters of Lake Lucerne mirrored the glowing colors of the mountain-peaks beyond its farther shore, and nearer, among the foothills of old Pilatus itself, a little village nestled among green trees, its roofs clustered about a white church-spire. Now the bells in the steeple began to ring, and the sound floated out across the green fields spangled with yellow daffodils, and reached Mother Adolf where she stood. Bells from more distant villages soon joined in the clamor, until all the air was filled with music and a hundred echoes woke in the mountains.

The tiny wooden cuckoo heard them and ticked loudly with satisfaction. "Everybody follows me," he said to himself proudly. "I wake all the bells in the world."

"Where can the children be?" said Mother Adolf aloud to herself, looking about the garden. "I haven't heard a sound from either the baby or the Twins for over an hour," and, making a hollow between her hands, she added her own bit of music to the chorus of the hills.


[Illustration]

she sang, and immediately from behind the willows which fringed the brook at the end of the garden two childish voices gave back an answering strain.

A moment later two sunburned, towheaded, blue-eyed children, a boy and girl of ten, appeared, dragging after them a box mounted on rough wooden wheels in which there sat a round, pink, blue-eyed cherub of a baby. Shouting with laughter, they came tearing up the garden path to their mother's side.

"Hush, my children," said Mother Adolf, laying her finger on her lips. "It is the Angelus."

The shouts were instantly silenced, and the two children stood beside the mother with clasped hands and bowed heads until the echoes of the bells died away in the distance.


[Illustration]

Far down on the long path to the village a man, bending under the weight of a huge basket, also stood still for a moment in silent prayer, then toiled again up the steep slope.

"See," cried Mother Adolf as she lifted her head, "there comes Father from the village with bread for our supper in his basket. Run, Seppi, and help him bring the bundles home. Our Fritz will soon be coming with the goats, too, and he and Father will both be as hungry as wolves and in a hurry for their supper. Hark!" she paused to listen.

Far away from out the blue shadows of the mountain came the sound of a horn playing a merry little tune.

"There's Fritz now," cried Mother Adolf. "Hurry, Seppi, and you, Leneli, come with me to the kitchen. You can give little Roseli her supper, while I spread the table and set the soup to boil before the goats get here to be milked." She lifted the baby in her arms as she spoke, and set off at a smart pace toward the house, followed by Leneli dragging the cart and playing peek-a-boo with the baby over her mother's shoulder.

When they reached the door, Leneli sat down on the step, and Mother Adolf put the baby in her arms and went at once into the quiet house. Then there was a sound of quick steps about the kitchen, a rattling of the stove, and a clatter of tins which must have pleased the cuckoo, and soon she reappeared in the door with a bowl and spoon in her hands.


[Illustration]

The bowl she gave to Leneli, and little Roseli, crowing with delight, seized the spoon and stuck it first into an eye, and then into her tiny pink button of a nose, in a frantic effort to find her mouth. It was astonishing to Baby Roseli how that rosebud mouth of hers managed to hide itself, even though she was careful to keep it wide open while she searched for it. When she had explored her whole face with the spoon in vain, Leneli took the tiny hand in hers and guided each mouthful down the little red lane.

Over their heads the robin in the cherry tree by the door sat high up on a twig and chirped a good-night song to his nestlings. "Cherries are ripe, cherries are ripe, cherries are ripe in June," sang the robin. At least that is what Leneli told the baby he said, and surely she ought to know.

Before Baby Roseli had finished the last mouthful of her supper, Father and Seppi appeared with the bundles, and then there was the clatter of many little hoofs on the hard earth of the door-yard, and round the corner of the old gray farm-house came big brother Fritz with the goats.


[Illustration]

With Fritz came Bello, his faithful dog, barking and wagging his tail for joy at getting home again. Bello ran at once to Leneli and licked her hand, nearly upsetting the bowl of milk in his noisy greeting, and the baby crowed with delight and seized him by his long, silky ears.

"Down, Bello, down," cried Leneli, holding the bowl high out of reach; "you'll spill the baby's supper!" And Bello, thinking she meant that he should beg for it, sat up on his hind legs with his front paws crossed and barked three times, as Fritz had taught him to do.

"He must have a bite or he'll forget his manners," laughed Fritz, and Leneli broke off a crumb of bread and tossed it to him. Bello caught it before it fell, swallowed it at one gulp, and begged for more.


[Illustration]

"No, no," said Leneli, "good old Bello, go now with Fritz and help him drive the goats to the milking-shed, and by and by you shall have your supper."

