Text of Plan #970
  WEEK 48  

  Monday  


The Birds' Christmas Carol  by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Drooping Wings

I T was December, ten years later.

Carol had seen nine Christmas trees lighted on her birthdays, one after another; nine times she had assisted in the holiday festivities of the household, though in her babyhood her share of the gayeties was somewhat limited.

For five years, certainly, she had hidden presents for father and mother in their own bureau drawers, and harbored a number of secrets sufficiently large to burst a baby brain, had it not been for the relief gained by whispering them all to her mother, at night, when she was in her crib, a proceeding which did not in the least lessen the value of a secret in her innocent mind.

For five years she had heard " 'Twas the night before Christmas," and hung up a scarlet stocking many sizes too large for her, and pinned a sprig of holly on her little white night gown, to show Santa Claus that she was a "truly" Christmas child, and dreamed of fur-coated saints and toy-packs and reindeer, and wished everybody a "Merry Christmas" before it was light in the morning, and lent every one of her new toys to the neighbors' children before noon, and eaten turkey and plum-pudding, and gone to bed at night in a trance of happiness at the day's pleasures.

Donald was away at college now. Paul and Hugh were great manly fellows, taller than their mother. Father Bird had gray hairs in his whiskers; and Grandma, God bless her, had been four Christmases in heaven.

But Christmas in the Birds' Nest was scarcely as merry now as it used to be in the bygone years, for the little child, who once brought such an added blessing to the day, lay, month after month, a patient, helpless invalid, in the room where she was born. She had never been very strong in body, and it was with a pang of terror that her mother and father noticed, soon after she was five years old, that she began to limp, ever so slightly; to complain too often of weariness, and to nestle close to her mother, saying she "would rather not go out to play, please." The illness was slight at first, and hope was always stirring in Mrs. Bird's heart. "Carol would feel stronger in the summer-time"; or, "She would be better when she had spent a year in the country"; or, "She would outgrow it;" or, "They would try a new physician"; but by and by it came to be all too sure that no physician save One could make Carol strong again, and that no "summer-time" nor "country air," unless it were the everlasting summer-time in a heavenly country, could bring back the little girl to health.

The cheeks and lips that were once as red as holly-berries faded to faint pink; the star-like eyes grew softer, for they often gleamed through tears; and the gay child-laugh, that had been like a chime of Christmas bells, gave place to a smile so lovely, so touching, so tender and patient, that it filled every corner of the house with a gentle radiance that might have come from the face of the Christ-child himself.

Love could do nothing; and when we have said that we have said all, for it is stronger than anything else in the whole wide world. Mr. and Mrs. Bird were talking it over one evening, when all the children were asleep. A famous physician had visited them that day, and told them that some time, it might be in one year, it might be in more, Carol would slip quietly off into heaven from whence she came.

"It is no use to close our eyes to it any longer," said Mr. Bird, as he paced up and down the library floor; "Carol will never be well again. It seems a burden almost too heavy to be borne to think of that loveliest child doomed to lie there day after day, and, what is still more, to suffer pain that we are helpless to keep away from her. Merry Christmas, indeed; it is getting to be the saddest day in the year!" and poor Mr. Bird sank into a chair by the table, and buried his face in his hands to keep his wife from seeing the tears that would come in spite of all his efforts.

"But, Donald, dear," said sweet Mrs. Bird, with trembling voice, "Christmas Day may not be so merry with us as it used, but it is very happy, and that is better, and very blessed, and that is better yet. I suffer chiefly for Carol's sake, but I have almost given up being sorrowful for my own. I am too happy in the child, and I see too clearly what she has done for us and the other children. Donald and Paul and Hugh were three strong, willful, boisterous boys, but now you seldom see such tenderness, devotion, thought for others, and self-denial in lads of their years. A quarrel or a hot word is almost unknown in this house. Why? Carol would hear it, and it would distress her, she is so full of love and goodness. The boys study with all their might and main. Why? Partly, at least, because they like to teach Carol, and amuse her by telling her what they read. When the seamstress comes, she likes to sew in Miss Carol's room, because there she forgets her own troubles, which, Heaven knows, are sore enough! And as for me, Donald, I am a better woman every day for Carol's sake; I have to be her eyes, ears, feet, hands,—her strength, her hope; and she, my own little child, is my example!"

"I was wrong, dearest," said Mr. Bird more cheerfully; "we will try not to repine, but to rejoice instead, that we have an 'angel of the house.' "

"And as for her future," Mrs. Bird went on, "I think we need not be over-anxious. I feel as if she did not belong altogether to us, but that when she has done what God sent her for, He will take her back to Himself—and it may not be very long!" Here it was poor Mrs. Bird's turn to break down, and the father's turn to comfort her.

 



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Dreams of the Future

On hearing this, the question came into my mind as to whether Nathaniel and I could be called apprentices, inasmuch as we were only house-boys, according to the name Captain Smith gave us.

Master Hunt declared that being apprentices to care for the family, was of as much service as if we were learned in the trade of making tar, clapboards, or of building ships, and he assured me that if peradventure he was living when we had been in this land of Virginia seven years, it should be his duty to see to it that we were given our fifty acres of land apiece.

Thus understanding that we might ourselves in turn one day become planters, Nathaniel and I had much to say, one with the other, concerning what should be done in the future. We decided that when the time came for us to have the land set off to our own use, we would strive that the two lots of fifty acres each be in one piece. Then would we set about raising tobacco, as the Indian girl Pocahontas taught us, and who can say that we might not come to be of some consequence, even as are Captain Smith and Master Hunt, in this new world.

 



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

A Plague of Rats

And now am I come to the spring of 1609, when befell us that disaster which marked the beginning of the time of suffering, of trouble, and of danger which was so near to wiping out the settlement of Jamestown that the people had already started on their way to England.

The day had come when we should put into the ground our Indian corn that a harvest might follow. The supply, which was to be used as seed, had been stored in casks and piled up in the big house wherein were kept our goods.

When those who had been chosen to do the planting went for the seed, it was found to have been destroyed by rats, and not only the corn, but many other things which were in the storehouse, had been eaten by the same animals.

Master Hunt maintained, and Captain Smith was of the same opinion, that when the Phoenix was unloaded, the rats came ashore from her, finding lodging in that building which represented the vital spot of our town.

Howsoever the pests came there, certain it was we should reap no harvest that year, unless the savages became more friendly than they had lately shown themselves, and as to this we speedily learned.

 



Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Treachery during Captain Smith's Absence

When Captain Smith set off in the pinnace in order to buy what might serve us as seed, he found himself threatened by all the brown men living near about the shores of the bay, as if they had suddenly made up a plot to kill us, and never one of them would speak him fairly.

It was while my master was away that two Dutchmen, who came over in the Phoenix and had gone with Captain Smith in the pinnace, returned to Jamestown, saying to Captain Winne, who was in command at the fort, that Captain Smith had use for more weapons because of going into the country in the hope of finding Indians who would supply him with corn.

Not doubting their story, the captain supplied them with what they demanded, and, as was afterward learned, before leaving town that night they stole many swords, pike heads, shot and powder, all of which these Dutch thieves carried to Powhatan.


[Illustration]

If these two had been the only white men who did us wrong, then might our plight not have become so desperate; but many there were, upwards of sixteen so Master Hunt declared, who from day to day carried away secretly such weapons and tools, or powder and shot, as they could come upon, thereby trusting to the word of the savages that they might live with them in their villages always, without doing any manner of work.

Others sold kettles, hoes, or even swords and guns, that they might buy fruit, or corn, or meat from the Indians without doing so much of labor as was necessary in order to gather these things for themselves.

 



Juliana Horatia Ewing

The Willow Man

There once was a Willow, and he was very old,

And all his leaves fell off from him, and left him in the cold;

But ere the rude winter could buffet him with snow,

There grew upon his hoary head a crop of Mistletoe.


All wrinkled and furrowed was this old Willow's skin,

His taper fingers trembled, and his arms were very thin;

Two round eyes and hollow, that stared but did not see,

And sprawling feet that never walked, had this most ancient tree.


A Dame who dwelt a-near was the only one who knew

That every year upon his head the Christmas berries grew;

And when the Dame cut them, she said—it was her whim—

"A merry Christmas to you, Sir!" and left a bit for him.


