WEEK 19 |
USHMI-PULLYUS are now extinct. That means, there aren't any more. But long ago, when Doctor Dolittle was alive, there were some of them still left in the deepest jungles of Africa; and even then they were very, very scarce. They had no tail, but a head at each end, and sharp horns on each head. They were very shy and terribly hard to catch. The black men get most of their animals by sneaking up behind them while they are not looking. But you could not do this with the pushmi-pullyu—because, no matter which way you came towards him, he was always facing you. And besides, only one half of him slept at a time. The other head was always awake—and watching. This was why they were never caught and never seen in Zoos. Though many of the greatest huntsmen and the cleverest menagerie-keepers spent years of their lives searching through the jungles in all weathers for pushmi-pullyus, not a single one had ever been caught. Even then, years ago, he was the only animal in the world with two heads.
Well, the monkeys set out hunting for this animal through the forest. And after they had gone a good many miles, one of them found peculiar footprints near the edge of a river; and they knew that a pushmi-pullyu must be very near that spot.
Then they went along the bank of the river a little way and they saw a place where the grass was high and thick; and they guessed that he was in there.
So they all joined hands and made a great circle round the high grass. The pushmi-pullyu heard them coming; and he tried hard to break through the ring of monkeys. But he couldn't do it. When he saw that it was no use trying to escape, he sat down and waited to see what they wanted.
They asked him if he would go with Doctor Dolittle and be put on show in the Land of the White Men.
But he shook both his heads hard and said, "Certainly not!"
They explained to him that he would not be shut up in a menagerie but would just be looked at. They told him that the Doctor was a very kind man but hadn't any money; and people would pay to see a two-headed animal and the Doctor would get rich and could pay for the boat he had borrowed to come to Africa in.
But he answered, "No. You know how shy I am—I hate being stared at." And he almost began to cry.
Then for three days they tried to persuade him.
And at the end of the third day he said he would come with them and see what kind of a man the Doctor was, first.
So the monkeys traveled back with the pushmi-pullyu. And when they came to where the Doctor's little house of grass was, they knocked on the door.
The duck, who was packing the trunk, said, "Come in!"
And Chee-Chee very proudly took the animal inside and showed him to the Doctor.
"What in the world is it?" asked John Dolittle, gazing at the strange creature.
"Lord save us!" cried the duck. "How does it make up its mind?"
"Lord save us!" cried the duck. "How does it make up its mind?"
"It doesn't look to me as though it had any," said Jip, the dog.
"This, Doctor," said Chee-Chee, "is the pushmi-pullyu—the rarest animal of the African jungles, the only two-headed beast in the world! Take him home with you and your fortune's made. People will pay any money to see him."
"But I don't want any money," said the Doctor.
"Yes, you do," said Dab-Dab, the duck. "Don't you remember how we had to pinch and scrape to pay the butcher's bill in Puddleby? And how are you going to get the sailor the new boat you spoke of—unless we have the money to buy it?"
"I was going to make him one," said the Doctor.
"Oh, do be sensible!" cried Dab-Dab. "Where would you get all the wood and the nails to make one with?—And besides, what are we going to live on? We shall be poorer than ever when we get back. Chee-Chee's perfectly right: take the funny-looking thing along, do!"
"Well, perhaps there is something in what you say," murmured the Doctor. "It certainly would make a nice new kind of pet. But does the er—what-do-you-call-it really want to go abroad?"
"Yes, I'll go," said the pushmi-pullyu who saw at once, from the Doctor's face, that he was a man to be trusted. "You have been so kind to the animals here—and the monkeys tell me that I am the only one who will do. But you must promise me that if I do not like it in the Land of the White Men you will send me back."
"Why, certainly—of course, of course," said the Doctor. "Excuse me, surely you are related to the Deer Family, are you not?"
"Yes," said the pushmi-pullyu—"to the Abyssinian Gazelles and the Asiatic Chamois—on my mother's side. My father's great-grandfather was the last of the Unicorns."
"Most interesting!" murmured the Doctor; and he took a book out of the trunk which Dab-Dab was packing and began turning the pages. "Let us see if Buffon says anything—"
"I notice," said the duck, "that you only talk with one of your mouths. Can't the other head talk as well?"
"Oh, yes," said the pushmi-pullyu. "But I keep the other mouth for eating—mostly. In that way I can talk while I am eating without being rude. Our people have always been very polite."
When the packing was finished and everything was ready to start, the monkeys gave a grand party for the Doctor, and all the animals of the jungle came. And they had pineapples and mangoes and honey and all sorts of good things to eat and drink.
After they had all finished eating, the Doctor got up and said,
"My friends: I am not clever at speaking long words after dinner, like some men; and I have just eaten many fruits and much honey. But I wish to tell you that I am very sad at leaving your beautiful country. Because I have things to do in the Land of the White Men, I must go. After I have gone, remember never to let the flies settle on your food before you eat it; and do not sleep on the ground when the rains are coming. I—er—er—I hope you will all live happily ever after."
When the Doctor stopped speaking and sat down, all the monkeys clapped their hands a long time and said to one another, "Let it be remembered always among our people that he sat and ate with us, here, under the trees. For surely he is the Greatest of Men!"
And the Grand Gorilla, who had the strength of seven horses in his hairy arms, rolled a great rock up to the head of the table and said,
"This stone for all time shall mark the spot."
And even to this day, in the heart of the jungle, that stone still is there. And monkey-mothers, passing through the forest with their families, still point down at it from the branches and whisper to their children, "Sh! There it is—look—where the Good White Man sat and ate food with us in the Year of the Great Sickness!"
Then, when the party was over, the Doctor and his pets started out to go back to the seashore. And all the monkeys went with him as far as the edge of their country, carrying his trunk and bags, to see him off.
