Text of Plan #970
  WEEK 51  


The Birds' Christmas Carol  by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Some Other Birds Are Taught To Fly

B EFORE the earliest Ruggles could wake and toot his five-cent tin horn, Mrs. Ruggles was up and stirring about the house, for it was a gala day in the family. Gala day! I should think so! Were not her nine children invited to a dinner-party at the great house, and were n't they going to sit down free and equal with the mightiest in the land? She had been preparing for this grand occasion ever since the receipt of Carol Bird's invitation, which, by the way, had been speedily enshrined in an old photograph frame and hung under the looking-glass in the most prominent place in the kitchen, where it stared the occasional visitor directly in the eye, and made him livid with envy:—

Birds' Nest, December 17, 188-.

Dear Mrs. Ruggles ,—I am going to have a dinner-party on Christmas day, and would like to have all your children come. I want them every one, please, from Sarah Maud to Baby Larry. Mamma says dinner will be at half-past five, and the Christmas tree at seven; so you may expect them home at nine o'clock. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I am

Yours truly,     Carol Bird.

Breakfast was on the table promptly at seven o'clock, and there was very little of it, too; for it was an excellent day for short rations, though Mrs. Ruggles heaved a sigh as she reflected that the boys, with their India-rubber stomachs, would be just as hungry the day after the dinner-party as if they had never had any at all.

As soon as the scanty meal was over, she announced the plan of the campaign: "Now Susan, you an' Kitty wash up the dishes; an' Peter, can't you spread up the beds, so 't I can git ter cuttin' out Larry's new suit? I ain't satisfied with his clo'es, an' I thought in the night of a way to make him a dress out o' my old red plaid shawl—kind o' Scotch style, yer know, with the fringe 't the bottom. . . . Eily, you go find the comb and take the snarls out the fringe, that 's a lady! You little young ones clear out from under foot! Clem, you and Con hop into bed with Larry while I wash yer underflannins; 't won't take long to dry 'em.—Yes, I know it 's bothersome, but yer can't go int' s'ciety 'thout takin' some trouble, 'n' anyhow I could n't git round to 'em last night. . . . Sarah Maud, I think 't would be perfeckly han'som if you ripped them brass buttons off yer uncle's policeman's coat 'n' sewed 'em in a row up the front o' yer green skirt. Susan, you must iron out yours 'n' Kitty's apurns; 'n' there, I come mighty near forgettin' Peory's stockin's! I counted the whole lot last night when I was washin' of 'em, 'n' there ain't but nineteen anyhow yer fix 'em, 'n' no nine pairs mates nohow; 'n' I ain't goin' ter have my childern wear odd stockin's to a dinner-comp'ny, fetched up as I was!—Eily, can't you run out and ask Mis' Cullen ter lend me a pair o' stockin's for Peory, 'n' tell her if she will, Peory 'll give her Jim half her candy when she gets home. Won't yer, Peory?"

Peoria was young and greedy, and thought the remedy so out of all proportion to the disease that she set up a deafening howl at the projected bargain—a howl so rebellious and so out of season that her mother started in her direction with flashing eye and uplifted hand; but she let it fall suddenly, saying, "No, I vow I won't lick ye Christmas Day, if yer drive me crazy; but speak up smart, now, 'n' say whether yer 'd ruther give Jim Cullen half yer candy or go bare-legged ter the party?" The matter being put so plainly, Peoria collected her faculties, dried her tears, and chose the lesser evil, Clem having hastened the decision by an affectionate wink, that meant he 'd go halves with her on his candy.

"That 's a lady!" cried her mother. "Now, you young ones that ain't doin' nothin', play all yer want ter before noontime, for after ye git through eatin' at twelve o'clock me 'n' Sarah Maud 's goin' ter give yer such a washin' 'n' combin' 'n' dressin' as yer never had before 'n' never will agin likely, 'n' then I 'm goin' to set yer down 'n' give yer two solid hours trainin' in manners; 'n' 't won't be no foolin' neither."

"All we 've got ter do 's go eat!" grumbled Peter.

"Well, that 's enough," responded his mother; "there 's more 'n one way of eatin', let me tell yer, 'n' you 've got a heap ter learn about it, Peter Ruggles. Land sakes, I wish you childern could see the way I was fetched up to eat. I never took a meal o' vittles in the kitchen before I married Ruggles; but yer can't keep up that style with nine young ones 'n' yer Pa always off ter sea."

