Text of Plan #953
  WEEK 5  

  Monday  


My Father's Dragon  by Ruth Stiles Gannett

My Father Meets Some Tigers

T HE river was very wide and muddy, and the jungle was very gloomy and dense. The trees grew close to each other, and what room there was between them was taken up by great high ferns with sticky leaves. My father hated to leave the beach, but he decided to start along the river bank where at least the jungle wasn't quite so thick. He ate three tangerines, making sure to keep all the peels this time, and put on his rubber boots.


[Illustration]

My father tried to follow the river bank but it was very swampy, and as he went farther the swamp became deeper. When it was almost as deep as his boot tops he got stuck in the oozy, mucky mud. My father tugged and tugged, and nearly pulled his boots right off, but at last he managed to wade to a drier place. Here the jungle was so thick that he could hardly see where the river was. He unpacked his compass and figured out the direction he should walk in order to stay near the river. But he didn't know that the river made a very sharp curve away from him just a little way beyond, and so as he walked straight ahead he was getting farther and farther away from the river.

It was very hard to walk in the jungle. The sticky leaves of the ferns caught at my father's hair, and he kept tripping over roots and rotten logs. Sometimes the trees were clumped so closely together that he couldn't squeeze between them and had to walk a long way around.

He began to hear whispery noises, but he couldn't see any animals anywhere. The deeper into the jungle he went the surer he was that something was following him, and then he thought he heard whispery noises on both sides of him as well as behind. He tried to run, but he tripped over more roots, and the noises only came nearer. Once or twice he thought he heard something laughing at him.

At last he came out into a clearing and ran right into the middle of it so that he could see anything that might try to attack him. Was he surprised when he looked and saw fourteen green eyes coming out of the jungle all around the clearing, and when the green eyes turned into seven tigers! The tigers walked around him in a big circle, looking hungrier all the time, and then they sat down and began to talk.


[Illustration]

"I suppose you thought we didn't know you were trespassing in our jungle!"

Then the next tiger spoke. "I suppose you're going to say you didn't know it was our jungle!"

"Did you know that not one explorer has ever left this island alive?" said the third tiger.


[Illustration]

My father thought of the cat and knew this wasn't true. But of course he had too much sense to say so. One doesn't contradict a hungry tiger.

The tigers went on talking in turn. "You're our first little boy, you know. I'm curious to know if you're especially tender."

"Maybe you think we have regular meal-times, but we don't. We just eat whenever we're feeling hungry," said the fifth tiger.

"And we're very hungry right now. In fact, I can hardly wait," said the sixth.

"I can't  wait!" said the seventh tiger.


[Illustration]

And then all the tigers said together in a loud roar, "Let's begin right now!" and they moved in closer.

My father looked at those seven hungry tigers, and then he had an idea. He quickly opened his knapsack and took out the chewing gum. The cat had told him that tigers were especially fond of chewing gum, which was very scarce on the island. So he threw them each a piece but they only growled. "As fond as we are of chewing gum, we're sure we'd like you even better!" and they moved so close that he could feel them breathing on his face.

"But this is very special chewing gum," said my father. "If you keep on chewing it long enough it will turn green, and then if you plant it, it will grow more chewing gum, and the sooner you start chewing the sooner you'll have more."

The tigers said, "Why, you don't say! Isn't that fine!" And as each one wanted to be the first to plant the chewing gum, they all unwrapped their pieces and began chewing as hard as they could. Every once in a while one tiger would look into another's mouth and say, "Nope, it's not done yet," until finally they were all so busy looking into each other's mouths to make sure that no one was getting ahead that they forgot all about my father.


[Illustration]

 



Anonymous

Bobby Shafto

Bobby Shafto's gone to sea,

With silver buckles on his knee,

He'll come back and marry me,—

Pretty Bobby Shafto!


Bobby Shafto's fat and fair;

Combing out his yellow hair;

He's my love forever mair,—

Pretty Bobby Shafto!

 


  WEEK 5  

  Tuesday  


Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by Edward Eggleston

One Little Bag of Rice

T HE first white people that came to this country hardly knew how to get their living here. They did not know what would grow best in this country.

Many of the white people learned to hunt. All the land was covered with trees. In the woods were many animals whose flesh was good to eat.

There were deer, and bears, and great shaggy buffaloes. There were rabbits and squirrels. And there were many kinds of birds. The hunters shot wild ducks, wild turkeys, wild geese, and pigeons. The people also caught many fishes out of the rivers.

Then there were animals with fur on their backs. The people killed these and sold their skins. In this way many made their living.

