WEEK 6 |
M Y father soon found a trail leading away from the clearing. All sorts of animals might be using it too, but he decided to follow the trail no matter what he met because it might lead to the dragon. He kept a sharp lookout in front and behind and went on.
Just as he was feeling quite safe, he came around a curve right behind the two wild boars. One of them was saying to the other, "Did you know that the tortoises thought they saw Monkey carrying his sick grandmother to the doctor's last night? But Monkey's grandmother died a week ago, so they must have seen something else. I wonder what it was."
"I told you that there was an invasion afoot," said the other boar, "and I intend to find out what it is. I simply can't stand invasions."
"Nee meither," said a tiny little voice. "I mean, me neither," and my father knew that the mouse was there, too.
"Well," said the first boar, "you search the trail up this way to the dragon. I'll go back down the other way through the big clearing, and we'll send Mouse to watch the Ocean Rocks in case the invasion should decide to go away before we find it."
My father hid behind a mahogany tree just in time, and the first boar walked right past him. My father waited for the other boar to get a head start on him, but he didn't wait very long because he knew that when the first boar saw the tigers chewing gum in the clearing, he'd be even more suspicious.
Soon the trail crossed a little brook and my father, who by this time was very thirsty, stopped to get a drink of water. He still had on his rubber boots, so he waded into a little pool of water and was stooping down when something quite sharp picked him up by the seat of the pants and shook him very hard.
"Don't you know that's my private weeping pool?" said a deep angry voice.
My father couldn't see who was talking because he was hanging in the air right over the pool, but he said, "Oh, no, I'm so sorry. I didn't know that everybody had a private weeping pool."
"Everybody doesn't!" said the angry voice, "but I do because I have such a big thing to weep about, and I drown everybody I find using my weeping pool." With that the animal tossed my father up and down over the water.
"What—is it—that—you—weep about—so much?" asked my father, trying to get his breath, and he thought over all the things he had in his pack.
"Oh, I have many things to weep about, but the biggest thing is the color of my tusk." My father squirmed every which way trying to see the tusk, but it was through the seat of his pants where he couldn't possibly see it. "When I was a young rhinoceros, my tusk was pearly white," said the animal (and then my father knew that he was hanging by the seat of his pants from a rhinoceros' tusk!), "but it has turned a nasty yellow-gray in my old age, and I find it very ugly. You see, everything else about me is ugly, but when I had a beautiful tusk I didn't worry so much about the rest. Now that my tusk is ugly too, I can't sleep nights just thinking about how completely ugly I am, and I weep all the time. But why should I be telling you these things? I caught you using my pool and now I'm going to drown you."
"Oh, wait a minute, Rhinoceros," said my father. "I have some things that will make your tusk all white and beautiful again. Just let me down and I'll give them to you."
The rhinoceros said, "You do? I can hardly believe it! Why, I'm so excited!" He put my father down and danced around in a circle while my father got out the tube of tooth paste and the toothbrush.
"Now," said my father, "just move your tusk a little nearer, please, and I'll show you how to begin." My father wet the brush in the pool, squeezed on a dab of tooth paste, and scrubbed very hard in one tiny spot. Then he told the rhinoceros to wash it off, and when the pool was calm again, he told the rhinoceros to look in the water and see how white the little spot was. It was hard to see in the dim light of the jungle, but sure enough, the spot shone pearly white, just like new. The rhinoceros was so pleased that he grabbed the toothbrush and began scrubbing violently, forgetting all about my father.
Just then my father heard hoofsteps and he jumped behind the rhinoceros. It was the boar coming back from the big clearing where the tigers were chewing gum. The boar looked at the rhinoceros, and at the toothbrush, and at the tube of tooth paste, and then he scratched his ear on a tree. "Tell me, Rhinoceros," he said, "where did you get that fine tube of tooth paste and that toothbrush?"
"Too busy!" said the rhinoceros, and he went on brushing as hard as he could.
The boar sniffed angrily and trotted down the trail toward the dragon, muttering to himself, "Very suspicious—tigers too busy chewing gum, Rhinoceros too busy brushing his tusk—must get hold of that invasion. Don't like it one bit, not one bit! It's upsetting everybody terribly—wonder what it's doing here, anyway."
"Where are you going to, you little pig?"
"I'm leaving my Mother, I'm growing so big!"
"So big, young pig,
So young, so big!
What, leaving your Mother, you foolish young pig!"
"Where are you going to, you little pig?"
"I've got a new spade, and I'm going to dig."
"To dig, little pig?
A little pig dig!
Well, I never saw a pig with a spade that could dig!"
"Where are you going to, you little pig?"
"Why, I'm going to have a nice ride in a gig!"
"In a gig, little pig!
What, a pig in a gig!
Well, I never saw a pig ride in a gig!"
