WEEK 39 |
THE soldier with the green whiskers led them through the streets of the Emerald City until they reached the room where the Guardian of the Gates lived. This officer unlocked their spectacles to put them back in his great box, and then he politely opened the gate for our friends.
"Which road leads to the Wicked Witch of the West?" asked Dorothy.
"There is no road," answered the Guardian of the Gates; "no one ever wishes to go that way."
"How, then, are we to find her?" enquired the girl.
"That will be easy," replied the man; "for when she knows you are in the Country of the Winkies she will find you, and make you all her slaves."
"Perhaps not," said the Scarecrow, "for we mean to destroy her."
"Oh, that is different," said the Guardian of the Gates. "No one has ever destroyed her before, so I naturally thought she would make slaves of you, as she has of all the rest. But take care; for she is wicked and fierce, and may not allow you to destroy her. Keep to the West, where the sun sets, and you cannot fail to find her."
They thanked him and bade him good-bye, and turned toward the West, walking over fields of soft grass dotted here and there with daisies and buttercups. Dorothy still wore the pretty silk dress she had put on in the palace, but now, to her surprise, she found it was no longer green, but pure white. The ribbon around Toto's neck had also lost its green color and was as white as Dorothy's dress.
The Emerald City was soon left far behind. As they advanced the ground became rougher and hillier, for there were no farms nor houses in this country of the West, and the ground was untilled.
In the afternoon the sun shone hot in their faces, for there were no trees to offer them shade; so that before night Dorothy and Toto and the Lion were tired, and lay down upon the grass and fell asleep, with the Woodman and the Scarecrow keeping watch.
Now the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere. So, as she sat in the door of her castle, she happened to look around and saw Dorothy lying asleep, with her friends all about her. They were a long distance off, but the Wicked Witch was angry to find them in her country; so she blew upon a silver whistle that hung around her neck.
At once there came running to her from all directions a pack of great wolves. They had long legs and fierce eyes and sharp teeth.
"Go to those people," said the Witch, "and tear them to pieces."
"Are you not going to make them your slaves?" asked the leader of the wolves.
"No," she answered, "one is of tin, and one of straw; one is a girl and another a Lion. None of them is fit to work, so you may tear them into small pieces."
"Very well," said the wolf, and he dashed away at full speed, followed by the others.
It was lucky the Scarecrow and the Woodman were wide awake and heard the wolves coming.
"This is my fight," said the Woodman; "so get behind me and I will meet them as they come."
He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf's head from its body, so that it immediately died. As soon as he could raise his axe another wolf came up, and he also fell under the sharp edge of the Tin Woodman's weapon. There were forty wolves, and forty times a wolf was killed; so that at last they all lay dead in a heap before the Woodman.
Then he put down his axe and sat beside the Scarecrow, who said,
"It was a good fight, friend."
They waited until Dorothy awoke the next morning. The little girl was quite frightened when she saw the great pile of shaggy wolves, but the Tin Woodman told her all. She thanked him for saving them and sat down to breakfast, after which they started again upon their journey.
Now this same morning the Wicked Witch came to the door of her castle and looked out with her one eye that could see afar off. She saw all her wolves lying dead, and the strangers still travelling through her country. This made her angrier than before, and she blew her silver whistle twice.
Straightway a great flock of wild crows came flying toward her, enough to darken the sky. And the Wicked Witch said to the King Crow,
"Fly at once to the strangers; peck out their eyes and tear them to pieces."
The wild crows flew in one great flock toward Dorothy and her companions. When the little girl saw them coming she was afraid. But the Scarecrow said,
"This is my battle; so lie down beside me and you will not be harmed."
So they all lay upon the ground except the Scarecrow, and he stood up and stretched out his arms. And when the crows saw him they were frightened, as these birds always are by scarecrows, and did not dare to come any nearer. But the King Crow said,
"It is only a stuffed man. I will peck his eyes out."
The King Crow flew at the Scarecrow, who caught it by the head and twisted its neck until it died. And then another crow flew at him, and the Scarecrow twisted its neck also. There were forty crows, and forty times the Scarecrow twisted a neck, until at last all were lying dead beside him. Then he called to his companions to rise, and again they went upon their journey.
When the Wicked Witch looked out again and saw all her crows lying in a heap, she got into a terrible rage, and blew three times upon her silver whistle.
Forthwith there was heard a great buzzing in the air, and a swarm of black bees came flying towards her. "Go to the strangers and sting them to death!" commanded the Witch, and the bees turned and flew rapidly until they came to where Dorothy and her friends were walking. But the Woodman had seen them coming and the Scarecrow had decided what to do.
"Take out my straw and scatter it over the little girl and the dog and the lion," he said to the Woodman, "and the bees cannot sting them." This the Woodman did, and as Dorothy lay close beside the Lion and held Toto in her arms, the straw covered them entirely.
The bees came and found no one but the Woodman to sting, so they flew at him and broke off all their stings against the tin, without hurting the Woodman at all. And as bees cannot live when their stings are broken that was the end of the black bees, and they lay scattered thick about the Woodman, like little heaps of fine coal.
Then Dorothy and the Lion got up, and the girl helped the Tin Woodman put the straw back into the Scarecrow again, until he was as good as ever. So they started upon their journey once more.
The Wicked Witch was so angry when she saw her black bees in little heaps like fine coal that she stamped her foot and tore her hair and gnashed her teeth. And then she called a dozen of her slaves, who were the Winkies, and gave them sharp spears, telling them to go to the strangers and destroy them.
The Winkies were not a brave people, but they had to do as they were told; so they marched away until they came near to Dorothy. Then the Lion gave a great roar and sprang toward them, and the poor Winkies were so frightened that they ran back as fast as they could.
When they returned to the castle the Wicked Witch beat them well with a strap, and sent them back to their work, after which she sat down to think what she should do next. She could not understand how all her plans to destroy these strangers had failed; but she was a powerful Witch, as well as a wicked one, and she soon made up her mind how to act.