The big Ruggleses worked so well, and the little Ruggleses kept from "under foot" so successfully, that by one o'clock nine complete toilets were laid out in solemn grandeur on the beds. I say, "complete;" but I do not know whether they would be called so in the best society. The law of compensation had been well applied: he that had necktie had no cuffs; she that had sash had no handkerchief, and vice versa; but they all had shoes and a certain amount of clothing, such as it was, the outside layer being in every case quite above criticism.

"Now, Sarah Maud," said Mrs. Ruggles, her face shining with excitement, "everything 's red up an' we can begin. I 've got a boiler 'n' a kettle 'n' a pot o' hot water. Peter, you go into the back bedroom, 'n' I 'll take Susan, Kitty, Peory 'n' Cornelius; 'n' Sarah Maud, you take Clem, 'n' Eily, 'n' Larry, one to a time. Scrub 'em 'n' rinse 'em, or 't any rate git 's fur 's you can with 'em, and then I 'll finish 'em off while you do yerself."

Sarah Maud could n't have scrubbed with any more decision and force if she had been doing floors, and the little Ruggleses bore it bravely, not from natural heroism, but for the joy that was set before them. Not being satisfied, however, with the tone of their complexions, and feeling that the number of freckles to the square inch was too many to be tolerated in the highest social circles, she wound up operations by applying a little Bristol brick from the knife-board, which served as the proverbial "last straw," from under which the little Ruggleses issued rather red and raw and out of temper. When the clock struck four they were all clothed, and most of them in their right minds, ready for those last touches that always take the most time.

Kitty's red hair was curled in thirty-four ringlets, Sarah Maud's was braided in one pig-tail, and Susan's and Eily's in two braids apiece, while Peoria's resisted all advances in the shape of hair oils and stuck out straight on all sides, like that of the Circassian girl of the circus, so Clem said; and he was sent into the bedroom for it, too, from whence he was dragged out forgivingly, by Peoria herself, five minutes later. Then, exciting moment, came linen collars for some and neckties and bows for others,—a magnificent green glass breastpin was sewed into Peter's purple necktie,—and Eureka! the Ruggleses were dressed, and Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these!

A row of seats was formed directly through the middle of the kitchen. Of course there were not quite chairs enough for ten, since the family had rarely wanted to sit down all at once, somebody always being out or in bed or otherwise engaged, but the woodbox and the coal-hod finished out the line nicely, and nobody thought of grumbling. The children took their places according to age, Sarah Maud at the head and Larry on the coal-hod, and Mrs. Ruggles seated herself in front, surveying them proudly as she wiped the sweat of honest toil from her brow.

"Well," she exclaimed, "if I do say so as should n't, I never see a cleaner, more stylish mess o' childern in my life! I do wish Ruggles could look at ye for a minute!—Larry Ruggles, how many times have I got ter tell yer not ter keep pullin' at yer sash? Have n't I told yer if it comes ontied, yer waist 'n' skirt 'll part comp'ny in the middle, 'n' then where 'll yer be?— Now look me in the eye, all of yer! I 've of'en told yer what kind of a family the McGrills was. I 've got reason to be proud, goodness knows! Your uncle is on the police force o' New York city; you can take up the newspaper most any day an' see his name printed right out—James McGrill,—'n' I can't have my childern fetched up common, like some folks'; when they go out they 've got to have clo'es, and learn to act decent! Now, I want ter see how yer goin' to behave when yer git there to-night. 'T ain't so awful easy as you think 't is. Let 's start in at the beginnin' 'n' act out the whole business. Pile into the bedroom, there, every last one o' ye, 'n' show me how yer goin' ter go int' the parlor. This 'll be the parlor, 'n' I 'll be Mis' Bird."



The youngsters hustled into the next room in high glee, and Mrs. Ruggles drew herself up in the chair with an infinitely haughty and purse-proud expression that much better suited a descendant of the McGrills than modest Mrs. Bird.