"Where are you going to, you little pig?"
"Well, I'm going to the ball to dance a fine jig!"
"A jig, little pig!
A pig dance a jig!
Well, I never before saw a pig dance a jig!"
"Where are you going to, you little pig?"
"I'm going to the fair to run a fine rig."
"A rig, little pig!
A pig run a rig!
Well, I never before saw a pig run a rig!"
"Where are you going to, you little pig?"
"I 'm going to the barber's to buy me a wig!"
"A wig, little pig!
A pig in a wig!
Why, whoever before saw a pig in a wig!"
WEEK 6 |
Y OU have read how Thomas Smith first raised rice in Carolina. After his death there lived in South Carolina a wise young woman. She showed the people how to raise another plant. Her name was Eliza Lucas.
The father of Miss Lucas did not live in
of one of the islands of the West Indies.
Her father sent her some seeds of the indigo plant. She sowed some of these in March. But there came a frost. The indigo plant cannot stand frost. Her plants all died.
But Miss Lucas did not give up. She sowed some more seeds in April.
These grew very well until a
But Miss Lucas was one of the people who try, try again. She had lost her indigo plants twice. Once more she sowed some of the seed. This time the plants grew very well.
Miss Lucas wrote to her father about it. He sent her a man who knew how to get the indigo out of the plant.
The man tried not to show Miss Lucas how to make the indigo. He did not wish the people in South Carolina to learn how to make it. He was afraid his own people would not get so much for their indigo.
So he would not explain just how it ought to be done. He spoiled the indigo on purpose.
But Miss Lucas watched him closely. She found out how the indigo ought to be made. Some of her father's land in South Carolina was now planted with the indigo plants.
Then Miss Lucas was married. She became
In a few years, more than a million pounds of indigo were made in
South Carolina every year. Many people got rich by it. And it was all
When the sun
Shines through the leaves of the
When the sun
Makes shadows of the leaves of the
Then I pass
On the grass
From one leaf to another,
From one leaf to its brother
Here I go!
WEEK 6 |
I T was during the hottest summer weather that the wind-storm came. The farmyard people always spoke of it as "the" wind-storm, because not even the Blind Horse, who had lived on the farm longer than any of his neighbors, could remember anything like it. "I recall one time," he said, "when a sweet-apple tree was blown down in the fall. The Hogs found it and ate all the fruit before the farmer knew that it was down. You should have heard them grunt over it. They were afraid the farmer would drive them away before they had eaten it all. Eh, well! They ate all they wanted, but one of the Pigs told me afterward that it made them sick, and that he never wanted to see another sweet apple as long as he lived. That was a hard storm, but not like this, not like this."
It had come in the night when the farmyard people were asleep, and there was much scampering to shelter. The fowls, who were roosting in the old apple-tree, did not have time to oil their feathers and make them water-proof. They just flew off their perches as fast as they could and ran for the open door of the Hen-house. When they were once inside, they ruffled up their feathers and shook themselves to get rid of the rain-drops. Fowls do not like wet weather, and it vexes them very much to be in the rain. Their neighbors know this so well that it has become their custom to say of an angry person that he is "as mad as a wet Hen."
The Cows were in their part of the barn with their necks between the stanchions, so there was nothing for them to do but to keep still and think of those who were out of doors. The Horses were in their comfortable stalls. They had been working hard all day and the farmer had gotten a good supper of oats ready for them in their mangers, so that they could eat quickly and go to sleep, instead of staying awake and walking around to get their own suppers in the pasture.
Out in the meadow the Sheep huddled close together under a low-branching tree, and stood still until the storm passed. They had been so warm that the cool rain made them comfortable, but the wind pushed them and swayed the branches of the trees. The loud thunder made the Lambs jump. They liked the lightning and made a game out of it, each one telling what he had seen by the last flash. The clouds, too, were beautiful, and flew across the sky like great dark birds with downy breasts, dropping now and then shining worms from their beaks.
At last the air became cool and clear, and the clouds flew far away toward the east. Next, the stars peeped out, first one, then two, then six, then twenty, and then so many that you could not have counted them,—more than the leaves on a maple-tree, more than the grass-blades of the meadow. The Sheep ran around a little to shake off the rain-drops and warm themselves, then they huddled down again to sleep.
When the sun arose in the eastern sky, his warm beams fell upon the Sheep and awakened them. "How cool and beautiful a day," they said. "What a morning for a run!"
"I can beat you to the tall grass!" called one little Lamb to the rest, and they all scampered around the field, throwing up their heels for joy. They had been away from their mothers for a while, and had learned to eat grass instead of milk. They were quite proud of the way in which they broke it off, with quick upward jerks of their heads, and their teeth were growing finely. They did not expect any upper front teeth, for in place of them the Sheep have only a hard pad of flesh.
