WEEK 14 |
HAT Winter was a very cold one. And one night in December, when they were all sitting round the warm fire in the kitchen, and the Doctor was reading aloud to them out of books he had written himself in animal-language, the owl, Too-Too, suddenly said,
"Sh! What's that noise outside?"
They all listened; and presently they heard the sound of some one running. Then the door flew open and the monkey, Chee-Chee, ran in, badly out of breath.
"Doctor!" he cried, "I've just had a message from a cousin of mine in Africa. There is a terrible sickness among the monkeys out there. They are all catching it—and they are dying in hundreds. They have heard of you, and beg you to come to Africa to stop the sickness."
"Who brought the message?" asked the Doctor, taking off his spectacles and laying down his book.
"A swallow," said Chee-Chee. "She is outside on the rain-butt."
"Bring her in by the fire," said the Doctor. "She must be perished with the cold. The swallows flew South six weeks ago!"
So the swallow was brought in, all huddled and shivering; and although she was a little afraid at first, she soon got warmed up and sat on the edge of the mantelpiece and began to talk.
When she had finished the Doctor said,
"I would gladly go to Africa—especially in this bitter weather. But I'm afraid we haven't money enough to buy the tickets. Get me the money-box, Chee-Chee."
So the monkey climbed up and got it off the top shelf of the dresser.
There was nothing in it—not one single penny!
"I felt sure there was twopence left," said the Doctor.
"I felt sure there was twopence left."
"There was," said the owl. "But you spent it on a rattle for that badger's baby when he was teething."
"Did I?" said the Doctor—"dear me, dear me! What a nuisance money is, to be sure! Well, never mind. Perhaps if I go down to the seaside I shall be able to borrow a boat that will take us to Africa. I knew a seaman once who brought his baby to me with measles. Maybe he'll lend us his boat—the baby got well."
So early the next morning the Doctor went down to the seashore. And when he came back he told the animals it was all right—the sailor was going to lend them the boat.
Then the crocodile and the monkey and the parrot were very glad and began to sing, because they were going back to Africa, their real home. And the Doctor said,
"I shall only be able to take you three—with Jip the dog, Dab-Dab the duck, Gub-Gub the pig and the owl, Too-Too. The rest of the animals, like the dormice and the water-voles and the bats, they will have to go back and live in the fields where they were born till we come home again. But as most of them sleep through the Winter, they won't mind that—and besides, it wouldn't be good for them to go to Africa."
So then the parrot, who had been on long sea-voyages before, began telling the Doctor all the things he would have to take with him on the ship.
"You must have plenty of pilot-bread," she
"I expect the ship will have its own anchor," said the Doctor.
"Well, make sure," said Polynesia. "Because it's very important. You can't stop if you haven't got an anchor. And you'll need a bell."
"What's that for?" asked the Doctor.
"To tell the time by," said the parrot. "You go and ring it every half-hour and then you know what time it is. And bring a whole lot of rope—it always comes in handy on voyages."
Then they began to wonder where they were going to get the money from to buy all the things they needed.
"Oh, bother it! Money again," cried the Doctor. "Goodness! I shall be glad to get to Africa where we don't have to have any! I'll go and ask the grocer if he will wait for his money till I get back—No, I'll send the sailor to ask him."
So the sailor went to see the grocer. And presently he came back with all the things they wanted.
Then the animals packed up; and after they had turned off the water so the pipes wouldn't freeze, and put up the shutters, they closed the house and gave the key to the old horse who lived in the stable. And when they had seen that there was plenty of hay in the loft to last the horse through the Winter, they carried all their luggage down to the seashore and got on to the boat.
The Cat's-meat-Man was there to see them off; and he brought a large suet-pudding as a present for the Doctor because, he said he had been told, you couldn't get suet-puddings in foreign parts.
As soon as they were on the ship, Gub-Gub, the pig, asked where the beds were, for it was four o'clock in the afternoon and he wanted his nap. So Polynesia took him downstairs into the inside of the ship and showed him the beds, set all on top of one another like book-shelves against a wall.
"Why, that isn't a bed!" cried Gub-Gub. "That's a shelf!"
"Beds are always like that on ships," said the parrot. "It isn't a shelf. Climb
up into it and go to sleep. That's what you call 'a
"I don't think I'll go to bed yet," said Gub-Gub. "I'm too excited. I want to go upstairs again and see them start."
"Well, this is your first trip," said Polynesia. "You will get used to the life after a while." And she went back up the stairs of the ship, humming this song to herself,
I've seen the Black Sea and the Red Sea;
I rounded the Isle of Wight;
I discovered the Yellow River,
And the Orange too—by night.
Now Greenland drops behind again,
And I sail the ocean Blue.
I'm tired of all these colors, Jane,
So I'm coming back to you.
They were just going to start on their journey, when the Doctor said he would have to go back and ask the sailor the way to Africa.
But the swallow said she had been to that country many times and would show them how to get there.
So the Doctor told Chee-Chee to pull up the anchor and the voyage began.
And the voyage began.