There was, in her cupboard, a Golden Cap, with a circle of diamonds and rubies running round it. This Golden Cap had a charm. Whoever owned it could call three times upon the Winged Monkeys, who would obey any order they were given. But no person could command these strange creatures more than three times. Twice already the Wicked Witch had used the charm of the Cap. Once was when she had made the Winkies her slaves, and set herself to rule over their country. The Winged Monkeys had helped her do this. The second time was when she had fought against the Great Oz himself, and driven him out of the land of the West. The Winged Monkeys had also helped her in doing this. Only once more could she use this Golden Cap, for which reason she did not like to do so until all her other powers were exhausted. But now that her fierce wolves and her wild crows and her stinging bees were gone, and her slaves had been scared away by the Cowardly Lion, she saw there was only one way left to destroy Dorothy and her friends.
So the Wicked Witch took the Golden Cap from her cupboard and placed it upon her head.
Then she stood upon her left foot and said, slowly, "Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!"
Next she stood upon her right foot and said, "Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo!"
After this she stood upon both feet and cried in a loud voice, "Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!"
Now the charm began to work. The sky was darkened, and a low rumbling sound was heard in the air. There was a rushing of many wings; a great chattering and laughing; and the sun came out of the dark sky to show the Wicked Witch surrounded by a crowd of monkeys, each with a pair of immense and powerful wings on his shoulders.
One, much bigger than the others, seemed to be their leader. He flew close to the Witch and said,
"You have called us for the third and last time. What do you command?"
"Go to the strangers who are within my land and destroy them all except the Lion," said the Wicked Witch. "Bring that beast to me, for I have a mind to harness him like a horse, and make him work."
"Your commands shall be obeyed," said the leader; and then, with a great deal of chattering and noise, the Winged Monkeys flew away to the place where Dorothy and her friends were walking.
Some of the Monkeys seized the Tin Woodman and carried him through the air until they were over a country thickly covered with sharp rocks. Here they dropped the poor Woodman, who fell a great distance to the rocks, where he lay so battered and dented that he could neither move nor groan.
Others of the Monkeys caught the Scarecrow, and with their long fingers pulled all of the straw out of his clothes and head. They made his hat and boots and clothes into a small bundle and threw it into the top branches of a tall tree.
The remaining Monkeys threw pieces of stout rope around the Lion and wound many coils about his body and head and legs, until he was unable to bite or scratch or struggle in any way. Then they lifted him up and flew away with him to the Witch's castle, where he was placed in a small yard with a high iron fence around it, so that he could not escape.
But Dorothy they did not harm at all. She stood, with Toto in her arms, watching the sad fate of her comrades and thinking it would soon be her turn. The leader of the Winged Monkeys flew up to her, his long, hairy arms stretched out and his ugly face grinning terribly; but he saw the mark of the Good Witch's kiss upon her forehead and stopped short, motioning the others not to touch her.
[Illustration: "_The Monkeys wound many coils about his body._"]
"We dare not harm this little girl," he said to them, "for she is protected by the Power of Good, and that is greater than the Power of Evil. All we can do is to carry her to the castle of the Wicked Witch and leave her there."
So, carefully and gently, they lifted Dorothy in their arms and carried her swiftly through the air until they came to the castle, where they set her down upon the front door step. Then the leader said to the Witch,
"We have obeyed you as far as we were able. The Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow are destroyed, and the Lion is tied up in your yard. The little girl we dare not harm, nor the dog she carries in her arms. Your power over our band is now ended, and you will never see us again."
Then all the Winged Monkeys, with much laughing and chattering and noise, flew into the air and were soon out of sight.
The Wicked Witch was both surprised and worried when she saw the mark on Dorothy's forehead, for she knew well that neither the Winged Monkeys nor she, herself, dare hurt the girl in any way. She looked down at Dorothy's feet, and seeing the Silver Shoes, began to tremble with fear, for she knew what a powerful charm belonged to them. At first the Witch was tempted to run away from Dorothy; but she happened to look into the child's eyes and saw how simple the soul behind them was, and that the little girl did not know of the wonderful power the Silver Shoes gave her. So the Wicked Witch laughed to herself, and thought, "I can still make her my slave, for she does not know how to use her power." Then she said to Dorothy, harshly and severely,
"Come with me; and see that you mind everything I tell you, for if you do not I will make an end of you, as I did of the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow."
Dorothy followed her through many of the beautiful rooms in her castle until they came to the kitchen, where the Witch bade her clean the pots and kettles and sweep the floor and keep the fire fed with wood.
Dorothy went to work meekly, with her mind made up to work as hard as she could; for she was glad the Wicked Witch had decided not to kill her.
With Dorothy hard at work the Witch thought she would go into the court-yard and harness the Cowardly Lion like a horse; it would amuse her, she was sure, to make him draw her chariot whenever she wished to go to drive. But as she opened the gate the Lion gave a loud roar and bounded at her so fiercely that the Witch was afraid, and ran out and shut the gate again.
"If I cannot harness you," said the Witch to the Lion, speaking through the bars of the gate, "I can starve you. You shall have nothing to eat until you do as I wish."
So after that she took no food to the imprisoned Lion; but every day she came to the gate at noon and asked,
"Are you ready to be harnessed like a horse?"
And the Lion would answer,
"No. If you come in this yard I will bite you."
The reason the Lion did not have to do as the Witch wished was that every night, while the woman was asleep Dorothy carried him food from the cupboard. After he had eaten he would lie down on his bed of straw, and Dorothy would lie beside him and put her head on his soft, shaggy mane, while they talked of their troubles and tried to plan some way to escape. But they could find no way to get out of the castle, for it was constantly guarded by the yellow Winkies, who were the slaves of the Wicked Witch and too afraid of her not to do as she told them.