The bedroom was small, and there presently ensued such a clatter that you would have thought a herd of wild cattle had broken loose. The door opened, and they straggled in, all the younger ones giggling, with Sarah Maud at the head, looking as if she had been caught in the act of stealing sheep; while Larry, being last in line, seemed to think the door a sort of gate of heaven which would be shut in his face if he did n't get there in time; accordingly he struggled ahead of his elders and disgraced himself by tumbling in head foremost.

Mrs. Ruggles looked severe. "There, I knew yer 'd do it in some sech fool way! Now go in there and try it over again, every last one o' ye, 'n' if Larry can't come in on two legs he can stay ter home,—d'yer hear?"

The matter began to assume a graver aspect; the little Ruggleses stopped giggling and backed into the bedroom, issuing presently with lock step, Indian file, a scared and hunted expression on every countenance.

"No, no, no!" cried Mrs. Ruggles, in despair. "That's worse yet; yer look for all the world like a gang o' pris'ners! There ain't no style ter that: spread out more, can't yer, 'n' act kind o' careless-like! Nobody's goin' ter kill ye! that ain't what a dinner-party is!"

The third time brought deserved success, and the pupils took their seats in the row.

"Now, yer know," said Mrs. Ruggles impressively, "there ain't enough decent hats to go round, 'n' if there was I don' know 's I 'd let yer wear 'em, for the boys would never think to take 'em off when they got inside, for they never do—but anyhow, there ain't enough good ones. Now, look me in the eye. You 're only goin' jest round the corner; you need n't wear no hats, none of yer, 'n' when yer get int' the parlor, 'n' they should n't take notice o' your heads, an' ask yer ter lay off yer hats, Sarah Maud must speak up 'n' say it was sech a pleasant evenin' 'n' sech a short walk that yer left yer hats to home. Now, can yer remember?"

All the little Ruggleses shouted, "Yes, marm!" in chorus.

"What have you got ter do with it?" demanded their mother; "did I tell you to say it! Warn't I talkin' ter Sarah Maud?"

The little Ruggleses hung their diminished heads. "Yes, marm," they piped, more discreetly.

"Now we won't leave nothin' to chance; git up, all of ye, an' try it.—Speak up, Sarah Maud."

Sarah Maud's tongue clove to the roof of her mouth.


"Ma thought—it was—sech a pleasant hat that we 'd—we 'd better leave our short walk to home," recited Sarah Maud, in an agony of mental effort.

This was too much for the boys. An earthquake of suppressed giggles swept all long the line.

"Oh, whatever shall I do with yer?" moaned the unhappy mother; "I s'pose I've got to learn it to yer!"—which she did, word for word, until Sarah Maud thought she could stand on her head and say it backwards.

"Now, Cornelius, what are you  goin' ter say ter make yerself good comp'ny?"

"Do? Me? Dunno!" said Cornelius, turning pale, with unexpected responsibility.

"Well, ye ain't goin' to set there like a bump on a log 'thout sayin' a word ter pay for yer vittles, air ye? Ask Mis' Bird how she 's feelin' this evenin', or if Mr. Bird's havin' a busy season, or how this kind o' weather agrees with him, or somethin' like that.—Now we 'll make b'lieve we 've got ter the dinner—that won't be so hard, 'cause yer 'll have somethin' to do—it 's awful bothersome to stan' round an' act stylish. . . . If they have napkins, Sarah Maud down to Peory may put 'em in their laps, 'n' the rest of ye can tuck 'em in yer necks. Don't eat with yer fingers—don't grab no vittles off one 'nother's plates; don't reach out for nothin', but wait till yer asked, 'n' if yer never git asked don't git up and grab it.—Don't spill nothin' on the tablecloth, or like's not Mis' Bird 'll send yer away from the table—'n' I hope she will if yer do! . . . Susan! keep your handkerchief in your lap where Peory can borry it if she needs it, 'n' I hope she 'll know when she does need it, though I don't expect it. Now we 'll try a few things ter see how they 'll go! Mr. Clement, do you eat cramb'ry sarse?"

"Bet yer life!" cried Clem, who in the excitement of the moment had not taken in the idea exactly and had mistaken this for an ordinary bosom-of-the-family question.

"Clement McGrill Ruggles, do you mean to tell me that you 'd say that to a dinner-party? I 'll give ye one more chance. Mr. Clement, will you take some of the cramb'ry?"

"Yes marm, thank ye kindly, if you happen ter have any handy."

