WEEK 40 |
THE Cowardly Lion was much pleased to hear that the Wicked Witch had been melted by a bucket of water, and Dorothy at once unlocked the gate of his prison and set him free. They went in together to the castle, where Dorothy's first act was to call all the Winkies together and tell them that they were no longer slaves.
There was great rejoicing among the yellow Winkies, for they had been made to work hard during many years for the Wicked Witch, who had always treated them with great cruelty. They kept this day as a holiday, then and ever after, and spent the time in feasting and dancing.
"If our friends, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, were only with us," said the Lion, "I should be quite happy."
"Don't you suppose we could rescue them?" asked the girl, anxiously.
"We can try," answered the Lion.
So they called the yellow Winkies and asked them if they would help to rescue their friends, and the Winkies said that they would be delighted to do all in their power for Dorothy, who had set them free from bondage. So she chose a number of the Winkies who looked as if they knew the most, and they all started away. They travelled that day and part of the next until they came to the rocky plain where the Tin Woodman lay, all battered and bent. His axe was near him, but the blade was rusted and the handle broken off short.
The Winkies lifted him tenderly in their arms, and carried him back to the yellow castle again, Dorothy shedding a few tears by the way at the sad plight of her old friend, and the Lion looking sober and sorry. When they reached the castle Dorothy said to the Winkies,
"Are any of your people tinsmiths?"
"Oh, yes; some of us are very good tinsmiths," they told her.
"Then bring them to me," she said. And when the tinsmiths came, bringing with them all their tools in baskets, she enquired,
[Illustration: "_The Tinsmiths worked for three days and four nights._"]
"Can you straighten out those dents in the Tin Woodman, and bend him back into shape again, and solder him together where he is broken?"
The tinsmiths looked the Woodman over carefully and then answered that they thought they could mend him so he would be as good as ever. So they set to work in one of the big yellow rooms of the castle and worked for three days and four nights, hammering and twisting and bending and soldering and polishing and pounding at the legs and body and head of the Tin Woodman, until at last he was straightened out into his old form, and his joints worked as well as ever. To be sure, there were several patches on him, but the tinsmiths did a good job, and as the Woodman was not a vain man he did not mind the patches at all.
When, at last, he walked into Dorothy's room and thanked her for rescuing him, he was so pleased that he wept tears of joy, and Dorothy had to wipe every tear carefully from his face with her apron, so his joints would not be rusted. At the same time her own tears fell thick and fast at the joy of meeting her old friend again, and these tears did not need to be wiped away. As for the Lion, he wiped his eyes so often with the tip of his tail that it became quite wet, and he was obliged to go out into the court-yard and hold it in the sun till it dried.
"If we only had the Scarecrow with us again," said the Tin Woodman, when Dorothy had finished telling him everything that had happened, "I should be quite happy."
"We must try to find him," said the girl.
So she called the Winkies to help her, and they walked all that day and part of the next until they came to the tall tree in the branches of which the Winged Monkeys had tossed the Scarecrow's clothes.
It was a very tall tree, and the trunk was so smooth that no one could climb it; but the Woodman said at once,
"I'll chop it down, and then we can get the Scarecrow's clothes."
Now while the tinsmiths had been at work mending the Woodman himself, another of the Winkies, who was a goldsmith, had made an axe-handle of solid gold and fitted it to the Woodman's axe, instead of the old broken handle. Others polished the blade until all the rust was removed and it glistened like burnished silver.
As soon as he had spoken, the Tin Woodman began to chop, and in a short time the tree fell over with a crash, when the Scarecrow's clothes fell out of the branches and rolled off on the ground.
Dorothy picked them up and had the Winkies carry them back to the castle, where they were stuffed with nice, clean straw; and, behold! here was the Scarecrow, as good as ever, thanking them over and over again for saving him.
Now they were reunited, Dorothy and her friends spent a few happy days at the Yellow Castle, where they found everything they needed to make them comfortable. But one day the girl thought of Aunt Em, and said,
"We must go back to Oz, and claim his promise."
"Yes," said the Woodman, "at last I shall get my heart."
"And I shall get my brains," added the Scarecrow, joyfully.
"And I shall get my courage," said the Lion, thoughtfully.
"And I shall get back to Kansas," cried Dorothy, clapping her hands. "Oh, let us start for the Emerald City to-morrow!"
This they decided to do. The next day they called the Winkies together and bade them good-bye. The Winkies were sorry to have them go, and they had grown so fond of the Tin Woodman that they begged him to stay and rule over them and the Yellow Land of the West. Finding they were determined to go, the Winkies gave Toto and the Lion each a golden collar; and to Dorothy they presented a beautiful bracelet, studded with diamonds; and to the Scarecrow they gave a gold-headed walking stick, to keep him from stumbling; and to the Tin Woodman they offered a silver oil-can, inlaid with gold and set with precious jewels.
Every one of the travellers made the Winkies a pretty speech in return, and all shook hands with them until their arms ached.
Dorothy went to the Witch's cupboard to fill her basket with food for the journey, and there she saw the Golden Cap. She tried it on her own head and found that it fitted her exactly. She did not know anything about the charm of the Golden Cap, but she saw that it was pretty, so she made up her mind to wear it and carry her sunbonnet in the basket.
