Text of Plan #970
  WEEK 47  

  Monday  


The Birds' Christmas Carol  by Kate Douglas Wiggin

A Little Snow Bird

I T was very early Christmas morning, and in the stillness of the dawn, with the soft snow falling on the housetops, a little child was born in the Bird household.

They had intended to name the baby Lucy, if it were a girl; but they had not expected her on Christmas morning, and a real Christmas baby was not to be lightly named; the whole family agreed in that.

They were consulting about it in the nursery. Mr. Bird said that he had assisted in naming the three boys, and that he should leave this matter entirely to Mrs. Bird; Donald wanted the child called "Dorothy," after a pretty, curly-haired girl who sat next him in school; Paul chose "Luella," for Luella was the nurse who had been with him during his whole babyhood, up to the time of his first trousers, and the name suggested all sorts of comfortable things. Uncle Jack said that the first girl should always be named for her mother, no matter how hideous the name happened to be.

Grandma said that she would prefer not to take any part in the discussion, and everybody suddenly remembered that Mrs. Bird had thought of naming the baby Lucy, for Grandma herself; and, while it would be indelicate for her to favor that name, it would be against human nature for her to suggest any other, under the circumstances.

Hugh, the hitherto baby, if that is a possible term, sat in one corner and said nothing about names, feeling, in some mysterious way, that his nose was out of joint; for there was a newer baby now, a possibility he had never taken into consideration; and the first girl, too,—a still higher development of treason, which made him actually green with jealousy.

But it was too profound a subject to be settled then and there, on the spot; besides, mother had not been asked, and everybody felt it rather absurd, after all, to forestall a decree that was certain to be absolutely wise, just, and perfect.

The reason that the subject had been brought up at all so early in the day lay in the fact that Mrs. Bird never allowed her babies to go over night unnamed. She was a person of so great decision of character that she would have blushed at such a thing; she said that to let blessed babies go dangling and dawdling about without names, for months and months, was enough to ruin them for life. She also said that if one could not make up one's mind in twenty-four hours it was a sign that—but I will not repeat the rest, as it might prejudice you against the most charming woman in the world.

So Donald took his new velocipede and went out to ride up and down the stone pavement and notch the shins of innocent people as they passed by, while Paul spun his musical top on the front steps.

But Hugh refused to leave the scene of action. He seated himself on the top stair in the hall, banged his head against the railing a few times, just by way of uncorking the vials of his wrath, and then subsided into gloomy silence, waiting to declare war if another first girl baby was thrust upon a family already surfeited with that unnecessary article.

Meanwhile dear Mrs. Bird lay in her room, weak, but safe and happy, with her sweet girl baby by her side and the heaven of motherhood opening again before her. Nurse was making gruel in the kitchen, and the room was dim and quiet. There was a cheerful open fire in the grate, but though the shutters were closed, the side windows that looked out on the Church of Our Saviour, next door, were a little open.

Suddenly a sound of music poured out into the bright air and drifted into the chamber. It was the boy choir singing Christmas anthems. Higher and higher rose the clear, fresh voices, full of hope and cheer, as children's voices always are. Fuller and fuller grew the burst of melody as one glad strain fell upon another in joyful harmony:—

"Carol, brothers, carol,

Carol joyfully,

Carol the good tidings,

Carol merrily!

And pray a gladsome Christmas

For all your fellow-men:

Carol, brothers, carol,

Christmas Day again."

One verse followed another always with the same glad refrain:—

"And pray a gladsome Christmas

For all your fellow-men:

Carol, brothers, carol,

Christmas Day again."

Mrs. Bird thought, as the music floated in upon her gentle sleep, that she had slipped into heaven with her new baby, and that the angels were bidding them welcome. But the tiny bundle by her side stirred a little, and though it was scarcely more than the ruffling of a feather, she awoke; for the mother-ear is so close to the heart that it can hear the faintest whisper of a child.

She opened her eyes and drew the baby closer. It looked like a rose dipped in milk, she thought, this pink and white blossom of girlhood; or like a pink cherub, with its halo of pale yellow hair, finer than floss silk.

"Carol, brothers, carol,

Carol joyfully,

Carol the good tidings,

Carol merrily!"

The voices were brimming over with joy.

"Why, my baby," whispered Mrs. Bird in soft surprise, "I had forgotten what day it was. You are a little Christmas child, and we will name you 'Carol'—mother's little Christmas Carol!"

"What is that?" asked Mr. Bird, coming in softly and closing the door behind him.

"Why, Donald, don't you think 'Carol' is a sweet name for a Christmas baby? It came to me just a moment ago in the singing, as I was lying here half asleep and half awake."

"I think it is a delightful name, dear, and that it sounds just like you, and I hope that, being a girl, this baby has some chance of being as lovely as her mother;"—at which speech from the baby's father, Mrs. Bird, though she was as weak and tired as she could be, blushed with happiness.

And so Carol came by her name.


[Illustration]

"SHE IS A LITTLE CHRISTMAS CHILD"

Of course, it was thought foolish by many people, though Uncle Jack declared laughingly that it was very strange if a whole family of Birds could not be indulged in a single Carol; and Grandma, who adored the child, thought the name much prettier than Lucy, but was glad that people would probably think it short for Caroline, and so the family would not be critised as being over-romantic.

Perhaps because she was born in holiday time, Carol was a very happy baby. Of course, she was too tiny to understand the joy of Christmas-tide, but people say there is everything in a good beginning, and she may have breathed in unconsciously the fragrance of evergreens and holiday dinners, while the peals of sleigh-bells and the laughter of happy children may have fallen upon her baby ears and wakened in them a glad surprise at the merry world she had come to live in.

Her cheeks and lips were as red as holly-berries; her hair was for all the world the color of a Christmas candle-flame; her eyes were bright as stars; her laugh like a chime of Christmas-bells, and her tiny hands forever outstretched in giving.

Such a generous little creature you never saw! A spoonful of bread and milk had always to be taken by mother or nurse before Carol could enjoy her supper; and whatever bit of cake or sweetmeat found its way into her pretty fingers was straightway broken in half to be shared with Donald, Paul or Hugh; and when they made believe nibble the morsel with affected enjoyment, she would clap her hands and crow with delight.

"Why does she do it?" asked Donald, thoughtfully. "None of us boys ever did."

"I hardly know," said Mamma, catching her darling to her heart, "except that she is a little Christmas child, and so she has a tiny share of the blessedest birthday the world ever knew!"

 



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Turpentine and Tar

To us in Jamestown the making of anything which we may send back to England for sale, is of such great importance that we are more curious regarding the manner in which the work is done, than would be others who are less eager to see piled up that which will bring money to the people.

Therefore it was that Nathaniel and I watched eagerly the making of turpentine, and found it not unlike the method by which the Indians gain sugar from maple trees. A strip of bark is taken from the pine, perhaps eight or ten inches long, and at the lower end of the wound thus made, a deep notch is cut in the wood. Into this the sap flows, and is scraped out as fast as the cavity is filled. It is a labor in which all may join, and so plentiful are the pine trees that if our people of Jamestown set about making turpentine only, they might load four or five ships in a year.


[Illustration]

From the making of tar much money can be earned, and it is a simple process such as I believe I myself might compass, were it not that I have sufficient of other work to occupy all my time.

The pine tree is cut into short pieces, even the roots being used, for, if I mistake not, more tar may be had from the roots than from the trunks of the tree. Our people here dig a hollow, much like unto the shape of a funnel, on the side of a hill, or bank, fill it in with the wood and the roots, and cover the whole closely with turf.

An iron pot is placed at the bottom of this hollow in the earth, and a fire is built at the top of the pile. While the fuel smolders, the tar stews out of the wood, falling into the iron pot, and from there is put into whatsoever vessels may be most convenient in which to carry it over seas.


[Illustration]

 



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

The Making of Clapboards

There is far greater labor required in the making of clapboards, and it is of a wearisome kind; but Captain Newport declares that clapboards made of our Virginia cedar are far better in quality than any to be found in England. Therefore it is Captain Smith keeps as many men as he may, employed in this work, which is more tiring than difficult.

The trunks of the trees are cut into lengths of four feet, and trimmed both as to branches and bark. An iron tool called a frow, which is not unlike a butcher's cleaver, is then used to split the log into thin strips, one edge of which is four or five times thicker than the other.