"Very good, indeed! But they won't give yer two tries to-night,—yer just remember that! . . . Miss Peory, do you speak for white or dark meat?"

"I ain't perticler as ter color, anything that nobody else wants will suit me," answered Peory with her best air.

"First rate! Nobody could speak more genteel than that. Miss Kitty, will you have hard or soft sarse with your pudden?"

"Hard or soft? Oh! A little of both, if you please, an' I 'm much obliged," said Kitty with decided ease and grace; at which all the other Ruggleses pointed the finger of shame at her, and Peter grunted expressively, that their meaning might not be mistaken.

"You just stop your gruntin', Peter Ruggles; that warn't greedy, that was all right. I wish I could git it inter your heads that it ain't so much what yer say, as the way yer say it. And don't keep starin' cross-eyed at your necktie pin, or I vow I 'll take it out o' you 'n' sew it on to Clem or Cornelius: Sarah Maud 'll keep her eye on it, 'n' if it turns broken side out she 'll tell yer. Gracious! I should n't think you 'd ever seen nor worn no jool'ry in your life.—Eily, you an' Larry's too little to train, so you just look at the rest, an' do 's they do, 'n' the Lord have mercy on ye 'n' help ye to act decent! Now, is there anything more ye 'd like to practice?"

"If yer tell me one more thing, I can't set up an' eat," said Peter gloomily; "I 'm so cram full o' manners now I 'm ready ter bust, 'thout no dinner at all."

"Me too," chimed in Cornelius.

"Well, I 'm sorry for yer both," rejoined Mrs. Ruggles, sarcastically; "if the 'mount o' manners yer 've got on hand now troubles ye, you 're dreadful easy hurt! Now, Sarah Maud, after dinner, about once in so often, you must git up 'n' say, 'I guess we 'd better be goin';' 'n' if they say, 'Oh, no, set a while longer,' yer can set; but if they don't say nothin' you 've got ter get up 'n' go.—Now hev yer got that int' yer head?"

"About once in so often!"  Could any words in the language be fraught with more terrible and wearing uncertainty?

"Well," answered Sarah Maud, mournfully, "seems as if this whole dinner-party set right square on top o' me! Mebbe I could manage my own manners, but ter manage nine mannerses is worse 'n staying to home!"

"Oh, don't fret," said her mother, good-naturedly, now that the lesson was over. "I guess you 'll git along. I would n't mind if folks would only say, 'Oh, childern will be childern'; but they won't. They 'll say, 'Land o' Goodness, who fetched them childern up?' . . . It 's quarter past five, 'n' yer can go now:—remember 'bout the hats, . . .  don't all talk ter once, . . . Susan, lend yer han'k'chief ter Peory, . . . Peter, don't keep screwin' yer scarf-pin, . . . Cornelius, hold yer head up straight, . . . Sarah Maud, don't take yer eyes off o' Larry, 'n' Larry you keep holt o' Sarah Maud 'n' do jest as she says,— 'n' whatever you do, all of yer, never forgit for one second that yer mother was a McGrill!"


Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Our Courage Gives Out

But our time of rejoicing was short. Although these two ships were brought by Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers, having in them not less than one hundred and fifty men, they did not have among them food sufficient to provide for the wants of our company until another harvest should come.

The vessel in which these new comers had sailed was, as I have said, wrecked in a hurricane near the Bermuda Isles, where, after much labor, they had contrived to build these two small ships.

It needed not that we, who of all our people in Jamestown remained alive, should tell the story of what we had suffered, for that could be read on our faces.

Neither was it required that these new comers should study long in order to decide upon the course to be pursued, for the answer to all their speculations could be found in the empty storehouse, and in the numberless graves 'twixt there and the river bank.

Of provisions, they had so much as might serve for a voyage to England, if peradventure the winds were favorable; and ere the ships had been at anchor four and twenty hours, it was resolved that we should abandon this town of James, which we had hoped might one day grow into a city fair to look upon.

An attempt to build up a nation in this new land of Virginia, of which ours was the third, had cost of money and of blood more than man could well set down, and now, after all this brave effort on the part of such men as Captain Smith, Master Hunt and Master Percy, it was to go for naught.

Once more were the savages to hold undisputed possession of the land which they claimed as their own.


