WEEK 3 |
M Y father hid in the hold for six days and nights. Twice he was nearly caught when the ship stopped to take on more cargo. But at last he heard a sailor say that the next port would be Cranberry and that they'd be unloading the wheat there. My father knew that the sailors would send him home if they caught him, so he looked in his knapsack and took out a rubber band and the empty grain bag with the label saying "Cranberry." At the last moment my father got inside the bag, knapsack and all, folded the top of the bag inside, and put the rubber band around the top. He didn't look just exactly like the other bags but it was the best he could do.
Soon the sailors came to unload. They lowered a big net into the hold and began moving the bags of wheat. Suddenly one sailor yelled, "Great Scott! This is the queerest bag of wheat I've ever seen! It's all lumpy-like, but the label says it's to go to Cranberry."
The other sailors looked at the bag too, and my father, who was in the bag, of course, tried even harder to look like a bag of wheat. Then another sailor felt the bag and he just happened to get hold of my father's elbow. "I know what this is," he said. "This is a bag of dried corn on the cob," and he dumped my father into the big net along with the bags of wheat.
This all happened in the late afternoon, so late that the merchant in Cranberry who had ordered the wheat didn't count his bags until the next morning. (He was a very punctual man, and never late for dinner.) The sailors told the captain, and the captain wrote down on a piece of paper, that they had delivered one hundred and sixty bags of wheat and one bag of dried corn on the cob. They left the piece of paper for the merchant and sailed away that evening.
My father heard later that the merchant spent the whole next day counting and recounting the bags and feeling each one trying to find the bag of dried corn on the cob. He never found it because as soon as it was dark my father climbed out of the bag, folded it up and put it back in his knapsack. He walked along the shore to a nice sandy place and lay down to sleep.
My father was very hungry when he woke up the next morning. Just as he was looking to see if he had anything left to eat, something hit him on the head. It was a tangerine. He had been sleeping right under a tree full of big, fat tangerines. And then he remembered that this was the Island of Tangerina. Tangerine trees grew wild everywhere. My father picked as many as he had room for, which was thirty-one, and started off to find Wild Island.
He walked and walked and walked along the shore, looking for the rocks that joined the two islands. He walked all day, and once when he met a fisherman and asked him about Wild Island, the fisherman began to shake and couldn't talk for a long while. It scared him that much, just thinking about it. Finally he said, "Many people have tried to explore Wild Island, but not one has come back alive. We think they were eaten by the wild animals." This didn't bother my father. He kept walking and slept on the beach again that night.
It was beautifully clear the next day, and way down the shore my father could see a long line of rocks leading out into the ocean, and way, way out at the end he could just see a tiny patch of green. He quickly ate seven tangerines and started down the beach.
It was almost dark when he came to the rocks, but there, way out in the ocean, was the patch of green. He sat down and rested a while, remembering that the cat had said, "If you can, go out to the island at night, because then the wild animals won't see you coming along the rocks and you can hide when you get there." So my father picked seven more tangerines, put on his black rubber boots, and waited for dark.
It was a very black night and my father could hardly see the rocks ahead of him. Sometimes they were quite high and sometimes the waves almost covered them, and they were slippery and hard to walk on. Sometimes the rocks were far apart and my father had to get a running start and leap from one to the next.
After a while he began to hear a rumbling noise. It grew louder and louder as he got nearer to the island. At last it seemed as if he was right on top of the noise, and he was. He had jumped from a rock onto the back of a small whale who was fast asleep and cuddled up between two rocks. The whale was snoring and making more noise than a steam shovel, so it never heard my father say, "Oh, I didn't know that was you!" And it never knew my father had jumped on its back by mistake.
For seven hours my father climbed and slipped and leapt from rock to rock, but while it was still dark he finally reached the very last rock and stepped off onto Wild Island.
Up he goes
To the tree-top!
Round and round,
Down he scampers
To the ground.
What a tail!
Tall as a feather,
Broad as a sail!
Where's his supper?
In the shell,
Out it fell!
WEEK 3 |
W HEN Marquette and his men left the Illinois, they went on down the river. The friendly Illinois had told them that the Indians they would see were bad, and that they would kill any one who came into their country.
The Frenchmen had heard before this that there were demons and monsters in the river. One day they saw some high rocks with pictures painted on them. The ugly pictures made them think of these monsters. They were painted in red, black, and green colors. They were pictures of two Indian demons or gods.
Each one of these monsters was about the size of a calf. They had horns as long as those of a deer. Their eyes were red. Their faces were like a man's, but they were ugly and frightful. They had beards like a tiger's. Their bodies were covered with scales like those on a fish. Their long tails were wound round their bodies, and over their heads, and down between their legs. The end of each tail was like that of a fish.
The Indians prayed to these ugly gods when they passed in their canoes. Even Marquette and his men were a little frightened when they saw such pictures in a place so lonely.
The Frenchmen went down the river about twelve hundred miles. Sometimes the Indians tried to kill them, but by showing the peace pipe they made friends. At last they turned back. Joliet went to Canada. Marquette preached to the Indians in the West till he died.
John had a
John had a
WEEK 3 |
THINK," said the Blind Horse, "that
something is the matter with my ears." He
The Dappled Gray stopped eating at once. "Your ears?" said he. "What is wrong with them? I thought your hearing was very good."
"It always has been," was the answer, "and finer than ever since I lost my sight. You know it is always so with us blind people. We learn to hear better than we could before losing our sight. But ever since we came in from the field I have had a queer sound in my ears, and I think there is something the matter with them."