Then, being prepared for the journey, they all started for the Emerald City; and the Winkies gave them three cheers and many good wishes to carry with them.
Some little mice sat in a barn to spin;
Pussy came by and popped his head in.
"Shall I come in and cut off your threads?"
"Oh, no! kind sir, you will bite off our heads!"
WEEK 40 |
K ANE was a doctor in one of the war ships of the United States. He had sailed about the world a great deal.
When he heard that ships were to be sent into the icy seas of the north, he asked to be sent along. He went the first time as a doctor. Then he wanted to find out more about the frozen ocean. So he went again as captain of a ship. His ship was called the "Advance."
Kane sailed into the icy seas. His ship was driven far into the ice by a furious storm. She was crowded by icebergs. At one time she was lifted clear out of the water. The ship seemed ready to fall over on her side. But the ice let her down again. Then she was squeezed till the men thought that she would be crushed like an egg shell.
At last the storm stopped. Then came the awful cold. The ship was frozen into the ice. The ice never let go of her. She was farther north than any ship had ever been before. But she was so fast in the ice that she never could get away.
In that part of the world it is night nearly all winter. For months there was no sun at all. Daylight came again. It was now summer, but it did not get warm. Doctor Kane took sleds, and went about on the ice to see what he could see. The sleds were drawn by large dogs. But nearly all of the dogs died in the long winter night.
A Dog Sled
Doctor Kane thought that the ice would melt. He wanted to get the ship out. But the ice did not melt at all.
At last the summer passed away. Another awful winter came. The sun did not rise any more. It was dark for months and months. The men were ill. Some of them died. They were much discouraged. But Kane kept up his heart, and did the best he could.
At last the least little streak of light could be seen. It got a little lighter each day. But the sick men down in the cabin of the ship could not see the light.
Doctor Kane said to himself, "If my poor men could see this sunlight, it would cheer them up. It might save their lives." But they were too ill to get out where they could see the sun. It would be many days before the sun would shine into the cabin of the ship. The men might die before that time.
So Doctor Kane took some looking glasses up to the deck or top of the ship. He fixed one of these so it would catch the light of the sun. Then he fixed another so that the first one would throw the light on this one. The last one would throw the sunlight down into the cabin where the sick men were.
One day the poor fellows were ready to give up. Then the sun fell on the looking glasses, and flashed down into the cabin. It was the first daylight the sick men had seen for months. The long winter night was over. Think how happy they were!
A lion has a tail and a very fine tail,
And so has an elephant, and so has a whale,
And so has a crocodile, and so has a
They've all got tails but me.
If I had sixpence I would buy one;
I'd say to the shopman, "Let me try one";
I'd say to the elephant, "This is my one."
They'd all come round to see.
Then I'd say to the lion, "Why, you've got a tail!
And so has the elephant, and so has the whale!
And, look! There's a crocodile! He's got a tail!
"You've all got tails like me!"
WEEK 40 |
I F anybody were to suppose that Kittie and Ko and Jack were satisfied with caterpillars' eggs that summer, "right dar 's whar he broke his merlasses jug," as Uncle Remus would say. For they took to hunting eggs just as they had been hunting seeds before, and if they didn't find as many eggs as they did seeds, at least they found a good many.
And although they could not find the baby caterpillars, and ants, and flies, and bugs in the eggs when they broke them open, if they watched them long enough without breaking, the little creatures were sure to grow and hatch out of them sooner or later.
"Everything lays eggs, I believe," Jack said, one day.
"Do you suppose bumble-bees do?" asked Kittie,—then added very mysteriously, "I know where there's a bumblebee's nest."
"How do you know it's a nest?" demanded Ko.
"Oh, because," said Kittie.
"Humph!" said Jack, "that's no reason."
"Well, I know it is, and if you want to get it, I'll show you where to find it," said Kittie.
"Come along then," said Ko.
So they went with her to a place in the corner of the orchard where an old plank was lying in the grass.
"There, it's under that," she said, pointing to the plank.
The boys looked, and presently a big bumble-bee came blundering out from a hole at the edge of the plank.
"Well, I believe it's so," said Ko,—then added, "Now you had better run, Kittie, for I'm going to lift up that plank."
"You don't dare," said Kittie.
"You'll see if I don't," he replied, proudly; "now run, or you'll get stung."
"Who's afraid?" demanded Kittie, standing her ground. "I'm not going to run."
"You'll get stung," said Jack, warningly.
"So will you," retorted Kittie.
"Oh, boys don't mind such things," said Ko, with a very fine air.
"Neither do girls," replied Kittie, obstinately.
"Well, get stung if you want to!" and Ko suddenly seized one end of the plank and raised it a little. It was too heavy for him to move much, but the little he did stir it, sent out a swarm of very lively and very angry bumblebees.
"There's one on your apron, Kittie!" yelled Jack, dancing around and fighting a bee that seemed determined to make his acquaintance.
"I know it," Kittie screamed back, trying hard not to cry and putting her hands behind her, while the bee came buzzing up her apron. But for some reason it tumbled off and she was saved.
Just then Ko darted past her, making some very queer noises as he went.