You will understand better the method by picturing to yourself the end of a round log which has been stood upright for convenience of the workmen. Now, if you place a frow in such a position that it will split the thicknesses of an inch or less from the outer side, you will find that the point of the instrument, which is at the heart of the tree, must come in such manner as to make the splint very thin on the inner edge. The frow is driven through the wood by a wooden mallet, to the end that the sides of the clapboard may be fairly smooth.


[Illustration]

Master Hunt has told me that if we were to put on board a ship the size of the John and Francis, as many clapboards as she could swim under, the value of the cargo would be no less than five hundred pounds, and they would have a ready sale in London, or in other English ports.

 



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Providing for the Children

And now before I am come to the most terrible time in the history of our town of James, let me set down that which the London Company has decreed, for it is of great importance to all those who, like Nathaniel and me, came over into this land of Virginia before they were men and women grown.

Master Hunt has written the facts out fairly, to the end that I may understand them well, he having had the information from Captain Newport, for it was the last decree made by the London Company before the John and Francis sailed.

I must say, however, that the reason why this decree, or order, whichever it may be called, has been made, was to the end that men and women, who had large families of children, might be induced to join us here in Jamestown, as if we had not already mouths enough to feed.

The Council of the Company has decided to allow the use of twenty-five acres of land for each and every child that comes into Virginia, and all who are now here, or may come to live at the expense of the Company, are to be educated in some good trade or profession, in order that they may be able to support themselves when they have come to the age of four and twenty years, or have served the time of their apprenticeship, which is to be no less than seven years.

It is further decreed that all of those children when they become of age or marry, whichever shall happen first, are to have freely given and made over to them fifty acres of land apiece, which same shall be in Virginia within the limits of the English plantation. But, these children must be placed as apprentices under honest and good masters within the grant made to the London Company, and shall serve for seven years, or until they come to the age of twenty-four, during which time their masters must bring them up in some trade or business.

 



James Russell Lowell

Aladdin

When I was a beggarly boy,

And lived in a cellar damp,

I had not a friend nor a toy

But I had Aladdin's lamp.


When I could not sleep for the cold,

I had fire enough in my brain,

And builded with roofs of gold,

My beautiful castles in Spain!


Since then I have toiled day and night,

I have money and power good store,

But I 'd give all my lamps of silver bright

For the one that is mine no more.


Take, Fortune, whatever you choose,

You gave and may snatch again,

I have nothing 't would pain me to lose,

For I own no more castles in Spain!

 


  WEEK 47  

  Tuesday  


Fifty Famous Stories Retold  by James Baldwin

Whittington and His Cat

 



Outdoor Visits  by Edith M. Patch

Broad Leaves in Fall

A maple tree grew in the park. Its leaves were thin and flat and broad.

Snow would fall on the leaves if they stayed on the tree all winter. The snow would make the broad leaves very heavy.

The maple branches could not hold such heavy leaves. The branches would break if the leaves were too heavy with snow.

But the broad maple leaves did not stay on the tree in the winter. They fell to the ground in the fall.

The tree did not need leaves, then.

A tree grows in the spring and summer. While it is growing it needs to have leaves. Leaves help a growing tree to live.

Maple leaves are green all summer. They have strong fresh stems. The fresh stems do not drop from the branches.

In the fall a maple leaf changes its color. It is not green, then. It is red or yellow.

A maple leaf changes in other ways, too. The end of its stem is dry in the fall. The dry stem drops off the branch. So the old leaf falls to the ground when the tree does not need it.


[Illustration]

Don and Nan went to visit the maple tree in the fall. They liked to play with the pretty leaves.

One day Nan said, "Leaves are falling from many other trees and bushes, too."

"Shall we pick up different kinds of broad leaves?" asked Don.


[Illustration]

"Yes, that will be fun!" said Nan.

 



Frank Dempster Sherman

Wizard Frost

Wondrous things have come to pass

On my square of window-glass.

Looking in it I have seen

Grass no longer painted green,

Trees whose branches never stir,

Skies without a cloud to blur,

Birds below them sailing high,

Church-spires pointing to the sky,

And a funny little town

Where the people, up and down

Streets of silver, to me seem

Like the people in a dream,

Dressed in finest kinds of lace;

'Tis a picture on a space

Scarcely larger than the hand,

Of a tiny Switzerland,

Which the wizard Frost has drawn

'Twixt the nightfall and the dawn.

Quick! and see what he has done

Ere 'tis stolen by the Sun.

 


  WEEK 47  

  Wednesday  


The Burgess Bird Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

Some Merry Seed-Eaters

H AVING been reminded of Dotty the Tree Sparrow, Peter Rabbit became possessed of a great desire to find this little friend of the cold months and learn how he had fared through the summer.

He was at a loss just where to look for Dotty until he remembered a certain weedy field along the edge of which the bushes had been left growing. "Perhaps I'll find him there," thought Peter, for he remembered that Dotty lives almost wholly on seeds, chiefly weed seeds, and that he dearly loves a weedy field with bushes not far distant in which he can hide.

So Peter hurried over to the weedy field and there, sure enough, he found Dotty with a lot of his friends. They were very busy getting their breakfast. Some were clinging to the weed-stalks picking the seeds out of the tops, while others were picking up the seeds from the ground. It was cold. Rough Brother North Wind was doing his best to blow up another snow-cloud. It wasn't at all the kind of day in which one would expect to find anybody in high spirits. But Dotty was. He was even singing as Peter came up, and all about Dotty's friends and relatives were twittering as happily and merrily as if it were the beginning of spring instead of winter.

Dotty was very nearly the size of Little Friend the Song Sparrow and looked somewhat like him, save that his breast was clear ashy-gray, all but a little dark spot in the middle, the little dot from which he gets his name. He wore a chestnut cap, almost exactly like that of Chippy the Chipping Sparrow. It reminded Peter that Dotty is often called the Winter Chippy.

"Welcome back, Dotty!" cried Peter. "It does my heart good to see you."

"Thank you, Peter," twittered Dotty happily. "In a way it is good to be back. Certainly, it is good to know that an old friend is glad to see me."

"Are you going to stay all winter, Dotty?" asked Peter.

"I hope so," replied Dotty. "I certainly shall if the snow does not get so deep that I cannot get enough to eat. Some of these weeds are so tall that it will take a lot of snow to cover them, and as long as the tops are above the snow I will have nothing to worry about. You know a lot of seeds remain in these tops all winter. But if the snow gets deep enough to cover these I shall have to move along farther south."

"Then I hope there won't be much snow," declared Peter very emphatically. "There are few enough folks about in winter at best, goodness knows, and I don't know of any one I enjoy having for a neighbor more than I do you."

"Thank you again, Peter," cried Dotty, "and please let me return the compliment. I like cold weather. I like winter when there isn't too much ice and bad weather. I always feel good in cold weather. That is one reason I go north to nest."

"Speaking of nests, do you build in a tree?" inquired Peter.

"Usually on or near the ground," replied Dotty. "You know I am really a ground bird although I am called a Tree Sparrow. Most of us Sparrows spend our time on or near the ground."

"I know," replied Peter. "Do you know I'm very fond of the Sparrow family. I just love your cousin Chippy, who nests in the Old Orchard every spring. I wish he would stay all winter. I really don't see why he doesn't. I should think he could if you can."

Dotty laughed. It was a tinkling little laugh, good to hear. "Cousin Chippy would starve to death," he declared. "It is all a matter of food. You ought to know that by this time, Peter. Cousin Chippy lives chiefly on worms and bugs and I live almost wholly on seeds, and that is what makes the difference. Cousin Chippy must go where he can get plenty to eat. I can get plenty here and so I stay."

"Did you and your relatives come down from the Far North alone?" asked Peter.

"No," replied Dotty promptly. "Slaty the Junco and his relatives came along with us and we had a very merry party."

Peter pricked up his ears. "Is Slaty here now?" he asked eagerly.

"Very much here," replied a voice right behind Peter's back. It was so unexpected that it made Peter jump. He turned to find Slaty himself chuckling merrily as he picked up seeds. He was very nearly the same size as Dotty but trimmer. In fact he was one of the trimmest, neatest appearing of all of Peter's friends. There was no mistaking Slaty the Junco for any other bird. His head, throat and breast were clear slate color. Underneath he was white. His sides were grayish. His outer tail feathers were white. His bill was flesh color. It looked almost white.

"Welcome! Welcome!" cried Peter. "Are you here to stay all winter?"

