Text of Plan #970
  WEEK 31  


Pinocchio  by Carlo Collodi

Pinocchio Grows a Pair of Donkey Ears

After five months' residence in the land of Cocagne, Pinocchio, to his great astonishment, grows a beautiful pair of donkey's ears, and he becomes a little donkey, tail and all.

A T last the coach arrived; and it arrived without making the slightest noise, for its wheels were bound round with tow and rags.

It was drawn by twelve pairs of donkeys, all the same size but of different colours.

Some were gray, some white, some brindled like pepper and salt, and others had large stripes of yellow and blue.

But the most extraordinary thing was this: the twelve pairs, that is, the twenty-four donkeys, instead of being shod like other beasts of burden, had on their feet men's boots made of white kid.

And the coachman? . . .


And the coachman?

Picture to yourself a little man broader than he was long, flabby and greasy like a lump of butter, with a small round face like an orange, a little mouth that was always laughing, and a soft caressing voice like a cat when she is trying to insinuate herself into the good graces of the mistress of the house.

All the boys as soon as they saw him fell in love with him, and vied with each other in taking places in his coach to be conducted to the true land of Cocagne, known on the geographical map by the seducing name of the "Land of Boobies."

The coach was in fact quite full of boys between eight and twelve years old, heaped one upon another like herrings in a barrel. They were uncomfortable, packed close together and could hardly breathe: but nobody said Oh!—nobody grumbled. The consolation of knowing that in a few hours they would reach a country where there were no books, no schools, and no masters, made them so happy and resigned that they felt neither fatigue nor inconvenience, neither hunger, nor thirst, nor want of sleep.

As soon as the coach had drawn up the little man turned to Candlewick, and with a thousand smirks and grimaces said to him, smiling:

"Tell me, my fine boy, would you also like to go to that fortunate country?"

"I certainly wish to go."

"But I must warn you, my dear child, that there is not a place left in the coach. You can see for yourself that it is quite full . . .

"No matter," replied Candlewick; "if there is no place inside, I will manage to sit on the springs."

And giving a leap he seated himself astride on the springs.

"And you, my love! . . ." said the little man, turning in a flattering manner to Pinocchio, "what do you intend to do? Are you coming with us, or are you going to remain behind?"

"I remain behind," answered Pinocchio. "I am going home. I intend to study and to earn a good character at school, as all well-conducted boys do."

"Much good may it do you!"

"Pinocchio!" called out Candlewick, "listen to me: come with us and we shall have such fun."

"No, no, no!"

"Come with us, and we shall have such fun," cried four other voices from the inside of the coach.

"Come with us, and we shall have such fun," shouted in chorus a hundred voices from the inside of the coach.

"But if I come with you, what will my good Fairy say?" said the puppet, who was beginning to yield.

"Do not trouble your head with melancholy thoughts. Consider only that we are going to a country where we shall be at liberty to run riot from morning till night."

Pinocchio did not answer; but he sighed: he sighed again: he sighed for the third time, and he said finally:

"Make a little room for me, for I am coming too."

"The places are all full," replied the little man; "but to show you how welcome you are, you shall have my seat on the box . . ."

"And you? . . ."

"Oh, I will go on foot."

"No, indeed, I could not allow that. I would rather mount one of these donkeys," cried Pinocchio.

Approaching the right-hand donkey of the first pair he attempted to mount him, but the animal turned on him, and giving him a great blow in the stomach rolled him over with his legs in the air.

You can imagine the impertinent and immoderate laughter of all the boys who witnessed this scene.

But the little man did not laugh. He approached the rebellious donkey and, pretending to give him a kiss, bit off half of his ear.

Pinocchio in the meantime had got up from the ground in a fury, and with a spring he seated himself on the poor animal's back. And he sprang so well that the boys stopped laughing and began to shout: "Hurrah, Pinocchio!" and they clapped their hands and applauded him as if they would never finish.

But the donkey suddenly kicked up its hind-legs, and backing violently threw the poor puppet into the middle of the road on to a heap of stones.


The donkey . . . threw the poor puppet into the middle of the road.

The roars of laughter recommenced: but the little man, instead of laughing, felt such affection for the restive ass that he kissed him again, and as he did so he bit half of his other ear clean off. He then said to the puppet:

"Mount him now without fear. That little donkey had got some whim into his head; but I whispered two little words into his ears which have, I hope, made him gentle and reasonable."

Pinocchio mounted, and the coach started. Whilst the donkeys were galloping and the coach was rattling over the stones of the high road, the puppet thought that he heard a low voice that was scarcely intelligible saying to him:

"Poor fool! you would follow your own way, but you will repent it!"

Pinocchio, feeling almost frightened, looked from side to side to try and discover where these words could come from: but he saw nobody. The donkeys galloped, the coach rattled, the boys inside slept, Candlewick snored liked a dormouse, and the little man seated on the box sang between his teeth:

"During the night all sleep,

But I sleep never . . ."

After they had gone another mile, Pinocchio heard the same little low voice saying to him:

"Bear it in mind, simpleton! Boys who refuse to study, and turn their backs upon books, schools, and masters, to pass their time in play and amusement, sooner or later come to a bad end. . . . I know it by experience . . . and I can tell you. A day will come when you will weep as I am weeping now . . . but then it will be too late! . . ."

On hearing these words whispered very softly the puppet, more frightened than ever, sprang down from the back of his donkey and went and took hold of his mouth.

Imagine his surprise when he found that the donkey was crying . . . and he was crying like a boy!

"Eh! Sir coachman," cried Pinocchio to the little man, "here is an extraordinary thing! This donkey is crying."

"Let him cry; he will laugh when he is a bridegroom."

"But have you by chance taught him to talk?"

"No; but he spent three years in a company of learned dogs, and he learnt to mutter a few words."

"Poor beast!"

"Come, come," said the little man, "don't let us waste time in seeing a donkey cry. Mount him, and let us go on: the night is cold and the road is long."


Pinocchio obeyed without another word. In the morning about daybreak they arrived safely in the "Land of Boobies."

It was a country unlike any other country in the world. The population was composed entirely of boys. The oldest were fourteen, and the youngest scarcely eight years old. In the streets there was such merriment, noise, and shouting, that it was enough to turn anybody's head. There were troops of boys everywhere. Some were playing with nuts, some with battledores, some with balls. Some rode velocipedes, others wooden horses. A party were playing at hide and seek, a few were chasing each other. Boys dressed in straw were eating lighted tow; some were reciting, some singing, some leaping. Some were amusing themselves with walking on their hands with their feet in the air; others were trundling hoops, or strutting about dressed as generals, wearing leaf helmets and commanding a squadron of cardboard soldiers. Some were laughing, some shouting, some were calling out; others clapped their hands, or whistled, or clucked like a hen who has just laid an egg. To sum it all up, it was such a pandemonium, such a bedlam, such an uproar, that not to be deafened it would have been necessary to stuff one's ears with cotton wool. In every square, canvas theatres had been erected, and they were crowded with boys from morning till evening. On the walls of the houses there were inscriptions written in charcoal: "Long live playthings, we will have no more schools: down with arithmetic:" and similar other fine sentiments all in bad spelling.

Pinocchio, Candlewick, and the other boys who had made the journey with the little man, had scarcely set foot in the town before they were in the thick of the tumult, and I need not tell you that in a few minutes they had made acquaintance with everybody. Where could happier or more contented boys be found?

In the midst of continual games and every variety of amusement, the hours, the days, and the weeks passed like lightning.

"Oh, what a delightful life!" said Pinocchio, whenever by chance he met Candlewick.

"See, then, if I was not right?" replied the other. "And to think that you did not want to come! To think that you had taken it into your head to return home to your Fairy, and to lose your time in studying! . . . If you are at this moment free from the bother of books and school, you must acknowledge that you owe it to me, to my advice and to my persuasions. It is only friends who know how to render such great services."

"It is true, Candlewick! If I am now a really happy boy, it is all your doing. But do you know what the master used to say when he talked to me of you? He always said to me: 'Do not associate with that rascal Candlewick, for he is a bad companion, and will only lead you into mischief! . . .' "

"Poor master!" replied the other, shaking his head. "I know only too well that he disliked me, and amused himself by calumniating me; but I am generous and I forgive him!"

"Noble soul!" said Pinocchio, embracing his friend affectionately, and kissing him between the eyes.

This delightful life had gone on for five months. The days had been entirely spent in play and amusement, without a thought of books or school, when one morning Pinocchio awoke to a most disagreeable surprise that put him into a very bad humour.



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Cave Homes

There were other kinds of homes, and quite a number of them, that were made neither of cloth nor of logs. These were holes dug in the side of small hillocks until a sleeping room had been made, when the front part was covered with brush or logs, built outward from the hill to form a kitchen.


During a storm these cave homes were damp, often times actually muddy, and those who slept therein were but inviting the mortal sickness that came all too soon among us, until it was as if the Angel of Death had taken possession of Jamestown.