Other people spent their time in cutting down the trees. They sawed the trees into timbers and boards. Some of it they split into staves to make barrels. They sent the staves and other sorts of timber to other countries to be sold. In South Carolina men made tar and pitch out of the pine trees.

But there was a wise man in South Carolina. He was one of those men that find out better ways of doing. His name was Thomas Smith.

Thomas Smith had once lived in a large island thousands of miles away from South Carolina. In that island he had seen the people raising rice. He saw that it was planted in wet ground. He said that he would like to try it in South Carolina. But he could not get any seed rice to plant. The rice that people eat is not fit to sow.

One day a ship came to Charleston, where Thomas Smith lived. It had been driven there by storms. The ship came from the large island where Smith had seen rice grow. The captain of this ship was an old friend of Smith.

The two old friends met once more. Thomas Smith told the captain that he wanted some rice for seed. The captain called the cook of his ship, and asked him if he had any. The cook had one little bag of seed rice. The captain gave this to his friend.

There was some wet ground at the back of Smith's garden. In this wet ground he sowed some of the rice. It grew finely.

He gathered a good deal of rice in his garden that year. He gave part of this to his friends. They all sowed it. The next year there was a great deal of rice.

After a while the wet land in South Carolina was turned to rice fields. Every year many thousands of barrels of rice were sent away to be sold.

All this came from one little bag of rice and one wise man.


[Illustration]

Rice Plant

 



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 5  

  Wednesday  


Among the Farmyard People  by Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Goose Who Wanted Her Own Way

[Illustration]

I T would be hard to tell which family is the most important among the farmyard people. There is no one animal so wise as Collie, the farmer's dog, and all the rest love him and mind him when he is sent to bring them up from the pasture or to drive them to the water. Still, he does not spend his days in barn or field and only comes with his master or for a visit now and then.

You may remember how the Garter Snake and the old Tree Frog were the leaders in the meadow, and how in the forest all looked up to the Ground Hog. These people were patient and old, and partly because they were old and had had many years in which to think about life, they were very wise. In the farmyard the Oxen were the most patient and the oldest, and it was to them that all the animals went when they were in trouble.

There were also the Horses, fine strong creatures, always helping somebody else and working all day during most of the year. They drew the reaper through the tall grain, and where in the morning had been a field of waving golden wheat, at sunset were bundles or sheaves of gathered grain, and the stubble was ready for the fowls. They were busy people; and sometimes during the winter they liked to remind their neighbors how much they had done.

Then again, there were the Cows, who are the sisters of the Oxen. They are large and there are many of them, yet they are not so wise, and that is easily understood. All that they have to do on the farm is to give milk for the butter- and cheese-making, and for the farmer's children to drink. No farmer could get along without his Cows, but they do not work like their brothers. They have so easy a time that they do not learn much. You know, when people work, they have to think, and when people think enough useful thoughts it makes them wise. That is one of the many reasons why it is so foolish to be lazy.

Truly, it would be hard to say which farmyard family is the most important, but there is no trouble at all in telling which family think themselves the most so. If you ask any Goose, she will tell you that one of their flock is worth five Horses or a dozen Cows. Nobody else would tell you this, and if you should speak of it to the span of Bays, or the Dappled Gray, or even the youngest Colt in the stable, they would answer you only with a hearty Horse laugh. The Cows would smile and reply, "What a Goose she was to say that!"

There has always been a flock of Geese on the farm, and their neighbors are so used to their queer ways that they only smile when the Geese put on airs, and it is a good-natured smile, too. They even feel rather sorry for them when they lose their feathers, although the Nigh Ox once said that if it were not for being plucked once in a while, the Geese would really be too airy to live with.

Perhaps the Nigh Ox was right in what he said, for certainly after they have worn their feathers all winter, they hold their heads higher than ever, and tell what they think and what they would do, and it is well they should be reminded that they work for a living like all their neighbors. The farmer's wife never plucks the Geese until warm weather comes. Then she takes all the soft, short feathers that they have worn through the winter, and this leaves them looking very ragged indeed. There was a time, years ago, when Geese had to give up their long tail- and wing-feathers to be whittled into pens, but these Geese didn't know about that, and there was nobody in the farmyard old enough to remember it and tell them, so they thought they had a pretty hard time in even giving up their breast feathers.

"Ssssss!" the Gander used to say, "if the farmer's boys must have feather pillows on which to lay their heads, why do they not grow their own feathers?"

"Humph!" said the Nigh Ox once; "If you must have oats to eat, why don't you grow the oats?" But the Gander was already waddling away and pretended not to hear him.