"Oh, Granny dear, tell us," the children cried, "where we

May find the shining Mistletoe that grows upon the tree?"

At length the Dame told them, but cautioned them to mind

To greet the willow civilly, and leave a bit behind.


"Who cares," said the children, "for this old Willow man?

We'll take the Mistletoe, and he may catch us if he can."

With rage the ancient Willow shakes in every limb,

For they have taken all, and have not left a bit for him.


Then bright gleamed the holly, the Christmas berries shone,

But in the wintry wind without the Willow man did moan:

"Ungrateful, and wasteful! the mystic Mistletoe

A hundred years hath grown on me, but never more shall grow."


A year soon passed by, and the children came once more,

But not a sprig of Mistletoe the aged Willow bore.

Each slender spray pointed; he mocked them in his glee,

And chuckled in his wooden heart, that ancient Willow tree.


Moral

O children, who gather the spoils of wood and wold,

From selfish greed and willful waste your little hands withhold.

Though fair things be common, this moral bear in mind,

"Pick thankfully and modestly, and leave a bit behind."

 


  WEEK 48  

  Tuesday  


Fifty Famous Stories Retold  by James Baldwin

Casabianca

T HERE was a great battle at sea. One could hear nothing but the roar of the big guns. The air was filled with black smoke. The water was strewn with broken masts and pieces of timber which the cannon balls had knocked from the ships. Many men had been killed, and many more had been wounded.

The flag-ship had taken fire. The flames were breaking out from below. The deck was all ablaze. The men who were left alive made haste to launch a small boat. They leaped into it, and rowed swiftly away. Any other place was safer now than on board of that burning ship. There was powder in the hold.

But the captain's son, young Ca-sa-bi-an´ca, still stood upon the deck. The flames were almost all around him now; but he would not stir from his post. His father had bidden him stand there, and he had been taught always to obey. He trusted in his father's word, and be-lieved that when the right time came he would tell him to go.

He saw the men leap into the boat. He heard them call to him to come. He shook his head.

"When father bids me, I will go," he said.

And now the flames were leaping up the masts. The sails were all ablaze. The fire blew hot upon his cheek. It scorched his hair. It was before him, behind him, all around him.

"O father!" he cried, "may I not go now? The men have all left the ship. Is it not time that we too should leave it?"

He did not know that his father was lying in the burning cabin below, that a cannon ball had struck him dead at the very be-gin-ning of the fight. He listened to hear his answer.

"Speak louder, father!" he cried. "I cannot hear what you say."

Above the roaring of the flames, above the crashing of the falling spars, above the booming of the gulls, he fancied that his father's voice came faintly to him through the scorching air.

"I am here, father! Speak once again!" he gasped.

But what is that?

A great flash of light fills the air; clouds of smoke shoot quickly upward to the sky; and—

"BOOM!"

Oh, what a ter-rif-ic sound! Louder than thunder, louder than the roar of all the guns! The air quivers; the sea itself trembles; the sky is black.

The blazing ship is seen no more.

There was powder in the hold!


A long time ago a lady, whose name was Mrs. Hemans, wrote a poem about this brave boy Ca-sa-bi-an-ca. It is not a very well written poem, and yet everybody has read it, and thousands of people have learned it by heart. I doubt not but that some day you too will read it. It begins in this way:—

"The boy stood on the burning deck

Whence all but him had fled;

The flame that lit the battle's wreck

Shone round him o'er the dead.


"Yet beautiful and bright he stood,

As born to rule the storm—

A creature of heroic blood,

A proud though childlike form."

 



Outdoor Visits  by Edith M. Patch

Fall Picnics

The bees were ready for winter. They saved good honey to eat.

The birds were ready for winter. Many kinds of birds went South. Some kinds of birds stayed near Don's home, but they could live in cold places in winter.

The trees and bushes were ready for winter. Most kinds of broad leaves were on the ground. Small brown leaf buds were on the branches. Green leaves would grow in spring.

Don thought about bees and birds and trees. Then he went to find his Uncle Tom.

"Uncle Tom," said Don, "what do animals with fur do? How do they get ready for winter?"

"Some of them have fall picnics," said his uncle.

"When I go to a picnic," said Don, "I have a pleasant time outdoors. And I have good things to eat."

"That is what the woodchucks do," said Uncle Tom. "But they grow very fat and go to sleep. They sleep in their holes in winter."

"Nan and I like woodchucks," said Don. "May we go to their picnic?"

"There are some woodchucks at the farm," said Uncle Tom. "We will go to visit them on Saturday."

Uncle Tom took Don and Nan to the farm and they found the woodchucks.

The woodchucks were lying on a stone wall. Their fur was gray and brown. The stones were gray and brown, too. It was hard to see the woodchucks.


[Illustration]

Uncle Tom sat near the wall. Don and Nan sat there, too. They were all quiet.

After a long while the woodchucks came down from the wall. They ate some clover heads. There were seeds in the clover heads.

The woodchucks had a pleasant time eating their picnic dinner. The seeds were good food for them.

Nan and Don talked about fall picnics while they were going home from the farm.

"Uncle Tom, do other animals have picnics and grow fat?" asked Nan.

"Some other animals grow fat in the fall and sleep while the winter is cold," said Uncle Tom.

"Squirrels have picnics," said Don. "They eat many nuts in the fall. But they do not sleep all winter. They hide some nuts to eat when they are hungry."

"I shall go to a squirrel picnic in the park," said Nan.

"We can visit some of the tame gray squirrels there," said Don.


[Illustration]

 



Eugene Field

Heigho, My Dearie

Moonbeam floateth from the skies,

Whispering: "Heigho, my dearie;

I would spin a web before your eyes—

A beautiful web of silver light

Wherein is many a wondrous sight

Of a radiant garden leagues away,

Where the softly tinkling lilies sway

And the snow-white lambkins are at play—.

Heigho, my dearie!"


A brownie stealeth from the vine,

Singing: "Heigho, my dearie;

And will you hear this song of mine—

A song of the land of murk and mist

Where bideth the bud the dew hath kist?

Then let the moonbeam's web of light

Be spun before thee silvery white,

And I shall sing the livelong night—

Heigho, my dearie!"


The night wind speedeth from the sea,

Murmuring: "Heigho, my dearie;

I bring a mariner's prayer for thee;

So let the moonbeam veil thine eyes,

And the brownie sing thee lullabies—

But I shall rock thee to and fro,

Kissing the brow he  loveth so.

And the prayer shall guard thy bed, I trow—

Heigho, my dearie!"

 


  WEEK 48  

  Wednesday  


The Burgess Bird Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

Some More Friends Come with the Snow

S LATY THE JUNCO had been quite right in thinking it was going to snow some more. Rough Brother North Wind hurried up one big cloud after another, and late that afternoon the white feathery flakes came drifting down out of the sky.

Peter Rabbit sat tight in the dear Old Briar-patch. In fact Peter did no moving about that night, but remained squatting just inside the entrance to an old hole Johnny Chuck's grandfather had dug long ago in the middle of the clear Old Briar-patch. Some time before morning the snow stopped falling and then rough Brother North Wind worked as hard to blow away the clouds as he had done to bring them.

When jolly, round, bright Mr. Sun began his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky he looked down on a world of white. It seemed as if every little snowflake twinkled back at every little sunbeam. It was all very lovely, and Peter Rabbit rejoiced as he scampered forth in quest of his breakfast.

He started first for the weedy field where the day before he had found Dotty the Tree Sparrow and Slaty the Junco. They were there before him, having the very best time ever was as they picked seeds from the tops of the weeds which showed above the snow. Almost at once Peter discovered that they were not the only seekers for seeds. Walking about on the snow, and quite as busy seeking seeds as were Dotty and Slaty, was a bird very near their size the top of whose head, neck and back were a soft rusty-brown. There was some black on his wings, but the latter were mostly white and the outer tail feathers were white. His breast and under parts were white. It was Snowflake the Snow Bunting in his winter suit. Peter knew him instantly. There was no mistaking him, for, as Peter well knew, there is no other bird of his size and shape who is so largely white. He had appeared so unexpectedly that it almost seemed as if he must have come out of the snow clouds just as had the snow itself. Peter had his usual question ready.


[Illustration]

SNOWFLAKE THE SNOW BUNTING

The one small bird who is largely white.


WANDERER THE HORNED LARK

His yellow throat and forehead and the two little tufts of feathers, like tiny horns, will always identify him.