Richard of Jamestown  by James Otis

Abandoning Jamestown

Now even though Nathaniel Peacock and I had known more of suffering and of sorrow, than of pleasure, in Jamestown, our hearts were sore at leaving it.

It seemed to me as if we were running contrary to that which my master would have commanded, and there were tears in my eyes, of which I was not ashamed, when Nathaniel and I, hand in hand, followed Master Hunt out of the house we had helped to build.


Those who had come from the shipwreck amid the Bermudas, were rejoicing because they had failed to arrive in time to share with us the starvation and the sickness, therefore to them this turning back upon the enterprise was but a piece of good fortune. Yet were they silent and sad, understanding our sorrow.

It was the eighth day of June, in the year 1610, when we set sail from Jamestown, believing we were done with the new world forever, and yet within less than three hours was all our grief changed to rejoicing, all our sorrow to thankfulness.


George MacDonald

Christmas Day and Every Day

Star high,

Baby low:

'Twixt the two

Wise men go:

Find the baby,

Grasp the star—

Heirs of all things

Near and far!


  WEEK 51  


Fifty Famous Stories Retold  by James Baldwin


H ERE is the story of Mignon as I remember having read it in a famous old book.

A young man named Wil-helm was staying at an inn in the city. One day as he was going up-stairs he met a little girl coming down. He would have taken her for a boy, if it had not been for the long curls of black hair wound about her head. As she ran by, he caught her in his arms and asked her to whom she belonged. He felt sure that she must be one of the rope-dan-cers who had just come to the inn. She gave him a sharp, dark look, slipped out of his arms, and ran away without speaking.

The next time he saw her, Wil-helm spoke to her again.

"Do not be afraid of me, little one," he said kindly. "What is your name?"

"They call me Mignon," said the child.

"How old are you?" he asked.

"No one has counted," the child an-swered.

Wilhelm went on; but he could not help wondering about the child, and thinking of her dark eyes and strange ways.

One day not long after that, there was a great outcry among the crowd that was watching the rope-dan-cers. Wilhelm went down to find out what was the matter. He saw that the master of the dancers was beating little Mignon with a stick. He ran and held the man by the collar.

"Let the child alone!" he cried. "If you touch her again, one of us shall never leave this spot."

The man tried to get loose; but Wilhelm held him fast. The child crept away, and hid herself in the crowd.

"Pay me what her clothes cost," cried the rope-dancer at last, "and you may take her."

As soon as all was quiet, Wilhelm went to look for Mignon; for she now belonged to him. But he could not find her, and it was not until the rope-dancers had left the town that she came to him.

"Where have you been?" asked Wilhelm in his kindest tones; but the child did not speak.

"You are to live with me now, and you must be a good child," he said.

"I will try," said Mignon gently.

From that time she tried to do all that she could for Wilhelm and his friends. She would let no one wait on him but herself. She was often seen going to a basin of water to wash from her face the paint with which the ropedancers had red-dened her checks: indeed, she nearly rubbed off the skin in trying to wash away its fine brown tint, which she thought was some deep dye.

Mignon grew more lovely every day. She never walked up and down the stairs, but jumped. She would spring along by the railing, and before you knew it, would be sitting quietly above on the landing.

To each one she would speak in a different way. To Wilhelm it was with her arms crossed upon her breast. Often for a whole day she would not say one word, and yet in waiting upon Wilhelm she never tired.

One night he came home very weary and sad. Mignon was waiting for him. She carried the light before him up-stairs. She set the light down upon the table, and in a little while she asked him if she might dance.

"It might ease your heart a little," she said.

Wilhelm, to please her, told her that she might.

Then she brought a little carpet, and spread it upon the floor. At each corner she placed a candle, and on the carpet she put a number of eggs. She arranged the eggs in the form of certain figures. When this was done, she called to a man who was waiting with a violin. She tied a band about her eyes, and then the dancing began.


And then the dancing began.

How lightly, quickly, nimbly, wonderfully, she moved! She skipped so fast among the eggs, she trod so closely beside them, that you would have thought she must crush them all. But not one of them did she touch. With all kinds of steps she passed among them. Not one of them was moved from its place.

Wilhelm forgot all his cares. He watched every motion of the child. He almost forgot who and where he was.

When the dance was ended, Mignon rolled the eggs together with her foot into a little heap. Not one was left behind, not one was harmed. Then she took the band from her eyes, and made a little bow.

