WEEK 41 |
YOU will remember there was no road—not even a pathway—between the castle of the Wicked Witch and the Emerald City. When the four travellers went in search of the Witch she had seen them coming, and so sent the Winged Monkeys to bring them to her. It was much harder to find their way back through the big fields of buttercups and yellow daisies than it was being carried. They knew, of course, they must go straight east, toward the rising sun; and they started off in the right way. But at noon, when the sun was over their heads, they did not know which was east and which was west, and that was the reason they were lost in the great fields. They kept on walking, however, and at night the moon came out and shone brightly. So they lay down among the sweet smelling yellow flowers and slept soundly until morning—all but the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman.
The next morning the sun was behind a cloud, but they started on, as if they were quite sure which way they were going.
"If we walk far enough," said Dorothy, "we shall sometime come to some place, I am sure."
But day by day passed away, and they still saw nothing before them but the yellow fields. The Scarecrow began to grumble a bit.
"We have surely lost our way," he said, "and unless we find it again in time to reach the Emerald City I shall never get my brains."
"Nor I my heart," declared the Tin Woodman. "It seems to me I can scarcely wait till I get to Oz, and you must admit this is a very long journey."
"You see," said the Cowardly Lion, with a whimper, "I haven't the courage to keep tramping forever, without getting anywhere at all."
Then Dorothy lost heart. She sat down on the grass and looked at her companions, and they sat down and looked at her, and Toto found that for the first time in his life he was too tired to chase a butterfly that flew past his head; so he put out his tongue and panted and looked at Dorothy as if to ask what they should do next.
"Suppose we call the Field Mice," she suggested. "They could probably tell us the way to the Emerald City."
"To be sure they could," cried the Scarecrow; "why didn't we think of that before?"
Dorothy blew the little whistle she had always carried about her neck since the Queen of the Mice had given it to her. In a few minutes they heard the pattering of tiny feet, and many of the small grey mice came running up to her. Among them was the Queen herself, who asked, in her squeaky little voice,
"What can I do for my friends?"
"We have lost our way," said Dorothy. "Can you tell us where the Emerald City is?"
"Certainly," answered the Queen; "but it is a great way off, for you have had it at your backs all this time." Then she noticed Dorothy's Golden Cap, and said, "Why don't you use the charm of the Cap, and call the Winged Monkeys to you? They will carry you to the City of Oz in less than an hour."
"I didn't know there was a charm," answered Dorothy, in surprise. "What is it?"
"It is written inside the Golden Cap," replied the Queen of the Mice; "but if you are going to call the Winged Monkeys we must run away, for they are full of mischief and think it great fun to plague us."
"Won't they hurt me?" asked the girl, anxiously.
"Oh, no; they must obey the wearer of the Cap. Good-bye!" And she scampered out of sight, with all the mice hurrying after her.
Dorothy looked inside the Golden Cap and saw some words written upon the lining. These, she thought, must be the charm, so she read the directions carefully and put the Cap upon her head.
"Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!" she said, standing on her left foot.
"What did you say?" asked the Scarecrow, who did not know what she was doing.
"Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo!" Dorothy went on, standing this time on her right foot.
"Hello!" replied the Tin Woodman, calmly.
[Illustration: "_The Monkeys caught Dorothy in their arms and flew away with her._"]
"Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!" said Dorothy, who was now standing on both feet. This ended the saying of the charm, and they heard a great chattering and flapping of wings, as the band of Winged Monkeys flew up to them. The King bowed low before Dorothy, and asked,
"What is your command?"
"We wish to go to the Emerald City," said the child, "and we have lost our way."
"We will carry you," replied the King, and no sooner had he spoken than two of the Monkeys caught Dorothy in their arms and flew away with her. Others took the Scarecrow and the Woodman and the Lion, and one little Monkey seized Toto and flew after them, although the dog tried hard to bite him.
The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman were rather frightened at first, for they remembered how badly the Winged Monkeys had treated them before; but they saw that no harm was intended, so they rode through the air quite cheerfully, and had a fine time looking at the pretty gardens and woods far below them.
Dorothy found herself riding easily between two of the biggest Monkeys, one of them the King himself. They had made a chair of their hands and were careful not to hurt her.
"Why do you have to obey the charm of the Golden Cap?" she asked.
"That is a long story," answered the King, with a laugh; "but as we have a long journey before us I will pass the time by telling you about it, if you wish."
"I shall be glad to hear it," she replied.