Captain Smith said everything he could to persuade these people, who were content to live in a hole in the ground, that they were little better than beasts of the field.

But so long as the foolish ones continued to believe this new world was much the same as filled with gold and silver, so long they wasted their time searching.


Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

The Golden Fever

But for this golden fever, which attacked the gentlemen more fiercely than it did the common people, the story of Jamestown would not have been one of disaster brought about by wilful heedlessness and stupidity.

Again and again did Captain Smith urge that crops be planted, while it was yet time, in order that there might be food at hand when the winter came; but he had not yet been allowed to take his place in the Council, and those who had the thirst for gold strong upon them, taunted him with the fact that he had no right to raise his voice above the meanest of the company. They refused to listen when he would have spoken with them as a friend, and laughed him to scorn when he begged that they take heed to their own lives.

I cannot understand why our people were so crazy. Even though Nathaniel and I were but lads, with no experience of adventure such as was before us, we could realize that unless a man plants he may not reap, and because we had been hungry many a time in London town, we knew full well that when the season had passed there was like to be a famine among us.

I can well understand, now that I am a man grown, why our people were so careless regarding the future, for everywhere around us was food in plenty. Huge flocks of wild swans circled above our heads, trumpeting the warning that winter would come before gold could be found. Wild geese, cleaving the air in wedge-shaped line, honked harshly that the season for gathering stores of food was passing, while at times, on a dull morning, it was as if the waters of the bay were covered completely with ducks of many kinds.



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Ducks and Oysters

I have heard Captain Smith say more than once, that he had seen flocks of ducks a full mile wide and five or six miles long, wherein canvasbacks, mallard, widgeon, redheads, dottrel, sheldrake, and teal swam wing to wing, actually crowding each other. When such flocks rose in the air, the noise made by their wings was like unto the roaring of a tempest at sea.


Then there was bed after bed of oysters, many of which were uncovered at ebbtide, when a hungry man might stand and eat his fill of shellfish, never one of them less than six inches long, and many twice that size. It is little wonder that the gold crazed men refused to listen while my master warned them that the day might come when they would be hungry to the verge of starvation.

Now perhaps you will like to hear how we two lads, bred in London town, with never a care as to how our food had been cooked, so that we had enough with which to fill our stomachs, made shift to prepare meals that could be eaten by Captain Smith, for so we did after taking counsel with the girl Pocahontas from Powhatan's village.


Amy Lowell

The Sea Shell

Sea Shell, Sea Shell,

Sing me a song, O please!

A song of ships and sailor-men

Of parrots and tropical trees;

Of islands lost in the Spanish Main

Which no man may see again,

Of fishes and corals under the waves,

And sea-horses stabled in great green caves—

Sea Shell, Sea Shell,

Sing me a song, O please.


  WEEK 31  


Fifty Famous Stories Retold  by James Baldwin

Damon and Pythias

A YOUNG man whose name was Pyth´i-as had done something which the tyrant Dionysius did not like. For this offense he was dragged to prison, and a day was set when he should be put to death. His home was far away, and he wanted very much to see his father and mother and friends before he died.

"Only give me leave to go home and say good-by to those whom I love," he said, "and then I will come back and give up my life."

The tyrant laughed at him.

"How can I know that you will keep your promise?" he said. "You only want to cheat me, and save your-self."

Then a young man whose name was Da-mon spoke and said,—

"O king! put me in prison in place of my friend Pyth-i-as, and let him go to his own country to put his affairs in order, and to bid his friends fare-well. I know that he will come back as he promised, for he is a man who has never broken his word. But if he is not here on the day which you have set, then I will die in his stead."

The tyrant was sur-prised that anybody should make such an offer. He at last agreed to let Pythias go, and gave orders that the young man should be shut up in prison.

Time passed, and by and by the day drew near which had been set for Pythias to die; and he had not come back. The tyrant ordered the jailer to keep close watch upon Damon, and not let him escape. But Damon did not try to escape. He still had faith in the truth and honor of his friend. He said, "If Pythias does not come back in time, it will not be his fault. It will be because he is hin-dered against his will."

At last the day came, and then the very hour. Damon was ready to die. His trust in his friend was as firm as ever; and he said that he did not grieve at having to suffer for one whom he loved so much.

Then the jailer came to lead him to his death; but at the same moment Pythias stood in the door. He had been de-layed by storms and ship-wreck, and he had feared that he was too late. He greeted Damon kindly, and then gave himself into the hands of the jailer. He was happy because he thought that he had come in time, even though it was at the last moment.

The tyrant was not so bad but that he could see good in others. He felt that men who loved and trusted each other, as did Damon and Pythias, ought not to suffer un-just-ly. And so he set them both free.

"I would give all my wealth to have one such friend," he said.


Outdoor Visits  by Edith M. Patch

Ladybird's Children

Ladybird laid many eggs in one day. She put them close together on a rose leaf.

The eggs were tiny and yellow and they stood on one end.


When the baby beetles hatched they did not look like Ladybird.

They had no thin wings to fly with. They had no pretty red wing covers.

Each baby beetle had six legs to run with. When it was hungry it ran to find aphids to eat.


The young beetles were so hungry that they ate aphids for about three weeks.

Then there were not many aphids left on the rose bush.

Mr. Gray was glad when he came to look at the bush. He showed the baby beetles to Don and Nan.

He said, "Ladybird and her children are taking care of this bush.

"Young and grown Ladybirds take care of many bushes and other plants. They eat many kinds of aphids."

When the young beetles were about three weeks old, they took a rest. While they rested, their wings and wing-covers grew on their backs.

Their bodies changed in other ways while they rested. When they woke they looked like Ladybird.


Nan said, "I hope they will stay in our house next winter. Then in the spring I can watch the pretty Ladybirds fly away to a bush."


Christina Georgina Rossetti

If All Were Rain

If all were rain and never sun,

No bow could span the hill;

If all were sun and never rain,

There'd be no rainbow still.


  WEEK 31  


The Burgess Bird Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

The Warblers Arrive

I F there is one family of feathered friends which perplexes Peter Rabbit more than another, it is the Warbler family.

"So many of them come together and they move about so constantly that a fellow doesn't have a chance to look at one long enough to recognize him," complained Peter to Jenny Wren one morning when the Old Orchard was fairly alive with little birds no bigger than Jenny Wren herself.

And such restless little folks as they were!

They were not still an instant, flitting from tree to tree, twig to twig, darting out into the air and all the time keeping up an endless chattering mingled with little snatches of song. Peter would no sooner fix his eyes on one than another entirely different in appearance would take its place. Occasionally he would see one whom he recognized, one who would stay for the nesting season. But the majority of them would stop only for a day or two, being bound farther north to make their summer homes.

Apparently, Jenny Wren did not look upon them altogether with favor. Perhaps Jenny was a little bit envious, for compared with the bright colors of some of them Jenny was a very homely small person indeed. Then, too, there were so many of them and they were so busy catching all kinds of small insects that it may be Jenny was a little fearful they would not leave enough for her to get her own meals easily.

"I don't see what they have to stop here for," scolded Jenny. "They could just as well go somewhere else where they would not be taking the food out of the mouths of honest folk who are here to stay all summer. Did you ever in your life see such uneasy people? They don't keep still an instant. It positively makes me tired just to watch them."

Peter couldn't help but chuckle, for Jenny Wren herself is a very restless and uneasy person. As for Peter, he was thoroughly enjoying this visit of the Warblers, despite the fact that he was having no end of trouble trying to tell who was who. Suddenly one darted down and snapped up a fly almost under Peter's very nose and was back up in a tree before Peter could get his breath. "It's Zee Zee the Redstart!" cried Peter joyously. "I would know Zee Zee anywhere. Do you know who he reminds me of, Jenny Wren?"

"Who?" demanded Jenny.

"Goldy the Oriole," replied Peter promptly. "Only of course he's ever and ever so much smaller. He's all black and orange-red and white something as Goldy is, only there isn't quite so much orange on him."

For just an instant Zee Zee sat still with his tail spread. His head, throat and back were black and there was a black band across the end of his tail and a black stripe down the middle of it. The rest was bright orange-red. On each wing was a band of orange-red and his sides were the same color. Underneath he was white tinged more or less with orange.

It was only for an instant that Zee Zee sat still; then he was in the air, darting, diving, whirling, going through all sorts of antics as he caught tiny insects too small for Peter to see. Peter began to wonder how he kept still long enough to sleep at night. And his voice was quite as busy as his wings. "Zee, zee, zee, zee!" he would cry. But this was only one of many notes. At times he would sing a beautiful little song and then again it would seem as if he were trying to imitate other members of the Warbler family.

"I do hope Zee Zee is going to stay here," said Peter. "I just love to watch him."