A little cock-sparrow sat on a green tree,
And he chirruped, he chirruped, so merry was he;
A little cock-sparrow sat on a green tree,
And he chirruped, he chirruped, so merry was he.
A naughty boy came with his wee bow and arrow,
Determined to shoot this little cock-sparrow.
A naughty boy came with his wee bow and arrow,
Determined to shoot this little cock-sparrow.
"This little cock-sparrow shall make me a stew,
And his giblets shall make me a little pie, too."
"Oh, no!" said the sparrow, "I won't make a stew."
So he flapped his wings, and away he flew.
WEEK 19 |
W ASHINGTON had been fighting for seven years to drive the British soldiers out of this country. But there were still two strong British armies in America.
One of these armies was in New York. It had been there for years. The other army was far away at Yorktown in Virginia. The British general at Yorktown was Cornwallis. You have read how Washington got away from him at Trenton.
The King of France had sent ships and soldiers to help the Americans. But still Washington had not enough men to take New York from the British. Yet he went on getting ready to attack the British in New York. He had ovens built to bake bread for his men. He bought hay for his horses. He had roads built to draw his cannons on.
He knew that the British in New York would hear about what he was doing. He wanted them to think that he meant to come to New York and fight them. When the British heard what the Americans were doing, they got ready for the coming of Washington and the French.
All at once they found that Washington had gone. He and his men had marched away. The French soldiers that had come to help him had gone with him.
Nobody knew what it meant. Washington's own men did not know where they were going. They went from New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Then they marched across Pennsylvania. Then they went into Maryland. They marched across that State, and then they went into Virginia.
By this time everybody could tell where Washington was going. People could see that he was going straight to Yorktown. They knew that Washington was going to fight his old enemy at Yorktown.
But he had kept his secret long enough. The British in New York could not send help to Cornwallis. It was too late. The French ships sailed to Virginia, and shut up Yorktown on the side of the sea. Washington's men shut it up on the side of the land. They built great banks of earth round it. On these banks of earth they put cannons.
The British could not get away. They fought bravely. But the Americans and French came closer and closer.
Then the British tried to fight their way out. But they were driven back. Then Cornwallis tried to get his men across the river. He wanted to get out by the back door, as Washington had done. But the Americans on the other side of the river drove them back again. Washington had now caught Cornwallis in a trap.
The Americans fired
The British army in New York could not fight the Americans by itself. So the British gave it up. Then there was peace after the long war. The British pulled down the British flag and sailed away. The country was free at last.
If people ask me,
I always tell them:
"Quite well, thank you, I'm very glad to say."
If people ask me,
I always answer,
"Quite well, thank you, how are you today?"
I always answer,
I always tell them,
If they ask me
Politely. . . .
That they wouldn't.
WEEK 19 |
HE Eels were as different from the Clams as people well
could be. It was not alone that they looked unlike,
but that they had such different ways of enjoying life.
The Clams were chubby people, each comfortably settled
in his own shell, which he could open or shut as he
chose. They never wanted to live anywhere else, or to
get beyond the edges of their own
The Eels were long, slender, and slippery people, looking even more like snakes than they did like fishes. They were always careful to tell new acquaintances, though, that they were not even related to the snakes. "To be sure," they would say, "we do not wear our fins like most fishes, but that is only a matter of taste after all. We should find them dreadfully in the way if we did." And that was just like the Eels—they were always so ready to explain everything to their friends.
They were great talkers. They would talk about
themselves, and their friends, and the friends of their
friends, and the pond, and the weather, and the state
of the mud, and what everything was like yesterday, and
what it would be likely to be like
The Clams, you know, were a quiet family. Unless a Clam was very, very much excited, he never said more than "Yes," "No," or "Indeed?" They were excellent listeners and some of the most popular people in the pond. Those who were in trouble told the Clams, and they would say, "Indeed," or "Ah," in such a nice way that their visitor was sure to leave feeling better. Others who wanted advice would go to them, and talk over their plans and tell them what they wanted to do, and the Clams would say, "Yes," and then the visitors would go away quite decided, and say, "We really didn't know what to do until we spoke to the Clams about it, but they agree with us perfectly." The Clams were also excellent people to keep secrets, and as the Eels were forever telling secrets, that was all very well.
Mother Eel was fussy. She even said so herself. And if a thing bothered her, she would talk and talk and talk until even her own children were tired of hearing about it. Now she was worrying over the pond water.
"I do not think it nearly so clean as it
was last year," she said, "and the mud is getting
positively dirty. Our family are very particular about
that, and I think we may have to move. I do dread the
moving, though. It is so much work with a family the
size of mine, and
She was talking with Mother Mud Turtle when she said
this, and the little Eels were wriggling all around her
as she spoke. Then they began teasing her to go, until
she told them to swim away at once and play with the
young Minnows. "I'm afraid I shall have to go," said
she, "if only on account of the children. I want them
to see something of the world. It is so dull in this
pond. Were you ever out of it?" she asked, turning
She was talking with mother mud turtle.
"Oh, yes," answered she. "I go quite often, and one of my sons took a very long trip to the meadow. He went with some boys. It was most exciting."
"Is that the one with the—peculiar
"Yes," replied Mother Mud Turtle sweetly. "He is very modest and does not care to talk about it much, but I am really quite pleased. Some people travel and show no sign of it afterward. One would never know that they had left home (Mother Eel wondered if she meant her), but with him it is different. He shows marks of having been in the great world outside."
Mother Eel wriggled a little uneasily. "I think I must
tell you after all," she said. "I have really made up
my mind to go.
"And what does he say then?" asked the Mud Turtle Mother.
