Text of Plan #953
  WEEK 31  

  Monday  
 


Wilhelmina Seegmuller

Seven Little Chicks

Seven little chicks go,

"Peep, peep, peep,"

Hunting where the grasses grow

Deep, deep, deep.


Then the mother hen calls,

"Cluck, cluck, cluck,"

Wishing every little chick

Luck, luck, luck.

 


  WEEK 31  

  Tuesday  


Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by Edward Eggleston

Don't Give up the Ship

F RED was talking to his sister one day. He said,—

"Alice, what makes people say, 'Don't give up the ship'?"

Alice said, "I don't know. That's what the teacher said to me yesterday when I thought that I could not get my lesson."

"Yes," said Fred, "and that's what father said to me. I told him I never could learn to write well." He only said, "You must not give up the ship, my boy."

"I haven't any ship to give up," said Alice.

"And what has a ship to do with my writing?" said Fred.

"There must be some story about a ship," Alice said.

"Maybe grandfather would know," said Fred. "Let's ask him."

They found their grandfather writing in the next room. They did not wish to disturb him. They turned to leave the room.

But grandfather looked up just then. He smiled, and laid down his pen.

"Did you want something?" he asked.

"We wanted to ask you a question," said Alice. "We want to know why people say, 'Don't give up the ship.' "

"We thought maybe there is a story to it," said Fred.

"Yes, there is," said their grandfather. "And I know a little rhyme that tells the story."

"Could you say it to us?" asked Alice.

"Yes, if I can think of it. Let me see. How does it begin?"

Grandfather leaned his head back in the chair. He shut his eyes for a moment. He was trying to remember.

"Oh, now I remember it!" he said.

Then he said to them these little verses:—

Grandfather's Rhyme

When I was but a boy,

I heard the people tell

How gallant Captain Lawrence

So bravely fought and fell.


The ships lay close together,

I heard the people say,

And many guns were roaring

Upon that battle day.


A grape-shot struck the captain,

He laid him down to die:

They say the smoke of powder

Made dark the sea and sky.


The sailors heard a whisper

Upon the captain's lip:

The last command of Lawrence

Was, "Don't give up the ship."


And ever since that battle

The people like to tell

How gallant Captain Lawrence

So bravely fought and fell.


When disappointment happens,

And fear your heart annoys,

Be brave, like Captain Lawrence—

And don't give up, my boys!

 



A. A. Milne

Sand-Between-the-Toes

I went down to the shouting sea,

Taking Christopher down with me,

For Nurse had given us sixpence each—

And down we went to the beach.


We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,

And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.

Whenever a good nor' wester blows,

Christopher is certain of

Sand-between-the-toes.


The sea was galloping grey and white;

Christopher clutched his sixpence tight;

We clambered over the humping sand—

And Christopher held my hand.


We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,

And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.

Whenever a good nor' wester blows,

Christopher is certain of

Sand-between-the-toes.


There was a roaring in the sky;

The sea-gulls cried as they blew by;

We tried to talk, but had to shout—

Nobody else was out.


When we got home, we had sand in the hair,

In the eyes and the ears and everywhere;

Whenever a good nor' wester blows,

Christopher is found with

Sand-between-the-toes.

 


  WEEK 31  

  Wednesday  


Among the Farmyard People  by Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Fussy Queen Bee

[Illustration]

I N a sheltered corner of the farmyard, where the hedge kept off the cold winds and the trees shaded from hot summer sunshine, there were many hives of Bees. One could not say much for the Drones, but the others were the busiest of all the farmyard people, and they had so much to do that they did not often stop to visit with their neighbors.

In each hive, or home, there were many thousand Bees, and each had his own work. First of all, there was the Queen. You might think that being a Queen meant playing all the time, but that is not so, for to be a really good Queen, even in a Beehive, one must know a great deal and keep at work all the time. The Queen Bee is the mother of all the Bee Babies, and she spends her days in laying eggs. She is so very precious and important a person that the first duty of the rest is to take care of her.

The Drones are the stoutest and finest looking of all the Bees, but they are lazy, very, very lazy. There are never many of them in a hive, and like most lazy people, they spend much of their time in telling the others how to work. They do not make wax or store honey, and as the Worker Bees do not wish them to eat what has been put away for winter, they do not live very long.

Most of the Bees are Workers. They are smaller than either the Queen Mother or the Drones, and they gather all the honey, make all the wax, build the comb, and feed the babies. They keep the hive clean, and when the weather is very warm, some of them fan the air with their wings to cool it. They guard the doorway of the hive, too, and turn away the robbers who sometimes come to steal their honey.

In these busy homes, nobody can live long just for himself. Everybody helps somebody else, and that makes life pleasant. The Queen Mother often lays as many as two thousand eggs in a day. Most of these are Worker eggs, and are laid in the small cells of the brood comb, which is the nursery of the hive. A few are Drone eggs and are laid in large cells. She never lays any Queen eggs, for she does not want more Queens growing up. It is a law among the Bees that there can be only one grown Queen living in each home.

The Workers, however, know that something might happen to their old Queen Mother, so, after she has gone away, they sometimes go into a cell where she has laid a worker egg, and take down the waxen walls between it and the ones on either side to make a very large royal cell. They bite away the wax with their strong jaws and press the rough edges into shape with their feet. When this egg hatches, they do not feed the baby, or Larva, with tasteless bread made of flower-dust, honey, and water, as they would if they intended it to grow up a Worker or a Drone. Instead, they make what is called royal jelly, which is quite sour, and tuck this all around the Larva, who now looks like a little white worm.

The royal jelly makes her grow fast, and in five days she is so large as to nearly fill the cell. Then she stops eating, spins a cocoon, and lies in it for about two and a half days more. When she comes out of this, she is call a Pupa. Sixteen days after the laying of the egg, the young Queen is ready to come out of her cell. It takes twenty-one days for a Worker to become fully grown and twenty-five for the Drone.

In the hive by the cedar tree, the Queen Mother was growing restless and fussy. She knew that the Workers were raising some young Queens, and she tried to get to the royal cells. She knew that if she could only do that, the young Queens would never live to come out. The Workers knew this, too, and whenever she came near there, they made her go away.

The Queen Larvæ and Pupæ were of different ages, and one of them was now ready to leave her cell. They could hear her crying to be let out, but they knew that if she and the Queen Mother should meet now, one of them would die. So instead of letting her out, they built a thick wall of wax over the door and left only an opening through which they could feed her. When she was hungry she ran her tongue out and they put honey on it.