Soon they came running back to the flock. "There is a Dog over there," they cried, "a strange Dog. He doesn't look like Collie. He is coming this way, and we are afraid."
Their uncle, the Bell-Wether, looked over to where the strange Dog was, then turned quickly and began to run. The bell around his neck clinked at every step. When the other Sheep heard the bell they raised their heads and ran after him, and the Lambs ran after them. The strange Dog did not follow or even bark at them, yet on they went, shaking the shining rain-drops from the grass as they trod upon it. Not one of them was thinking for himself what he really ought to do. The Bell-Wether thought, "I feel like running away from the Dog, and so I will run."
The other Sheep said to themselves, "The Bell-Wether is running and so we will run."
And the Lambs said, "If they are all running we will run."
Along the fence they went, the bell clinking, their hoofs pattering, and not one of them thinking for himself, until they reached a place where the fence was blown over. It was not blown 'way down, but leaned so that it could be jumped. If a single one of the flock, even the youngest Lamb, had said, "Don't jump!" they would have stayed in the pasture; but nobody said it. The Bell-Wether felt like jumping over, so he jumped. Then the Sheep did as the Bell-Wether had done, and the Lambs did as the Sheep had done.
Now they were in the road and the Bell-Wether turned away from the farm-house and ran on, with the Sheep and the Lambs following. Even now, if anybody had said, "Stop!" they would have stopped, for they knew that they were doing wrong; but nobody said it.
After a while a heavy wagon came rumbling down the road behind them, and the Bell-Wether jumped over a ditch and ran into a hilly field with woodland beyond. Because he went the Sheep did, and because the Sheep went the Lambs did, and nobody said "Stop!" You see, by this time they were very badly frightened, and no wonder. When they saw the strange Dog they were a little scared, for they thought he might chase them. If they had made themselves stay there and act brave they would soon have felt brave. Even if the Dog had been a cruel one, they could have kept him from hurting them, for Sheep have been given very strong, hard foreheads with which to strike, and the Bell-Wether had also long, curled horns with three ridges on the side of each. But it is with Sheep as it is with other people,—if they let themselves be frightened they grow more and more fearful, even when there is no real danger, and now all of their trouble came from their not stopping to think what they ought to do.
They hurried up to the highest ground in the field, and when they were there and could go no farther, they stopped and looked at each other. One Lamb said to his mother, "Why did we come here? It isn't nearly so nice as our own meadow."
"Why, I came because the Bell-Wether did," she answered. Then she turned to the Bell-Wether and said, "Why did you bring us here?"
"I didn't bring you here," he replied. "I felt like coming, and I came. I didn't make you follow."
"N-no," answered the Sheep; "but you might have known that if you came the Sheep would come."
"Well," said the Bell-Wether, "you might have known that if you Sheep came the Lambs would, so you'd better not say anything."
"Baa!" cried the Lambs. "We are hot and thirsty and there isn't any water here to drink. We want to go back."
Everybody was out of patience with somebody else, and nobody was comfortable. They did not dare try to go home again, for fear they would have more trouble, so they huddled together on the top of the hill and were very miserable and unhappy. They hadn't any good reason for coming, and they could not even have told why they ran to the hilltop instead of staying in the pleasant hollow below.
There was a reason for their running up, however,
although they didn't know it. It
was because their
"Bow-wow-wow!" rang out on the still morning air.
"There's Collie!" cried the Lambs joyfully. "He's coming to take us home. Let's bleat to help him find us more quickly." All the Lambs said, "Baa! Baaa!" in their high, soft voices, and their mothers said "Baa! Baaa!" more loudly; and the Bell-Wether added his "Baa! Baaa!" which was so deep and strong that it sounded like a little, very little, clap of thunder.
Collie came frisking along with his tail waving and his eyes gleaming. He started the flock home, and scolded them and made fun of them all the way, but they were now so happy that they didn't care what he said. When they were safely in the home meadow again and the farmer had mended the fence, Collie left them. As he turned to go, he called back one last piece of advice.
"I'm a Shepherd Dog," he said, "and it's my work to take care of Sheep when they can't take care of themselves, but I'd just like to be a Bell-Wether for a little while. You wouldn't catch me doing every foolish thing I felt like doing and getting all the flock into trouble by following me! Nobody can do anything without somebody else doing it too, and I wouldn't lead people into trouble and then say I didn't think. Bow-wow-wow-wow!"
Collie and the Bell-Wether
The Bell-Wether grumbled to himself, "Well, the rest needn't tag along unless they want to. Pity if I can't jump a fence without everybody following." But down in his heart he felt mean, for he knew that one who leads should do right things.
The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby Street
Comes stealing; comes creeping;
The poppies they hang from her head to her feet,
And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet—
She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet,
When she findeth you sleeping!