As I walked over the hill one day,
I listened and heard a mother-sheep say,
"In all the green world there is nothing so sweet,
As my little lamb, with his nimble feet;
With his eye so bright,
And his wool so white,
Oh, he is my darling, my heart's delight!"
And the mother-sheep and her little one
Side by side lay down in the sun.
I went to the kitchen and what did I see,
But the old gray cat with her kittens three!
I heard her whispering soft: said she,
"My kittens, with tails so cunningly curled,
Are the prettiest things that can be in the world.
The bird on the tree,
And the old ewe, she,
May love their babies exceedingly;
But I love my kittens there,
Under the rocking-chair.
I love my kittens with all my might,
I love them at morning, noon, and night.
Now I'll take up my kitties, the kitties I love,
And we'll lie down together, beneath the warm stove."
I went to the yard and saw the old hen
Go clucking about with her chickens ten;
She clucked and she scratched and she bustled away,
And what do you think I heard the hen say?
I heard her say, "The sun never did shine
On anything like to these chickens of mine;
You may hunt the full moon, and the stars, if you please,
But you never will find such chickens as these.
My dear, downy darlings, my sweet little things,
Come, nestle now cozily under my wings."
So the hen said,
And the chickens all sped
As fast as they could to their nice feather bed.
WEEK 14 |
P UTNAM was a brave soldier. He fought many battles against the Indians. After that he became a general in the Revolution. But this is a story of his battle with a wolf. It took place when he was a young man, before he was a soldier.
Putnam lived in Connecticut. In the woods there were still a few wolves. One old wolf came to Putnam's neighborhood every winter. She always brought a family of young wolves with her.
The hunters would always kill the young wolves. But they could not find the old mother wolf. She knew how to keep out of the way.
The farmers tried to catch her in their traps. But she was too cunning. She had had one good lesson when she was young. She had put the toes of one foot into a steel trap. The trap had snipped them off. After that she was more careful.
One winter night she went out to get some meat. She came to Putnam's flock of sheep and goats. She killed some of them. She found it great fun.
There were no dogs about. The poor sheep had nobody to protect them. So the old wolf kept on killing. One sheep was enough for her supper. But she killed the rest just for sport. She killed seventy sheep and goats that night.
Putnam and his friends set out to find the old sheep killer. There were six men of them. They agreed that two of them should hunt for her at a time. Then another two should begin as soon as the first two should stop. So she would be hunted day and night.
The hunters found her track in the snow. There could be no mistake about it. The track made by one of her feet was shorter than those made by the other feet. That was because one of her feet had been caught in a trap.
The hunters found that the old wolf had gone a long way off. Perhaps she felt guilty. She must have thought that she would be hunted. She had trotted away for a whole night.
Then she turned and went back again. She was getting hungry by this time. She wanted some more sheep.
The men followed her tracks back again. The dogs drove her into a hole. It was not far from Putnam's house.
All the farmers came to help catch her. They sent the dogs into the cave where the wolf was. But the wolf bit the dogs, and drove them out again.
Then the men put a pile of straw in the mouth of the cave. They set
the straw on fire. It filled the cave with smoke. But
Then they burned brimstone in the cave. It must have made the wolf sneeze. But the cave was deep. She went as far in as she could, and staid there. She thought that the smell of brimstone was not so bad as the dogs and men who wanted to kill her.
Putnam wanted to send his negro into the cave to drive out the wolf. But the negro thought that he would rather stay out.
Then Putnam said that he would go in himself. He tied a rope to his
legs. Then he got
some pieces of
He got down on his hands and knees. He held the blazing bark in his hand. He crawled through the small hole into the cave. There was not room for him to stand up.
At first the cave went downward into the ground. Then it was level a little way. Then it went upward. At the very back of this part of the cave was the wolf. Putnam crawled up until he could see the wolf's eyes.
When the wolf saw the fire, she gave a sudden growl. Putnam jerked the rope that was tied to his leg. The men outside thought that the wolf had caught him. They pulled on the other end of the rope.
The men pulled as fast as they could. When they had drawn Putnam out, his clothes were torn. He was badly scratched by the rocks.
He now got his gun. He held it in one hand. He held the burning birch-bark in the other. He crawled into the cave again.
When the wolf saw him coming again, she was very angry. She snapped her teeth. She got ready to spring on him. She meant to kill him as she had killed his sheep. Putnam fired at her head.
As soon as his gun went off, he jerked the rope. His friends pulled him out.
He waited awhile for the smoke of his gun to clear up. Then he went in once more. He wanted to see if the wolf was dead.
He found her lying down. He tapped her nose with his
This time the men saw him come out, bringing the dead wolf. Now the sheep would have some peace.
To and fro,
Rocking in the ripples of the water,
Lazy on a leaf lies the Lake King's daughter,
And the faint winds shake her.
Who will come and take her?
I will! I will!
Keep still! Keep still!
Sleeping on a leaf lies the Lake King's daughter . . .
Then the wind comes skipping
To the lilies on the water;
And the kind winds wake her.
Now who will take her?
With a laugh she is slipping
Through the lilies on the water.
Too late, too late!