She wondered why the Workers did not let her out, when she wanted so much to be free. She did not yet know that Queen Mothers do not get along well with young Queens.

The Workers talked it over by themselves. One of them was very tender-hearted. "It does seem too bad," said she, "to keep the poor young Queen shut up in her cell. I don't see how you can stand it to hear her piping so pitifully all the time. I am sure she must be beautiful. I never saw a finer tongue than the one she runs out for honey."

"Humph!" said a sensible old Worker, who had seen many Queens hatched and many swarms fly away, "you'd be a good deal more sorry if we did let her out now. It would not do at all."

The tender-hearted Worker did not answer this, but she talked it over with the Drones. "I declare," said she, wiping her eyes with her forefeet, "I can hardly gather a mouthful of honey for thinking of her."

"Suppose you hang yourself up and make wax then," said one Drone. "It is a rather sunshiny day, but you ought to be doing something, and if you cannot gather honey you might do that." This was just like a Drone. He never gathered honey or made wax, yet he could not bear to see a Worker lose any time.

The Worker did not hang herself up and make wax, however. She never did that except on cloudy days, and she was one of those Bees who seem to think that nothing will come out right unless they stop working to see about it. There was plenty waiting to be done, but she was too sad and anxious to do it. She might have known that since her friends were only minding the law, it was right to keep the new Queen in her cell.

The Queen Mother was restless and fussy. She could not think of her work, and half the time she did not know whether she was laying a Drone egg or a Worker egg. In spite of that, she did not make any mistake, or put one into the wrong kind of cell. "I cannot stay here with the young Queen," said she. "I will not stay here. I will take my friends with me and fly away."

Whenever she met a Worker, she struck her feelers on those of her friend, and then this friend knew exactly how she felt about it. In this way the news was passed around, and soon many of the Workers were as restless as their Queen Mother. They were so excited over it at times that the air of the hive grew very hot. After a while they would become quiet and gather honey once more. They whispered often to each other. "Do you know where we are going?" one said.

"Sh!" was the answer. "The guides are looking for a good place now."

"I wish the Queen Mother knew where we are going," said the first.

"How could she?" replied the second. "You know very well that she has not left the hive since she began to lay eggs. Here she comes now."

"Oh dear!" exclaimed the Queen Mother. "I can never stand this. I certainly cannot. To think I am not allowed to rule in my own hive! The Workers who are guarding the royal cells drive me away whenever I go near them. I will not stay any longer."

"Then," said a Drone, as though he had thought of it for the first time, "why don't you go away?"

"I shall," said she. "Will you go with me?"

"No," said the Drone. "I hate moving and furnishing a new house. Besides, somebody must stay here to take care of the workers and the young Queen."

The Queen Mother walked away. "When we were both young," she said to herself, "he would have gone anywhere with me."

And the Drone said to himself, "Now, isn't that just like a Queen Mother! She has known all the time that there would be young Queens coming on, yet here she is making the biggest kind of fuss about it. She ought to remember that it is the law."

Indeed she should have remembered that it was the law, for everything is done by law in the hive, and no one person should find fault. The law looks after them all, and will not let any one have more than his rightful share.

That same afternoon there was a sudden quiet in the home. The Workers who had been outside returned and visited with the rest. While they were waiting, a few who were to be their guides came to the door of the hive, struck their wings together, and gave the signal for starting. Then all who were going with the Queen Mother hurried out of the door and flew with her in circles overhead. "Good-bye!" they called. "Raise all the young Queens you wish. We shall never come back. We are going far, far away and we shall not tell you where. It is a lovely place, a very lovely place."

"Let them go," said the Drones who stayed behind. "Now, isn't it time to let out the young Queen?"

"Not yet," answered a Worker, who stood near the door. "Not one feeler shall be put outside her cell until that swarm is out of sight."

The tender-hearted Worker came up wiping her eyes. "Oh, that poor Queen Mother!" said she. "I am so sorry for her. I positively cannot gather honey to-day, I feel so badly about her going."

"Better keep on working," said her friend. "It's the best thing in the world for that sad feeling. Besides, you should try to keep strong."

"Oh, I will try to eat something from the comb," was the answer, "but I don't feel like working."

"Zzzt!" said the other Worker. "I think if you can eat, you can hunt your food outside, and not take honey we have laid up for the winter or food that will be needed for the children."

The Drones chuckled. It was all right for them to be lazy, they thought, but they never could bear to see a Worker waste time. "Ah," cried one of them suddenly, "what is the new swarm doing now?"

The words were hardly out of his mouth when the Queen Mother crawled into the hive again. "Such dreadful luck!" said she. "A cloud passed over the sun just as we were alighting on a tree to rest."

"I wouldn't have come back for that," said a Drone.

"No," said she, in her airiest way, "I dare say you wouldn't, but I would. I dare not go to a new home after a cloud has passed over the sun. I think it is a sign of bad luck. I should never expect a single egg to hatch if I went on. We shall try it again to-morrow."

All the others came back with her, and the hive was once more crowded and hot. "Oh dear!" said the tender-hearted Worker, "isn't it too bad to think they couldn't go?"

The next morning they started again and were quite as excited over it as before. The Queen Mother had fussed and fidgeted all the time, although she had laid nine hundred and seventy-three eggs while waiting, and that in spite of interruptions. "Being busy keeps me from thinking," said she, "and I must do something." This time the Queen Mother lighted on an apple-tree branch, and the others clung to her until all who had left the hive were in a great mass on the branch,—a mass as large as a small cabbage. They meant to rest a little while and then fly away to the new home chosen by their guides.

While they were hanging here, the farmer came under the tree, carrying a long pole with a wire basket fastened to the upper end. He shook the clustered Bees gently into it, and then changed them into an empty hive that stood beside their old home.

"Now," said the Workers who had stayed in the old hive, "we will let out the new Queen, for the Queen Mother will never return."

It did not take long to bite away the waxen wall and let her out. Then they gathered around and caressed her, and touched their feelers to her and waited upon her, and explained why they could not let her out sooner. She was still a soft gray color, like all young Bees when they first come from the cell, but this soon changed to the black worn by her people.

The Workers flew in and out, and brought news from the hive next door. They could not go there, for the law does not allow a Bee who lives in one home to visit in another, but they met their old friends in the air or when they were sipping honey. They found that the Queen Mother had quite given up the idea of living elsewhere and was as busy as ever. The farmer had put a piece of comb into the new hive so that she could begin housekeeping at once.