"Boys don't mind such things," naughty Kittie called out, running after him.
And then Jack passed her, bawling as if he were being killed.
"Boys don't"—Kittie began, but just then something struck her on the cheek, and she nearly fell over, it hurt so, and then something equally dreadful happened to the back of her neck, and she followed Ko and Jack, bawling as loudly as they.
Kittie's mother put something on all the stings to take out the pain, and then got a book about bees and showed the children pictures of how they make their nests, and showed them a picture of the dainty little rooms where the eggs are stored away.
"It's just a bee cradle," said Jack, studying one carefully.
"Yes, that's it," said Ko.
"I wish we could have seen them," said Kittie, wistfully. "It was mean of the bees not to let us."
"They were afraid you would spoil their nest and kill their young ones," mother replied. "You can hardly blame them for defending themselves.
"Suppose some great giant came to tear our house down, and carry off baby Belle to look at her under a microscope, what would you feel like doing?"
"I'd chop his head off," said Jack, promptly.
"That's the way the bees felt about it," said mother.
"Only they couldn't chop our heads off, so they stung them off," said Kittie, solemnly, caressing the great lump on her cheek.
"I hope you've got cheek enough, Kittie," said Ko, tormentingly.
"Well, my eye isn't swelled shut, anyway," she replied, looking straight at the spot where Ko's merry brown eye had gone into eclipse. "I know one thing," she added, "boys make as much fuss as girls, after all."
"And girls hate to get stung as much as boys do," added Jack.
"I know another thing," put in Ko. "I think I'm
acquainted with a boy who won't look for
Swallow, Swallow, neighbor Swallow,
Starting on your autumn flight,
Pause a moment at my window,
Twitter softly a good night.
Now the summer days are ended,
All your duties are well done,
And the little homes you've builded
Have grown empty, one by one.
Swallow, Swallow, neighbor Swallow,
Are you ready for your flight?
Are the little coats completed?
Are the feathered caps all right?
Are the young wings strong and steady
For their flight to warmer sky?
Come again in early springtime.
Until then, good-by, good-by.
WEEK 40 |
O NCE there was a poor farmer who had three sons—Peter, Paul, and Jack.
Now Peter was big, fat, red-faced, and slow; Paul was slender, awkward, and ill-natured; Jack was quick, and bright, and so little that he might have hidden himself in one of Peter's big boots.
The poor farmer had nothing in the world but a little hut that seemed ready to tumble down every time the wind blew. He worked hard, but it was all he could do to earn bread for his family.
The boys grew very fast, and by-and-by they were old enough to work. Then their father said to them, "Boys, I have taken care of you these many days when you were too little to take care of yourselves. Now I am old, and you are strong. It is time for you to go out and earn your living."
So, early the next morning, the three boys started out to seek their fortunes.
"Where shall we go?" asked Peter.
"Yes, where shall we go?" said Paul. "Things have come to a pretty pass when one can't stay at home."
"Well, I am going to the King's palace," said Jack.
"And what will you do there?" said Paul. "You are a fine fellow to be going to Kings' palaces."
"I will tell you," said Jack. "The King's palace is a very grand place. It is built of white stones and it has six glass windows on the front side of it.
"But a huge oak-tree has grown up right against the glass windows. The leaves are so many and so big that they shut out all the sunlight, and the rooms of the palace are dark even in midday."
"Well, what of that?" asked Peter.
"Yes, what of that?" growled Paul. "What have you to do with the oak?"
"The King wants it cut down," said Jack.
"Well, then, why don't his men cut it down?" asked Paul.
"They can't," said Jack. "The tree is so hard that it blunts the edge of every ax; and whenever one of its branches is cut off, two bigger ones spring out in place of it. The King has offered three bags of gold to anyone who will cut the tree down."
"How did you learn all this?" asked Peter.
"Oh, a little bird told me," said Jack. "You see, I can read and you cannot. I am going to the King's palace to see if I can't earn those bags of gold."
"Not till I try it," cried Paul; "for I am older than you."
"I should have the first trial," said Peter; "for I am older than either of you. Come along, boys, let's all go down and take a look at the big oak."
And so all three took the road that led to the King's palace.
Peter and Paul went jogging along with their hands in their pockets. They did not look either to the right or to the left.
But little Jack skipped this way and that, noticing everything by the roadside. He watched the bees buzzing among the flowers, the butterflies fluttering in the sunlight and the birds building their nests in the trees.
He asked questions about everything. "What is this? Why is this? How is this?"
But his brothers only growled and answered, "We don't know."
By and by they came to a mountain and a great forest of pine trees. Far up the side of the mountain they could hear the sound of an ax and the noise of falling branches.
"I wonder who is chopping wood up there," said Jack. "Do you know, Paul?"
"Of course I don't know," growled Paul. "Hold your tongue."
"Oh, he is always wondering," said Peter. "You would think he'd never heard an ax before."
"Well, wonder or no wonder," said Jack, "I mean to go up and see who is chopping wood."
"Go, then," said Paul. "You will tire yourself out and be left behind. But it will be a good lesson to you."
Jack did not stop to listen to these words. For he was already climbing up the mountain toward the place where the chopping was heard.
When he came to the top, what do you think he saw?
