WEEK 27 |
ENTLY then—very gently, the Doctor woke the man up.
But just at that moment the match went out again. And the man thought it was Ben Ali coming back, and he began to punch the Doctor in the dark.
But when John Dolittle told him who it was, and that he had his little nephew safe on his ship, the man was tremendously glad, and said he was sorry he had fought the Doctor. He had not hurt him much though—because it was too dark to punch properly. Then he gave the Doctor a pinch of snuff.
And the man told how the Barbary Dragon had put him on to this rock and left him there, when he wouldn't promise to become a pirate; and how he used to sleep down in this hole because there was no house on the rock to keep him warm.
And then he said,
"For four days I have had nothing to eat or drink. I have lived on snuff."
"There you are!" said Jip. "What did I tell you?"
So they struck some more matches and made their way out through the passage into the daylight; and the Doctor hurried the man down to the boat to get some soup.
When the animals and the little boy saw the Doctor and Jip coming back to the ship with a red-headed man, they began to cheer and yell and dance about the boat. And the swallows up above started whistling at the top of their voices—thousands and millions of them—to show that they too were glad that the boy's brave uncle had been found. The noise they made was so great that sailors far out at sea thought that a terrible storm was coming. "Hark to that gale howling in the East!" they said.
And Jip was awfully proud of himself—though he tried hard not to look conceited. When Dab-Dab came to him and said, "Jip, I had no idea you were so clever!" he just tossed his head and answered,
"Oh, that's nothing special. But it takes a dog to find a man, you know. Birds are no good for a game like that."
Then the Doctor asked the red-haired fisherman where his home was. And when he had told him, the Doctor asked the swallows to guide the ship there first.
And when they had come to the land which the man had spoken of, they saw a little fishing-town at the foot of a rocky mountain; and the man pointed out the house where he lived.
And while they were letting down the anchor, the little boy's mother (who was also the man's sister) came running down to the shore to meet them, laughing and crying at the same time. She had been sitting on a hill for twenty days, watching the sea and waiting for them to return.
And she kissed the Doctor many times, so that he giggled and blushed like a school-girl. And she tried to kiss Jip too; but he ran away and hid inside the ship.
And she kissed the Doctor many times.
"It's a silly business, this kissing," he said. "I don't hold by it. Let her go and kiss Gub-Gub—if she must kiss something."
The fisherman and his sister didn't want the Doctor to go away again in a hurry. They begged him to spend a few days with them. So John Dolittle and his animals had to stay at their house a whole Saturday and Sunday and half of Monday.
And all the little boys of the fishing-village went down to the beach and pointed at the great ship anchored there, and said to one another in whispers,
"Look! That was a pirate-ship—Ben Ali's—the most terrible pirate that ever sailed the Seven Seas! That old gentleman with the high hat, who's staying up at Mrs. Trevelyan's, he took the ship away from The Barbary Dragon—and made him into a farmer. Who'd have thought it of him—him so gentle-like and all! . . . Look at the great red sails! Ain't she the wicked-looking ship—and fast?—My!"
All those two days and a half that the Doctor stayed at the little fishing-town the people kept asking him out to teas and luncheons and dinners and parties; all the ladies sent him boxes of flowers and candies; and the village-band played tunes under his window every night.
At last the Doctor said,
"Good people, I must go home now. You have really been most kind. I shall always remember it. But I must go home—for I have things to do."
Then, just as the Doctor was about to leave, the Mayor of the town came down the street and a lot of other people in grand clothes with him. And the Mayor stopped before the house where the Doctor was living; and everybody in the village gathered round to see what was going to happen.
After six page-boys had blown on shining trumpets to make the people stop talking, the Doctor came out on to the steps and the Mayor spoke.
"Doctor John Dolittle," said he: "It is a great pleasure for me to present to the man who rid the seas of the Dragon of Barbary this little token from the grateful people of our worthy Town."
And the Mayor took from his pocket a little tissue-paper packet, and opening it, he handed to the Doctor a perfectly beautiful watch with real diamonds in the back.
Then the Mayor pulled out of his pocket a still larger parcel and said,
"Where is the dog?"
Then everybody started to hunt for Jip. And at last Dab-Dab found him on the other side of the village in a stable-yard, where all the dogs of the country-side were standing round him speechless with admiration and respect.
When Jip was brought to the Doctor's side, the Mayor opened the larger parcel; and inside was a dog-collar made of solid gold! And a great murmur of wonder went up from the village-folk as the Mayor bent down and fastened it round the dog's neck with his own hands.
For written on the collar in big letters were these words: "JIP—The Cleverest Dog in the World."
Then the whole crowd moved down to the beach to see them off. And after the red-haired fisherman and his sister and the little boy had thanked the Doctor and his dog over and over and over again, the great, swift ship with the red sails was turned once more towards Puddleby and they sailed out to sea, while the village-band played music on the shore.
ARCH winds had come and gone; April's showers were over; May's buds had opened into flower; and the June sun was shining on the pleasant fields, when John Dolittle at last got back to his own country.