The girl had to work hard during the day, and often the Witch threatened to beat her with the same old umbrella she always carried in her hand. But, in truth, she did not dare to strike Dorothy, because of the mark upon her forehead. The child did not know this, and was full of fear for herself and Toto. Once the Witch struck Toto a blow with her umbrella and the brave little dog flew at her and bit her leg, in return. The Witch did not bleed where she was bitten, for she was so wicked that the blood in her had dried up many years before.
Dorothy's life became very sad as she grew to understand that it would be harder than ever to get back to Kansas and Aunt Em again. Sometimes she would cry bitterly for hours, with Toto sitting at her feet and looking into her face, whining dismally to show how sorry he was for his little mistress. Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him; but he knew the little girl was unhappy, and that made him unhappy too.
Now the Wicked Witch had a great longing to have for her own the Silver Shoes which the girl always wore. Her Bees and her Crows and her Wolves were lying in heaps and drying up, and she had used up all the power of the Golden Cap; but if she could only get hold of the Silver Shoes they would give her more power than all the other things she had lost. She watched Dorothy carefully, to see if she ever took off her shoes, thinking she might steal them. But the child was so proud of her pretty shoes that she never took them off except at night and when she took her bath. The Witch was too much afraid of the dark to dare go in Dorothy's room at night to take the shoes, and her dread of water was greater than her fear of the dark, so she never came near when Dorothy was bathing. Indeed, the old Witch never touched water, nor ever let water touch her in any way.
But the wicked creature was very cunning, and she finally thought of a trick that would give her what she wanted. She placed a bar of iron in the middle of the kitchen floor, and then by her magic arts made the iron invisible to human eyes. So that when Dorothy walked across the floor she stumbled over the bar, not being able to see it, and fell at full length. She was not much hurt, but in her fall one of the Silver Shoes came off, and before she could reach it the Witch had snatched it away and put it on her own skinny foot.
The wicked woman was greatly pleased with the success of her trick, for as long as she had one of the shoes she owned half the power of their charm, and Dorothy could not use it against her, even had she known how to do so.
The little girl, seeing she had lost one of her pretty shoes, grew angry, and said to the Witch,
"Give me back my shoe!"
"I will not," retorted the Witch, "for it is now my shoe, and not yours."
"You are a wicked creature!" cried Dorothy. "You have no right to take my shoe from me."
"I shall keep it, just the same," said the Witch, laughing at her, "and some day I shall get the other one from you, too."
This made Dorothy so very angry that she picked up the bucket of water that stood near and dashed it over the Witch, wetting her from head to foot.
Instantly the wicked woman gave a loud cry of fear; and then, as Dorothy looked at her in wonder, the Witch began to shrink and fall away.
"See what you have done!" she screamed. "In a minute I shall melt away."
"I'm very sorry, indeed," said Dorothy, who was truly frightened to see the Witch actually melting away like brown sugar before her very eyes.
"Didn't you know water would be the end of me?" asked the Witch, in a wailing, despairing voice.
"Of course not," answered Dorothy; "how should I?"
"Well, in a few minutes I shall be all melted, and you will have the castle to yourself. I have been wicked in my day, but I never thought a little girl like you would ever be able to melt me and end my wicked deeds. Look out—here I go!"
With these words the Witch fell down in a brown, melted, shapeless mass and began to spread over the clean boards of the kitchen floor. Seeing that she had really melted away to nothing, Dorothy drew another bucket of water and threw it over the mess. She then swept it all out the door. After picking out the silver shoe, which was all that was left of the old woman, she cleaned and dried it with a cloth, and put it on her foot again. Then, being at last free to do as she chose, she ran out to the court-yard to tell the Lion that the Wicked Witch of the West had come to an end, and that they were no longer prisoners in a strange land.
I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And, oh! it was all laden
With pretty things for thee!
There were comfits in the cabin,
And apples in the hold;
The sails were made of silk,
And the masts were made of gold.
The four-and-twenty sailors
That stood between the decks
Were four-and-twenty white mice,
With chains about their necks.
The captain was a duck,
With a packet on his back;
And when the ship began to move,
The captain said, "Quack! quack!"
WEEK 39 |
ANY years ago a strange-looking man was sometimes seen in the streets
of New York. His cap was made of India rubber. So was his coat. He
wore a rubber waistcoat. Even his cravat was of India rubber. He
wore rubber shoes in dry weather. People called this man "The
His name was Charles Goodyear. He was very poor. He was trying to find out how to make India rubber useful.
India rubber trees grow in South America. The juice of these trees is something like milk or cream. By drying this juice, India rubber is made.
The Indians in Brazil have no glass to make bottles with. A long time ago they learned to make bottles out of rubber. More than a hundred years ago some of these rubber bottles were brought to this country. The people in this country had never seen India rubber before. They thought the bottles made out of it by the Indians very curious.
In this country, rubber was used only to rub out pencil marks. That is why we call it rubber. People in South America learned to make a kind of heavy shoe out of it. But these shoes were hard to make. They cost a great deal when they were sold in this country.
Men tried to make rubber shoes in this country. They got the rubber from Brazil. Rubber shoes made in this country were cheaper than those brought from South America. But they were not good. They would freeze till they were as hard as stones in winter. That was not the worst of it. In summer they would melt.
Goodyear was trying to find out a way to make rubber better. He wanted to get it so that it would not melt in summer. He wanted to get a rubber that would not get hard in cold weather. The first rubber coats that were made were so hard in cold weather, that they would stand alone, and look like a man.
Goodyear wanted to try his rubber. That is why he wore a rubber coat
and a rubber waistcoat and a rubber cravat. That is why he wore a
rubber cap and rubber shoes when it was not raining. He made paper out
of rubber, and wrote a book on it. He had a
He was very poor. Sometimes he had to borrow money to buy rubber with. Sometimes his friends gave him money to keep his family from starving. Sometimes there was no wood and no coal in the house in cold weather.
But Goodyear kept on trying. He thought that he was just going to find out. Years went by, and still he kept on trying.