The Dappled Gray stopped eating and stood perfectly still to listen. He did not even switch his tail, although at that minute there were three Flies on his left side and one on his neck. He was trying as hard as he could to hear the queer sound also, for if he did, it would prove that the noise was real and that the Blind Horse's hearing was all right.
He could not hear a thing. "What is it like?" he asked.
"Like the loud purring of a Cat," was the answer, "but everybody knows that the Cat is not purring anywhere around here."
"She might be," said the Dappled Gray. "Where does the sound seem to be?"
"Above my head," said the Blind Horse; "and she certainly would not be purring up there at this time. She would either be sound asleep, or off hunting, or else out in the sunshine, where she loves to sit."
The Dappled Gray felt that this was so, and he could not say a word. He was very sorry for his friend. He thought how dreadful it would seem to be both blind and deaf, and he choked on the oats he was swallowing.
"Now don't worry," said the Blind Horse; "if
I should be deaf, I could still feel
the soft touch of the breeze on my skin, and
could taste my good food, and rub noses
with my friends. I wouldn't
spoken of it, only I hoped that you could
hear the noise also, and then I would know
that it was real." That was just like
him. He was always patient and
The Horses kept on eating their oats and
resting from their hard work. In the
She had been hunting all the night before,
creeping softly through the barn and
hiding behind bags and boxes to watch for
careless Mice and young Rats. They were
Sometimes she hunted in the fields, and many a morning at sunrise the Cows had seen her walking toward the barn on the top of the fences. She did not like to wet her feet on the dewy grass when it could be helped; so, as soon as she was through hunting, she jumped on to the nearest fence and went home in that way.
Yes, last night she had been hunting, yet she was not thinking of it now. Neither was she asleep. A Rat gnawed at the boards near her, and she hardly turned her head. A Mouse ran across the floor in plain sight, and she watched him without moving. What did she care about them now? Her first Kittens lay on the hay beside her, and she would not leave them on this first day of their lives unless she really had to.
Of course she had seen little Kittens
before—Kittens that belonged to other
she was certain that none of them had looked
at all like her three charming babies.
She could not decide which one of them was
the most beautiful. She was a
At first she thought her largest daughter was the beauty of the family; she was such a clear yellow, with not a hair of any other color on her. "I always did like yellow Cats," said the young mother, "and they are said to be very strong."
Then she looked at her smaller daughter, who
was white with tiny yellow and black
spots on neck and head. "Such a
Just at this moment, the warm, dark little bunch of fur between her forepaws moved, and she looked lovingly down upon him, her only son. "He is certainly a very remarkable one," she said. "I never before saw such a fine mixture of yellow and black, first a hair of one and then a hair of the other, so that, unless one is very close to him it looks like a rich brown. And then his feet!" She gave him a loving little poke with one forefoot and turned him onto his back. This made him wave his tiny paws in the air. The thick cushions of skin on each were as black as black could be, and that is very uncommon. They are usually pink, like those of his sisters.
The little fellow lay there, wriggling very feebly, until his mother gave him another poke that turned him over. Then he stretched and crawled toward her, reaching his head first one way and then another. He was so weak that he could not raise his body from the hay, but dragged it along by taking short and uncertain steps with his four shaking legs. It was only a short time since he found that he had legs, and he hadn't any idea how to use them. He just moved whichever one seemed most in his way.
He didn't know where he was going, or what he was going for, but his little stomach was empty and he was cold. Something, he didn't know what, made him drag himself toward the big, warm creature near by. When his black nose touched the fur of her body, he stopped pushing ahead and began to feel from side to side. He did not know now for what he was feeling, yet when he found something his tiny mouth closed around it and a stream of sweet warm milk began to flow down his throat and into his empty stomach. He did not know that it was milk. He did not know anything except that it was good, and then he fell asleep. His sisters did in the same way, and soon the happy mother could look down and see her three babies in a row beside her, all sound asleep. Their pointed little tails lay straight out behind them, and their soft ears were bent forward close to their heads.
"I wonder," said she, "if I was ever as small as they are, and if my mother loved me as I love them." She stretched out one of her forepaws and looked at it. It was so much larger, so very much larger, than the paws of the Kittens. Such a soft and dainty paw as it was, and so perfectly clean. She stretched it even more, and saw five long, curved, sharp claws slide out of their sheaths or cases. She quickly slid them back into their sheaths, for fear that in some way they might happen to touch and hurt her babies.
A Swallow flew down from his nest and passed over her head, then out of the open window. "Kittens!" said he. "Kittens!" He flew over the fields and saw two Horses standing by the fence while the farmer was oiling his machine. "We have new neighbors in the barn," said he, "and the Cat is purring louder than ever."
"Who are the neighbors?" asked the Dappled Gray.
"Kittens!" sang the Swallow. "Oh, tittle-ittle-ittle-ee."
The Blind Horse drew a long breath. "Then I did hear her purr," said he; "I am so glad." He never made a fuss about his troubles, for he was brave and unselfish, yet the Dappled Gray knew without being told how much lighter his heart was since he heard that the Cat had really been purring above his head.
The days passed by, and the Kittens grew finely. They got their eyes open, first in narrow cracks, and then wider and wider, until they were round and staring. The White Kitten had blue ones, the others brown. In the daytime, they had long, narrow black spots in the middle of their eyes, and as the bright light faded, these black spots spread out sideways until they were quite round. When it was very dark, these spots glowed like great Fireflies in the night. Then the Mice, who often scampered through the loft when the Cat was away, would see three pairs of eyes glowing in the hay, and they would squeak to each other: "See! The Kittens are watching us."