But he did not yet go home to Puddleby. First he went traveling through the land with the pushmi-pullyu in a gipsy-wagon, stopping at all the country-fairs. And there, with the acrobats on one side of them and the Punch-and-Judy show on the other, they would hang out a big sign which read, "COME AND SEE THE MARVELOUS TWO-HEADED ANIMAL FROM THE JUNGLES OF AFRICA. Admission SIXPENCE."
And the pushmi-pullyu would stay inside the wagon, while the other animals would lie about underneath. The Doctor sat in a chair in front taking the sixpences and smiling on the people as they went in; and Dab-Dab was kept busy all the time scolding him because he would let the children in for nothing when she wasn't looking.
The Doctor sat in a chair in front.
And menagerie-keepers and circus-men came and asked the Doctor to sell them the strange creature, saying they would pay a tremendous lot of money for him. But the Doctor always shook his head and said.
"No. The pushmi-pullyu shall never be shut up in a cage. He shall be free always to come and go, like you and me."
Many curious sights and happenings they saw in this wandering life; but they all seemed quite ordinary after the great things they had seen and done in foreign lands. It was very interesting at first, being sort of part of a circus; but after a few weeks they all got dreadfully tired of it and the Doctor and all of them were longing to go home.
But so many people came flocking to the little wagon and paid the sixpence to go inside and see the pushmi-pullyu that very soon the Doctor was able to give up being a showman.
And one fine day, when the hollyhocks were in full bloom, he came back to Puddleby a rich man, to live in the little house with the big garden.
And the old lame horse in the stable was glad to see him; and so were the swallows who had already built their nests under the eaves of his roof and had young ones. And Dab-Dab was glad, too, to get back to the house she knew so well—although there was a terrible lot of dusting to be done, with cobwebs everywhere.
And after Jip had gone and shown his golden collar to the conceited collie next-door, he came back and began running round the garden like a crazy thing, looking for the bones he had buried long ago, and chasing the rats out of the tool-shed; while Gub-Gub dug up the horseradish which had grown three feet high in the corner by the garden-wall.
He began running round the garden like a crazy thing.
And the Doctor went and saw the sailor who had lent him the boat, and he bought two new ships for him and a rubber-doll for his baby; and he paid the grocer for the food he had lent him for the journey to Africa. And he bought another piano and put the white mice back in it—because they said the bureau-drawer was drafty.
Even when the Doctor had filled the old money-box on the dresser-shelf, he still had a lot of money left; and he had to get three more money-boxes, just as big, to put the rest in.
"Money," he said, "is a terrible nuisance. But it's nice not to have to worry."
"Yes," said Dab-Dab, who was toasting muffins for his tea, "it is indeed!"
And when the Winter came again, and the snow flew against the kitchen-window, the Doctor and his animals would sit round the big, warm fire after supper; and he would read aloud to them out of his books.
But far away in Africa, where the monkeys chattered in the palm-trees before they went to bed under the big yellow moon, they would say to one another,
"I wonder what The Good Man's doing now—over there, in the Land of the White Men! Do you think he ever will come back?"
And Polynesia would squeak out from the vines,
"I think he will—I guess he will—I hope he will!"
And then the crocodile would grunt up at them from the black mud of the river,
"I'm SURE he will—Go to sleep!"
Little wind, blow on the hill top,
Little wind, blow down the plain;
Little wind, blow up the sunshine,
Little wind, blow off the rain.
WEEK 27 |
HE Indians among whom Captain Clark and Captain Lewis traveled had
many strange ways of doing things. They had nothing like our matches
for making fire. One tribe of Indians had this way of lighting a fire.
An Indian would lay down a dry stick. He would rub this stick with the
end of another stick. After a while this rubbing would make something
In that time the white people had not yet found out how to make matches. They lighted a fire by striking a piece of flint against a piece of steel. This would make a spark of fire. By letting this spark fall on something that would burn easily, they started a fire.
White men had another way of lighting a fire when the sun was shining. They used what was called a burning glass. This was a round piece of glass. It was thick in the middle, and thin at the edge. When you held up a burning glass in the sun, it drew the sun's heat so as to make a little hot spot. If you put paper under this spot of hot sunshine, it would burn. Men could light the tobacco in their pipes with one of these glasses.
Captain Clark had something funny happen to him on account of his burning glass. He had walked ahead of the rest of his men. He sat down on a rock. There were some Indians on the other side of the river. They did not see the captain. Captain Clark saw a large bird called a crane flying over his head. He raised his gun and shot it.
The Indians on the other side of the river had never seen a white man in their lives. They had never heard a gun. They used bows and arrows.
They heard the sound of Clark's gun. They looked up and saw the large bird falling from the sky. It fell close to where Captain Clark sat. Just as it fell they caught sight of Captain Clark sitting on the rocks. They thought they had seen him fall out of the sky. They thought that the sound of his gun was a sound like thunder that was made when he came down.
The Indians all ran away as fast as they could. They went into their wigwams and closed them.