"Nothing," answered Mother Eel, with a smart little
wriggle. "There is nothing for him to say. Yes, we
shall certainly move. I am only waiting for the right
kind of night. It must not be too light, or the land
people would see us; not too dark, or we could not see
them. And then the grass must be dewy. It would never
do for us to get dry, you know, or we should all be
sick. But please don't speak of this, dear
So the Mud Turtle Mother remembered that it was a
secret, and told nobody except the
"Did you say that it was a secret?" asked the Snapping Turtle.
"Yes," said the Mud Turtle Father, "It is a great secret."
"Humph!" said the Snapping Turtle. "Then why did you tell me?"
That same day when the Stickleback Father came to look for nineteen or twenty of his children who were missing, Mother Eel told him about her plans. "I thought you would be interested in hearing of it," she said, "but I shall not mention it to anybody else."
"You may be sure I shall not speak of it," said he.
And probably he would not have told a person, if it had
not been that he forgot and talked of it with the
Snails. He also forgot to say that it was a secret,
and so they spoke freely of it to the Crayfishes and
The Caddis Worms were playing with the Tadpoles soon after this, and one of them whispered to a Tadpole right before the others, although he knew perfectly well that it was rude for him to do so. "Now, don't you ever tell," said he aloud.
"Uh-uh!" answered the Tadpole, and everybody knew that he meant "No," even if they hadn't seen him wave his hindlegs sidewise. Of course, not having the right kind of neck for it, he couldn't shake his head.
Then the other Tadpoles and Caddis Worms wanted to tell
secrets, and they kept whispering to each other and
saying out loud, "Now don't you ever tell."
The Eel Mother also spoke to the Biggest Frog, asking him to watch the grass for her and tell her when it was dewy enough for moving. He was afraid he might forget it, and so told his sister and asked her to help him remember. And she was afraid that she might forget, so she spoke to her friend, the Green Brown Frog, about it. The Yellow Brown Frog afterward said that he heard it from her.
One night it was neither too dark nor too light, and
the dew lay heavy on the grass. Then
The little Eels were so excited that they couldn't keep still, and she had to wait for them to stop wriggling. When they were quiet, she went on. "All the Eels are going—your uncles and aunts and cousins—and you children must keep with the older ones. Be careful where you wriggle to, and don't get on anybody else's tail."
She led the way out of the water and wriggled
gracefully up the bank, although it was quite steep at
that place. "I came this way," she said, "because I
felt more as though this was the way to come." She
closed her mouth very firmly as she spoke.
When at last they were all together on the bank, the
Eel Father said to his wife, "Are you sure that the
Cranes and Fish Hawks don't know about our moving?
Because if they
"I know," she said. "It would be dreadful if they found out; and we have been so late in getting started. We shall have to stop at the very first water we find now, whether we like it or not." She lay still and thought. "I have a feeling," said she, "that we should go this way." So that way they went, dragging their yellow bellies over the ground as carefully as they could, their dark green backs with their long fringes of back fins hardly showing in the grass. It was a good thing that their skin was so fat and thick, for sometimes they had to cross rough places that scraped it dreadfully and even rumpled the tiny scales that were in it, while their long fringes of belly fins became worn and almost ragged. "If your scales were on the outside," said their father, "like those of other fishes, you wouldn't have many left."
Mother Eel was very tired and did not say much. Her friends began to fear that she was ill. At last she spoke, "I do not see," she said, "how people found out that we were to move."
"You didn't tell anybody?" said Mr. Eel.
"No indeed!" said she; and she really believed it. That was because she had talked so much that she couldn't remember what she did say. It is always so with those that talk too much.
Little brown seed, oh! little brown brother,
Are you awake in the dark?
Here we lie cozily, close to each other:
Hark to the song of the lark—
"Waken!" the lark says, "waken and dress you,
Put on your green coats and gay,
Blue sky will shine on you, sunshine caress you—
Waken! 'tis morning—'tis May!"
Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,
What kind of flower will you be?
I'll be a poppy—all white, like my mother;
Do be a poppy like me.
What! you're a sunflower? How I shall miss you
When you're grown golden and high!
But I shall send all the bees up to kiss you;
Little brown brother, good-by!
WEEK 19 |
T HE people of Hamelin had much to make them happy—a pleasant town, with a deep green river running through it, cosy gabled houses, fair churches of carven stone, flowering meadows, and plenty of rosy-cheeked little boys and girls to go and pick the flowers on fine days. But the people of Hamelin had also something to make them very far from happy, and that was the terrible multitude of rats which insisted upon sharing their shops and houses with them. These rats were of all colours and sizes that rats can be, black, white, brown, and grey; some no bigger than mice and some as large as puppies.
And they did a tremendous amount of damage, for they nibbled and munched everything they could reach, and the luckless people of Hamelin never succeeded in a single one of the attempts which they made to get rid of these unwelcome guests. They tried putting down traps, and they tried putting down poison; in vain! They tried terriers, and they tried pussy-cats, and they tried burning candles to the patron-saint of Hamelin, but all in vain!
Then one fine day the sound of a pipe was heard in the great open market-square before the principal church, and the merchants who ran out to hear the music saw that the piper was a very queer-looking fellow indeed, long and lank, with a swarthy skin and mysterious, mocking green eyes. But the oddest thing about him was his dress, which was of two colours, scarlet and yellow, like the dress of some court fool.
As the people gathered round him, the piper stopped piping and began to sing,
"Who lives shall see
That I am he,
The man who can catch rats!"
When they heard the words of the song the people were much excited.
"Take him to the Mayor and the Town Council!" they cried all together. Now at that very moment the Mayor and the Town Council happened to be holding yet another meeting to discuss the plague of rats with which Hamelin was afflicted. The piper, escorted by the chattering crowd, was brought before them.