The new Queen was petted and kept at home until she was strong and used to moving about. That was not long. Then she said she wanted to see the world outside. "We will go with you," said the Drones, who were always glad of an excuse for flying away in pleasant weather. They said there was so much noise and hurrying around in the hive that they could never get any real rest there during the daytime.

So the young Queen flew far away and saw the beautiful world for the first time. Such a blue sky! Such green grass! Such fine trees covered with sweet-smelling blossoms! She loved it all as soon as she saw it. "Ah," she cried, "what a wonderful thing it is to live and see all this! I am so glad that I was hatched. But now I must hurry home, for there is so much to be done."

She was a fine young Queen, and the Bees were all proud of her. They let her do anything she wished as long as she kept away from the royal cells. She soon began to work as the old Queen Mother had done, and was very happy in her own way. She would have liked to open the royal cells and prevent more Queens from hatching, and when they told her it was the law which made them keep her away, she still wanted to bite into them.

"That poor young Queen Mother!" sighed the tender-hearted Worker. "I am so sorry for her when she is kept away from the royal cells. This is a sad, sad world!" But this isn't a sad world by any means. It is a beautiful, sunshiny, happy world, and neither Queen Bees nor anybody else should think it hard if they cannot do every single thing they wish. The law looks after great and small, and there is no use in pouting because we cannot do one certain thing, when there is any amount of delightful work and play awaiting us. And the young Queen Mother knew this.


[Illustration]

 



Anonymous

Cherries

Under the trees, the farmer said,

Smiling and shaking his wise old head:

"Cherries are ripe! but then, you know,

There's the grass to cut and the corn to hoe;

We can gather the cherries any day,

But when the sun shines we must make our hay;

To-night, when the work has all been done,

We'll muster the boys, for fruit and fun."


Up on the tree a robin said,

Perking and cocking his saucy head,

"Cherries are ripe! and so to-day

We'll gather them while you make the hay;

For we are the boys with no corn to hoe,

No cows to milk, and no grass to mow."

At night the farmer said: "Here's a trick

These roguish robins have had their pick."

 


  WEEK 31  

  Thursday  


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

Snow-White


[Illustration]

I T was the middle of winter, and the snow-flakes were falling like feathers from the sky, and a queen sat at her window working, and her embroidery-frame was of ebony. And as she worked, gazing at times out on the snow, she pricked her finger, and there fell from it three drops of blood on the snow. And when she saw how bright and red it looked, she said to herself, "Oh that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the embroidery frame!"

Not very long after she had a daughter, with a skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony, and she was named Snow-white. And when she was born the queen died.


[Illustration]

After a year had gone by the king took another wife, a beautiful woman, but proud and overbearing, and she could not bear to be surpassed in beauty by any one. She had a magic looking-glass, and she used to stand before it, and look in it, and say,

"Looking-glass upon the wall,

Who is fairest of us all?"

And the looking-glass would answer,

"You are fairest of them all."

And she was contented, for she knew that the looking-glass spoke the truth.

Now, Snow-white was growing prettier and prettier, and when she was seven years old she was as beautiful as day, far more so than the queen herself. So one day when the queen went to her mirror and said,

"Looking-glass upon the wall,

Who is fairest of us all?"

It answered,

"Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true,

But Snow-white fairer is than you."

This gave the queen a great shock, and she became yellow and green with envy, and from that hour her heart turned against Snow-white, and she hated her. And envy and pride like ill weeds grew in her heart higher every day, until she had no peace day or night. At last she sent for a huntsman, and said,

"Take the child out into the woods, so that I may set eyes on her no more. You must put her to death, and bring me her heart for a token."

The huntsman consented, and led her away; but when he drew his cutlass to pierce Snow-white's innocent heart, she began to weep, and to say,

"Oh, dear huntsman, do not take my life; I will go away into the wild wood, and never come home again."


[Illustration]

And as she was so lovely the huntsman had pity on her, and said,

"Away with you then, poor child;" for he thought the wild animals would be sure to devour her, and it was as if a stone had been rolled away from his heart when he spared to put her to death. Just at that moment a young wild boar came running by, so he caught and killed it, and taking out its heart, he brought it to the queen for a token. And it was salted and cooked, and the wicked woman ate it up, thinking that there was an end of Snow-white.

Now, when the poor child found herself quite alone in the wild woods, she felt full of terror, even of the very leaves on the trees, and she did not know what to do for fright. Then she began to run over the sharp stones and through the thorn bushes, and the wild beasts after her, but they did her no harm. She ran as long as her feet would carry her; and when the evening drew near she came to a little house, and she went inside to rest.


[Illustration]

Everything there was very small, but as pretty and clean as possible. There stood the little table ready laid, and covered with a white cloth, and seven little plates, and seven knives and forks, and drinking-cups. By the wall stood seven little beds, side by side, covered with clean white quilts. Snow-white, being very hungry and thirsty, ate from each plate a little porridge and bread, and drank out of each little cup a drop of wine, so as not to finish up one portion alone. After that she felt so tired that she lay down on one of the beds, but it did not seem to suit her; one was too long, another too short, but at last the seventh was quite right; and so she lay down upon it, committed herself to heaven, and fell asleep.

When it was quite dark, the masters of the house came home. They were seven dwarfs, whose occupation was to dig underground among the mountains. When they had lighted their seven candles, and it was quite light in the little house, they saw that some one must have been in, as everything was not in the same order in which they left it. The first said,

"Who has been sitting in my little chair?"

The second said,

"Who has been eating from my little plate?"

The third said,

"Who has been taking my little loaf?"

The fourth said,

"Who has been tasting my porridge?"

The fifth said,

"Who has been using my little fork?"

The sixth said,

"Who has been cutting with my little knife?"

The seventh said,

"Who has been drinking from my little cup?"

Then the first one, looking round, saw a hollow in his bed, and cried,

"Who has been lying on my bed?"

And the others came running, and cried,

"Some one has been on our beds too!"

But when the seventh looked at his bed, he saw little Snow-white lying there asleep. Then he told the others, who came running up, crying out in their astonishment, and holding up their seven little candles to throw a light upon Snow-white.

"O goodness! O gracious!" cried they, "what beautiful child is this?" and were so full of joy to see her that they did not wake her, but let her sleep on. And the seventh dwarf slept with his comrades, an hour at a time with each, until the night had passed.