He saw a bright steel ax working all alone and cutting down a big pine tree. No man was near it.
"Good morning, Mr. Ax," he said. "I think you must be tired chopping at that old tree all by yourself."
"Ah, master," said the ax. "I have been waiting for you a long time."
"Well, here I am," said Jack; and he took the ax and put it into his pocket.
Then he ran down the mountain and soon overtook his brothers.
"Well, Mr. Why-and-How," said Paul, "what did you find up there?"
"It was really an ax that we heard," answered Jack.
"Of course it was," said Peter. "You might have saved yourself all your trouble by staying with us."
After the boys had passed through the woods they came to a great rocky place between two mountains. The path was narrow and crooked, and steep cliffs towered above it on both sides.
Soon they heard a dull sound high up on the top of a cliff. Thump! Thump! Thud! it went, like someone striking iron against stone.
"I wonder why anyone is breaking stones up there," said Jack.
"Yes, of course you wonder," growled Paul; "you are always wondering."
"It is nothing but a woodpecker tapping on a hollow tree," said Peter. "Come along, and mind your own business."
"Business or no business," said Jack, "I mean to see what is going on up there."
With these words he began to climb up the side of the cliff. But Peter and Paul stood still and laughed at him, and cried, "Good-by, Mr. Why-and-How!"
And what do you think Jack found far up on the great rock?
He found a bright steel pickax working all alone. It was so hard and sharp that when it struck a rock it went into it a foot or more.
"Good morning, Mr. Pickax," he said. "Are you not tired digging here all by yourself?"
"Ah, my master," answered the pickax, "I have been waiting for you a long time."
"Well, here I am," said Jack; and he took the pickax and put it into his other pocket.
Then he slid merrily down between the rocks to the place where Peter and Paul were resting themselves.
"Well, Mr. Why-and-How," said Paul, "what great wonder did you find up there?"
"It was really a pickax that we heard," answered Jack.
About noon the boys came to a pleasant brook. The water was cool and clear, and it flowed in shady places among reeds and flowers.
The boys were thirsty, and they stopped to drink. Then they lay down on the grass to rest.
"I wonder where this brook comes from," said Jack.
"Of course you do," growled Paul. "You are always trying to pry into things and find out where they come from. You are foolish."
"Foolish or not foolish," answered Jack, "I am going to find out all about this brook."
So, while his brothers went to sleep in the shade, he ran along up its banks, looking at this thing and that and wondering at them all.
The stream became narrower and narrower until at last it was not broader than his hand. And when he came to the very beginning of it, what do you think he found?
He found a walnut shell out of which the water was spouting as from a fountain.
"Good morning, Mr. Spring," said Jack. "Are you not tired staying here all alone in this little nook where nobody comes to see you?"
"Ah, my master," answered the spring in the walnut shell, "I have been waiting a long time for you."
"Well, here I am," said Jack; and he took the walnut shell and put it into his cap.
His brothers were just waking up when he rejoined them.
"Well, Mr. Why-and-How," said Peter, "did you find where the brook comes from?"
"Indeed, I did," answered Jack. "It spouts up from a spring."
"You are too smart for this world," growled Paul.
"Smart or not smart," said Jack, "I have seen what I wished to see, and I have learned what I wished to learn."
At last the three boys came to the King's palace. They saw the great oak that darkened the windows, and on the gateposts they saw a big poster printed in red and black letters.
"See there, Jack," said Paul. "Read that, and tell us what it says."
"Yes, I wonder what it says," said Jack, laughing. And this is what he
Know all men by these presents: If anyone will cut down this oak-tree and carry it away, the King will give him three bags full of gold. If anyone will dig a well in the courtyard so as to supply the palace with water, he may wed the King's daughter and the King will give him half of everything.
The King has said it and it shall be done.
"Better and better," said Peter. "There are three tasks instead of one, and the prize is more than double."
"But it will take someone smarter than you to win it," said Paul; and he stroked his head gently.
"It will take someone stronger than you," answered Peter; and he rolled up his shirt-sleeves and swung his big arms around till their muscles stood out like whipcords.
The boys went into the courtyard. There they saw another placard posted over the door of the great hallway.
"Read that, Jack," said Paul. "Read it and tell us what it says."
"Yes," said Jack, "I wonder what it says."
Know all men by these presents: If anyone shall try to cut down the oak and shall not succeed, he shall have both his ears cut off. If anyone shall try to dig the well and shall not succeed, he shall have his nose cut off. The King in his goodness has so commanded, and it shall be done.
"Worse and worse," said Peter. "But hand me an ax, and I will show you what I can do."
The sharpest ax in the country was given him. He felt its edge; he swung it over his shoulder. Then he began to chop on the oak with all his might; but as soon as a bough was cut off, two bigger and stronger ones grew in its place.
"I give it up," said Peter. "It cannot be done."
And the King's guards seized him and led him away to prison.
"To-morrow his ears shall come off," said the King.
"It was all because he was so awkward," said Paul. "Now, see what a skilful man can do."
He took the ax and walked carefully round the tree. He saw a root that was partly out of the ground, and chopped it off. All at once two other roots much bigger and stronger grew in its place.