"Once," began the leader, "we were a free people, living happily in the great forest, flying from tree to tree, eating nuts and fruit, and doing just as we pleased without calling anybody master. Perhaps some of us were rather too full of mischief at times, flying down to pull the tails of the animals that had no wings, chasing birds, and throwing nuts at the people who walked in the forest. But we were careless and happy and full of fun, and enjoyed every minute of the day. This was many years ago, long before Oz came out of the clouds to rule over this land.
"There lived here then, away at the North, a beautiful princess, who was also a powerful sorceress. All her magic was used to help the people, and she was never known to hurt anyone who was good. Her name was Gayelette, and she lived in a handsome palace built from great blocks of ruby. Everyone loved her, but her greatest sorrow was that she could find no one to love in return, since all the men were much too stupid and ugly to mate with one so beautiful and wise. At last, however, she found a boy who was handsome and manly and wise beyond his years. Gayelette made up her mind that when he grew to be a man she would make him her husband, so she took him to her ruby palace and used all her magic powers to make him as strong and good and lovely as any woman could wish. When he grew to manhood, Quelala, as he was called, was said to be the best and wisest man in all the land, while his manly beauty was so great that Gayelette loved him dearly, and hastened to make everything ready for the wedding.
"My grandfather was at that time the King of the Winged Monkeys which lived in the forest near Gayalette's palace, and the old fellow loved a joke better than a good dinner. One day, just before the wedding, my grandfather was flying out with his band when he saw Quelala walking beside the river. He was dressed in a rich costume of pink silk and purple velvet, and my grandfather thought he would see what he could do. At his word the band flew down and seized Quelala, carried him in their arms until they were over the middle of the river, and then dropped him into the water.
"'Swim out, my fine fellow,'" cried my grandfather, "'and see if the water has spotted your clothes.'" Quelala was much too wise not to swim, and he was not in the least spoiled by all his good fortune. He laughed, when he came to the top of the water, and swam in to shore. But when Gayelette came running out to him she found his silks and velvet all ruined by the river.
"The princess was very angry, and she knew, of course, who did it. She had all the Winged Monkeys brought before her, and she said at first that their wings should be tied and they should be treated as they had treated Quelala, and dropped in the river. But my grandfather pleaded hard, for he knew the Monkeys would drown in the river with their wings tied, and Quelala said a kind word for them also; so that Gayelette finally spared them, on condition that the Winged Monkeys should ever after do three times the bidding of the owner of the Golden Cap. This Cap had been made for a wedding present to Quelala, and it is said to have cost the princess half her kingdom. Of course my grandfather and all the other Monkeys at once agreed to the condition, and that is how it happens that we are three times the slaves of the owner of the Golden Cap, whomsoever he may be."
"And what became of them?" asked Dorothy, who had been greatly interested in the story.
"Quelala being the first owner of the Golden Cap," replied the Monkey, "he was the first to lay his wishes upon us. As his bride could not bear the sight of us, he called us all to him in the forest after he had married her and ordered us to always keep where she could never again set eyes on a Winged Monkey, which we were glad to do, for we were all afraid of her.
"This was all we ever had to do until the Golden Cap fell into the hands of the Wicked Witch of the West, who made us enslave the Winkies, and afterward drive Oz himself out of the Land of the West. Now the Golden Cap is yours, and three times you have the right to lay your wishes upon us."
As the Monkey King finished his story Dorothy looked down and saw the green, shining walls of the Emerald City before them. She wondered at the rapid flight of the Monkeys, but was glad the journey was over. The strange creatures set the travellers down carefully before the gate of the City, the King bowed low to Dorothy, and then flew swiftly away, followed by all his band.
"That was a good ride," said the little girl.
"Yes, and a quick way out of our troubles." replied the Lion. "How lucky it was you brought away that wonderful Cap!"
Will you be my little wife,
If I ask you? Do!
I'll buy you such a Sunday frock,
A nice umbrella, too.
And you shall have a little hat,
With such a long white feather,
A pair of gloves, and sandal shoes,
The softest kind of leather.
And you shall have a tiny house,
A beehive full of bees,
A little cow, a largish cat
And green sage cheese.
WEEK 41 |
A FTER two winters of cold and darkness, Doctor Kane made up his mind to leave the ship fast in the ice. He wanted to get to a place in Greenland where there were people living. Then he might find some way of getting home again.
The men started out, drawing the boats on sleds. Whenever they came to open water, they put the boats into the water, and took the sleds in the boats. When they came to the ice again, they had to draw out their boats, and carry them on the sleds. At first they could travel only about a mile a day.
It was a hard journey. Some of the men were ill. These had to be drawn on the sleds by the rest. They had not enough food. At one time they rested three days in a kind of cave. Here they found many birds' eggs. These made very good food for them. At another place they staid a week. They staid just to eat the eggs of the wild birds.