One day he was mixing some rubber with sulphur. It slipped out of his hand. It fell on the hot stove. But it did not melt. Goodyear was happy at last. That night it was cold. Goodyear took the burned piece of rubber out of doors, and nailed it to the kitchen door. When morning came, he went and got it. It had not frozen.
He was now sure that he was on the right track. But he had to find out how to mix and heat his rubber and sulphur. He was too poor to buy rubber to try with. Nobody would lend him any more money. His family had to live by the help of his friends. He had already sold almost everything that he had. Now he had to sell his children's school-books to get money to buy rubber with.
At last his rubber goods were made and sold. Poor men who had to stand in the rain could now keep themselves dry. People could walk in the wet with dry feet. A great many people are alive who would have died if they had not been kept dry by India rubber.
You may count up, if you can, how many useful things are made of
rubber. We owe them all to one man. People laughed at Goodyear once.
But at last they praised him. To be "The
Sir Brian had a battleaxe with great big knobs on;
He went among the villagers and blipped them on the head.
On Wednesday and on Saturday, but mostly on the latter day,
He called at all the cottages, and this is what he said:
"I am Sir Brian!"
"I am Sir Brian!"
"I am Sir Brian, as bold as a
Take that!— and that— and that!"
Sir Brian had a pair of boots with great big spurs on,
A fighting pair of which he was particularly fond.
On Tuesday and on Friday, just to make the street look tidy,
He'd collect the passing villagers and kick them in the pond.
"I am Sir Brian!"
"I am Sir Brian!"
"I am Sir Brian, as bold as a
Is anyone else for a wash?"
Sir Brian woke one morning, and he couldn't find his battleaxe;
He walked into the village in his second pair of boots.
He had gone a hundred paces, when the street was full of faces,
And the villagers were round him with ironical salutes.
"You are Sir Brian? Indeed!
You are Sir Brian? Dear, dear!
You are Sir Brian, as bold as a lion?
Delighted to meet you here!"
Sir Brian went a journey, and he found a lot of duckweed;
They pulled him out and dried him, and they blipped him on the head.
They took him by the breeches, and they hurled him into ditches,
And they pushed him under waterfalls, and this is what they said:
"You are Sir Brian—don't laugh,
You are Sir Brian—don't cry;
You are Sir Brian, as bold as a
Sir Brian, the lion, good-bye!"
Sir Brian struggled home again, and chopped up his battleaxe,
Sir Brian took his fighting boots, and threw them in the fire.
He is quite a different person now he hasn't got his spurs on,
And he goes about the village as B. Botany, Esquire.
"I am Sir Brian? Oh, no!
I am Sir Brian? Who's he?
I haven't got any title, I'm
Plain Mr. Botany (B)."
WEEK 39 |
O NE day Kittie came upon something funny enough!
She found what she took to be a lot of round white seeds growing on the back of a leaf.
"I didn't know seeds grew that way," Jack
said, shaking his head over them. "Let's soak
them," said he. So they soaked a few, but
when they opened them they could find no
How Ko laughed when he found what they were doing!
"You precious—pair—of—ninnies!" he roared.
"Well, what ails you?" demanded Jack, indignantly.
"Oh, my goodness! soaking—eggs—to make them grow!" gasped Ko.
"Eggs, nothing of the sort!" retorted Jack.
But Ko was right, as time proved; for one day, out of these little seeds, as Jack and Kittie persisted in calling them, there came creeping the very funniest and tiniest of caterpillars.
"I told you so," said Ko.
"Seeds and eggs are the same thing, anyway," said Jack, coolly.
"Yes," Kittie hastened to add, "the very same thing, only little plants hatch out of seeds, and little animals out of eggs."
"There may be something in that," Ko admitted.
"You a seed-baby?" Jack demanded, very gently poking one of the little caterpillars that had already gone to work to eat the edge off the apple leaf upon which it had been hatched.
But if it was a seed-baby, it did not say so. It just rolled up into a ball and fell off the leaf on the ground.
"You've lost it!" screamed Kittie.
"It lost itself," protested Jack, "and anyway, I guess that kind of a seed-baby can take care of itself even if it is lost. They don't seem to have to be very old to do that."
The children were so anxious to keep their little caterpillars, that Kittie's mother gave them a piece of netting, which they tied over the branch where the caterpillars were, and so all summer the two boys and Kittie watched them grow.
Only Kittie's father said they must be sure that none of them escaped, for he didn't want his whole orchard eaten up by them.
"How they do eat," said Ko, as he removed them for the third time to fresh branches, because there were no leaves left on the old ones.
"Their skins are falling off!" Jack exclaimed, one day. And sure enough, it was true. They crawled out of their skins plumper and bigger than they were before.
"They got too big for their skins," said Kittie.
"It's a handy way to grow," Jack said. "You just fill up your old skin, then pop it open and creep out with a brand new and bigger one on you."
When they had changed their skins a number of times, and grown many times as large as they were at first, all the caterpillars spun soft cocoons and closed the doors behind them.
When winter came Kittie carried these little cocoons into the house, and towards spring out came, not the caterpillars, but in their place bright little millers.
"I must say," Jack remarked, "those were queer seeds you found, Kittie."
"And I must say," added Kittie, "that the butterflies take a roundabout way to get here."
"They're not butterflies," said Jack, "they're millers."
"It's about the same thing, smarty," Kittie retorted.
I once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world;
Her cheeks were so red and so white, dears,
And her hair was so charmingly curled;
But I lost my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
And I cried for her more than a week, dears,
But I never could find where she lay.
I found my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
Folks say she's terribly changed, dears,
For her paint is all washed away,
And her arm's trodden off by the cows, dears,
And her hair's not the least bit curled;
Yet for old sake's sake she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.
WEEK 39 |
T HERE was once a poor man whose wife died leaving him a daughter. The little girl's name was Lenka. She was a good little girl, cheerful and obedient and very industrious, and she did all she could to make her father comfortable.