Captain Clark wished to be friendly with them. So he got a canoe and paddled to the other side of the river. He came to the Indian houses. He found the flaps which they use for doors shut. He opened one of them and went in. The Indians were sitting down, and they were all crying and trembling.
Among the Indians the sign of peace is to smoke together. Captain Clark held out his pipe to them. That was to say, "I am your friend." He shook hands with them and gave some of them presents. Then they were not so much afraid.
Lighting a Pipe with a Burning Glass
He wished to light his pipe for them to smoke. So he took out his burning glass. He held it in the sun. He held his pipe under it. The sunshine was drawn together into a bright little spot on the tobacco. Soon the pipe began to smoke.
Then he held out his pipe for the Indians to smoke with him. That is their way of making friends. But none of the Indians would touch the pipe. They thought that he had brought fire down from heaven to light his pipe. They were now sure that he fell down from the sky. They were more afraid of him than ever.
At last Captain Clark's Indian man came. He told the other Indians that the white man did not come out of the sky. Then they smoked the pipe, and were not afraid.
I went into a house, and it wasn't a house,
It has big steps and a great big hall;
But it hasn't got a garden,
It isn't like a house at all.
I went into a house, and it wasn't a house,
It has a big garden and great high wall;
But it hasn't got a
It isn't like a house at all.
I went into a house and it wasn't a
Slow white petals from the
But it hasn't got a blackbird,
It isn't like a house at all.
I went into a house, and I thought it was a house,
I could hear from the
But nobody listened to it,
Nobody wanted it at all.
WEEK 27 |
"L ISTEN!" said the Nigh Ox, "don't you hear some friends coming?"
The Off Ox raised his head from the grass and stopped to brush away a Fly, for you never could hurry either of the brothers. "I don't hear any footfalls," said he.
"You should listen for wings, not feet," said the Nigh Ox, "and for voices, too."
Even as he spoke there floated down from the clear air
overhead a soft "tit-tle-ittle-
"The Swallows!" cried the Oxen to each other. Then they straightened their strong necks and bellowed to the Horses, who were drawing the plow in the field beyond, "The Swallows are coming!"
The Swallows are coming.
As soon as the Horses reached the end of the furrow and could rest a minute, they tossed their heads and whinnied with delight. Then they looked around at the farmer, and wished that he knew enough of the farmyard language to understand what they wanted to tell him. They knew he would be glad to hear of their friends' return, for had they not seen him pick up a young Swallow one day and put him in a safer place?
"Tittle-ittle-ittle-ee!" and there was a sudden
darkening of the sky above their heads, a whirr of many
wings, a chattering and laughing of soft voices, and
the Swallows had come. Perched on the
The Doves were there, walking up and down the sloping
sides of the roof and cooing to each other about the
simple things of
"Isn't it good to be home, home, home!" sang one
Swallow. "I never
set my claws on another
"I'm going to look at my old nest," said a young Swallow, as she suddenly flew down to the eaves.
"I think I'll go, too," said another young Swallow, springing away from his perch. He was a handsome fellow, with a glistening dark blue head and back, a long forked tail which showed a white stripe on the under side, a rich buff vest, and a deep blue collar, all of the finest feathers. He loved the young Swallow whom he was following, and he wanted to tell her so.
"There is the nest where I was hatched," she said.
"Would you think I was ever crowded in there with five
brothers and sisters? It was a comfortable nest, too,
before the winter winds and snow wore it away. I
wonder how it would seem to be a fledgling again?" She
snuggled down in the old nest until he could see only
her forked tail and her dainty head over the edge.
Her vest was quite hidden, and the only light feathers
that showed were the
"I don't want you to be a fledgling again," he cried. "I want you to help me make a home under the eaves, at a lovely little nest of mud and straw, where you can rest as you are now doing while I bring food to you. Will you?"
"Yes," she cried.
"Tittle-ittle-ittle-ee! Oh, tittle-ittle-
"Where are those young people going?" said an older
Swallow. "I should think they had flown far enough
"Don't you remember the days when you were young?" said the Swallow next to him.
"When I was young?" he answered. "My dear, I am young now. I shall always be young in the springtime. I shall never be old except when I am moulting."
Just then a family of Doves came pattering over the roof, swaying their heads at every step. "We are so glad to see you back," said the father. "We had a long, cold winter, and we thought often of you."
"A very cold winter," cooed his plump little wife.
"Tell me a story," said a young Dove, their son.
"Hush, hush," said the Father Dove. "This is our son," he added, "and this is his sister. We think them quite a pair. Our last brood, you know."
"Tell us a story," said the young Dove again.
"Hush, dear. You mustn't tease the Swallow," said the mother. "They are so fond of stories," she cooed, "and they have heard that your family are great travellers."
"But I want him to tell us a story," said the young Dove. "I think he might."
This made the Swallow feel very uncomfortable, for he could see that the children had been badly brought up, and he did not want to tell a story just then.
"Perhaps you would like to hear about our journey south," said he. "Last fall, when the maples began to show red and yellow leaves among the green, we felt like flying away. It was quite warm weather, and the forest birds were still here, but when we feel like flying south we always begin to get ready."