It is in the winter that the Geese put on the most airs. Then, when the Horses are being harnessed, they say to each other, "Dear me! Wouldn't it be dreadful to work in that way for a living?" And sometimes, when the team is hitched to a post by the farmhouse, they waddle past in a single line with the Gander at the head, and say to the Horses: "Hear you have to take a load of wood to town. It's too bad. Hope you won't get very tired. We are going to the river for a nice cold swim. Good-bye." Then they march off with their heads held high, and as soon as their backs are turned, the Horses look at each other and laugh softly. They know that there is nothing in the world better than good, honest, hard work, no matter of what kind it is.

Every winter the Geese forget about having to be plucked, and every spring they are surprised to lose their feathers. They are plucked four times before fall comes, and these four times come so near together that even they can remember from one to another. You would think that then they would not be so airy, but instead of saying, "Of course we work for our living—why shouldn't we?" they say, "Why, yes, we do let the farmer's wife have some of our feathers when she wants them. We suppose you might call it work to grow feathers for her, still it does not take much of our time, and it is quite different from drawing loads and getting tired as the Horses and Oxen do. Growing feathers is genteel."

They do not remember anything long, and so, when they have made a mistake once, they are likely to make the same mistake over and over again. Then, too, they cannot tell big things from little things, and they are not happy unless they can have their own way all the time. And you know that nobody can be sure of that. It all comes of their not being willing to think hard, and sometimes it makes them a great deal of trouble, as it did on the day when the Gray Goose would not go through the farmyard gate.

This was soon after the Gander and his wife had hatched their brood of seven Goslings, and they were taking them at once to the brook. It was a happy day for all the flock. The Gander and the Mother Goose were glad because their children were safely out of the shell, and because they would no longer have to sit with cramped legs on the nest. Ganders are good fathers, for they cover the eggs half of the time, while the Mother Goose is resting. The other Geese were not only proud of the Goslings, but they were glad to have the Gander and the Mother Goose free to go around with them again. They had missed them very much.

The gate from the farmyard into the meadow stood wide open, and all the Geese except the Gray one followed the Gander through. The Gray Goose tried to go through a small hole in the fence very near the gate. She squeezed her head into it and stretched her neck on the meadow side of the fence, but she could not get any farther, although she pushed until she was dizzy.


[Illustration]

The gray goose tried to go through.

"Wait for me," she cried. "Wait for me-ee!"

"Hurry, then," said the Gander.

"I am hurrying," she cried, and she pushed with all her strength, but since the hole in the fence was so small, she did not get any farther than before.

"Go through the gateway," said the Nigh Ox, who was grazing near by.

"Sssss!" said the Gray Goose stiffly. "I would rather go through here. I have chosen to go this way."

"Oh!" said the Nigh Ox, "excuse me! Do go through there by all means!"

"We are going on," called the Gander; "we would wait, but the Goslings are in a hurry to take their first bath. Come as soon as you can."

The Gray Goose tried harder than ever to go the way that she had chosen, but it only made her so out of breath that she had to lie down and rest. Once she thought she heard somebody laugh, yet when she looked at the Nigh Ox, who was the only person around, he was lying with closed eyes and solemnly chewing his cud, so she decided that she must have been mistaken.

Down by the brook the rest of the flock were cackling merrily, and she could see the seven Goslings swimming with the Geese and the Gander. "Oh," she cried, "how I wish I were with them! I don't see what is the matter with this hole in the fence. The farmer ought to make it bigger."

She pushed and scolded and fussed until her neck was sore and she was too tired to swim if she had a chance, so she sat down to rest. She did remember what the Nigh Ox had said; still, if she couldn't go as she had planned, she wouldn't go at all. She walked into the barn to find a cool and shady place, lowering her head as she stepped over the threshold of the high front door.

"What did you do that for?" twittered a Swallow.

"Because I don't want to hit my head on the top of the doorway," she replied. "I always do so. All of our flock do so."

"Tittle-ittle-ittle-ee," laughed the Swallow, as she darted away and alighted on the fence by the Nigh Ox. "Why isn't the Gray Goose in swimming with the rest?" asked she.

"Because she can't push her fat body through that hole in the fence," said the Nigh Ox, switching his tail toward it as he spoke.

"Why doesn't she go through the gateway, then?" asked the Swallow.

"Because she says she would rather go the other way, and that if she can't go that way, she won't go at all."

"And she is missing all that fun?" said the Swallow.

"All of it," answered the Nigh Ox, "but then, you know, she is such a Goose!"