And the Kittens, who were not yet old enough
to go hunting, and who were afraid of
everything that stirred, would crowd up
against each other, arch their little backs,
raise their pointed tails, stand their fur on
end, and say, "Pst!
Sometimes they did this when there was not a
person in sight and what frightened
them was nothing but a wisp of hay, blown
down by the wind. Afterward, when
anything moved, they sprang at it, held it
down with their sharp little claws, and
chewed on it with their pointed white teeth.
When they were tired of this game,
They were allowed to play all through the loft except over the mangers. Their mother was afraid that if they went there they would fall through the holes which had been left in the floor. During the winter, the farmer used to throw hay down through these to the hungry Horses. When the Cat saw her children going toward these places, she called them back and scolded them. Sometimes she struck them lightly on the ears with her forepaw. "I don't like to," said she, "but they must learn to keep away. It is not safe for them to go there."
One morning when she was away, they were
She was so scared that she couldn't have told how many toes she had on her forefeet. Of course, she had five on each, like all Kittens, and four on each hindfoot, but if anybody had asked her then, she would have been quite likely to say "three."
She was sore, too, and when she felt a warm breath on her and opened her eyes, she saw that some great creature had thrust his nose through a hole in the side of the dark box. "It must be a Horse," she thought, "and my mother says that they are kind to Cats. I think I'd better tell him who I am. I don't want him to take me for a Pig, because he may not like Pigs." You see, she forgot that Horses had been living in the great world and could tell to what family a person belonged the very first time they saw him. The only people she had ever seen were Swallows and Mice.
"If—if you please, sir," she said, "I am the
White Kitten, and I just tumbled down
I am the white kitten.
"I am the Blind Horse," answered a strong and gentle voice outside, "and I hope you are not hurt."
"Not very much," answered the Kitten. "I
"Come out into the manger, White Kitten," said the Blind Horse, "and perhaps you won't be so scared. I won't touch you, although I should like to. You know I am blind, and so, unless I can touch people I don't know how they look."
The White Kitten crawled out and saw him, and then she wasn't afraid at all. She was so sorry for him that she couldn't be afraid. She remembered the time before her eyes opened when she had to feel for everything she wanted. It was not so hard then, because she did not know anything different, but now she could not bear to think of not being able to see all that was around her. "If you will put your nose down in the other end of the manger," she said, "I will rub up against it, and you will know more how I look."
The Blind Horse did this, and who can tell how happy it made him when her warm and furry back rubbed up against his nose? "Thank you," he whinnied; "you are very good."
"Would you know I was a Kitten if I hadn't told you?" she said.
"Indeed I would," he answered.
"And you wouldn't have thought me a Pig?" she asked.
"Never!" said he; "I wouldn't even have believed you if you had told me that you were one."
The Blind Horse and the White Kitten became firm friends, and when she tried to wash off the dirt that got into her fur she sat in the very middle of the manger and told him all about it.
"My mother always has washed me," she said, "but my tongue is getting big enough to wash with now. It is getting rougher, too, and that is a good thing. My mother says that the reason why all the prickles on Cats' tongues point backward is because then we can lick all the meat off from bones with them. I'm 'most old enough to eat meat now. I can't wash the top of my head though. You have to wet your paw and scrub it with that. Can you wash the top of your head?"
Then the Blind Horse told her how the men kept him clean; and while he was telling this the Cat came into his stall, crying and looking for her child.
"Oh, mother," cried the White Kitten, "I tumbled down, but I didn't mean to, and I'm sorry I didn't mind you, and the Blind Horse can't wash the top of his head, and he knew that I wasn't a Pig."
The Cat was so glad to find the White Kitten
that she didn't scold at all, but
jumped into the manger and washed her clean,
and then caught the loose skin of the
Kitten's neck between her teeth and carried
her through the stalls, across the
For two whole days after this the White Kitten was so lame from her fall that she could only lie still on the hay, and she could see that her mother did not treat her as before. "I won't ever go near those places again," she said. "I never will."
"You promised me before that you would stay
away," said her mother, "and you broke
your promise." She did not punish the White
Kitten, but she felt very sad and she
could not help showing it. There was a
dreadful ache in her child's little
At last there came a day when the whole
Then the White Kitten knew that she was quite forgiven, and she was the happiest person on the farm.
I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody's house!
There's no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.
'Tis he who always tears our books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
Who pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak
For, prithee, don't you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.
He puts damp wood upon the fire,
That kettles cannot boil;
His are the feet that bring in mud,
And all the carpets soil.
The papers always are mislaid,
Who had them last but he?
There's no one tosses them about
But Mr. Nobody.
The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill, the boots
That lying round you see,
Are not our boots; they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.
WEEK 3 |
T HERE was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky-white. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning, which they carried to the market and sold. But one morning Milky-white gave no milk, and they didn't know what to do.
"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing her hands.
"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.
"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his mother; "we must sell Milky-white and with the money start a shop, or something."
"All right, mother," says Jack; "it's market-day today, and I'll soon sell Milky-white, and then we'll see what we can do."
So he took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when he met a funny-looking old man, who said to him: "Good morning, Jack."
"Good morning to you," said Jack, and wondered how he knew his name.
"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.
"I'm going to market to sell our cow there."
"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man; "I wonder if you know how many beans make five."
"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," says Jack, as sharp as a needle.
"Right you are," says the man, "and here they are, the very beans themselves," he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. "As you are so sharp," says he, "I don't mind doing a swop with you—your cow for these beans."
"Go along," says Jack; "wouldn't you like it?"
"Ah! you don't know what these beans are," said the man; "if you plant them overnight, by morning they grow right up to the sky."
"Really?" said Jack; "you don't say so."