When it was morning, and Snow-white awoke and saw the seven dwarfs, she was very frightened; but they seemed quite friendly, and asked her what her name was, and she told them; and then they asked how she came to be in their house. And she related to them how her step-mother had wished her to be put to death, and how the huntsman had spared her life, and how she had run the whole day long, until at last she had found their little house. Then the dwarfs said,

"If you will keep our house for us, and cook, and wash, and make the beds, and sew and knit, and keep everything tidy and clean, you may stay with us, and you shall lack nothing."

"With all my heart," said Snow-white; and so she stayed, and kept the house in good order.


[Illustration]

In the morning the dwarfs went to the mountain to dig for gold; in the evening they came home, and their supper had to be ready for them. All the day long the maiden was left alone, and the good little dwarfs warned her, saying,

"Beware of your step-mother, she will soon know you are here. Let no one into the house."

Now the queen, having eaten Snow-white's heart, as she supposed, felt quite sure that now she was the first and fairest, and so she came to her mirror, and said,

"Looking-glass upon the wall,

Who is fairest of us all?"

And the glass answered,

"Queen, thou art of beauty rare,

But Snow-white living in the glen

With the seven little men

Is a thousand times more fair."

Then she was very angry, for the glass always spoke the truth, and she knew that the huntsman must have deceived her, and that Snow-white must still be living. And she thought and thought how she could manage to make an end of her, for as long as she was not the fairest in the land, envy left her no rest. At last she thought of a plan; she painted her face and dressed herself like an old pedlar woman, so that no one would have known her. In this disguise she went across the seven mountains, until she came to the house of the seven little dwarfs, and she knocked at the door and cried,

"Fine wares to sell! fine wares to sell!"


[Illustration]

Snow-white peeped out of the window and cried,

"Good-day, good woman, what have you to sell?"

"Good wares, fine wares," answered she, "laces of all colours;" and she held up a piece that was woven of variegated silk.

"I need not be afraid of letting in this good woman," thought Snow-white, and she unbarred the door and bought the pretty lace.

"What a figure you are, child!" said the old woman, "come and let me lace you properly for once."

Snow-white, suspecting nothing, stood up before her, and let her lace her with the new lace; but the old woman laced so quick and tight that it took Snow-white's breath away, and she fell down as dead.

"Now you have done with being the fairest," said the old woman as she hastened away.


[Illustration]

Not long after that, towards evening, the seven dwarfs came home, and were terrified to see their dear Snow-white lying on the ground, without life or motion; they raised her up, and when they saw how tightly she was laced they cut the lace in two; then she began to draw breath, and little by little she returned to life. When the dwarfs heard what had happened they said,

"The old pedlar woman was no other than the wicked queen; you must beware of letting any one in when we are not here!"

And when the wicked woman got home she went to her glass and said,

"Looking-glass against the wall,

Who is fairest of us all?"

And it answered as before,

"Queen, thou art of beauty rare,

But Snow-white living in the glen

With the seven little men

Is a thousand times more fair."

When she heard that she was so struck with surprise that all the blood left her heart, for she knew that Snow-white must still be living.

"But now," said she, "I will think of something that will be her ruin." And by witchcraft she made a poisoned comb. Then she dressed herself up to look like another different sort of old woman. So she went across the seven mountains and came to the house of the seven dwarfs, and knocked at the door and cried,

"Good wares to sell! good wares to sell!"

Snow-white looked out and said,

"Go away, I must not let anybody in."

"But you are not forbidden to look," said the old woman, taking out the poisoned comb and holding it up. It pleased the poor child so much that she was tempted to open the door; and when the bargain was made the old woman said,

"Now, for once your hair shall be properly combed."

Poor Snow-white, thinking no harm, let the old woman do as she would, but no sooner was the comb put in her hair than the poison began to work, and the poor girl fell down senseless.

"Now, you paragon of beauty," said the wicked woman, "this is the end of you," and went off. By good luck it was now near evening, and the seven little dwarfs came home. When they saw Snow-white lying on the ground as dead, they thought directly that it was the step-mother's doing, and looked about, found the poisoned comb, and no sooner had they drawn it out of her hair than Snow-white came to herself, and related all that had passed. Then they warned her once more to be on her guard, and never again to let any one in at the door.

And the queen went home and stood before the looking-glass and said,

"Looking-glass against the wall,

Who is fairest of us all?"

And the looking-glass answered as before,

"Queen, thou art of beauty rare,

But Snow-white living in the glen

With the seven little men

Is a thousand times more fair."

When she heard the looking-glass speak thus she trembled and shook with anger.

"Snow-white shall die," cried she, "though it should cost me my own life!" And then she went to a secret lonely chamber, where no one was likely to come, and there she made a poisonous apple. It was beautiful to look upon, being white with red cheeks, so that any one who should see it must long for it, but whoever ate even a little bit of it must die. When the apple was ready she painted her face and clothed herself like a peasant woman, and went across the seven mountains to where the seven dwarfs lived. And when she knocked at the door Snow-white put her head out of the window and said,

"I dare not let anybody in; the seven dwarfs told me not."

"All right," answered the woman; "I can easily get rid of my apples elsewhere. There, I will give you one."

"No," answered Snow-white, "I dare not take anything."

"Are you afraid of poison?" said the woman, "look here, I will cut the apple in two pieces; you shall have the red side, I will have the white one."

For the apple was so cunningly made, that all the poison was in the rosy half of it. Snow-white longed for the beautiful apple, and as she saw the peasant woman eating a piece of it she could no longer refrain, but stretched out her hand and took the poisoned half. But no sooner had she taken a morsel of it into her mouth than she fell to the earth as dead. And the queen, casting on her a terrible glance, laughed aloud and cried,

"As white as snow, as red as blood, as black as ebony! this time the dwarfs will not be able to bring you to life again."

And when she went home and asked the looking-glass,

"Looking-glass against the wall,

Who is fairest of us all?"

at last it answered,

"You are the fairest now of all."

Then her envious heart had peace, as much as an envious heart can have.

The dwarfs, when they came home in the evening, found Snow-white lying on the ground, and there came no breath out of her mouth, and she was dead. They lifted her up, sought if anything poisonous was to be found, cut her laces, combed her hair, washed her with water and wine, but all was of no avail, the poor child was dead, and remained dead. Then they laid her on a bier, and sat all seven of them round it, and wept and lamented three whole days. And then they would have buried her, but that she looked still as if she were living, with her beautiful blooming cheeks. So they said,

"We cannot hide her away in the black ground." And they had made a coffin of clear glass, so as to be looked into from all sides, and they laid her in it, and wrote in golden letters upon it her name, and that she was a king's daughter. Then they set the coffin out upon the mountain, and one of them always remained by it to watch. And the birds came too, and mourned for Snow-white, first an owl, then a raven, and lastly, a dove.