After some time the man married again. His second wife also had a little girl just Lenka's age. Her name was Dorla. Dorla was a lazy, ill-natured child, always quarreling and bickering. Yet her mother thought Dorla was perfect and she was always praising her to her husband.
"See what a good child my Dorla is," she would say to him. "She works and spins and never says a cross word. Very different from your good-for-nothing Lenka who always breaks everything she touches and does nothing in return for all the good food she eats!"
She never stopped nagging and scolding her poor stepchild and complaining about her to her husband. Lenka was patient and went on quietly doing what was right, and she was always polite to her stepmother, and kind to her ill-natured stepsister.
She and Dorla used to go to spinning bees together. Dorla would play and waste her time and hardly fill one spindle. Lenka always worked industriously and usually filled two or three spools. Yet, when the two girls got home, the mother always took Dorla's half-filled spindle and said to the father: "See what beautiful yarn my Dorla spins!" She would hide Lenka's spools and say: "Your Lenka did nothing but play and waste her time!"
And before other people she talked the same way, pretending Dorla did everything that she didn't do and saying that good industrious Lenka was lazy and good-for-nothing.
One night when the two girls were walking home together from a spinning bee, they came to a ditch in the road. Dorla jumped quickly across and reached back her hand and said:
"My dear sister, let me hold your spindle. You may fall and hurt yourself."
Poor Lenka, suspecting nothing unkind, handed Dorla her full spindle. Dorla took it and ran home and then boasted to her mother and her stepfather how much she had spun.
"Lenka," she said, "has no yarn at all. She did nothing but play and waste her time."
"You see," said the woman to her husband. "This is what I'm always telling you but you never believe me. That Lenka of yours is a lazy, good-for-nothing girl who expects me and my poor daughter to do all the work. I'm not going to stand her in the house any longer. Tomorrow morning out she goes to make her own way in the world. Then perhaps she'll understand what a good home she's had with me!"
The poor man tried to defend Lenka but his wife would hear nothing. Lenka must go and that was all there was to it.
Early the next morning while it was still dark the woman started Lenka off. She gave her a sack that she said was full of good meal and smoked meat and bread. But instead of meal she put in ashes, instead of smoked meat straw, and instead of bread stones.
"Here is meal and smoked meat and bread for your journey," she said. "You will be a long time finding any one who will be as good to you as I have been! Now be off with you and never let me see you again! Let your father put you out in service if he can!"
The poor man put his ax on his shoulder and started off with Lenka. He had no place to take her and he hardly knew what to do. He led her off into the mountains, where he built her a little two-room hut. He was ashamed to tell her that he was going to leave her alone, so he said to her:
"You stay here, my dear child, while I go farther into the forest and cut you some firewood."
But instead of cutting her firewood, he hung his mallet on a beech tree and whenever the wind blew, the mallet made a knocking sound. All afternoon poor little Lenka hearing the knock-knock of the mallet thought to herself: "There is my dear father chopping wood for me!"
When evening came and he hadn't returned, Lenka went out to find him, but all she could find was the mallet going knock-knock on the tree. Then the poor girl realized that her father had deceived her but she forgave him, for she knew that it was her stepmother's fault.
She went back to the little hut to get her supper, but when she opened the sack her stepmother had given her, instead of meal and smoked meat and bread she found only ashes and straw and stones. Then indeed did Lenka feel deserted and sitting down she cried with loneliness and hunger.
While she was crying an old beggar with a long beard came into the hut.
"God grant you happiness, my child," he said.
"May He grant you the same, old father," Lenka said, standing up and bowing politely.
"Thank you, my child, thank you. And now will you be so kind as to wash my face and give me a bite of supper?"
"Indeed, old father, I'd gladly wash your face and give you food, but there's no water here and nothing to carry it in. And as for food, my stepmother filled the sack with ashes, straw, and stones."
"That's nothing, my child. Just go behind the hut and you will find a spring."
Lenka went and there, sure enough, was a clear bubbling spring and on the ground beside it a bucket. She filled the bucket and carried it back to the hut.
As she entered the door she could hardly believe her eyes, for on the wall she saw a row of shining plates, big plates and little plates, and cups, and everything else that ought to be in a kitchen. The old beggar had started a fire, so Lenka at once put on water to boil.
"Look in the sack," the beggar said.
Lenka untied the sack again and here it was full of fine meal and bread and smoked meat!
So now Lenka lost no time in preparing a good supper. Then she washed the old beggar's face and hands and together they ate. After supper Lenka spread out her ragged clothes on the floor of the inner room and put the beggar in there for the night. She herself stretched out on the kitchen bench. It was a hard bed but Lenka made no complaint and presently she fell asleep.
At midnight there was a knocking at the door and a voice called out:
"A man am I
Six inches high,
But a long, long beard
Hangs from my chin.
Open the door
And let me in!"
Lenka jumped down and opened the door and there before her stood a tiny dwarf with a long beard. He was Long Beard who lived in the mountains and of whom Lenka had often heard stories.
He came in dragging after him a heavy bag of golden ducats.
"I was that old beggar," he said, "whose face you washed and with whom you shared your supper. These ducats are to reward you for your kindness. Now go into your bedroom and lie down comfortably."
As he said this he vanished.
Lenka went into her bedroom and there, instead of her few rags on the floor, was a fine feather bed and coverlets and a painted chest full of clothes. Lenka lay down on the feather bed and instantly fell asleep.
On the third day her father came, supposing by that time Lenka had either died of hunger or been devoured by wild beasts. At least, he thought, he would gather together her bones.
But when he reached the hut he rubbed his eyes in surprise. Instead of the rough hut, there was a pretty little cottage and instead of a handful of bones there was a happy girl singing away at her spinning.
"My daughter, my daughter!" he cried. "How are you?"
"Very well, dear father. You couldn't have found a better place for me."