"Yes, that is so, and if it doesn't turn out to be true you can have your cow back."
"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky-white's halter and pockets the beans.
Back goes Jack home, and as he hadn't gone very far it wasn't dusk by the time he got to his door.
"Back already, Jack?" said his mother; "I see you haven't got Milky-white, so you've sold her. How much did you get for her?"
"You'll never guess, mother," says Jack.
"No, you don't say so. Good boy! Five pounds, ten, fifteen, no, it can't be twenty."
"I told you you couldn't guess. What do you say to these
beans; they're magical, plant them overnight
"What!" says Jack's mother, "have you been such a fool, such a dolt, such an idiot, as to give away my Milky-white, the best milker in the parish, and prime beef to boot, for a set of paltry beans? Take that! Take that! Take that! And as for your precious beans here they go out of the window. And now off with you to bed. Not a sup shall you drink, and not a bit shall you swallow this very night."
So Jack went upstairs to his little room in the attic, and sad and sorry he was, to be sure, as much for his mother's sake, as for the loss of his supper.
At last he dropped off to sleep.
When he woke up, the room looked so funny. The sun was shining into part of it, and yet all the rest was quite dark and shady. So Jack jumped up and dressed himself and went to the window. And what do you think he saw? Why, the beans his mother had thrown out of the window into the garden had sprung up into a big beanstalk which went up and up and up till it reached the sky. So the man spoke truth after all.
The beanstalk grew up quite close past Jack's window, so all he had to do was to open it and give a jump on to the beanstalk which ran up just like a big ladder. So Jack climbed, and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till at last he reached the sky. And when he got there he found a long broad road going as straight as a dart. So he walked along and he walked along and he walked along till he came to a great big tall house, and on the doorstep there was a great big tall woman.
"Good morning, mum," says Jack, quite polite-like. "Could you be so kind as to give me some breakfast?" For he hadn't had anything to eat, you know, the night before and was as hungry as a hunter.
"It's breakfast you want, is it?" says the great big tall woman, "it's breakfast you'll be if you don't move off from here. My man is an ogre and there's nothing he likes better than boys broiled on toast. You'd better be moving on or he'll be coming."
"Oh! please, mum, do give me something to eat, mum. I've had nothing to eat since yesterday morning, really and truly, mum," says Jack. "I may as well be broiled as die of hunger."
Well, the ogre's wife was not half so bad after all. So she took Jack into the kitchen, and gave him a hunk of bread and cheese and a jug of milk. But Jack hadn't half finished these when thump! thump! thump! the whole house began to tremble with the noise of someone coming.
"Goodness gracious me! It's my old man," said the ogre's wife, "what on earth shall I do? Come along quick and jump in here." And she bundled Jack into the oven just as the ogre came in.
He was a big one, to be sure. At his belt he had three calves strung up by the heels, and he unhooked them and threw them down on the table and said: "Here, wife, broil me a couple of these for breakfast. Ah! what's this I smell?
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I'll have his bones to grind my bread."
"Nonsense, dear," said his wife, "you're dreaming. Or perhaps you smell the scraps of that little boy you liked so much for yesterday's dinner. Here, you go and have a wash and tidy up, and by the time you come back your breakfast'll be ready for you."
So off the ogre went, and Jack was just going to jump out of the oven and run away when the woman told him not. "Wait till he's asleep," says she; "he always has a doze after breakfast."
Well, the ogre had his breakfast, and after that he goes to a big chest and takes out a couple of bags of gold, and down he sits and counts till at last his head began to nod and he began to snore till the whole house shook again.
Then Jack crept out on tiptoe from his oven, and as he was passing the ogre he took one of the bags of gold under his arm, and off he pelters till he came to the beanstalk, and then he threw down the bag of gold, which, of course, fell into his mother's garden, and then he climbed down and climbed down till at last he got home and told his mother and showed her the gold and said: "Well, mother, wasn't I right about the beans? They are really magical, you see."
So they lived on the bag of gold for some time, but at last they came to the end of it, and Jack made up his mind to try his luck once more at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning he rose up early, and got on to the beanstalk, and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till at last he came out on to the road again and up to the great tall house he had been to before. There, sure enough, was the great tall woman a-standing on the door-step.
"Good morning, mum," says Jack, as bold as brass, "could you be so good as to give me something to eat?"
"Go away, my boy," said the big tall woman, "or else my man will eat you up for breakfast. But aren't you the youngster who came here once before? Do you know, that very day my man missed one of his bags of gold."
"That's strange, mum," said Jack, "I dare say I could tell you something about that, but I'm so hungry I can't speak till I've had something to eat."
Well, the big tall woman was so curious that she took him in and gave him something to eat. But he had scarcely begun munching it as slowly as he could when thump! thump! they heard the giant's footstep, and his wife hid Jack away in the oven.
All happened as it did before. In came the ogre as he did before, said: "Fee-fi-fo-fum," and had his breakfast off three broiled oxen. Then he said: "Wife, bring me the hen that lays the golden eggs." So she brought it, and the ogre said: "Lay," and it laid an egg all of gold. And then the ogre began to nod his head, and to snore till the house shook.
Then Jack crept out of the oven on tiptoe and caught hold of the golden hen, and was off before you could say "Jack Robinson." But this time the hen gave a cackle which woke the ogre, and just as Jack got out of the house he heard him calling: "Wife, wife, what have you done with my golden hen?"
And the wife said: "Why, my dear?"
But that was all Jack heard, for he rushed off to the beanstalk and climbed down like a house on fire. And when he got home he showed his mother the wonderful hen, and said "Lay" to it; and it laid a golden egg every time he said "Lay."