To and fro,
To the ripples of the water.
WEEK 14 |
HEN the twenty little Mud Turtles broke their
Most of the young Mud Turtles crawled quickly out of the sand and broken shells, and began drying themselves in the sunshine. One slow little fellow stopped to look at the broken shells, stubbed one of his front toes on a large piece and then sat down until it should stop aching. "Wait for me!" he called out to his brothers and sisters. "I'm coming in a minute."
The other little Turtles waited, but when his toe was comfortable again and he started toward them, he met a very interesting Snail and talked a while with him. "Come on," said the Biggest Little Turtle. "Don't let's wait any longer. He can catch up."
So they sprawled along until they came to a place where they could sit in a row on an old log, and they climbed onto it and sat just close enough together and not at all too close. Then the Slow Little Turtle came hurrying over the sand with a rather cross look in his eyes and putting his feet down a little harder than he needed to—quite as though he were out of patience about something, "Why didn't you Turtles wait for me?" he grumbled. "I was coming right along."
Just then the Mother Turtle came up. "Good morning," said she. "I believe you are my children?"
"Good morning," said she. "I believe you are my children?"
The little Mud Turtles looked at each other and didn't say a word. This was not because they were rude or bashful, but because they did not know what to say. And that, you know, was quite right, for unless one has something worth saying, it is far better to say nothing at all.
She drew a long Mud Turtle breath and answered her own question. "Yes," she said, "you certainly are, for I saw you scrambling out of the sand a little while ago, and you came from the very place where I laid my eggs and covered them during the first really warm nights this year. I was telling your father only yesterday that it was about time for you to hatch. The sun has been so hot lately that I was sure you would do well."
The Mother Turtle stretched her head this way and that
until there was hardly a wrinkle left in her
"They didn't wait for me," he said. "I was coming
right along but they wouldn't wait. I think they are
The Mother Turtle raised one of her forefeet until all five of its toes with their strong claws were pointing at him. She also raised her head as far as her upper shell would let her. "So you are the one," she said. "I thought you were when I heard you trying to make the others wait. It is too bad."
She looked so stern that the Slow Little Turtle didn't dare finish what he had begun to say, yet down in his little Turtle heart he thought, "Now they are going to catch it!" He was sure his mother was going to scold the other Turtle children for leaving him. He wanted to see what they would do, so he looked out of his right eye at the ten brothers and sisters on that side, and out of his left eye at the nine brothers and sisters on that side. He could do this very easily, because his eyes were not on the front of his head like those of some people, but one on each side.
"I have raised families of young Turtles every year," said the Mother Turtle. "The first year I had only a few children, the next year I had more, and so it has gone—every year a few more children than the year before—until now I never know quite how many I do have. But there is always one Slow Little Turtle who lags behind and wants the others to wait for him. That makes him miss his share of good things, and then he is quite certain to be cross and think it is somebody else's fault."
The Slow Little Turtle felt the ten brothers and
sisters on his right side looking at him out of their
left eyes, and the nine brothers and sisters on his
left side looking at him out of their right eyes. He
drew in his head and his tail and his legs, until all
they could see was his rounded upper shell, his shell
"I did hope," said the Mother Turtle, "that I might have one family without such a child in it. I cannot help loving even a slow child who is cross, if he is hatched from one of my eggs, yet it makes me sad—very, very sad."
"Try to get over this," she said to the Slow Little Turtle, "before it is too late. And you," she added, turning to his brothers and sisters, "must be patient with him. We shall not have him with us long."
"What do you mean?" asked the Slow Little Turtle, peeping out from between his shells. "I'm not going away."
"You do not want to," said his mother, "but you will
not be with us long unless you learn to keep up with
the rest. Something always happens to pond people who
are too slow. I cannot tell you what it will be, yet
it is sure to be something. I remember so well
my first slow child—and how
The Slow Little Turtle was really frightened by what his mother had said, and for a few days he tried to keep up with the others. Nothing happened to him, and so he grew careless and made people wait for him just because he was not quite ready to go with them, or because he wanted to do this or look at that or talk to some other person. He was a very trying little Turtle, yet his mother loved him and did not like it when the rest called him a Land Tortoise. It is all right, you know, to be a Land Tortoise when your father and mother are Land Tortoises, and these cousins of the Turtles look so much like them that some people cannot tell them apart. That is because they forget that the Tortoises live on land, have higher back shells, and move very, very slowly. Turtles live more in the water and can move quickly if they will. This is why other Turtles sometimes make fun of a slow brother by calling him a Land Tortoise.
One beautiful sunshiny afternoon, when most of the
twenty little Turtles were sitting on a floating log by
the edge of the pond, their mother was with some of her
friends on another log near by. She looked often at
her children, and thought
how handsome their
"Yes," said a fine old fellow who was floating near
her, "a row of their mothers!" He was a Turtle whom
she had never liked very well, but now she began to
think that he was rather agreeable after all. She was
just noticing how beautifully the skin wrinkled on his
neck, when she heard a splash and saw two terrible
"Boys!" she cried, "Boys!" And she sprawled off the
end of her log and slid into the water, all her friends
following her. The Biggest Little Turtle saw these great animals
coming toward him. He sprawled off the end of his log
and slid into the water, and all his brothers and
sisters followed him except the Slow Little Turtle.