I certainly am," was Slaty's prompt response. "It will take pretty bad weather to drive me away from here. If the snow gets too deep I'll just go up to Farmer Brown's barnyard. I can always pick up a meal there, for Farmer Brown's boy is a very good friend of mine. I know he won't let me starve, no matter what the weather is. I think it is going to snow some more. I like the snow. You know I am sometimes called the Snowbird."

Peter nodded. "So I have heard," said he, "though I think that name really belongs to Snowflake the Snow Bunting."

"Quite right, Peter, quite right," replied Slaty. "I much prefer my own name of Junco. My, these seeds are good!" All the time he was busily picking up seeds so tiny that Peter didn't even see them.

"If you like here so much why don't you stay all the year?" inquired Peter.

"It gets too warm," replied Slaty promptly,

"I hate hot weather. Give me cold weather every time."

"Do you mean to tell me that it is cold all summer where you nest in the Far North?" demanded Peter.

"Not exactly cold," replied Slaty, "but a lot cooler than it is down here. I don't go as far north to nest as Snowflake does, but I go far enough to be fairly comfortable. I don't see how some folks can stand hot weather."

"It is a good thing they can," interrupted Dotty. "If everybody liked the same things it wouldn't do at all. Just suppose all the birds ate nothing but seeds. There wouldn't be seeds enough to go around, and a lot of us would starve. Then, too, the worms and the bugs would eat up everything. So, take it all together, it is a mighty good thing that some birds live almost wholly on worms and bugs and such things, leaving the seeds to the rest of us. I guess Old Mother Nature knew what she was about when she gave us different tastes."

Peter nodded his head in approval. "You can always trust Old Mother Nature to know what is best," said he sagely. "By the way, Slaty, what do you make your nest of and where do you put it?"

"My nest is usually made of grasses, moss and rootlets. Sometimes it is lined with fine grasses, and when I am lucky enough to find them I use long hairs. Often I put my nest on the ground, and never very far above it. I am like my friend Dotty in this respect. It always seems to me easier to hide a nest on the ground than anywhere else. There is nothing like having a nest well hidden. It takes sharp eyes to find my nest, I can tell you that, Peter Rabbit."

Just then Dotty, who had been picking seeds out of the top of a weed, gave a cry of alarm and instantly there was a flit of many wings as Dotty and his relatives and Slaty sought the shelter of the bushes along the edge of the field. Peter sat up very straight and looked this way and looked that way. At first he saw nothing suspicious. Then, crouching flat among the weeds, he got a glimpse of Black Pussy, the cat from Farmer Brown's house. She had been creeping up in the hope of catching one of those happy little seedeaters. Peter stamped angrily. Then with long jumps he started for the dear Old Briar-patch, lipperty-lipperty-lip, for truth to tell, big as he was, he was a little afraid of Black Pussy.

 



The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Hares and the Frogs

Hares, as you know, are very timid. The least shadow, sends them scurrying in fright to a hiding place. Once they decided to die rather than live in such misery. But while they were debating how best to meet death, they thought they heard a noise and in a flash were scampering off to the warren. On the way they passed a pond where a family of Frogs was sitting among the reeds on the bank. In an instant the startled Frogs were seeking safety in the mud.

"Look," cried a Hare, "things are not so bad after all, for here are creatures who are even afraid of us!"

However unfortunate we may think we are there is always someone worse off than ourselves.


[Illustration]

 

 
  WEEK 47  

  Thursday  


Good Stories for Great Holidays  by Frances Jenkins Olcott

The Three Purses

When Saint Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, there were among his people three beautiful maidens, daughters of a nobleman. Their father was so poor that he could not afford to give them dowries, and as in that land no maid might marry without a dowry, so these three maidens could not wed the youths who loved them.

At last the father became so very poor that he no longer had money with which to buy food or clothes for his daughters, and he was overcome by shame and sorrow. As for the daughters they wept continually, for they were both cold and hungry.

One day Saint Nicholas heard of the sad state of this noble family. So at night, when the maidens were asleep, and the father was watching, sorrowful and lonely, the good saint took a handful of gold, and, tying it in a purse, set off for the nobleman's house. Creeping to the open window he threw the purse into the chamber, so that it fell on the bed of the sleeping maidens.

The father picked up the purse, and when he opened it and saw the gold, he rejoiced greatly, and awakened his daughters. He gave most of the gold to his eldest child for a dowry, and thus she was enabled to wed the young man whom she loved.

A few days later Saint Nicholas filled another purse with gold, and, as before, went by night to the nobleman's house, and tossed the purse through the open window. Thus the second daughter was enabled to marry the young man whom she loved.

Now, the nobleman felt very grateful to the unknown one who threw purses of gold into his room and he longed to know who his benefactor was and to thank him. So the next night he watched beneath the open window. And when all was dark, lo! good Saint Nicholas came for the third time, carrying a silken purse filled with gold, and as he was about to throw it on the youngest maiden's bed, the nobleman caught him by his robe, crying:—

"Oh, good Saint Nicholas! why do you hide yourself thus?"

And he kissed the saint's hands and feet, but Saint Nicholas, overcome with confusion at having his good deed discovered, begged the nobleman to tell no man what had happened.

Thus the nobleman's third daughter was enabled to marry the young man whom she loved; and she and her father and her two sisters lived happily for the remainder of their lives.


— A Legend adapted by William S. Walsh
 



Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children  by James Baldwin

I Am Called Governor

BY my orders, Friday and the captain's mate hurried through the woods to the little river where I had landed so long ago with my rafts.

When they had reached the place, they shouted as loudly as they could.

The men who were just getting into the boat heard them. They answered, and ran along the shore toward the little river.

The three who had been left in the boat also rowed around toward the same place. Near the mouth of the river, however, they came to land again, and one of them ran along the bank of the stream to meet his fellows.

At this moment I rushed forward with the captain, and seized the boat before the two fellows who were in it could save themselves.

It was now almost dark, and we had nothing to do but wait till the seamen came back to the shore to look for their boat.

Soon Friday and the captain's mate rejoined us, and I stood at the head of my little army, listening to the seamen as they made their way through the bushes.

We could hear them calling to one another. We could hear them telling how lame and tired they were. We could hear them saying that they were in an enchanted island where there were witches and other kinds of uncanny things. All this pleased us very much.

By and by they came to the shore, quite close to where we were standing.

One of the men whom they had left in the boat was standing with us. He was one of the honest men whom the captain had pointed out, and he had joined us very gladly.

By my orders he now cried out, "Tom Smith! Tom Smith!" For that was the name of the leader of the company.

Tom Smith answered at once, "Is that you, Robinson?" for he knew the voice.

"Yes," the other answered, "and for God's sake, Tom Smith, throw down your arms and yield, or you will all be dead men the next minute."

"To whom must we yield?" cried Tom Smith. "Where are they?"

"Here they are," was the answer. "Here's our captain at the head of a whole army of fighting men. The boatswain is dead, and Bill Fry is dead, and all the rest of us are prisoners. If you don't yield, you are lost."

"If they'll give us quarters, we'll yield," said Smith.

Then the captain himself spoke up. "You, Smith," he said, "you know my voice. If you lay down your arms at once, you shall have your lives—all but Will Atkins."

Upon this, Will Atkins cried out: "For God's sake, Captain, give me quarter! What have I done? I have been no worse than the rest."

Now this was not true. For it was Will Atkins who had first laid hold of the captain, and it was he who had tied the captain's hands.

"Nay, Will Atkins," said the captain. "You know what you have done, and I can promise you nothing. You must lay down your arms and trust to the governor's mercy."

By "the governor" he meant me, Robinson Crusoe—for they called me governor.

The upshot of the whole matter was that they all laid down their arms and begged for their lives.

Then I sent three of my men to bind them with strong cords, which they did, much to my joy.


[Illustration]

After that I sent my great army of fifty  men—which, after all, were only five besides the three who already had them in charge—to lead them to prison.

I told the captain that it would be better to put some of our prisoners in one place and some in another, as then they would be less likely to try to escape.

He and Friday therefore took Atkins with two others who were the worst to my cave in the woods. It was a dismal place, but very safe. There the rough fellows were left with their hands and feet tied fast, and the door blocked up with a huge stone.

Late as it was, I sent the rest of them to my bower. As they also were bound, and as the place was fenced in and was very strong, they were quite safe there.

They were all much frightened. For they believed that the island was inhabited by Englishmen, and that the governor had really a large army. They felt that the better they behaved the safer they would be.

The captain went out to talk with them.