Well, Jack was not content, and it wasn't long before he determined to have another try at his luck up there at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning, he rose up early, and got to the beanstalk, and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till he got to the top. But this time he knew better than to go straight to the ogre's house. And when he got near it, he waited behind a bush till he saw the ogre's wife come out with a pail to get some water, and then he crept into the house and got into the copper. He hadn't been there long when he heard thump! thump! thump! as before, and in came the ogre and his wife.
"Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman," cried out the ogre. "I smell him, wife, I smell him."
"Do you, my dearie?" says the ogre's wife. "Then, if it's that little rogue that stole your gold and the hen that laid the golden eggs he's sure to have got into the oven." And they both rushed to the oven. But Jack wasn't there, luckily, and the ogre's wife said: "There you are again with your fee-fi-fo-fum. Why, of course, it's the boy you caught last night that I've just broiled for your breakfast. How forgetful I am, and how careless you are not to know the difference between live and dead after all these years."
So the ogre sat down to the breakfast and ate it, but every
now and then he would mutter: "Well,
I could have
After breakfast was over, the ogre called out: "Wife, wife, bring me my golden harp." So she brought it and put it on the table before him. Then he said: "Sing!" and the golden harp sang most beautifully. And it went on singing till the ogre fell asleep, and commenced to snore like thunder.
Then Jack lifted up the copper-lid very quietly and got down like a mouse and crept on hands and knees till he came to the table, when up he crawled, caught hold of the golden harp and dashed with it towards the door. But the harp called out quite loud: "Master! Master!" and the ogre woke up just in time to see Jack running off with his harp.
Jack ran as fast as he could, and the ogre came rushing after, and would soon have caught him only Jack had a start and dodged him a bit and knew where he was going. When he got to the beanstalk the ogre was not more than twenty yards away when suddenly he saw Jack disappear like, and when he came to the end of the road he saw Jack underneath climbing down for dear life. Well, the ogre didn't like trusting himself to such a ladder, and he stood and waited, so Jack got another start. But just then the harp cried out: "Master! Master!" and the ogre swung himself down on to the beanstalk, which shook with his weight. Down climbs Jack, and after him climbed the ogre. By this time Jack had climbed down and climbed down and climbed down till he was very nearly home. So he called out: "Mother! Mother! bring me an axe, bring me an axe." And his mother came rushing out with the axe in her hand, but when she came to the beanstalk she stood stock still with fright, for there she saw the ogre with his legs just through the clouds.
But Jack jumped down and got hold of the axe and gave a chop at the beanstalk which cut it half in two. The ogre felt the beanstalk shake and quiver, so he stopped to see what was the matter. Then Jack gave another chop with the axe, and the beanstalk was cut in two and began to topple over. Then the ogre fell down and broke his crown, and the beanstalk came toppling after.
Then Jack showed his mother his golden harp, and what with showing that and selling the golden eggs, Jack and his mother became very rich, and he married a great princess, and they lived happy ever after.
The lamps now glitter down the street;
Faintly sound the falling feet;
And the blue even slowly falls
About the garden trees and walls.
Now in the falling of the gloom
The red fire paints the empty room:
And warmly on the roof it looks,
And flickers on the backs of books.
Armies march by tower and spire
Of cities blazing, in the fire;—
Till as I gaze with staring eyes,
The armies fade, the lustre dies.
Then once again the glow returns;
Again the phantom city burns;
And down the red-hot valley, lo!
The phantom armies marching go!
Blinking embers, tell me true
Where are those armies marching to,
And what the burning city is
That crumbles in your furnaces!
WEEK 3 |
"Then there passed by . . . merchantmen."
—Genesis xxxvii. 28.
I T was a much larger caravan which passed out of Egypt, when the time came at last for Abraham to go back to Canaan; there were more flocks and herds, sheep and cattle, camels and asses. They returned by the same way they came, till they reached one of their old camping-grounds near Bethel.
But Abraham and Lot were no longer wandering explorers, in search of pasture for their flocks. They were rich men now, with numerous attendants, and the pasture that was enough to feed all, in the old days, was no longer enough for both. And there was some quarrelling between the herdmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle.
Together, the two men stood on a piece of rising ground, from which they could look over the surrounding country.
"Is not the whole land before thee?" said the older man, who had already made up his mind as to the future. "Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."
And Lot, knowing the value of the river Jordan which flowed through the midst of the land, chose its fertile plain, which was well watered everywhere, like the land of Egypt, from which he had just come. So he took his servants, his cattle, and his sheep, and there he made his new home.
Abraham lived in Canaan, right away from Lot; but he did not forget the little colony that had settled in the plains of Jordan—like a branch from the old root,—and when Lot was in difficulties with his foes, Abraham was the first to go to his help.
It was the same in those old days as it is now; the mother country helps her colonies, when they are in trouble.
After a time Abraham's descendants possessed the whole land of Canaan, which reached from his old home beyond the river Euphrates to the river Nile in Egypt. But the love of the old country was still strong within him; and when it was time to choose a wife for his son Isaac, it was to the land beyond the Euphrates that he turned.
Thence came Rebekah, who became the grandmother of Joseph, the story of whose life in Egypt is at once so pathetic and interesting.
As time went on, there was more and more traffic between the two settlements in Asia and Africa, through the land of Canaan. More than one route was discovered by which the long lines of camels and caravans could pass with safety from the one country to the other. And why should they want to go from one land to the other? For purposes of trade.