"Wait for me," he said. "I'm coming in just
Then one of these great animals stooped over and picked
him up, and held him bottom side uppermost and rapped
on that side, which was flat; and on the other side,
which was rounded; and stared at him with two great
eyes. Next the other great animal took him and turned
him over and rapped on his shells and stared at him.
The poor Slow Little Turtle drew in his head and tail
and legs and kept very, very still. He wished that he
The boys carried him to the edge of the meadow and put him down on the grass. He lay perfectly still for a long, long time, and when he thought they had forgotten about him he tried to run away. Then they laughed and picked him up again, and one of them took something sharp and shiny and cut marks into his upper shell. This did not really give him pain, yet, as he said afterward, "It hurts almost as much to think you are going to be hurt, as it does to be hurt."
It was not until the sun went down that the boys let
the Slow Little Turtle go. Then he was very, very
tired, but he wanted so much to get back to his home in
the pond that he started at once by moonlight. This
was the first time he had ever seen the moon, for,
except when they are laying eggs, Turtles usually sleep
at night. He was not quite sure which
way he should go, and if it had not been for the
kindness of the
The Tree Frog hopped along ahead to show the way, and
the Turtle followed until they reached a place from
which they could see the pond. "Good night!" said the
"Good night!" said the Turtle. "I wish I might help you some time."
"Never mind me," said the Tree Frog. "Help somebody
else and it will be all right." He hopped back toward
his home, and for a long time afterward the Turtle
heard his cheerful
The Biggest Little Turtle moved without awakening. "I tell you I'm not hungry," he murmured. "I don't want to get up." And again he fell fast asleep.
So the Slow Little Turtle did not disturb him, but cuddled inside his two shells and went to sleep also. He was so tired that he did not awaken until the sun was high in the sky. When he did open his eyes, his relatives were sitting around looking at him, and he remembered all that had happened before he slept. "Does my shell look very bad?" he cried. "I wish I could see it. Oh, I am so glad to get back! I'll never be slow again. Never! Never!"
His mother came and leaned her shell lovingly against his. "If you will only learn to keep up with your brothers and sisters," she said, "I shall not be sorry that the boys carried you off."
"You just wait and see," said the Slow Little Turtle. And he was as good as his word. After that he was always the first to slip from the log to the water if anything scared them; and when, one day, a strange Turtle from another pond came to visit, he said to the Turtles who had always lived there, "Why do you call that young fellow with the marked shell 'The Slow Little Turtle?' He is the quickest one in his family."
The pond people looked at each other and laughed.
"That is queer!" they said. "After this we will call
him 'The Quick Little
This made him very happy, and when, once in a while, somebody forgot and by mistake called him "The Quick Slow Little Turtle," he said he rather liked it because it showed that a Turtle needn't keep his faults if he did have them.
Rollicking Robin is here again.
What does he care for the April rain?
Care for it? Glad of it! Doesn't he know
That the April rain carries off the snow,
And coaxes out leaves to shadow his nest,
And washes his pretty red Easter vest!
And makes the juice of the cherry sweet,
For his hungry little robins to eat?
"Ha! ha! ha!" Hear the jolly bird laugh.
"That isn't the best of the story, by half."
WEEK 14 |
A FARMER once had a servant who worked for him three years without being paid any wages. The servant did his work well and faithfully, and was the first of the farmer's help to get up in the morning and the last to go to bed at night. If there was any hard work to be done which no one else would do he was always ready to undertake it. He never made any complaint, and never failed to be good-natured and contented. But at last it came into the man's head that he would not continue without pay any longer. So he went to his master and said, "I have worked hard for you a long time, and now I think I should have some money for my labor."
The farmer was miserly and not altogether honest, and as he knew that his man was very simple-hearted he took out his purse and gave him threepence. "There is a penny," said he, "for each year you have served me."
The servant thought threepence was a great deal of money to have, and he said to himself, "Why should I work here any longer? I can now travel into the wide world and make myself merry."
Then, with his money jingling in his pocket, he set out roaming over hill and valley. As he tramped singing along the road a little dwarf hopped out of a wayside bush and asked, "What makes you so happy, sir?"
"Why! what should make me downhearted?" said the man. "I am sound in health and rich in purse. I have saved up the pay for three years' work and have it all safe in my pocket."
"How much may that come to?" inquired the dwarf.
"Full threepence," replied the servant.
"Listen," said the dwarf. "I wish you would give the threepence to me. I am very poor."
When the man heard this he was so sorry for the dwarf that he gave him the threepence; and the little dwarf said, "As you have been so kind to me I will grant any wish that you may care to make; so choose whatever you like."
"Aha!" said the servant. "You are a wonder-worker, I see," and, greatly rejoiced at his good luck, he paused to think what he most wanted. "I like many things better than money," said he. "Now if you could give me a fiddle that would set every one dancing who hears me play on it, that would please me more than anything else I can think of."