He chopped at these, but the ax was dulled, and with all his skill he could not cut them off.
"Enough!" cried the King; and the guards hurried him also to jail.
Then little Jack came forward.
"What does that wee bit of a fellow want?" asked the King. "Drive him away, and if he doesn't wish to go, cut off his ears at once."
But Jack was not one whit afraid. He bowed to the King and said, "Please let me try. It will be time enough to cut off my ears when I have failed."
"Well, yes, it will, I suppose," said the King. "So go to work quickly and be done with it."
Jack took the bright steel ax from his pocket. He set it up by the tree and said, "Chop, Mr. Ax! Chop!"
You should have seen the chips fly.
The little ax chopped and cut and split, this way and that, right and left, up and down. It moved so fast that nobody could keep track of it, and there was no time for new twigs to grow.
In fifteen seconds the great oak tree was cut in pieces and piled up in the King's courtyard, ready for firewood in the winter.
"What do you think of that?" asked Jack, as he bowed again to the King.
"You have done wonders, my little man," said the King. "But the well must be dug or I shall take off your ears."
"Kindly tell me where you would like to have the well," said Jack, bowing again.
A place in the courtyard was pointed out. The King sat in his great chair on a balcony above, and by him sat his beautiful daughter, the Princess. They wanted to see the little fellow dig.
Jack took the pickax from his other pocket. He set it down on the spot that had been pointed out.
"Now, Mr. Pickax, dig! dig!" he cried.
You should have seen how the rocks flew.
In fifteen minutes a well a hundred feet deep was dug.
"What do you think of that?" asked Jack.
"It is a fine well," said the King, "but it has no water in it."
Jack felt in his cap for his walnut shell. He took it out and dropped it softly to the bottom of the well. As he did so he shouted, "Now, Mr. Spring, spout! spout!"
The water spouted out of the walnut shell in a great stream. It filled the well. It ran over into the King's garden.
All the people shouted, and the Princess clapped her hands.
With his cap in his hands Jack went and kneeled down before the King. "Sire," he said, "do you think that I have won the prize?"
"Most certainly I do," answered the King; and he bade his servants bring the three bags of gold and pour the coins out at Jack's feet.
"But, father," said the Princess, "have you forgotten the other part of the prize?" and she blushed very red.
"Oh no," said the King; "but you both are very young. When you are a few years older, we shall have a pretty wedding in the palace. Are you willing to wait, young man?"
"I am willing to obey you in everything," answered Jack; "but I wonder if I might not ask you for one other little favour?"
"Say on; and be careful not to ask too much," answered the King.
"May it please you, then," said Jack, "to pardon my two brothers?"
The King nodded, and in a short time Peter and Paul were brought around into the courtyard.
"Well, brothers," said Jack kindly, "I wonder if I was very foolish when I wanted to know all about things."
"You have certainly been lucky," said Paul; "and I am glad of it."
"You have saved our ears," said Peter, "and we are all lucky."
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 40 |
"Turn, and the world is thine."
I T was now two and a half years since Alexander had entered Asia. The fall of Tyre had given him not only Syria, but Egypt too, and the command of the sea, in this part of the Mediterranean. For Egypt was not strong enough to withstand this world-conqueror, so Alexander was crowned king at Memphis, the old capital of the Pharaohs. Here he held athletic games and a contest of poets, to which the most famous artists came over from Greece. From Memphis he sailed down the river Nile and founded a city, which is still called by his name, Alexandria, the port of Egypt. The new lord of Egypt and Syria, with the whole coast-land now in his possession, then started for Persia once more, for the Shah was again preparing to oppose him.
A great battle was fought—one of the greatest on record of the ancient world. The Shah had once more to ride breathlessly for his life, his army was scattered to the winds, and thousands were made captive.
It seemed, indeed, that Alexander was invincible. Babylon submitted to him at once, Shushan, the old capital, fell without a blow, and the victorious monarch marched ever forwards. The death of the Shah of Persia put fresh power into his hands. It was the task of his life to spread Greek ideas in the East: the best way to do this seemed to be, to become king of the East, according to Eastern ideas. So he surrounded himself with Eastern forms and pomp; he married a Persian wife; he dressed in the white tunic, and wore the Persian girdle, common to the great Eastern rulers.
This change was highly unpopular with his countrymen.
One night at a feast in one of the Persian fortresses, Clitus, the foster-brother and dear friend of Alexander, suddenly sprang up and began to abuse the king. They had all been drinking the strong wines of the country, and stung by the taunts of Clitus, Alexander rose. He snatched a spear, and in a sudden fury dashed it into his foster-brother. Clitus sank to the ground—dead. An agony of remorse followed for Alexander; for three days he lay in his tent, neither sleeping nor eating, till at last they roused him.
"Is this the Alexander, whom the whole world looks to, lying here and weeping like a slave?" cried one of his friends, as he beheld the prostrate form of the king.
Alexander now turned his eyes towards India, still to the outer world, an unknown land. Strange stories of its wonders, had reached the Greek invaders—stories of monster ants, who turned up gold-dust from the vast sand deserts; stories of men clothed in garments, made of plaited rushes, like mats; of trees that bore wool, instead of fruit; of lakes full of oil; of giants, dwarfs, and palm-trees that touched the skies.