"I never feel like flying south," said the young Dove. "I don't see why you should."
"That is because I am a Swallow and you are a farmyard Dove. We talked about it to each other, and one day we were ready to start. We all had on our new feathers and felt strong and well. We started out together, but the young birds and their mothers could not keep up with the rest, so we went on ahead."
"Ahead of whom?" said the young Dove, who had been preening his feathers when he should have been listening.
"Ahead of the mothers and their fledglings. We flew
over farms where there were Doves like you; over rivers
where the Wild Ducks were feeding by the shore; and
over towns where crowds of boys and girls were going
buildings, while on top of these buildings were large
bells singing, 'Ding dong, ding dong, ding
"I don't think that was a very pretty song," said the young Dove.
"Hush," said his mother, "you mustn't interrupt the Swallow."
"And at last we came to a great lake," said the Swallow. "It was so great that when we had flown over it for a little while we could not see land at all, and our eyes would not tell us which way to go. We just went on as birds must in such places, flying as we felt we ought, and not stopping to ask why or to wonder if we were right. Of course we Swallows never stop to eat, for we catch our food as we fly, but we did sometimes stop to rest. Just after we had crossed this great lake we alighted. It was then that a very queer thing happened, and this is really the story that I started to tell."
"Oh!" said the young Dove and his sister. "How very exciting. But wait just a minute while we peep over the edge of the roof and see what the farmer is doing." And before anybody could say a word they had pattered away to look.
The birds who were there say that the Swallow seemed quite disgusted, and surely nobody could blame him if he did.
"You must excuse them," cooed their mother. "They are really hardly more than Squabs yet, and I can't bear to speak severely to them. I'm sure they didn't mean to be rude."
"Certainly, certainly," said the Swallow. "I will excuse them and you must excuse me. I wish to see a few of my old friends before the sun goes down. Good afternoon!" And he darted away.
The young Doves came pattering back, swaying their heads as they walked. "Why, where is the Swallow?" they cried. "What made him go away? Right at the best part of the story, too. We don't see why folks are so disagreeable. People never are as nice to us as they are to the other young Doves."
"Hush," said their mother. "You mustn't talk in that way. Fly off for something to eat, and never mind about the rest of the story."
When they were gone, she said to her husband, "I wonder if they did hurt the Swallow's feelings? But then, they are so young, hardly more than Squabs."
She forgot that even Squabs should be thoughtful of others, and that no Dove ever amounts to anything unless he begins in the right way as a Squab.
Under the window is my garden
Where sweet, sweet flowers grow;
And in the pear tree dwells a robin—
The dearest bird I know.
Though I peep out betimes in the morning
Still the flowers are up the first;
Then I try and talk to the robin
And perhaps he'd chat—if he durst.
WEEK 27 |
O NCE upon a time, there were three Bears who lived in a castle in a great wood. One of them was a great big Bear, and one was a middling Bear, and one was a little Bear. And in the same wood there was a Fox who lived all alone, his name was Scrapefoot. Scrapefoot was very much afraid of the Bears, but for all that he wanted very much to know all about them. And one day as he went through the wood he found himself near the Bears' Castle, and he wondered whether he could get into the castle. He looked all about him everywhere, and he could not see any one. So he came up very quietly, till at last he came up to the door of the castle, and he tried whether he could open it. Yes! the door was not locked, and he opened it just a little way, and put his nose in and looked, and he could not see any one. So then he opened it a little way farther, and put one paw in, and then another paw, and another and another, and then he was all in the Bears' Castle. He found he was in a great hall with three chairs in it—one big, one middling, and one little chair; and he thought he would like to sit down and rest and look about him; so he sat down on the big chair. But he found it so hard and uncomfortable that it made his bones ache, and he jumped down at once and got into the middling chair, and he turned round and round in it, but he couldn't make himself comfortable. So then he went to the little chair and sat down in it, and it was so soft and warm and comfortable that Scrapefoot was quite happy; but all at once it broke to pieces under him and he couldn't put it together again! So he got up and began to look about him again, and on one table he saw three saucers, of which one was very big, one was middling, one was quite a little saucer. Scrapefoot was very thirsty, and he began to drink out of the big saucer. But he only just tasted the milk in the big saucer, which was so sour and so nasty that he would not taste another drop of it. Then he tried the middling saucer, and he drank a little of that. He tried two or three mouthfuls, but it was not nice, and then he left it and went to the little saucer, and the milk in the little saucer was so sweet and so nice that he went on drinking it till it was all gone.
Then Scrapefoot thought he would like to go upstairs; and he listened and he could not hear any one. So upstairs he went, and he found a great room with three beds in it; one was a big bed, and one was a middling bed, and one was a little white bed; and he climbed up into the big bed, but it was so hard and lumpy and uncomfortable that he jumped down again at once, and tried the middling bed. That was rather better, but he could not get comfortably in it, so after turning about a little while he got up and went to the little bed; and that was so soft and so warm and so nice that he fell fast asleep at once.
