Text of Plan #953
  WEEK 46  


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  by L. Frank Baum

The Dainty China Country

WHILE the Woodman was making a ladder from wood which he found in the forest Dorothy lay down and slept, for she was tired by the long walk. The Lion also curled himself up to sleep and Toto lay beside him.

The Scarecrow watched the Woodman while he worked, and said to him:

"I cannot think why this wall is here, nor what it is made of."

"Rest your brains and do not worry about the wall," replied the Woodman; "when we have climbed over it we shall know what is on the other side."

After a time the ladder was finished. It looked clumsy, but the Tin Woodman was sure it was strong and would answer their purpose. The Scarecrow waked Dorothy and the Lion and Toto, and told them that the ladder was ready. The Scarecrow climbed up the ladder first, but he was so awkward that Dorothy had to follow close behind and keep him from falling off. When he got his head over the top of the wall the Scarecrow said,

"Oh, my!"

"Go on," exclaimed Dorothy.

So the Scarecrow climbed further up and sat down on the top of the wall, and Dorothy put her head over and cried,

"Oh, my!" just as the Scarecrow had done.

Then Toto came up, and immediately began to bark, but Dorothy made him be still.

The Lion climbed the ladder next, and the Tin Woodman came last; but both of them cried, "Oh, my!" as soon as they looked over the wall. When they were all sitting in a row on the top of the wall they looked down and saw a strange sight.

[Illustration: "_These people were all made of china._"]

Before them was a great stretch of country having a floor as smooth and shining and white as the bottom of a big platter. Scattered around were many houses made entirely of china and painted in the brightest colours. These houses were quite small, the biggest of them reaching only as high as Dorothy's waist. There were also pretty little barns, with china fences around them, and many cows and sheep and horses and pigs and chickens, all made of china, were standing about in groups.

But the strangest of all were the people who lived in this queer country. There were milk-maids and shepherdesses, with bright-colored bodices and golden spots all over their gowns; and princesses with most gorgeous frocks of silver and gold and purple; and shepherds dressed in knee-breeches with pink and yellow and blue stripes down them, and golden buckles on their shoes; and princes with jewelled crowns upon their heads, wearing ermine robes and satin doublets; and funny clowns in ruffled gowns, with round red spots upon their cheeks and tall, pointed caps. And, strangest of all, these people were all made of china, even to their clothes, and were so small that the tallest of them was no higher than Dorothy's knee.

No one did so much as look at the travellers at first, except one little purple china dog with an extra-large head, which came to the wall and barked at them in a tiny voice, afterwards running away again.

"How shall we get down?" asked Dorothy.

They found the ladder so heavy they could not pull it up, so the Scarecrow fell off the wall and the others jumped down upon him so that the hard floor would not hurt their feet. Of course they took pains not to light on his head and get the pins in their feet. When all were safely down they picked up the Scarecrow, whose body was quite flattened out, and patted his straw into shape again.

"We must cross this strange place in order to get to the other side," said Dorothy; "for it would be unwise for us to go any other way except due South."

They began walking through the country of the china people, and the first thing they came to was a china milk-maid milking a china cow. As they drew near the cow suddenly gave a kick and kicked over the stool, the pail, and even the milk-maid herself, all falling on the china ground with a great clatter.

Dorothy was shocked to see that the cow had broken her leg short off, and that the pail was lying in several small pieces, while the poor milk-maid had a nick in her left elbow.

"There!" cried the milk-maid, angrily; "see what you have done! My cow has broken her leg, and I must take her to the mender's shop and have it glued on again. What do you mean by coming here and frightening my cow?"

"I'm very sorry," returned Dorothy; "please forgive us."

But the pretty milk-maid was much too vexed to make any answer. She picked up the leg sulkily and led her cow away, the poor animal limping on three legs. As she left them the milk-maid cast many reproachful glances over her shoulder at the clumsy strangers, holding her nicked elbow close to her side.

Dorothy was quite grieved at this mishap.

"We must be very careful here," said the kind-hearted Woodman, "or we may hurt these pretty little people so they will never get over it."

A little farther on Dorothy met a most beautiful dressed young princess, who stopped short as she saw the strangers and started to run away.

Dorothy wanted to see more of the Princess, so she ran after her; but the china girl cried out,

"Don't chase me! don't chase me!"

She had such a frightened little voice that Dorothy stopped and said,

"Why not?"

"Because," answered the princess, also stopping, a safe distance away, "if I run I may fall down and break myself."

"But couldn't you be mended?" asked the girl.

"Oh, yes; but one is never so pretty after being mended, you know," replied the princess.

"I suppose not," said Dorothy.

"Now there is Mr. Joker, one of our clowns," continued the china lady, "who is always trying to stand upon his head. He has broken himself so often that he is mended in a hundred places, and doesn't look at all pretty. Here he comes now, so you can see for yourself."

Indeed, a jolly little Clown now came walking toward them, and Dorothy could see that in spite of his pretty clothes of red and yellow and green he was completely covered with cracks, running every which way and showing plainly that he had been mended in many places.

The Clown put his hands in his pockets, and after puffing out his cheeks and nodding his head at them saucily he said,

"My lady fair, Why do you stare At poor old Mr. Joker? You're quite as stiff And prim as if You'd eaten up a poker!"

"Be quiet, sir!" said the princess; "can't you see these are strangers, and should be treated with respect?"

"Well, that's respect, I expect," declared the Clown, and immediately stood upon his head.

"Don't mind Mr. Joker," said the princess to Dorothy; "he is considerably cracked in his head, and that makes him foolish."

"Oh, I don't mind him a bit," said Dorothy. "But you are so beautiful," she continued, "that I am sure I could love you dearly. Won't you let me carry you back to Kansas and stand you on Aunt Em's mantle-shelf? I could carry you in my basket."

"That would make me very unhappy," answered the china princess. "You see, here in our own country we live contentedly, and can talk and move around as we please. But whenever any of us are taken away our joints at once stiffen, and we can only stand straight and look pretty. Of course that is all that is expected of us when we are on mantle-shelves and cabinets and drawing-room tables, but our lives are much pleasanter here in our own country."

"I would not make you unhappy for all the world!" exclaimed Dorothy; "so I'll just say good-bye."

"Good-bye," replied the princess.

They walked carefully through the china country. The little animals and all the people scampered out of their way, fearing the strangers would break them, and after an hour or so the travellers reached the other side of the country and came to another china wall.

It was not as high as the first, however, and by standing upon the Lion's back they all managed to scramble to the top. Then the Lion gathered his legs under him and jumped on the wall; but just as he jumped he upset a china church with his tail and smashed it all to pieces.

"That was too bad," said Dorothy, "but really I think we were lucky in not doing these little people more harm than breaking a cow's leg and a church. They are all so brittle!"

"They are, indeed," said the Scarecrow, "and I am thankful I am made of straw and cannot be easily damaged. There are worse things in the world than being a Scarecrow."



Three Little Maidens

There were three little maidens as busy as elves,

As busy as elves and as good, O!

They had a wheelbarrow as big as themselves,

And they swept up the leaves in the wood, O!


  WEEK 46  


Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by Edward Eggleston

Horace Greeley Learning To Print

H ORACE GREELEY had always wanted to be a printer. He liked books and papers. He thought it would be a fine thing to learn to make them.