"He'll stay fast enough," retorted Jenny Wren. "I don't imagine he'll stay in the Old Orchard and I hope he won't, because if he does it will make it just that much harder for me to catch enough to feed my big family. Probably he and Mrs. Redstart will make their home on the edge of the Green Forest. They like it better over there, for which I am thankful. There's Mrs Redstart now. Just notice that where Zee Zee is bright orange-y red she is yellow, and instead of a black head she has a gray head and her back is olive-green with a grayish tinge. She isn't nearly as handsome as Zee Zee, but then, that's not to be expected. She lets Zee Zee do the singing and the showing off and she does the work. I expect she'll build that nest with almost no help at all from him. But Zee Zee is a good father, I'll say that much for him. He'll do his share in feeding their babies."

Just then Peter caught sight of a bird all in yellow. He was about the same size as Zee Zee and was flitting about among the bushes along the old stone wall. "There's Sunshine!" cried Peter, and without being polite enough to even bid Jenny Wren farewell, he scampered over to where he could see the one he called Sunshine flitting about from bush to bush.

"Oh, Sunshine!" he cried, as he came within speaking distance, "I'm ever and ever so glad to see you back. I do hope you and Mrs. Sunshine are going to make your home somewhere near here where I can see you every day."

"Hello, Peter! I am just as glad to see you as you are to see me," cried Sunshine the Yellow Warbler. "Yes, indeed, we certainly intend to stay here if we can find just the right place for our nest. It is lovely to be back here again. We've journeyed so far that we don't want to go a bit farther if we can help it. Have you seen Sally Sly the Cowbird around here this spring?"

Peter nodded. "Yes," said he, "I have."

"I'm sorry to hear it," declared Sunshine. "She made us a lot of trouble last year. But we fooled her."

"How did you fool her?" asked Peter.

Sunshine paused to pick a tiny worm from a leaf. "Well," said he, "she found our nest just after we had finished it and before Mrs. Sunshine had had a chance to lay an egg. Of course you know what she did."

"I can guess," replied Peter. "She laid one of her own eggs in your nest."

Sunshine stopped to pick two or three more worms from the leaves. "Yes," said he. "She did just that, the lazy good-for-nothing creature! But it didn't do her a bit of good, not a bit. That egg never hatched. We fooled her and that's what we'll do again if she repeats that trick this year."

"What did you do, throw that egg out?" asked Peter.

"No," replied Sunshine. "Our nest was too deep for us to get that egg out. We just made a second bottom in our nest right over that egg and built the sides of the nest a little higher. Then we took good care that she didn't have a chance to lay another egg in there."

"Then you had a regular two-story nest, didn't you?" cried Peter, opening his eyes very wide.

Sunshine nodded. "Yes, sir," said he, "and it was a mighty fine nest, if I do say it. If there's anything Mrs. Sunshine and I pride ourselves on it is our nest. There are no babies who have a softer, cozier home than ours."

"What do you make your nest of?" asked Peter.

"Fine grasses and soft fibers from plants, some hair when we can find it, and a few feathers. But we always use a lot of that nice soft fern-cotton. There is nothing softer or nicer that I know of."

All the time Peter had been admiring Sunshine and thinking how wonderfully well he was named. At first glance he seemed to be all yellow, as if somehow he had managed to catch and hold the sunshine in his feathers. There wasn't a white feather on him. When he came very close Peter could see that on his breast and underneath were little streaks of reddish brown and his wings and tail were a little blackish. Otherwise he was all yellow.



The one bird who is all yellow.


Dressed chiefly in black and orange.

Presently he was joined by Mrs. Sunshine. She was not such a bright yellow as was Sunshine, having an olive-green tint on her back. But underneath she was almost clear yellow without the reddish-brown streaks. She too was glad to see Peter but couldn't stop to gossip, for already, as she informed Sunshine, she had found just the place for their nest. Of course Peter begged to be told where it was. But the two little folks in yellow snapped their bright eyes at him and told him that that was their secret and they didn't propose to tell a living soul.

Perhaps if Peter had not been so curious and eager to get acquainted with other members of the Warbler family he would have stayed and done a little spying. As it was, he promised himself to come back to look for that nest after it had been built; then he scurried back among the trees of the Old Orchard to look for other friends among the busy little Warblers who were making the Old Orchard such a lively place that morning.

"There's one thing about it," cried Peter. "Any one can tell Zee Zee the Redstart by his black and flame colored suit. There is no other like it. And any one can tell Sunshine the Yellow Warbler because there isn't anybody else who seems to be all yellow. My, what a lively, lovely lot these Warblers are!"


The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Crow and the Pitcher

In a spell of dry weather, when the Birds could find very little to drink, a thirsty Crow found a pitcher with a little water in it. But the pitcher was high and had a narrow neck, and no matter how he tried, the Crow could not reach the water. The poor thing felt as if he must die of thirst.

Then an idea came to him. Picking up some small pebbles, he dropped them into the pitcher one by one. With each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it was near enough so he could drink.

In a pinch a good use of our wits may help us out.



  WEEK 31  


The Boy Who Knew What the Birds Said  by Padraic Colum

The Giant and the Birds

Part 2 of 2

"Time and trouble," said the Feather-legged Hen, "time and trouble!"

"Why did he say time and trouble, O Top of Wisdom?" said the Blue Hen.

"Hush now," said the Little Slate-colored Hen that was the Cock's mother. "Hush now, and let the Hero-son of my heart tell what's best in the story . . . "

"Little Fawn was an old man, white-haired and feeble when he came to the house," said the Cock, and now he was nearly blind. His mind would not be at rest, he told Ardan, until he brought to Murrish and showed her a blackbird that was as big in one quarter as the quarter of mutton she gave him for his dinner. "But before I can take that blackbird," said he, "I must have a hound. There is a hound in the yard, but I have tried her and found she is weak and fearful. She will have puppies, and one of her puppies, maybe, will do." And he told Ardan to tell him when the puppies came to the hound that was in the yard.

Then one day Ardan came and told him that there was a litter of puppies with the hound. "That is well," said Little Fawn, "and in a while we will try if one has the strength and courage enough to help us to take the blackbird."

He told Ardan what to do. He was to take the skin that had been stripped off a dead horse and he was to nail this skin upon a door in the yard. Then he was to do a curious thing. He was to take up each puppy and fling it against the door,

Ardan did all this and Little Fawn stood by and heard the puppies yowling as they fell on the ground. They scampered away. Then he heard nothing except Ardan's laugh.

"Why are you laughing, my boy?" said Little Fawn.

"I laugh to see what the last puppy is doing," said Ardan.

"And what is he doing?" said Little Fawn.

"He has not fallen to the ground like the others. He has caught hold of the horseskin with his teeth and he is holding on to it."

"That puppy will do," said Little Fawn. "He has strength and courage. Take him and rear him away from the others, and when he comes to his full strength you and I will take him to hunt the blackbird that is as big in one quarter as the quarter of mutton Murrish the Cook-woman gave me for my dinner. We must make our word good this time, good lad." Ardan took away the puppy (Conbeg they called him) from the others and reared him up. Little Fawn tested his strength and courage in many ways. At length he was satisfied. One day he put a leash on Conbeg and he told the boy to come with him. Little Fawn and Ardan and Conbeg the young hound went away from the house.

" 'Tis the best part of the story," said the Little Slate-colored Hen that was the Cock's mother.

"It is, it is," said the Featherlegged Hen.

"And how well he tells it, the Top of Wisdom," said the Blue Ben.

I tell it as my father told me and as his father told him," said the Cock changing legs. "The first place they went was into the Cave where the Big Man had lain for a hundred and a hundred years. They found there the heap of dust that was his two hounds, and they found too the missile-ball of brass and the trumpet and the great sword. They left the Cave and they turned south, and they went on and on till they came to the mountain that is called Slieve-na-Mon. The boy and the man and the hound rested themselves for a while on the level on the top of the mountain.

Then Little Fawn told Ardan to take the trumpet and put it to his mouth. He blew on the trumpet. O louder than ever I crowed was the noise he made on that trumpet. The trees that were growing on the mountain top shook at the sound.

"Blow again," said Little Fawn.

And Ardan blew again and he blew louder.

"Now look into the sky," said Little Fawn, "and tell me what you see coming towards us."

Ardan looked for a long time, and at last he saw what he thought was a cloud coming towards the mountain-top. And then he saw that the cloud was a flock of birds. They came to the mountain-top and lighted on the ground—Peewits, Blackbirds, Starlings, Finches, Linnets—and each was bigger than any bird he had ever seen. The birds were hardly afraid of the hound, but Conbeg went amongst them and drove them away.

And then another cloud was seen coming across the sky, and this cloud came to be a flock of birds too, and they came to the mountain-top and lighted on the ground—Linnets, Finches, Starlings, Blackbirds, Peewits—and each bird was bigger than the birds in the first flock. "Loose the hound on them," said Little Fawn. Ardan unslipped Conbeg and the hound went amongst the birds. But they were not afraid and they attacked the hound, and only his strength and courage was so great they would have driven him off the mountain-top.