"Are you going to spend the winter here, Snowflake?" he cried.

Snowflake was so busy getting his breakfast that he did not reply at once. Peter noticed that he did not hop, but walked or ran. Presently he paused long enough to reply to Peter's question. "If the snow has come to stay all winter, perhaps I'll stay," said he.

"What has the snow to do with it?" demanded Peter.

"Only that I like the snow and I like cold weather. When the snow begins to disappear, I just naturally fly back farther north," replied Snowflake. "It isn't that I don't like bare ground, because I do, and I'm always glad when the snow is blown off in places so that I can hunt for seeds on the ground. But when the snow begins to melt everywhere I feel uneasy. I can't understand how folks can be contented where there is no snow and ice. You don't catch me going 'way down south. No, siree, you don't catch me going 'way down south. Why, when the nesting season comes around, I chase Jack Frost clear 'way up to where he spends the summer. I nest 'way up on the shore of the Polar Sea, but of course you don't know where that is, Peter Rabbit."

"If you are so fond of the cold in the Far North, the snow and the ice, what did you come south at all for? Why don't you stay up there all the year around?" demanded Peter.

"Because, Peter," replied Snowflake, twittering merrily, "like everybody else, I have to eat in order to live. When you see me down here you may know that the snows up north are so deep that they have covered all the seeds. I always keep a weather eye out, as the saying is, and the minute it looks as if there would be too much snow for me to get a living, I move along. I hope I will not have to go any farther than this, but if some morning you wake up and find the snow so deep that all the heads of the weeds are buried, don't expect to find me."

"That's what I call good, sound common sense," said another voice, and a bird a little bigger than Snowflake, and who at first glance seemed to be dressed almost wholly in soft chocolate brown, alighted in the snow close by and at once began to run about in search of seeds. It was Wanderer the Horned Lark. Peter hailed him joyously, for there was something of mystery about Wanderer, and Peter, as you know, loves mystery.

Peter had known him ever since his first winter, yet did not feel really acquainted, for Wanderer seldom stayed long enough for a real acquaintance. Every winter he would come, sometimes two or three times, but seldom staying more than a few days at a time. Quite often he and his relatives appeared with the Snowflakes, for they are the best of friends and travel much together.

Now as Wanderer reached up to pick seeds from a weed-top, Peter had a good look at him. The first things he noticed were the two little horn-like tufts of black feathers above and behind the eyes. It is from these that Wanderer gets the name of Horned Lark. No other bird has anything quite like them. His forehead, a line over each eye, and his throat were yellow. There was a black mark from each corner of the bill curving downward just below the eye and almost joining a black crescent-shaped band across the breast. Beneath this he was soiled white with dusky spots showing here and there. His back was brown, in places having almost a pinkish tinge. His tail was black, showing a little white on the edges when he flew. All together he was a handsome little fellow.

"Do all of your family have those funny little horns?" asked Peter.

"No," was Wanderer's prompt reply. "Mrs. Lark does not have them."

"I think they are very becoming," said Peter politely.

"Thank you," replied Wanderer. "I am inclined to agree with you. You should see me when I have my summer suit."

"Is it so very different from this?" asked Peter. "I think your present suit is pretty enough."

"Well said, Peter, well said," interrupted Snowflake. "I quite agree with you. I think Wanderer's present suit is pretty enough for any one, but it is true that his summer suit is even prettier. It isn't so very different, but it is brighter, and those black markings are much stronger and show up better. You see, Wanderer is one of my neighbors in the Far North, and I know all about him."

"And that means that you don't know anything bad about me, doesn't it?" chuckled Wanderer.

Snowflake nodded. "Not a thing," he replied. "I wouldn't ask for a better neighbor. You should hear him sing, Peter. He sings up in the air, and it really is a very pretty song."

"I'd just love to hear him," replied Peter. "Why don't you sing here, Wanderer?"

"This isn't the singing season," replied Wanderer promptly. "Besides, there isn't time to sing when one has to keep busy every minute in order to get enough to eat."

"I don't see," said Peter, "why, when you get here, you don't stay in one place."

"Because it is easier to get a good living by moving about," replied Wanderer promptly. "Besides, I like to visit new places. I shouldn't enjoy being tied down in just one place like some birds I know. Would you, Snowflake?"

Snowflake promptly replied that he wouldn't. Just then Peter discovered something that he hadn't known before. "My goodness," he exclaimed, "what a long claw you have on each hind toe!"

It was true. Each hind claw was about twice as long as any other claw. Peter couldn't see any special use for it and he was just about to ask more about it when Wanderer suddenly spied a flock of his relatives some distance away and flew to join them. Probably this saved him some embarrassment, for it is doubtful if he himself knew why Old Mother Nature had given him such long hind claws.

 



The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Fox and the Stork

The Fox one day thought of a plan to amuse himself at the expense of the Stork, at whose odd appearance he was always laughing.

"You must come and dine with me today," he said to the Stork, smiling to himself at the trick he was going to play. The Stork gladly accepted the invitation and arrived in good time and with a very good appetite.

For dinner the Fox served soup. But it was set out in a very shallow dish, and all the Stork could do was to wet the very tip of his bill. Not a drop of soup could he get. But the Fox lapped it up easily, and, to increase the disappointment of the Stork, made a great show of enjoyment.


[Illustration]

The hungry Stork was much displeased at the trick, but he was a calm, even-tempered fellow and saw no good in flying into a rage. Instead, not long afterward, he invited the Fox to dine with him in turn. The Fox arrived promptly at the time that had been set, and the Stork served a fish dinner that had a very appetizing smell. But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow neck. The Stork could easily get at the food with his long bill, but all the Fox could do was to lick the outside of the jar, and sniff at the delicious odor. And when the Fox lost his temper, the Stork said calmly:

Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself.


[Illustration]

 



Oliver Herford

A Thanksgiving Fable

It was a hungry pussy cat, upon Thanksgiving morn,

And she watched a thankful little mouse, that ate an ear of corn.

"If I ate that thankful little mouse, how thankful he should be,

When he has made a meal himself, to make a meal for me!


"Then with his thanks for having fed, and his thanks for feeding me,

With all his  thankfulness inside, how thankful I shall be!"

Thus mused the hungry pussy cat, upon Thanksgiving Day;

But the little mouse had overheard and declined (with thanks) to stay.

 


  WEEK 48  

  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 Have a New Suit of Clothes

THE next morning I slept quite late in my hammock, for the night had been full of toil and I had had but little rest.

All at once I was awakened by the sound of a gun.

Then I heard some one calling me, "Governor! Governor!" It was the captain's voice.

I hurried out.

He grasped my hand and pointed to the sea. There, a little way from our beach, was the ship.

The weather being fair, the men had brought her around and anchored her near the mouth of the river.

"My dear friend," cried the captain, "there is your ship! She is all yours, for we owe our lives to you. We also are yours. Everything on board of her is yours."

I was ready to sink down with surprise.

For here was a large ship, at last, ready to carry me wherever I wished to go.

At first I could not answer him.

We stood for some minutes with our arms around each other, and neither of us could speak.

At last I broke out, crying like a child. Then we rejoiced together.

When he had talked awhile, the captain told me that he had brought me a present.

"Bring up the box for the governor!" he cried to his men.

They came up the hill, carrying a wooden chest. When it was put down in my castle the captain bade me open it and help myself to all that was inside it.

I did so.

I found first two pounds of good tobacco, then twelve pieces of beef, six pieces of pork, a bag of peas, a box of sugar, a box of flour, a bag full of lemons, and two bottles of lime juice.

But under these was the greatest surprise. There I found six new shirts, six neckties, two pairs of gloves, a pair of shoes, a pair of stockings, a hat, and a very good suit of clothes.

I could now dress like a man again.

I went about it at once. It had been so long since I had worn such clothes that I was very awkward at putting them on.

But at last I came out fully dressed. Friday did not know me. I hardly knew myself.


[Illustration]

The next day all was in readiness to sail away.

The second mate, the carpenter, and other ruffians who had been foremost in the rebellion were to be left on the island. In fact, I had put the matter to them in such a way that they requested this as a favor.

"It will be better to stay here than be taken to England to be hanged," I said to them.

I left with them a keg of powder, three muskets, and three swords.

I told them also about my goats, and how I managed them—how I milked them and made butter and cheese.