"My men," he said, "you all know what a great crime you have committed. You are now in the power of the governor of this island. He will send you to England. There you will be tried, and you will be hanged in chains."

At these words they turned pale and groaned. For they were but young men and had been led into this by the four or five ruffians who were the ringleaders.

"Now, my men," the captain went on, "you know that I have always been kind to you."

"Certainly you have," said Tom Smith.

"Aye, aye!" cried all the rest.

"Well, then," said the captain, "it grieves my heart to see you in this hard case. The ship, as you know, still lies at anchor off the shore. It is still held by some of the ruffians who brought this trouble upon us. If I should persuade the governor to set you free, what say you? Would you help me retake the ship?"

"Aye, aye!" they all cried. "We would stand by you to the end, for we should then owe our lives, to you."

"Well, then," said the captain, "I will see what I can do. I will go and talk with the governor."

The matter was soon arranged.

The captain was to choose five of those he thought would be most faithful. These were to help him retake the ship. But the rest were to stay in prison as hostages.

If the five behaved themselves well, then all were to be set free. If they did not behave, then all were to be put to death.

These were the governor's orders.

It was then agreed that the captain, with all the men he could trust, should go out to the ship. I and my man Friday were to stay on shore to watch the prisoners.

The hole in the bottom of the long boat was soon mended. Four men, with the passenger as their leader, went out in this. The captain, with five men, went out in the other boat.

It was after midnight when they reached the ship.

The men on board were taken by surprise, for they thought that these were their friends who were but just then returning to the ship.

They even threw a rope to them and helped them on board, never suspecting that anything was wrong.

The whole business was managed well. The second mate and the carpenter, who were among the leaders in the plot, were soon overpowered.

The rebel captain, the worst of the crew, was asleep in his berth. He sprang up and showed fight. He shot three times at the captain's party, wounding the mate but touching no one else.

The mate, wounded as he was, raised his musket and fired. The rebel captain fell to the deck with a bullet through his head.

The rest, seeing that they were without leaders, fell upon their knees and begged for their lives.

Thus the captain became again the master of his own ship.

 



Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Merman

Who would be

A merman bold,

Sitting alone,

Singing alone

Under the sea,

With a crown of gold,

On a throne?

I would be a merman bold;

I would sit and sing the whole of the day;

I would fill the sea-halls with a voice of power;

But at night I would roam abroad and play

With the mermaids in and out of the rocks,

Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower;

And then we would wander away, away

To the pale-green sea-groves straight and high,

Chasing each other merrily.


Who would be

A mermaid fair,

Singing alone,

Combing her hair

Under the sea,

In a golden curl,

With a comb of pearl,

On a throne?

I would be a mermaid fair,

I would sing to myself the whole of the day;

With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair.

I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall

Low adown, low adown,

From under my starry sea-bud crown

And I should look like a fountain of gold

Springing alone,

With a shrill inner sound,

Over the throne.


 


  WEEK 47  

  Friday  


The Discovery of New Worlds  by M. B. Synge

Follow the Leader

"Go from the east to the west, as the sun and the stars direct thee;

Go with the girdle of man, go and encompass the earth,

Not for the gain of the gold—for the getting, the hoarding, the having—

But for the joy of the deed, but for the Duty to do."

—Clough.

O NCE Columbus had led the way to the New World, it was easy enough for others to follow. He had resolutely plunged across the unknown Sea of Darkness and found land beyond. There is a story told of him that shows that he, too, knew how great had been the plunge.

He was sitting at dinner when a Spaniard, somewhat jealous of his fortune, suggested that if he—Columbus—had not found the new country, some other Spaniard might easily have done so. Columbus said nothing, but taking an egg, he asked if any one present could make it stand. All tried, but in vain. Then Columbus took the egg, and having cracked one end on the table, he stood it up. All saw his meaning. Once the thing was done, it was no hard matter to do it again.

Columbus had just returned from his discovery of land across the Atlantic—though he had not found the mainland of the new world—when John Cabot started off, full of enthusiasm, for a voyage across the ocean.

Like Columbus, he was an Italian by birth, and, like him, Cabot had applied to the two Courts of Portugal and Spain for ships and money. But finally he was sailing from England. Bristol, the chief seaport of England at this time, traded with Venice and Lisbon, and her merchants had already ventured some distance out into the broad Atlantic. It was from Bristol that John Cabot and his son Sebastian sailed one bright May morning in the famous year 1497, a year which they were to make yet more famous by their further discoveries. They sailed with one small ship and only eighteen sailors, and soon found themselves tossing on the yet dimly known ocean. By the end of June they had fallen in with land. It was really New-foundland, off the coast of North America, but they thought it was China—the land of the Great Khan.

Never since the old Viking days had white men been seen on these shores, and they had left no trace. By July the Cabots were home again, telling the King of England, Henry VII., of their good fortune. It is amusing to find the thrifty king bestowing on "him that found the new isle" the famous grant of £10! But other honours were heaped upon him. He was called the Grand Admiral, and dressed in silk; and we hear further that "the English ran after him like madmen." Again and again after this Sebastian Cabot sailed to North America, ever bringing back news of fresh lands discovered and fresh wonders seen; but as yet no colonists felt tempted to settle in the bleak north. The inhospitable shores of Labrador offered no attraction, and it was a long time before any use was made of these discoveries.

Neither did Cabot himself ever know the value of them, but he died, as his great leader had died, still thinking that he had found the coast of China, the golden Cathay of Marco Polo.

The story of Amerigo Vespucci, who also followed his leader to the new country, is curious, for it was named after him America. He had made several voyages to the West, while Columbus was yet going backwards and forwards to his newly discovered lands. He had sailed under a Spaniard through the Dragon's Mouth between Trinidad and the mainland of South America, had found a village—forty-four large houses built on huge tree-trunks and connected by bridges: it was like the Italian Venice rising out of her lagoons, and is known to-day as Venezuela or little Venice.

But it was not till after the death of Columbus, after Amerigo Vespucci had been many times to the West and coasted down the east coast of South America, much farther than Columbus had ever done, that the idea began to dawn on men that this land was neither Asia nor Africa, that it was not the land of the Great Khan nor the India of Vasco da Gama, but a new continent altogether.

"It is proper to call it a new world," says Amerigo Vespucci. "And why? Because these lands were unknown to the men of old. They said over and over again that there was no land south of the equator. But this last voyage of mine has proved them wrong, since in southern regions I have found a country more thickly inhabited by people and animals than our Europe or Asia or Africa."

Thus he wrote privately to a friend in Italian. It was translated into Latin, printed and published in Paris as a little four-leaved tractlet, and eagerly read. Amerigo Vespucci had discovered another world beyond the equator, they said. It was not the land of Columbus, but altogether something new and strange.

For the first time the vague idea of a new continent began to take shape in the public mind.

Vespucci's voyages were widely read; and in the year 1507 we find these words in a little old geography book written at this time to tell people all that was known about the world. The earth was divided into three parts, says the little old book. "But now," it goes on, "these parts have been more thoroughly explored, and another fourth part has been discovered by Amerigo Vespucci; wherefore," adds the author, "I do not see what is rightly to hinder us from calling it America—the land of Americus—after its discoverer Americus."

The name was taken up, and in the maps of the time we find a vague piece of land somewhere away in the Atlantic Ocean called America.

It was left for others to discover that the land of Columbus, of Cabot, and of Amerigo Vespucci, were one and the same.

 



The Golden Windows  by Laura E. Richards

The Sailor Man

dropcap image NCE upon a time two children came to the house of a sailor man, who lived beside the salt sea; and they found the sailor man sitting in his doorway knotting ropes.

"How do you do?" asked the sailor man.

"We are very well, thank you," said the children, who had learned manners, "and we hope you are the same. We heard that you had a boat, and we thought that perhaps you would take us out in her, and teach us how to sail, for that is what we wish most to know."


[Illustration]

"All in good time," said the sailor man. "I am busy now, but by and by, when my work is done, I may perhaps take one of you if you are ready to learn. Meantime here are some ropes that need knotting; you might be doing that, since it has to be done." And he showed them how the knots should be tied, and went away and left them.

When he was gone the first child ran to the window and looked out.

"There is the sea," he said. "The waves come up on the beach, almost to the door of the house. They run up all white, like prancing horses, and then they go dragging back. Come and look!"

"I cannot," said the second child. "I am tying a knot."