Wilhelm thanked her for showing him a dance that was so wonderful and pretty. He praised her, petted her, and hoped that she had not tired herself too much.

When she had gone from the room, the man with the violin told Wilhelm of the care she had taken to teach him the music of the dance. He told how she had sung it to him over and over again. He told how she had even wished to pay him with her own money for learning to play it for her.

There was yet another way in which Mignon tried to please Wilhelm, and make him forget his cares. She sang to him.

The song which he liked best was one whose words he had never heard before. Its music, too, was strange to him, and yet it pleased him very much. He asked her to speak the words over and over again. He wrote them down; but the sweetness of the tune was more delightful than the words. The song began in this way:—

"Do you know the land where citrons, lemons, grow,

And oranges under the green leaves glow?"

Once, when she had ended the song, she said again, "Do you know the land?"

"It must be Italy," said Wilhelm. "Have you ever been there?"

The child did not answer.


Outdoor Visits  by Edith M. Patch

A Winter Butterfly

§ 3. A Winter Butterfly

There was some water in the park on the ground. It was like a tiny pond with snow all around it.

The day was warm for December. So some of the snow had melted.

The sunshine touched one side of an old tree in the park. There was a hollow in that side of the tree.

A butterfly had been sleeping in the hollow. She rested all the cold winter days and nights. She did not feel cold while she was asleep.


On this warm day the butterfly waked. She moved her wings. She saw the bright sunshine outside and flew out of the dark hollow.

The butterfly was not thirsty while she was sleeping. But she felt thirsty, now. She had not had a drink for about eight weeks.

She liked sweet nectar to drink. In the fall she had found some in many flowers. But there were no flowers in the park in December. There was no nectar for her, now.

So what did the thirsty butterfly do? She flew down to the tiny pond of melted snow and drank some water.


Don and Nan were playing in the park. They saw the butterfly come down to the melted snow.

They were glad she found some water to drink. They did not scare her away. They liked to watch her.

"What pretty wings!" said Nan. "They are dark brown with yellow edges."

"Yes," said Don, "and there is black between the brown and yellow colors. And see that row of blue spots on the black!"


Mr. Gray was working in the park. Ted ran to tell him about the butterfly. He came to see it, too.

Mr. Gray said, "One name for this kind of butterfly is Yellow Edge.

"A Yellow Edge butterfly finds a dry hollow home in the fall. It sleeps there in cold winter weather. On warm days, like this, the Yellow Edge flies in the sunshine."


"I wonder what other kinds of butterflies do in winter," said Don.

"Will you tell us?" asked Nan.

"Different kinds of butterflies have different winter habits," Mr. Gray told them.

"Some kinds are eggs in winter. Caterpillars hatch from such eggs in the spring.

"Then each caterpillar grows and changes to a pupa. The pupa of a butterfly is called a chrysalid. When the butterfly inside the chrysalid case is old enough, it breaks the case and flies away.

"Some kinds are caterpillars in winter. They go to sleep in the fall and do not waken until spring. They do not feel hungry while they sleep."

"Do any kinds of butterflies live all winter in their chrysalid cases?" asked Don.

"Yes," said Mr. Gray, "that is the way a Swallow-tail does. Then it changes to a grown butterfly in the spring."


Don and Nan ran home as fast as they could go to tell Uncle Tom.

"Mr. Gray told us how different kinds of butterflies live in winter," said Don.

"Do you remember what he told you?" asked Uncle Tom.

"He said some kinds are eggs in winter and hatch in the spring. Some kinds sleep until spring while they are young caterpillars. And other kinds change to chrysalids in the fall and wait until spring before they change to grown butterflies. But Yellow Edges grow to be butterflies in the fall and find dry holes for winter homes."


Kenneth Grahame


Villagers all, this frosty tide,

Let your doors swing open wide,

Though wind may follow, and snow beside,

Yet draw us in by your fire to bide;

Joy shall be yours in the morning!

Here we stand in the cold and the sleet,

Blowing fingers and stamping feet,

Come from far away you to greet—

You by the fire and we in the street—

Bidding you joy in the morning!

For ere one half of the night was gone,

Sudden a star has led us on,

Raining bliss and benison—

Bliss to-morrow and more anon,

Joy for every morning!