If one settlement could make and produce what another settlement could not, it was natural that an exchange should take place. And so it came to pass that long lines of camels were constantly journeying across Canaan bearing spices, balm, and myrrh into Egypt, and taking back with them silk and ivory from that country. It was to one of these parties of merchantmen, that Joseph was sold—merchants, on their way down into Egypt.
The story of Joseph is familiar to every child. They know how he was loved by his father Jacob, and how he lived with his parents in the land of Canaan, inherited from his grandfather Abraham. How his elder brothers had gone south to pasture their flocks, like the Arabs of the present day, wherever the wild country was unowned. How by-and-by Jacob, growing uneasy about his elder sons, sent Joseph,—then a boy of seventeen,—clad in his coat of many colours, to see how they were getting on. How the elder brothers hated Joseph because he was his father's favourite, and how, when they saw him coming, they whispered among themselves, "Come now, therefore, and let us slay him."
Finally, they sold him to the party of merchants passing with their camels, laden with spices, for Egypt. So the boy Joseph, now robbed of his coat of many colours, was carried off to Egypt, and there sold to one Potiphar, a courtier of the great Pharaoh of the country.
And while Joseph was serving in Egypt his old father was weeping for him away in Canaan.
"All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted."
Little did Jacob think, as he mourned for Joseph as dead, that some day he too should travel down to Egypt, where he should find his son again, "governor over all the land."
If you should frown, and I should frown,
While walking out together,
The happy folk about the town
Would say, "The clouds are settling down,
In spite of pleasant weather."
If you should smile, and I should smile,
While walking out together,
Sad folk would say, "Such looks beguile
The weariness of many a mile,
In dark and dreary weather."
WEEK 3 |
It was many rough uphill miles to the alps where the goats were pastured, and the stout little legs ached with weariness long before they reached the patches of green grass which were reserved for them. On the way up they passed fields where cows were grazing, and Bello had hard work to keep the goats in the path, but these pastures were only for cows, and goats were not allowed in them. For two hours they climbed steadily up and up, following a mountain path that led sometimes beside a rushing brook, sometimes along the edges of dizzy precipices, and always among rocks with wonderful views of distant snow-capped peaks above them and green, green valleys below.
At last, when it seemed to the weary children that they could not go another step, they came out upon a high pasture, where Fritz called a halt. The goats leaped joyfully forward, snatching greedy mouthfuls of the rich green grass which grew among the rocks. Bello flopped heavily down on a flat stone with his tongue hanging out, and Fritz and the Twins rolled over on their backs on a soft carpet of grass to rest.
Almost at once Seppi said, "I'm hungry."
"So 'm I," said Leneli.
"You'll be hungry all the time up here," said Fritz encouragingly. "It's the air."
"Let's eat," urged Seppi.
Fritz took the package of luncheon from his pocket and opened it.
"It looks very small. It looks a great deal smaller than it did at home," said Leneli. "I wonder why?"
"You are hungrier now than you were then," said Fritz.
"I could eat it all myself," said Seppi.
"But you won't," laughed Fritz; "I'll see to that." He divided the bread and cheese into three equal portions and handed one to each of the Twins. The third he put in his own pocket. "Now I don't care what you do with yours," he said; "only, if you eat it all now, you'll be hungry enough to browse with the goats before it's time to go home. Better take just a bite and a drink of water and eat more by and by."
Seppi looked hungrily at his portion and took a bite. Then he just couldn't stop, and before he knew it his whole luncheon was gone and it was only nine o'clock in the morning!
Leneli took two bites of hers, and then, wrapping it carefully in the piece of cloth, placed it high up on an overhanging rock out of the way of temptation. Then, while Fritz was teaching Seppi all the tricks of a goat-boy's trade, she found a soft patch of grass all spangled with blue gentians and fell asleep with her head on her arm. She slept for some time, and Fritz and Seppi, seeing how tired she was, did not disturb her.
She was roused at last by the tinkling of a goat-bell almost over her head, and woke up just in time to see her luncheon, cloth and all, disappearing into the mouth of Nanni, the brown goat! Poor Leneli screamed with dismay, and Fritz and Seppi, thinking perhaps she had hurt herself, came dashing to her side. Leneli was boiling with rage. She could only point at Nanni, who stood calmly out of reach above them with the last scrap of cloth dangling from her lips.
"You wretched, black-hearted pig of a goat!" she screamed, stamping her foot. "You've eaten every bit of my lunch, and I'd only taken two little teeny bites! Oh, I wish I'd eaten it all like that greedy Seppi!"
Fritz and Seppi were sorry, but when they saw the goat looking down at Leneli so calmly while she stormed and scolded below, they rolled over on the ground helpless with laughter.
"It's all very well for you to laugh, sniffed Leneli; you've both got your lunches," and she went away quite sulkily and sat down on a stone by herself. Bello came and sat beside her and licked her hand.
Fritz had to dash away just then after a straying goat, but he was soon back again with his luncheon in his hand. "Here," he said, "you can have some of my bread and cheese."
"Oh, Fritzi," said Leneli gratefully, "you are as good and kind as that goat is bad, but I'm going to take only a teeny mouthful, just to keep me from starving!"
"All right," said Fritz, holding the slice of bread for her to bite. "To-morrow we'll ask Mother to put up more bread and cheese, and if you get hungry again, you can milk old Nanni herself and get even with her that way."
"But I don't know how to milk," said Leneli with her mouth full.
"It's time you learned then," said Fritz briskly. "You've seen Mother do it over and over again. Come, I'll teach you."
Nanni, the goat, had leaped down from her high perch, and was now taking a drink from a little sparkling mountain rill which flowed through the pasture.
"Come along," said Fritz. "There's no time like the present," and, taking his cup in his hand, he started toward her.