 



Laura E. Richards

An Old Rat's Tale

He was a rat, and she was a rat,

And down in one hole they did dwell.

And each was as black as your Sunday hat,

And they loved one another well.


He had a tail, and she had a tail,

Both long and curling and fine.

And each said, "My love's tail is the finest tail

In the world, excepting mine!"


He smelt the cheese, and she smelt the cheese,

And they both pronounced it good;

And both remarked it would greatly add

To the charm of their daily food.


So he ventured out and she ventured out;

And I saw them go with pain.

But what them befell I never can tell,

For they never came back again.

 


  WEEK 5  

  Thursday  


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

How Brother Rabbit Fooled the Whale and Elephant

O NE day little Brother Rabbit was running along on the sand, lippety, lippety, when he saw the Whale and the Elephant talking together. Little Brother Rabbit crouched down and listened to what they were saying. This was what they were saying:—

"You are the biggest thing on the land, Brother Elephant," said the Whale, "and I am the biggest thing in the sea; if we join together we can rule all the animals in the world, and have our way about everything."

"Very good, very good," trumpeted the Elephant; "that suits me; we will do it."

Little Brother Rabbit snickered to himself. "They won't rule me," he said. He ran away and got a very long, very strong rope, and he got his big drum, and hid the drum a long way off in the bushes. Then he went along the beach till he came to the Whale.

"Oh, please, dear, strong Mr. Whale," he said, "will you have the great kindness to do me a favor? My cow is stuck in the mud, a quarter of a mile from here. And I can't pull her out. But you are so strong and so obliging, that I venture to trust you will help me out."

The Whale was so pleased with the compliment that he said, "Yes," at once.

"Then," said the Rabbit, "I will tie this end of my long rope to you, and I will run away and tie the other end round my cow, and when I am ready I will beat my big drum. When you hear that, pull very, very hard, for the cow is stuck very deep in the mud."

"Huh!" grunted the Whale, "I'll pull her out, if she is stuck to the horns."

Little Brother Rabbit tied the rope-end to the whale, and ran off, lippety, lippety, till he came to the place where the Elephant was.

"Oh, please, mighty and kindly Elephant," he said, making a very low bow, "will you do me a favor?"

"What is it?" asked the Elephant.

"My cow is stuck in the mud, about a quarter of a mile from here," said little Brother Rabbit, "and I cannot pull her out. Of course you could. If you will be so very obliging as to help me—"

"Certainly," said the Elephant grandly, "certainly."

"Then," said little Brother Rabbit, "I will tie one end of this long rope to your trunk, and the other to my cow, and as soon as I have tied her tightly I will beat my big drum. When you hear that, pull; pull as hard as you can, for my cow is very heavy."

"Never fear," said the Elephant, "I could pull twenty cows."

"I am sure you could," said the Rabbit, politely, "only be sure to begin gently, and pull harder and harder till you get her."

Then he tied the end of the rope tightly round the Elephant's trunk, and ran away into the bushes. There he sat down and beat the big drum.

The Whale began to pull, and the Elephant began to pull, and in a jiffy the rope tightened till it was stretched as hard as could be.

"This is a remarkably heavy cow," said the Elephant; "but I'll fetch her!" And he braced his forefeet in the earth, and gave a tremendous pull.

"Dear me!" said the Whale. "That cow must be stuck mighty tight;" and he drove his tail deep in the water, and gave a marvelous pull.

He pulled harder; the Elephant pulled harder. Pretty soon the Whale found himself sliding toward the land. The reason was, of course, that the Elephant had something solid to brace against, and, too, as fast as he pulled the rope in a little, he took a turn with it round his trunk!

But when the Whale found himself sliding toward the land he was so provoked with the cow that he dove head first, down to the bottom of the sea. That was a pull! The Elephant was jerked off his feet, and came slipping and sliding to the beach, and into the surf. He was terribly angry. He braced himself with all his might, and pulled his best. At the jerk, up came the Whale out of the water.

"Who is pulling me?" spouted the Whale.

"Who is pulling me?" trumpeted the Elephant.

And then each saw the rope in the other's hold.

"I'll teach you to play cow!" roared the Elephant.

"I'll show you how to fool me!" fumed the Whale. And they began to pull again. But this time the rope broke, the Whale turned a somersault, and the Elephant fell over backwards.

At that, they were both so ashamed that neither would speak to the other. So that broke up the bargain between them.

And little Brother Rabbit sat in the bushes and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

Auntie's Skirts

Whenever Auntie moves around,

Her dresses make a curious sound,

They trail behind her up the floor,

And trundle after through the door.