They rose up and they flew away, and as they did another flock of birds came towards the mountain-top. They lighted on the ground—Peewits, Blackbirds, Starlings, Finches, Linnets—tremendous birds. Ardan loosed Conbeg on them. Then with beaks open and claws outstretched they flew at Ardan and Little Fawn. Little Fawn took his great sword in hand and he attacked them with such strength that the great birds flew off.

All flew from the mountain except one bird. He was a Blackbird and the greatest amongst them all. When Ardan told Little Fawn that this bird was left alone on a rock the Big Man told him to unloose Conbeg.

The hound dashed at the Blackbird but the blackbird flew at him and attacked him with beak and claws. With a sweep of his wing he threw Conbeg on the ground. Then he rose up in the air and flew towards Ardan and Little Fawn. "You will escape him," said Ardan, "but me he will kill as he has killed Conbeg." "Put the missile-ball into my hand and guide my aim," said Little Fawn. Ardan put the missile-ball of brass into the Big Man's hand and guided his aim. Little Fawn threw the missile-ball and the Blackbird fell down on the ground. But the bird was not killed.

"A frightening tale, a frightening tale," said the Blue Hen.

"So it is, so it is," said the Feather-legged Hen.

"But you have done well to tell the Hens the story, Hero-son of my heart," said the Little Slate-colored Hen that was the Cock's mother.

"More has to be told," said the Cock, "and it is needful that it should be told now. Murrish the Cook-woman was in the kitchen. In dashed Conbeg the hound, his eyes blazing with the fierceness of the chase. Murrish was so frightened that she ran to the door. And coming to the door she saw Little Fawn with a net on his shoulder. He came into the house and he put the net on the floor, and he showed Murrish what was in the net—a tremendous bird—a Blackbird that was as big in one quarter as the quarter of mutton she had on the table. And when the net was laid down on the ground the Blackbird flew up and he carried the middle of the roof away with him as he flew through it and he tumbled beams and rafters down upon Murrish. My grandfather saw the Blackbird flying towards the mountain that is called Slieve-na-Mon, and my grandfather told my father who told me." "You spoke the truth when you said that you saw a blackbird as big in one quarter as the quarter of mutton I gave you for your dinner," said Murrish the cook-woman to Little Fawn. "And I believe you when you say you saw an ivy leaf as big as my barley loaf and a rowan berry as big as my pat of butter." "I would only show you," said Little Fawn "that the men I lived amongst had truth on their lips as they had strength in their hands and courage in their hearts."

And from that day Little Fawn and Murrish the Cook-woman lived in peace and good fellowship, and Ardan and Conbeg grew up together and became famous, one and the other. They lived happy for long, but as the books say.—

The end of every ship is drowning,

The end of every kiln is burning,

The end of every feast is wasting,

The end of every laugh is sighing.

And if they were here once, they are here no more.

"And if they are not, we are," said the Slate-colored Hen that was the Cock's mother. "We're here," said she, "and the earth, I promise you, will shake under your feet to-morrow, no matter where you crow, Hero-son of my heart."



Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children  by James Baldwin

I Learn to Bake and Am Prosperous

I HAVE already told you about farming, and of the difficulties under which I did my work. The thing which I wished to do most of all to make good bread.

I tried many plans, but it was several years before I could think of myself as a really good baker.

My barley was very fine. The grains were large and smooth. When boiled a long time with a bit of goat's meat, they made good food.

But they did not take the place of bread. Before bread could be made, the grains of barley must be ground into meal.

I tried pounding them with a stone. But that was slow work. The stone crumbled into sand. My meal was worth nothing.

I looked all over the island for a harder stone. All were alike.

So at last I cut a large block of very hard wood. I rounded it on the outside with my hatchet. Then, partly by chopping, partly by burning, I made a hollow place in the end of it.

Out of a piece of ironwood I made a heavy pestle or beater.

I had now a very good little mill. In a short time I had crushed enough barley to make meal for a large loaf.

It was easy to make the dough. I had only to mix the meal with water and knead it with my hands. I must not think of yeast to make the dough light.

The baking part was the main thing, and the hardest to learn.

At first I put my biscuits of dough in the hot ashes and left them there till they were baked. But I did not like these ash cakes very well.

Then I tried another plan.

I made two large earthen vessels. They were broad and shallow. Each was about two feet across and not more than nine inches deep.

These I burned in the fire till they were as hard as rocks and as red as tiles.

I made also a hearth before my fireplace, and paved it with some square tiles of my own making. But, perhaps I ought not to call them square.

The hearth, when finished, was quite level and smooth. It was as pretty as I could have wished.

Next I built a great fire of hard wood. When the wood had burned down, I raked the hot coals out upon my hearth. I left them there till the hearth was hot through and through.

My loaves of dough were all ready. I swept hearth clean and then put the loaves down upon the hottest part of it.

Over each loaf I put one of the large earthen vessels I had made. Then I heaped hot coals on the top of the vessel and all round the sides of it.

In a short time I lifted the vessels and took out my loaves. They were baked as well as the best oven in the world could have baked them.

By trying and trying again, I at last learned to bake almost everything I wanted. I baked cakes and rice pudding fit for a king. But I did not care for pies.

I now felt quite contented and prosperous. For did I not have everything that I needed?

I had two homes on the island. I called them my plantations.

The first of these was my strong castle under the rock. I had enlarged it until my cave contained many rooms, one opening into another.

The largest and driest of these was my storeroom. Here I kept the largest of my earthen pots. Here also were fourteen or fifteen big baskets, all filled with grain.

My sitting room was not large, but it was made for comfort.

As for the wall in front of the castle, it was a wonderful thing. The long stakes which I had driven down had all taken root. They had grown like trees, and were now so big and so thick with branches that it was hard to see between them.

No one passing by would ever think there was a house behind this matted row of trees.

Near this dwelling of mine, but a little farther within the land, were my two barley fields. These I cultivated with care, and from them I reaped a good harvest. As often as I felt the need of more barley I made my fields larger.

Farther away was what I called my country seat. There was my pleasant summer house or bower, where I liked to go for rest.

In the middle of my bower I had my tent always set. It was made of a piece of sail spread over some poles.

Under the tent I had made a soft couch with the skins of animals and a blanket thrown over them. Here, when the weather was fair, I often slept at night.

A little way from the bower was the field in which I kept my cattle—that is to say, my goats.

I had taken great pains to fence and inclose this field. I was so fearful, lest the goats should break out, that I worked many a day planting a hedge all around. The hedge grew to be very tall and was as strong as a wall.

On the shore of the sea, some distance beyond my summer house, was the little inlet where I had laid up my canoe.


Rose Fyleman


Some nights are magic nights,

Before you go to bed,

You hear the darling music

Go chiming in your head;

You look into the garden,

And through the misty grey

You see the trees all waiting

In a breathless kind of way.

All the stars are smiling;

They know that very soon

The fairies will come singing

From the land behind the moon.

If only you could keep awake

When Nurse puts out the light . . .

Anything might happen

On a truly magic night.


  WEEK 31  


The Discovery of New Worlds  by M. B. Synge

The Maid of Orleans

"The fate of empires and the doom of kings

Lies clearly spread before my childish mind."

—Schiller (Maid of Orleans).

A LMOST ever since the death of Dante war had been raging between England and France. For some hundred years it had gone on, until at last it was ended by a young girl known to history as Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans. This is a very wonderful story of how the girl, Joan, saved her country and freed it from the hands of the foreigner.

She was born in the year 1412, away in a small village called Domrémy on the outskirts of a great wood. The child loved the forest. Birds and beasts came lovingly to her childish call. She learnt to spin and sew with other little girls, but never to read and write. She was tender to the poor and sick, fond of church and the church bells. But her quiet life was soon broken by the storm of war.

The King of France died and his son was proclaimed Charles VII., but the King of England called himself king and refused to acknowledge the French ruler. All this reached the ears of Joan, the little maid, dreaming away in her distant home amid the forests. And she "had pity on the fair realm of France."

One summer afternoon, when Joan was about thirteen, she thought she heard a voice saying to her, "Joan, be a good child, go often to church."

After this she often heard voices speaking to her, until one day she heard this: "Joan, you must go to the help of the King of France, for you shall give him back his kingdom."

"But I am only a poor maiden," pleaded Joan; "I know not how to ride to the wars or to lead men-at-arms."

Then she remembered that Merlin, the old magician who had rescued King Arthur, had said that France should be saved by a maiden from the country. Joan wept and prayed, but she knew that somehow she must go and see the king.

"It was for this I was born," she urged, when they laughed at her earnestness.

So at last it was settled that she should be taken to the king. It took eleven days to reach the Court, where Charles was living. Nobles and courtiers awaited the arrival of the peasant girl, half in sport. Even Charles had the playfulness to hide among his courtiers as she entered, but the maid knew him at once. Falling down on her knees before him,—"I am sent you by the King of Heaven to tell you that you shall be crowned King of France," she cried.