There is one little dream of a beautiful drum—
"Rub-a-dub!" it goeth;
There is one little dream of a big sugarplum,
And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come
Of popguns that bang, and tin tops that hum,
And a trumpet that bloweth!
And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams
With laughter and singing;
And boats go a-floating on silvery streams,
And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty gleams,
And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams,
The fairies go winging!
Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet?
They'll come to you sleeping;
So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet,
For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby Street,
With poppies that hang from her head to her feet,
Comes stealing; comes creeping.
WEEK 6 |
T HERE was once a poor woodman sitting by the fire in his cottage, and his wife sat by his side spinning.
"How lonely it is," said he, "for you and me to sit here by ourselves without any children to play about us and to amuse us, while other people seem so happy and merry with their children!"
"What you say is very true," said the wife, sighing and turning round her wheel; "how happy should I be if I had but one child! and if it were ever so small, nay, if it were no bigger than my thumb, I should be very happy, and love it dearly."
Now it came to pass that this good woman's wish was fulfilled just as she desired, for some time afterward she had a little boy who was quite healthy and strong, but not much bigger than my thumb.
So they said, "Well, we cannot say we have not got what we wished for, and, little as he is, we will love him dearly"; and they called him Tom Thumb.
They gave him plenty of food, yet he never grew bigger, but remained just the same size as when he was born; still his eyes were sharp and sparkling, and he soon showed himself to be a clever little fellow, who always knew well what he was about. One day, as the woodman was getting ready to go into the wood to cut fuel, he said,
"I wish I had some one to bring the cart after me, for I want to make haste."
"O father!" cried Tom, "I will take care of that; the cart shall be in the wood by the time you want it."
Then the woodman laughed, and said, "How can that be? you cannot reach up to the horse's bridle."
"Never mind that, father," said Tom: "if my mother will only harness the horse, I will get into his ear, and tell him which way to go."
"Well," said the father, "we will try for once."
When the time came, the mother harnessed the horse to the cart, and put Tom into his ear; and as he sat there the little man told the beast how to go, crying out, "Go on," and "Stop," as he wanted; so the horse went on just as if the woodman had driven it himself into the wood. It happened that, as the horse was going a little too fast, and Tom was calling out "Gently! gently!" two strangers came up. "What an odd thing that is!" said one, "there is a cart going along, and I hear a carter talking to the horse, but can see no one."
"That is strange," said the other; "let us follow the cart and see where it goes."
So they went on into the wood, till at last they came to the place where the woodman was. Then Tom Thumb, seeing his father, cried out,
"See, father, here I am, with the cart, all right and safe; now take me down."
So his father took hold of the horse with one hand, and with the other took his son out of the ear; then he put him down upon a straw, where he sat as merry as you please. The two strangers were all this time looking on, and did not know what to say for wonder.
At last one took the other aside and said, "That little urchin will make our fortune if we can get him and carry him about from town to town as a show: we must buy him."
So they went to the woodman and asked him what he would take for the little man: "He will be better off with us," said they, "than with you."
"I won't sell him," said the father, "my own flesh and blood is dearer to me than all the silver and gold in the world."
But Tom, hearing of the bargain they wanted to make, crept up his father's coat to his shoulder, and whispered softly in his ear,
"Take the money, father, and let them have me, I'll soon come back to you."
So the woodman at last agreed to sell Tom to the strangers for a large piece of gold.
"Where do you like to sit?" said one of the men.
"Oh! put me on the rim of your hat, and that will be a nice gallery for me; I can walk about there, and see the country as we go along."
So they did as he wished; and when Tom had taken leave of his father they took him away with them. They journeyed on till it began to be dusk and then the little man said, "Let me get down. I'm tired."
So the man took off his hat and set him down on a clod of earth in a ploughed field by the side of the road. But Tom ran about among the furrows, and at last slipped into an old mouse-hole.
"Good night, masters," said he, "I'm off! mind and look sharp after me next time."
They ran directly to the place, and poked the ends of their sticks into the mouse-hole, but all in vain; Tom only crawled further and further in, and at last it became quite dark, so that they were obliged to go their way without their prize, as sulky as you please.
When Tom found they were gone, he came out of his hiding-place.
"What dangerous walking it is," said he, "in this ploughed field! If I were to fall from one of these great clods, I should certainly break my neck."
At last by good luck, he found a large empty snail-shell.
"This is lucky," said he, "I can sleep here very well," and in he crept.
Just as he was falling asleep he heard two men passing, and one said to the other,
"How shall we manage to steal that rich parson's silver and gold?"
"I'll tell you," cried Tom.
"What noise was that?" said the thief, frightened, "I am sure I heard some one speak."
They stood still listening and Tom said, "Take me with you, and I'll soon show you how to get the parson's money."
"But where are you?" said they.