Alexander and his army crossed the barriers of the Hindu Kush mountains, and entered the plains, through which flowed the river Indus. He had again passed from one world into another, a world which was to remain unknown for twenty centuries after the days of Alexander, until the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope should open out a sea-path to India.
Crossing the Indus by a bridge of boats, he found himself in the district, now known as the Punjab, where five rivers meet. On the opposite bank of one of these rivers a powerful Indian king, named Porus, disputed his advance. A battle was fought, in which the sight and smell of the Indian elephants, on which King Porus's men were mounted, frightened the Persian horses. Finally, however, Alexander won. The vanquished Indian king was brought before him; he was very tall and majestic, and his bravery in battle had excited the admiration of the king. He inquired of Porus how he would wish to be treated.
"As a king," was the stern answer.
"And have you no other request?" asked Alexander.
"No," answered Porus, "everything is included in the word king."
So struck was he with this answer, that Alexander restored him his kingdom.
It was soon after this battle, that Alexander lost his beautiful horse Bucephalus, the one he had tamed as a boy, and which had carried him ever since. The poor beast died of age and weariness, and the king built a city, to its memory, on the banks of the river; which monument survives today—the city of Jalalpur.
Alexander longed to press on, and see all the wonders of India and the great river Ganges, but the Macedonians were weary of the march and absolutely refused to go another step farther. Their clothes were worn out, and they had to wrap their bodies in Indian rags; the hoofs of their horses were rubbed away by the long rough marches; their arms were blunted and broken. And the king, with unexplored lands yet before him, had to turn back.
He reached Babylon in the spring of 324, and at once began to fortify it, as the capital of his new and mighty empire. Here he held his court, seated on the golden throne of the Persians, with a golden canopy studded with emeralds and precious stones. Here he received people from every known country. Here he stood at the highest point of glory, knowing not, how near the end was.
While he was preparing for the conquest of Arabia, he was taken with a violent fever; he lay in bed eagerly discussing details, but he grew rapidly worse. In the cool of one June evening, while the fever was yet raging, they carried him to the river and rowed him across to a garden villa. As he grew worse they took him back to the palace. One by one the Macedonian soldiers filed past the bed of their young and dying king; he was too ill to speak to them. A few days later, Alexander the Great lay dead at the early age of thirty-three.
Into thirteen years he had compressed the energies of a lifetime, for in that short time he had doubled the area of the world, as known to the Greeks of his day.
Good old Mother Fairie,
Sitting by your fire,
Have you any little folk
You would like to hire?
I want no chubby drudges
To milk, and churn, and spin,
Nor old and wrinkled Brownies,
With grisly beards, and thin
But patient little people,
With hands of busy care,
And gentle speech, and loving hearts,
Now, have you such to spare?
WEEK 40 |
Early that evening, when Pancho had rounded up the cows and taken them back again to pasture, and the goat had been milked, the animals fed, and supper eaten and cleared away, the Twins and their father and mother sat down together outside their cabin door.
The moon had risen and was shining so brightly that it made beautiful patterned shadows under the fig tree. There were pleasant evening sounds all about. Sometimes it was the hoot of an owl or the chirp of a cricket, but oftener it was the sound of laughter and of children's voices from the huts near by.
The red rooster, the turkey, and the hens were all asleep in the fig tree. Tita could see their bunchy shadows among the shadows of the leaves. The cat was away hunting for field-mice. Jasmin sat beside Tonio, with his tongue hanging out, and everything was very quiet and peaceful.
Then suddenly, quite far away, they heard a faint tinkling sound. "Ting-a-ling-ling; ting-a-ling-ling," it went, and then there was a voice singing:—
"Crown of the high hill
That with your cool shadow
Gives me life,
Where is my beloved?
Oh, beautiful hill,
Where dwells my love?
If I am sleeping,
I'm dreaming of thee;
If I am waking, thee only I see."
The voice came nearer and nearer, and children's voices began to join in the singing, and soon Tonio and Tita could see dark forms moving in the moonlight. There was one tall figure, and swarming around it there were ever so many short ones.
"It's José with his guitar!" cried the Twins, and they flew out to meet him. Dona Teresa and Pancho came too.
"God give you good evening," they all cried out to each other when they met; and then José said, "Have you plenty of sweet potatoes, Dona Teresa? We have come with our dishes and our pennies."
"Yes," laughed Dona Teresa. "I thought you might come to-night and I knew your sweet tooth, José! And all these little ones, have they each got a sweet tooth too?"
"Oh yes, Dona Teresa, please cook us some sweet potatoes, won't you?" the children begged. They held up their empty dishes.
"Well, then, come in, all of you," said Dona Teresa, "and I will see what I can do."
She hurried back to the cabin. Pancho went with her, and José and the Twins and all the other children came trooping after them and swarmed around the cabin door.
Pancho made a little brasero right in the middle of the open space beside the fig tree. He made it of stones, and built a fire in it.
While he was doing that, Dona Teresa got her sweet potatoes ready to cook, and when she came out with the cooking-dish and a jug of syrup in her hands, the children set up a shout of joy.