One day he heard that the newspaper at East Poultney wanted a boy to learn the printer's trade. He walked many long miles to see about it. He went to see Mr. Bliss. Mr. Bliss was one of the owners of the paper. Horace found him working in his garden.

Mr. Bliss looked up. He saw a big boy coming toward him. The boy had on a white felt hat with a narrow brim. It looked like a half-peck measure. His hair was white. His trousers were too short for him. All his clothes were coarse and poor. He was such a strange-looking boy, that Mr. Bliss wanted to laugh.

"I heard that you wanted a boy," Horace said.

"Do you want to learn to print?" Mr. Bliss said.

"Yes," said Horace.

"But a printer ought to know a good many things," said Mr. Bliss. "Have you been to school much?"

"No," said Horace. "I have not had much chance at school. But I have read some."

"What have you read?" asked Mr. Bliss.

"Well, I have read some history, and some travels, and a little of everything."

Mr. Bliss had examined a great many schoolteachers. He liked to puzzle teachers with hard questions. He thought he would try Horace with these. But the gawky boy answered them all. This tow-headed boy seemed to know everything.

Mr. Bliss took a piece of paper from his pocket. He wrote on it, "Guess we'd better try him."

He gave this paper to Horace, and told him to take it to the printing office. Horace, with his little white hat and strange ways, went into the printing office. The boys in the office laughed at him. But the foreman said he would try him.

That night the boys in the office said to Mr. Bliss, "You are not going to take that towhead, are you?"

Mr. Bliss said, "There is something in that towhead. You boys will find it out soon."

A few days after this, Horace came to East Poultney to begin his work. He carried a little bundle of clothes tied up in a handkerchief.

The foreman showed him how to begin. From that time he did not once look around. All day he worked at his type. He learned more in a day than some boys do in a month.


Greeley Setting Type

Day after day he worked, and said nothing. The other boys joked him. But he did not seem to hear them. He only kept on at his work. They threw type at him. But he did not look up.

The largest boy in the office thought he could find a way to tease him. One day he said that Horace's hair was too white. He went and got the ink ball. He stained Horace's hair black in four places. This ink stain would not wash out. But Horace did not once look up.

After that, the boys did not try to tease him any more. They all liked the good-hearted Horace. And everybody in the town wondered that the boy knew so much.

Horace's father had moved away to Pennsylvania. Horace sent him all the money he could spare. He soon became a good printer. He started a paper of his own. He became a famous newspaper man.



A. A. Milne

Puppy and I

I met a man as I went walking;

We got talking,

Man and I.

"Where are you going to, Man?" I said

(I said to the Man as he went by).

"Down to the village, to get some bread.

Will you come with me?"  "No, not I."

I met a Horse as I went walking;

We got talking,

Horse and I.

"Where are you going to, Horse, today?"

(I said to the Horse as he went by).

"Down to the village to get some hay.

Will you come with me?"  "No, not I."

I met a Woman as I went walking;

We got talking,

Woman and I.

"Where are you going to, Woman, so early?"

(I said to the Woman as she went by).

"Down to the village to get some barley.

Will you come with me?"  "No, not I."

I met some Rabbits as I went walking;

We got talking,

Rabbits and I.

"Where are you going in your brown fur coats?"

(I said to the Rabbits as they went by).

"Down to the village to get some oats.

Will you come with us?"  "No, not I."

I met a Puppy as I went walking;

We got talking,

Puppy and I.

"Where are you going this nice fine day?"

(I said to the Puppy as he went by).

"Up in the hills to roll and play."

"I'll  come with you, Puppy," said I.


  WEEK 46  


Among the Farmyard People  by Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Bragging Peacock


T HE farmyard people will never forget the coming of the Peacock; or rather they will never forget the first day that he spent with them. He came in the evening after all the fowls had gone to roost, and their four-legged friends were dozing comfortably in meadow and pasture corners, so nobody saw him until the next morning.

You can imagine how surprised they were when a beautiful great fowl of greenish-blue strutted across the yard, holding his head well in the air and dragging his splendid train behind him. The fowls were just starting out for their daily walks, and they stopped and held one foot in the air, and stared and stared and stared. They did not mean to be rude, but they were so very much surprised that they did not think what they were doing. Most of them thought they were asleep and dreaming, and the dream was such a beautiful one that they did not want to move and break it off. They had never seen a Peacock and did not even know that there was such a fowl.

A Lamb by the pasture fence called to his mother. "Ba-baa!" cried he. "One of the cloud-birds is walking in the farmyard." He was thinking of the night of the storm, when all the Sheep and Lambs huddled together in the meadow and watched the clouds, and thought that they were birds and dropped shining worms from their beaks.

Then the Peacock, who understood the Sheep language perfectly, said, "Paon! I am no cloud-bird. I am a Peacock." He said this in a very haughty way, as though to be a Peacock were the grandest thing in the world, far better than having one's home in the sky and bringing showers to refresh the thirsty earth-people.

The Turkey Gobbler never could stand it to have others speak in that way when he was around, so he thought he would show the newcomer how important he was. He drew up his neck and puffed out his chest; he pulled his skin muscles by thinking about them, and that made his feathers stand on end; next he dropped his wings until their tips touched the ground; then he slowly spread his tail. "Pffff!" said he. "I am no Peacock. I am a Turkey Gobbler."

The Hen Turkeys looked at each other with much pride. They were a little afraid of him themselves, but they liked to have him show the newcomer that Turkeys are important people. Their children looked at each other and murmured, "Isn't the Gobbler fine though? Guess the Peacock will wish now that he hadn't put on airs."

But the Peacock did not seem to feel at all sorry. He stood and looked at them all without saying a word, and they all wondered what he was thinking. Then a Duckling who stood near him exclaimed, "Look at his train! Oh, look at his train!" Everybody looked and saw all those beautiful long feathers rising into the air. Up and up they went, and spreading as they rose, until there was a wonderful great circle of them back of his body and reaching far above his head. The Gobbler's spread tail looked as small beside this as a Dove's egg would beside that of a Goose.

"Paon!" said the Peacock. "I am no Turkey Gobbler. I am a Peacock."

"Pffff!" said the Gobbler. Then he turned to the Hen Turkeys. "My dears," he said, "I think it is time that we walked along. The children should not be allowed to see and speak with any stray fowl that comes along. We cannot be too particular about that." Then he stalked off, with the meek Hen Turkeys following and the children lagging behind. They did so want to stay and see the Peacock, and they thought the Ducklings and Goslings were much luckier than they.

The Geese were delighted with the newcomer, and hoped he would be quite friendly with them. They wished he were a swimmer, but of course they could tell with one look that he was not. He did not have the trim, boat-shaped body that swimmers have, and then, his feet were not webbed. The Gander noticed that they were remarkably homely feet. He thought he would remember this and speak of it to the Geese some time when they were praising the Peacock's train.

The Drake was the first to speak politely to the Peacock. "We are glad to meet you, sir," he said. "Will you be with us long?"

"Thank you," answered the Peacock. "I have come to stay."

"We hope you will like it here. I'm sorry to see you do not swim. We should be very glad of your company if you did. You will excuse us if we go on to the brook. We are late already." He and all of his family waddled away to the water. "A fine-looking fellow," said he heartily. "Even my cousins, the Mallard Ducks, have not such a beautiful sheen on their neck feathers." The Drake was a kind, warm-hearted fellow, and it never troubled him to know that other people were handsomer than he.