Fritz whistled, and instantly Bello was off like a shot after Nanni, the brown goat, who was already on her way to the garden to eat the young green carrot-tops she saw peeping out of the ground.

"It's time that child was in bed," said the cuckoo to himself, and out he came from his little house and called "cuckoo" seven times so reproachfully that Leneli hastened upstairs with the baby and put her down in her crib at once.

Baby Roseli did not agree with the cuckoo. She wanted to stay up and play with Bello, and hear the robin sing, but Leneli sat down beside the crib, and while Mother Adolf milked the goats she sang over and over again an old song.

"Sleep, baby, sleep!

Thy father watches the sheep,

Thy mother is shaking the dreamland tree

And down falls a little dream on thee.

Sleep, baby, sleep!"


"Sleep, baby, sleep!

The large stars are the sheep,

The little stars are the lambs, I guess,

And the silver moon is the shepherdess.

Sleep, baby, sleep!"

Over and over she sang it, until at last the heavy lids closed over the blue eyes. Then she crept quietly down the creaking stairs in the dark, and ate her bread and cheese and drank her soup by candle-light with her father and mother, Seppi and Fritz, all seated about the kitchen table.

By nine o'clock the room was once more silent and deserted, the little mouse was creeping quietly from his hole in the wall, and Bello lay by the door asleep with his nose on his paws. High over Mt. Pilatus the moon sailed through the star-lit sky, bathing the old gray farm-house in silver light and playing hide and seek with shadows on the snow-capped peaks.

"Cuckoo," called the tiny wooden cuckoo nine times, and at once the bells in the village steeple answered him. "That's as it should be," ticked the cuckoo. "That church-bell is really very intelligent. Let me see; to-morrow morning I must wake the roosters at three, and the sun at four, and the family must be up by five. I'll just turn in and get a wink of sleep myself while I can," and he popped into the clock once more and shut the door.

 



Christopher Morley

Animal Crackers

Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,

That is the finest of suppers I think;

When I'm grown up and can have what I please

I think I shall always insist upon these.

What do you  choose when you're offered a treat?

When Mother says, "What would you like best to eat?"

Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?

It's cocoa and animals that I love most!


The kitchen's the cosiest place that I know;

The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,

And there in the twilight, how jolly to see

The cocoa and animals waiting for me.


Daddy and Mother dine later in state,

With Mary to cook for them, Susan to wait;

But they don't have nearly as much fun as I

Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by;

And Daddy once said, he would like to be me

Having cocoa and animals once more for tea.

 


  WEEK 1  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Story of a Beautiful Garden

Genesis i: 1, to iii: 24.

dropcap image HIS great round world, on which we live, is very old; so old that no one knows when it was made. But long before there was any earth, or sun, or stars, God was living, for God never began to be. He always was. And long, long ago, God spoke, and the earth and the heavens came. But the earth was not beautiful as it is now, with mountains and valleys, rivers and seas, with trees and flowers. It was a great smoking ball, with land and water mingled in one mass. And all the earth was blacker than midnight, for there was no light upon it. No man could have breathed its air, no animals could walk upon it, and no fish could swim in its black oceans. There was no life upon the earth.

While all was dark upon earth, God said, "Let there be light," and then the light began to come upon the world. Part of the time it was light, and part of the time it was dark, just as it is now. And God called the dark time Night, and the light time Day. And that was the first day upon this earth after a long night.

Then at God's word, the dark clouds all around the earth began to break, and the sky came in sight, and the water that was in the clouds began to be separate from the water that was on the earth. And the arch of the sky which was over the earth God called Heaven. Thus the night and the morning made a second day.

Then God said, "Let the water on the earth come together in one place, and let the dry land rise up." And so it was. The water that had been all over the world came together, and formed a great ocean, and the dry land rose up from it. And the great water God called Sea, and the dry land he named Earth: and God saw that the Earth and the Sea were both good. Then God said, "Let grass and trees, and flowers, and fruits, grow on the earth." And at once the earth began to be green and bright with grass, and flowers, and trees bearing fruit. This made the third day upon the earth.

Then God said, "Let the sun, and moon, and stars come into sight from the earth." So the sun began to shine by day, and the moon and the stars began to shine in the night. And this was done on the fourth day.

And God said, "Let there be fishes in the sea, and let there be birds to fly in the air." So the fishes, great ones and small, began to swim in the sea; and the birds began to fly in the air over the earth, just as they do now. And this was the fifth day.

Then God said, "Let the animals come upon the earth, great animals and small ones; those that walk and those that creep and crawl on the earth." And the woods and the fields began to be alive with animals of all kinds. And now the earth began to be more beautiful, with its green fields and bright flowers, and singing birds in the trees, and animals of every kind walking in the forests.