And after a time the Bears came home, and when they got into the hall the big Bear went to his chair and said, "WHO'S BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR?" and the middling Bear said, "WHO'S BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR?" and the little Bear said, "Who's been sitting in my chair and has broken it all to pieces?" And then they went to have their milk, and the big Bear said, "WHO'S BEEN DRINKING MY MILK?" and the middling Bear said, "WHO'S BEEN DRINKING MY MILK?" and the little Bear said, "Who's been drinking my milk and has drunk it all up?" Then they went upstairs and into the bedroom, and the big Bear said, "WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED?" and the middling Bear said, "WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED?" and the little Bear said, "Who's been sleeping in my bed?—and see here he is!" So then the Bears came and wondered what they should do with him; and the big Bear said, "Let's hang him!" and then the middling Bear said, "Let's drown him!" and then the little Bear said, "Let's throw him out of the window." And then the Bears took him to the window, and the big Bear took two legs on one side and the middling Bear took two legs on the other side, and they swung him backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, and out of the window.
Poor Scrapefoot was so frightened, and he thought every bone in his body must be broken. But he got up and first shook one leg—no, that was not broken; and then another, and that was not broken; and another and another, and then he wagged his tail and found there were no bones broken. So then he galloped off home as fast as he could go, and never went near the Bears' Castle again.
When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.
WEEK 27 |
"The graves of those who cannot die."
M EANWHILE, what were the Greeks doing, to prepare for the Persian invasion? There was at Athens, a certain man, but newly risen into the front rank of the citizens. His name was Themistocles. His idea was to make Athens a sea-state, the strongest sea-state in Greece, if possible. He looked out on the bays and inlets of the coast and realised what good harbours they were. He looked beyond, to the many islands, lying in the Archipelago, all offering shelter and refuge to ships, and he saw that one strong fleet, might protect Greece from the Persians, better than any army she could raise.
A rich bed of silver had just been found in the neighbourhood, and the treasury was very rich; so Themistocles advised the Athenians to spend this sum of money, in building new ships, and at last he persuaded them to listen to him. Before many years had passed, Athens had a fleet of two hundred ships—the most powerful fleet in Greece.
Themistocles had some difficulty in carrying his point, because there was another citizen in Athens, who disapproved of his plan. His name was Aristides, and he was known as the Just, because he was the soul of honour. He thought, that if Athens had beaten the Persians once by land, she might do so again. He thought it was better for the people to improve their army, rather than their navy. For his opposition, he was exiled for ten years from Greece, but he found a way of helping Athens afterwards, which has made his name famous.
It was agreed that the King of Sparta should undertake the defence of a narrow pass which connected North and South Greece together, and through which the Persian army must pass.
The name of Leonidas, King of Sparta, will ever live in the world's history for his splendid, if hopeless, defence of the Pass of Thermopylæ. With some hundreds of Spartans he marched northwards, to take up the post allotted to him. The pass lay between high mountains and the sea. It was about a mile long. The narrow entrances were known as the Pylæ or Gates, and the whole pass, distinguished for its hot springs, was known as the Pass of the Hot-Gates. The fleet under a Spartan commander, took up its position at the sea end of the pass; the mountain road was kept by some Greeks from a neighbouring state.
The Persians approached. For four days they lay before the pass without attacking, astonished to see the Spartans quietly practising their gymnastics and combing their long hair, as they did before a festival.
"You will not be able to see the sun for the clouds of javelins and arrows," the Persians cried to Leonidas, before they began the attack.
"We will fight in the shade then," was his quiet and heroic reply.
On the fifth day the Persians attacked, but they met with no success, against the stout-hearted Spartans. Even the choicest of the Persian soldiers, known as the Ten Thousand or the Immortals, made no impression on them.
"Thrice," says the old historian, "the king sprang from his throne in agony for his army."
On the third day after the fighting had begun, a native of Greece told Xerxes of a path over the mountain, and at nightfall a strong Persian force was sent to ascend the path and attack the Greeks in the rear. In the early morning the Greeks, at the head of the pass, heard a trampling through the woods. They fled away in terror and the Persians marched on, behind Leonidas.
In the course of the night, Leonidas knew what had happened. He saw that, if he did not retreat at once, he must be surrounded and perish. But the law of Sparta forbade the soldier to leave his post. Leonidas had no fear of death. The other troops went away, but the King of Sparta and his six hundred men resolved to die at their post. The Persians came on, and things became more and more desperate for the Greeks. Leonidas was killed, and one by one the brave Spartans fell around him.
They did not die in vain. It was a moment when the hearts of the Greeks were wavering and men were inclined to forsake country for self, that the Spartan King Leonidas and his Spartan subjects, showed Greece how citizens should do their duty.
At the entrance to the pass the king and his warriors were buried, while these words were engraved in their memory:—
"Go, tell the Spartans, thou that passest by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie."
Said a little wandering maiden
To a bee with honey laden,
"Bee, at all the flowers you work,
Yet in some does poison lurk."