 


  WEEK 5  

  Friday  


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

The Story of the Nile Flood

"The higher Nilus swells

The more it promises: as it ebbs, the seedsman

Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain

And shortly comes to harvest."

—Shakspere.

L ET it be told once again—the story of how this great river, sometimes so shallow and sluggish that a child might safely walk across, becomes a mighty rushing sea pouring itself into the ocean, with a force that no man can stem.

The source of the Nile was as great a mystery to the men of old as was the reason of its yearly flood. So, as they could not find out where this great river rose, they said it must rise in Paradise, that it must flow through burning regions, pass through a sea, and finally make its way through Egypt.

The annual flood they explained to themselves by saying that it was caused by Isis, the Egyptian goddess, mourning for her brother Osiris. Every year, toward the middle of June, she let fall a tear for the great Nile-god, and at once the river swelled and descended upon earth. This quaint old story has lasted down through all the ages, and to this very day the people in Egypt say that a drop from heaven falls during the night of the 18th of June and brings about the rise of the Nile. That night is known as the "night of the drop."

During the months of April, May, and June the river Nile falls and falls. The fields on either side are parched and dry; the air is full of dust. The trees are leafless, the plains are cracked; man and beast alike languish. And all day long the fiery sun, undimmed by the lightest cloud, marches on its pitiless way through a sky of the deepest blue. As the season advances, anxiety becomes intense.

"Will the river rise well this year?" ask the bronze-faced men one of another. "Is it not late already?"

A year of plenty or a year of famine used to hang on this mysterious rise. At last, the day dawns when news comes flashing along the river-banks: "The Nile is rising a little, away up near its source." Slowly—very slowly at first, and then with ever-increasing speed—the water creeps up its banks. Gradually the current quickens and the water becomes a deepened colour. It has now become a rushing mighty stream against which no man could swim, as it swirls and roars along to the sea.

And yet not a drop of rain has fallen, no cloud has crossed the sky, no storm has broken over the land. It is to tropical rains some two thousand miles away that this tumult of waters is due. By September the country is a huge lake, the whole land is a land of rivers, as it once was a land of dust. Men's spirits rise with the rising waters, the animals rejoice in this first necessity of life, brown-skinned men and boys plunge with delight into the life-giving stream. All are happy and content. For it will be a year of plenty for Egypt.

As September wears on, the river begins to fall. Its work is done. Before long it is flowing between its banks as usual, winding through the long hot land to the Great Sea—the "Very Green," as the men of Egypt called it.

We know a great deal about the sources of the Nile now, though it was many centuries before the discoveries were made. At Khartum—known to history for Gordon's famous defence and death—the great river divides into two branches, one called the Blue Nile, the other known as the White Nile.

It was in 1770 that a Scotch explorer named James Bruce reached the source-lakes of the Blue Nile, high up on the plains which crowned the mountains of Abyssinia. He told such wonderful stories on his return home of all he had seen and heard that people did not believe him. But now we know all he said was perfectly true. It was not till 1858 that two Englishmen discovered the source of the White Nile in Lake Victoria.

But it happened years ago that the tropical rains sometimes failed; the rise of the Nile was very poor, the dry earth remained parched and cracked, and famine was the result. So it was a very important matter to the old kings of Egypt whether the Nile rose well or not.

to-day famine is impossible, owing to the dykes, canals, and dams which have been arranged to hold the water should the Nile fail to rise well.

 



Philip H Savage

Winter

When February sun shines cold,

There comes a day when in the air

The wings of winter slow unfold

And show the golden summer there.

 


  WEEK 5  

  Saturday  


The Swiss Twins  by Lucy Fitch Perkins

A Mountain Storm

Part 2 of 2

The goats had already scattered and were nibbling tufts of wet grass, when the two children crawled out from under the rock. Leneli's dress was quite muddy where the rain had come through the crack and poured down her neck, and she was twisting herself round, trying to see the extent of the damage, when suddenly there was a terrific roar and rumble as if the thunder had begun all over again, though the sky was blue and clear. Crash followed crash, and there was a sound of great rocks falling from dizzy mountain-heights far above them.

The children clung to each other in terror, the goats trembled, and Bello crept farther under the rock. "The avalanche!" gasped Leneli, shaking with fright. "Father thought there wouldn't be any more this spring! Oh, I wish we were home!"

Far down the mountain-side there were sounds of mighty trees being torn up by the roots and of rocks broken from the cliffs and bounding from ledge to ledge.