The jesting courtiers grew grave, and the young king listened to her earnest pleading. At last Charles consented to let her go and try her fortune against the English, who were besieging the town of Orleans. So Joan of Arc started forth. For her banner, she had worked the lilies of France in gold upon a white ground on one side, while on the other was the face of God looking down from the clouds upon the earth.

As she mounted her charger, clad in white armour from head to foot, her great white banner in one hand, her sword by her side, the rough French soldiers felt proud of following her, for they looked on her as something divine. When she reached Orleans she found her countrymen ready to give up the town, which had been besieged for seven long months by the English. Her appearance brought them hope and fresh courage. At the sight of her, in her shining armour, with her mystic banner raised on high, the English were struck with terror.

"She is a witch," they said among themselves.

Fort after fort had been taken. One strong one remained. Joan was determined to take it. She led out the soldiers against this last fort. The English fought desperately, and the maid fell wounded. She was carried away. Suddenly she heard that the French were failing. Heedless of her wound, she mounted her horse, unfurled her banner, and returned.

"Watch my standard," she cried; "when it touches the walls you shall enter the fort."

The return of this wounded witch at the head of her men filled the English with renewed terror. Suddenly above the din of battle rang out the clear voice of the maid, "The victory is ours!"

It was true. The long weary siege was ended: Orleans belonged to the French once more. And it was all due to the courage and inspiration of Joan of Arc.

Entering the great church at Orleans, she wept so passionately that all the people wept with her. Then, flushed with victory, with the shouts of her fellow-soldiers yet ringing in her ears, she made her way to the king.

"Come and be crowned king at Rheims," she cried, throwing herself at his feet; and two months later she stood in her armour of shining steel, her white banner held on high, to see the king crowned. Her mission was now accomplished and she wished to go home, but the king forced her to remain. The end of the story is very sad. The English declared that she was indeed a witch, and for this she was tried. The trial was a long one, and grossly unfair. Charles put out no hand to save her, though she had won him back his crown and saved his kingdom.

"I hold to my Judge," she cried, as her earthly judges gave sentence against her,—"to the King of heaven and earth."

She was condemned to die. A great pile was raised in the market-place at Rouen, where now her statue stands. Her martyrdom was as heroic as had been her life.

"Oh Rouen! Rouen!" she was heard to murmur, as she looked over the city from her lofty scaffold, "I have great fear lest you suffer for my death. Yes, my voices were from God," she cried suddenly, as the flames curled up around her.

Then her head drooped forward, and with one last cry of "Jesus," the Maid of Orleans perished.

"We are lost," muttered an Englishman as the crowd broke up; "we have burned a saint."

But the French people who loved her tell a story of how, when all was over and the heroic Maid of Orleans was but a heap of smouldering ashes, a beautiful white dove rose up from the smoking pile and flew upward towards the sky. It was the dove Peace, they said, that had spread its wings over the fair land of France, saved by Joan of Arc.


Nursery Tales from Many Lands  by Eleanor L. and Ada M. Skinner

Little Two Eyes

Once upon a time three little sisters lived together. The first was called Little One Eye, because she had only one eye. It was in the middle of her forehead.

The second was called Little Two Eyes, because she had two eyes like other people.

The third was called Little Three Eyes, because she had three eyes. One of them was in the middle of her forehead.

Little Two Eyes was not happy. Her sister made fun of her. They said, "You are not like us. You are like other people. You shall wear old clothes and shall have only crumbs to eat. We do not like you."

Every morning Little Two Eyes drove the goat to the fields to graze. One morning she was very hungry, for she had had only a few crumbs for breakfast. She sat down under a tree and began to cry. After awhile she heard some one say,

"Little Two Eyes, tell me why you cry?"

She looked up, and there stood an old woman.


"Because I have two eyes like other people my sisters do not like me. They make me wear old clothes and they give me only a few crumbs to eat. I'm very hungry," said Little Two Eyes.

The old woman said, "You shall never be hungry again. Whenever you wish something to eat, say to your goat,

'Little goat, bleat,

Little table, come,'

and a little table, loaded with good food, will stand before you. When you have eaten all you wish, say this,

'Little goat, bleat,

Little table, away!'

and the table will go away."

Off went the old woman.

"I'm hungry now," thought Little Two Eyes. So she said,

"Little goat, bleat,

Little table, come,"

When she had eaten all she wished, Little Two Eyes said,

"Little goat, bleat,

Little table, away!"

Then away went the little table.

"What a nice way to keep house!" said Little Two Eyes, laughing to herself. "I shall not have to eat crumbs to-night."

For three days she did not eat anything at home.

At last Little One Eye said, "Little Two Eyes does not eat our food. What is the matter? She must eat something in the field. I will go with her and see."

The next morning when Little Two Eyes was ready to go to the field Little One Eye said, "I will go with you."

"She will try to see how I get food to eat," thought Little Two Eyes.

So they drove the goat into the thick, long grass and Little Two Eyes said, "Come, let us sit here and I will sing to you."

Little One Eye sat down, for she was tired, and Little Two Eyes sang,

"Are you awake, Little One Eye?

Are you awake?

Go to sleep, Little One Eye,

Go to sleep.

Little One Eye,

Go to sleep,

Go to sleep."

Soon Little One Eye fell fast asleep.

"Little goat, bleat,

Little table, come,"

said Little Two Eyes, and there before her once more stood the table loaded with good food. She ate all she wished and then she said,

"Awake, Little One Eye! Awake! You did not watch the goat. Come, we will go home."

"Did you see how Little Two Eyes got something to eat?" asked Little Three Eyes.

"No. I fell asleep in the long grass," said Little One Eye.

"I must go and watch her," said Little Three Eyes, "for she does not eat our food."

The next morning when Little Two Eyes was ready to go to the field Little Three Eyes said, "I will go with you."

"She will try to see how I get food to eat," thought Little Two Eyes.

So they drove the goat into the thick, long grass and Little Two Eyes said, "Come, let us sit here and I will sing to you."

Little Three Eyes sat down, for she was very tired, and Little Two Eyes sang,

"Are you awake, Little Three Eyes?

Are you awake?

Go to sleep, Little Two Eyes,

Go to sleep.

Little Three Eyes,

Go to sleep,

Little Two Eyes,

Go to sleep,

Go to sleep."


Two of her eyes went to sleep, but the eye in the middle of her forehead did not go to sleep. Little Two Eyes did not know this, so she sang,

"Little goat, bleat,

Little table, come,"

The table, loaded with food, came and she ate a good dinner. Then she said,

"Little goat, bleat,

Little table, away!"

Away went the little table. But Little Three Eyes saw with the eye in the middle of her forehead how Little Two Eyes got plenty to eat.

"Awake, Little Three Eyes! Awake! Yot did not watch the goat. Come, we will go home," said Little Two Eyes.

They went home, and Little Three Eyes said to her mother and sister, "I know how she gets plenty to eat. She put two of my eyes to sleep with a song. But the eye in the middle of my forehead saw everything. She says,

'Little goat, bleat,

Little table, come,'

and before her stands a table loaded with good food. When she has eaten all she wishes she says,

'Little goat, bleat,

Little table, away!'

Away goes the little table."

"We will kill the goat," said her sister.

The next day Little Two Eyes went alone to the field. She sat down under a tree and cried.

After awhile she heard some one say,

"Little Two Eyes, why do you cry?"

She looked up, and there stood the old woman.

"Because my goat is killed," said Little Two Eyes.

"Beg your sisters to give you the heart of the goat. Plant it by the door of your house."

Off went the old woman.

Little Two Eyes went home and said to her sisters, "Please give me the heart of the goat?"

They laughed and said,

"Here it is. You may have it."

Little Two Eyes planted the heart by the door of the house. In the morning a beautiful tree stood before the door. It was covered with silver leaves and bore golden apples. Little Two Eyes knew how it happened to grow there but she did not tell her sisters.

"I'll climb the tree and gather some of the fruit," said Little One Eye. But when she tried to reach an apple the branch sprang out of her hand.

"Let me  try. I have three eyes and see very well," said Little Three Eyes. But when she tried to reach a golden apple, away flew the branch on which it grew.

"Let me see what I can do," said Little Two Eyes.

"You!" said her sisters. "You with your two eyes! What can you do!"

But Little Two Eyes climbed the tree and the golden apples fell into her hands. She brought down as many as she could carry.

How angry her sisters were!

One morning a beautiful Prince came riding by the house.

"Hide, Little Two Eyes!" called out her sisters. "Hide, quickly! Creep under empty cask, for a Prince is coming. You have two eyes, like other people, and he must see you."

Quickly Little Two Eyes crept under the empty cask.

"What a wonderful tree!" said the Prince when he came near. "Is it yours?"


"It is, indeed," said the sisters.