After they left this place, they were hungry. The men grew thinner and thinner. It seemed that they must die for want of food. But one day they saw a large seal. He was floating on a piece of ice. The hungry men thought, "What a fine dinner he would make for us!" If they could get the seal, they would not die of hunger.
Every one of the poor fellows trembled for fear the seal would wake up. A man named Petersen took a gun, and got ready to shoot. The men rowed the boat toward the seal. They rowed slowly and quietly. But the seal waked up. He raised his head. The men thought that he would jump off into the water. Then they might all die for want of food.
Doctor Kane made a motion to Petersen. That was to tell him to shoot quickly. But Petersen did not shoot. He was so much afraid that the seal would get away, that he could not shoot. The seal now raised himself a little more. He was getting ready to jump into the water. Just then Petersen fired. The seal fell dead on the ice.
Shooting the Seal
The men were wild with joy. They rowed the boats with all their might. When they got to the seal, they dragged it farther away from the water. They were so happy, that they danced on the ice. Some of them laughed. Some were so glad, that they cried.
Then they took their knives and began to cut up the seal. They had no fire on the ice, and they were too hungry to think of lighting one. So they ate the meat of the seal without waiting to cook it.
There lives an old man at the top of the street,
And the end of his beard reaches down to his feet,
And he's just the one person I'm longing to meet,
I think that he sounds so exciting;
For he talks all the day to his tortoiseshell cat,
And he asks about this, and explains about that,
And at night he puts on a big
And sits in the
He has worked all his life (and he's terribly old)
At a wonderful spell which says, "Lo, and behold!
Your nursery fender is gold!"—and it's gold!
(Or the tongs, or the rod for the curtain);
But somehow he hasn't got hold of it quite,
Or the liquid you pour on it first isn't right,
So that's why he works at it night after night
Till he knows he can do it for certain.
WEEK 41 |
S UCH lots of queer eggs as Kittie and Ko and Jack found that summer and the next! Once started looking for eggs they found them everywhere. Even in the winter they found spiders' eggs in the cellar, and the boys' father told the children about the grasshoppers' eggs lying in the ground where the mother grasshopper had laid them, all ready to hatch into little grasshoppers when the spring came.
"We'll be on hand when spring comes," Jack said; and sure enough they were, and about the first thing they found were the frogs' eggs in the ponds.
These eggs were little round balls about as big as peas, dark-colored on one side, and a dozen or more encased in something that looked like colorless jelly.
The children put some of these egg masses in a jar of water and watched them. After a while they hatched into tadpoles, or pollywogs, as the children called them.
"I wonder why things don't hatch right out, instead of hatching into something else first," Kittie said, as she looked at them.
"I wonder, too," said Jack. "Butterflies' eggs
make caterpillars, flies' eggs
make maggots, beetles' eggs make grubs,
frogs' eggs make pollywogs,—and after
a while the caterpillars turn into butterflies,
and the maggots into flies, and the
grubs into beetles, and the pollywogs into
frogs. It's an awful
"But they all come out right in the end," said Kittie.
"I'm going to keep my eye on these fellows," said Jack, looking into the jar of pollywogs, "and see them get their legs."
"There's one already got hind legs," said Kittie, pointing to a black little pollywog, and sure enough he was the proud possessor of two very tiny legs.
It was not long before they all had hind legs, and a right merry time they had swimming about with their stout little tails, with their new legs to help them.
"I believe their front legs come out of these little pockets where the gills are," Jack said, one day. "It seems to me I can see them in there."
"I believe you're right," said Ko.
And he was; for one day, out of those very same openings there slipped the little forelegs.
"I tell you, they're getting a new mouth," Kittie declared, one day. The boys laughed at this, but they laughed too soon, for the pollywogs were getting new mouths.
Their old mouths, which were just little round openings, by means of which they greedily ate the bread-crumbs and bits of meat the children fed them, disappeared, and fine, wide frog mouths opened in another place. Nose openings appeared too, and finally the tails began to shrink. It was not long after this that the pollywogs lost their tails entirely. They just shrank and shrank until no tails were left, and in short, the brown pollywogs turned into little green frogs.
"One of them's dead! The biggest one, too!" cried Kittie, one morning.
Sure enough, the little thing was lying on its back in the water.
"I think it is drowned," said Mother, coming at Kittie's cries to see what had happened.
"Drowned!" exclaimed all three children, for the boys always came over the first thing after breakfast to look at the "pollys," as they called their pets.
"Yes," said Mother, "it seems strange at first, but you must remember that frogs have lungs like ours, and breathe air. They go under water and sometimes stay a good while, but after all, only as long as they can hold their breath. When they want to breathe they have to come to the top.