"All right," said the dwarf, "you can have what you ask for;" and out of a bag he carried he pulled a fiddle and bow and handed them to his companion.
"Heart alive! what more can one desire?" said the servant.
Then the dwarf went his way and the hired man walked on singing as before. But he had not gone far when an old man called to him from a roadside field. The old man had an ax in his hands and was standing under a great oak-tree that he had begun to cut down. "This work is too hard for me," said the old man. "But a stout fellow like you would make nothing of it, and if you will finish chopping through this tree-trunk I will pay you five shillings."
"Give me the ax," said the servant. "I am quite willing to earn a little money, for mine is all gone;" and he threw off his coat and went to work.
By and by the oak crashed to the ground. "There," said the servant, "now I'll take my five shillings and be stepping along."
"I did not think you could do the work so soon or I would not have offered you so much," said the old man.
"Well, that is no fault of mine," the servant replied.
"But five shillings is more than the work is worth," argued the old man. "Here, I will give you three shillings, and that is a great plenty."
"No, I will take nothing less than what you agreed to give me in the first place," the servant declared.
"Then you will not get anything," said the other.
"We will see about that," was the servant's response, and he took up his fiddle and began playing, and the old man began to dance.
"How is this?" the old man cried. "Is that fiddle enchanted?"
"Yes," said the servant.
"Then for heaven's sake, my good fellow, play no more!" shouted the old man. "I don't want to dance. My bones are too stiff for me to be springing about like this. Master, master! do let the fiddle alone."
"You don't like dancing, eh?" laughed the servant. "Well, it is good enough for you after treating me so meanly;" and he played away more briskly than ever.
"Have pity, have pity!" begged the old man, "and I will give you your money."
"Have pity, have pity!" begged the old man.
So the servant stopped fiddling. Then the old man handed over the five shillings; but he was so angry that as soon as he had rubbed his aching joints he hurried to the town, muttering as he went, "The miserable fiddler! Just wait—I will get even with him."
As soon as he reached the town he complained to the constables that he had been robbed. "You will know the rascal who robbed me easily enough," said the old man; "for he is always singing, and he carries a violin under his arm."
The constables set off at once in search of the rogue, and presently they caught him and brought him before the court to be tried.
"That is he," said the old man, "that is the very fellow who stole my five shillings."
"No," said the servant. "I did not steal. You gave me the money for playing a tune to you on my fiddle."
"What!" exclaimed the judge, "five shillings for a tune on a fiddle! That's not at all likely. I fear you are a liar as well as a thief."
"I speak the truth," said the servant.
"Heaven defend us!" screamed the old man. "His lies are as thick as flies on the wall. He stole my money, and you can't believe a word he says."
"Prisoner," said the judge, "you deserve hanging."
Then the judge turned to the officers and said, "Take the five shillings from him and give them to the old man; and after that you may conduct the culprit to the gallows."
So the officers took away the servant's money and marched him off to the gallows, while the old man cried after him, "You vagabond! You dog of a fiddler! Now you will get your just deserts."
A crowd followed the culprit to the place of execution, and the officers were about to put the rope around his neck when he said to the judge, "My lord, grant me one last request."
"What is it?" asked the judge.
"Only this," replied the servant—"that I may play on my fiddle once more."
"Very well," replied the judge, "play away."
"Oh, no, no!" shouted the old man, "for mercy's sake don't let him play his fiddle."
But the judge said, "It is only for this once; he will soon have done."
"Then bind me fast, oh, bind me fast before he begins," cried the old man.
The servant wasted no time in starting a tune, and at the first scrape all the people began to wag their heads—his accuser and the judge, the officers, the jailer, the hangman, and every one else who was within hearing. They could not help themselves.
At the second scrape they all lifted their legs and the hangman let go his hold of the honest servant to make ready to dance.
At the third scrape they one and all leaped into the air, and began to caper about—old and young, fat and lean, danced as hard as they could. Even the dogs got up on their hind legs and pranced about with the rest. The dancing was merry and pleasant enough at first, but when it had gone on for a while and there seemed to be no end to the playing or leaping, the people began to cry out for the servant to stop fiddling. But that he would not do till the judge had promised he should not be hanged, and the old man had given back to him his five shillings.
So the judge promised and the old man handed over the money. Then the servant tucked the fiddle under his arm and started off again on his travels, and the people who had been dancing around the gallows heard him singing as he walked down the street out of the town.
Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanee,
Oh! don't you wish that you were me?
You have seen the scarlet trees
And the lions over seas;
You have eaten ostrich eggs,
And turned the turtles off their legs.
Such a life is very fine,
But it's not so nice as mine:
You must often, as you trod,
Have wearied not to be abroad.
You have curious things to eat,
I am fed on proper meat;
You must dwell beyond the foam,
But I am safe and live at home.
Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanee,
Oh! don't you wish that you were me?
WEEK 14 |
"Attempt not to acquire that which may not be retained."
O NE of the largest of the Phœnician settlements was called Carthage, which was on the northern coast of Africa. There is an old legend about the founding of this ancient city which is very quaint.