"Look about on the ground," answered he, "and listen where the sound comes from."
At last the thieves found him, and lifted him up in their hands.
"You little urchin!" said they, "what can you do for us?"
"Why I can get between the iron window bars of the parson's house and throw you out whatever you want."
"That's a good idea," said the thieves, "come along, we shall see what you can do."
When they came to the parson's house, Tom slipped through the window-bars into the room, and then called out as loud as he could bawl,
"Will you have all that is here?"
At this the thieves were frightened and said, "Softly, softly, speak low, that you may not awaken anybody."
But Tom pretended not to understand them, and bawled out again,
"How much will you have? Shall I throw it all out?"
Now the cook lay in the next room, and hearing a noise she raised herself in her bed and listened. Meantime the thieves were frightened, and ran off to a little distance; but at last they plucked up courage and said,
"The little urchin is only trying to make fools of us."
So they came back and whispered softly to him, saying, "Now let us have no more of your jokes, but throw out the money."
Then Tom called out as loud as he could, "Very well: hold your hands, here it comes."
The cook heard this quite plainly, so she sprang out of bed and ran to open the door. The thieves ran off as if a wolf was at their tails; and the maid, having groped about and found nothing, went away for a light. By the time she returned, Tom had slipped off into the barn, and when the cook had looked about and searched every hole and corner, and found nobody, she went to bed, thinking she must have been dreaming with her eyes open.
The little man crawled about in the hayloft, and at last found a glorious place to finish his night's rest in; so he laid himself down, meaning to sleep till daylight, and then find his way home to his father and mother. But, alas! how cruelly was he disappointed! what crosses and sorrows happen in this world! The cook got up early before daybreak to feed the cows; she went straight to the hayloft, and carried away a large bundle of hay with the little man in the middle of it fast asleep. He still, however, slept on and did not awake till he found himself in the mouth of the cow who had taken him up with a mouthful of hay.
"Good lack-a-day!" said he, "how did I manage to tumble into the mill?"
But he soon found out where he really was, and was obliged to have all his wits about him in order that he might not get between the cow's teeth, and so be crushed to death. At last down he went into her stomach.
"It is rather dark here," said he; "they forgot to build windows in this room to let the sun in, a candle would be no bad thing."
Though he made the best of his bad luck, he did not like his quarters at all; and the worst of it was that more and more hay was always coming down, and the space in which he was became smaller and smaller.
At last he cried out as loud as he could, "Don't bring me any more hay! Don't bring me any more hay!"
The maid happened to be just then milking the cow, and hearing some one speak and seeing nobody and yet being quite sure that it was the same voice that she had heard in the night, she was so frightened that she fell off her stool and overset the milk-pail. She ran off as fast as she could to her master, the parson, and said,
"Sir, sir, the cow is talking!"
But the parson said, "Woman, thou art surely mad!"
However, he went with her into the cowshed to see what was the matter. Scarcely had they set foot on the threshold when Tom called out,
"Don't bring me any more hay!"
Then the parson himself was frightened, and thinking the cow was surely bewitched, ordered that she should be killed directly. So the cow was killed, and the stomach in which Tom lay, was thrown out upon a dung-hill.
Tom soon set himself to work to get out, which was not a very easy task; but at last, just as he had made room to get his head out, a new misfortune befell him; a hungry wolf sprung out and swallowed the whole stomach, with Tom in it, at a single gulp, and ran away. Tom, however, was not disheartened, and thinking the wolf would not dislike having some chat with him as he was going along he called out,
"My good friend, I can show you a famous treat."
"Where's that?" said the wolf.
"In such and such a house," said Tom, describing his father's house, "you can crawl through the drain into the kitchen and there you will find cakes, ham, beef, and everything your heart can desire."
The wolf did not want to be asked twice; so that very night he went to the house and crawled through the drain into the kitchen, and ate and drank there to his heart's content. As soon as he was satisfied, he wanted to get away; but he had eaten so much that he could not get out the same way that he came in. This was just what Tom had reckoned upon; and he now began to set up a great shout, making all the noise he could.
"Will you be quiet?" said the wolf: "you'll awaken everybody in the house."
"What's that to me?" said the little man: "you have had your frolic, now I've a mind to be merry myself"; and he began again, singing and shouting as loud as he could.
The woodman and his wife, being awakened by the noise, peeped through a crack in the door; but when they saw that the wolf was there, you may well suppose that they were terribly frightened; and the woodman ran for his axe, and gave his wife a scythe.
"Now do you stay behind," said the woodman; "and when I have knocked him on the head, do you rip up his stomach for him with the scythe."
Tom heard all this and said,
"Father, father! I am here, the wolf has swallowed me"; and his father said,
"Heaven be praised! we have found our dear child again"; and he told his wife not to use the scythe, for fear she should hurt him.