Now, for a long while Snow-white lay in the coffin and never changed, but looked as if she were asleep, for she was still as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony. It happened, however, that one day a king's son rode through the wood and up to the dwarfs' house, which was near it.


[Illustration]

He saw on the mountain the coffin, and beautiful Snow-white within it, and he read what was written in golden letters upon it. Then he said to the dwarfs,

"Let me have the coffin, and I will give you whatever you like to ask for it."

But the dwarfs told him that they could not part with it for all the gold in the world. But he said,

"I beseech you to give it me, for I cannot live without looking upon Snow-white; if you consent I will bring you to great honour, and care for you as if you were my brethren."

When he so spoke the good little dwarfs had pity upon him and gave him the coffin, and the king's son called his servants and bid them carry it away on their shoulders. Now it happened that as they were going along they stumbled over a bush, and with the shaking the bit of poisoned apple flew out of her throat. It was not long before she opened her eyes, threw up the cover of the coffin, and sat up, alive and well.

"Oh dear! where am I?" cried she. The king's son answered, full of joy, "You are near me," and, relating all that had happened, he said,

"I would rather have you than anything in the world; come with me to my father's castle and you shall be my bride."

And Snow-white was kind, and went with him, and their wedding was held with pomp and great splendour.


[Illustration]

But Snow-white's wicked step-mother was also bidden to the feast, and when she had dressed herself in beautiful clothes she went to her looking-glass and said,

"Looking-glass upon the wall,

Who is fairest of us all?"

The looking-glass answered,

"O Queen, although you are of beauty rare,

The young bride is a thousand times more fair."

Then she railed and cursed, and was beside herself with disappointment and anger. First she thought she would not go to the wedding; but then she felt she should have no peace until she went and saw the bride. And when she saw her she knew her for Snow-white, and could not stir from the place for anger and terror. For they had ready red-hot iron shoes, in which she had to dance until she fell down dead.

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.


I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people's feet

Still going past me in the street.


And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

 


  WEEK 31  

  Friday  


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

The Beauty of Athens

"As the flowers adorn the earth and the stars the sky,

so Athens adorns Greece and Greece the world."

—Herder.

A THENS and Sparta were now the greatest Powers in Greece, and all the smaller Powers were anxious to obtain the friendship of one or the other. Let us see how Athens outstripped them all. First she sprang into a great commercial city thronged with traders; her merchant ships were in every part of Greece; her navy was the strongest in the world. She had untold wealth, and might have exceeded the old towns of Tyre and Carthage in the glory of her trade.

But one citizen arose, who dreamt of higher things for Greece. His name was Pericles. He saw at once that, since the Persian wars, everything was changed, and he wanted to see the men of Greece capable of ruling themselves and their country. And so while Sparta remained a plain village, Athens became a most beautiful city, which stood forth as an example to others.

Pericles had realised that mere wealth and prosperity alone could never make lasting greatness. He wanted to see his fellow-countrymen happy and prosperous, but he saw this could only come through education. He must wake up the faculties of the Greeks, by making their daily life bright and active, instead of dull and listless.

Under his guidance the temples and statues of the gods were made grand and calm and beautiful. Pictures were painted in public places of the great events in Grecian history, so that the minds of the citizens should dwell on great and noble deeds of heroism, rather than ideas of gaining wealth for wealth's own sake, as the Phœnicians had done before them. Plays, too, were written by great poets, and performed at the cost of the State in a large open building before crowds of people.

These plays were known as tragedies and comedies; they gave the Athenians great pleasure, helping them to enjoy the higher and nobler views of life, rather than the stupid amusements of the day. The great writer of tragedies for the men of Greece was called Æschylus; he had borne shield and spear at Marathon, he had fought at Salamis, and so could write of the Persian wars from his own knowledge.

Sophocles, another great writer, was only fifteen at the battle of Salamis, but he was so beautiful and musical that he was chosen to lead the chorus, which sang the hymn of victory after the battle.

So Athens herself was made beautiful by the wise Pericles. The first spoils of the Persian war had already been devoted to the honour of the goddess of Athens—Athene on the Acropolis. This colossal bronze statue stood warlike and erect, with helmet, spear, and shield, high above the city. And the sailor from afar at sea, could see the point of her spear and the crest of her helmet gleaming across the blue waters. But the goddess Athene was to receive greater honours yet. On the south side of the Acropolis a magnificent temple, known to-day as the Parthenon, was built in her honour, as a storehouse of sacred treasure.

There is an old story which says, that the question was raised, whether the figure should be of marble or of ivory; the great sculptor Phidias suggested marble as the cheapest, but the whole assembly of Athenians shouted aloud for ivory and gold, nothing being too rich for the statue of Athene.

A theatre of music was also built, its pointed roof, made from the masts of the Persian ships which were captured at Salamis, being shaped like the tents of Xerxes.

It was little wonder, then, that when Pericles lay dying, the men of Athens began to talk of the noble deeds he had done, to praise his wisdom, his learning, as well as his buildings.

"He found Athens of brick," they said, "and left her of marble."

Suddenly the sick man raised himself on his bed.

"I wonder," he said, "you praise these things in me, and yet you have left out what is my chief honour—namely, that I never caused any fellow-citizen to put on mourning."

It was perhaps the first time in history, that humanity had been placed above all else.

Such, briefly, was Athens after the Persian wars, unequalled in beauty, unrivalled as queen of Greece.

Phœnicia had given to her colonies the heritage of commerce and trade. Greece gave her colonies a higher heritage than this. Wealth to her was a means to an end; she made her city beautiful, and so raised the minds of her citizens to care for things above riches alone. And this idea grew and spread beyond her city, beyond her colonies, even beyond her empire.

Her poetry has inspired poets of the ages that followed; her historian, Herodotus, is still called the "Father of all history"; her Art alone reached the standard of perfect beauty. What, if the very cause of her greatest glory, was likewise the cause of her fall? She gave to the world that, which no nation had given yet, that, which has helped men to do and die for their country, that which has shown them, that there are higher and better things to live for, than the attainment of wealth or the ambition of conquest.