One of the kings of Tyre died, leaving a son called Pygmalion and a daughter Dido, who was very beautiful. Though Pygmalion was but a boy when his father died, the Phœnicians made him king. His sister Dido married a very rich man, of whose wealth Pygmalion was very jealous. After a time he slew his brother-in-law, hoping to get the wealth he owned. But Dido hid the treasure. She was very sad and troubled, for she loved her husband, and she made up her mind to escape from the country. Taking many nobles of the city with her, she put all her riches on board one of her brother's ships and set sail for Cyprus secretly.
Now, when Pygmalion found that his sister had fled, taking some of his citizens with her, he was very angry and would have pursued her, but he was hindered by the prophets, who said—
"It will go ill with thee, if thou hinder the founding of that which shall be the most fortunate city in the whole world."
Then Dido sailed from Cyprus to the coast of Africa, landing some fifteen miles from Utica, which had long been a Phœnician colony. She found the natives on the coast friendly, and bought a piece of land, "so much as could be covered with the hide of an ox, that she might refresh her companions, who were now greatly wearied with their voyage."
Thither came many natives bringing merchandise for sale, and very soon there grew up a large town. The people of Utica claimed kindred with the newcomers, for were they not all from the old country Phœnicia? And they built up their beautiful city, and called it Carthage. The site was well chosen. The promontory, on which it stood, afforded excellent harbours for shipping, and the Phœnician settlers, anchoring in this haven, were not slow to see its advantages.
Midway in the Great Sea, within easy reach of Spain and Sicily, this new African town was indeed to be "the most fortunate city in the whole world."
Phœnicia was at the height of her power, Greece was not yet great, Rome had not risen. The great empires of the East, Egypt and Babylon, were slowly dying; Carthage was yet to rule the Great Sea and overshadow the mother country.
The city grew more and more flourishing. The beauty and fame of Dido were noised abroad until it reached the ears of the King of the Moors. He sent for the men of Carthage.
"Go back to the queen and say that I demand her hand in marriage," said the king; "and if she be not willing, then I will make war upon her and her city."
But these men, fearing to give Dido the king's message, knowing the love she bore her husband, invented a crafty device.
"The King of the Moors," they said, "desireth to find some one who shall teach his people a more gentle manner of life; but who shall be found that will leave his own kinsfolk and go to a barbarous people that are as the beasts of the field?"
Dido reproved them.
"No man should refuse to endure hardness of life, if it be for his own country's sake: nay, he must give his very life to it, if need be," she answered, with a patriotism rare in those early days.
Then the men of Carthage answered—
"Thou art judged out of thine own mouth, O queen. What therefore thou counsellest to others, do thyself, if thou wouldst serve thy country."
Dido had fallen into her own trap. She was very unhappy.
"Give me the space of three months," she said, "that I may lament my former estate."
Then she went to the farthest part of the city—the city of her own founding, destined to such great things. She had built a great funeral-pile, and one day she herself mounted it to the top, having a drawn sword in her hand.
Looking down upon the Carthaginians, who were gathered round, she cried aloud with a resolution born of despair—
"Ye bid me go to my husband. See, then, I go."
Thereupon she drove the sword into her heart, and fell down dead. Such is the legend of the founding of Carthage.
My name is April, sir, and I
Often laugh, as often cry;
And I cannot tell what makes me,
Only, as the fit o'ertakes me,
I must dimple, smile, and frown,
Laughing, though the tears roll down.
But 't is nature, sir, not art,
And I'm happy at my heart.
WEEK 14 |
N the middle of the night it began to rain for the
first time in many months. First there was a whisper of
wind in the nipa thatch of the little
Felix Santos woke up and turned over on his bed, which
was just a mat spread on the floor, and said to his
wife: "It is a lucky thing I have already cleaned and
At least he thought he said it to her, but there was no answer. Petra wasn't there.
Just then a stream of water trickled through a hole in the thatch above his head and splashed directly on his nose. He bounced up in bed at once and mopped his face with his sleeve.
"Where are you, Petra?" he called, but Petra did not hear him because at that moment she was struggling with the kitchen window, which she had left open.
The rain was spattering all over the stove, and the wind blew so she had hard work to slide the window shut.
The room was dark except when it was lighted by a flash of lightning. Felix got up and pulled his mat out of the way of the leak and then started toward the kitchen to see what had become of Petra.
He walked slowly, groping about with his arms lest he should run into something in the dark.
By this time Petra had got the window shut and was now on her way back to bed. She too was walking slowly with her arms out.
"Felix is certainly a wonderful sleeper," she said to herself as she groped her way along. "I believe if the sky itself were to fall and break in pieces on the roof it would not wake him! It's a lucky thing I remembered about that window or everything would have been soaked through by morning."
Just at that minute she bumped into something large and soft and alive! She was so startled that she did not think at all! She just opened her mouth and screamed: "Murder! Help! Felix, where are you?"