"Oh!" cried the first child, "I see the boat. She is dancing like a lady at a ball; I never saw such a beauty. Come and look!"

"I cannot," said the second child. "I am tying a knot."

"I shall have a delightful sail in that boat," said the first child. "I expect that the sailor man will take me, because I am the eldest and I know more about it. There was no need of my watching when he showed you the knots, because I knew how already."

Just then the sailor man came in.

"Well," he said, "My work is over. What have you been doing in the meantime?"

"I have been looking at the boat," said the first child. "What a beauty she is! I shall have the best time in her that ever I had in my life."

"I have been tying knots," said the second child.

"Come, then," said the sailor man, and he held out his hand to the second child. "I will take you out in the boat, and teach you to sail her."

"But I am the eldest," cried the first child, "and I know a great deal more than she does."

"That may be," said the sailor man; "but a person must learn to tie a knot before he can learn to sail a boat."

"But I have learned to tie a knot," cried the child. "I know all about it!"

"How can I tell that?" asked the sailor man.

 



Walter de la Mare

Many a Mickle

A little sound—

Only a little, a little—

The breath in a reed,

A trembling fiddle;

A trumpet's ring,

The shuddering drum;

So all the glory, bravery, hush

Of music come.


A little sound—

Only a stir and a sigh

Of each green leaf

Its fluttering neighbor by;

Oak on to oak,

The wide dark forest through—

So o'er the watery wheeling world

The night winds go.


A little sound,

Only a little, a little—

The thin high drone

Of the simmering kettle,

The gathering frost,

The click of needle and thread;

Mother, the fading wall, the dream,

The drowsy bed.

 


  WEEK 47  

  Saturday  


The Bears of Blue River  by Charles Major

A Castle on Brandywine

Part 1 of 2

Christmas morning the boys awakened early and crept from beneath their warm bearskins in eager anticipation of gifts from Santa Claus. Of course they had long before learned who Santa Claus was, but they loved the story, and in the wisdom of their innocence clung to an illusion which brought them happiness.

The sun had risen upon a scene such as winter only can produce. Surely Aladdin had come to Blue River upon the wings of the Christmas storm, had rubbed his lamp, and lo! the humble cabin was in the heart of a fairyland such as was never conceived by the mind of a genie. Snow lay upon the ground like a soft carpet of white velvet ten inches thick. The boughs of the trees were festooned with a foliage that spring cannot rival. Even the locust trees, which in their pride of blossom cry out in June time for our admiration, seemed to say, "See what we can do in winter;" and the sycamore and beech drooped their branches, as if to call attention to their winter flowers given by that rarest of artists, Jack Frost.

The boys quickly donned their heavy buckskin clothing and moccasins, and climbed down the pole to the room where their father and mother were sleeping. Jim awakened his parents with a cry of "Christmas Gift," but Balser's attention was attracted to a barrel standing by the fireplace, which his father had brought from Brookville, and into which the boys had not been permitted to look the night before. Balser had a shrewd suspicion of what the barrel contained, and his delight knew no bounds when the found, as he had hoped, that it was filled with steel traps of the size used to catch beavers, coons, and foxes.

Since he had owned a gun, Balser's great desire had been to possess a number of traps. As I have already told you, the pelts of animals taken in winter are of great value, and our little hero longed to begin life on his own account as a hunter and trapper.

I might tell you of the joyous Christmas morning in the humble cabin when the gifts which Mr. Brent had brought from Brookville were distributed. I might tell you of the new gown for mother, of the bright, red mufflers, of the shoes for Sunday wear and the "store" caps for the boys, to be used upon holiday occasions. I might tell you of the candies and nuts, and of the rarest of all the gifts, an orange for each member of the family, for that fruit had never before been seen upon Blue River. But I must take you to the castle on Brandywine.

You may wonder how there came to be a castle in the wilderness on Brandywine, but I am sure, when you learn about it, you will declare that it was fairer than any castle ever built of mortar and stone, and that the adventures which befell our little heroes were as glorious as ever fell to the lot of spurred and belted knight.

Immediately after breakfast, when the chores had all been finished, Balser and Jim started down the river to visit Liney and Tom. Balser carried with him two Christmas presents for his friends—a steel trap for Tom, and the orange which his father had brought him from Brookville for Liney.

I might also tell you of Tom's delight when he received the trap, and of Liney's smile of pleasure, worth all the oranges in the world, when she received her present; and I might tell you how she divided the orange into pieces, and gave one to each of the family; and how, after it had all been eaten, tears came to her bright eyes when she learned that Balser had not tasted the fruit. I might tell you much more that would be interesting, and show you how good and true and gentle were these honest, simple folk, but I must drop it all and begin my story.

Balser told Tom about the traps, and a trapping expedition was quickly agreed upon between the boys.

The next day Tom went to visit Balser, and for three or four days the boys were busily engaged in making two sleds upon which to carry provisions for their campaign. The sleds when finished were each about two feet broad and six feet long. They were made of elm, and were very strong, and were so light that when loaded the boys could easily draw them over the snow. By the time the sleds were finished the snow was hard, and everything was ready for the moving of the expedition.

First, the traps were packed. Then provisions, consisting of sweet potatoes, a great lump of maple sugar, a dozen loaves of white bread, two or three gourds full of butter, a side of bacon, a bag of meal, a large piece of bear meat for the dogs, and a number of other articles and simple utensils such as the boys would need in cooking, were loaded upon the sleds. They took with them no meat other than bacon and the bear meat for the dogs, for they knew they could make traps from the boughs of trees in which they could catch quail and pheasants, and were sure to be able, in an hour's hunting, to provide enough venison to supply their wants for a much longer time than they would remain in camp. There were also wild turkeys to be killed, and fish to be caught through openings which the boys would make in the ice of the creek.

Over the loaded sleds they spread woolly bearskins to be used for beds and covering during the cold nights, and they also took with them a number of tanned deerskins, with which to carpet the floor of their castle and to close its doors and windows. Tom took with him his wonderful hatchet, an axe, and his father's rifle. Axe, hatchets, and knives had been sharpened, and bullets had been moulded in such vast numbers that one would have thought the boys were going to war. Powder horns were filled, and a can of that precious article was placed carefully upon each of the sleds.

Bright and early one morning Balser, Tom, and Jim, and last, but by no means least, Tige and Prince, crossed Blue River and started in a northwestern direction toward a point on Brandywine where a number of beaver dams were known to exist, ten miles distant from the Brent cabin.


[Illustration]

En route for the castle

Tom and Tige drew one of the sleds, and Balser and Prince drew the other. During the first part of the trip, Jim would now and then lend a helping hand, but toward the latter end of the journey he said he thought it would be better for him to ride upon one of the sleds to keep the load from falling off. Balser and Tom, however, did not agree with him, nor did the dogs; so Jim walked behind and grumbled, and had his grumbling for his pains, as usually is the case with grumblers.

Two or three hours before sunset the boys reached Brandywine, a babbling little creek in springtime, winding its crooked rippling way through overhanging boughs of water elm, sycamore, and willows, but, at the time of our heroes' expedition, frozen over with the mail of winter. It is in small creeks, such as Brandywine, that beavers love to make their dams.

Our little caravan, upon reaching Brandywine, at once took to the ice and started upstream along its winding course.


[Illustration]

Jim had grown tired. "I don't believe you fellows know where you're going," said he. "I don't see any place to camp."

"You'll see it pretty quickly," said Balser; and when they turned a bend in the creek they beheld a huge sycamore springing from a little valley that led down to the water's edge.

"There's our home," said Balser.

The sycamore was hollow, and at its roots was an opening for a doorway.

Upon beholding the tree Jim gave a cry of delight, and was for entering their new home at once, but Balser held him back and sent in the dogs as an exploring advance guard. Soon the dogs came out and informed the boys that everything within the tree was all right, and Balser and Tom and Jim stooped low and entered upon the possession of their castle on Brandywine.

The first task was to sweep out the dust and dry leaves. This the boys did with bundles of twigs rudely fashioned into brooms. The dry leaves and small tufts of black hair gave evidence all too strongly that the castle which the boys had captured was the home of some baron bear who had incautiously left his stronghold unguarded. Jim spoke of this fact with unpleasant emphasis, and was ready to "bet" that the bear would come back when they were all asleep, and would take possession of his castle and devour the intruders.

"What  will you bet?" said Tom.

"I didn't say I would bet anything. I just said I'd bet, and you'll see I'm right," returned Jim.