The Geese were eager to reach the water, too, but they could not leave without asking one question. First they told the Gander to ask it, but he replied that if they wanted to know, they should ask it for themselves. Then they hung back and said to each other, "You ask him. I can't." At last the Gray Goose stepped forward, saying, "Excuse us, sir. You said that you were to stay with us, and we wish to know if you work for your living."

"I work!" cried he. "Paon! Never. The farmer invited me here to be beautiful, that is all."

"We are so glad," cackled the Geese, and the Gander joined with them. "So many of the people here work. They are very good, but not at all genteel, you understand."

"And don't you do anything?" asked the Peacock. "I thought Geese grew feathers for beds and pillows. It seems to me you look rather ragged. Haven't you been plucked?"

This was very embarrassing to the Geese. "Why, yes," they said, "we do let the farmer's wife have some feathers once in a while, when the weather is warm, but that is very different from really working, you know."

"Perhaps," said the Peacock. "If they want any of my feathers, they can wait until I moult. Then you will see how much they think of me, for whenever they find one of my train feathers (not tail, if you please; every bird has a tail, but I have a train) they carry it carefully into the house to be made into a duster for the parlor. I never give away any but my cast-off plumage. I am so very, very beautiful that I do not have to work."

This impressed the Geese very much. "We are glad to know you. Quite honored, we assure you!"

The Peacock bowed his crested head, and they bowed their uncrested and very silly ones, and then they went to the river. The Peacock thought them most agreeable, because they admired him, and they thought him the best sort of acquaintance, because he didn't work. It was all very foolish, but there are always foolish people in the world, you know, and it is much better to be amused by it and a little sorry for them, than for us to lose our tempers and become cross about it. That was the way the Shanghais, Black Spanish, Dorking, and Bantam fowls felt. They were polite enough to the newcomer, but they did not run after him. The Chickens used to laugh when the Peacock uttered his cry of "Paon! Paon!" His voice was harsh and disagreeable, and it did seem so funny to hear such dreadful sounds coming from such a lovely throat.

The Black Spanish Cock reproved the Chickens sharply for this. "It is very rude," said he, "to laugh at people for things they cannot help. How would you like to have the Lamb follow you around and bleat, 'Look at that Chicken! He has only two legs! Hello, little two-legs; how can you walk?' It is just as bad for you to laugh at his harsh voice, because he cannot help it. If he should say foolish and silly things, you might laugh, because he could help that if he tried. Don't ever again let me hear you laughing when he is just saying 'Paon.' "

The Chickens minded the Black Spanish Cock, for they knew he was right and that he did not do rude things himself. They remembered everything he said, too.

One day the Peacock was standing on the fence alone. He did this most of the time. He usually stood with his back to the farmyard, so that people who passed could see his train but not his feet. A party of young fowls of all families came along. Their mothers had let them go off by themselves, and they stopped to look at the Peacock.


The peacock was standing on the fence.

"I do think you have the most beautiful tail, sir," said a Duckling, giving her own little pointed one a sideways shake as she spoke.

"Please call it my train," said the Peacock. "It is beautiful and I am very proud of it. Not every fowl can grow such a train as that."

"Oh, dear, no!" giggled a jolly little Bantam Chicken. "I'd grow one in a minute if I could."

This made all the other young fowls laugh, for they thought how funny the little brown Bantam would look dragging around a great mass of feathers like that.

The Peacock did not even smile. He never understood a joke anyway. He was always so busy thinking about himself that he couldn't see the point. Now he cleared his throat and spoke to the Bantam Chicken.

"I hope you don't think that I grew my train in a minute," said he. "It took me a long, long time, although I kept all the feathers going at once."

"Look at his crest!" exclaimed one young Turkey in his piping voice.

The Peacock turned his head so that they could see it more plainly. "That is a crest to be proud of," he said. "I have never seen a finer one myself. Have you noticed the beauty of my neck?"

"Charming!"  "Wonderful!"  "Beautiful!" exclaimed the young fowls. Just then one of the spoiled Dove children flew down from the barn roof and sat beside the Peacock.

"What homely feet you have!" this Squab exclaimed. "Are you not dreadfully ashamed of them?"

The young fowls thought this rude. Not one of them would have said it. The Peacock became very angry. "I know my feet are not so handsome as they might be," he said, "but that is no reason why I should be ashamed of them. I couldn't help having that kind of feet. They run in my family. I don't feel ashamed of things I can't help."

The young fowls felt so uncomfortable after this that they walked away, and the Squab flew back to the Dove-cote. For a time nobody spoke. Then a Gosling, who had heard her mother talk about the Peacock, said, "I should think he would be proud of his train, and his crest, and his neck, and—and everything!"

"Everything except his feet," giggled the Bantam Chicken, "and you know he couldn't help having them."

"I wonder if he could help having his train, and his crest, and his neck, and—and everything?" said a young Turkey.

They all stopped where they were. "We never thought of that!" they cried. "We never thought of that!"

"Let's go and ask the Blind Horse," said a Duckling. "He is a good friend of mine, and he knows almost everything."

They stalked and waddled over to the Blind Horse, and the Duckling told him what was puzzling them. The Blind Horse laughed very heartily. "So the Peacock is proud of having grown such a fine train and crest, but he isn't ashamed of his homely feet, because he couldn't help having those! There is no reason for either pride or shame with the Peacock. He has just such a body as was given him, and he couldn't make one feather grow differently if he tried."

"I don't see what anybody can be proud of, then," said a Gosling sadly; for, you see, she wanted to be proud of something.

"Be proud of what you have done yourself," said the Blind Horse gently. "Be proud of keeping clean, or of telling the truth, or of speaking pleasantly when things go wrong. There are plenty of chances to be proud in a good way, if one must be proud."



Robert Louis Stevenson

Windy Nights

Whenever the moon and stars are set,

Whenever the wind is high,

All night long in the dark and wet,

A man goes riding by.

Late in the night when the fires are out,

Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,

And ships are tossed at sea,

By, on the highway, low and loud,

By at the gallop goes he.

By at the gallop he goes, and then

By he comes back at the gallop again.


  WEEK 46  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Up the Stairs  by Lisa M. Ripperton

The Table, the Ass, and the Stick


dropcap image HERE was once a tailor who had three sons and one goat. And the goat, as she nourished them all with her milk, was obliged to have good food, and so she was led every day down to the willows by the water-side; and this business the sons did in turn. One day the eldest took the goat to the churchyard, where the best sprouts are, that she might eat her fill, and gambol about.

In the evening, when it was time to go home, he said,

"Well, goat, have you had enough?"

The goat answered,

"I am so full,

I cannot pull

Another blade of grass—ba! baa!"

"Then come home," said the youth, and fastened a string to her, led her to her stall, and fastened her up.

"Now," said the old tailor, "has the goat had her proper food?"

"Oh," answered the son, "she is so full, she no more can pull."

But the father, wishing to see for himself, went out to the stall, stroked his dear goat, and said,

"My dear goat, are you full?" And the goat answered,

"How can I be full?

There was nothing to pull,

Though I looked all about me—ba! baa!"

"What is this that I hear?" cried the tailor, and he ran and called out to the youth,

"O you liar, to say that the goat was full, and she has been hungry all the time!" And in his wrath he took up his yard-measure and drove his son out of the house with many blows.

The next day came the turn of the second son, and he found a fine place in the garden hedge, where there were good green sprouts, and the goat ate them all up. In the evening, when he came to lead her home, he said,

"Well, goat, have you had enough?" And the goat answered,

"I am so full,

I could not pull

Another blade of grass—ba! baa!"