"Are you a ratcatcher?" asked the Mayor.
"I am he who can catch rats," returned the stranger, speaking with a strong foreign accent.
"You have come to the right place, if you want a job," said the Councillors.
"So I understand. And I am willing to clear your town of every rat that is in it before the sun sets to-night."
"Sorcery, sorcery!" cried the crowd. "He is a wizard—let us have nothing to do with him!"
"Peace!" said the Mayor, looking very big. "Leave it to the Mayor—leave it to me."
"Leave it to the Mayor," murmured all the Councillors.
"I am willing," repeated the stranger, "to clear Hamelin of rats before sunset. But you must pay me a silver florin for every rat."
"A silver florin for every rat," cried the crowd. "Why that would mean millions of florins! He is mad!"
"A florin a head," said the pied piper. "Those are my terms."
"Done!" quoth the Mayor, finely. "A bargain's a bargain. You shall receive a florin a head."
"So be it. The deed will be done at moonrise. I advise the people of Hamelin to remain within doors while I am at work. But there is no reason why they should not look out of their windows. Till moonrise, good sirs! And I will now go to my inn, and refresh myself, for I have travelled many leagues since dawn."
When the piper had retired to his room at the inn, the people of Hamelin began to discuss the Mayor's bargain with great energy. Some said that a florin a head would come to a terribly big sum of money. Some said the piper was an impostor. Others said that he was Satan himself. But the Councillors wagged their heads very wisely, and said, "Leave it to the Mayor!"
At moonrise the piper appeared in the market-place again, and at the sound of his pipe heads were thrust from every window for a mile round. At first he played slowly and softly, but soon the tune became swift and gay, the sort of tune that sets people tapping their heels and longing to dance. Then the people heard another sound beside the music of the pipe—a pattering, creaking, scampering sound, that grew louder and louder the longer the piper played. And from every house and cellar and barn, from every cupboard and garret and bin, a great army of rats came pouring into the market-place, all the rats of Hamelin. The piper looked round, and saw that they were all there. Then, still piping, he set off toward the deep green river that runs through the town. The rats followed hard upon his heels.
On the brink of the river he paused, removed his pipe from his lips, and pointed to the middle of the flood, where the current ran strongest.
"In you go!" said he to the rats.
And in they went, one after another, by dozens, by scores, by hundreds. It was after midnight when the last rat of all reached the river's brink, and he was the first to pause before plunging in. An aged rat was he, the chieftain of the rats of Hamelin.
"Are all your tribe there, Master Whiteskin?" asked the piper.
"They are all there," answered Master Whiteskin. "How many of them?"
"Nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine."
"Did you count carefully, Master Whiteskin?"
"I counted carefully," answered Master Whiteskin.
"In you go, then, my friend—and good luck to you!"
So Master Whiteskin leapt into the river, and vanished at the same spot where the rest of his tribe had gone down. The piper thereupon returned to his inn, and the townspeople to their beds.
There was peace in Hamelin that night—no crunching, no scuffling, no pattering, no creaking under the floor or behind the wainscot.
The next morning the Town Council assembled in the Town Hall, rejoicing loudly at the success of the pied piper's stratagem. A few of the Councillors looked rather grave; they were thinking of the silver florins! But most of them believed in the wisdom of the Mayor, and you may be sure that he believed in it himself, most firmly. "Trust to me!" he said, whenever anyone seemed anxious.
The Council had not long been met together when the piper presented himself before them.
The rats of Hamelin are gone," declared he, "I could tell you whither, but I will not tell. It is enough for you to know that there were nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine, and that not one of them will return. Now let us settle the score. You know our bargain."
"Of course I do," said the Mayor. "A silver florin a head. By all means. Certainly. But where are the heads?"
"The heads!" repeated the piper, angrily. "The heads! If you want them you can go and look for them. I have told you how many there were. That is all that concerns you and me now."
"Dear me, no!" cried the Mayor, "A bargain is a bargain, Master Piper!"
And all the Councillors repeated after him, "A bargain is a bargain, you know!"
"You have broken your part of the agreement;" said the Mayor, "so, of course, you cannot hold us to ours. But we do not wish to appear ungrateful. Here are fifty florins."
"I will not take your fifty florins," returned the piper, in a stern voice, while his green eyes glinted fiercely. "You shall pay me yet—but not in money. Fare ye well, ye wise Councillors of Hamelin!"
With these words he stalked out of the Town Hall, and back to his inn.
"Ha, ha!" laughed the Councillors, "what a foolish fellow! We have got rid of our rats, and we have saved fifty florins! Ha, ha!"
"I told you to leave it to me!" said the Mayor, puffing with pride.
The next day was a Sunday, and all the townsfolk set off betimes for church. They did not take their children with them to the first service of the day, but they looked forward to being welcomed by their rosy-cheeked little boys and girls on their return, and to eating their first Sunday dinner for many years which had not been nibbled beforehand by those wretched rats.
The service was over and all the fathers and mothers went rustling home in their Sunday clothes, but their houses seemed strangely dull and quiet. No little faces peeping out of the windows, no little feet scampering down the stairs, no little voices calling to them to make haste, for it was almost dinner time!
"Where are our children?"
Soon all the people were running to and fro, asking each other that question, and hunting high and low, and calling the children by name to come forth from their hiding-places, for their joke had lasted long enough.
But the children were not hiding, nor were they playing a trick upon their parents. They had vanished, and no trace of them remained.
Presently some of the people who had gone to seek for the lost children in the meadows at the foot of a great hill on the outskirts of the town met a little lame boy, limping homeward on his crutches, and weeping bitterly. And from him they learned what had befallen the rest.