Balser and Tom well knew that Jim's prophecy might easily come true, but they had faith in the watchfulness of their sentinels, Tige and Prince, and the moon being at its full, they hoped rather than feared that his bearship might return, and were confident that, in case he did, his danger would be greater than theirs.

After the castle floor had been carefully swept, the boys carried in the deerskins and spread them on the ground for a carpet. The bearskins were then taken in, and the beds were made; traps, guns, and provisions were stored away, and the sleds were drawn around to one side of the door, and placed leaning against the tree.

The boys were hungry, and Jim insisted that supper should be prepared at once; but Tom, having made several trips around the tree, remarked mysteriously that he had a plan of his own. He said there was a great deal of work to be done before sundown, and that supper could be eaten after dark when they could not work. Tom was right, for the night gave promise of bitter cold.

Limpy did not tell his plans at once, but soon they were developed.

The hollow in the tree in which the boys had made their home was almost circular in form. It was at least ten or eleven feet in diameter, and extended up into the tree twenty or thirty feet. Springing from the same root, and a part of the parent tree, grew two large sprouts or branches, which at a little distance looked like separate trees. They were, however, each connected with the larger tree, and the three formed one.

"What on earth are you pounding at that tree for?" asked Jim, while Tom was striking one of the smaller trees with the butt end of the hatchet, and listening intently as if he expected to hear a response.

Tom did not reply to Jim, but in a moment entered the main tree with axe in hand, and soon Balser and Jim heard him chopping.

The two boys at once followed Tom, to learn what their eccentric companion was doing. Tom did not respond to their questions, but after he had chopped vigorously for a few minutes the result of his work gave them an answer, for he soon cut an opening into the smaller tree, which was also hollow. Tom had discovered the hollow by striking the tree with his hatchet. In fact, Tom was a genius after his own peculiar pattern.

The newly discovered hollow proved to be three or four feet in diameter, and, like that in the larger tree, extended to a considerable height. After Tom had made the opening between the trees, he sat upon the ground, and with his hatchet hewed it to an oval shape, two feet high and two feet broad.

Jim could not imagine why Tom had taken so much trouble to add another room to their house, which was already large enough. But when Tom, having finished the opening upon the inside, went out and began to climb the smaller tree with the help of a few low-growing branches, the youngest member of the expedition became fully convinced in his own mind that the second in command was out of his head entirely. When Tom, having climbed to a height of twelve or fifteen feet, began to chop with his hatchet, Jim remarked, in most emphatic language, that he thought "a fellow who would chop at a sycamore tree just for the sake of making chips, when he might be eating his supper, was too big a fool to live."

Tom did not respond to Jim's sarcasm, but persevered in his chopping until he had made an opening at the point to which he had climbed. Balser had quickly guessed the object of Tom's mighty labors, but he did not enlighten Jim. He had gone to other work, and by the time Tom had made the opening from the outside of the smaller tree, had collected a pile of firewood, and had carried several loads of it into the castle. Then Tom came down, and Jim quickly followed him into the large tree, for by that time his mysterious movements were full of interest to the little fellow.

Now what do you suppose was Tom's object in wasting so much time and energy with his axe and hatchet?

A fireplace.

You will at once understand that the opening which Tom had cut in the tree at the height of twelve or fifteen feet was for the purpose of making a chimney through which the smoke might escape.

The boys kindled a fire, and in a few minutes there was a cheery blaze in their fireplace that lighted up the room and made "everything look just like home," Jim said.

Then Jim went outside and gave a great hurrah of delight when he saw the smoke issuing from the chimney that ingenious Tom had made with his hatchet.

Jim watched the smoke for a few moments, and then walked around the tree to survey the premises. The result of his survey was the discovery of a hollow in the third tree of their castle, and when he informed Balser and Tom of the important fact, it was agreed that the room which Jim had found should be prepared for Tige and Prince. The dogs were not fastidious, and a sleeping-place was soon made for them entirely to their satisfaction.


[Illustration]

The castle on the Brandywine.

Meantime the fire was blazing and crackling in the fireplace, and the boys began to prepare supper. They had not had time to kill game, so they fried a few pieces of bacon and a dozen eggs, of which they had brought a good supply, and roasted a few sweet potatoes in the ashes. Then they made an opening in the ice, from which they drew a bucketful of sparkling ice water, and when all was ready they sat down to supper, served with the rarest of all dressings, appetite sauce, and at least one of the party, Jim, was happy as a boy could be.

The dogs then received their supper of bear meat.

The members of the expedition, from the commanding officer Balser to the high privates Tige and Prince, were very tired after their hard day's work, and when Tom and Balser showed the dogs their sleeping-place, they curled up close to each other and soon were in the land of dog dreams.

By the time supper was finished night had fallen, and while Tom and Balser were engaged in stretching a deerskin across the door to exclude the cold air, Jim crept between the bearskins and soon was sound asleep, dreaming no doubt of suppers and dinners and breakfasts, and scolding in his dreams like the veritable little grumbler that he was. A great bed of embers had accumulated in the fireplace, and upon them Balser placed a hickory knot for the purpose of retaining fire till morning, and then he covered the fire with ashes.

After all was ready Balser and Tom crept in between the bearskins, and lying spoon-fashion, one on each side of Jim, lost no time in making a rapid, happy journey to the land of Nod.

Tom slept next to the wall, next to Tom lay Jim, and next to Jim was Balser. The boys were lying with their feet to the fire, and upon the opposite side of the room was the doorway closed by the deerskin, of which I have already told you.

Of course they went to bed "all standing," as sailor say went they lie down to sleep with their clothing on, for the weather was cold, and the buckskin clothing and moccasins were soft and pleasant to sleep in, and would materially assist the bearskins in keeping the boys warm.

It must have been a pretty sight in the last flickering light of the smouldering fire to see the three boys huddled closely together, covered by the bearskins. I have no doubt had you seen them upon that night they would have appeared to you like a sleeping bear. In fact, before the night was over they did appear to—but I must not go ahead of my story.

The swift-winged hours of darkness sped like moments to the sleeping boys. The smouldering coals in the fireplace were black and lustreless. The night wind softly moaned through the branches of the sycamore, and sighed as it swept the bare limbs of the willows and the rustling tops of the underbrush. Jack Frost was silently at work, and the cold, clear air seemed to glitter in the moonlight. It was an hour past midnight. Had the boys been awake and listening, or had Tige and Prince been attending to their duties as sentinels, they would have heard a crisp noise of footsteps, as the icy surface of the snow cracked, and as dead twigs broke beneath a heavy weight. Ah, could the boys but awaken! Could the dogs be aroused but for one instant from their deep lethargy of slumber!

Balser! Tom! Jim! Tige! Prince! Awaken! Awaken!

On comes the heavy footfall, cautiously. As it approaches the castle a few hurried steps are taken, and the black, awkward form lifts his head and sniffs the air for signs of danger.

The baron has returned to claim his own, and Jim's prophecy, at least in part, has come true. The tracks upon the snow left by the boys and dogs, and the sleds leaning against the tree, excite the bear's suspicion, and he stands like a statue for five minutes, trying to make up his mind whether or not he shall enter his old domain. The memory of his cozy home tempts him, and he cautiously walks to the doorway of his house. The deerskin stretched across the opening surprises him, and he carefully examines it with the aid of his chief counsellor, his nose. Then he thrusts it aside with his head and enters.

He sees the boys on the opposite side of the tree, and doubtless fancies that his mate has gotten home before him, so he complacently lies down beside the bearskins, and soon, he, too, is in the land of bear dreams.

 



The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum  by Thornton Burgess

Happy Jack Squirrel Makes an Unexpected Call

H APPY JACK SQUIRREL likes the snow. He always has liked the snow. It makes him feel frisky. He likes to run and jump in it and dig little holes in it after nuts, which he hid under the leaves before the snow fell. When his feet get cold, all he has to do is to scamper up a tree and warm them in his own fur coat. So the big snowstorm which made so much trouble for Unc' Billy Possum just suited Happy Jack Squirrel, and he had a whole lot of fun making his funny little tracks all through that part of the Green Forest in which he lives.

Happy Jack didn't know anything about Unc' Billy Possum's troubles. He supposed that Unc' Billy was safe at home in his own big hollow tree, fast asleep, as he had been most of the winter. Happy Jack couldn't understand how anybody could want to sleep in such fine weather, but that was their own business, and Happy Jack had learned a long time ago not to worry about other people's business.