It seemed as if the whole world were being torn to pieces. At last the terrible roar ceased and a terrible silence settled over the mountains. The children knew well the awful dangers of the avalanche. Ever since they could remember they had heard stories of travelers buried alive under masses of snow and ice, and of whole villages swept away, or so covered with stones, trees, and, earth that not a sign of them was ever seen again.

Their first thought was of their mother.

"Oh," shuddered Leneli, "do you suppose our house was in the path of it?"

Seppi thought a moment; then he said soberly, "No, that couldn't be, for there is a wide hollow between our farm and the mountain-slope that would have to be filled first. I'm quite sure no avalanche could possibly carry the house away."

"Father—Fritz," sobbed Leneli.

"They are far round on the other side of the mountain by this time," said Seppi, "where the sun has not yet had so much chance to melt the snow and start avalanches. They could not have been harmed by this one, for it fell on our side of the mountain."

"Let us start home anyway," said Leneli, "even if it is early. I can't wait until night to know that Mother and Baby Roseli are safe."

"We ought to keep the goats up here eating all day," objected Seppi, "or they won't give any milk to-night."

"They may not give much anyway," answered Leneli, "because they've been so frightened, but we will let them go slowly and they can get a bite here and there as they go."

She took up her alpenstock, a long stick which she always carried with her, hung the little bundle of lunch, tied up in a cloth, from the end of it, put the stick over her shoulder, and, calling Bello, began at once to herd the goats together.

Seppi followed her a little doubtfully, and soon they were all on their way down the steep mountain path. The sun was now shining again as brilliantly as ever; the white clouds were floating lazily across the deep blue sky, and it did not seem as if anything unusual could possibly have happened.

Seppi's conscience troubled him. "It was only a thunder-storm after all," he said to Leneli, "and the avalanche is past and gone. It can't do any more harm. I'm afraid Father wouldn't like us to give up and go home now. He might think we were no better than babies to be so scared when we know we aren't hurt."

Leneli did not answer, but she kept right on going, and for a time they trudged along in silence. They had reached the Giant Pine where the trails divided, and had rounded a bend in the path, when Bello, who was a little way ahead with the goats, suddenly set up a furious barking.

"It's that Nanni, I do not doubt," said Seppi. "She's probably trying to break her neck somewhere." He dashed ahead and disappeared around a high rock, Leneli following him at a slower pace.

In a moment Seppi came running back to her, his face pale with surprise and alarm. "It isn't Nanni," he gasped, "it's the avalanche! It's all across the pass! We can't get by."

He seized his sister's hand and dragged her to the top of the rock which overlooked the pass, and there they gazed in dismay at the scene before them. Where that morning the procession from the village had so gayly followed the winding trail up the mountain-side, there was now a great mass of rocks, ice, and snow completely blocking the path. Worse than that, the avalanche had made a dam across the bed of the mountain stream where the cattle stopped to drink, turning it into a little lake which was growing wider and deeper every moment. The goats were huddled together on the brink, bleating anxiously, while Bello, completely bewildered, ran back and forth, barking wildly.

The children knew well how serious their situation was; they were alone on the mountain, the only pass to the village closed, and without food except the lunch they had brought from home that morning. For a few moments they watched the water rising steadily in the little lake, too terrified to speak; then Leneli said, "Let's go back to the Giant Pine and think."


[Illustration]

Seppi blew his little horn, but, instead of rounding up the goats, Bello only looked at him and whined. It had been a day of tremendous surprises to Bello. First Fritz had left him; then came the thunder-storm; then starting home in the middle of the day instead of at the proper time; and now the path itself was gone! No wonder he was bewildered. Seppi dashed down to the water's edge and drove the goats up the trail again himself, and while they snatched stray mouthfuls here and there about the pine tree, he and Leneli sat down under it to think.

"We can't get home that way; that's certain," said Seppi, pointing to the buried pass.

"And we can't stay here either," moaned Leneli; "not if there is a way out in any direction."

"There's the path Father and Fritz took this morning," said Seppi. "We might try that. It must go somewhere."

"Perhaps that is blocked too," said Leneli.

"I'll go a little way and see," said Seppi. "You stay here and watch the goats."

"Give me your horn, then," said Leneli, "and I'll blow it every little while so you can find your way back. You know Father always tells us not to leave the path because it's so easy to get lost."

"That's a good idea," said Seppi. "See if you can blow it."

Leneli put it to her lips and blew until her face was purple, but achieved only a dismal squawk.

"I'll keep the horn myself," said Seppi, taking it from her, "and every little while I'll blow it. You can answer by blowing on a grass stem the way you did up yonder. Girls can't manage a horn anyway."