"Now these little fellows, as long as they are pollywogs, breathe with gills, like fishes; but when they turn into frogs they lose their gills and get lungs. This water is very deep for them; and this one, which has turned wholly into a frog, was not able to stay on top long enough to get all the air it needed.
"You will have to put them in a shallower dish, and put in some stones, so they can come out when they get ready."
"Poor little thing," said Kittie, laying the froggie on its back on her hand. "I'm going to try 'monia,—that brings people to, sometimes, and maybe it's only in a faint."
So she got the ammonia bottle and held it to the froggie's nose. Well, what do you think happened?
Froggie's leg jerked! Kittie was so excited that she
spilled a drop of ammonia on one little foot. This made
froggie jump in earnest, and pretty soon he was sitting
up, "winking" his throat, as Jack said, just like any
He soon recovered from his drowning, but the ammonia had hurt the tender little foot so that it never grew quite right, and when he had grown to be a big fellow, and ate as many flies and other insects as the children could get for him, he always had one "game leg," as Ko said, in memory of the time when he was nearly drowned.
This is a true story, every word of it, and if you want to have some fun, my wise little readers, I advise you to get some frogs' eggs next spring for yourself. You can watch the legs come out, and the nose and mouth appear.
Only be careful and not drown your froggies when they get through being tadpoles, and be sure to feed them. And be very sure to keep them in plenty of fresh water from the start,—otherwise they will die.
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 41 |
O NCE upon a time there was a little White Rabbit with two beautiful long pink ears and two bright red eyes and four soft little feet—such a pretty little White Rabbit, but he wasn't happy.
Just think, this little White Rabbit wanted to be somebody else instead of the nice little rabbit that he was.
When Mr. Bushy Tail, the gray squirrel, went by, the little White Rabbit would say to his Mammy:
"Oh, Mammy, I wish I had a long gray tail like Mr. Bushy Tail's."
And when Mr. Porcupine went by, the little White Rabbit would say to his Mammy:
"Oh, Mammy, I wish I had a back full of bristles like Mr. Porcupine's."
And when Miss Puddle-Duck went by in her two little red rubbers, the little White Rabbit would say:
"Oh, Mammy, I wish I had a pair of red rubbers like Miss Puddle-Duck's."
So he went on and on wishing until his Mammy was clean tired out with his wishing and Old Mr. Ground Hog heard him one day.
Old Mr. Ground Hog is very wise indeed, so he said to the little White Rabbit:
"Why don't you-all go down to Wishing Pond, and if you look in the water at yourself and turn around three times in a circle, you-all will get your wish."
So the little White Rabbit trotted off, all alone by himself through the woods until he came to a little pool of green water lying in a low tree stump, and that was the Wishing Pond. There was a little, little bird, all red, sitting on the edge of the Wishing Pond to get a drink, and as soon as the little White Rabbit saw him he began to wish again:
"Oh, I wish I had a pair of little red wings!" he said. Just then he looked in the Wishing Pond and he saw his little white face. Then he turned around three times and something happened. He began to have a queer feeling in his shoulders, like he felt in his mouth when he was cutting his teeth. It was his wings coming through. So he sat all day in the woods by the Wishing Pond waiting for them to grow, and, by and by, when it was almost sundown, he started home to see his Mammy and show her, because he had a beautiful pair of long, trailing red wings.
But by the time he reached home it was getting dark, and when he went in the hole at the foot of a big tree where he lived, his Mammy didn't know him. No, she really and truly did not know him, because, you see, she had never seen a rabbit with red wings in all her life. And so the little White Rabbit had to go out again, because his Mammy wouldn't let him get into his own bed. He had to go out and look for some place to sleep all night.
He went and went until he came to Mr. Bushy Tail's house, and he rapped on the door and said:
"Please, kind Mr. Bushy Tail, may I sleep in your house all night?"
But Mr. Bushy Tail opened his door a crack and then he slammed it tight shut again. You see he had never seen a rabbit with red wings in all his life.
So the little White Rabbit went and went until he came to Miss Puddle-Duck's nest down by the marsh and he said:
"Please, kind Miss Puddle-Duck, may I sleep in your nest all night?"
But Miss Puddle-Duck poked her head up out of her nest just a little way and then she shut her eyes and stretched her wings out so far that she covered her whole nest.
You see she had never seen a rabbit with red wings in all her life.
So the little White Rabbit went and went until he came to Old Mr. Ground Hog's hole and Old Mr. Ground Hog let him sleep with him all night, but the hole had beech nuts spread all over it. Old Mr. Ground Hog liked to sleep on them, but they hurt the little White Rabbit's feet and made him very uncomfortable before morning.