"Now sit down, all of you," commanded Dona Teresa, as she knelt beside the brasero and poured the syrup into the cooking-pan. "It will take some time to cook enough for every one, and if you are in too much of a hurry you may burn your fingers and your tongue. José, you tell us a story while we are waiting."
So they all sat down in a circle around Dona Teresa with José opposite her, and the fire flickered in the brasero, and lighted up all the eager brown faces and all the bright black eyes, as they watched Dona Teresa's cooking-pan.
Then José told the story of Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby; and after that he told how Br'er Rabbit made a riding-horse out of Br'er Fox; and when he had finished, the sweet potatoes were ready.
"Who shall have the first piece?" asked Dona Teresa, holding up a nice brown slice.
"José, José," cried all the children.
José took out his penny and gave it to Dona Teresa, and held out his dish. She took up a big piece of sweet potato on the end of a pointed stick. It was almost safely landed in José's dish, when suddenly there was a great flapping of wings and a loud "Cock-a-doodle-doo," right behind José!
The red rooster had opened his eyes, and when he saw the glow of the fire, he thought it must be morning. So he crowed at once, and then flew right down off his perch, and before any one knew what he was after or could stop him, he had snatched José's candied sweet potato off the end of Dona Teresa's stick, and was running away with it as fast as he could go!
"Thanks be to God," said José, "that piece was still very hot!"
The red rooster soon found that out for himself. He was so afraid that somebody would get his morsel away from him that he swallowed it whole, boiling hot syrup and all! He thought it was worse than the red pepper and the gold paint he had taken that morning.
He opened his bill wide and squawked with pain, and his eyes looked wild. The children rolled on the ground with laughter. The last they saw of the red rooster he was running to the back of the house, where a dish of water was kept for the chickens; and it is perfectly true that for three days after that he could hardly crow at all!
Dona Teresa was dreadfully ashamed of the red rooster. She apologized and gave José another piece of sweet potato at once, and then she passed out more pieces to the children, and said:—
"Now mind you don't behave like the rooster! You see what he got for being greedy."
The children sucked their pieces slowly, so as to make them last a long time, and while they got themselves all sticky with syrup, José told them the story of Cinderella and her glass slippers and her pumpkin coach, and two ghost stories.
"Where did you learn so many beautiful stories, José?" asked Tonio when he had finished the last one. "Did you read them out of a book?" (You see Tonio and Tita and some of the older children went to school and were beginning to read a little.)
José shook his head. "No," he said, "I didn't read them out of books. I never had a chance to go to school when I was a boy. I tell you these stories just as they were told to me by my mother when I was as small as you are. And she couldn't read either, so somebody must have told them to her. Not everything comes from books, you see."
"Yes," said Dona Teresa. "I heard them from my mother when I was a child, and she couldn't read any more than Pancho and I can. But with these children here it will be different. They can get stories from you, and out of the books too. It is a great thing to have learning, though a peon can get along with very little of it, praise God."
Up to this time Pancho had not said a single word. He had brought sticks for the fire and had listened silently to the stories; but now he spoke.
"When the peons get enough learning, they will learn not to be peons at all," he said.
"But whatever will they be then?" gasped Dona Teresa. "Surely they must be whatever the good God made them, and if they are born peons—"
She stopped and looked a little alarmed, as if she thought perhaps after all it might be as well for Tonio and Tita to be like most of the people she knew—quite unable to read or write.
She crossed herself, and snatched Tita to her breast.
"You shall not learn enough to make you fly away from the nest, my bird!" she said.
Then Pancho spoke again. "With girls it does not matter," he said. "Girls do not need to know anything but how to grind corn and make tortillas, and mind the babies—that is what girls are for. But boys—boys will be men and—" But here it seemed to occur to him that perhaps he was saying too much, and he became silent again.
José had listened thoughtfully, and when Pancho finished he sighed a little and made a soft little "ting-ting-a-ting-ting" on his guitar-strings. Then he jumped up and began to sing and dance, playing the guitar all the while. It was a song about the little dwarfs, and the children loved it.
"Oh, how pretty are the dwarfs,
The little ones, the Mexicans!
Out comes the pretty one,
Out comes the ugly one,
Out comes the dwarf with his jacket of skin."
José sang,—and every time he came to the words,—
"Out comes the little one,
Out comes the pretty one,"
he stooped down as he danced and made himself look as much like a dwarf as he possibly could.
When he had finished the Dwarf Song, José tucked his guitar under his arm, and bowed politely to Dona Teresa and Pancho.
"Adios!" he said. "May you rest well."
"Adios, adios!" shouted all the children.
And Pancho and Dona Teresa and the Twins replied: "Adios! God give you sweet sleep."
Then José and the children went away, and the tinkle of the guitar grew fainter and fainter in the distance. When they could no longer hear it, Dona Teresa went into the cabin, unrolled the mats, and laid out the pillows, and soon the Twins and their father and mother were all sound asleep on their hard beds.
When at last everything was quiet, the red rooster came stepping round from behind the house, and looked at the dying coals of the fire as if he wondered whether they were good to eat. He seemed to think it best not to risk it, however, for he flew up into the fig tree once more and settled himself for the night.
WEEK 40 |
Joshua ix: 1, to xi: 23.