She told him how happy she was and how pleasantly she passed the time, spinning and singing and working. Then she took a table-cloth and filled it with golden ducats and gave it to him.
So he went away very happy, thanking God for the good fortune that had come to Lenka.
As he neared home, the old dog that lay at the door said to the stepmother:
"Bow-wow, mistress, here comes the master. It's chink-chink the money before him and chink-chink the money behind him!"
"Not so, old dog!" the stepmother cried. "It's rattle-rattle bones before him and rattle-rattle bones behind him!"
Now when the man came into the cottage, he said: "Wife, give me a basket and let me empty this table-cloth."
"What!" she cried. "Do you expect me to give you a basket for your daughter's bones?"
But he began to chink the golden ducats and she got a basket fast enough.
When she had all the ducats safely put away she said:
"Isn't it just like you to find a place like that for your Lenka! But what have you ever done for my poor Dorla? Tomorrow you will take her out into the world and find a good place for her!"
So she got ready for Dorla a fine new bed and stylish clothes and as much good food as she could carry. The next day the man took Dorla out into the mountains and built her a little hut of two rooms.
Dorla sat in the hut and thought about the good supper she was going to cook for herself.
In the evening the same old beggar came and said to her:
"May God grant you happiness, my child. Won't you please wash my face?"
"Wash your face, indeed!" cried Dorla in a rage. "This is what I'll do to you!" And she took a stick and drove the old beggar away.
"Very well!" he muttered. "Very well! Very well!"
Then Dorla cooked herself a fine supper. After she had eaten every bite of it herself, she lay down on the bed and went soundly to sleep.
At midnight Long Beard knocked at the door and called out:
"A man am I
Six inches high,
But a long, long beard
Hangs from my chin.
Open the door
And let me in!"
Then Dorla was very frightened and she hid in the corner. Long Beard broke open the door and he caught Dorla and he shook her out of her skin. It served her right, too, for she was a wicked, spiteful girl and she had never been kind to anybody in her life.
Long Beard left her bones in a heap on the floor, and he hung her skin on the nail at the back of the door. Then he put her grinning skull in the window.
On the third day Dorla's mother gave her husband a brand new table-cloth and said:
"Go now and see how my Dorla is getting on. Here is a table-cloth for the ducats."
So the man took the table-cloth and went to the mountains. As he came near the hut, he saw something in the window that looked like grinning teeth. He said to himself:
"Dorla must be very happy to be smiling at me from this distance."
But when he reached the hut all he found of Dorla was a heap of bones on the floor, the skin hanging on the nail behind the door, and the skull grinning in the window.
Without a word he gathered the bones into the table-cloth and started back.
As he neared home the old dog said:
"Bow-wow, mistress, here comes the master and it's rattle-rattle before him and rattle-rattle behind him."
"Not so, old dog!" cried the woman. "It's chink-chink before him, and chink-chink behind him!"
But the old dog kept on barking and saying:
"No, no, bow-wow, it's rattle-rattle before him and rattle-rattle behind him!"
In a rage the woman took a stick and beat the dog.
Then the man stepped into the cottage and at once his wife brought out a basket for the ducats. But when he shook out the table-cloth there was only the rattle-rattle of bones.
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh! I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
WEEK 39 |
"See the conquering hero comes,
Sound the trumpet, beat the drums."
—Nath. Lee, "Alexander the Great."
B EFORE starting forth on his great expedition, Alexander divided his royal forests and domains among his friends, as though he expected never to return.
"And what is left for yourself?" asked one of these friends.
"Hope," was the fine answer.
"Then," cried the friend, rejecting his portion of the land, "we who go forth to fight with you need share only in your hope."
Such was the enthusiasm with which Alexander left his country.
The Persian empire was very weak at this time, and governed by a feeble monarch. Two generations had passed away since Xenophon had led his famous Ten Thousand into the heart of the country. Alexander had no doubts as to his being able to conquer it. He soon reached the Hellespont, or, as we now call it, the Dardanelles, and steering with his own hands the flagship across the narrowest spot, where one hundred and forty-six years before, Xerxes had stretched his famous bridge of boats, he was the first to leap ashore. He had already hurled a spear into the soil from the prow of the ship, where, in full armour, he stood. While the mighty Greek army was crossing the narrow water, in the one hundred and sixty triremes hired for the purpose, Alexander was hurrying to Troy, to honour the memory of the heroes, who were buried there, to crown with a garland the gravestone of his forefather Achilles, and to sacrifice to Athena. This episode shows how imbued Alexander was with Greek traditions—indeed, it is said, he always carried with him a copy of Homer's works, so much did he admire the old blind poet of Greece.
Meanwhile the Persian troops were encamped on the farther bank of a little river, and it was necessary to fight in the gate of Asia, as it were, for an entrance. The day was far advanced when Alexander made up his mind to attack. His old general advised him to wait till morning broke to cross the river.
"I should be ashamed," cried the young king, "having crossed the Hellespont, to be detained by this paltry little stream. If I halt now, the Persians will take courage and flatter themselves they are a match for the Macedonians."
Sending on some of his cavalry to engage the enemy, Alexander, in his glittering armour, mounted his horse, called to his men to remember their valour, and while the trumpets blared, and the war-cry echoed far, he plunged into the stream. Showers of arrows fell on them as they struggled through the water, while the Persians hurled javelins down on them from the opposite banks. But at last they gained the muddy bank on the farther shore, and with spears attacked the foe. Alexander was in the thick of the fight, his large plume of white feathers making him ever a marked man; but he gained a splendid victory and escaped without a wound. Some of the Persian rugs and golden goblets—rich booty of his victory—he sent home to his mother; three hundred suits of armour were sent to Athens to be hung up in the Acropolis.
Alexander had now made his name. He was but twenty-two, blue-eyed and golden haired, with a clear white skin, and very beautiful to look on. But, better than all this, he was frank and generous; fear to him was unknown; he was loyal to his friends, and he was greatly beloved.