While all the grown-ups were at church, he said, the children heard the sound of the pied piper's pipe in the market-place, and ran out so that they might hear the better. Never was such sweet music! Soon they all began to dance and sing, crowding round the piper, and clinging to his scarlet and yellow sleeves.
When he began to march toward the meadows at the foot of the great hill, they all followed him, skipping and jumping, and keeping time to the merry airs he played.
But when he reached those meadows, he did not stop. He went straight on toward the mountain, and all the children followed. And when he reached the mountain, he did not stop. He went straight on, and the mountain opened, and he walked into the mountain, and all the children followed.
All, that is to say, except the little cripple. He could not run as fast as the others, and by the time he reached the mountain, the gap had closed again.
On hearing these things the people of Hamelin seized crowbars and mattocks and hurried to the mountain in the hope that they might find some crack or seam, and open it up, and so follow and find the piper and the children. Foremost among them was the Mayor, who had lost three dear little daughters and two handsome little sons. Poor man, never was he heard to say again, "Leave it to the Mayor!" For the children did not come back. And what befell them, or where they went, nobody can tell for certain.
Long years after, a company of merchants from Bremen chanced to visit Hamelin, and there they were told the story which you have just read here. These merchants were on their homeward way from a journey across Hungary and Transylvania. And when they heard the story of the pied piper, they looked at one another, and nodded, and said, "Surely it must be so!"
The people of Hamelin asked them what they meant. And their leader then explained that far away in the Transylvania mountains they had come across a village where the inhabitants spoke nothing but German, though everyone else in the land spoke Hungarian. These villagers were also much fairer than their neighbours, and different from them in various little ways. They themselves were not quite sure how they came to this strange land, but there was a tradition among them that their forefathers had come from Germany in some mysterious way, long, long years before.
"Now," said the merchants of Bremen, "is it not quite clear that those fair-haired Transylvanians are the descendants of those children whom the pied piper led into yonder mountain?"
"It must be so," said the people of Hamelin.
I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.
And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I've been good.
My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.
I know that, till to-morrow when I see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.
But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.
WEEK 19 |
"The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece."
W HILE the heroic age of Greece is passing with its memories of the Argonauts, the siege of Troy, and the adventures of Ulysses, let us take a look at the country, which was destined to become so great a power in the world.
One glance at the map will show, that Greece was cut up into little States. Why was this? Greece is naturally cut up into little pieces by its mountains, and deeply indented by its sea. One part is entirely divided from another part, by deep ravines with steep sides, and across these ravines no man could walk. Intercourse, therefore, between such a people was very difficult, often impossible.
See how different Greece is from Egypt. Egypt is a rich flat land stretching away on either side of the river Nile. The Egyptians could sail up the Nile with the wind, and drop down it, with the current, so that it was always quite easy to go from one part to another.
And so it was that from the very earliest times Egypt was one country under one king, like the Pharaohs of Bible history.
In Greece it was all different. There is no one flat tract of land anywhere. The great ranges of mountains divide it into a number of small districts, and each of these districts must have its own chief or king. These old Greeks were a free and hardy race, full of imagination and adventure, loving their old stories, loving their mountains, their sea, their freedom. Further than this, they enjoyed a climate which would breathe life into the dullest race; a climate, that clothed their mountains and islands with a beauty, of which their poets have ever loved to sing, which has raised them to that keen sense of beauty and art famous, throughout all ages.
To such a people, shipping became a necessity. They would learn the art of shipbuilding from the Phœnicians, who had long since made a settlement on the rocky crag, rising from out the plain known as the Acropolis, or Rock City. Thither came the Phœnicians, when the Greeks were but mere farmers, until very soon, on the Greek coast too, a new and busy life began. The Greeks had much to learn from the seafaring men from Tyre and Sidon, who came more and more to the Greek coasts, exchanging their own goods for Grecian products. In time the Greeks on the coast came to know all the Phœnicians knew: they took their alphabet, their weights and measures; they made ships like those used by the Phœnicians, and began to sail along their own shores.
It was therefore somewhat natural, that after a time the Greeks should turn their eyes eastwards across the blue waters, now known as the Archipelago, to the fertile shores of Asia Minor. Vast fields of rich grain and orchards of fruit, tempted the new settlers, until shipload after shipload had left the mother country, and scattered themselves along the opposite shores of Asia Minor, known as Ionia.
There is an old story of this Ionian migration, which says, that a certain king in Greece died, and his sons, not caring to live on in a country, where they could not live as princes, decided to leave it. They assembled at the Acropolis while their ships were preparing, and after a tedious voyage across the Archipelago, they landed on the coast of Asia Minor. They soon began to build cities, and before long, there were no less than twelve beautiful seaport towns on the Ionian coast belonging to Greece.
The chief of these were Miletus and Ephesus, both of which we shall hear of again. Miletus was stoutly defended by the natives already living there, which so enraged the Greeks that they slew every man they found and made the widowed women their wives. Legend relates, that the women were so heart-broken at this conduct, that they refused to sit at meat with their new husbands, or to call them by their names.
Ephesus rose to great importance as a seaport, and was also famous for the wonderful temple built to the goddess Diana, a worship which filled St Paul with such sorrow, when he spent three years among these Ephesians.
These towns had their day; they rose and fell, and nothing remains of them
The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!
WEEK 19 |
T HE next morning the whole family slept late. When the children woke, their father and mother had already eaten their breakfast and Felix had gone to get more nipa palms to mend the hole in the roof. Ramon looked anxiously at his mother as she stepped quietly about the little house, to see if she were still crying, but her face looked calm as usual and he almost felt as if the talk of the night must have been a dream.