After frisking about he would stop to rest. Then he would sit up very straight and fold his hands across his breast, where they would get nice and warm in the fur of his coat. His beautiful, great gray tail would be arched up over his back. His bright eyes would snap and twinkle, and then he would shout just for joy, and every time he shouted he jerked his big tail. Farmer Brown's boy called it barking, but it was Happy Jack's way of shouting.

"I love to romp! I love to play!

I'm happy, happy, all the day!

I love the snow, so soft and white!

I love the sun that shines so bright!

I love the whole world, for, you see,

The world is very good to me!"

By and by Happy Jack came to the hollow tree that Farmer Brown's boy had cut down because he thought that Unc' Billy Possum was inside of it.

"Hello!" exclaimed Happy Jack. "That's one of the old storehouses of my cousin, Chatterer the Red Squirrel! I've got an old storehouse near here, and I guess I'll see if I have left any nuts in it."

He scampered over to another hollow tree standing near. He scampered up the tree as only Happy Jack can and whisked in at the open doorway of the hollow. Now Happy Jack had been in that hollow tree so often that he didn't once think of looking to see where he was going, and he landed plump on something that was soft and warm! Happy Jack was so surprised that he didn't know what to do for a second. And then all in a flash that something soft and warm was full of sharp claws and sharper teeth, and an angry growling filled the hollow tree.

Happy Jack was so frightened that he scrambled out as fast as he could. When he was safely outside, he grew very angry to think that any one should be in his storehouse, even if it was an old one. He could hear a very angry voice inside, and in a minute who should appear at the doorway but Unc' Billy Possum.

Unc' Billy had been waked out of a sound sleep, and that was enough to make any one cross. Besides, he had been badly frightened, and that made him crosser still.

"What do yo' mean by trying to frighten honest people?" snapped Unc' Billy, when he caught sight of Happy Jack.

"What do you mean by stealing into other folk's houses?" demanded Happy Jack, just as angrily.

 



Lydia Maria Child

Thanksgiving Day

Over the river and through the wood,

To grandfather's house we go;

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh

Through the white and drifted snow.


Over the river and through the wood,—

Oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes,

And bites the nose

As over the ground we go.


Over the river and through the wood,

To have a first-rate play,—

Hear the bells ring,

"Ting-a-ling-ding!"

Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!


Over the river, and through the wood,

Trot fast, my dapple-gray!

Spring over the ground,

Like a hunting-hound!

For this is Thanksgiving Day.


Over the river and through the wood,

And straight through the barnyard gate,

We seem to go

Extremely slow,—

It is so hard to wait!


Over the river and through the wood,—

Now grandmother's cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun!

Is the pudding done?

Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

 


  WEEK 47  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah

II Samuel xxiv: 1 to 25;
I Chronicles xxi: 1 to 27.

dropcap image FTER the death of Absalom, David ruled in peace over Israel for many years. His kingdom stretched from the river Euphrates to the border of Egypt, and from the Great Sea on the west to the great desert on the east. But again David did that which was very displeasing to God. He gave orders to Joab, who was the commander of his army, to send officers throughout all the tribes of Israel, and to count all the men who could go forth to battle.

It may be that David's purpose was to gather a great army for some new war. Even Joab, the general, knew that it was not right to do this; and he said to David, "May the Lord God make his people an hundred times as great as they are; but are they not all the servants of my lord the king? Why does the king command this to be done? Surely it will bring sin upon the king and upon the people."

But David was firm in his purpose, and Joab obeyed him, but not willingly. He sent men through all the twelve tribes to take the number of those in every city and town who were fit for war. They went throughout the land, until they had written down the number of eight hundred thousand men in ten of the tribes, and of nearly five hundred thousand men in the tribe of Judah, who could be called out for war. The tribe of Levi was not counted, because all its members were priests and Levites in the service of the Tabernacle; and Benjamin, on the border of which stood the city of Jerusalem, was not counted, because the numbering was never finished.

It was left unfinished because God was angry with David and with the people on account of this sin. David saw that he had done wickedly, in ordering the count of the people. He prayed to the Lord, and said, "O Lord, I have sinned greatly in doing this. Now, O Lord, forgive this sin, for I have done very foolishly."

Then the Lord sent to David, a prophet, a man who heard God's voice and spoke as God's messenger. His name was Gad. Gad came to David, and said to him, "Thus saith the Lord, You have sinned in this thing, and now you and your land must suffer for your sin. I will give you the choice of three troubles to come upon the land. Shall I send seven years of famine, in which there shall be no harvest? Or shall your enemies overcome you, and win victories over you for three months? Or shall there be three days when pestilence shall fall upon the land, and the people shall die everywhere?"

And David said to the prophet Gad, "This is a hard choice of evils to come upon the land; but let me fall into the hand of the Lord, and not into the hands of men; for God's mercies are great and many. If we must suffer, let the three days of pestilence come upon the land."

Then the Lord's angel of death passed through the land, and in three days seventy thousand men died. And when the angel of the Lord stretched out his hand over the city of Jerusalem, the Lord had pity upon the people, and the Lord said to him, "It is enough; now hold back your hand, and cause no more of the people to die."

Then the Lord opened David's eyes, and he saw the angel standing on Mount Moriah, with a drawn sword in his hand, held out toward the city. Then David prayed to the Lord, and he said:

"O Lord, I alone have sinned, and have done this wickedness before thee. These people are like sheep; they have done nothing. Lord, let thy hand fall on me, and not on these poor people."

Then the Lord sent the prophet Gad to David, and Gad said to him, "Go, and build an altar to the Lord upon the place where the angel was standing."

Then David and the men of his court went out from Mount Zion, where the city was standing, and walked up the side of Mount Moriah. They found the man who owned the rock on the top of the mountain threshing wheat upon it, with his sons; for the smooth rock was used as a threshing-floor, upon which oxen walked over the heads of grain, beating out the kernels with their feet. This man was not an Israelite, but a foreigner, of the race that had lived on those mountains before the Israelites came. His name was Araunah.

When Araunah saw David and his nobles coming toward him, he bowed down with his face toward the ground, and said, "For what purpose does my lord the king come to his servant?"


[Illustration]

David gets the threshing-floor.

"I have come," said David, "to buy your threshing-floor, and to build upon it an altar to the Lord, that I may pray to God to stop the plague which is destroying the people."

And Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take it freely as a gift, and with it these oxen for a burnt-offering, and the threshing-tools and the yokes of the oxen for the wood on the altar. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king."

"No," said King David; "I cannot take it as a gift; but I will pay you the price for it. For I will not make an offering to the Lord my God of that which costs me nothing."

So David gave to Araunah the full price for the land, and for the oxen, and for the wood. And there, on the rock, he built an altar to the Lord God, and on it he offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. The Lord heard David's prayer and took away the plague from the land.

And on that rock afterward stood the altar of the temple of the Lord on Mount Moriah. The rock is standing even to this day, and over it a building called "The Dome of the Rock." Those who visit the place can look upon the very spot where David built his altar and called upon the Lord.

 



The Sandman: His Sea Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Runaway Story

O NCE upon a time there was a wide river that ran into the ocean and beside it was a little city. And in that city was a wharf where great ships came from far countries. And a narrow road led down a very steep hill to that wharf, and anybody that wanted to go to the wharf had to go down the steep hill on the narrow road, for there wasn't any other way. And because ships had come there for a great many years and all the sailors and all the captains and all the men who had business with the ships had to go on that narrow road, the flagstones that made the sidewalks were much worn. That was a great many years ago.

The brig Industry  was one of the ships that used to sail from that wharf and Captain Solomon was her captain for many years. But, after he had been sailing to far countries for a long time, he thought it would be nice to stop going to sea, for he found that what he wanted was a farm where he could settle down and stay in one place. And, besides, he had three sons; and he didn't want his three sons to go to sea because he knew what a hard life it was.

Little Sol was the oldest of his three sons, and he had been one voyage to far countries. Captain Solomon took him, thinking that the voyage would show him how much better it was to stay ashore and be a farmer than to go to sea and be a captain and have to stand all sorts of storms and perhaps be wrecked. But the voyage to those far countries hadn't made Sol think what Captain Solomon had hoped it would make him think, but it had only made him want to go to sea all the more. Little Sol wasn't little any longer, but he had got to be about sixteen years old. And Captain Solomon's youngest son was the one that was, afterwards, Uncle John and the father of little John, that it tells about in the Farm Stories. And what was the name of the middle son of Captain Solomon I have forgotten. Perhaps it was Seth.