When it came morning, the little White Rabbit decided to try his wings and fly a little, so he climbed up on a hill and spread his wings and sailed off, but he landed in a low bush all full of prickles, and his four feet got mixed up with the twigs so he couldn't get down.
"Mammy, Mammy, Mammy, come and help me!" he called.
His Mammy didn't hear him, but Old Mr. Ground Hog did, and he came and helped the little White Rabbit out of the prickly bush.
"Don't you-all want your red wings?" Mr. Ground Hog asked.
"No, no!" said the little White Rabbit.
"Well," said the Old Ground Hog, "why don't you-all go down to the Wishing Pond and wish them off again?"
So the little White Rabbit went down to the Wishing Pond and he saw his face in it. Then he turned around three times, and, sure enough, his red wings were gone. Then he went home to his Mammy, who knew him right away and was so glad to see him and he never, never wished to be something different from what he really was again.
Children, you are very little,
And your bones are very brittle;
If you would grow great and stately,
You must try to walk sedately.
You must still be bright and quiet,
And content with simple diet;
And remain, through all bewild'ring,
Innocent and honest children.
Happy hearts and happy faces,
Happy play in grassy places—
That was how, in ancient ages,
Children grew to kings and sages.
But the unkind and the unruly,
And the sort who eat unduly,
They must never hope for glory—
Theirs is quite a different story!
Cruel children, crying babies,
All grow up as geese and gabies,
Hated, as their age increases,
By their nephews and their nieces.
WEEK 41 |
"Forward, backward, backward, forward, in the immeasurable sea,
Sway'd by vaster ebbs and flows than can be known to you or me."
A LEXANDER THE GREAT was dead, and with his death the mighty empire of the East, that he had founded, crumbled away. But the city, called by his name in Egypt, lived and thrived.
There is a curious story told about the founding of Alexandria. The king had already staked out a piece of ground on which to build his Grecian city, when he had a dream. In his sleep he saw an old grey-headed man, whom he recognised as Homer. Standing over him the Greek poet said—
"An island lies, where loud the billows roar,
Pharos they call it, on the Egyptian shore."
Alexander got up and went off to Pharos at once. He found there a little island, at the mouth of the river Nile, and at once saw how suitable a place this was for a port. Here was a long neck of land stretching, like an isthmus, between large lagoons on one side, and the sea on the other. Hence there was a harbour on the sea side, sheltered by the island of Pharos, and one on the other side, opening to the Nile. The place seemed to be the meeting-point of the whole Nile region, with the Mediterranean world.
The king ordered, that a plan of the city should be marked out; but the soil was black and they had no chalk, so they laid out the lines with flour. Suddenly a number of birds rose up from the lagoons like a black cloud, and pecked up every morsel of the flour. At first the king was troubled; but he soon took heart again when the prophets told him that it was a sign, that the new city would be the feeder of many nations.
So the city rose; it was joined to the island of Pharos, by a causeway of a mile long, and its greatness, as a mart of the world, must have far surpassed the wildest dreams of Alexander. He had opened up new channels of trade, and raised fresh wants and fresh hopes for each country he conquered. In the vast tracts of country through which he had passed, he had founded Greek cities and colonies peopled by Greeks, who taught the Eastern folk something of trade and habits of industry.
Thus new articles of commerce, of which the Western world knew nothing, were brought to light; a cotton tree was discovered, from which paper could be made, shawls were created from the hair of the goats found in Thibet, rice was brought from India, and wine was made from the juice of palms.
In the foundation of Alexandria the king showed he was keenly alive to the value of commerce between Europe and the East; but more important still, he was the first to see, that the command of the sea, is necessary to the possession of land.
So vessels plied up and down the Mediterranean Sea, backwards and forwards, bringing merchandise to Alexandria,
trading with Athens, with Carthage, with Syracuse, with Rome, with the East, until the city grew and grew. A
wonderful lighthouse, of white marble, was built on the island of Pharos, four hundred feet high, which was
reckoned among the seven wonders of the world.
Fires were lit on its summit to guide the vessels safely into port; and
Heavy and round were the old ships, that were used for the merchant service in those days. Many a one might be seen in the port of Alexandria with its single sail, its curly prow, and the eye painted on either side to ward off ill-luck. Often enough these ships were painted bright colours,—blue, purple, and red,—and must have looked quaint enough, as they put out to sea in the fine summer weather. They could only sail for certain months in the year.