"Then come home," said the youth, and led her home, and tied her up.

"Now," said the old tailor, "has the goat had her proper food?"

"Oh," answered the son, "she is so full, she no more can pull."

The tailor, not feeling satisfied, went out to the stall, and said,

"My dear goat, are you really full?" And the goat answered,

"How can I be full?

There was nothing to pull,

Though I looked all about me—ba! baa!"

"The good-for-nothing rascal," cried the tailor, "to let the dear creature go fasting!" and, running back, he chased the youth with his yard-wand out of the house.

Then came the turn of the third son, who, meaning to make all sure, found some shrubs with the finest sprouts possible, and left the goat to devour them. In the evening, when he came to lead her home, he said,

"Well, goat, are you full?" And the goat answered,

"I am so full,

I could not pull

Another blade of grass—ba! baa!"

"Then come home," said the youth; and he took her to her stall, and fastened her up.

"Now," said the old tailor, "has the goat had her proper food?"

"Oh," answered the son, "she is so full, she no more can pull."

But the tailor, not trusting his word, went to the goat and said,

"My dear goat, are you really full?" The malicious animal answered,

"How can I be full?

There was nothing to pull,

Though I looked all about me—ba! baa!"

"Oh, the wretches!" cried the tailor. "The one as good-for-nothing and careless as the other. I will no longer have such fools about me;" and rushing back, in his wrath he laid about him with his yard-wand, and belaboured his son's back so unmercifully that he ran away out of the house.

So the old tailor was left alone with the goat. The next day he went out to the stall, and let out the goat, saying,

"Come, my dear creature, I will take you myself to the willows."

So he led her by the string, and brought her to the green hedges and pastures where there was plenty of food to her taste, and saying to her,

"Now, for once, you can eat to your heart's content," he left her there till the evening. Then he returned, and said,

"Well, goat, are you full?"

She answered,

"I am so full,

I could not pull,

Another blade of grass—ba! baa!"

"Then come home," said the tailor, and leading her to her stall, he fastened her up.

Before he left her he turned once more, saying,

"Now then, for once you are full." But the goat actually cried,

"How can I be full?

There was nothing to pull,

Though I looked all about me—ba! baa!"

When the tailor heard that he marvelled, and saw at once that his three sons had been sent away without reason.

"Wait a minute," cried he, "you ungrateful creature! It is not enough merely to drive you away—I will teach you to show your face again among honourable tailors."

So in haste he went and fetched his razor, and seizing the goat he shaved her head as smooth as the palm of his hand. And as the yard-measure was too honourable a weapon, he took the whip and fetched her such a crack that with many a jump and spring she ran away.

The tailor felt very sad as he sat alone in his house, and would willingly have had his sons back again, but no one knew where they had gone.

The eldest son, when he was driven from home, apprenticed himself to a joiner, and he applied himself diligently to his trade, and when the time came for him to travel his master gave him a little table, nothing much to look at, and made of common wood; but it had one great quality. When any one set it down and said, "Table, be covered!" all at once the good little table had a clean cloth on it, and a plate, and knife, and fork, and dishes with roast and boiled, and a large glass of red wine sparkling so as to cheer the heart. The young apprentice thought he was set up for life, and he went merrily out into the world, and never cared whether an inn were good or bad, or whether he could get anything to eat there or not. When he was hungry, it did not matter where he was, whether in the fields, in the woods, or in a meadow, he set down his table and said, "Be covered!" and there he was provided with everything that heart could wish. At last it occurred to him that he would go back to his father, whose wrath might by this time have subsided, and perhaps because of the wonderful table he might receive him again gladly. It happened that one evening during his journey home he came to an inn that was quite full of guests, who bade him welcome, and asked him to sit down with them and eat, as otherwise he would have found some difficulty in getting anything.

"No," answered the young joiner, "I could not think of depriving you; you had much better be my guests."

Then they laughed, and thought he must be joking. But he brought his little wooden table, and put it in the middle of the room, and said, "Table, be covered!" Immediately it was set out with food much better than the landlord had been able to provide, and the good smell of it greeted the noses of the guests very agreeably. "Fall to, good friends," said the joiner; and the guests, when they saw how it was, needed no second asking, but taking up knife and fork fell to valiantly. And what seemed most wonderful was that when a dish was empty immediately a full one stood in its place. All the while the landlord stood in a corner, and watched all that went on. He could not tell what to say about it; but he thought "such cooking as that would make my inn prosper." The joiner and his fellowship kept it up very merrily until late at night. At last they went to sleep, and the young joiner, going to bed, left his wishing-table standing against the wall. The landlord, however, could not sleep for thinking of the table, and he remembered that there was in his lumber room an old table very like it, so he fetched it, and taking away the joiner's table, he left the other in its place. The next morning the joiner paid his reckoning, took up the table, not dreaming that he was carrying off the wrong one, and went on his way. About noon he reached home, and his father received him with great joy.

"Now, my dear son, what have you learned?" said he to him.

"I have learned to be a joiner, father," he answered.

"That is a good trade," returned the father; "but what have you brought back with you from your travels?"

"The best thing I've got, father, is this little table," said he.

The tailor looked at it on all sides, and said,

"You have certainly produced no masterpiece. It is a rubbishing old table."

"But it is a very wonderful one," answered the son. "When I set it down, and tell it to be covered, at once the finest meats are standing on it, and wine so good that it cheers the heart. Let us invite all the friends and neighbours, that they may feast and enjoy themselves, for the table will provide enough for all."

When the company was all assembled, he put his table in the middle of the room, and said, "Table, be covered!"

But the table never stirred, and remained just as empty as any other table that does not understand talking. When the poor joiner saw that the table remained unfurnished, he felt ashamed to stand there like a fool. The company laughed at him freely, and were obliged to return unfilled and uncheered to their houses. The father gathered his pieces together and returned to his tailoring, and the son went to work under another master.

The second son had bound himself apprentice to a miller. And when his time was up, his master said to him,

"As you have behaved yourself so well, I will give you an ass of a remarkable kind: he will draw no cart, and carry no sack."

"What is the good of him then?" asked the young apprentice.

"He spits out gold," answered the miller. "If you put a cloth before him and say, 'Bricklebrit,' out come gold pieces."

"That is a capital thing," said the apprentice, and, thanking his master, he went out into the world. Whenever he wanted gold he had only to say "Bricklebrit" to his ass, and there was a shower of gold pieces, and so he had no cares as he travelled about. Wherever he came he lived on the best, and the dearer the better, as his purse was always full. And when he had been looking about him about the world a long time, he thought he would go and find out his father, who would perhaps forget his anger and receive him kindly because of his gold ass. And it happened that he came to lodge in the same inn where his brother's table had been exchanged. He was leading his ass in his hand, and the landlord was for taking the ass from him to tie it up, but the young apprentice said,

"Don't trouble yourself, old fellow, I will take him into the stable myself and tie him up, and then I shall know where to find him."

The landlord thought this was very strange, and he never supposed that a man who was accustomed to look after his ass himself could have much to spend; but when the stranger, feeling in his pocket, took out two gold pieces and told him to get him something good for supper; the landlord stared, and ran and fetched the best that could be got. After supper the guest called the reckoning, and the landlord, wanting to get all the profit he could, said that it would amount to two gold pieces more. The apprentice felt in his pocket, but his gold had come to an end.