I showed them my fields of barley and rice.

I showed them, also, my castle, my cave in the woods, and my bower.

"All these are yours," I said.

"They are much more than we deserve," said the second mate; and I agreed with him.

 



Albert von Chamisso

A Tragic Story

There lived a sage in days of yore,

And he a handsome pigtail wore;

But wondered much, and sorrowed more,

Because it hung behind him.


He mused upon the curious case,

And swore he 'd change the pigtail's place,

And have it hanging at his face,

Not dangling there behind him.


Says he, "The mystery I've found,—

I'll turn me round,"—he turned him round;

But still it hung behind him.


Then round and round, and out and in,

All day the puzzled sage did spin;

In vain—it mattered not a pin,—

The pigtail hung behind him.


And right, and left, and round about,

And up, and down, and in, and out

He turned; but still the pigtail stout

Hung steadily behind him.


And though his efforts never slack,

And though he twist, and twirl, and tack,

Alas! still faithful to his back,

The pigtail hangs behind him.

 


  WEEK 48  

  Friday  


The Discovery of New Worlds  by M. B. Synge

Discovery of the Pacific

"This day is full of glorious victory,

Echoes of conquest whisper from afar

In every wave of the remembering sea."

—H. Begbie.

A MONG all the wonderful stories in the discovery of America there is none more thrilling than that of the Spaniard Balboa, the stowaway, who found the great Pacific Ocean lying beyond the newly discovered country.

All eyes were now turned towards America. Ship after ship still sailed westward. Still no one had as yet crossed the mainland, no one knew for certain that a great sea washed the farther coast of the new world which lay between Europe and Asia, Spain and China.

Among others who left Spain to settle in the new colony of Hayti, founded by Columbus, was Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. He had not been a successful tiller of the soil, and before long he found himself in debt. By law no debtor was allowed to leave the country, so Balboa had been forced to see expedition after expedition depart from Hayti for adventure and conquest, leaving him always behind.

One day a ship sailed away from the new colony. On board were soldiers, sailors, arms, and food. In the midst of the cargo stood a barrel, supposed to contain food. But it contained a live man instead. The ship was well out to sea, when the stowaway crawled out of his barrel and appeared on deck. It was Balboa, the Spanish knight. The captain was very angry, and threatened to land him on a desert island. But Balboa's entreaties touched him, and he was allowed to sail on with the rest of them. They were close to land when the ship ran upon a rock, and was very soon dashed to pieces.

Balboa—a "man who was never deterred"—now rose to the occasion. He led the shipwrecked party to a friendly Indian village near Darien. The Spaniards were on the narrow neck of land now known as the isthmus of Panama, which joins North and South America, though they knew it not. Arrived here, Balboa deposed the captain, sent him back to Hayti, and made himself governor of the little colony. He explored the neighbourhood, finding Indian villages rich in gold and the chiefs ready to give information about the new country.

One day some gold was being weighed out to the Spaniards, who were quarrelling over the quantity, when the prince, who was disgusted with their behaviour, dashed the gold from the scales, crying, "What is this, Christians? is it for such a little thing that you quarrel? If you have such a love of gold that to obtain it you harass the peaceful nations of these lands, I will show you a country where you may fulfill your desires. You will have to fight your way with great kings, among them one whose country is distant from our country six suns."

The prince pointed away to the south, where, he said, lay a great sea. There were sails and oars on the sea, and if they crossed it they would find a land of great riches, where people drank out of golden cups.


[Illustration]

Balboa looked down on the Pacific.

A feverish longing to find this great sea seized Balboa, but he could not reach it with so few men. So he sent a messenger back to the King of Spain to beg for help. Storms raged in the Atlantic Ocean, and it was eight months before the messenger reached Spain. Then he found that the captain deposed by Balboa had been before him and poisoned the king's mind against his subject. Something of this reached the ears of Balboa in distant Darien. He felt his dismissal would come, and he must find the great new sea first.

So he collected about two hundred men and started on his perilous expedition. Making friends of the Indians he met, Balboa reached at last the high range of mountains which divided him from the other coast. Led by native guides the Spaniards struggled up the steep sides, up and ever upwards. At last the guides signed to Balboa that he was near the top. He bade his men sit down. He must be alone to see that great sight for which his soul had yearned. It was all true. As he reached the summit of the peak he looked down over the vast Pacific Ocean, bathed in the brilliant light of a tropical sun. He was the first man from the old world who had seen it. Falling on his knees, he thanked God, for that he had discovered the Sea of the South.

Then he beckoned up his men.

"You see here, gentlemen and children mine," he said, when they had gathered at the top and were feasting their eyes on the view before them, "the end of our labours."

It was not unlike the moment when Hannibal stood on the top of the snowy Alps and pointed to his men the land of Italy lying below in the sunshine.

Then, having sung the "Te Deum," they made a cross, heaped up stones, and took formal possession of the sea and all that was in it in the name of the King of Spain. After this they made their way down the farther side of the mountain to the beach. Finding two native canoes on the shore, two men sprang in and pushed off, crying aloud that they were the first Europeans to sail on the new sea, while Balboa waded in up to his hips, sword in hand, to take possession of the sea for Spain.

Thus on September 29, 1513, was completed the first discovery of the Pacific Ocean. The discoverer, Balboa, was made governor of the new sea, but five years later he was beheaded by one who was jealous of his powers.

 



The Golden Windows  by Laura E. Richards

The Hill

dropcap image CANNOT walk up this hill," said the little boy. "I cannot possibly do it. What will become of me? I must stay here all my life, at the foot of the hill: it is too terrible!"

"That is a pity!" said his sister. "But look, little boy! I have found such a pleasant thing to play. Take a step, and see how clear a footprint you can make in the dust. Look at mine! every single line in my foot is printed clear. Now, do you try, and see if you can do as well!"

The little boy took a step.

"Mine is just as clear!" he said.

"Do you think so?" said his sister. "See mine, again here! I tread harder than you, because I am heavier, and so the print is deeper. Try again."

"Now mine is just as deep!" cried the little boy. "See! here, and here, and here, they are just as deep as they can be."

"Yes, that is very well," said his sister; "but now it is my turn; let me try again, and we shall see."

They kept on, step by step, matching their footprints, and laughing to see the gray dust puff up between their bare toes.

By and by the little boy looked up.

"Why!" he said, "we are at the top of the hill!"

"Dear me!" said his sister. "So we are!"

 



Walter de la Mare

The Children of Stare

Winter is fallen early

On the house of Stare;

Birds in reverberating flocks

Haunt its ancestral box;

Bright are the plenteous berries

In clusters in the air.


Still is the fountain's music,

The dark pool icy still,

Whereon a small and sanguine sun

Floats in a mirror on,

Into a West of crimson,

From a South of daffodil.


'Tis strange to see young children

In such a wintry house;

Like rabbits' on the frozen snow

Their tell-tale footprints go;

Their laughter rings like timbrels

'Neath evening ominous:


Their small and heightened faces

Like wine-red winter buds;

Their frolic bodies gentle as

Flakes in the air that pass,

Frail as the twirling petal

From the briar of the woods.


Above them silence lours,

Still as an arctic sea;

Light fails; night falls; the wintry moon

Glitters; the crocus soon

Will ope grey and distracted

On earth's austerity:


Thick mystery, wild peril,

Law like an iron rod:

Yet sport they on in Spring's attire,

Each with his tiny fire

Blown to a core of ardour

By the awful breath of God.

 


  WEEK 48  

  Saturday  


The Bears of Blue River  by Charles Major

A Castle on Brandywine

Part 2 of 2

When a bear sleeps he snores, and the first loud snort from the baron's nostrils aroused Balser. At first Balser's mind was in confusion, and he thought that he was at home. In a moment, however, he remembered where he was, and waited in the darkness for a repetition of the sound that had awakened him. Soon it came again, and Balser in his drowsiness fancied that Tom had changed his place and was lying beside him, though never in all his life had he heard such sounds proceed from Limpy's nose. So he reached out his hand, and at once was undeceived, for he touched the bear, and at last Balser was awake. The boy's hair seemed to stand erect upon his head, and his blood grew cold in his veins, as he realized the terrible situation. All was darkness. The guns, hatchets, and knives were upon the opposite side of the tree, and to reach them or to reach the doorway Balser would have to climb over the bear. Cold as the night was, perspiration sprang from every pore of his skin, and terror took possession of him such as he had never before known. It seemed a long time that he lay there, but it could not have been more than a few seconds until the bear gave forth another snort, and Tom raised up from his side of the bed, and said: "Balser, for goodness' sake stop snoring.