"For fifty days before the end of the harvest is the tide for sailing," says an old writer; "then you will not wreck your ship, nor will the sea wash down your crew. In that season winds are steady and ocean kind: with mind at rest, launch your ship and stow your freight, but make all speed to return home, and await not till the winter approaches and the terrible South wind stirs the waves and makes the sea cruel."
In the port of Alexandria too, as well as on the seas, might be seen some of the Greek warships known as triremes. They were built with three rows of benches, one above another, on each bench two rowers, so that sometimes there were as many as one hundred and seventy rowers in the ship.
It was all very different in those days to what it is now, when no ship is rowed at sea, save near the coast. Winter and summer, through night and through day, the great steamships of all countries ride the rough seas, carrying cargoes from one land to another.
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.
WEEK 41 |
I T is hard for us to understand how they tell what season it is in a country like Mexico, where there is no winter, and no snow except on the tops of high mountains, and where flowers bloom all the year round.
Tonio and Tita can tell pretty well by the way they go to school. During the very hot dry weather of April and May there is vacation. In June, when the rainy season begins, school opens again. Then, though the rain pours down during some part of every day or night, in between times the sky is so blue, and the sunshine so bright, and the air so sweet, that the Twins like the rainy season really better than the dry.
If you should pass the open door of their school some day when it is in session, you
would hear a perfect Babel of voices all talking at once and saying such things as
this,—only they would say them in Spanish instead of
"The cat sees the rat. Run, rat, run. Two times six is thirteen, two times seven is
fifteen" (I hope you'd know at once that that was wrong). "Mexico is bounded on the north
by the United States of America, on the east by the Gulf of Mexico, on the west by the
Pacific Ocean, on the
Then perhaps you would clap your hands on your ears and think the whole school had gone crazy, but it would only mean that in Mexico the children all study aloud. The sixth grade is as high as any one ever goes, and most of them stop at the fourth.
Señor Fernandez thinks that is learning enough for any peon, and as it is his school, and his teacher, and his land, of course things have to be as he says.
Pancho asked the priest about it one day. He said: "I should like to have Tonio get as much learning as he can. Learning must be a great thing. All the rich and powerful people seem to have it. Perhaps that is what makes them rich and powerful."
But the priest shook his head and said, "Tonio needs only to know how to be good, and obey the Church, and to read and write and count a little. More knowledge than that would make him unhappy and discontented with his lot. You do not wish to make him unhappy. Contentment with godliness is great gain. Is it not so, my son?"
The priest called everybody, even Señor Fernandez himself, "my son," unless he was speaking to a girl or a woman, and then he said, "my daughter."
Pancho scratched his head as if he were very much puzzled by a good many things in this world, but he only said, "Yes, little father," very humbly, and went away to mend the gate of the calves' corral.
I am not going to tell you very much about the Twins' school, because the Twins didn't care so very much about it themselves.
But I am going to tell you about one particular day, because that day a great deal happened to Tonio. Some of it wasn't at all pleasant, but you will not be surprised at that when I explain the reason why.
A good many months had passed by since San Ramon's Day, and it was a bright beautiful spring morning, when the Twins left their little adobe hut to go to school.
They had to be there at half past eight, and as the schoolhouse was some distance down the road and there were a great many interesting things on the way, they started rather early.
Doña Teresa gave them two tortillas apiece, rolled up with beans inside, to eat at recess,
and Tonio wrapped them in a cloth and carried them in his hat just the way Pancho carried
his lunch, only there was no
chile sauce, this time. Doña Teresa waved
The air was full of the sweet odor of honeysuckle blossoms, and the roadsides were gay with flowers, as the Twins walked along. The birds were flying about getting material for their nests, and singing as if they would split their little throats.
Sheep were grazing peacefully in a pasture beside the road, with their lambs gamboling about them. In a field beyond, the goats were leaping up in the air and butting playfully at each other, as if the lovely day made them feel lively too. Calves were bleating in the corrals, and away off on the distant hillside the children could see cows moving about, and an occasional flash of red when a vaquero rode along, his bright serape flying in the sun.
Farther away there were blue, blue mountain-peaks crowned with glistening snow, and from one of them a faint streak of white smoke rose against the blue of the sky. It was a beautiful morning in a beautiful world where it seemed as if every one was meant to be happy and good.
The school was not far from the gate where José, the
The Twins stopped to speak to José, and just then on a stone right beside the gate Tonio saw a little green lizard taking a sun bath. He was about six inches long and he looked like a tiny alligator.
Tonio crept up behind him very quietly and as quick as a flash caught him by the tail.
Just then the teacher rang the bell, and the Twins ran along to join the other children at the schoolhouse door, but not one of them, not even Tita herself, knew that Tonio had that green lizard in his pocket!