Of course, Felix knew it was Petra the moment she
bumped into him, and he seized her to keep her from
falling, but she had already lost her balance. The next
instant his foot caught on the edge of the mat and he
lost his. He folded up like a
Then came a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder so loud that it shook the house, and Petra rolled over and sat up on the floor.
"Oh! it was you!" she cried.
"Of course!" said Felix grumpily. He didn't like
being knocked over and sat upon in the dark. "Who else
could it be? I got up to pull the
"I know where the leak is," said Petra, "for there's a stream running down my back and I'm sitting in the puddle this very minute! What a mess! Strike a light, my angel, or I shall be drowned! I don't dare move until I can see where I'm going."
Felix picked himself up and, stepping very cautiously, began to hunt about for matches, and, after running against the chest where their clothes were kept and barking his shins, he finally succeeded in finding them.
At one side of the room there was a little shrine where
there was an image of the Madonna. Before it was a tiny
taper floating in a cup of
"We must keep the lamp burning before the blessed Virgin," said Petra. "It must have been blown out by the wind." And, wet as she was, she took a match from Felix, struck it on the floor, and once more lighted the tiny lamp on the household altar.
By its dim light she mopped up the pool of water on the floor, set an earthen pot under the leak, looked at the two children asleep on their mats, and, having put on dry clothing, settled herself once more for the night.
The next morning, though the rain had ceased, it was plain that the storm was not over. The water dripped from the thatch and dashed down in little showers whenever a gust of wind shook the leaves, and threatening clouds were still scudding across the sky.
Felix and Petra rose early, and while he milked the goat and fed the farm animals, she went to the kitchen to start the fire and get the breakfast. But the stove was damp and the little pile of kindling was wet too, in spite of her having shut the window in the night. It was some time before she could coax a blaze. The sticks sizzled and smouldered, filling the kitchen with smoke and making her eyes smart. The smoke sifted through the cracks in the partition and made all the air blue.
The Twins woke sneezing and, being eager to get out of
the smother, sprang up at once without waiting to be
called. They dressed in record time, rolled up their
When at last the rice was cooked and the family were
seated at the table, there was a sound of wet feet
pattering up the kitchen steps and Dingo's head
appeared in the doorway. In his mouth he carried a
When they saw it, the Twins clasped their hands in dismay. "Our shoes, our shoes," they wailed. "We left them under the coconut tree yesterday when we went to hunt crabs! We never thought about rain."
"And now look at them!" groaned their mother.
The children did not wait to see what else she might say. They dashed out of the house and down to the coconut tree at once. There were their shoes, all soppy with water, lying just where they had left them!
Ramon picked them up and emptied the water out of the toes, and very sadly the two children returned to the kitchen. Their mother stood in the door holding the fourth shoe in her hand.
"It's a lucky thing for you," she said sternly to the Twins, "that it is Saturday. If it were a school day you would have to go barefooted to school."
The children were very miserable. Without a word they
hung the dripping shoes in a row on a
When this was done, he went to the river and filled the
long bamboo tubes in
By the time these things were done the rain had begun
again. The next day it still rained, but on Monday
morning when Felix opened the door and looked out, the
round red face of the sun was peering over the crest of
the Sierra Madre, the mountains which lie along the
eastern coast of Luzon. Its first level rays touched
the tops of the coconut trees and lit the feathery
bamboos with rosy color. Every
"A good day for the
When he came in again he said to Petra, "Wake the
children and get ready to go to the
"But it is a school day!" said Petra.
"I am sorry to keep them out," Felix answered, "but they must help with the transplanting, even if it is a school day. The plants are ready and must be set out at once and I cannot afford any other help."
The children heard him and bounced up at once. They
loved school, but they loved the
When they reached the
Felix set his basket down on the ridge and, giving a
They were the earliest family to begin work, but soon other families appeared in other fields and there was laughter and chattering back and forth among neighbors and friends as they all bent to their task.
The sun mounted higher and higher. The mosquitoes buzzed about them, and steamy vapor rose in little clouds from the wet fields. It was hard, hot work, but after a while some one began to sing. Other voices took up the strain, and soon all the people stooped and rose and stooped again in time to the music, at each bow leaving a plant with its roots set firmly in the mud.
The Twins worked faithfully with the others until
nearly noon. Then every one went home for food and to
take a nap, and for two hours the
Petra left the field in the afternoon earlier than the others, and when Felix and the Twins came trailing into the yard, she poked her head out of the window and called to them: "I've milked the goat and fed the pigs. You go take a dip in the bay and then come in to supper."
There was a little strip of sandy beach in front of the house. In two minutes Felix and the Twins were splashing about in the water. They didn't even stop to take off their clothes. They wore very few garments, and as they were all wet and muddy anyway, they washed themselves and their clothes at the same time, and oh! how good the cool water felt after their day in the hot field!
When they had eaten their supper, the whole family went down to the river and sat on the raft to rest. They watched the fireflies sparkling in the trees like thousands of Christmas candles, and saw the clouds roll up over the dark sky, blotting out the stars, and listened to the soft lapping of the water on the shore, until the first drops of rain began to fall.
I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!
I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!
O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!
WEEK 14 |
Genesis xxiv: 1, to xxv: 18.