But there were no people in the world—no cities nor houses, and no children playing under the trees. The world was all ready for men and women to enjoy it: and so God said, "I will make man, to be different from all other animals. He shall stand up and shall have a soul, and shall be like God; and he shall be the master of the earth and all that is upon it."

So God took some of the dust that was on the ground, and out of it he made man; and God breathed into him the breath of life, and man became alive, and stood up on the earth.

And so that the man whom God had made might have a home, God planted a beautiful garden on the earth, at a place where four rivers met. Perhaps we might rather call it a park, for it was much larger than any garden that you have ever seen, for it was miles and miles in every direction. In this garden, or park, God planted trees, and caused grass to grow, and made flowers to bloom. This was called "The Garden of Eden," and as in one of the languages of the Bible the word that means "garden," or "park," is a word quite like the word "Paradise," this Garden of Eden has often been called "Paradise." This garden God gave to the man that he had made; and told him to care for it, and to gather the fruits upon the trees and the plants, and to live upon them. And God gave to the first man the name Adam: and God brought to Adam the animals that he had made, and let Adam give to each one its name.

But Adam was all alone in this beautiful garden. And God said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make some one to be with Adam, and to help him." So when Adam was asleep, God took a rib from Adam's side, and from it God made a woman; and he brought her to Adam, and Adam called her Eve. And Adam and Eve loved one another; and they were happy in the beautiful garden which God had given them for a home.


[Illustration]

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Thus in six days the Lord God made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them. And on the seventh day God rested from his work.

For a time, we do not know how long, Adam and Eve were at peace in their beautiful garden. They did just as God told them to do, and talked with God as a man would talk with his friend; and they did not know of anything evil or wicked. It was needful for Adam and Eve to understand that they must always obey God's commands. So God said to Adam and Eve:

"You may eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden except one. In the middle of the garden grows a tree, with fruit upon it that you must not eat and you must not touch. If you eat of the fruit upon that tree, you shall die."

Now among the animals in the garden there was a snake: and this snake said to Eve, "Has God told you that there is any kind of fruit in the garden, of which you are forbidden to eat?"

And Eve answered the snake, "We can eat the fruit of all the trees except the one that stands in the middle of the garden. If we eat the fruit of that tree, God says that we must die."

Then the snake said, "No, you will not surely die. God knows that if you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will become as wise as God himself, for you will know what is good and what is evil."

Eve listened to the snake, and then she looked at the tree and its fruit. As she saw it, she thought that it would taste good; and if it would really make one wise, she would like to eat it, even though God had told her not to do so. She took the fruit, and ate it; and then she gave some to Adam, and he too ate it.

Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong in not obeying God's words: and now for the first time they were afraid to meet God. They tried to hide themselves from God's sight among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called and said, "Adam, where are you?" And Adam said, "Lord, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and I hid myself."

And God said, "Why were you afraid to meet me? Have you eaten the fruit of the tree of which I told you that you must not touch it?" And Adam said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it."

Then God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" And Eve said, "The snake told me that it would do me no harm if I should eat the fruit, and so I took some of it and ate it."

Then the Lord God said to the snake, "Because you have led Adam and Eve to do wrong, you shall no more walk as do other animals; you shall crawl in the dust and the dirt forever. You shall hate the woman, and the woman shall hate you. You shall try to kill her and her children, and her children's children forever, and they shall try to kill you."

And the Lord God said to the woman, "Because you led your husband to disobey me, you shall suffer and have pain and trouble all the days of your life."

And God said to Adam, "Because you listened to your wife when she told you to do what was wrong, you too must suffer. You must work for everything that you get from the ground. You will find thorns and thistles and weeds growing on the earth. If you want food, you must dig and plant and reap and work, as long as you live. You came out from the ground, for you were made of dust, and back again into the dust shall your body go when you die."

And because Adam and Eve had disobeyed the word of the Lord, they were driven out of the beautiful Garden of Eden, which God had made to be their home. They were sent out into the world; and to keep them from going back into the garden, God placed his angels before its gate, with swords which flashed like fire.


[Illustration]

Adam and Eve sent out into the world.

So Adam and his wife lost their garden, and no man has ever been able to go into it from that day.

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

A Diamond or a Coal?

A diamond or a coal?

A diamond, if you please:

Who cares about a clumsy coal

Beneath the summer trees?


A diamond or a coal?

A coal, sir, if you please:

One comes to care about the coal

What time the waters freeze.