Then he aimed a great blow, and struck the wolf on the head, and killed him on the spot; and when he was dead they cut open his body and set Tommy free.
"Ah!" said the father, "what fears we have had for you!"
"Yes, father," answered he, "I have travelled all over the world, since we parted, in one way or another; now I am very glad to get fresh air again."
"Why, where have you been?" said his father.
"I have been in a mouse-hole, in a snail-shell, down a cow's throat, and in the wolf's stomach; and yet here I am again safe and sound."
"Well," said they, "we will not sell you again for all the riches in the world."
So they hugged and kissed their little son, and gave him plenty to eat and drink, and fetched new clothes for him, for his old ones were quite spoiled.
The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
WEEK 6 |
"My sons, and ye the children of ray sons,
Jacob your father goes upon his way."
F OR the first seven years after Joseph had been made governor of Egypt, the Nile rose well, and every fifth part of the country's produce was stored up in the granaries of Egypt, and "in all the land of Egypt there was bread." The bad years came. The Nile did not rise, the corn did not grow, and the famished people cried to Pharaoh for bread.
"Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do," was Pharaoh's answer to all the clamouring people. And Joseph opened the storehouses of grain and sold to the Egyptians.
Not only was there famine in Egypt, but the famine was "over all the face of the earth." This included the land of Canaan, where Joseph's father and brothers still lived. There came a day, as the famine grew worse and worse, when Jacob called his sons.
"Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt," he said to them: "get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die."
The ten brothers started off for Egypt to buy corn. They found that the governor was selling the corn in person. He was the great man of the land, and they bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. They little thought that this man to whom every one bowed down was their young brother Joseph, but Joseph recognised his brothers at once. The sight of their familiar faces moved him strangely, and he turned from them in tears. He behaved generously towards them, but he did not tell them who he was. And when they had filled their sacks with corn they went home.
But the famine went on, and again they came, bringing Benjamin, the youngest son, with them this time. They brought Joseph presents too—honey and spices, nuts and almonds. Again they bowed low before him.
"Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?" were Joseph's eager words when he saw them again. Yet again he turned from them in tears, which they could not understand.
At last he told them who he was—told them simply, weeping and alone, "I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt."
Then he informed them that he was lord of Pharaoh's house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
"And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither."
So the brothers journeyed back into Canaan, laden with good things from Egypt, to tell their father the good news.
"It is enough," said the old man; "Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die."
And Jacob left his old home, and he took his sons and his grandsons, and all their wives and children, his cattle and all his goods. It must have been a long line of camels and asses, together with the waggons that Pharaoh had sent from Egypt, that crossed the burning desert, to go down into Egypt. And Joseph drove out in his chariot to meet his father, and he fell on his neck and wept a good while."
Joseph brought his father into the presence of the great Pharaoh, and the king treated the old man well, giving him a portion of land to dwell in Goshen between Memphis and the Great Sea, at the delta of the Nile. It was one of the best pieces of land in Egypt, and there Jacob settled down with his sons and his grandsons, their wives and children, to live in peace and plenty.
Now Jacob was already old when he came down into the land of Egypt. And when the time came for him to die, his one yearning was to get back to his old home. He could not rest in the land of the pyramids. The Egyptians were kind, but they were not his own kin; he felt he must lie in the land of his fathers.
"Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt," he pleaded with Joseph: "but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying-place."
"Thou shalt carry me out of Egypt."
So Jacob died, and the Egyptians mourned for him, as if he had been one of themselves; after which his whole family carried him home to the land of his birth. It was a very great company that bore him to Canaan; the camels and asses of the house of Jacob, mingling strangely with the chariots and horses of the Egyptians.
So they buried him in the land of Canaan, as he had desired them, and then Joseph and all his brethren returned to their new home in Egypt.
When all the ground with snow is white,
The merry snow-bird comes,
And hops about with great delight
To find the scattered crumbs.
How glad he seems to get to eat
A piece of cake or bread!
He wears no shoes upon his feet,
No hat upon his head!
But happiest is he, I know,
Because no cage with bars
Keeps him from walking in the snow
And printing it with stars.
WEEK 6 |
T HE sun was already dipping toward the west when they finished the last crumb of their bread and cheese, washed it down with a drink from the mountain stream, and started once more on their journey. They followed the path without much difficulty, for it had been trampled by the feet of many cattle that morning, and at the end of an hour had covered several miles without meeting a person or finding any sign of human habitation The way grew wilder and wilder and wound slowly upward.
"It's going to be dark pretty soon," said Leneli at last, trying hard to conceal the tremble in her voice, "and we are going up instead of down. Seppi, do you suppose there are any bears and wolves about here?"
"Maybe," said Seppi, and there was a little catch in his throat, too. "But then," he added, trying hard to look on the bright side of things, "if there are, they'd be much more likely to eat the goats. I don't believe they care much about eating people."