He and Rita ate their breakfast hurriedly and ran off to school. When they reached it, the morning session had already begun, and they waited a moment, dreading to go in because they were late. At last they timidly opened the door a crack and peeped inside.
Then a surprising thing happened. When she caught sight of them, the teacher herself came forward and hugged them before the whole school, and the children all clapped their hands! Every one in the village knew, by this time, that the Santos family had gone out on the raft and had not been seen since the storm. So when Ramon and Rita walked into the schoolroom, it was no wonder that every one was glad to see them. There was so much excitement over their safe return that the maestra actually gave up a class and asked Ramon and Rita to tell the story of their adventures.
It was very pleasant being heroes and having so much to tell. It was almost worth all the terrors of that awful night, and Ramon made the most of it. He told about the wind and the waves, and the steamer that picked them up, and about all the wonderful things they had seen at the dock in Manila, and the children listened with their eyes wide and their mouths open.
For two days they were treated as beings apart. The other children vied with one another in attentions, and were proud to be allowed even to walk beside the heroes of such a marvelous experience. Then the excitement died down, and in a week they were no more and no less than they had always been.
Preparations for the coming harvest festival next took the attention of the school, and the talk of the children was all about the prizes to be given for home work at the celebration in the village. Ramon was encouraged to find that only one other child beside himself, a boy named José, had tried to raise chickens, and because of this fact he still hoped against hope that his rooster might take a prize. Out of school hours he watched his young cockerel faithfully, fed it all it would hold, listened with pride to its ridiculous crowing, and tried to make Rita believe that it was the finest young rooster in the whole world.
Rita, meanwhile, wove away at the basket, spending almost every moment of daylight that she could get out of school in working out the intricate pattern.
Though their father and mother said little about their anxieties, the children could not help knowing that things were growing steadily worse and worse for them. There was now very little to eat except camotes, and the fruit which grew so plentifully about them. The rice was entirely gone, the pigs had all been sold, many of the chickens and ducks had been eaten, and the future looked dark indeed. There was now nothing left that he could sell except the carabao, and Felix had made up his mind that he would go hungry himself before he would part with old Bobtail. Even if he had wished to sell him, there was no one to buy, for his neighbors were as poor as himself.
Hoping against hope, he worked away on his raft, even
though there was no money to buy twine for the nets, or
ropes and pulleys for it. He eked out their scanty
by catching crabs, with his hands, or by diving to the
Ramon had long since told Rita about the talk he had
overheard in the night, and they, together, had tried
to think of some way to help. He told her about the
That night, at least, they all had a good meal.
In this way, the weeks dragged themselves slowly by, and as the time for harvesting the rice drew near, Felix watched the weather with deepening concern. Another typhoon, or even a violent storm, and their whole living might be swept away. Now that he could no longer fish, the rice crop was his only hope. If anything were to happen to that, he would be ruined indeed.
At last, one night, he said to Petra:
Long before daylight, the family was wakened by the
crowing of Ramon's rooster under the house. It was
still so early that the first streak of dawn had not
yet reddened the eastern sky. In a very short time,
they were all up and out in the
Old Bobtail had been hitched to a farm cart and stood patiently at the edge of the field waiting to take the bundles of grain back to the house, and Ramon, feeling very important, rode on his back and guided him back and forth. While he and Felix brought in the grain, Rita and her mother got it ready for threshing. The rice sheaves were laid in a heap on the hard earth near the door, and when Felix and Ramon brought in the last load, the whole family jumped on it, and stamped and pranced on the pile in order to beat the grain from the straw. For some time this strange dance went on, and then Felix went away to feed the pigs, and Petra took some of the palay under the house to pound off the hulls, so she could cook some of the new rice for their supper.
She was busily thumping away with the pestle on the
grain in her mortar, when
Ramon, growing tired of his task, was struck with a
bright idea. Leaving Rita still stalking solemnly over
had a rope around the goat's horns, and when he had
succeeded in dragging her to the
While she was saying this, she was on her way to the window as fast as she could go. When she got there, she put her head out and wrung her hands in dismay at the lively scene before her.
Ramon had not heard a word his mother had said, because he and Rita and the goat and Dingo and the kid were making such a bedlam of shouts and bleats and yelps that he could not have heard, even if he had had ears a foot long. He saw her, however, and, thinking she would be pleased at his cleverness, he began to show off a little. He seized the goat by the tail and went careering about on the rice like a typhoon on Manila Bay!
"Stop, stop!" screamed Petra. "Are you crazy? That goat won't give a drop of milk if you use her like that!"
This time Ramon heard: "We are just threshing out the
rice," he shouted back, "and Dingo is
"I'll warrant Dingo is helping," said Petra, under her breath. "He's the most helpful dog I ever knew."
By the time she had said this she was halfway down the
steps, but before she was clear down and on her way to
The threshing and winnowing of the pile of rice took two days more, but at last it lay piled in a brown heap on a mat before the door, and Felix sat down on his heels and looked at it in silence for some time.
At last he said: "There is enough for ourselves and a little over. If I sell it all, I can buy the twine and pulleys and ropes that we need, but in that case we shall have to go on short rations all the year. The crop is better than I feared it might be, and if it hadn't been for the typhoon would have been very good indeed. As it is, we must choose. Shall we sell the rice and equip the raft, or keep the rice and give up the fishing?"
"Can't we keep some of it and have the nets and things too?" asked Ramon. He saw his dream of having all the rice he wanted fading away.
Then Petra spoke. "I'd rather pinch along for a few months more," she said, "and have the raft finished. Then we shall have two ways of earning a living. If we should depend on the crop alone and it should fail, we should be worse off than ever. Then we should have neither rice nor fish."
Ramon groaned. "Can't we have all we want just for once?" he begged.