The noise you make would bring a dead man to life." Tom's voice aroused the bear, and it immediately rose upon its haunches with a deep growl that seemed to shake the tree. Then Jim awakened and began to scream. At the same instant Tige and Prince entered the tree, and a fight at once ensued between the bear and dogs. The bear was as badly frightened as the boys, and when it and the dogs ran about the room the boys were thrown to the ground and trampled upon.

The beast, in his desperate effort to escape, ran into the fireplace and scattered the coals and ashes. As he could not escape through the fireplace, he backed into the room, and again made the rounds of the tree with the dogs at his heels. Again the boys were knocked about as if they were ninepins. They made an effort to reach the door, but all I have told you about took place so quickly, and the darkness was so intense, that they failed to escape. Meantime the fight between the dogs and the bear went on furiously, and the barking, yelping, growling, and snarling made a noise that was deafening. Balser lifted Jim to his arms and tried to save him from injury, but his efforts were of small avail, for with each plunge of the bear the boys were thrown to the ground or dashed against the tree, until it seemed that there was not a spot upon their bodies that was not bruised and scratched. At last, after a minute or two of awful struggle and turmoil—a minute or two that seemed hours to the boys—the bear made his exit through the door followed closely by Tige and Prince, who clung to him with a persistency not to be shaken off.

You may be sure that the boys lost no time in making their exit also. The first thoughts, or course, were of each other, and when Balser learned that Jim and Tom had received no serious injury, he quickly turned his head in the direction whence the bear and dogs had gone, and saw them at a point in the bend of the creek not fifty yards away. The bear had come to bay, and the dogs were in front of him, at a safe distance, barking furiously. Then Balser's courage returned, and he hastily went into the tree, brought out his carbine, and hurried toward the scene of conflict. The moon was at its full, and the snow upon the trees and upon the ground helped to make the night almost as light as day. The bear was sitting erect upon his haunches, hurling defiant growls at the dogs, and when Balser approached him, the brute presented his breast as a fair mark. Tom also fetched his gun and followed closely at Balser's heels. The attention of the bear was so occupied with the dogs that he gave no heed to the boys, and they easily approached him to within a distance of five or six yards. Tom and Balser stood for a moment or two with their guns ready to fire, and Balser said: "Tom, you shoot first. I'll watch carefully, and hold my fire until the bear makes a rush, should you fail to kill him."

Much to Balser's surprise, Tom quickly and fearlessly took three or four steps toward the bear, and when he lifted his father's long gun to fire, the end of it was within three yards of the bear's breast. Balser held his ground, much frightened at Tom's reckless bravery, but did not dare to speak. When Tom fired, the bear gave forth a fearful growl, and sprang like a wildcat right upon the boy. Tom fell to the ground upon his back, and the bear stood over him. The dogs quickly made an attack, and Balser hesitated to fire, fearing that he might kill Tom or one of the dogs. Then came Jim, who rushed past Balser toward Tom and the bear, and if Jim's courage had ever before been doubted, all such doubts were upon that night removed forever. The little fellow carried in his hand Tom's hatchet, and without fear or hesitancy he ran to the bear and began to strike him with all his little might. Meantime poor, prostrate Tom was crying piteously for help, now that Jim was added to the group, it seemed impossible for Balser to fire at the bear. But no time was to be lost. If Balser did not shoot, Tom certainly would be killed in less than ten seconds. So, without stopping to take thought, and upon the impulse of one of those rare intuitions under the influence of which persons move so accurately, Balser lifted his gun to his shoulder. He could see the bear's head plainly as it swayed from side to side, just over Tom's throat, and it seemed that he could not miss his aim. A most without looking, he pulled the trigger. He felt the rebound of the gun and heard the report breaking the heavy silence of the night. Then he dropped the gun upon the snow and covered his face with his hands, fearing to see the result of his shot. He stood for a moment trembling. The dogs had stopped barking; the bear had stopped growling; Jim had ceased to cry out; Tom had ceased his call for help, and the deep silence rested upon Balser's heart like a load of lead. He could not take his hands from his face. After a moment he felt Jim's little hand upon his arm, and Tom said, as he drew himself from beneath the bear, "Balser, there's no man or boy living but you that could have made that shot in the moonlight."


[Illustration]

"Balser hesitated to fire, fearing that
he might kill Tom or one of the dogs."

Then Balser knew that he had killed the bear, and he sank upon the snow and wept as if his heart would break.

Notwithstanding the intense cold, the excitement of battle had made the boys unconscious of it, and Tom and Jim stood by Balser's side as he sat upon the snow, and they did not feel the sting of the night.

Poor little Jim, who was so given to grumbling, much to the surprise of his companions fell upon his knees, and said, "Don't cry, Balser, don't cry," although the tears were falling over the little fellow's own cheeks. "Don't cry any more, Balser, the bear is dead all over. I heard the bullet whiz past my ears, and I heard it strike the bear's head just as plain as you can hear that owl hoot; and then I knew that you had saved Tom and me, because nobody can shoot as well as you can."

The little fellow's tenderness and his pride in Balser seemed all the sweeter, because it sprang from his childish gruffness.

Tom and Jim helped Balser to his feet, and they went over to the spot where the bear was lying stone dead with Balser's bullet in his brain. The dogs were sniffing at the dead bear, and the monster brute lay upon the snow in the moonlight, and looked like a huge incarnate fiend.

After examining him for a moment the boys slowly walked back to the tree. When they had entered they raked the coals together, put on an armful of wood, called in the dogs to share their comfort, hung up the deerskin at the door, drew the bearskins in front of the fire, and sat down to talk and think, since there was no sleep left in their eyes for the rest of that night.

After a long silence Jim said, "I told you he'd come back."

"But he didn't eat us," replied Tom, determined that Jim should not be right in everything.

"He'd have eaten you, Limpy Fox, if Balser hadn't been the best shot in the world."

"That's what he would," answered Tom, half inclined to cry.

"Nonsense," said Balser, "anybody could have done it."

"Well, I reckon not," said Jim. "Me and Tom and the dogs and the bear was as thick as six in a bed; and honest, Balser, I think you had to shoot around a curve to miss us all but the bear."

After a few minutes Jim said: "Golly! wasn't that an awful fight we had in here before the bear got out?"

"Yes, it was," returned Balser, seriously.

"Well, I rather think it was," continued Jim. "Honestly, fellows, I ran around this here room so fast for a while, that—that I could see my own back most of the time."

Balser and Tom laughed, and Tom said: "Jim, if you keep on improving, you'll be a bigger liar than that fellow in the Bible before you're half his age."

Then the boys lapsed into silence, and the dogs lay stretched before the fire till the welcome sun began to climb the hill of the sky and spread his blessed tints of gray and blue and pink and red, followed by the glorious flood of day.

After breakfast the boys skinned the bear and cut his carcass into small pieces—that is, such portions of it as they cared to keep. They hung the bearskin and meat upon the branches of their castle beyond the reach of wolves and foxes, and they gave to Tige and Prince each a piece of meat that made their sides stand out with fullness.

The saving of the bear meat and skin consumed most of the morning, and at noon the boys took a loin steak from the bear and broiled it upon the coals for dinner. After dinner they began the real work of the expedition by preparing to set the traps.

When all was ready they started up the creek, each boy carrying a load of traps over his shoulder. At a distance of a little more that half a mile from the castle they found a beaver dam stretching across the creek, and at the water's edge near each end of the dam they saw numberless tracks made by the little animals whose precious pelts they were so anxious to obtain.

I should like to tell you of the marvellous home of that wonderful little animal the beaver, and of his curious habits and instincts; how he chops wood and digs into the ground and plasters his home, under the water, with mud, using his tail for shovel and trowel. But all that you may learn from any book on natural history, and I assure you it will be found interesting reading.

The boys placed five or six traps upon the beaver paths on each side of the creek, and then continued their journey up stream until they found a little opening in the ice down to which, from the bank above, ran a well-beaten path, telling plainly of the many kinds of animals that had been going there to drink. There they set a few traps and baited them with small pieces of bear meat, and then they returned home, intending to visit the traps next morning at an early hour, and hoping to reap a rich harvest of pelts.