"Wait a moment, landlord," said he, "I will go and fetch some money," and he went out of the room, carrying the table-cloth with him. The landlord could not tell what to make of it, and, curious to know his proceedings, slipped after him, and as the guest shut the stable-door, he peeped in through a knot-hole. Then he saw how the stranger spread the cloth before the ass, saying, "Bricklebrit," and directly the ass spat out gold, which rained upon the ground.

"Dear me," said the landlord, "that is an easy way of getting ducats; a purse of money like that is no bad thing."

After that the guest paid his reckoning and went to bed; but the landlord slipped down to the stable in the middle of the night, led the gold-ass away, and tied up another ass in his place. The next morning early the apprentice set forth with his ass, never doubting that it was the right one. By noon he came to his father's house, who was rejoiced to see him again, and received him gladly.

"What trade have you taken up, my son?" asked the father.

"I am a miller, dear father," answered he.

"What have you brought home from your travels?" continued the father.

"Nothing but an ass," answered the son.

"We have plenty of asses here," said the father. "You had much better have brought me a nice goat!"

"Yes," answered the son, "but this is no common ass. When I say, 'Bricklebrit,' the good creature spits out a whole clothful of gold pieces. Let me call all the neighbours together. I will make rich people of them all."

"That will be fine!" said the tailor. "Then I need labour no more at my needle;" and he rushed out himself and called the neighbours together. As soon as they were all assembled, the miller called out to them to make room, and brought in the ass, and spread his cloth before him.

"Now, pay attention," said he, and cried, "Bricklebrit!" but no gold pieces came, and that showed that the animal was not more scientific than any other ass.

So the poor miller made a long face when he saw that he had been taken in, and begged pardon of the neighbours, who all went home as poor as they had come. And there was nothing for it but that the old man must take to his needle again, and that the young one should take service with a miller.

The third brother had bound himself apprentice to a turner; and as turning is a very ingenious handicraft, it took him a long time to learn it. His brother told him in a letter how badly things had gone with them, and how on the last night of their travels the landlord deprived them of their treasures. When the young turner had learnt his trade, and was ready to travel, his master, to reward him for his good conduct, gave him a sack, and told him that there was a stick inside it.

"I can hang up the sack, and it may be very useful to me," said the young man. "But what is the good of the stick?"

"I will tell you," answered the master. "If any one does you any harm, and you say, 'Stick, out of the sack!' the stick will jump out upon them, and will belabour them so soundly that they shall not be able to move or to leave the place for a week, and it will not stop until you say, 'Stick, into the sack!' "

The apprentice thanked him, and took up the sack and started on his travels, and when any one attacked him he would say, "Stick, out of the sack!" and directly out jumped the stick, and dealt a shower of blows on the coat or jerkin, and the back beneath, which quickly ended the affair. One evening the young turner reached the inn where his two brothers had been taken in. He laid his knapsack on the table, and began to describe all the wonderful things he had seen in the world.

"Yes," said he, "you may talk of your self-spreading table, gold-supplying ass, and so forth; very good things, I do not deny, but they are nothing in comparison with the treasure that I have acquired and carry with me in that sack!"

Then the landlord opened his ears.

"What in the world can it be?" thought he. "Very likely the sack is full of precious stones; and I have a perfect right to it, for all good things come in threes."

When bedtime came the guest stretched himself on a bench, and put his sack under his head for a pillow, and the landlord, when he thought the young man was sound asleep, came, and, stooping down, pulled gently at the sack, so as to remove it cautiously, and put another in its place. The turner had only been waiting for this to happen, and just as the landlord was giving a last courageous pull, he cried, "Stick, out of the sack!" Out flew the stick directly, and laid to heartily on the landlord's back; and in vain he begged for mercy; the louder he cried the harder the stick beat time on his back, until he fell exhausted to the ground. Then the turner said,

"If you do not give me the table and the ass directly, this game shall begin all over again."

"Oh dear, no!" cried the landlord, quite collapsed; "I will gladly give it all back again if you will only make this terrible goblin go back into the sack."

Then said the young man, "I will be generous instead of just, but beware!" Then he cried, "Stick, into the sack!" and left him in peace.

The next morning the turner set out with the table and the ass on his way home to his father. The tailor was very glad, indeed, to see him again, and asked him what he had learned abroad.

"My dear father," answered he, "I am become a turner."

"A very ingenious handicraft," said the father. "And what have you brought with you from your travels?"

"A very valuable thing, dear father," answered the son. "A stick in a sack!"

"What!" cried the father. "A stick! The thing is not worth so much trouble when you can cut one from any tree."

"But it is not a common stick, dear father," said the young man. "When I say, 'Stick, out of the bag!' out jumps the stick upon any one who means harm to me, and makes him dance again, and does not leave off till he is beaten to the earth, and asks pardon. Just look here, with this stick I have recovered the table and the ass which the thieving landlord had taken from my two brothers. Now, let them both be sent for, and bid all the neighbours too, and they shall eat and drink to their hearts' content, and I will fill their pockets with gold."

The old tailor could not quite believe in such a thing, but he called his sons and all the neighbours together. Then the turner brought in the ass, opened a cloth before him, and said to his brother,

"Now, my dear brother, speak to him." And the miller said, "Bricklebrit!" and immediately the cloth was covered with gold pieces, until they had all got more than they could carry away. (I tell you this because it is a pity you were not there.) Then the turner set down the table, and said,

"Now, my dear brother, speak to it." And the joiner said, "Table, be covered!" and directly it was covered, and set forth plentifully with the richest dishes. Then they held a feast such as had never taken place in the tailor's house before, and the whole company remained through the night, merry and content.

The tailor after that locked up in a cupboard his needle and thread, his yard-measure and goose, and lived ever after with his three sons in great joy and splendour.

But what became of the goat, the unlucky cause of the tailor's sons being driven out? I will tell you. She felt so ashamed of her bald head that she ran into a fox's hole and hid herself. When the fox came home he caught sight of two great eyes staring at him out of the darkness, and was very frightened and ran away. A bear met him, and seeing that he looked very disturbed, asked him,

"What is the matter, brother fox, that you should look like that?"

"Oh dear," answered the fox, "a grisly beast is sitting in my hole, and he stared at me with fiery eyes!"

"We will soon drive him out," said the bear; and went to the hole and looked in, but when he caught sight of the fiery eyes he likewise felt great terror seize him, and not wishing to have anything to do with so grisly a beast, he made off. He was soon met by a bee, who remarked that he had not a very courageous air, and said to him,

"Bear, you have a very depressed countenance, what has become of your high spirit?"

"You may well ask," answered the bear. "In the fox's hole there sits a grisly beast with fiery eyes, and we cannot drive him out."

The bee answered, "I know you despise me, bear. I am a poor feeble little creature, but I think I can help you."

So she flew into the fox's hole, and settling on the goat's smooth-shaven head, stung her so severely that she jumped up, crying, "Ba-baa!" and ran out like mad into the world; and to this hour no one knows where she ran to.



Robert Louis Stevenson

The Land of Story-Books

At evening when the lamp is lit,

Around the fire my parents sit;

They sit at home and talk and sing,

And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl

All in the dark along the wall,

And follow round the forest track

Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,

All in my hunter's camp I lie,

And play at books that I have read

Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,

These are my starry solitudes;

And there the river by whose brink

The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away

As if in firelit camp they lay,

And I, like to an Indian scout,

Around their party prowled about.