His mother smiled at him. "Yes," she said. "We'll have a feast to celebrate the harvest and send the rest to the market." Her voice was cheerful, though no one knew so well as she how hard it would be to find enough to feed her family with their chief dependence gone.
While Felix and the children stored the rice in sacks, she went into the house, taking with her a large portion to cook for their supper.
The harvest festival was now at hand and the day before the great event was spent in getting ready for it. Petra washed and ironed their clothes so they might appear spotlessly clean even though their garments were worn and old. She also mended the children's shoes, but she could not make them look well however much she tried, so she said to them, "You must have such good manners that no one will notice your shoes." The Twins wondered if any one ever had manners good enough for that.
While their mother washed and mended, the children were busy, too. Rita wrapped her precious basket in a piece of white cloth to protect it, and Ramon made a bamboo cage to carry his rooster in. When it was done, he had the still harder task of catching the rooster and getting him into it. The rooster was now a very handsome young bird. His feathers were a glossy, golden brown, his legs were a healthy yellow, and his red comb stood up bright on his proud head.
Ramon waited until he had gone to roost for the night,
and then crept up behind him and seized him by the
legs. There was a terrible squawking, and when the
astonished fowl found himself shut in the cage, he was
so humiliated that he became sullen.
At last the great day dawned. Ramon hurried early to the pasture and, mounting old Bobtail, drove him to the house. There he was hitched to the cart, which had been loaded with the sacks of grain the night before. An empty bag for a saddle was placed on his back, and when the family was ready to start, Ramon climbed up and seated himself upon it.
Rita and her mother sat on the bags of rice, Rita holding her precious basket and Petra carrying her embroidered linen which she hoped to sell. Felix handed the bamboo cage up to Ramon, who was unwilling that any one but himself should take charge of his prize rooster, and off they started, with Felix leading Bobtail by the rope in his nose. Dingo brought up the rear of the procession, his tail wagging briskly with excitement.
The road to the village lay along the shore of the bay, and as the cart creaked slowly past the farms of their neighbors, other carts, loaded in much the same way, joined the caravan, and the whole procession moved slowly toward the town.
The streets of the village itself were filled with
The wives of some of the dealers, and a few American tourists who had come with them, were wandering about the streets, mingling with the crowds, eagerly interested in seeing what the harvest festival in a country town was like.
When Felix saw the strangers, he said to his wife: "There is a steamer at the dock, as sure as anything, and I am going to get there as fast as I can. You and the children wait for me at the schoolhouse."
Petra and the children instantly dismounted, carrying their bundles, and soon the cart was out of sight. Crowds of children, dressed in white and carrying baskets filled with offerings for the exhibition, were already swarming into the schoolhouse when Petra and the Twins arrived.
The flushed and distracted maestra was receiving them and placing the contents of their baskets on benches and desks about the room, labeling each article with the name of the child whose work it was. Proud mothers followed in her wake, watching to see that their articles were placed so that they would show well, examining the things made by other children, and comparing notes with other mothers. Petra trailed after the Twins, and Dingo, taking it for granted that dogs were invited too, kept close at their heels. Ramon went ahead, carrying the bamboo cage and looking eagerly about to see if there were any other fowls on exhibition.
"Here," said the teacher, holding out her hand, "give me your cock. I will put it beside José's. You and he are the only ones who have sent chickens." She lifted the cage over the heads of the children who were crowding about the long bench filled with vegetables and plumped it down by José's rooster, which was in an open box and was tied only by one leg.
Ramon's rooster had borne a great deal. He had been
caught by the legs and crammed into a box too small for
him. His protests had brought him no relief and he was
now thoroughly enraged. His eyes had red rings around
them and his
In vain the teacher wrung her hands. She did not dare to separate them for fear of their beaks and spurs. The crowd fell back a little, but the room was full, and the roosters, for lack of space, flew up in the air. José's, seeing a chance to escape, dashed for the open door. Ramon's bird tore after him, and the two lighted on the astonished heads of the children, flapping from one to another as if they were mere stones in their pathway.
They had almost reached the door, over the laughing, screaming crowd, when Dingo saw his duty. He dashed after them, and the next instant birds and dog were tearing like a cyclone up the street, José's rooster in the lead with Ramon's in hot pursuit, and Dingo flying after the two so fast his feet scarcely touched the ground.
Everybody in the village—men, women, and children, tourists and all—raced after them, and never was there such a sight since the Pied Piper 'piped all the children out of Hamelin town. Ramon and José, neck and neck, were only a little way behind Dingo. They were in despair over the loss of their part in the exhibit and determined, if possible, to catch their pets and take them back to the schoolhouse. José's rooster was equally determined to get back to his own roost, and, running and flying by turns and squawking all the way, he got over the ground with amazing speed.
The two boys were soon left behind, and when, a few moments later, they reached José's house, they found the cocks finishing their argument on the roof of the chicken-house, with Dingo dancing helplessly about on the ground.
The boys were almost as helpless as the dog. In vain they tried to throw water on the crazy creatures. The roosters kept out of reach, and it was not until José's bird flew off the roof on the farther side and hid in the bushes, and Ramon's sank exhausted after one triumphant crow, that Ramon was able to climb up and catch him. Very sadly he took his pet in his arms and, followed by the crowd, returned to the schoolhouse. There he found his broken cage, put the disgraced fowl into it, and tied it up so he should not get out.
There was no chance of any prize for him now, nor for José either, and if it had not been for the teacher there might have been a dispute between the two boys. Each blamed the other for the disaster, but the teacher said soothingly: "If any one is to blame, it is I. I should not have put them beside each other. Next year you had better raise corn or cucumbers, for I will never let another rooster be shown in my schoolhouse!"