 



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hiawatha's Childhood

Downward through the evening twilight,

In the days that are forgotten,

In the unremembered ages,

From the full moon fell Nokomis,

Fell the beautiful Nokomis,

She a wife, but not a mother.

She was sporting with her women,

Swinging in a swing of grape-vines,

When her rival the rejected,

Full of jealousy and hatred,

Cut the leafy swing asunder,

Cut in twain the twisted grape-vines,

And Nokomis fell affrighted

Downward through the evening twilight,

On the Muskoday, the meadow,

On the prairie full of blossoms.

"See! a star falls!" said the people;

"From the sky a star is falling!"

There among the ferns and mosses,

There among the prairie lilies,

On the Muskoday, the meadow,

In the moonlight and the starlight,

Fair Nokomis bore a daughter.

And she called her name Wenonah,

As the first-born of her daughters.

And the daughter of Nokomis

Grew up like the prairie lilies,

Grew a tall and slender maiden,

With the beauty of the moonlight,

With the beauty of the starlight.

And Nokomis warned her often,

Saying oft, and oft repeating,

"Oh, beware of Mudjekeewis,

Of the West-Wind, Mudjekeewis;

Listen not to what he tells you;

Lie not down upon the meadow,

Stoop not down among the lilies,

Lest the West-Wind come and harm you!"

But she heeded not the warning,

Heeded not those words of wisdom,

And the West-Wind came at evening,

Walking lightly o'er the prairie,

Whispering to the leaves and blossoms,

Bending low the flowers and grasses,

Found the beautiful Wenonah,

Lying there among the lilies,

Wooed her with his words of sweetness,

Wooed her with his soft caresses,

Till she bore a son in sorrow,

Bore a son of love and sorrow.

Thus was born my Hiawatha,

Thus was born the child of wonder;

But the daughter of Nokomis,

Hiawatha's gentle mother,

In her anguish died deserted

By the West-Wind, false and faithless,

By the heartless Mudjekeewis.

For her daughter long and loudly

Wailed and wept the sad Nokomis;

"Oh that I were dead!" she murmured,

"Oh that I were dead, as thou art!

No more work, and no more weeping,

Wahonowin! Wahonowin!"

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,

By the shining Big-Sea-Water,

Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,

Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.

Dark behind it rose the forest,

Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,

Rose the firs with cones upon them;

Bright before it beat the water,

Beat the clear and sunny water,

Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

There the wrinkled old Nokomis

Nursed the little Hiawatha,

Rocked him in his linden cradle,

Bedded soft in moss and rushes,

Safely bound with reindeer sinews;

Stilled his fretful wail by saying,

"Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"

Lulled him into slumber, singing,

"Ewa-yea! my little owlet!

Who is this, that lights the wigwam?

With his great eyes lights the wigwam?

Ewa-yea! my little owlet!"

Many things Nokomis taught him

Of the stars that shine in heaven;

Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet,

Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses;

Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits,

Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs,

Flaring far away to northward

In the frosty nights of Winter;

Showed the broad white road in heaven,

Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,

Running straight across the heavens,

Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.

At the door on summer evenings

Sat the little Hiawatha;

Heard the whispering of the pine-trees,

Heard the lapping of the waters,

Sounds of music, words of wonder;

"Minne-wawa!" said the Pine-trees,

"Mudway-aushka!" said the water.

Saw the fire-fly, Wah-wah-taysee,

Flitting through the dusk of evening,

With the twinkle of its candle

Lighting up the brakes and bushes,

And he sang the song of children,

Sang the song Nokomis taught him:

"Wah-wah-taysee, little fire-fly,

Little, flitting, white-fire insect,

Little, dancing, white-fire creature,

Light me with your little candle,

Ere upon my bed I lay me,

Ere in sleep I close my eyelids!"

Saw the moon rise from the water

Rippling, rounding from the water,

Saw the flecks and shadows on it,

Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?"

And the good Nokomis answered:

"Once a warrior, very angry,

Seized his grandmother, and threw her

Up into the sky at midnight;

Right against the moon he threw her;

'Tis her body that you see there."

Saw the rainbow in the heaven,

In the eastern sky, the rainbow,

Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?"

And the good Nokomis answered:

" 'Tis the heaven of flowers you see there;

All the wild-flowers of the forest,

All the lilies of the prairie,

When on earth they fade and perish,

Blossom in that heaven above us."

When he heard the owls at midnight,

Hooting, laughing in the forest,

"What is that?" he cried in terror,

"What is that," he said, "Nokomis?"

And the good Nokomis answered:

"That is but the owl and owlet,

Talking in their native language,

Talking, scolding at each other."

Then the little Hiawatha

Learned of every bird its language,

Learned their names and all their secrets,

How they built their nests in Summer,

Where they hid themselves in Winter,

Talked with them whene'er he met them,

Called them "Hiawatha's Chickens."

Of all beasts he learned the language,

Learned their names and all their secrets,

How the beavers built their lodges,

Where the squirrels hid their acorns,

How the reindeer ran so swiftly,

Why the rabbit was so timid,

Talked with them whene'er he met them,

Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers."

Then Iagoo, the great boaster,

He the marvellous story-teller,

He the traveller and the talker,

He the friend of old Nokomis,

Made a bow for Hiawatha;

From a branch of ash he made it,

From an oak-bough made the arrows,

Tipped with flint, and winged with feathers,

And the cord he made of deer-skin.

Then he said to Hiawatha:

"Go, my son, into the forest,

Where the red deer herd together,

Kill for us a famous roebuck,

Kill for us a deer with antlers!"

Forth into the forest straightway

All alone walked Hiawatha

Proudly, with his bow and arrows;

And the birds sang round him, o'er him,

"Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!"

Sang the robin, the Opechee,

Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa,

"Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!"

Up the oak-tree, close beside him,

Sprang the squirrel, Adjidaumo,

In and out among the branches,

Coughed and chattered from the oak-tree,

Laughed, and said between his laughing,

"Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!"

And the rabbit from his pathway

Leaped aside, and at a distance

Sat erect upon his haunches,

Half in fear and half in frolic,

Saying to the little hunter,

"Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!"

But he heeded not, nor heard them,

For his thoughts were with the red deer;

On their tracks his eyes were fastened,

Leading downward to the river,

To the ford across the river,

And as one in slumber walked he.

Hidden in the alder-bushes,

There he waited till the deer came,

Till he saw two antlers lifted,

Saw two eyes look from the thicket,

Saw two nostrils point to windward,

And a deer came down the pathway,

Flecked with leafy light and shadow.