Leneli hung back a little. "Nanni is the naughtiest goat in the whole flock," she said resentfully. "If it weren't for getting my lunch back, I wouldn't try to milk her."
It may be that Nanni heard it and was offended, or it may be that she knew that she had no milk to give them so early in the morning. Anyway, she made up her mind she would not be bothered at that time of day, so as fast as they came near her, she walked on a few steps, and by the time they had reached that spot she had moved farther still.
"We mustn't frighten her," said Fritz, "It's bad for the milk."
For some time they patiently followed her about, and at last just as they were ready to lay hands upon her, she suddenly leaped upon a rock and from that to a higher one, until she stood far out of reach on a dizzy overhanging cliff.
"That Nanni!" cried Fritz wrathfully as he prepared to follow her. "She'll break her pesky neck and mine too some day."
He climbed a tree for a short cut to the cliff and dropped from an overhanging branch to the narrow shelf of rock in front of the goat. Bello, meanwhile, ran back and forth below, barking like everything, but quite unable either to follow Nanni up the steep trail, or to climb the tree as Fritz had done.
"Come, Nanni," said Fritz, holding out his hand as he stepped carefully toward her.
Nanni sniffed and backed. Leneli and Seppi watched from below, breathless with anxiety. If she should back too much she might fall over the cliff and be killed. If she should dash forward she might knock Fritz over it instead. But Fritz was a wise goat-boy! He put his hand in his pocket and drew out a handful of salt, which he kept for just such times as this. He held it out toward Nanni and carefully and slowly backed away from the edge of the cliff, coaxing her to follow him. As she stepped forward, he stepped back, and in this way led her by a roundabout path down the farther side of the rocks to the place where the other goats wore still feeding.
"Oh, Fritzi, I never could do that," said Leneli, hugging him when he was on safe ground once more. "I should be so frightened."
"I could," said Seppi promptly; "I'm not afraid."
"Don't you try it, young man," said Fritz, "unless it's the only thing you can do. The best goat-boy is the one who keeps his goats from getting into such places. It's much cleverer to keep out of trouble than to get out."
They gave up the milking lesson for the time being, but when the long day was over and they were on their way down the mountain-pass in the late afternoon, they came to a wide level space. Here they paused, and, while Seppi stood with his arm about Nanni's neck and fed her handfuls of green grass, Leneli really did milk enough for a refreshing drink to sustain her on the long homeward journey.
Singing, playing tunes on the horn, and rousing the ever-ready echoes with their yodels, they ran down the steep mountain path in a much shorter time than it had taken to climb it in the morning, and came in sight of the old farm-house just as the Angelus rang again in the little white village spire. They paused on the mountain path and bent their heads, but Nanni was not a religious goat! She remembered the glimpse she had had the night before of green things growing in the garden and suddenly bolted down the steep path at a break-neck speed. All the rest of the flock followed pell-mell after her, and the children were obliged to cut short their prayers in order to save the carrot-tops from being eaten up.
The last mile was covered in record-breaking time, and before the cuckoo clock struck seven the children and goats and dog all came galloping into the yard together.
Hush! the waves are rolling in,
White with foam, white with foam;
Father toils amid the din;
But baby sleeps at home.
Hush! the winds roar hoarse and deep,—
On they come, on they come!
Brother seeks the wandering sheep;
But baby sleeps at home.
Hush! the rain sweeps o'er the knowes,
Where they roam, where they roam;
Sister goes to seek the cows;
But baby sleeps at home.
WEEK 3 |
Genesis v: 1, to ix: 17.
FTER Abel was slain, and his brother Cain had gone into another land, again God gave a child to Adam and Eve. This child they named Seth; and other sons and daughters were given to them, for Adam and Eve lived many years. But at last they died, as God had said that they must die, because they had eaten of the tree that God had forbidden them to eat.
By the time that Adam died, there were many people on the earth; for the children of Adam and Eve had many other children; and when these grew up, they also had children; and these too had children. And in those early times people lived much longer than they do now. Very few people now live to be a hundred years old; but in those days, when the earth was new, men often lived to be eight hundred or even nine hundred years old. So after a time that part of the earth where Adam's sons lived began to be full of people.
It is sad to tell that as time went on more and more of these people became wicked, and fewer and fewer of them grew up to become good men and women. All the people lived near together, and few went away to other lands; so it came to pass that even the children of good men and women learned to be bad, like the people around them.
And as God looked down on the world that he had made, he saw how wicked the men in it had become, and that every thought and every act of man was evil and only evil continually.
But while most of the people in the world were very wicked, there were some good people also, though they were very few. The best of all the men who lived at that time was a man whose name was Enoch. He was not the son of Cain, but another Enoch, who came from the family of Seth, the son of Adam who was born after the death of Abel. While so many around Enoch were doing evil, this man did only what was right. He walked with God, and God walked with him and talked with him. And at last, when Enoch was three hundred and sixty-five years old, God took him away from earth to heaven. He did not die, as all the people have died since Adam disobeyed God, but "he was not, for God took him." This means that Enoch was taken up from earth without dying.
Enoch left a son whose name was Methuselah. We do not know anything about Methuselah, except that he lived to be nine hundred and sixty-nine years old, which was longer than the life of any other man who ever lived. But at last, Methuselah died like all his people, except his father Enoch. By the time that Methuselah died, the world was very wicked. And God looked down on the earth, and said:
"I will take away all men from the earth that I have made; because the men of the world are evil, and evil continually."
But even in those bad times, God saw one good man. His name was Noah. Noah tried to do right in the sight of God. As Enoch had walked with God, so Noah walked with God, and talked with him. And Noah had three sons: their names were Shem and Ham and Japheth.