[Illustration]

So Captain Solomon bought the farm that he wanted. It was a beautiful farm, with a river running through it, and a great pond in it, and you would have thought that it would have suited Sol exactly. But it didn't. For the one thing that Sol wanted, and that all these beautiful things, the river and the great pond, and the hills and the woods, wouldn't make up for, was the ocean. The farm was twenty miles from the ocean. Sol would have given anything if he could just hear  the ocean. Where he had lived he could hear it all the time, sometimes loud and sometimes soft. It put him to sleep many and many a night, that sound of the sea as it broke on the shore. And he wanted it so badly that he was almost sick, but his father wouldn't let him go to sea, and he wouldn't even let him go to Wellfleet to visit his cousins; for he was very much afraid that Sol wouldn't come home again, but would go off to sea. And at last Sol couldn't stand it any longer. He felt sick all the time and he couldn't sleep and he just hated that farm. So he made up his mind that he would have to run away from home.

It was on his sixteenth birthday that he made up his mind to run away from home. Captain Solomon was a kind father, but he had been a captain for such a long time that he wanted to run his family and his farm just like a ship and to have everybody do just exactly as he said and ask no questions; and, when anybody didn't seem to want to do just as he said, but began to ask questions and argue, he got very angry. Sol was very sorry to leave his mother, but there was nobody else except his two brothers. And he was very sure that Seth would run away to sea when he got old enough, unless Captain Solomon let him go. But, long before it came to be Seth's time, Captain Solomon had learned better. And John, at that time, was a little boy.

So Sol made his plans. And, when the time came, he left a letter to his father. The letter was scribbled on a leaf that Sol tore out of a book, and it was very short, for Sol didn't like to write letters. The letter said that he just had  to go to sea, and that he hoped that his father wouldn't blame him, and that he would come back some day when he had got to be a mate or a captain.

Then there was a letter to his mother. It was longer than the letter to his father and in it Sol said that he was just sick for the sea and that, if he stayed on the farm, he knew he should get sicker and die. The farm was a beautiful farm, but farms were not for him for many years yet. He would rather plough the ocean than plough the earth. Sol was rather proud when he wrote that about ploughing the ocean, for he thought it sounded rather well when he read the letter over. And he subscribed himself, with a great deal of love, her loving son.

Then Sol made a bundle of the clothes he thought he would need, but the bundle was a small one, for he didn't think that he would need many clothes. And, when it got late that night, and everything was quiet about the house and even his brothers, Seth and John, were sound asleep, Sol opened the window and threw his bundle out. Then he got out and slid down the rain spout. The rain spout made a good deal of noise, but it was wooden and not made of tin, so it didn't make as much noise as a rain spout would make now. Sol was afraid that his father would hear the noise and wake up, so he hid behind the lilac bushes in the corner of the fence. But Captain Solomon had been doing a hard day's work, haying, and he slept very soundly. And, when he found that his father didn't wake up, Sol crept out from behind the lilac bushes and took up his bundle and went out the wide gate.


[Illustration]

Took up his bundle and went out the wide gate.

First he turned north and walked quietly along until he had passed the old schoolhouse and had got well into the village. He went carefully, while he was in the village, for he was afraid that somebody might be about and see him. Almost everybody in the village knew Sol, and anybody who met him, at that time of night, would know that he was running away. Perhaps they would call up the constable and have him sent back. Sol shivered when he thought of that. Then he came to the old turnpike road to Boston and he turned toward the east into the turnpike. He hadn't met anybody in the village nor seen a single light.

It doesn't take a good, strong boy of sixteen all night to walk a little more than twenty miles, and Sol loafed along and didn't hurry. Once in a while he sat down to rest or sleep for a few minutes, but he didn't dare to really go to sleep, for fear that he would sleep all the rest of the night; and he had to be in Boston by daylight. And, once in a while, he had to sneak around a toll-house, because he didn't have any money. And, at each toll-house, they made each person that was walking on the turnpike pay some money; perhaps it was a penny that they had to pay. They charged more for each wagon that passed. At last he came into Boston and it wasn't daylight yet. So he walked over to the Common and lay down under some bushes and went to sleep.

Sol was wakened by the snuffling noise that a cow makes when it is eating the grass and by the sound of the grass being bitten off. And he started up, thinking of the farm at home, and there was a cow almost near enough to touch. When he started up, the cow was frightened and galloped off, and Sol saw that the sun was up and it must be about six o'clock. He laughed at the cow and opened his bundle and took out some bread that he had brought, and some gingerbread, and he ate them. It wasn't much of a breakfast, but he hadn't been able to get anything better. And, when he had finished, he walked down to Spring Lane and got a drink of water at the spring, and he washed his face and hands. Then he kept on down to India street, for he was afraid his father would come after him and there was no time to lose.


[Illustration]

He started up, thinking of the farm at home.

Sol needn't have been afraid that his father would come after him, if he had only known what was happening at the farm. Captain Solomon had been surprised that Sol didn't come down stairs and, finally, he had gone up after him. There were Seth and John just waking up and rubbing the sleep out of their eyes; but there was no Sol and his bed hadn't been slept in. And Captain Solomon looked around until he saw the two letters pinned to the pin-cushion. Then he looked angry, and he took the two letters and marched down stairs again. He didn't say anything, but he gave the letter that was directed "For Mother" to his wife.

And Sol's mother didn't say anything, either, but she opened her letter and read it. It didn't take very long to read it but it took longer than Captain Solomon's. And the tears came into her eyes as she handed the letter to Captain Solomon and asked him not to be hard on the poor boy but to be gentle with him, for he must have felt that very same way when he first went to sea.

And Captain Solomon read her letter and then he sat without saying anything for a long time, looking out of the window. Perhaps he didn't see the things that were there; perhaps, instead of the fields of tall grass and of wheat, waving in the breeze, he saw the blue ocean sparkling in the sun and stretching away until it met the sky. Perhaps he saw the tall masts and the white sails of the Industry  rising far above his head, and felt her buoyant hull under his feet.

Whatever he saw, as he sat there, he laughed aloud, at last, and brought his fist down on the kitchen table.

"Let him go!" he said. "It's in the blood. The sea's salt is in the blood and the only thing that will take it out is the sea itself. He can no more help it than he can help breathing. I'll write him a letter."

And so it happened that there was a letter for Sol in Captain Jonathan's and Captain Jacob's office the next morning. They didn't know where he was, but they sent to all their ships that were in port to see if he could be found. The Industry  happened to be in port, but she was just ready to sail, and she was to sail that afternoon. And it happened that Sol had shipped as one of her crew and he was on board of her. Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob didn't know that Sol was one of the crew of the Industry, because they didn't generally look over the crew lists any longer, but they left that to the captains and the mates. But when they found Sol, they had him come to their office, and they gave him the letter from his father. And Sol read the letter and he was very happy, and he wrote a long letter to his father.

In that letter he said that he knew, now, that it was very foolish for him to run away, because Captain Solomon would have let him go if he had made him understand how he felt. But Sol had always thought that his father was very stern and he hadn't told him how badly he felt at being kept away from the salt water. It may have been Captain Solomon's fault, too; and when he got Sol's letter he went to a field that was far from the farm-house. But he didn't do any work. He sat there, under a tree that grew beside the stone wall, all the morning looking up at the clouds.

It would be all the more foolish for any boy to run away to sea, now-a-days. For things have changed very much in the last hundred years. Steamers have taken the place of sailing ships, and the crews of the few ships that there are aren't made up of men like Captain Solomon and Sol.

But, when the Industry sailed away from that wharf in Boston for far countries, more than a hundred years ago, Sol was a sailor.

And that's all.

 



Lydia Maria Child

Thanksgiving Day

Over the river and through the wood,

To grandfather's house we go;

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh

Through the white and drifted snow.


Over the river and through the wood,—

Oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes,

And bites the nose

As over the ground we go.


Over the river and through the wood,

To have a first-rate play,—

Hear the bells ring,

"Ting-a-ling-ding!"

Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!


Over the river, and through the wood,

Trot fast, my dapple-gray!

Spring over the ground,

Like a hunting-hound!

For this is Thanksgiving Day.


Over the river and through the wood,

And straight through the barnyard gate,

We seem to go

Extremely slow,—

It is so hard to wait!


Over the river and through the wood,—

Now grandmother's cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun!

Is the pudding done?

Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!