Tonio didn't wear any clothes except a thin white cotton suit, and he could feel the lizard squirming round in his pocket. Tonio didn't like tickling, and the lizard tickled like everything.
As they came into the schoolroom, the boys took off their hats and said, "God give you good day," to the Señor Maestro—that is what they called the teacher.
Then they hung their hats on nails in the wall, while the girls curtsied to the teacher and went to their seats.
When they were all in their places and quiet, the Señor Maestro stood up in front of the school, and raised his hand. At once all the children knelt down beside their seats. The Maestro knelt too, put his hands together, bowed his head, and said a prayer. He was right in the middle of the prayer when the lizard tickled so awfully in Tonio's pocket that Tonio,—I really hate to have to tell it, but facts are facts,—Tonio laughed—aloud!
Then he was so scared, and so afraid he would laugh again if the lizard kept on tickling, that he put his hand in his pocket and took it out. Kneeling in front of Tonio was a boy named Pablo, and the bare soles of his feet were turned up in such a way that Tonio just couldn't help dropping the lizard on to them.
The lizard ran right up Pablo's leg, inside his cotton trousers, and Pablo let out a yell like a wild Indian on the warpath, and began to act as if he had gone crazy.
He jumped up and danced about clutching his clothes, and screaming! The Señor Maestro and the children were perfectly amazed. They couldn't think what ailed Pablo until, all of a sudden, the green lizard dropped on the floor out of his sleeve and scuttled as fast as it could toward the girls' side of the room. Then the girls screamed and stood on their seats until the lizard got out of sight.
Nobody knew where it had gone, until the Señor Maestro suddenly fished it out of a chink in the adobe wall and held it up by the tail.
"Who brought this lizard into the schoolroom?" he asked.
Tonio didn't have to say a word. I don't know how they could be so sure of it, but all the children pointed their fingers at Tonio and said, "He did."
The Maestro said very sternly to Tonio, "Go out to the willow tree and bring me a strong switch." Tonio went.
He went very slowly and came back with the willow switch more slowly still.
I think you can guess what happened next—I hope you can, for I really cannot bear to
tell you about it. When it was over Tonio was sent home, while all the other children sat
straight up in their seats, looking so hard at their books that they were almost
If you had asked them then, they would every one have told you that they considered it very wrong to bring lizards to school, and that under no circumstances would they ever think of doing such a thing.
Oh, hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green,
The moon o'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.
WEEK 41 |
Numbers xx: 1, to xxii: 1.
O the Israelites, after coming to the border of the promised land, went back into the wilderness to wait there until all the men who had sinned against the Lord in not trusting his word, should die. Moses knew that the men who had been slaves in Egypt, were in their spirit slaves still, and could not fight as brave men to win their land. There was need of men who had been trained up to a free life in the wilderness; men who would teach their children after them to be free and bold.
They stayed for nearly all the forty years of waiting in the wilderness of Paran, south of Canaan. Very few things happened during those years. The young men as they grew up were trained to be soldiers and one by one the old men died, until very few of them were left.
When the forty years were almost ended, the people came again to Kadesh-barnea. For some reason they found no water there. Perhaps the wells from which they had drawn water before were now dried up. The people complained against Moses, as they always complained when trouble came to them, and blamed him for bringing them into such a desert land, where there was neither fruit to eat nor water to drink, only great rocks all around.
Then the Lord said to Moses:
"Take the rod, and bring the people together, and stand before the rock, and speak to the rock before them; and then the water will come out of the rock, and the people and their flocks shall drink."
Then Moses and Aaron brought all the people together before a great rock that stood beside the camp. And Moses stood in front of the rock, with the rod in his hand; but he did not do exactly what God had told him to do, to speak to the rock. He spoke to the people instead, in an angry manner.
"Hear now, ye rebels," said Moses. "Shall we bring you water out of this rock?"
And Moses lifted up the rod, and struck the rock. Then he struck it again, and at the second blow the water came pouring out of the rock, just as it had come many years before from the rock at Rephidim, near Mount Sinai (see Story 25); and again there was a plenty of water for the people and their flocks.
But God was not pleased with Moses, because Moses had shown anger, and had not obeyed God's command just as God had given it. And God said to Moses and to Aaron:
"Because you did not show honor to me, by doing as I commanded you, neither of you shall enter into the land that I have promised to the children of Israel."