"May I have a branch with some golden apples on it?" asked the Prince.

"We will give you a branch," said the sisters.

First Little One Eye climbed up and tried to break off a branch. Away it flew from her hand.

Then Little Three Eyes climbed up and tried to break off a branch. Away it flew from her hand.

"How strange it is that you cannot break off a branch of your own tree!" said the Prince. "Why, here is a golden apple."

He stooped down and picked it up. As he did so another golden apple rolled to his feet; then another. They came from under the cask where Little Two Eyes was hidden.

"Who is under the cask?" asked the Prince.

"Our sister," said Little Three Eyes. "She must not be seen because she has two eyes like other people."

But the Prince called out, "Come, Little Two Eyes, come!"

And when Little Two Eyes crept out from the cask the Prince said, "Can you pick me a branch with golden apples on it?"

"I will try to get a beautiful branch for you," said Little Two Eyes.

She sprang up the tree and picked a branch loaded with beautiful golden apples.

"Thank you," said the Prince when she offered him the gift. "Now, tell me, Little Two Eyes, what shall I do for you?"

"I am very unhappy here. May I go away with you?" asked Little Two Eyes.

"You shall go with me," said the Prince. "I will take you to my father's castle."

He lifted her on his fine horse and away they rode.

Little Two Eyes was very happy in the castle.

One day she looked out of her window and there was the wonderful tree filled with golden apples.

"My tree has come to grow in the castle park," said Little Two Eyes to the Prince.

"It is one of our wedding gifts, Little Two Eyes," was the answer.

German Nursery Tale



Walter de la Mare


Who is it calling by the darkened river

Where the moss lies smooth and deep,

And the dark trees lean unmoving arms,

Silent and vague in sleep,

And the bright-heeled constellations pass

In splendour through the gloom;

Who is it calling o'er the darkened river

In music, "Come!"?

Who is it wandering in the summer meadows

Where the children stoop and play

In the green faint-scented flowers, spinning

The guileless hours away?

Who touches their bright hair? who puts

A wind-shell to each cheek,

Whispering betwixt its breathing silences,

"Seek! seek!"?

Who is it watching in the gathering twilight,

When the curfew bird hath flown

On eager wings, from song to silence,

To its darkened nest alone?

Who takes for brightening eyes the stars,

For locks the still moonbeam,

Sighs through the dews of evening peacefully

Falling, "Dream!"?


  WEEK 31  


The Bears of Blue River  by Charles Major

The Big Bear

Part 1 of 2

Away back in the "twenties," when Indiana was a baby state, and great forests of tall trees and tangled underbrush darkened what are now her bright plains and sunny hills, there stood upon the east bank of Big Blue River, a mile or two north of the point where that stream crosses the Michigan road, a cozy log cabin of two rooms—one front and one back.

The house faced the west and stretching off toward the river for a distance equal to twice the width of an ordinary street, was a blue-grass lawn, upon which stood a dozen or more elm and sycamore trees, with a few honey-locusts scattered here and there. Immediately at the water's edge was a steep slope of ten or twelve feet. Back of the house, mile upon mile, stretched the deep dark forest, inhabited by deer and bears, wolves and wildcats, squirrels and birds, without number.

In the river the fish were so numerous that they seemed to entreat the boys to catch them, and to take them out of their crowded quarters. There were bass and black suckers, sunfish and catfish, to say nothing of the sweetest of all, the big mouthed redeye.


Bass and sunfish and
the big-mouthed redeye

South of the house stood a log barn, with room in it for three horses and two cows; and enclosing this barn, together with a piece of ground, five or six acres in extent, was a palisade fence, eight or ten feet high, made by driving poles into the ground close together. In this enclosure the farmer kept his stock, consisting of a few sheep and cattle, and here also the chickens, geese, and ducks were driven at nightfall to save them from "varmints," as all prowling animals were called by the settlers.


The man who had built this log hut, and who lived in it and owned the adjoining land at the time of which I write, bore the name of Balser Brent. "Balser" is probably a corruption of Baltzer, but, however that may be, Balser was his name, and Balser was also the name of his boy, who was the hero of the bear stories which I am about to tell you.

Mr. Brent and his young wife had moved to the Blue River settlement from North Carolina, when young Balser was a little boy five or six years of age. They had purchased the "eighty" upon which they lived, from the United States, at a sale of public land held in the town of Brookville on Whitewater, and had paid for it what was then considered a good round sum—one dollar per acre. They had received a deed for their "eighty" from no less a person than James Monroe, then President of the United States. This deed, which is called a patent, was written on sheepskin, signed by the President's own hand, and is still preserved by the descendants of Mr. Brent as one of the title-deeds to the land it conveyed. The house, as I have told you, consisted of two large rooms, or buildings, separated by a passageway six or eight feet broad which was roofed over, but open at both ends—on the north and south. The back room was the kitchen, and the front room was parlour, bedroom, sitting room and library all in one.

At the time when my story opens Little Balser, as he was called to distinguish him from his father, was thirteen or fourteen years of age, and was the happy possessor of a younger brother, Jim, aged nine, and a little sister one year old, of whom he was very proud indeed.

On the south side of the front room was a large fireplace. The chimney was built of sticks, thickly covered with clay. The fireplace was almost as large as a small room in one of our cramped modern houses, and was broad and deep enough to take in backlogs which were so large and heavy that they could not be lifted, but were drawn in at the door and rolled over the floor to the fireplace.

The prudent father usually kept two extra backlogs, one on each side of the fireplace, ready to be rolled in as the blaze died down; and on these logs the children would sit at night, with a rough slate made from a flat stone, and do their "ciphering," as the study of arithmetic was then called. The fire usually furnished all the light they had, for candles and "dips," being expensive luxuries, were used only when company was present.

The fire, however gave sufficient light, and its blaze upon a cold night extended halfway up the chimney, sending a ruddy, cozy glow to every nook and corner of the room.

The back room was the storehouse and kitchen; and from the beams and along the walls hung rich hams and juicy side-meat, jerked venison, dried apples, onions, and other provisions for the winter. There was a glorious fireplace in this room also, and a crane upon which to hang pots and cooking utensils.

The floor of the front room was made of logs split in halves with the flat, hewn side up; but the floor of the kitchen was of clay, packed hard and smooth.

The settlers had no stoves, but did their cooking in round pots called Dutch ovens. The roasted their meats on a spit or steel bar like the ramrod of a gun. The spit was kept turning before the fire, presenting first one side of the meat and then the other, until it was thoroughly cooked. Turning the spit was the children's work.

South of the palisade enclosing the barn was the clearing—a tract of twenty or thirty acres of land, from which Mr. Brent had cut and burned the trees. On this clearing the stumps stood thick as the hair on an angry dog's back; but the hard-working farmer ploughed between and around them and each year raised upon the fertile soil enough wheat and corn to supply the wants of his family and his stock, and still had a little grain left to take to Brookville, sixty miles away, were he had bought his land, there to exchange for such necessities of life as could not be grown upon the farm or found in the forests.

The daily food of the family all came from the farm, the forest, or the creek. Their sugar was obtained from the sap of the sugar-trees; their meat was supplied in the greatest abundance by a few hogs, and by the inexhaustible game of which the forests were full. In the woods were found deer just for the shooting; and squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, pheasants, and quails, so numerous that a few hours' hunting would supply the table for days. The fish in the river, as I told you, fairly longed to be caught.


The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum  by Thornton Burgess

Peter Rabbit Sends Out Word

I T was a beautiful morning. Everybody said so, and what everybody says is usually so. Peter Rabbit wore the broadest kind of a smile. He hopped and skipped all the way down the Lone Little Path on to the Green Meadows and was waiting there when Old Mother West Wind came down from the Purple Hills and, turning her big bag upside down, tumbled out all her children, the Merry Little Breezes, to play. Peter stopped them before they had a chance to run away. He whispered to each, and each in turn started to dance across the Green Meadows to carry the news that this was the day of Peter Rabbit's surprise party for Unc' Billy Possum, whose family would arrive that very morning from way down in "Ol' Virginny."

Sammy Jay had risen very early that morning. Almost at once his sharp eyes had seen Peter Rabbit sending out the Merry Little Breezes. Sammy's wits are as sharp as his eyes, and you know it is very hard to really fool sharp wits. Right away Sammy had guessed what the Merry Little Breezes were hurrying so for, but he sat and waited and listened. Pretty soon he heard Drummer the Woodpecker start a long rat-a-tat-tat over by Unc' Billy Possum's hollow tree. Then Sammy was sure that this was the day of Peter Rabbit's party. Sammy grinned as he hurried off to find Blacky the Crow and Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel.

Reddy was not yet out of bed, but when he heard Sammy Jay at his door, he tumbled out in a hurry. He didn't stop to get any breakfast, because he had planned to get all he could eat at the party. So he hurried over to where the party was to be. Very cautiously he crept up, and when he was quite sure that no one was about, he crawled into a hollow log which was open at one end. There he stretched himself out and made himself as comfortable as he could.