When the boys reached home it lacked little more than an hour of sunset, but the young fellows had recovered from the excitement of the night before, which had somewhat destroyed their appetites for breakfast and dinner, and by the time they had returned from setting their traps those same appetites were asserting themselves with a vigour that showed plainly enough a fixed determination to make up for lost time.

"How would a wild turkey or a venison steak taste for supper?" asked Balser.

Jim simply looked up at him with a greedy, hungry expression, and exclaimed the one word—"Taste?"

"Well, I'll go down the creek a little way and see what I can find. You fellows stay here and build a fire, so that we can have a fine bed of coals when I return."

Balser shouldered his gun and went down the creek to find his supper. He did not take the dogs, for he hoped to kill a wild turkey, and dogs are apt to bark in the pursuit of squirrels and rabbits, thereby frightening the turkey, which is a shy and wary bird.

When the boy had travelled quite a long distance down stream, he began to fear that, after all, he should be compelled to content himself with a rabbit or two for supper. So he turned homeward and scanned the woods carefully for the humble game, that he might not go home entirely empty-handed.


[Illustration]

Upon his journey down the creek rabbits had sprung up on every side of him, but now that he wanted a pair for supper they all had mysteriously disappeared, and he feared that he and the boys and the dogs would be compelled to content themselves with bear meat.

When the boy was within a few hundred yards of home, and had almost despaired of obtaining even a rabbit, he espied a doe and a fawn, standing upon the opposite side of the creek at a distance of sixty or seventy yards, watching him intently with their great brown eyes, so full of fatal curiosity. Balser imitated the cry of the fawn, and held the attention of the doe until he was enabled to lessen the distance by fifteen or twenty yards. Then he shot the fawn, knowing that if he did so, its mother, the doe, would run for a short distance and would return to the fawn. In the meantime Balser would load his gun and would kill the doe when she returned. And so it happened that the doe and the fawn each fell a victim to our hunter's skill. Balser threw the fawn over his shoulder and carried it to the castle; then the boys took one of the sleds and fetched home the doe.


[Illustration]

"Espied a doe and a fawn, standing
upon the opposite side of the creek."

They hung the doe high upon the branches of the sycamore, and cut the fawn into small pieces, which they put upon the ice of the creek and covered with snow, that the meat might quickly cool. The bed of coals was ready, and the boys were ready too, you may be sure.

Soon the fawn meat cooled, and soon each boy was devouring a savoury piece that had been broiled upon the coals.

After supper the boys again built a fine fire, and sat before it talking of the events of the day, and wondering how many beavers, foxes, coons, and muskrats they would find in their traps next morning.

As the fire died down drowsiness stole over our trappers, who were in the habit of going to bed soon after sunset, and they again crept in between the bearskins with Jim in the middle. They, however, took the precaution to keep Tige and Prince in the same room with them, and the boys slept that night without fear of an intrusion such as had disturbed them the night before.

Next morning, bright and early, the boys hurried up the creek to examine their traps, and greatly to their joy found five beavers and several minks, coons, and muskrats safely captured. Near one of the traps was the foot of a fox, which its possessor had bitten off in the night when he learned that he could not free it from the cruel steel.

The boys killed the animals they had caught by striking them on the head with a heavy club, which method of inflicting death did not damage the pelts as a sharp instrument or bullet would have done. After resetting the traps, our hunters placed the game upon the sled and hurried home to their castle, where the pelts were carefully removed, stretched upon forked sticks, and hung up to dry.

Our heroes remained in camp for ten or twelve days, and each morning brought them a fine supply of fur. They met with no other adventure worthy to be related, and one day was like another. They awakened each morning with the sun, and ate their breakfast of broiled venison, fish, or quail, with now and then a rabbit. Upon one occasion they had the breast of a wild turkey. They sought the traps, took the game, prepared the pelts, ate their dinners and suppers of broiled meats and baked sweet potatoes, and slumbered cozily beneath their warm bearskins till morning.

One day Balser noticed that the snow was melting and was falling from the trees. He and his companions had taken enough pelts to make a heavy load upon each of the sleds. They feared that the weather might suddenly grow warm and that the snow might disappear. So they leisurely packed the pelts and their belongings, and next morning started for home on Blue River, the richest, happiest boys in the settlement.

They were glad to go home, but it was with a touch of sadness, when they passed around the bend in the creek, that they said "Good-by" to their "Castle on Brandywine."


[Illustration]

 



The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum  by Thornton Burgess

Happy Jack Squirrel Helps Unc' Billy Possum

I T is very startling, very startling indeed, to rush into your own storehouse, which you had supposed was empty, and run right into some one sleeping there as if he owned it. It is enough to make any one lose his temper. Happy Jack Squirrel lost his.

And it is very startling, very startling, indeed, to be wakened out of pleasant dreams of warm summer days by having some one suddenly jump on you. It is enough to make any one lose his temper. Unc' Billy Possum lost his.

So Happy Jack sat outside on a branch of the hollow tree where his old storehouse was and scolded, and called Unc' Billy Possum names, and jerked his tail angrily with every word he said. And Unc' Billy Possum sat in the doorway of the hollow tree and showed his teeth to Happy Jack and said unpleasant things. It really was very dreadful the way those two did talk.

But Unc' Billy Possum is really very good-natured, and when he had gotten over the fright Happy Jack had given him and began to understand that he was in one of Happy Jack's storehouses, all his temper vanished, and presently he began to grin and then to laugh. Now it always takes two to make a quarrel, and one of the hardest things in the world is to keep cross when the one you are cross with won't keep cross, too. Happy Jack tried hard to stay angry, but every time he looked at Unc' Billy Possum's twinkling eyes and broad grin, Happy Jack lost a little of his own temper. Pretty soon he was laughing just as hard as Unc' Billy Possum.

"Ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha!" they laughed together. Finally they had to stop for breath.

"What are you doing in my storehouse, Unc' Billy?" asked Happy Jack, when he could stop laughing.

Then Unc' Billy told him all about how he had climbed there from another tree, so as to leave no tracks in the snow for Farmer Brown's boy to follow.

"But now Ah want to go to mah own home in the big hollow tree way down in the Green Forest, but Ah can't, on account of mah tracks in the snow," concluded Unc' Billy mournfully.

Happy Jack put his head on one side and thought very hard. "Why don't you stay right here until the snow goes, Unc' Billy?" he asked.

"Because Ah 'spects that mah ol' woman am worried most to death," said Unc' Billy, in a mournful voice. "Besides," he added, "Ah just done found out that this right nice lil' house belongs to one of mah neighbors." There was a twinkle in Unc' Billy's eyes.

Happy Jack laughed. "You're welcome to stay as long as you like, Unc' Billy," he said. "You better stay right where you are, and I'll go tell old Mrs. Possum where you are."

"Thank yo'! Thank yo'! That is very kind of yo', Brer Squirrel. That will be a great help, fo' it will lift a great load off mah mind," said Unc' Billy.

"Don't mention it, Unc' Billy!" replied Happy Jack and started off with the message to old Mrs. Possum, and as he scampered through the snow he said:

"To get yourself in trouble is a very easy thing.

I notice that to others it will always worries bring.

But getting out of trouble's always quite the other way—

The more you try to wriggle out, the longer you must stay."

 



Robert Herrick

Humility

Humble we must be

If to heaven we go;

High is the roof there,

But the gate is low.

 


  WEEK 48  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

Solomon on David's Throne

I Kings i: 1 to 53.

dropcap image URING the later years of David's reign he laid up great treasure of gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, for the building of a house to the Lord on Mount Moriah. This house was to be called "The Temple," and it was to be made very beautiful, the most beautiful building, and the richest, in all the land. David had greatly desired to build this house while he was the king of Israel, but God said to him:

"You have been a man of war, and have fought many battles, and shed much blood. My house shall be built by a man of peace. When you die, your son Solomon shall reign, and he shall have peace, and shall build my house."

So David made ready great store of precious things for the temple, also stone, and cedar to be used in the building. And David said to Solomon, his son:

"God has promised that there shall be rest and peace to the land while you are king; and the Lord will be with you, and you shall build a house, where God shall live among his people."