So when my nurse comes in for me,

Home I return across the sea,

And go to bed with backward looks

At my dear land of Story-Books.


  WEEK 46  


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

The Adventures of Hannibal

"Attempt not to acquire that, which may not be retained."

—Founders of Carthage.

L EAVING Spain to the care of his younger brother Hasdrubal, Hannibal set out from New Carthage, with his Spanish troops, a number of horses, and thirty-seven elephants—set out to accomplish a feat, which still fills the world with wonder and admiration. Why he did not sail across the sea from New Carthage to Italy, with a fleet, is not known; he preferred to scale the mountain passes, which led him by land into the country he fain would make his own. Over the high Pyrenees, mountains which divide Spain from France, the army started and marched up the valley of the Rhone. Crossing the river at a spot "nearly four days' journey from the sea," they soon found themselves at the foot of the Alps.

The passes of these sharply peaked mountains, which soar high above the snow-line, have always been the gate of traffic, between Italy and the rest of Europe. to-day a railway runs right through one of the passes and through the region of eternal snow.

Hannibal's difficulties now began. The one track over the mountains, was occupied in force by mountaineers, but Hannibal found out that these people always returned to their homes at night. So when darkness fell, he took his most active troops, and climbed up to the place, just left by the mountaineers.

Next morning, the rest of the army followed, winding slowly and painfully up the steep pass. The path was very narrow, and many of the horses and elephants lost their footing, and rolled headlong down the precipices, carrying the baggage with them. The whole army moved forward, descending into a rich valley, where the natives seemed friendly enough.

They now entered the narrow way, leading to the main mountain wall of the Alps; the one barrier, that yet separated Hannibal from the land of his hopes. Here the cliffs rose steeply above them and the torrent foamed angrily below; but they pushed bravely on, till suddenly, stones came thundering down, from the natives, on the heights, and it seemed for a time, as if the whole army must perish. Here, at the "white stone," which is still standing at the foot of the St Bernard Pass, Hannibal stood to arms the whole night through, while his army passed on upwards.

On the ninth day, they reached the top, and a two days' rest was ordered. It was a sorry spot on which to recruit. It was late in October, snow lay thick on the peaks above, and the troops, drawn from burning Africa and sunny Spain, shivered in the keen mountain air. Depression seized them. Their ranks were sadly thinned, and the paths were getting more and more difficult, but the enthusiasm of their leader remained the same. In a few stirring words, he bid them keep up heart. Below their feet lay Italy—the land of their desire. "You are climbing not the walls of Italy only, but of Rome herself," cried Hannibal to his weary men. "After one or two battles we shall have the capital of Italy in our hands. Yonder," he cried, pointing away to the fair horizon, where he saw, in his mind's eye, the goal of all his hopes—"yonder lies Rome."

The spirits of the soldiers rose, and amid falling snow, they began the descent. More dangers awaited them. They had to march over a steep and slippery ice slope, just covered with a thin coating of freshly fallen snow. Men, horses, and elephants slipped and rolled about, now sticking fast in a snowdrift, now falling into a chasm, now preferring death in the snow, to the struggle of going on. At last they reached a spot, where the track was lost and neither man nor beast could pass. Destruction once more stared them in the face. But Hannibal's pluck did not fail him. He set the soldiers to work to make a new road, over which he took the army. And so, at last they descended into the plains of Italy.

Hannibal had succeeded, but the sacrifice was enormous. More than half his men had perished; horses and elephants had died in that dreaded march of over 500 miles, in that month of misery. It was a wonderful feat; but still more wonderful was the fact that he defeated the whole Roman army, not once but twice, with his wayworn men, until there seemed nothing to bar his road, right on to the city of Rome.

The Gauls—those wild enemies of Rome—now joined him, and he led them over the Apennines and into the valley of the Arno. The melting of the snows on the mountains had caused the Arno to overflow, converting the plain into a vast swamp. For four days and nights the army toiled through the water, unable to find a dry spot, either to sit down or sleep. The horses fell in heaps, the Gauls grumbled loudly, Hannibal himself was tortured with inflammation in his eyes. He rode bravely onwards, on the one elephant that had survived, and escaped with only the loss of an eye.

On the shores of a great lake, not far from Rome, he met the Roman army. There was a thick fog, through which the Romans advanced, only to find, as the mist rolled away, that they were advancing into the jaws of death. Their whole army was cut up by Hannibal, and but few returned to carry back the sad tidings to Rome, to destroy the bridges over the Tiber, and prepare for the advance of Hannibal to their capital.



Gaelic Lullaby

Hush! the waves are rolling in,

White with foam, white with foam;

Father toils amid the din;

But baby sleeps at home.

Hush! the winds roar hoarse and deep,—

On they come, on they come!

Brother seeks the wandering sheep;

But baby sleeps at home.

Hush! the rain sweeps o'er the knowes,

Where they roam, where they roam;

Sister goes to seek the cows;

But baby sleeps at home.


  WEEK 46  


The Mexican Twins  by Lucy Fitch Perkins

While They Were Gone


M EANWHILE what do you suppose had been happening at home? When she had finished her washing and had dried the clothes on the bushes, Doña Teresa folded them and carried them back to the house, and began her ironing.

She didn't think much about the time because she was so busy with her work, but at last she felt hungry and glanced out at the shadow of the fig tree to see what time it was.

She was surprised to see the shadow already quite long and pointing toward the east.

"Well," thought she to herself, "I'll get myself something to eat, and by that time the children will be home and as hungry as two bears. I think I'll get something especially good for their supper."


She hummed a little tune as she worked, and every little while she glanced out the open door to see if they were not coming. By and by she noticed that the sky was overcast and then she heard a clap of thunder. It was the very same clap of thunder that had frightened the Twins in the cactus grove.

"The holy saints above us!" cried Doña Teresa aloud. "The children should have been home long ago. Where can they be!" She ran to the door just in time to see Tonto come ambling slowly into the yard alone and go to his own place in the shed.

Doña Teresa's eyes almost popped out of her head with surprise and fright. She threw on her rebozo and ran over to Pedro's hut. Pedro's wife was just examining Pablo's ears to see if he had really washed himself in the river, when Doña Teresa arrived, quite breathless, at the door.


"Whatever can be the reason that my children are not home?" she gasped. "You remember it was morning when I sent them after wood. They have not been seen since, and Tonto walked into the yard just now all alone, and of course there's nothing to be got out of him! What can have happened to them?"

"Now, never you mind, like a sensible woman," said Pablo's mother soothingly. "They're playing along the way as likely as not and will be at your door before you are. Who should know better than myself the way children will forget the thing they're set to do."

She looked severely at Pablo as she said this, so I judge the examination of his ears had not been satisfactory.

Doña Teresa didn't wait to hear any more, but ran back home, and when the children still did not appear she walked down the road hoping to meet them.

The clouds grew blacker and blacker, and the rain began to fall. Doña Teresa called Jasmin, who had reappeared by this time, and gave him Tonio's shoes to smell of.

"Go find him, go find him," she cried.

Jasmin whined and looked anxious, but just then came a flash of lightning. Jasmin was afraid of lightning, so he crept into Tonto's stall with his tail between his legs and hid there until the storm was over.


At last it was time for Pancho to come home. Poor Doña Teresa kept her supper hot and waited anxiously to hear the sound of Pinto's hoofs, but no such sound came. Pancho would go with her, and together they would find their children, she was sure, but six o'clock and seven came, without either Pancho or the children.