Pretty soon Shadow the Weasel joined Reddy Fox in the hollow log, and they whispered and chuckled while they waited. They knew that Blacky the Crow was safely hidden in the top of a tall pine, where he could see all that went on, and that Sammy Jay was flying about over the Green Meadows and through the Green Forest, pretending that he was attending wholly to his own business, but really watching all the preparations for Peter Rabbit's party.

At the foot of a tree, in the top of which Prickly Porky the Porcupine was eating his breakfast, sat old Mr. Toad, nodding sleepily. Sammy Jay saw him there but, smart as Sammy is, he didn't once suspect innocent-looking old Mr. Toad. You see, he didn't know that old Mr. Toad had overheard all of his plans.


Mary Howitt

The Fairies of the Caldon Low

"And where have you been, my Mary,

And where have you been from me?"

"I have been to the top of the Caldon Low,

The midsummer night to see."

"And what did you see, my Mary,

All up on the Caldon Low?"

"I saw the glad sunshine come down,

And I saw the merry winds blow."

"And what did you hear, my Mary,

All up on the Caldon Hill?"

"I heard the drops of water made,

And the ears of the green corn fill."

"Oh, tell me all, my Mary—

All, all that ever you know;

For you must have seen the fairies,

Last night, on the Caldon Low."

"Then take me on your knee, mother;

And listen, mother of mine;

A hundred fairies danced last night,

And the harpers they were nine;

"And their harp strings rung so merrily

To their dancing feet so small;

But oh, the words of their talking

Were merrier far than all."

"And what were the words, my Mary,

That then you heard them say?"

"I'll tell you all, my mother;

But let me have my way.

"Some of them played with the water,

And rolled it down the hill;

'And this,' they said, 'shall speedily turn

The poor old miller's mill;

" 'For there has been no water

Ever since the first of May;

And a busy man will the miller be

At dawning of the day.

" 'Oh, the miller, how he will laugh

When he sees the mill dam rise!

The jolly old miller, how he will laugh

Till the tears fill both his eyes.'

"And some they seized the little winds

That sounded over the hill;

And each put a horn into his mouth,

And blew both loud and shrill;

" 'And there,' they said, 'the merry winds go

Away from every horn;

And they shall clear the mildew dank

From the blind old widow's corn.

" 'Oh, the poor, blind widow,

Though she has been blind so long,

She'll be blithe enough when the mildew's gone,

And the corn stands tall and strong.'

"And some they brought the brown lint seed,

And flung it down from the Low;

'And this,' they said, 'by the sunrise,

In the weaver's croft shall grow.

" 'Oh, the poor, lame weaver,

How he will laugh outright,

When he sees his dwindling flax field

All full of flowers by night!'

"And then outspoke a brownie,

With a long beard on his chin:

'I have spun up all the tow,' said he,

'And I want some more to spin.

" 'I 've spun a piece of hempen cloth,

And I want to spin another;

A little sheet for Mary's bed,

And an apron for her mother.'

"With that I could not help but laugh,

And I laughed out loud and free;

And then on the top of the Caldon Low

There was no one left but me.

"And all on the top of the Caldon Low

The mists were cold and gray,

And nothing I saw but the mossy stones,

That round about me lay.

"But, coming down from the hilltop,

I heard afar below,

How busy the jolly miller was,

And how the wheel did go.

"And I peeped into the widow's field,

And, sure enough, were seen

The yellow ears of the mildewed corn

All standing stout and green.

"And down by the weaver's croft I stole,

To see if the flax were sprung;

And I met the weaver at his gate,

With the good news on his tongue!

"Now this is all I heard, mother,

And all that I did see;

So, pr'ythee, make my bed, mother,

For I'm tired as I can be."


  WEEK 31  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows

I Samuel xvii: 55, to xx: 42.

dropcap image FTER David had slain the giant he was brought before King Saul, still holding the giant's head. Saul did not remember in this bold fighting man the boy who a few years before had played in his presence. He took him into his own house, and made him an officer among his soldiers. David was as wise and as brave in the army as he had been when facing the giant, and very soon he was in command of a thousand men. All the men loved him, both in Saul's court and in his camp, for David had the spirit that drew all hearts toward him.


David brought before Saul with the giant's head.

When David was returning from his battle with the Philistines the women of Israel came to meet him out of the cities, with instruments of music, singing and dancing, and they sang:

"Saul has slain his thousands,

and David his ten thousands."

This made Saul very angry, for he was jealous and suspicious in his spirit. He thought constantly of Samuel's words, that God would take the kingdom from him and would give it to one who was more worthy of it. He began to think that perhaps this young man, who had come in a single day to greatness before the people, might try to make himself king.


The women meeting David with dancing and singing.

His former feeling of unhappiness again came over Saul. He raved in his house, talking as a man talks who is crazed. By this time they all knew that David was a musician, and they called him again to play on his harp and to sing before the troubled king. But now, in his madness, Saul would not listen to David's voice. Twice he threw his spear at him; but each time David leaped aside, and the spear went into the wall of the house.

Saul was afraid of David, for he saw that the Lord was with David, as the Lord was no longer with himself. He would have killed David, but did not dare to kill him, because everybody loved David. Saul said to himself, "Though I cannot kill him myself, I will have him killed by the Philistines."

And he sent David out on dangerous errands of war; but David came home in safety, all the greater and the more beloved after each victory. Saul said, "I will give you my daughter Merab for your wife if you will fight the Philistines for me."

David fought the Philistines; but when he came home from the war he found that Merab, who had been promised to him, had been given as wife to another man. Saul had another daughter, named Michal. She loved David, and showed her love for him. Then Saul sent word to David, saying, "You shall have Michal, my daughter, for your wife when you have killed a hundred Philistines."

Then David went out and fought the Philistines, and killed two hundred of them; and they brought the word to Saul. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal as his wife; but he was all the more afraid of David as he saw him growing in power and drawing nearer to the throne of the kingdom.

But if Saul hated David, Saul's son, Jonathan, loved David with all his heart. This was the brave young warrior of whom we read in Story 55, who with his armor-bearer went out alone to fight the Philistine army. Jonathan saw David's courage and nobility of soul, and loved him with all his heart. He took off his own royal robe, and his sword, and his bow, and gave them all to David. It grieved Jonathan greatly that his father, Saul, was so jealous of David. He spoke to his father, and said: "Let not the king do harm to David; for David has been faithful to the king, and he has done great things for the kingdom. He took his life in his hand, and killed the Philistine, and won a great victory for the Lord and for the people. Why should you seek to kill an innocent man?"

For the time Saul listened to Jonathan, and said, "As the Lord lives, David shall not be put to death."

And again David sat at the king's table, among the princes; and when Saul was troubled again David played on his harp and sang before him. But once more Saul's jealous anger arose, and he threw his spear at David. David was watchful and quick. He leaped aside, and, as before, the spear fastened into the wall.


Saul throws his spear at David.

Saul sent men to David's house to seize him; but Michal, Saul's daughter, who was David's wife, let David down out of the window, so that he escaped. She placed an image on David's bed and covered it with the bed-clothes. When the men came, she said, "David is ill in the bed, and cannot go."

They brought the word to Saul, and he said, "Bring him to me in the bed, just as he is."

When the image was found in David's bed, David was in a safe place, far away. David went to Samuel at Ramah, and stayed with him among the men who were prophets worshipping God and singing and speaking God's word. Saul heard that David was there, and sent men to take him. But when these men came and saw Samuel and the prophets praising God and praying, the same spirit came on them, and they began to praise and to pray. Saul sent other men, but these also, when they came among the prophets, felt the same power, and joined in the worship.

Finally, Saul said, "If no other man will bring David to me, I will go myself and take him."

And Saul went to Ramah; but when he came near to the company of the worshippers, praising God, and praying, and preaching, the same spirit came on Saul. He, too, began to join in the songs and the prayers, and stayed there all that day and that night, worshipping God very earnestly. When the next day he went again to his home in Gibeah, his feeling was changed for the time, and he was again friendly to David.

But David knew that Saul was at heart his bitter enemy and would kill him if he could as soon as his madness came upon him. He met Jonathan out in the field away from the place. Jonathan said to David:

"Stay away from the king's table for a few days, and I will find out how he feels toward you, and will tell you. Perhaps even now my father may become your friend. But if he is to be your enemy, I know that the Lord is with you, and that Saul will not succeed against you. Promise me that as long as you live you will be kind to me, and not only to me while I live, but to my children after me."

Jonathan believed, as many others believed, that David would yet become the king of Israel, and he was willing to give up to David his right to be king, such was his great love for him. That day a promise was made between Jonathan and David, that they and their children, and those who should come after them, should be friends forever.