"That I know, my little maiden,"
Said the bee with honey laden;
"But the poison I forsake,
And the honey only take."
"Cunning bee, with honey laden,
That is right," replied the maiden;
"So will I, from all I meet,
Only draw the good and sweet."
WEEK 27 |
Larry and Eileen took hold of hands, and began running as fast as they could. They jumped from one tuft of grass to another. Dennis came splashing through the puddles after them. He had almost caught them, when all of a sudden, Larry stopped and listened.
"What 's that now?" he said. Eileen and Dennis listened too. They heard a faint squealing sound.
They looked all around. There was nothing in sight but the brown bog, and the stones, and the blue hills far beyond. They were a little bit scared.
"Do you suppose it might be a Leprechaun?" Eileen whispered.
" 'T is a tapping noise they make; not a crying noise at all," Larry answered.
"Maybe it's a Banshee," Dennis said. "They do be crying about sometimes before somebody is going to die."
" 'T is no Banshee whatever," Eileen declared. "They only cry at night."
They heard the squealing sound again.
" 'T is right over there," cried Eileen, pointing to a black hole in the bog where turf had been cut out. "Indeed, and it might be a beautiful baby like Deirdre herself! Let's go and see."
They crept up to the bog-hole, and peeped over the edge. The hole was quite deep and down in the bottom of it was a little pig! Dennis rolled over on the ground beside the bog-hole and screamed with laughter.
"Sure, 't is the beautiful child entirely!" he said.
" 'T is the little pig the Tinkers had!" cried Eileen.
"It broke the rope and ran away with itself," shouted Larry.
"However will we get it out?" said Eileen. "The hole is too deep entirely!"
"The poor little thing is nearly destroyed with hunger," Larry said. "I 'll go down in the hole and lift her out."
"However will you get out yourself, then, Larry darling?" cried Eileen.
"The two of you can give me your hands," said Larry, "and I 'll be up in no time."
Then Larry jumped down into the hole. He caught the little pig in his arms. The little pig squealed harder than ever and tried to get away, but Larry held it up as high as he could.
Eileen and Dennis reached down and each got hold of one of the pig's front feet. "Now then for you!" cried Larry.
He gave the pig a great shove. He shoved so hard that Eileen and Dennis both fell over backwards into a puddle! But they held tight to the pig, and there the three of them were together, rolling in the bog with the pig on top of them
"Hold her, hold her!" shrieked Larry. By standing on tiptoe his nose was just above the edge of the bog-hole, so he could see them.
"I 've got her," Eileen cried. "Run back for the bit of rope the Tinkers left, Dennis, and tie her, hard and fast!"
Dennis ran for the rope while Eileen sat on the ground and held the little pig in her arms. The little pig squealed and kicked and tried every minute to get away. She kicked even after her hind legs were tied together. But Eileen held on!
"You 'll have to get Larry out alone, Dennis, while I never let go of this pig," cried Eileen, breathlessly. "She 's that wild, she'll be running away with herself on her two front legs, alone."
Dennis reached down, and took both of Larry's hands and pulled and pulled until he got him out.
Larry was covered with mud from the bog-hole, and Eileen and Dennis were wet and muddy from falling into the puddle.
But they had the pig!
"Sure, she is a beautiful little pig, and we 'll call her Deirdre, because we found her in the bog just in the same way as Conchubar himself," said Larry.
"Indeed, Deirdre was too beautiful altogether to be naming a pig after her," Eileen said.
"Is n't she a beautiful little pig, then?" Larry answered.
"Well, maybe we might be calling her 'Diddy,' for short, and no offense to herself at all," Eileen agreed.
The poor little pig was so tired out with struggling, and so hungry, that she was fairly quiet while Dennis carried her on his shoulder to the road. Eileen walked behind Dennis and fed her with green leaves.
She was so quiet that Larry said: "We 'll tie the rope to one of Diddy's hind legs, and she'll run home herself in front of us."
So when they reached the road he and Dennis tied the rope securely to Diddy's left hind leg and set her down.
They found Colleen asleep, standing up.
Larry woke her. Then he said, "Eileen, come now, you take the jug, and get on Colleen's back. Dennis can lead her, and I 'll drive the pig myself."
But Diddy was feeling better after her rest. She made up her mind she did n't like the plan. She squealed and tried to get away. Once she turned quickly and ran between Larry's legs and tripped him up. But she was a. tired little pig, and so it was not long before, somehow, they got her back to where Mr. McQueen was working.
He had n't heard them coming, though what with the pig squealing, and the children all speaking at once, they made noise enough. But Mr. McQueen had his head down digging, and he was in a bog-hole besides, so when they came up right beside him, with the pig, he almost fell over with astonishment.
He stopped his work and leaned on his clete, while they told him all about the pig, and how they found it, and got it out of the hole, and how the Tinkers must have lost it. And when they were all done, he only said, "The Saints preserve us! We 'll take it home to Herself and let her cosset it up a bit!"
So the children hurried off to take the pig to their Mother without even stopping to eat their bit of lunch. Mr. McQueen came, too.