It was quite dark when at last she put on her rebozo and ran as fast as she could to the priest's house. The door was opened by the priest's fat sister, who kept house for him.

"Oh, where is the padrecito?" Doña Teresa said to her. "I must see him."

"He is eating his supper," said the fat sister.

"Tell him I am in great trouble," sobbed Doña Teresa.

In a moment the priest appeared at the door, and Doña Teresa kissed the hand he stretched out to her, and told him her anxieties all in one breath.

The padrecito had just had his supper and was feeling very comfortable himself, so he told her he was sure that everything would come out all right. He patted Doña Teresa on the shoulder and said not to worry; that probably Pancho had had to stay to mend a fence somewhere, and the children—why, they had probably stopped to play!

"In pitch darkness and rain, holy father? It cannot be," Doña Teresa moaned.

"Well," said the priest, "if they are not here in an hour we will search for them, but they will surely come soon."

Doña Teresa had such faith in the priest that she went back home, intending to do just what he said, but when she got there she found Pedro's wife waiting for her.

The moment she saw Doña Teresa she cried out, "Has Pancho come?"

"No," sobbed Doña Teresa.

"Neither has Pedro," answered his wife. "I can't think what can be the matter. He never stays out so late as this—especially in a storm. Something dreadful has surely happened."

Doña Teresa told her what the priest had said, but neither one was willing to wait another minute, so they ran together in the rain to the other huts and told the news, and the men formed a searching-party at once.

They put on their grass coats to protect them from the rain, and started off in the darkness and wet, carrying lighted pine torches, and calling loudly, "Pancho—Pedro—Tonio—Tita," every few minutes.

While they were gone Pedro's wife left the baby and Pablo with a neighbor and asked her to send Pablo to the chapel if there should be any news. Then she and Doña Teresa went there to pray.

The chapel door was open and candles were burning on the little altar, as the two women crept in and knelt before the image of the Virgin and Child.


"O Holy Mother," sobbed Doña Teresa, "help us who are mothers, too!"

All night long they knelt on the chapel floor before the images, sobbing and praying, listening for footsteps that did not come, and promising many candles to be placed upon the altar, if only their dear ones could be restored to them.

It was long after the rain was over and the moon shining again that the weary search party returned to the village without any news of the wanderers.


Walter de la Mare

The Horseman

I heard a horseman

Ride over the hill;

The moon shone clear,

The night was still;

His helm was silver,

And pale was he;

And the horse he rode

Was of ivory.


  WEEK 46  


Our Island Saints  by Amy Steedman

Saint Margaret of Scotland

Part 2 of 2

It was not only with money, her own or the King's, that Margaret helped the poor. She served them with her own hands as well. Early each morning the Queen, in her dainty robes, as fair as the dew-washed flowers that were just lifting their faces to the morning sun, came forth from her room, where she too had been lifting her face to heaven. It was her way to begin her daily work by caring for the little children who had no one else to care for them. Nine baby orphans were gathered there, poor and destitute, and it always seemed to her as if her Master was so close that she could almost hear His voice as He bade her "Feed My lambs." How joyfully the babies stretched out their hands towards her, clutching at the bonny coloured robe she wore with their little eager hands. All children love fair colours, but it was not only the green embroidered kirtle, no, nor the steaming breakfast which she brought, that made them stretch out their arms to her. There was a kind mother smile in her eyes which drew them to her as if by magic, and as she gathered them by turns into her loving arms, they were perfectly happy. Then the bowl of soft warm food was placed at her side, and one by one she fed each little orphan baby with her own golden spoon.

Later on each day there were gathered three hundred poor hungry people in the royal hall, and there the King, as well as the Queen, fed them and waited on them, giving to each the help they needed. Margaret never wearied of her work, for in helping the poor was she not waiting upon her Master? And as she knelt to wash the feet of some poor beggar, was she not washing the dust-stained weary feet of Him who had said—"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

But there was other work besides caring for the poor that filled Margaret's days. As time went on, God sent her children of her own to care for—six brave strong boys and two fair little maidens. Very carefully and very strictly were the children trained. Just because they were princes and princesses, they needed even more than others to learn to be obedient, gentle, brave and true. No one knew better than Margaret the truth of the old motto—"noblesse oblige." There is no denying that the children were sometimes naughty, as all children will be; and then indeed there was no sparing the rod, for the governor of the nursery was charged that they should be well whipped when they needed it.

There was an old castle not far from the royal palace, called in those days the Castle of Gloom, which the royal children knew well. Its name was fitly chosen, for well might it have been the dwelling of Giant Despair. High hills frowned down upon it, almost shutting out the light of the sun. At the foot of the steep precipice on which it was built two raging streams, called Dolor and Gryff, roared their way along, and helped to make the place more gloomy. It was to this castle that the child who had behaved ill and needed punishment was sent, that in dismal solitude he might learn to be sorry for his naughty ways. Not only the boys, but the little maidens too, learnt their lesson at the Castle of Gloom. It seemed strange and perhaps unkind that their gentle mother should have them whipped and sent away to the dark castle of punishment, but as they grew older and wiser, the children found that, strange as it had seemed, it was her very kindness and love that had made her punish them. Just as the hand of the gardener, who loves his garden, pulls up and destroys all the weeds, and prunes away everything that hinders the growth of his flowers, so the wise Queen tended her children, her special flowers. Thus it was that as her boys grew tall and strong and handsome, and her two little maidens became fair graceful women, it was not only the outward appearance that made such a brave show. In the garden of their hearts there were no evil weeds of selfishness, self-will and pride, but only the flowers of generosity, pity, self-forgetfulness, and the sovereign herb of obedience.

The gracious influence of the Queen was felt outside her household too, and the people around the court began to try and introduce the Queen's ways into their homes, and even to clothe themselves in gayer colours than their dull grey homespuns.

They were a hardy warlike people, as strong and rugged as their own grim grey mountain rocks, as wild and fearless as the mountain streams that came dashing down through the moorland waste.

But there are times when the mountains are no longer grim and grey, but tender and soft, in the blue haze that shows each peak against a primrose sky; when the mountain torrents sink into merry murmuring burns dancing along between the banks of fern and heather; when the bare moorlands are a glory of purple and gold as the heather merges into the autumn-tinted bracken. So these rugged northern folk had also their softer side, and deep in their hearts they felt the charm of fair colours and all things gracious and beautiful.

The merchants that came from all lands, bringing their wares at the bidding of the Queen, found the people eager and willing to buy. Indeed, it is said by some that it was this love of colour, introduced by Margaret, which was the origin of the Scottish tartans.

"But why," asked the Queen, "should we buy foreign wares? Why not weave these softer fairer stuffs ourselves?"

"The people know not the art of weaving such stuffs," replied her courtiers.

"Then they shall learn," replied the Queen. "They have as good brains and as deft hands as any of these foreigners, why should they not weave as well as others? I will see that my people are taught the art."

The Queen was as good as her word, and sent abroad for workers to teach her people at Dunfermline how to weave the fair white linen, giving them thus an industry which has lasted to this day.

But into this peaceful life of tending the poor, watching over her children and her people, sewing her wondrous embroideries and founding many churches to the glory of God, there came many a dreary time of anxiety and distress. Malcolm the King loved his peaceful home, but his strong brave arm was often needed to defend his country and protect his people, and many an anxious hour did Margaret spend while he went forth to fight the enemy. Her two elder boys, Edward and Edgar, went with their father now, and that made the anxiety even harder to bear.