FTER the death of Sarah, Isaac, her son, was lonely; and as he was now old enough to marry, Abraham sought a wife for him; for in those countries the parents have always chosen the wives for their sons, and husbands for their daughters. Abraham did not wish Isaac to marry any woman of the people in the land where he was living, for they were all worshippers of idols, and would not teach their children the ways of the Lord. For the same reason, Abraham did not settle in one place, and build for himself and his people a city. By moving from place to place, Abraham kept his people apart.
You remember that when Abraham made his long journey to the land of Canaan (see Story Five), he stayed for a time at a place called Haran, in Mesopotamia, between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates, far to the northeast of Canaan. When Abraham left Haran to go to Canaan, his brother Nahor and his family stayed in Haran. They worshipped the Lord, as Abraham and his family did; and Abraham thought that it would be well to find among them a wife for his son Isaac.
As Abraham could not leave his own land of Canaan and go to Haran in Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son Isaac, he called his chief servant, Eliezer, the man whom he trusted, who cared for all his flocks and cattle, and who ruled over his other servants, and sent him to Haran to find a wife for his son Isaac.
And the servant took ten camels, and many presents and went on a long journey, and at last came to the city of Haran, where the family of Nahor, the brother of Abraham, was living. And at the well, just outside of the city, at the time of evening, he made his camels kneel down. Then the servant prayed to the Lord that he would send to him just the right young woman to be the wife of his master's son Isaac.
And just as the servant was praying, a beautiful young woman came to the well, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. As she drew the water and filled her pitcher, the servant came up and bowed to her, and said, "Will you kindly give me a drink of water from your pitcher?"
Abraham's servant meeting Rebekah at the well.
And she said, "Drink, my lord," and she held her pitcher for him to drink. And then she said, "I will draw some water for your camels also to drink."
And she emptied her pitcher into the trough by the well, and drew more water, until she had given drink to all the camels.
And the servant of Abraham looked at her, and wondered whether she might be the right woman for Isaac to marry. And he said to her, "Will you tell me your name, young lady, and whose daughter you are? And do you suppose that I could find a place to stay at your father's house?" And then he gave her a gold ring and gold bracelets for her wrists. And the beautiful young woman said, "My name is Rebekah; and my father is Bethuel, who is the son of Nahor. You can come right to our house. We have room for you, and a place and food for your camels."
He gave her gold bracelets and a gold ring.
Then the man bowed his head and thanked God, for he saw that his prayer was answered, since this kind and lovely young woman was a cousin to Isaac, his master's son. And he told Rebekah that he was the servant of Abraham, who was so near a relative to her own family.
Then Rebekah ran home and told her parents of the stranger, and showed them the presents that he had given to her. And her brother Laban went out to the man, and brought him into the house, and found a place for his camels. And they washed his feet, for that was the custom of the land, where people did not wear shoes, but sandals: and they set the table for a supper, and asked him to sit down and eat with them. But the man said, "I will not eat until I have told my errand."
Abraham's servant shows the presents.
After this he told them all about Abraham's riches: and how Abraham had sent him to Haran to find a wife for Isaac, his son; and how he had met Rebekah, and felt sure that Rebekah was the one whom the Lord would choose for Isaac's wife: and then he asked that they would give him Rebekah to be taken home to be married to Isaac.
When he had told his errand, Laban, Rebekah's brother, and Bethuel, her father, said, "This comes from the Lord; it is his will; and it is not for us to oppose it. Here is Rebekah; take her, and let her be the wife of your master's son, for the Lord has shown it to be his will."
Then Abraham's servant gave rich presents to Rebekah, and to her mother, and her brother Laban. And that night they had a feast, with great joy. And the next morning Abraham's servant said, "Now I must go home to my master." But they said, "O, not so soon! Let Rebekah stay with us for a few days, ten days at least, before she goes away from her home."
And he said to them, "Do not hinder me; since God has given me what I came for, I must go back to my master."
And they called Rebekah, and asked her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go."
So the servant of Abraham went away, and took with him Rebekah, with good wishes, and blessings, and prayers, from all in her father's house. And after a long journey, they came to the place where Abraham and Isaac were living. And when Isaac saw Rebekah, he loved her; and she became his wife, and they were faithful to each other as long as they both lived.
Afterward Abraham, great and good man that he was, died, almost a hundred and eighty years old. And Isaac and Ishmael buried Abraham in the cave where Abraham had buried Sarah at Hebron. Then Isaac became the owner of all the riches of Abraham, his tents, and flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, and camels, and servants. Isaac was a peaceful, quiet man. He did not move his tents often, as his father had done, but stayed in one place nearly all his life.
The lilies of the field whose bloom is brief:
We are as they;
Like them we fade away,
As doth a leaf.
The sparrows of the air of small account:
Our God doth view
Whether they fall or mount,—
He guards us too.
The lilies that do neither spin nor toil,
Yet are most fair:
What profits all this care
And all this toil?
The birds that have no barn nor harvest-weeks;
God gives them food:
Much more our Father seeks
To do us good.