When they got home, they found Mrs. McQueen leaning on the farmyard fence. When she saw them coming with the pig, she ran out to meet them.
"Wherever did you find the fine little pig?" she cried. Then she threw up her hands. "Look at the mud on you!" she said.
Then the Twins and Dennis told the story all over again, and Mrs. McQueen took the little pig in her apron. "The poor little thing!" she said. "Its heart is beating that hard, you 'd think its ribs would burst themselves. I 'll get it some milk right away this minute when once you 've looked in the yard."
Mr. McQueen and Dennis and the Twins went to the fence. There in the yard were the two geese with the black feathers in their wings! "Faith, and the luck is all with us this day," said Mr. McQueen. "However did you get them back at all?"
" 'T was this way, if you 'll believe me," said Mrs. McQueen. She scratched the little pig's back with one hand as she talked. "I was just after churning my butter when what should I see looking in the door but that thief of a Tinker with the beard like a rick of hay! Thinks I to myself, sure, my butter will be bewitched and never come at all with the bad luck of a stranger, and he a Tinker, coming in the house!
"But he comes in and gives one plunge to the dasher for luck and to break the spell, and says he, very civil, 'Would you be wanting to buy any fine geese to-day?'
"My heart was going thumpity-thump, but I says to him, 'I might look at them, maybe,' and with that I go to the door, for the sake of getting him out of it, and if there were n't our own two geese, with the legs of them tied together!"
"The impudence of that!" cried Mr. McQueen. "Get along with your tale, woman! Surely you never paid the old thief for your own two geese!"
"Trust me!" replied Mrs. McQueen. "I 'm coming around to the point of my tale gradual, like an old goat grazing around its tethering stump! I says to him, 'They look well enough, but I 'm wishful to see them standing up on their own two legs. That one looks as if it might be a bit lame, and the cord so tight on it! And meanwhile, will you be having a bit of a drink on this hot day?'
"Then I gave him a sup of milk, in a mug, and with that he thanks me kindly, loosens the cord, and sets the geese up on their legs for me to see. In a minute of time I stood between him and the geese, and 'Shoo!' says I to them, and to him I says, 'Get along with you before I call the man working behind the house to put an end to your thieving entirely!'
"And upon that he went in great haste, taking the mug along with him, but it was cracked anyway!"
"Woman, woman, but you 've the clever tongue in your head," said Mr. McQueen with admiration.
" 'T is mighty lucky we have," said Mrs, McQueen, "for it 's little else women have in this world to help themselves with!"
Then she put the little pig down in the empty pig-pen in the farmyard and went to fetch it some milk.
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, which alone
Has twenty-eight, but one day more
We add to it one year in four.
WEEK 27 |
Exodus xxxv: 1, to xl: 38.
T may seem strange that the Israelites, after all that God had done for them, and while Mount Sinai was still showing God's glory, should fall away from the service of God to the worship of idols, as we read in the last Story (Story 26). But you must keep in mind that all the people whom the Israelites had ever met, both in Canaan and in Egypt, were worshippers of images; and from their neighbors the Israelites also had learned to bow down to idols. In those times everywhere people felt that they must have a god that they could see.
God was very good to the Israelites after they had forsaken him, to take them again as his own people: and God gave to the Israelites a plan for worship, which would allow them to have something that they could see, to remind them of their God; and yet, at the same time, would not lead them to the worship of an image, but would teach them a higher truth, that the true God cannot be seen by the eyes of men.
The plan was this: to have in the middle of the camp of Israel a house to be called, "The House of God," which the people could see, and to which they could come for worship. Every time that an Israelite looked at this house he might say to himself, and might teach his children, "That is the house where God lives among his people," even though no image stood in the house.
And as the Israelites were living in tents, and were often moving from place to place, this House of God, would need to be something like a tent, so that it could be taken down, and moved, as often as the camp was changed. Such a tent as this was called a Tabernacle. The Tabernacle then was the tent where God was supposed to live among his people, and where the people could meet God. We do not know just how the tent looked but from the description given of it many have tried to draw it. We give you one picture drawn in this way.
The tabernacle in the wilderness.
We know that God is a Spirit, and has no body like ours; and that he is everywhere. Yet it was right to say that God lived in the Tabernacle of the Israelites, because there God showed his presence in a special way, by having the pillar of cloud over it all day, and the pillar of fire all night. And it was believed by the Israelites that in one room of this Tabernacle the glory and brightness of God's presence might be seen.
This Tabernacle stood exactly in the middle of the camp of the Israelites in the wilderness. In front of it, and a little distance from it, on the east, stood the tent where Moses lived, and from which he gave the laws and commands of God to the people.
Around the Tabernacle there was what we might call an open square, though it was not exactly square, for it was about a hundred and fifty feet long by seventy-five feet wide; that is its length was twice its width. Around it was a curtain of fine linen, in bright colors, hanging upon posts of brass. The posts were held in place by cords fastened to the ground with tent-pins or spikes. Some think that these posts were not of brass, but of copper; for we are not sure that men knew how to make brass in those times. This open square was called the Court of the Tabernacle. The curtain around it was between seven and eight feet high, a little higher than a man's head. In the middle, on the end toward the east, it could be opened for the priests to enter into the court; but no others except the priests and their helpers were ever allowed to enter it.