Jonathan said to David, "I will find how my father feels toward you, and will bring you word. After three days I will be here with my bow and arrows, and I will send a little boy out near your place of hiding, and I will shoot three arrows. If I say to the boy, 'Run, find the arrows, they are on this side of you,' then you can come safely, for the king will not harm you. But if I call out to the boy, 'The arrows are away beyond you,' that will mean that there is danger, and you must hide from the king."

So David stayed away from Saul's table for two days. At first Saul said nothing of his absence, but at last he said:

"Why has not the son of Jesse come to meals yesterday and to-day?"

And Jonathan said, "David asked leave of me to go to his home at Bethlehem and visit his oldest brother."

Then Saul was very angry. He cried out, "You are a disobedient son! Why have you chosen this enemy of mine as your best friend? Do you not know that as long as he is alive you can never be king? Send after him, and let him be brought to me, for he shall surely die!"

Saul was so fierce in his anger that he threw his spear at his own son Jonathan. Jonathan rose up from the table, so anxious for his friend David that he could eat nothing. The next day, at the hour agreed upon, Jonathan went out into the field with a little boy. He said to the boy, "Run out yonder, and be ready to find the arrows that I shoot."

And as the boy was running Jonathan shot arrows beyond him, and he called out, "The arrows are away beyond you; run quickly and find them."


Jonathan shoots the arrow.

The boy ran, and found the arrows, and brought them to Jonathan. He gave the bow and arrows to the boy, saying to him, "Take them back to the city. I will stay here a while."

And as soon as the boy was out of sight David came from his hiding-place and ran to Jonathan. They fell into each other's arms and kissed each other again and again, and wept together. For David knew now that he must no longer hope to be safe in Saul's hands. He must leave home, and wife, and friends, and his father's house, and hide wherever he could from the hate of King Saul.

Jonathan said to him, "Go in peace; for we have sworn together saying, 'The Lord shall be between you and me, and between your children and my children forever.' "

Then Jonathan went again to his father's palace, and David went out to find a hiding-place.


The Boxcar Children  by Gertrude Chandler Warner

A New Grandfather

I N less than an hour the town was buzzing with the news. The chauffeur told the maids and the maids told the grocery man, and the grocery man went from house to house telling that old James Cordyce had found his four grandchildren at last. In fact the biggest part of the town knew it before the children themselves.

Jess and Benny came across the lawn to select some white moonflowers for Violet's tray. They were just in time to hear Henry say, "But, Grandfather—"

"Grandfather!" echoed Jess, whirling around to gaze at them.

"Yes, Jess," said Henry eagerly. "He's the man we've been running away from all this time."

"I thought you was old," observed Benny. "And awf'ly cross. Jess said so."

"I didn't know, Benny," said Jess turning pink. To think of running away from this kind friend!

But her grandfather did not seem to mind. He stroked her short silky hair and proposed that they all go up into Violet's room with the moonflowers. There was no stopping Benny. He rushed into Violet's room, dragging his grandfather by one hand, and shouting, "It's Grandfather, Violet, and he's nice, after all, I shouldn't wonder!"

When Violet at last understood just what Benny was trying to tell, she was perfectly happy to rest against her ruffled pillows with one hand curled about her grandfather's arm, and listen to the rest.

"Where  have you been living?" demanded Mr. Cordyce at last.

The whole company looked at each other, even Dr. McAllister and his mother. Then they all laughed as if they never would stop.

"You just ought to see!" observed Dr. McAllister, wiping his eyes.

"What?" said the children all at once. "You  never saw it in the daytime!"

"You don't mean it!" returned the doctor, teasing them. "I have seen it quite a number of times in the daytime."

"Seen what, in heaven's name?" asked Mr. Cordyce at last.

Then they told him, interrupting each other to tell about the beds of pine needles, the wonderful dishes, the freight-car roof over all, the fireplace, and the swimming pool.

"That's where Violet got her bronchitis," observed the doctor, "sitting by that pool. She shouldn't have done it. I thought so from the first."

"You  thought so?" repeated Henry, puzzled. "How did you know she sat by it? I'm sure I didn't myself."

"I was your most frequent visitor," declared the doctor, enjoying himself hugely.

"I hope you were our only  one," said Jess with her mouth open.

"Well, I think I was," said the doctor. "The first night after Henry mowed my lawn I followed him as far as the hill to see where he lived."

"Why did you do that?" interrupted Mr. Cordyce.

"I liked his looks," returned the doctor. "And I noticed that he didn't tell much about himself, so I was curious."

"But you surely didn't see the freight car then," said Jess.

"No, but I came back that night and hunted around," replied Dr. McAllister.

"At about eleven o'clock!" Henry cried. The doctor assented.

"Our rabbit!" said Henry and Jess together.

"I made as little noise as possible when I saw the freight car. Then I saw the door move, so I thought some one was inside. And when I heard the dog bark I was sure of it, and went home."

"But you came back?" questioned Jess.

"Yes, every time I knew all of you were safe in my garden, I made you a little visit, just to be sure you were having enough to eat, and enough dishes." The doctor laughed. "When I found you had a strainer, and a vase of flowers, and a salt-shaker, and a cut-glass punch bowl, I stopped worrying."

"Didn't you suspect they were my children?" demanded Mr. Cordyce. "Didn't you see my advertisement? Why didn't you notify me at once?"

"They were having such a good time," confessed the doctor. "And I  was, too. I just wanted to see how long they could manage their own affairs. It was all tremendously interesting. Why, that boy and girl of yours are born business managers, Mr. Cordyce!"

Mr. Cordyce took note of this.

"But I don't see, yet, how you knew Violet sat by the pool," said Jess curiously.

"You couldn't know that, of course," replied the doctor. "I went up twice when I knew Henry had taken the dog down to my barn to catch rats. I hid behind the big white rock with the flat top."

"That's Lookout Rock," explained Jess, "where we used to let Benny watch for Henry. But we didn't hear you."

"No," said Dr. McAllister. "I didn't even snap a twig those times. But I had the very best time when I went with Mother."

"Have you seen it, too?" cried the children.

"I have, indeed!" returned Mrs. McAllister. "I have even had a drink from your well."

"Every one has seen it but me," said Mr. Cordyce patiently.

"We'll show it to you!" screamed Benny. "And I'll show you my wheels made on a cart, and my bed out of hay, and my pink cup!"

"Good for you, Benny," said Mr. Cordyce, pleased. "When Violet gets well, we'll all go up there, and if you'll show me your house, I'll show you mine."

"Have you got a house?" asked Benny in surprise.

"Yes. You can live there with me, if you like it," replied Mr. Cordyce. "I have been looking for you for nearly two months."

Under Mrs. McAllister's wonderful care, Violet soon became strong again. But she had been skipping around the garden for several days before the doctor would allow the visit to the freight-car house. When at last the whole party started out in the great limousine, many people looked out of their windows to watch after Mr. Cordyce and his grandchildren. Many of them knew Henry as the boy who won the race, and were glad that he had found such a friend.

But when the children reached their beloved home they were like wild things. Watch capered about furiously, taking little swims in the pool and sniffing at all the dear old familiar things. Mr. Cordyce seated himself on a rock and watched them all, exchanging a glance now and then with Mrs. McAllister and her son.

"See our 'building,' " shouted Benny, for that was what he always called the fireplace. "It burns really,  too. And this is the well, and this is the dishpan, and this is the 'frigerator'!"

At last every one climbed into the car itself, and Mr. Cordyce saw the beds, the cash account on the wall, the wonderful shelf, and each separate dish. Each dish had a story of its own.

"That's more than my dishes have," observed Mr. Cordyce.

Mrs. McAllister, who knew what his dishes were, was silent.

They ate chicken sandwiches on the very same tablecloth, and Benny drank from his pink cup, and Watch couldn't understand why they went away at all.

But it was a trifle cool on the hill now when the sun began to sink, and after rolling the door shut, they left regretfully.

"Tomorrow," suggested Mr. Cordyce, as they drove home, "will you all come and see my house?"

"Oh, yes," agreed the children happily, little dreaming what was in store for them on the next day and all the days to come.


Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night

Sailed off in a wooden shoe—

Sailed on a river of crystal light,

Into a sea of dew.

"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"

The old moon asked the three.

"We have come to fish for the herring-fish

That live in this beautiful sea;

Nets of silver and gold have we!"

Said Wynken,


And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,

As they rocked in the wooden shoe,

And the wind that sped them all night long

Ruffled the waves of dew.

The little stars were the herring-fish

That lived in the beautiful sea—

"Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—

Never afeard are we!"

So cried the stars to the fishermen three:



And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw

To the stars in the twinkling foam,—

Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,

Bringing the fishermen home;

'Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed

As if it could not be,

And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed

Of sailing that beautiful sea—

But I shall name you the fishermen three:



And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,

And Nod is a little head,

And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies

Is a wee one's trundle-bed.

So shut your eyes while Mother sings

Of wonderful sights that be,

And you shall see the beautiful things

As you rock in the misty sea,

Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three—



And Nod.