Leneli was too miserable to reply, and in another minute Seppi had disappeared up the strange path. For what seemed to her a very long time, Leneli answered the horn, as it grew fainter and fainter in the distance. Finally she could not hear it at all.

"Oh, what shall I do if Seppi's gone too?" she moaned when her desperate signals brought no answer.

Then her Mother's words came back to her, and, plumping herself down on her knees among the goats, she sent up a fervent prayer.

"Oh, dear God," she cried, clasping her hands, "Mother said we should be very close to you on the mountain and I suppose you can see me and Seppi both at the same time, from where you are. Please, please send him back for I'm scared. Dear God, do please hurry and help us find the way down the mountain before it gets dark and you have to go away to watch the other side of the world. Amen."

She rose from her knees and listened. Far away there came the sound of Seppi's horn. "Oh, thank you, God! There he comes!" she dried joyfully, and, snatching a grass-blade, she put it between her thumbs and gave an answering blast.

Soon Seppi himself came bounding into sight. "Come along," he shouted, waving his hand frantically toward the path, and Leneli at once called Bello, and together they started the goats. "The avalanche must have begun on the other side of our pass," said Seppi when Leneli caught up with him. "There's no sign of it on this side."

"Maybe if we follow far enough we'll find Father and Fritz," said Leneli, brightening.

"I thought of that, too," answered Seppi, "but if there is any way to get down the mountain, I think we ought to do it on Mother's account. Father and Fritz won't know about it, so they won't be anxious, but if we don't get home Mother will think we are killed."

"Oh, I wish we could fly," said Leneli.

"Then we must wish for wings on the goats too," said Seppi, "for you know Father said we must take care of them whatever happens."

Sad and frightened though she was, Leneli giggled a little at that. "Wouldn't they look funny flying through the air with you and me and Bello all flopping after them?" she said. "Anyway, they might go a little faster than they do now," she added impatiently, giving Nanni a poke with her stick.

"They are hungry," said Seppi. "They hardly had time to eat anything before the storm came up."

Then a bright idea came into his head. "I'm hungry, too," he said, "and so are you. Let's eat our lunch while the goats get a few mouthfuls among the rocks, and then we shall all have more strength and shall get along faster."

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

My Bed Is a Boat

My bed is like a little boat;

Nurse helps me in when I embark;

She girds me in my sailor's coat

And starts me in the dark.


At night I go on board and say

"Good night" to all my friends on shore;

I shut my eyes and sail away

And see and hear no more.


And sometimes things to bed I take,

As prudent sailors have to do;

Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,

Perhaps a toy or two.


All night across the dark we steer:

But when the day returns at last,

Safe in my room beside the pier,

I find my vessel fast.

 


  WEEK 5  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Story of a Long Journey

Genesis xi: 27, to xiii: 18.

dropcap image OT far from the city of Babylon, where they began to build the tower of Babel, was another city, called Ur of the Chaldees. The Chaldees were the people who lived in the country which was called Chaldea, where the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris come together. Among these people, at Ur, was living a man named Abram. Abram was a good man, for he prayed to the Lord God, and tried always to do God's will.

But the people who lived in Ur, Abram's home, did not pray to God. They prayed to idols, images made of wood and stone. They thought that these images were gods, and that they could hear their prayers and could help them. And as these people who worshipped idols did not call on God, they did not know his will, and they did many wicked things.

The Lord God saw that Abram was good and faithful, though wicked people were living all around him. And God did not wish to have Abram's family grow up in such a place, for then they too might become wicked. So the Lord spoke to Abram, and said:

"Abram, gather together all your family and go out from this place, to a land far away, that I will show you. And in that land I will make your family to become a great people, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that all the world shall give honor to your name. If you will do as I command you, you shall be blessed, and all the families of the earth shall obtain a blessing through you."

Abram did not know just what this blessing meant that God promised to him. But we know that Abram's family grew after many years into the Israelite people, out of whom came Jesus, the Saviour of the world, for Jesus was a descendant of Abram: that is, Jesus came a long time afterward from the family of which Abram was the father; and thus Abram's family became a blessing to all the world by giving to the world a Saviour.


[Illustration]

A native of Egypt and his water bottle.

Although Abram did not know just what the blessing was to be that God promised to give him, and although he did not know where the land lay, to which God was sending him, he obeyed God's word. He took all his family, and with them his father Terah, who was very old, and his wife, whose name was Sarai; and his brother Nahor and his wife, and another brother's son whose name was Lot; for Lot's father, Haran, who was the younger brother of Abram, had died before this time. And Abram took all that he had, his tents, and his flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, and went forth on a long journey, to a land of which he did not even know the name.