"Well, anyway, if they do," quavered Leneli, "I hope they'll begin with Nanni."
The afternoon waned; the shadows grew longer and longer, and they wire just making up their minds that they must soon lie down among the goats beside the trail and wait for morning, when a turn in the path brought them out on a spur of the mountain where they could look for miles across a deep valley towards the west. On the farther side, range after range of snow-capped peaks gave back the golden glory of the sunset, and from somewhere came the sound of an Alpine horn playing the first few notes of the hymn "Praise Ye the Lord."
"The Angelus!" cried Leneli clasping, her hands. "They can't hear the church-bells up here, so they blow the horns instead."
Far away across the valley another horn answered, then another and another, and the echoes took up the refrain until it seemed as if the hills themselves were singing.
Following eagerly the direction of the sound the children were overjoyed to see in the distance a lonely herdsman standing on a great rock overlooking the valley, his long Alpine horn in his hand, and his head bowed in prayer. Leneli and Seppi bowed their heads too, and it comforted them to think that their mother in the old farm-house, and Father and Fritz on the far-away alp, were all at that same moment praying too. It seemed to bring them near together in spite of the distance which separated them.
Their prayers said, the children hastened forward, driving the goats before them, and now the sound of cow-bells mingled with the tinkle of the bells on the goats. Another turn in the path revealed a green pasture where a herd of cows was grazing, and, just beyond, a rough shelter made of logs with the herdsman, still holding his horn, standing beside it. He was gazing in astonishment at the sight of two little children alone on the mountains at so late an hour. He was an old man, with a shaggy white beard, and strange kind eyes that seemed always looking for something that he could not find. Beside him, his ears pointed forward and his tail pointing back, was his dog. The dog was growling.
For an instant the children stood still, not quite daring to go nearer, but Bello, dear friendly old Bello, had no such fears. He ran forward barking joyfully; the two dogs smelled each other, and then trotted back down the path together as if they had been friends since they were puppies.
The man followed at a slower pace. "What in the world are you doing up here on the mountains with your goats at this time o' day?" he said to the children.
The Twins told him their story, and he stood for a moment scratching his head, as if he were much puzzled to know what to do with them.
"Well," he said at length, "you can't get down the mountain to-night, that's certain; and you must be hungry enough to eat an ox roasted whole, that's certain too. And your goats are hungry into the bargain. Goats aren't allowed in this pasture, but they mustn't starve either. Nothing is as it should be."
He scratched his head again, and Leneli, fearing he was going to turn them away, could not keep a large tear from rolling, down her nose and splashing off her chin.
"There, there," said the old herdsman, comfortingly, "don't you cry, sissy. Things aren't so bad but that they might be worse. You can sleep in the hay up yonder," he jerked his thumb toward the hut, "and I'll give you a bite to eat, and the goats will help themselves, I've no manner of doubt."
"We can drink goat's milk," said Leneli timidly, "and you may have all we don't take."
"We'll have to milk them first," said Seppi, "and we've never done it before. Mother always does the milking."
"I know how," said Leneli proudly. "Don't you remember, Fritz taught me the day Nanni swallowed my lunch?"
"I'll lend you a milk-pail," said the herdsman. "The cows were all milked some time ago."
He went back to the hut and soon reappeared with two pails, and as Leneli struggled with one goat he milked another, while Seppi fed both creatures with tufts of grass to keep them quiet. It was the first good grass the goats had seen since morning, and apparently they were determined to eat the pasture clean.
The herdsman looked at them anxiously and scratched his head again. "They certainly have healthy appetites," he said woefully; "they don't calculate to leave anything behind 'em but stones and gravel!"
The milking took some time and after it was done, the old man placed the sad and tired children on the bench beside his door, and while they ate the food he gave them and watched the moon rise over the mountains, he told them about his home in the village fifteen miles away at the foot of the pass, and about his wife and two grandchildren who lived there with him.
"The only thing you can do," he said, "is to go down the pass on this side of the mountain. You can spend the night at my house or at some farm-house on the way and it is only about ten miles back to your own village from the foot of the pass."
"But how can we find the way?" quavered poor Leneli.
The old man scratched his head, as he always did when he was puzzled, and finally said, "Well, I'm blest if I can tell you. It's a hard pass. I'd go with you, but I'm alone here and I can't leave the cows even for half a day. I'll start you right, the dog and the goats have some sense of their own; and the good God will guide you. Besides, Swiss boys and girls are never afraid."
Twinkle, twinkle, little star;
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!
When the blazing sun is set,
And the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky.
Then if I were in the dark,
I would thank you for your spark;
I could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
WEEK 6 |
Genesis xiv: 1, to xv: 21.