But David had other sons who were older than Solomon; and one of these sons, whose name was Adonijah, formed a plan to make himself king. David was now very old, and he was no longer able to go out of his palace and to be seen among the people.

Adonijah gathered his friends; and among them were Joab, the general of the army, and Abiathar, one of the two high-priests. They met at a place outside the wall, and had a great feast, and were about to crown Adonijah as king, when word came to David in the palace. David, though old and feeble, was still wise. He said, "Let us make Solomon king at once, and thus put an end to the plans of these men."

So, at David's command, they brought out the mule on which no one but the king was allowed to ride, and they placed Solomon upon it, and with the king's guards, and the nobles, and the great men, they brought the young Solomon down to the valley of Gihon, south of the city.

And Zadok the priest took from the Tabernacle the horn filled with holy oil that was used for anointing or pouring oil on the head of the priests when they were set apart for their work. He poured oil from this horn on the head of Solomon, and then the priests blew the trumpets, and all the people cried aloud, "God save King Solomon."

All this time Adonijah, and Joab, and their friends were not far away, almost in the same valley, feasting and making merry, intending to make Adonijah king. They heard the sound of trumpets and the shouting of the people. Joab said, "What is the cause of all this noise and uproar?"

A moment later Jonathan, the son of Abiathar, came running in. We read of him in Story 67 as one of the two young men who brought news from Jerusalem to David at the river Jordan. Jonathan said to the men who were feasting:

"Our lord, King David, has made Solomon king, and he has just been anointed in Gihon; and all the princes and the heads of the army are with him, and the people are shouting, 'God save King Solomon!' And David has sent from his bed a message to Solomon, saying, 'May the Lord make your name greater than my name has been! Blessed be the Lord, who has given me a son to sit this day on my throne!' "

When Adonijah and his friends heard this they were filled with fear. Every man went at once to his house, except Adonijah. He hastened to the altar of the Lord, and knelt before it, and took hold of the horns that were on its corners in front. This was a holy place, and he hoped that there Solomon might have mercy on him. And Solomon said, "If Adonijah will do right and be true to me as the king of Israel, no harm shall come to him; but if he does wrong he shall die." Then Adonijah came and bowed down before King Solomon, and promised to obey him, and Solomon said, "Go to your own house."

Not long after this David sent for Solomon; and from his bed he gave his last advice to Solomon. And soon after that David died, an old man, having reigned in all forty years, seven years over the tribe of Judah at Hebron, and thirty-three years over all Israel in Jerusalem. He was buried in great honor on Mount Zion, and his tomb remained standing for many years.


[Illustration]

The tomb of David as shown to-day in Jerusalem.

 



The Sandman: His Sea Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Trafalgar 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 sidewalk 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, afterwards, she sailed from a wharf in Boston. And Captain Solomon had been the captain of her for many years; but he had got tired of going to sea and had bought a farm that was not near the ocean. And Sol, Captain Solomon's son, had got tired of staying on the farm and had gone off to sea, and he had risen to be the captain of the brig Industry.

Once, in the long ago, the brig Industry  sailed from a wharf in Boston for Manila and Singapore and other far countries; but, first, she was going to Leghorn. She carried flour, apples, salt fish, tobacco, lumber, and some other things that Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob thought that the people in Leghorn would buy. It was Captain Sol's first voyage as captain and he had been a sailor about four years.

The Industry  sailed along over the great ocean for many days, and she had good weather and nothing happened that was worth mentioning. Captain Sol had his eyes open, because there was a war between England and France and sometimes an English warship would meet an American ship and stop her and do things that neither the captain nor the crew of the American ship liked to have done. But there didn't seem to be anything that the American ship could do except run away; and sometimes they could get away and sometimes it wouldn't do any good to try.

And the Industry  kept getting nearer to the coast of Spain and to the Straits of Gibraltar. It was the twenty-second of October, 1805, and Captain Sol thought that he should sight Cape Trafalgar the next day.

So, the next morning, he began to look out for Cape Trafalgar before it was light. And, when it was light enough to see anything, he saw that they were very near to a lot of great ships. They were warships and they were battered and there were great shot holes in their sides and some of the yards and topmasts had been shot away and there were great rents in their sails and, altogether, they looked like a lot of wrecks. It didn't take a man as smart as Captain Sol very long to guess that there had been a great battle a few days before. And he was right. The battle of Trafalgar was fought between the English fleet of ships and the fleets of France and Spain; and the ships that Captain Sol saw were English ships. The sailors were mending the ships, as well as they could, so that they would be fit to sail.

And Captain Sol wanted to know what was going on, so he sailed nearer; and, when he was as near as he dared to go, he had the sailors fix the sails so that the ship wouldn't go ahead, and he waited there.

Pretty soon some sailors got into a boat from one of the English ships, and then an officer got in, and they rowed the boat over to the Industry, and the English officer came on board of the Industry. Captain Sol met him and he had some of the sailors stand in line on each side of the gangway. And Captain Sol and the English officer talked together, very politely, although the officer was plainly very much surprised to see so young a man as captain. Captain Sol was only twenty-one.

And the officer told Captain Sol about the battle, and he told him that Lord Nelson had been shot in that battle, and he had died on board the Victory  a few hours after the battle was over. And the officer saw the lumber that the Industry  had on her deck, and he asked Captain Sol what other cargo he carried. And Captain Sol told him about the flour and the apples and the salt fish and the tobacco, and the officer got into his boat again and was rowed back to the Victory.

Captain Sol stayed there, waiting to see what would happen; for he thought that, perhaps, he might sell some of his cargo to the English ships and not have to carry it to Leghorn. And, sure enough, the officer got into the boat again and came back. And he told Captain Sol that the commander of the fleet would be much obliged to him if he would sell some of his lumber and some flour and some apples; but he didn't ask for any of the salt fish nor for any of the tobacco. And Captain Sol agreed and the officer rowed away.

Then the Victory  made signals to the other ships, telling them to send boats for the lumber and the flour and the apples that they needed. And a boat came to the Industry  for each ship, until they were clustered about her as thick as bees about a hive. And the sailors were very busy, putting into the boats the lumber and the flour and the barrels of apples. Captain Sol had to have a tackle rigged over the hatchway of the Industry  to hoist out the barrels. And when each boat had got its load, it was rowed back to its ship.

It took them a long time to get all those things out of the Industry, but at last it was all done and the last boat had rowed away; and Captain Sol found that he had sold all of his lumber and about half of his flour and about half of his apples. The English sailors needed all that lumber to mend the ships. Then another boat came from the Victory, and it was rowed to the Industry, and the paymaster of the English fleet came aboard and two men came after him carrying bags of gold money.

Captain Sol and the paymaster and the men with the bags of money went down into the cabin; and the paymaster counted out the gold money for the lumber and the flour and the apples, and left it on the cabin table. And, besides, he thanked Captain Sol for selling them the things. Then he went away.


[Illustration]

Then Captain Sol had the sailors fix the sails so that the ship would go ahead, and he had a sailor stand at the flag halliards and dip the flag for a salute to the English ships. And the Industry  sailed away from those English ships towards Gibraltar, and pretty soon the ships were out of sight.

And that's all.

 



The Sandman: His Sea Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Cargo Story

Once 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 sidewalk were much worn. That was a great many years ago.

That wharf was Captain Jonathan's and Captain Jacob's and they owned the ships that sailed from it; and, after their ships had been sailing from that wharf in the little city for a good many years, they changed their office to Boston. After that their ships sailed from a wharf in Boston.

Once the brig Industry  was all ready to sail from Boston for far countries. She had her cargo all stowed, but Captain Sol hadn't seen it stowed, for he had had to be away from Boston while it was being put aboard. So a lumper, or 'longshoreman, had told the men where to put things. A lumper was a man who did the work of carrying things into a ship, or out of it. This man was a pretty good 'longshoreman, but a lumper wasn't a sailor and couldn't be expected to get the things stowed quite so well as a captain or a mate. The captain or the mate would be more interested in having the things stowed well, for it makes a great difference, in the sailing of a ship and in her behavior, how the cargo is stowed. Captain Sol generally liked to attend to those things himself.

They had put on board all the things that they would eat and the water that they would drink; and Captain Sol came back and the Industry  sailed away from that wharf out upon the great ocean. And she sailed the length of the Atlantic, but she met a good deal of rough weather and she ran into three or four storms.