He journeyed far up the great river Euphrates to the mountain region, until he came to a place called Haran, in a country called Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means "between the rivers"; and this country was between the two great rivers Tigris and Euphrates. At Haran they all stayed for a time. Perhaps they stopped there because Terah, the father of Abram, was too old to travel further; for they stayed at Haran until Terah died.

After the death of Terah, his father, Abram again went on his journey, and Lot, his brother's son, went with him; but Nahor, Abram's brother, stayed in Haran, and his family, and children, and children's children, whom they call "his descendants," lived at Haran for many years.

From Haran, Abram and Lot turned toward the southwest, and journeyed for a long time, having the mountains on their right hand and the great desert on their left. They crossed over rivers, and climbed the hills, and at last they came into the land of Canaan, which was the land of which God had spoken to Abram.

This land was called Canaan, because the people who were living in it were the descendants, or children's children, of a man who had lived long before, whose name was Canaan. A long time after this it was called "the Land of Israel," from the people who lived in it; and because in that same land the Lord Jesus lived many years afterward; we now call it "The Holy Land."

When Abram came into the land of Canaan, he found in it a few cities and villages of the Canaanites. But Abram and his people did not go into the towns to live. They lived in tents, out in the open fields, where they could find grass for their sheep and cattle. Not far from a city called Shechem, Abram set up his tent under an oak tree on the plain. There the Lord came to Abram, and said:

"I will give this land to your children, and to their children, and this shall be their land forever."

And Abram built there an altar, and made an offering, and worshipped the Lord. Wherever Abram set up his tent, there he built his altar and prayed to God; for Abram loved God, and served God, and believed God's promises.

Abram and Lot moved their tents and their flocks to many places, where they could find grass for their flocks and water to drink. At one time they went down to the land of Egypt, where they saw the great river Nile. Perhaps they saw also the Pyramids, and the Sphinx, and the wonderful temples in that land, for many of them were built before Abram lived.


[Illustration]

The Sphinx and Pyramid in Egypt.

Abram did not stay long in the land of Egypt. God did not wish him to live in a land where the people worshipped idols; so God sent Abram back again to the land of Canaan, where he could live apart from cities, and bring up his servants and his people to worship the Lord. He came to a place where afterward a city called Bethel stood; and there as before he built an altar and prayed to the Lord.

Now Lot, the son of Abram's younger brother who had died, was with Abram; and Lot, like Abram, had flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and many tents for his people. Abram's shepherds and Lot's shepherds quarreled, because there was not grass enough in one place for both of them to feed their flocks; and besides these people, the Canaanites were also in the land, so that there was not room for them all.

When Abram heard of the quarrel between his men and the men under Lot, he said to Lot:

"Let there be no quarrel between you and me, nor between your men and my men; for you and I are like brothers to each other. The whole land is before us; let us go apart. You shall have the first choice, too. If you will take the land on the right hand, then I will take the land on the left; or if you choose the left hand, then I will take the right."

This was noble and generous in Abram, for he was the older, and might claim the first choice. Then, too, God had promised all the land to Abram, so that he might have said to Lot, "Go away, for this land is all mine." But Abram showed a kind, good heart in giving to Lot his choice of the land.

And Lot looked over the land from the mountain where they were standing, and saw down in the valley the river Jordan flowing between green fields, where the soil was rich. He saw the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah upon the plain, near the head of the Dead Sea, into which the Jordan flows. And Lot said, "I will go down yonder to the plain."

And he went down the mountain to the plain, with his tents and his men, and his flocks of sheep and his cattle, leaving the land on the mountains, which was not so good, to his uncle Abram. Perhaps Lot did not know that the people in Sodom were the most wicked of all the people in the land; but he went to live near them, and gradually moved his tent closer to Sodom, until after a time he was living in that wicked city.

After Lot had separated from Abram, God said to Abram:

"Lift up your eyes from this place, and look east and west, and north and south. All the land that you can see, mountains and valleys and plains, I will give it to you, and to your children, and their children, and those who come after them. Your descendants shall have all this land, and they shall be as many as the dust of the earth; so that if one could count the dust of the earth, they could as easily count those who shall come from you. Rise up, and walk through the land wherever you please, for it is all yours."

Then Abram moved his tent from Bethel, and went to live near the city of Hebron, in the south, under an oak tree; and there again he built an altar to the Lord.

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

Bread and Milk for Breakfast

Bread and milk for breakfast,

And woolen frocks to wear,

And a crumb for robin redbreast

On the cold days of the year.