HE news of all that Joshua and the men of Israel had done at Jericho and at Ai, how they had destroyed those cities and slain their people, went through all the land. Everywhere the tribes of Canaan prepared to fight these strangers who had so suddenly and so boldly entered their country.
Near the middle of the mountain region, between Jerusalem and Shechem, were four cities of a race called either the Hivites, or the Gibeonites, from their chief city, Gibeon. These people felt that they could not resist the Israelites; so they undertook to make peace with them. Their cities were less than a day's journey from the camp at Gilgal, and quite near to Ai; but they came to Joshua at the camp, looking as if they had made a long journey.
They were wearing old and ragged garments, and shoes worn out; and they brought dry and mouldy bread, and old bags of food, and wine-skins torn and mended. They met Joshua and the elders of Israel in the camp, and said to them:
"We live in a country far away; but we have heard of the great things that you have done; the journey you have made, and the cities you have taken on the other side of the river Jordan; and now we have come to offer you our friendship and to make peace with you." And Joshua said to them, "Who are you? And from what land do you come?"
The Gibeonites come to Joshua.
"We have come," they said, "from a country far away. See this bread. We took it hot from the oven, and now it is mouldy. These wine-skins were new when we filled them, and you see they are old. Look at our garments and our shoes, all worn out and patched."
Joshua and the elders did not ask the Lord what to do, but made an agreement with these men to have peace with them, not to destroy their cities, and to spare the lives of their people. And a very few days after making peace with them they found that the four cities where they lived were very near.
At first the Israelite rulers were very angry, and were inclined to break their agreement, but afterward they said:
"We will keep our promise to these people, though they have deceived us. We will let them live, but they shall be made our servants, and shall do the hard work for the camp and for the Tabernacle."
Even this was better than to be killed, and to have their cities destroyed; and the Gibeonite people were glad to save their lives. So from that time the people of the four Gibeonite cities carried burdens, and drew water, and cut wood, and served the camp of Israel.
The largest city near to the camp at Gilgal was Jerusalem, among the mountains, where its king, Melchizedek, in the days of Abraham, five hundred years before, had been a priest of the Lord, and had blessed Abraham, as we read in Story 6. But now, in the days of Joshua, the people of that city worshipped idols and were very wicked.
When the king of Jerusalem heard that the Gibeonites, who lived near him, had made peace with Israel, he sent to the kings of Hebron and Lachish and several other cities, and said to them:
"Come, let us unite our armies into one great army and fight the Gibeonites and destroy them; for they have made peace with our enemies, the people of Israel."
As soon as the people of Gibeon heard this they sent to Joshua, saying:
"Come quickly and help us; for we are your servants; and the king of Jerusalem is coming with a great army to kill us all, and destroy our cities. The whole country is in arms against us; come at once, before it is too late!"
Joshua was a very prompt man, swift in all his acts. At once he called out his army, and marched all night up the mountains. He came suddenly upon the five kings and their army at a place called Beth-horon. There a great battle was fought, Joshua leading his men against the Canaanites. He did not give his enemies time to form in line, but fell upon them so suddenly that they were driven into confusion, and fled before the men of Israel.
And the Lord helped his people by a storm which drove great hailstones down on the Canaanites; so that more were killed by the hailstones than by the sword. It is written in an old song that on that day Joshua said before all his men:
"Sun, stand thou still over Gibeon.
And thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon,
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,
Until the people had taken vengeance upon their enemies."
If ever in all the history of the world there was a battle when the sun might well stand still, and the day be made longer, to make the victory complete, it was that day more than any other. For on that day the land was won by the people of the Lord. If Israel had been defeated and destroyed, instead of Canaan, then the Bible would never have been written, the worship of the true God would have been blotted out, and the whole world would have worshipped idols. The battle that day was for the salvation of the world as well as of Israel. So this was the greatest battle in its results that the world has ever seen. There have been many battles where more men fought, and more soldiers were slain, than at the battle of Beth-horon. But no battle in all the world had such an effect in the years and the ages after, as this battle.
After the victory Joshua followed his enemies as they fled, and killed many of them, until their armies were broken up and destroyed. The five kings who had led against Joshua were found hidden in a cave, were brought out and were slain, so that they might no more trouble the Israelites. By this one victory all the part of the land of Canaan on the south was won, though there were a few small fights afterward.
Then Joshua turned to the north, and led his army by a swift march against the kings who had united there to fight the Israelites. As suddenly as before he had fallen on the five kings at Beth-horon, he fell upon these kings and their army, near the little lake in the far north of Canaan, called "the waters of Merom." There another great victory was won; and after this it was easy to conquer the land. Everywhere the tribes of Canaan were made to submit to the Israelites, until all the mountain country was under Joshua's rule.
In the conquest of Canaan, there were six great marches and six battles; three in the lands on the east of the Jordan, while Moses was still living, the victories over the Amorites, the Midianites, and the people of Bashan, on the northeast, and there on the west of the Jordan, the victories at Jericho, at Beth-horon, and Lake Merom, under Joshua.
But even after these marchings and victories, it was a long time before all the land was taken by the Israelites.
Stroke a flint, and there is nothing to admire:
Strike a flint, and forthwith flash out sparks of fire.