One act of disobedience cost Moses and Aaron the privilege of leading the people into their own land of promise! About this time, Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, died at Kadesh-barnea. You remember that when she was a little girl she helped to save the baby Moses, her brother, from the river (see Story 20). She also led the women in singing the song of Moses after the crossing of the Red Sea as told in Story 24. And soon after her death Moses and Aaron, and Eleazar, Aaron's son, walked together up a mountain called Mount Hor; and on the top of the mountain Moses took off the priest's robes from Aaron, and placed them on his son Eleazar; and there on the top of Mount Hor Aaron died, and Moses and Eleazar buried him. Then they came down to the camp and Eleazar took his father's place as the priest.
Miriam singing the song Moses wrote.
While they were at Kadesh-barnea, on the south of Canaan, they tried again to enter the land. But they found that the Canaanites and Amorites who lived there were too strong for them; so again they turned back to the wilderness, and sought another road to Canaan. On the south the Dead Sea, and southeast of Canaan, were living the Edomites, who had sprung from Esau, Jacob's brother, as the Israelites had sprung from Jacob (see Story 12). Thus you see the Edomites were closely related to the Israelites.
And Moses sent to the king of Edom, to say to him:
"We men of Israel are your brothers. We have come out of the land of Egypt, where the people of Egypt dealt harshly with us, and now we are going to our own land, which our God has promised to us, the land of Canaan. We pray you let us pass through your land, on our way. We will do no harm to your land nor your people. We will walk on the road to Canaan, not turning to the right hand nor the left. And we will not rob your vineyards, nor even drink from your wells, unless we pay for the water that we use."
But the king of Edom was afraid to have such a great host of people, with all their flocks and cattle, go through his land. He drew out his army, and came against the Israelites. Moses was not willing to make war on a people who were so close in their race to the Israelites, so instead of leading the Israelites through Edom, he went around it, making a long journey to the south, and then to the east, and then to the north again.
It was a long, hard journey, through a deep valley which was very hot; and for most of the journey they were going away from Canaan, and not toward it; but it was the only way, since Moses would not let them fight the men of Edom.
While they were on this long journey the people again found fault with Moses. They said, "Why have you brought us into this hot and sandy country? There is no water; and there is no bread except this vile manna, of which we are very tired! We wish that we were all back in Egypt again!"
Then God was angry with the people; and he let the fierce snakes that grew in the desert crawl among them and bite them. These snakes were called "fiery serpents," perhaps because of their bright color, or perhaps because of their eyes and tongues, which seemed to flash out fire. Their bite was poisonous, so that many of the people died.
Then the people saw that they had acted wickedly in speaking against Moses; for when they spoke against Moses they were speaking against God, who was leading them. They said:
"We have sinned against the Lord, and we are sorry. Now pray to the Lord for us, that he may take away the serpents from us."
So Moses prayed for the people, as he had prayed so many times before. And God heard Moses' prayer, and God said to him:
"Make a serpent of brass, like the fiery serpents; and set it up on a pole, where the people can see it. Then every one who is bitten may look on the serpent on the pole, and he shall live."
And Moses did as God commanded him. He made a serpent of brass, which looked like the fiery snakes; and he lifted it up on a pole where all could see it. And then, whoever had been bitten by a snake looked up at the brazen snake, and the bite did him no harm.
This brazen snake was a teaching about Christ, though it was given so long before Christ came. You remember the text which says, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him may have eternal life."
Northeast of the Dead Sea, above a brook called the brook Arnon, lived a people who were called the Amorites. Moses sent to their king, whose name was Sihon, the same message as he had sent to the king of Edom, asking for leave to go through his land. But he would not allow the Israelites to pass through. He led his army against Israel, and crossed the brook Arnon, and fought against Israel at a place called Jahaz. The Israelites here won their first great victory. In the battle they killed many of the Amorites, and with them their king, Sihon, and they took for their own all their land, as far north as the brook Jabbok. Do you remember how Jacob one night prayed by the brook Jabbok? (See Story 14.)
And after this they marched on toward the land of Canaan, coming from the east. And at last they encamped on the east bank of the river Jordan, at the foot of the mountains of Moab. Their long journey of forty years was now ended, the desert was left behind them, before them rolled the Jordan River, and beyond the Jordan they could see the hills of the land which God had promised to them for their own.
A pin has a head, but has no hair;
A clock has a face, but no mouth there;
Needles have eyes, but they cannot see;
A fly has a trunk without lock or key;
A timepiece may lose, but cannot win;
A corn-field dimples without a chin;
A hill has no leg, but has a foot;
A wine-glass a stem, but not a root;
A watch has hands, but no thumb or finger;
A boot has a tongue, but is no singer;
Rivers run, though they have no feet;
A saw has teeth, but it does not eat;
Ash-trees have keys, yet never a lock;
And baby crows, without being a cock.