O Lot lived in Sodom, and Abram lived in his tent on the mountains of Canaan. At that time in the plain of Jordan, near the head of the Dead Sea, were five cities, of which Sodom and Gomorrah were two; and each of the five cities was ruled by its own king. But over all these little kings and their little kingdoms was a greater king, who lived far away, near the land of Chaldea, from which Abram had come, and who ruled all the lands, far and near.
The Dead Sea near where stood Sodom and Gomorrah.
After a time these little kings in the plain would not obey the greater king; so he and all his army made war upon them. A battle was fought on the plain, not far from Sodom, and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were beaten in the battle, and their soldiers were killed. Then the king who had won the victory over his enemies came to Sodom, and took everything that he could find in the city, and carried away all the people in the city, intending to keep them as slaves. After a battle, in those times, the army that won the victory took away all the goods, and made slaves of all the people on the side that had been beaten.
So Lot, with all that he owned, was carried away by enemies, who went up the valley from Sodom, and did not stop to rest until they came to the head-waters of the river Jordan, at a place afterward called Dan. So, all that Lot's selfish choice gained for him was to lose all that he had, and to be made a prisoner and a slave.
Some one ran away from the battle, and came to Abram, who was living in his tent under the oak tree near Hebron. As soon as Abram heard what had happened, he called together all the men who were with him, his servants, his shepherds, and his people, and his friends; and he led them after the enemy that had taken away Lot. He followed as fast as his men could march, and found the enemy, with all the goods they had taken and all their prisoners, at Dan, one of the places where the Jordan River begins.
Abram rushed upon the enemies at night, while they were asleep, and fought them, and drove them away; so suddenly that they left behind them everything, and ran far off among the mountains. And in their camp Abram found his nephew Lot, safe, with his wife and daughters, and all his gods, and besides, all the goods and all the other people that had been carried away from Sodom.
Then the king of Sodom came to meet Abram, at a place near the city of Jerusalem, which was afterward called "The King's Valley." And with him came the king of Jerusalem, which at that time was called Salem. The name of this king was Melchizedek, and unlike most other kings in the land at that time, he was a worshipper of the Lord God, as Abram was. And the King Melchizedek blessed Abram, and said, "May the Lord God Most High, who made heaven and earth, bless Abram; and blessed be the Lord God Most High, who has given your enemies into your hand."
And Abram made a present to the King Melchizedek, because he worshipped the Lord. And Abram gave to the king of Sodom all the people and all the goods that had been taken away; and he would not take any pay for having saved them.
Abram meets King Melchizedek.
You would have thought that after this, Lot would have seen that it was wrong for him to live in Sodom; but he went back to that city, and made his home there once more, even though his heart was made sad by the wickedness that he saw around him.
After Abram had gone back to his tent under the oak trees at Hebron, one day the Lord God spoke to him, and said:
"Fear not, Abram; I will be a shield to keep you safe from enemies; and I will give you a very great reward for serving me."
And Abram said, "O Lord God, what good can anything do to me, since I have no child to whom I can give it; and after I die, the man who will own everything that I have is not my son, but a servant." For although Abram had a large family of people around him, and many servants, he had no heir, and he was now an old man, and his wife Sarai was also old.
And God said to Abram, "The one to receive what you own shall not be a stranger, but shall be your own son."
And that night God brought Abram out of his tent, under the heavens, and said to him:
"Look now up to the sky, and count the stars, if you can. The people who shall spring from you, your descendants, in the years to come, shall be many more than all the stars that you can see."
Abram did not see how this promise of God could be kept; but he believed God's word, and did not doubt it. And God loved Abram because he believed the promise. Although Abram could not at that time see how God's promise could be kept, yet we know that it was kept, for the Israelite people in the Bible story, and the Jews everywhere in the world now, all came from Abram.
After that, one day, just as the sun was going down, God came to Abram again, and told him many things that should come to pass. God said to Abram:
"After your life is ended, those who are to come from you, your descendants, shall go into a strange land. The people of that land shall make slaves of them, and shall be cruel to them. And they shall stay in that strange land four hundred years; and afterward they shall come out of that land, not any more as slaves, but very rich. And after the four hundred years they shall come back to this land, and this shall be their home. All this shall come to pass after your life, for you shall die in peace and be buried in a good old age. And all this land where you are living shall belong to your people."
So that Abram might remember this promise of God, God told Abram to make ready an offering of a lamb and a goat and a pair of pigeons, and to divide them in pieces, and place them opposite to each other. And that night Abram looked, and saw a smoke and fire, like a flaming torch, that passed between the pieces of the offering.
So a promise was made between God and Abram. God promised to give Abram a son and a people and a land, and Abram promised to serve God faithfully.
Such a promise as this, made by two people to each other, was called a covenant; and this was God's covenant with Abram.