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.
Sing, a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
WEEK 19 |
Genesis xxxvii: 1 to 36.
FTER Jacob came back to the land of Canaan with his eleven sons, another son was born to him, the second child of his wife Rachel, whom Jacob loved so well. You remember we told in Story Thirteen how long Jacob worked for Laban caring for his sheep and oxen in order that he might have Rachel for his wife. But now a great sorrow was to come to Jacob, for soon after the baby came, his mother Rachel died, and Jacob was filled with sorrow. Even to this day you can see the place where Rachel was buried, on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Jacob named the child whom Rachel left, Benjamin; and now Jacob had twelve sons. Most of them were grown-up men, but Joseph was a boy, seventeen years old, and his brother Benjamin was almost a baby.
Of all his children, Jacob loved Joseph the best, because he was Rachel's child, because he was so much younger than most of his brothers, and because he was good, and faithful, and thoughtful. Jacob gave to Joseph a robe or coat of bright color made somewhat like a long cloak with wide sleeves. This was a special mark of Jacob's favor to Joseph, and it made his older brothers very envious of him.
Then, too, Joseph did what was right, while his older brothers often did very wrong acts, of which Joseph sometimes told their father, and this made them very angry at Joseph. But they hated him still more because of two strange dreams that he had, and of which he told them. He said one day:
"Listen to this dream that I have dreamed. I dreamed that we were out in the field binding sheaves, when suddenly my sheaf stood up, and all your sheaves came around it, and bowed down to my sheaf." And they said, scornfully, "Do you suppose that the dream means that you will some time rule over us, and that we shall bow down to you?" Then a few days after Joseph said, "I have dreamed again. This time I saw in my dream the sun and the moon and eleven stars all come and bow down to me."
Joseph telling his dream to his brothers.
And his father said to him, "I do not like you to dream such dreams. Shall I, and your mother, and your brothers, come and bow down before you, as if you are a king?"
His brothers hated Joseph, and would not speak kindly to him; but his father thought much of what Joseph had said.
At one time, Joseph's ten older brothers were taking care of the flock in the fields near Shechem, which was nearly fifty miles from Hebron, where Jacob's tents were spread. And Jacob wished to send a message to his sons, and he called Joseph, and said to him, "Your brothers are near Shechem with the flock. I wish that you would go to them, and take a message, and find if they are well, and if the flocks are doing well; and bring me word from them."
That was quite an errand for a boy to go alone over the country, and find his way, for fifty miles, and then walk home again. But Joseph was a boy that could take care of himself, and could be trusted; so he went forth on his journey, walking northward over the mountains, past Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, and Bethel,—though we are not sure that any of those cities were then built, except Jerusalem, which we know was already a strong city.
When Joseph reached Shechem he could not find his brothers, for they had taken their flocks to another place. A man met Joseph wandering in the field, and asked him, "Whom are you seeking?" Joseph said, "I am looking for my brothers, the sons of Jacob. Can you tell me where I will find them?" And the man said, "They are at Dothan; for I heard them say that they were going there." Then Joseph walked over the hills to Dothan, which was fifteen miles further. And his brothers saw him afar off coming towards them. They knew him by his bright garment; and one said to another:
"Look, that dreamer is coming! Come, let us kill him, and throw his body into a pit, and tell his father that some wild beast has eaten him; and then we will see what becomes of his dreams."
One of his brothers, whose name was Reuben, felt more kindly toward Joseph than the others; but he did not dare to oppose the others openly. Reuben said:
"Let us not kill him; but let us throw him into this pit, here in the wilderness, and leave him there to die."
But Reuben intended, after they had gone away, to lift Joseph out of the pit, and take him home to his father. The brothers did as Reuben told them; they threw Joseph into the pit, which was empty. He cried, and begged them to save him, but they would not. They calmly sat down to eat their dinner on the grass, while their brother was calling to them from the pit.
After the dinner, Reuben chanced to go to another part of the field, so that he was not at hand when a company of men passed by with their camels, going from Gilead, on the east of the river Jordan, to Egypt, to sell spices and fragrant gum from trees to the Egyptians. Then Judah, another of Joseph's brothers said, "What good will it do us to kill our brother? Would it not be better for us to sell him to these men, and let them carry him away? After all, he is our brother; and we would better not kill him."
His brothers agreed with him; so they stopped the men who were passing, and drew up Joseph from the pit; and for twenty pieces of silver, they sold Joseph to these men; and they took him away with them down to Egypt.
Joseph sold by his brothers.
After a while, Reuben came to the pit, where he had left Joseph, and looked into it; but Joseph was not there. Then Reuben was in great trouble, and he came back to his brothers saying, "The boy is not there! What shall I do?"
Then his brothers told Reuben what they had done, and they all agreed together to deceive their father. They killed one of the goats, and dipped Joseph's coat in its blood, and they brought it to their father, and they said to him, "We found this coat out in the wilderness. Look at it, and see if you think it was your son's." And Jacob knew it at once. He said, "It is my son's coat. Some wild beast has eaten him. There is no doubt that Joseph has been torn in pieces!"
And Jacob's heart was broken over the loss of Joseph, all the more because he had sent Joseph alone on the journey through the wilderness. They tried to comfort him, but he would not be comforted. He said:
"I will go down to the grave mourning for my poor lost son."
So the old man sorrowed for his son Joseph; and all the time his wicked brothers knew that Joseph was not dead; but they would not tell their father the dreadful deed that they had done to their brother, in selling him as a slave.
Roses blushing red and white,
Honeysuckle wreaths above,
Dim sweet-scented heliotrope,
Shining lilies tall and straight,
For royal state;
Dusky pansies, let them be
With violets of fragrant breath,