With the dust of battle still on him he led his army forwards. Ephesus soon fell into his hands, in gratitude for which, he helped to rebuild the great temple of Diana, which had been destroyed the day of his own birth. It was not long before the whole of Asia Minor had fallen into his hands. There is a story told of him, when he was at a place called Gordia, from which the saying "Gordian knot" has been taken. On the hill above the town, stood the royal palace of King Midas, where stood a famous chariot to which the yoke was fastened by the knotted bough of a cornel-tree. It was said that whoever could untie this knot, should be lord of Asia. To the delight of all, Alexander somehow managed to cut the knot and so fulfil the prophecy.
It was spring-time when he dashed down over some high mountains, to take possession of the town of Tarsus. After a long ride in the burning sun he bathed in the cool waters of a stream, which brought on a violent chill, and nearly ended his life. As soon as he was well enough, he dashed onwards, for he knew that a large Persian host was advancing against him. A magnificent host it was. In the centre of it was the king in a high and richly adorned chariot, wearing a purple mantle trimmed with precious stones. He was surrounded by a band of Immortals, in golden robes, carrying silver-handled lances. Following him, in covered chariots, were his mother, his wives and children, six hundred mules and three hundred camels with their luggage.
The Persians made sure of crushing Alexander this time. But it was not to be. Alexander gained another great victory; the Immortals gave way; the king sprang from his chariot, mounted a horse, and never rested till he was on the far side of the river Euphrates. He had left his old mother behind at the mercy of the victor.
Having conquered Asia Minor, Alexander proceeded to Phœnicia and took Tyre after a long siege. Then he went down into Egypt.
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.
Sing, a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
WEEK 39 |
At last a gong sounded from the big house.
The gong was the signal for the procession to start, and the moment they heard it, the people began pouring out of their cabins, and getting their animals together to drive toward the place where the blessing was to be.
Dona Teresa and Tita threw their rebozos over their heads, and Tonio put on his sombrero. Then Dona Teresa untied the turkey's legs and took him in her arms; and though his head was still tied in the cloth, he gobbled like everything.
Tita took the little white hen on one arm, and her kitten on the other, and Tonio led the donkey, with Jasmin following behind.
They were all ready to start, when Dona Teresa cried out, "Upon my soul! We nearly forgot the goat! Surely she's needing a blessing as much as the worst of them."
She hurried back to the fig tree and untied the goat with one hand, because she was still carrying the turkey with the other. When the goat felt herself free, she gave a great jump and nearly jerked the rope out of Dona Teresa's hand; then she went galloping toward the gate so fast that poor Dona Teresa was all out of breath keeping up with her.
"Bless my soul, but that goat goes gayly!" she panted, as she joined the Twins at the gate. "If I led her about much I should have no chance to get fat."
Already there were crowds of people and animals going by. It was a wonderful procession. There were horses and cows all gayly decorated with garlands and colored streamers. There were donkeys and pigs and guinea-fowls and cats and dogs and birds in cages, and so many other creatures that it looked very much like the procession of animals going into Noah's ark.
Dona Josefa, who lived in a hut near the river, was driving two ducks and two white geese,—only she had dyed the geese a bright purple,—and José's wife had painted stripes of red clear around her pig. She was having a dreadful time keeping the pig in the road, for all the little boys, and all the little dogs—and there were a great many of both—frisked and gamboled around the procession and got in the way, and made such a noise that it is no wonder the creatures were distracted and tried to run away.
It was not a very great distance to the large corrals back of the big house where the people were to meet, and as they drew near the grounds Tonio and Tita could see Pancho dashing about on Pinto after stray cows, and other cowboys rounding up the calves and putting them in a corral by themselves.
The bulls were already safely shut away in another inclosure, and all the open space around the corrals was filled with horses, and donkeys, and sheep, and goats, and dogs, and cats, and fowls of all kinds, all dressed in such gay colors and making such a medley of sounds that the Fourth of July, fire-crackers and all, would have seemed like Sunday afternoon beside the celebration of San Ramon's Day in Mexico.
Senor Fernandez, looking very grand in his black velvet suit and big sombrero, sat on his fine horse and watched the scene. Beside him, on their own horses, were Dona Paula, his wife, and pretty Carmen, their daughter.
The servants of the big house were grouped around them, and all the rest of the people passed back and forth among the animals, trying to make them keep still and behave themselves until the priest should appear.
It was not long before the priest came out of his house, with a small boy beside him carrying a basin of holy water.
Dona Teresa and all the people knelt on the ground when they saw him coming. The priest walked among them chanting a prayer and sprinkling drops of holy water over the animals and over the people too. Of course the people behaved very well, but I am sorry to have to tell you that when he felt the drops of water fall on the rag that his head was tied up in, the turkey gobbled just exactly as if it were Tita—or Dona Teresa—instead of the priest!
And the cat stuck up her tail and arched her back, in a most impolite way. Perhaps that was not to be wondered at, because we all know that cats can never bear water, not even holy water.
But when Tonto, who should have known better, and who was used to being out in the rain
even, stuck his nose up in the air and let out a
Only the red rooster, the little white hen, the goat, and the Twins behaved as if they had had any bringing up at all! However, the priest didn't seem to mind it. He went in and out among the people, sprinkling the water and chanting his prayer until the basin was empty. Then he pronounced the blessing.
When he had finished, the people drove their creatures back to their homes, or to the fields.
Pancho came riding along and took Tita and the white hen up on Pinto's back with him. Tonio rode Tonto and carried the rooster. Tita had to put the cat down to get up on the horse, and when Tonio's dog saw her he barked at her, and she ran just as fast as she could and got to the cabin and up on the roof out of reach.
Dona Teresa walked along with Dona Josefa, and talked with her about her rheumatism and about how badly the animals behaved, and how handsome Dona Josefa's purple geese were, until she turned in at their own gate.