God said to Noah, "The time has come when all the men and women on the earth are to be destroyed. Every one must die, because they are all wicked. But you and your family shall be saved, because you alone are trying to do right."
Then God told Noah how he might save his life and the lives of his sons. He was to build a very large boat, as large as the largest ships that are made in our time; very long and very wide and very deep; with a roof over it; and made like a long wide house in three stories, but so built that it would float on the water. Such a ship as this was called "an ark." God told Noah to build this ark, and to have it ready for the time when he would need it.
"For," said God to Noah, "I am going to bring a great flood of water on the earth, to cover all the land and to drown all the people on the earth. And as the animals on the earth will be drowned with the people, you must make the ark large enough to hold a pair of each kind of animals, and several pairs of some animals that are needed by men, like sheep and goats and oxen; so that there will be animals as well as men to live upon the earth after the flood has passed away. And you must take in the ark food for yourself and your family, and for all the animals with you, enough food to last for a year, while the flood shall stay on the earth."
And Noah did what God told him to do, although it must have seemed very strange to all the people around, to build this great ark where there was no water for it to sail upon. And it was a long time, even a hundred and twenty years, that Noah and his sons were at work building the ark, while the wicked people around wondered, and no doubt laughed at Noah for building a great ship where there was no sea. At last the ark was finished, and stood like a great house on the land. There was a door on one side, and a window on the roof, to let in the light. Then God said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and your wife, and your three sons, and their wives with them; for the flood of waters will come very soon. And take with you animals of all kinds, and birds, and things that creep; seven pairs of those that will be needed by men, and one pair of all the rest; so that all kinds of animals may be kept alive upon the earth."
So Noah and his wife, and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, with their wives, went into the ark. And God brought to the door of the ark the animals, and the birds, and the creeping things of all kinds; and they went into the ark, and Noah and his sons put them in their places, and brought in food for them all. And then the door of the ark was shut, so that no more people and no more animals could come in.
In a few days the rain began to fall, as it had never rained before. It seemed as though the heavens were opened to pour great floods upon the earth. The streams filled, and the rivers rose, higher and higher, and the ark began to float on the water. The people left their houses and ran up to the hills, but soon the hills were covered, and all the people on them were drowned.
Some had climbed up to the tops of higher mountains, but the water rose higher and higher, until even the mountains were covered and all the people, wicked as they had been, were drowned in the great sea that now rolled over all the earth where men had lived. And all the animals, the tame animals—cattle and sheep and oxen—were drowned; and the wild animals—lions and tigers and all the rest—were drowned also. Even the birds were drowned, for their nests in the trees were swept away, and there was no place where they could fly from the terrible storm. For forty days and nights the rain kept on, until there was no breath of life remaining outside of the ark.
After forty days the rain stopped, but the water stayed upon the earth for more than six months; and the ark, with all that were in it, floated over the great sea that covered the land. Then God sent a wind to blow over the waters and to dry them up; so by degrees the waters grew less and less. First the mountains rose above the waters, then the hills rose up; and finally the ark ceased to float, and lay aground on a mountain which is called Mount Ararat. But Noah could not see what had happened on the earth, because the door was shut, and the window may have been in the roof. But he felt that the ark was no longer moving, and he knew that the water must have gone down. So, after waiting for a time, Noah opened a window and let loose a bird called a raven. Now the raven has strong wings; and this raven flew round and round until the waters had gone down, and it could find a place to rest, and it did not come back to the ark.
After Noah had waited for it a while, he sent out a dove; but the dove could not find any place to rest, so it flew back to the ark, and Noah took it into the ark again. Then Noah waited a week longer, and afterward he sent out the dove again. And at the evening, the dove came back to the ark, which was its home; and in its bill was a fresh leaf which it had picked off from an olive tree.
The dove came back to the Ark.
So Noah knew that the water had gone down enough to let the trees grow once more. He waited another week, and sent out the dove again; but this time the dove flew away and never came back. And Noah knew that the earth was becoming dry again. So he took off a part of the roof and looked out, and saw that there was dry land all around the ark. Noah had now lived in the ark a little more than a year, and he was glad to see the green land and the trees once more. And God said to Noah:
"Come out of the ark, with your wife, and your sons, and their wives, and all the living things that are with you in the ark."
The dove returned not again.
So Noah opened the door of the ark, and with his family came out, and stood once more on the ground. All the animals and birds and creeping things in the ark came out also, and began again to bring life to the earth.
The first that Noah did, when he came out of the ark, was to give thanks to God for saving all his family when the rest of the people on the earth were destroyed. He built an altar, and laid upon it an offering to the Lord, and gave himself and his family to God, and promised to do God's will.
Noah's offering after the flood.
And God was pleased with Noah's offering, and God said:
"I will not again destroy the earth on account of men, no matter how bad they may be. From this time no flood shall again cover the earth; but the seasons of spring and summer and fall and winter shall remain without change. I give to you the earth; you shall be the rulers of the ground and of every living thing upon it."
Then God caused a rainbow to appear in the sky, and he told Noah and his sons that whenever they or the people after them should see the rainbow, they should remember that God had placed it in the sky and over the clouds as a sign of his promise that he would always remember the earth and the people upon it, and would never again send a flood to destroy men from the earth.
So, as often as we see the beautiful rainbow, we are to remember that it is the sign of God's promise to the world.
An emerald is as green as grass;
A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;
A flint lies in the mud.
A diamond is a brilliant stone,
To catch the world's desire;
An opal holds a fiery spark;
But a flint holds fire.