And his heart within him fluttered,

Trembled like the leaves above him,

Like the birch-leaf palpitated,

As the deer came down the pathway.

Then, upon one knee uprising,

Hiawatha aimed an arrow;

Scarce a twig moved with his motion,

Scarce a leaf was stirred or rustled,

But the wary roebuck started,

Stamped with all his hoofs together,

Listened with one foot uplifted,

Leaped as if to meet the arrow;

Ah! the singing, fatal arrow,

Like a wasp it buzzed and stung him!

Dead he lay there in the forest,

By the ford across the river;

Beat his timid heart no longer,

But the heart of Hiawatha

Throbbed and shouted and exulted,

As he bore the red deer homeward,

And Iagoo and Nokomis

Hailed his coming with applauses.

From the red deer's hide Nokomis

Made a cloak for Hiawatha,

From the red deer's flesh Nokomis

Made a banquet to his honor.

All the village came and feasted,

All the guests praised Hiawatha,

Called him Strong-Heart, Soan-ge-taha!

Called him Loon-Heart, Mahn-go-taysee!

 


  WEEK 31  

  Saturday  


The Irish Twins  by Lucy Fitch Perkins

How They Sold the Pig

Although they had come so far, they were among the earliest at the Fair. People were hurrying to and fro, carrying all sorts of goods and arranging them for sale on counters in little stalls, around an open square in the center of the grounds.

Cattle were being driven to their pens, horses were being brushed and curried, sheep were bleating, cows were lowing, and even the hens and ducks added their noise to the concert. Diddy herself squealed with all her might.

Larry and Eileen had never seen so many people together before in all their lives.

They had to think very hard about the Secret in order not to forget everything but the beautiful things they saw in the different stalls.

There were vegetables and meats, and butter and eggs. There were hats and caps. There were crochet-work, and bed-quilts, and shawls with bright borders, spread out for people to see.

There were hawkers going about with trays of things to eat, pies and sweets, toffee and sugar-sticks. This made the Twins remember that they were dreadfully hungry after their long walk, but they did n't have anything to eat until quite a while after that, because they had so much else to do. They followed their Father to the corner where the pigs were. A man came to tell them where to put Diddy.

"You can talk with these two farmers," said Mr. McQueen. He brought the Twins forward. "It 's their pig."

Then Larry and Eileen told the man about finding Diddy in the bog, and that their Father had said they could have her for their own, and so they had come to the Fair to sell her.

"And whatever will you do with all the money?" asked the man.

The Twins almost  told! The Secret was right on the tip end of their tongues, but they clapped their hands over their mouths quickly, so it did n't get out.

The man laughed. "Anyway, it 's a fine pig, and you 've a right to get a good price for her," he said. And he gave them the very best pen of all for Diddy.

When she was safely in the pen, Eileen and Larry tied the red ribbon, which Eileen had brought in her pocket, to Diddy's ear and another to her tail. Diddy looked very gay.


[Illustration]

When the Twins had had a bite to eat, they stood up before Diddy's pen, where the man told them to, and Diddy stood up on her hind legs with her front feet on the rail, and squealed. Larry and Eileen fed her with turnip-tops.

There were a great many people in the Fairgrounds by that time. They were laughing and talking, and looking at the things in the different booths. Every single one of them stopped to look at Diddy and the Twins, because the Twins were the very youngest farmers in the whole Fair.

Everybody was interested, but nobody offered to buy, and the Twins were getting discouraged when along came some farmers with ribbons in their hands. They were the Judges!

The Twins almost held their breath while the Judges looked Diddy over. Then the head man said, "That 's a very fine pig, and young. She is a thoroughbred. Wherever did you get her, Mr. McQueen?"

Mr. McQueen just said, "Ask them!" pointing to the Twins.

The Twins were very much scared to be talking to the Judges, but they told about the Tinkers and how they found Diddy in the bog, and the Judges nodded their heads and looked very wise, and finally the chief one said, "Faith, there 's not her equal in the whole Fair! She gets the blue ribbon, or I 'm no Judge."

All the other men said the same. Then they gave the blue ribbon to the Twins, and Eileen tied it on Diddy's other ear! Diddy did not seem to like being dressed up. She wiggled her ears and squealed.

Just then there was the gay sound of a horn. Tara, tara, tara!  it sang, and right into the middle of the Fairground drove a great tally-ho coach, with pretty young ladies and fine young gentlemen riding on top of it.

Everybody turned away from Diddy and the Twins to see this grand sight!

The footman jumped down and helped down the ladies, while the driver, in livery, stood beside the horses' heads with his hand on their bridles.

Then all the young gentlemen and ladies went about the Fair to see the sights.

" 'T is a grand party from the Castle," said Mr. McQueen to the Twins. "And sure, that 's the Earl's daughter, the Lady Kathleen herself, with the pink roses on her hat! I haven't seen a sight of her since she was a slip of a girl, the size of yourselves."

Lady Kathleen and her party came by just at that moment, and when she saw Diddy with her ribbons and the Twins beside her, the Lady Kathleen stopped.

The Twins could hardly take their eyes off her sweet face and her pretty dress, and the flowered hat, but she asked them all sorts of questions, and finally they found themselves telling her the story of how they found the pig.

"And what is your pig's name?" said Lady Kathleen.

"Sure, ma'am, it 's Deirdre, but we call her Diddy for short," Eileen answered.

All the young gentlemen and ladies laughed. The Twins did n't like to be laughed at—they were almost ready to cry.

"And why did you call her Deirdre?" asked Lady Kathleen.

"It was because of finding her in the bog all alone with herself, the same as Deirdre when she was a baby and found by the high King of Emain," Eileen explained.

"A very good reason, and it 's the finest story in Ireland," said Lady Kathleen. "I 'm glad you know it so well, and she is such a fine pig that I 'm going to buy her from you myself."

All the young ladies seemed to think this very funny, indeed. But Lady Kathleen did n't laugh. She called one of the footmen. He came running. "Do you see that this pig is sent to the Castle when the Fair is over," she said.

"I will, your Ladyship," said the footman.

Then Lady Kathleen took out her purse. "What is the price of your pig?" she said to the Twins.

They did n't know what to say, but the Judge, who was standing near, said, "She is a high-bred pig, your Ladyship, and worth all of three pounds."

"Three pounds it is, then," said the Lady Kathleen. She opened her purse and took out three golden sovereigns.

She gave them to the Twins and then almost before they found breath to say, "Thank you, ma'am," she and her gay company had gone on to another part of the Fair. The Judge made a mark on Diddy's back to show that she had been sold.