Inside this court, near the entrance, stood the great Altar. You remember that an altar was made generally of stone, or by heaping up the earth; and that it was the place on which a fire was kindled to burn the offering or sacrifice. The offering or sacrifice, you remember, was the gift offered to God whenever a man worshipped; and it was given to God by being burned upon his altar. (See Story 2.)
But as a stone-altar or an earth-altar could not be carried from place to place, God told the Israelites to make an altar of wood and brass, or copper. It was like a box, without bottom or top, made of thin boards so that it would not be too heavy, and then covered on the inside and the outside with plates of brass or copper, so that it would not take fire and burn. Inside, a few inches below the top, was a metal grating on which the fire was built; and the ashes would fall through the grating to the ground inside.
This altar had four rings on the corners, through which long poles were placed, so that the priests could carry it on their shoulders when the camp was moved. The altar was a little less than five feet high, and a little more than seven feet wide on each side. This was the great altar, sometimes called "The Altar of Burnt-Offering," because a sacrifice was burned upon it every morning and every evening. Near the altar in the court of the Tabernacle, stood the Laver. This was a large tank or basin, holding water which was used in washing the offerings. For the worship of the Tabernacle much water was needed; and for this purpose the Laver was kept full of water.
The Tabernacle itself stood in the court. It was a large tent, not unlike the tents in which the people lived, while they were journeying through the wilderness, though larger. Its walls, however, were not made of skins or woven cloth, as were most tents, but of boards standing upright on silver bases, and fastened together. The boards were covered with gold. The roof of the Tabernacle was made of four curtains, one laid above another; the inner curtain being beautifully decorated, and the outer curtain of rams' skins to keep out the rain. The board-walls of the Tabernacle were on the two sides and the rear end; the front was open, except when a curtain was hung over it. The Tabernacle, half tent and half house, was about forty-five feet long, and fifteen feet wide, and fifteen feet high. Its only floor was the sand of the desert.
This Tabernacle was divided into two rooms, by a vail which hung down from the roof. The larger room, the one on the eastern end, into which the priest came first from the court, was twice as large as the other room. It was thirty feet long, fifteen feet wide, and fifteen feet high, and was called the Holy Place. In the Holy Place were three things: on the right side, as one entered, a table covered with gold, on which lay twelve loaves of bread, as if each tribe gave its offering of feed to the Lord; on the left side, the Golden Lampstand, with seven branches, each having its light. This is sometimes called the Golden Candlestick, but as it held lamps, and not candles, it should be called "the lampstand."
At the further end of the Holy Place, close to the vail, was the Golden Altar of Incense: a small altar on which fragrant gum was burned, and from which a silvery cloud floated up. The fire on this altar was always to be lighted from the great altar of brass or copper that was standing outside the Tabernacle in the court. Everything in this room was made of gold, or covered with gold, even to the walls on each side.
The inner room of the Tabernacle was called the Holy of Holies; and it was so sacred that no one except the high-priest ever entered it, and he on only one day in each year. It was fifteen feet wide, fifteen feet long, and fifteen feet high. All that it held was a box or chest, made of wood and covered with places of gold on both the outside and the inside; and with a cover of solid gold, on which stood two strange figures called cherubim, also made of gold. This chest was called the Ark of the Covenant, and in it were placed for safe-keeping, the two stone tables on which God wrote the Ten Commandments. It was in this room, the Holy of Holies, that God was supposed to dwell, and to show his glory. But in it there was no image, to tempt the Israelites to the worship of idols.
The High Priest, the table for bread and the Holy Ark.
Whenever the camp in the desert was to be changed, the priests first carefully covered with curtains all the furniture in the Tabernacle,—the Table, the Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, and the Ark of the Covenant; and they passed rods through the rings which were on the corners of all these articles. They took down the Tabernacle and tied its gold-covered boards and its great curtains, its posts and its pillars, in packages to be carried. And then the men of the tribe of Levi, who were the helpers of the priests, took up their burdens and carried them out in front of the camp. The twelve tribes were arranged in marching order behind them; the Ark of the Covenant unseen under its wrappings, upon the shoulders of the priests, led the way, with the pillar of cloud over it. And thus the children of Israel removed their camp from place to place for forty years in the wilderness.
When they fixed their camping-place after each journey, the Tabernacle was first set up, with the court around it, and the altar in front of it. Then the tribes placed their tents in order around it, three tribes on each of its four sides.
And whenever an Israelite saw the altar with the smoke rising from it, and the Tabernacle with the silver-white cloud above it, he said to himself, "Our God, the Lord of all the earth, lives in that tent. I need no image, made by men's hands, to remind me of God."
Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
Are prettier far than these.
There are bridges on the rivers,
As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
Is prettier far than these.