Then came a time when it was more difficult than ever for Margaret to be brave and fearless. She was weak and ill, and the fear of some calamity seemed to hang around her like a thick cloud. It was in the month of June, when tardy Spring was in no haste to make room for her sister Summer, that the Queen sat alone in the castle of Edinburgh praying for the safe return of her dear King and their two brave sons. But yesterday they had set out with blare of trumpets and roll of drums to punish the invader who had dared to seize their castle of Alnwick, but already it seemed as if she had waited and watched for months.

Margaret did not greatly love the rugged castle of Scotland's capital. It was but a gloomy place compared to the dear home at Dunfermline, but still she made it homelike too. Its old name, the Maydyn or Maiden Castle, with its legend of Sir Galahad, pleased the Queen's fancy even if the place was somewhat rough. Often, as she sat gazing from the rocky height over the mist-wrapped town to where the line of the Forth showed like a silver thread, and across to where the great lion of Arthur's Seat and the Crags stood guard on one side of the city, she pictured the coming of the perfect knight. She saw him ride up the steep hillside and enter the ruined chapel there. She watched him as he knelt beside the altar praying for guidance, and heard too the voice that bade him ride on until he came to a great castle where many gentle maidens were imprisoned.

"There too thou shalt find a company of wicked knights," continued the voice. "Them thou shalt slay, and set the Maydyn Castle free."

The Maydyn Castle was but a rough home for Queen Margaret, but even there there were marks of her gracious presence. A little stone chapel was built upon the rock, and amidst the clang of weapons and sounds of war, the peaceful prayers of the Queen rose like sweet incense to heaven.

It was with difficulty that the Queen had managed to walk with feeble steps to the little chapel that sad June day; and as she prayed for the safety of her dear ones, who had ridden forth to meet danger and death, something seemed to tell her that they would never return. She felt as if even now misfortune was descending like a thick cloud upon the smiling land.

Her friend and counsellor Turgot, who writes the story of his Queen, tells how, when she had left the chapel, she turned to him and said with sad conviction: "Perhaps on this very day such a heavy calamity may befall the realm of Scotland as has not been for ages past."

It was while she was speaking these very words of sad foreboding that at the castle of Alnwick the heavy calamity had indeed fallen.

The gallant Malcolm with his two sons riding at the head of his men had reached the castle and called upon the garrison to surrender. The Scottish army was encamped below the castle, waiting to make the attack should the garrison refuse to yield. While they waited, a single unarmed knight rode out from the castle gate, carrying only his long spear, on the point of which hung the heavy keys of the castle stronghold.

"I come to surrender," he cried as he reached the camp. "Let your King come forth to receive at our hands the keys of his fortress."

There was no thought of treachery, and Malcolm with his visor up came out to meet the knight. As the King advanced the knight rode forward, and with a sudden swift movement, lowered his spear and drove its point straight into the eye of the King, piercing to his brain and killing him on the spot.

Then all was uproar and confusion. The infuriated Scots charged upon the enemy. Edward, the eldest son, rushing forward to avenge his father's death, was also slain. Little wonder that the heart that loved them both so dearly should feel the stroke, although far away.

With their King killed and their leaders gone, the Scottish soldiers lost heart, and were at last beaten back and utterly routed. There was no one left even to seek for the King's body, and it was left to two poor peasants to find it, and to carry it away in a cart to Tynemouth.

Four days passed before the news slowly travelled to the Maydyn Castle at Edinburgh, and it was Edgar, the second son, who brought the tidings to his dying mother.

She was lying peaceful and untroubled now, clasping in her hand that wonderful "Black Cross" which she loved so dearly. It was the cross which she had brought with her from England when she came a poor fugitive. Made of pure gold and set with great diamonds, it held in its heart something more precious still—a tiny splinter of her Lord's true Cross. It was her dearest possession, the most precious heirloom which she left to her sons, the youngest of whom, when he became King, "built a magnificent church for it near the city, called Holy-Rood."

The poor boy Edgar was almost heart-broken as he stood by his mother's bed. His father and brother were slain, enemies were already gathering round the castle, and his beloved mother lay here, sick unto death. He dared not tell her the direful news, lest it should snap the silver cord of life which already was worn so frail.

But his mother's eyes sought his, and he bent down to catch her feeble words.

"Is it well with thy father? Is it well with thy brother?"

"It is well," replied the boy bravely.

"I know it, my boy," she whispered with a sigh, "I know it. By this holy cross, by the bond of our blood, I adjure thee to tell me the truth."

Then the boy knelt by her side and very gently and tenderly told her the sad tidings. He need not have feared that the news would greatly trouble her. The veil had grown so thin that she could almost see into the glory beyond, and she knew that whatever her Master did was "well." A little while, and with a smile of great peace she welcomed the coming of the messenger of death, and to those who stood by it seemed as if they could feel the presence of God's angels as they stooped to bear away the soul of His faithful servant.

They robed the dead queen in the fairest of her royal robes, and there, in the rugged castle hall, she lay in state. Close around the castle thronged the enemies of the dead King, and those who greedily sought to snatch the crown from the fatherless boy.

It was well known that it had been the Queen's wish that her body should be laid to rest in the church she had built at Dunfermline, but every gate, every door of the castle was guarded and watched by the enemy, and it seemed as if the Queen's desire must remain unfulfilled. But men's strength is as nought when matched against Heaven's will.

Slowly there rolled up from the valley a dense grey fog, so thick that it blotted out everything in its heavy folds. The guards redoubled their watch at the gates, but there was one small postern door which they knew not of; and shrouded in the kindly mist, a little procession stole secretly through it, bearing the body of the Queen. Through the very midst of the enemy's lines the company passed in silence, unmolested and unseen. Behind them as they passed the mist closed in, and ere long they reached the banks of the Forth, at the landing-place called after Margaret, the Queen's Ferry. Then the friendly mist, no longer needed, lifted and rolled away, and the little company was able to cross the ferry and land at the bay of Margaret's Hope, the same little haven which had sheltered her, a fair young maiden, who now was carried home a loved and honoured Queen.

As the procession moved in haste towards Dunfermline many a poor peasant stole out and stood bareheaded to see her pass, many a voice was lifted in sorrowful wail to think those gentle hands which had so often cared for them were still for ever.

At last Dunfermline was reached in safety, and there, in her own beloved church, they laid the saint to rest.

Long years have passed since that sad June day when they brought Queen Margaret's body home, but in the old churchyard, in what was once the Lady's Chapel, her tomb may still be seen, open now to the winds of heaven.

It is said that for many years after they laid her there to rest, flashes of light were seen glancing round the sacred spot, and that a sweet perfume as of flowers hung around the place, while those who were ill or in trouble were healed and helped by touching any relic of Saint Margaret. Whether that is but a legend we cannot tell, but this we know, that down the ages the light of her example and holy life has shone clear and steadily on, that the sweet perfume of her gentle deeds still lingers in the grey northern land which she so nobly helped to brighten and to beautify.


Christina Georgina Rossetti

If Hope Grew on a Bush

If hope grew on a bush,

And joy grew on a tree,

What a nosegay for the plucking

There would be!

But oh! in windy autumn,

When frail flowers wither,

What should we do for hope and joy,

Fading together?