[Illustration]

The Twins gave the three golden sovereigns to their Father to carry for them, and he put them in the most inside pocket he had, for safe keeping! Then while he stayed to sell his butter and eggs, and to do his buying, the Twins started out to see the Fair by themselves.

 



Robert Browning

Pippa's Song

The year's at the spring

And day's at the morn;

Morning's at seven;

The hillside's dew-pearled;

The lark's on the wing;

The snail's on the thorn;

God's in His heaven—

All's right with the world!

 


  WEEK 31  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan

Numbers xiii: 1, to xiv: 45.

dropcap image HE Israelites stayed in their camp before Mount Sinai almost a year, while they were building the Tabernacle and learning God's laws given through Moses. At last the cloud over the Tabernacle rose up; and the people knew that this was the sign for them to move. They took down the Tabernacle and their own tents, and journeyed northward toward the land of Canaan for many days led by the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.

At last they came to a place just on the border between the desert and Canaan, called Kadesh, or Kadesh-barnea. Here they stopped to rest, for there were many springs of water and some grass for their cattle. While they were waiting at Kadesh-barnea, and were expecting soon to march into the land which was to be their home, God told Moses to send onward some men who should walk through the land, and look at it, and then come back and tell what they had found; what kind of a land it was, and what fruits and crops grew in it, and what people were living in it. The Israelites could more easily win the land, if these men after walking through it could act as their guides, and point out the best places in it and the best plans of making war upon it. There was need of wise and bold men for such a work as this, for it was full of danger.

So Moses chose out some men of high rank among the people, one ruler from each tribe, twelve men in all. One of these was Joshua, who was the helper of Moses in caring for the people, and another was Caleb, who belonged to the tribe of Judah. These twelve men went out, and walked over the mountains of Canaan, and looked at the cities, and saw the fields. In one place, just before they came back to the camp, they cut down a cluster of ripe grapes which was so large that two men carried it between them, hanging from a staff. They named the place where they found this bunch of grapes Eshcol, a word which means "a cluster." These twelve men were called "spies," because they went "to spy out the land." After forty days they came back to the camp; and this was what they said:

"We walked all over the land, and found it a rich land. There is grass for all our flocks, and fields where we can raise grain, and trees bearing fruits, and streams running down the sides of the hills. But we found that the people who live there are very strong, and are men of war. They have cities with walls that reach almost up to the sky; and some of the men are giants, so tall that we felt that we were like grasshoppers beside them."


[Illustration]

The two young men carried a cluster of grapes between them.

One of the spies, who was Caleb, said, "All that is true, yet we need not be afraid to go up and take the land. It is a good land, well worth fighting for. God is on our side, and he will help us to overcome those people."

But all the other spies, except Joshua, said, "No; there is no use in trying to make war upon such strong people. We can never take those walled cities, and we dare not fight those tall giants."

And the people, who had journeyed all the way through the wilderness to find this very land, were so frightened by the words of the ten spies, that now on the very border of Canaan they dared not enter it. They forgot that God had led them out of Egypt, that he had kept them in the dangers of the desert, that he had given them water out of the rock, and bread from the sky, and his law from the mountain.

All that night, after the spies brought back their report, the people were so filled with fear that they could not sleep. They cried out against Moses, and blamed him for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. They forgot all their troubles in Egypt, their toil and their slavery; and they resolved to go back to that land. They said, "Let us choose a ruler in place of Moses, who has brought us into all these evils, and let us turn back to the land of Egypt!"

But Caleb and Joshua, two of the spies, said, "Why should we fear? The land of Canaan is a good land; it is rich with milk and honey. If God is our friend and is with us, we can easily conquer the people who live there. Above all things, let us not rebel against the Lord or disobey him and make him our enemy."

But the people were so angry with Caleb and Joshua that they were ready to stone them and kill them. Then suddenly the people saw a strange sight. The glory of the Lord, which stayed in the Holy of Holies, the inner room of the Tabernacle, now flashed out and shone from the door of the Tabernacle in the faces of the people.

And the Lord out of this glory spoke to Moses, and said:

"How long will this people disobey me and despise me? They shall not go into the good land that I have promised them. Not one of them shall enter in except Caleb and Joshua, who have been faithful to me. All of the people who are twenty years old and over it, shall die in the desert; but their little children shall grow up in the wilderness, and when they become men they shall enter in and own the land that I promised to their fathers. You people are not worthy of the land that I have been keeping for you. Now turn back into the desert, and stay there until you die. After you are dead, Joshua shall lead your children into the land of Canaan. And because Caleb showed another spirit, and was true to me, and followed my will fully, Caleb shall live to go into the land, and shall have his choice of a home there. To-morrow, turn back into the desert by the way of the Red Sea."

And God told Moses that for every day that the spies had spent in Canaan, looking at the land, the people should spend a year in the wilderness; so that they should live in the desert forty years, instead of going at once into the promised land.

When Moses told all God's words to the people, they felt worse than before. They changed their minds as suddenly as they had made up their minds. "No," they all said; "we will not go back to the wilderness. We will go straight into the land, and see if we are able to take it, as Joshua and Caleb have said."

"You must not go into the land," said Moses, "for you are not fit to go; and God will not go with you. You must turn back into the desert, as the Lord has commanded."

But the people would not obey. They rushed up the mountain, and tried to march at once into the land. But they were without leaders and without order, a mob of men untrained and in confusion. And the people in that part of the land, the Canaanites and Amorites, came down upon them and killed many of them, and drove them away. Then, discouraged and beaten, they obeyed the Lord and Moses, and went once more into the desert.

And in the desert of Paran, on the south of the land of Canaan, the children of Israel stayed nearly forty years; and all because they would not trust in the Lord.

It was not strange that the Israelites should act like children, eager to go back one day, and then eager to go forward the next day. Through four hundred years they had been weakened by living in the hot land of Egypt; and their hard lot as slaves had made them unfit to care for themselves. They were still in heart slavish and weak. Moses saw that they needed the free life of the wilderness; and that their children, growing up as free men and trained for war, would be better fitted to win the land of promise than they had shown themselves to be. So they went back into the wilderness to wait and to be trained for the work of winning their land in war.

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

Mother Hen

A white hen sitting

On white eggs three:

Next, three speckled chickens

As plump as plump can be.


An owl, and a hawk,

And a bat come to see:

But chicks beneath their mother's wing

Squat safe as safe can be.