Captain Sol soon found that the cargo hadn't been well stowed and it bothered him a good deal. For, in his log-book, he wrote things like these:

Aug. 27, Heavy sea from the eastward. Ship labors very badly.

Sept. 1, Squally with rough, heavy sea. Ship labors very much.

Sept. 10, Ship rolls and labors hard through the night.

Sept. 22, Heavy gales & Squally with tremendous sea. Ship'd much water.

Sept. 25, Strong gales and rough sea. Ship rolls heavy.

Sept. 30, Hard squalls and tremendous sea from N. & E. Ship labors very hard.

Oct. 3, A very heavy sea running during the 24 hours. Ship labors too much, owing to bad stowage of cargo. It must be corrected.

So, before the Industry  had got around the Cape of Good Hope, Captain Sol had made up his mind that he would have that cargo overhauled and stowed the way it ought to be. For he thought that the ship would sail enough faster to make up for the time it would take, and all hands would be more comfortable. And he had the sailors steer her to a little island that he knew about, where there was a good harbor and where he wouldn't be bothered. And she got to that island and the sailors let her anchor down to the bottom of the harbor, and they began to take out her cargo.

First they rigged tackles to the yards high up on the masts, and they swung the yards so that the tackles would be just above the hatchway; and one was over the forward hatchway and one was over the after hatchway. Then Captain Sol sent one gang of men down into the hold of the Industry  by the after hatch, with the mate to tell them what to do; and he sent another gang of men into the hold by the fore hatch, with the second mate to tell them what to do. And he divided the sailors that were left into two parts, six men for the fore hatch and six men for the after hatch. The sailors were all stripped to the waist and barefooted, for they knew, from the way the crew was divided up, that they would have to work hard and as quickly as they could. Captain Sol was a driver for work, but his crew didn't think any the less of him for that.

And Captain Sol called to the mates. "Are you all ready?" he said.

And the mates answered that they were all ready when he was.

"Well, rout it out, then, as fast as you're able," said Captain Sol; "I'll see that we keep up with you."

And he ordered four men to tail on to each rope. He meant for four men to take hold of the free end of the rope that ran through the blocks of the tackle.

"And run away with it," he said. "And when I say run I don't mean walk, either."

The sailors already had hold of the ropes, and they grinned when Captain Sol said that.

"Aye, aye, sir," they shouted.

And he ordered the other two men at the fore hatch and the other two men at the after hatch to be ready to handle and loose the bales and to be lively about it.

"All ready!" he called to the mates.

Then the fun began. The bales and the barrels and the boxes seemed to fly out of the hatchways and to alight on the deck like a flock of great birds. And the men who had to handle them and to cast off the hooks did it in the liveliest way that can be imagined, and they hustled the boxes and the barrels and the bales to one side so that there should be room for the next thing that came up. And there was a great noise of a lively chanty, that the sailors sang all the time, without stopping. It wasn't worth while to stop; for then, as soon as they had stopped singing, they would have to begin again, so they kept on all the time. And there was the soft noise of their bare feet stamping on the deck but they didn't stamp very hard because that would hurt their feet.

Pretty soon the bodies and the faces of the sailors began to glisten; and, before long, the sweat was running down in streams. For, working there, at that island, was just about the same as it would have been if they had been working at Charleston or Savannah in May. It was pretty hot for such hard work. But the sailors were merry at it, and grinned and shouted their chanty, and they kept at it until all the things were out on the deck of the Industry  that had to be taken out. The things that were the heaviest they didn't take out, but just moved them to one side and left them in the hold.

By dinner time, they had all the cargo taken out that had to be taken out, and the heaviest freshly stowed in the middle of the ship at the very bottom. Then Captain Sol told the mates and the sailors to come up.

"There!" said he. "I'll bet dollars to buttons there never was a ship unloaded any quicker than we've unloaded this one. Now go to your dinner, and we'll finish this stowing this afternoon."

And he told the mate to serve out to the sailors a little rum. They had been working very hard and they would have a lot more hard work to do before the day was done. It was the custom, in those days, to serve out rum to the crew now and then; perhaps once a week. It wasn't a good custom, perhaps, but it was a custom. Captain Sol never once thought of breaking that custom, but he gave each man a very little, and then they had their dinner.

And, after they had finished their dinner, the sailors who had been on deck in the morning went down into the hold and the sailors who had been in the hold in the morning stayed on deck. But the mates had to go down, and sometimes Captain Sol was in the hold and sometimes he was on deck. For he wanted to see for himself how the work was being done.

They put the heaviest things they had left next to those great, heavy things that were stowed in the middle of the ship at the very bottom. And they kept lowering down the heaviest things that they had on deck, and the sailors who were in the hold stowed them. They packed them very tightly, so that, no matter how much the ship should pitch and toss and roll, the cargo should not get loose. For it is a very bad thing for the cargo to shift, and a ship might be lost if its cargo shifted, in a storm. It is only in a storm that such a thing is likely to happen.

At last they had lowered the last bale and the last box that they had on deck, and they had been stowed. And the men who were in the hold called out for more, and the men on deck said that there wasn't any more. The mates were surprised, for there was some room left in the hold that there hadn't been the way the cargo was stowed at first. And the mates came up, and the sailors came up, and they were just dripping wet.

And Captain Sol thanked the men for working so willingly all day, and he said that he thought that they would all be glad because the ship would ride easier, after this, and wouldn't take in so much water; and it would be much easier to handle sail in rough weather. And he said that he supposed they thought they ought to have a little more rum. He was going to serve it out to them, but he warned them that it would be a very little.

And, at that, the men all roared out, and Captain Sol went to the quarter deck and stood by the railing that divided it from the rest of the ship. He had a jug beside him. And the men came up, with their tin cups in their hands, and they held their cups up high, one at a time. And Captain Sol poured a very little rum into each cup, and the man with the cup went forward.

But, while Captain Sol was doing that, there was one sailor near the middle of the ship who felt as if he would rather have a dousing of cold water than all the rum in the jug. And that man got one of those buckets that were used to get salt water from the ocean for washing down decks and for other things. The bucket had a long rope for a handle. And he dropped the bucket overboard and gave the right jerk to the rope, and he pulled it up, full of water. Then he stopped a man who was going by with his cup, and asked him to throw the water over him. The other man asked him where he would have it.

"Alow and aloft," said the sailor who had got the water, "and fore and aft."

So the other sailor began to throw the water over him. But, just then, there was another sailor just going by, and the temptation was too great. He threw what water was left in the bucket over that other sailor. And that sailor gave a great roar, and ran to get another bucket. And he filled it and tried to throw the water on the man who had wet him down; but he couldn't find him. So he threw the water over another man.


[Illustration]

And that man ran for a bucket, and in about a minute all the sailors were chasing each other around, throwing water over everybody they met. There was a great noise and uproar, but everybody was good-natured about it, for they were all very hot and the salt water felt very pleasant to them. And, of course, the clothes that they had on were all wet through, but nobody had on anything much besides his breeches, and it didn't matter. And Captain Sol and the mate stood on the quarter deck and laughed at them.

And, when the men had got tired of playing, they went down to their supper; and Captain Sol went down to write in his log-book.

Nov. 6. Had cargo out and restowed it between 9 a. m. and 6 p. m., with an hour for dinner. I w'ld like to see the gang of lumpers that can do half as well. So ends this day.

And that's all.

 



James Whitcomb Riley

Old Granny Dusk

Old Granny Dusk, when the sun goes down,

Here she  comes into thish-yer town!

Out o' the wet black woods an' swamps

In she traipses an' trails an' tromps—

With her old sunbonnet all floppy an' brown,

An' her cluckety shoes, an' her old black gown,

Here she  comes into thish-yer town!


Old Granny Dusk, when the bats begin

To flap around, comes a-trompin' in!

An' the katydids they rasp and whir.

An' the lightnin'-bugs all blink at her;

An' the old Hop-toad turns in his thumbs,

An' the bunglin' June-bug booms an' bums,

An' the Bullfrog croaks, "O here  she comes!"


Old Granny Dusk, though I 'm 'feard o' you,

Shore-fer-certain I 'm sorry, too:

'Cause you look as lonesome an' starved an' sad

As a mother 'at 's lost ever' child she had.—

Yet never a child in thish-yer town

Clings at yer hand er yer old black gown,

Er kisses the face you 're a-bendin' down.