When she was in their own yard once more, she set the turkey down and untied his head. Tonio let the rooster go, and Tita set the little white hen free, and they all three ran under Tonto's shed as if they were afraid they might get blessed again if they stayed where they could easily be caught. And they never came out until they had torn the tissue paper all to pieces and left it lying on the ground.
Tonio got the goat back to pasture by walking in front of her, holding a carrot just out of reach, and Pancho took Pinto and the donkey down to the river for a drink, while Tita and her mother went into the cabin to get the second breakfast ready. When people get up so very early they need two breakfasts.
Dona Teresa was just patting the meal into cakes with her hands and cooking them over the brasero, when Pancho came in the cabin door with dreadful red streams running down his head and face and over his white cotton clothes!
When Dona Teresa saw him, she screamed and flew to his side. "What is it, my Pancho?" she cried. "You are hurt—you are killed, my angel! Oh, what has happened?"
She asked so many questions and poured out so many words that Pancho couldn't get one in edgewise; so he just took off his hat, and there was the dish of chile sauce and tortillas broken all to bits, and the chile sauce spilled all over his face and clothes!
"It was that foolish Tonto that did it," he said, when he could say anything at all. "I
was just putting him back in his shed when he cried,
Dona Teresa sat down heavily with her hand on her heart. "If anything had happened to you, my rose, my angel," she said, "I should have died of sorrow! Tonto is indeed a very careless beast. It would seem as if the padrecito's blessing might have put more sense into him. It must be the will of God that there should be a great deal of foolishness in the world, but without doubt donkeys and goats have more than their share."
Just then she smelled the tortillas burning and ran back to attend to them, while Pancho washed himself at the trough, and mopped the chile sauce off his clothes.
In a little while the Twins and their father and mother were all sitting about on the stones under the fig tree, eating their second breakfast. And when they had all had every bit they could hold, it was almost noon.
WEEK 39 |
Joshua vii: 1, to viii: 35.
HILE the Israelites at God's word were destroying the city of Jericho there was one man who disobeyed God's command. A man named Achan, of the tribe of Judah, saw in one house a beautiful garment that had come from Babylon, and a wedge-shaped piece of gold and some silver. He looked at it, longed to have it for his own, took it secretly to his tent, and hid it. He thought that no one had seen him do this thing. But God saw it all; and Achan's robbery of God, to whom everything belonged that was in Jericho, brought great trouble to Israel.
From Jericho there was a road up the ravines and valleys leading to the mountain country. On one of the hills above the plain stood a little city called Ai. Joshua did not think it needful for all the army to go and take Ai, because it was a small place. So he sent a small army of three thousand men. But the men of Ai came out against them, and killed a number of them, and drove them away, so that they failed to take the city.
And when the rest of the people heard of this defeat they were filled with fear. Joshua was alarmed, not because he was afraid of the Canaanites, but because he knew that God was not with the men who went against Ai. And Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, and said:
"O Lord God, why hast thou led us across Jordan only to let us fall before our enemies? What shall I say, O Lord, now that the men of Israel have been beaten and driven away?"
And God said to Joshua:
"Israel has sinned. They have disobeyed my words, and have broken their promise. They have taken the treasure that belongs to me, and have kept it. And that is the reason why I have left them to suffer from their enemies. My curse shall rest on the people until they bring back that which is stolen, and punish the man who robbed me." And God told Joshua how to find the man who had done this evil thing.
The next morning, very early, Joshua called all the tribes of Israel to come before him. When the tribe of Judah came near God showed to Joshua that this was the tribe. Then as the divisions of Judah came by God pointed out one division; and in that division one household, and in that household one family, and in that family one man. Achan was singled out as the man who had robbed God.
And Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give honor to the Lord God, and confess your sin to him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not try to hide it from me."
And Achan said, "I have sinned against the Lord. I saw in Jericho a garment from Babylon, and a wedge of gold, and some pieces of silver, and I hid them in my tent." Then Joshua sent messengers, who ran to the tent of Achan, and found the hidden things, and brought them out before all the people.
Then, because Achan's crime had harmed all the people, and because his children were with him in the crime, they took them all, Achan, and his sons and his daughters, and the treasure that had been stolen, and even his sheep and his oxen, and his tent, and all that was in it. And the people threw stones upon them until all were dead; then they burned their bodies and all the things in the tent. And over the ashes they piled up a heap of stones, so that all who saw it would remember what came to Achan for his sin.
Thus did God show to his people how careful they must be to obey his commands, if they would have God with them. After this Joshua sent another army, larger than before, against Ai. And they took the city, and destroyed it, as they had destroyed Jericho. But God allowed the people to take for themselves what they found in the city of Ai.
Then they marched on over the mountains, until they came near to the city of Shechem, in the middle of the land of Canaan. The people of the land were so filled with fear that none of them resisted the march of the Israelites. Near Shechem are the two mountains, Ebal on the north, and Gerizim on the south. Between these is a great hollow place, like a vast bowl. There Joshua gathered all the people of Israel, with their wives and their children.
In the midst of this place they built an altar of unhewn stones heaped up, for they had left the Tabernacle and the brazen altar standing in the camp at Gilgal, by Jordan. On this new altar they gave offerings to the Lord and worshipped.
Then before all the people Joshua read the law which Moses had written. And all the people, with their wives, and even the little children, listened to the law of the Lord. Half of the tribes stood on the slope of Mount Ebal on the north, and these, as Joshua read the words of warning which God had given to those who should disobey, all answered with one voice "Amen." And the other half of the tribes stood on the slope of Mount Gerizim on the south; and as Joshua read God's words of blessing to those who should obey the law, these answered "Amen."
When they had done all this, and thus given the land to the Lord and pledged themselves to serve God, they marched again down the mountains, past the smouldering ruins of Ai, past the heap of stones that covered Achan, and past the broken walls of Jericho, back to the camp at Gilgal beside the river.
Jericho as it now is.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you;
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.