Goodman Joseph toiled through the snow—

Saw the star o'er a stable low;

Mary she might not further go—

Welcome thatch, and litter below!

Joy was hers in the morning!

And then they heard the angels tell

"Who were the first to cry  Nowell?

Animals all, as it befell,

In the stable where they did dwell!

Joy shall be theirs in the morning!"


  WEEK 51  


The Burgess Bird Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

More Folks in Red

J UMPER THE HARE didn't have time to reply to Peter Rabbit's question when Peter asked if there was any one else besides the Crossbills who had come down from the Far North.

"I have," said a voice from a tree just back of them.

It was so unexpected that it made both Peter and Jumper hop in startled surprise. Then they turned to see who had spoken. There sat a bird just a little smaller than Welcome Robin, who at first glance seemed to be dressed in strawberry-red. However, a closer look showed that there were slate-gray markings about his head, under his wings and on his legs. His tail was brown. His wings were brown, marked with black and white and slate. His bill was thick and rather short.

"Who are you?" demanded Peter very bluntly and impolitely.

"I'm Piny the Pine Grosbeak," replied the stranger, seemingly not at all put out by Peter's bluntness.

"Oh," said Peter. "Are you related to Rosebreast the Grosbeak who nested last summer in the Old Orchard?"

"I certainly am," replied Piny. "He is my very own cousin. I've never seen him because he never ventures up where I live and I don't go down where he spends the winter, but all members of the Grosbeak family are cousins."

"Rosebreast is very lovely and I'm very fond of him," said Peter. "We are very good friends."

"Then I know we are going to be good friends," replied Piny. As he said this he turned and Peter noticed that his tail was distinctly forked instead of being square across like that of Welcome Robin. Piny whistled, and almost at once he was joined by another bird who in shape was just like him, but who was dressed in slaty-gray and olive-yellow, instead of the bright red that he himself wore. Piny introduced the newcomer as Mrs. Grosbeak.

"Lovely weather, isn't it?" said she. "I love the snow. I wouldn't feel at home with no snow about. Why, last spring I even built my nest before the snow was gone in the Far North. We certainly hated to leave up there, but food was getting so scarce that we had to. We have just arrived. Can you tell me if there are any cedar-trees or ash-trees or sumacs near here?"

Peter hastened to tell her just where she would find these trees and then rather timidly asked why she wanted to find them.

"Because they hold their berries all winter," replied Mrs. Grosbeak promptly, "and those berries make very good eating. I rather thought there must be some around here. If there are enough of them we certainly shall stay a while."

"I hope you will," replied Peter. "I want to get better acquainted with you. You know, if it were not for you folks who come down from the Far North the Green Forest would be rather a lonely place in winter. There are times when I like to be alone, but I like to feel that there is someone I can call on when I feel lonesome. Did you and Piny come down alone?"

"No, indeed," replied Mrs. Grosbeak. "There is a flock of our relatives not far away. We came down with the Crossbills. All together we made quite a party."

Peter and Jumper stayed a while to gossip with the Grosbeaks. Then Peter bethought him that it was high time for him to return to the dear Old Briar-patch, and bidding his new friends good-by, he started off through the Green Forest, lipperty-lipperty-lip. When he reached the edge of the Green Forest he decided to run over to the weedy field to see if the Snowflakes and the Tree Sparrows and the Horned Larks were there. They were, but almost at once Peter discovered that they had company. Twittering cheerfully as he busily picked seeds out of the top of a weed which stood above the snow, was a bird very little bigger than Chicoree the Goldfinch. But when Peter looked at him he just had to rub his eyes.

"Gracious goodness!" he muttered, "it must be something is wrong with my eyes so that I am seeing red. I've already seen two birds dressed in red and now there's another. It certainly must be my eyes. There's Dotty the Tree Sparrow over there; I hear his voice. I wonder if he will look red."

Peter hopped near enough to get a good look at Dotty and found him dressed just as he should be. That relieved Peter's mind. His eyes were quite as they should be. Then he returned to look at the happy little stranger still busily picking seeds from that weed-top.

The top of his head was bright red. There was no doubt about it. His back was toward Peter at the time and but for that bright red cap Peter certainly would have taken him for one of his friends among the Sparrow family. You see his back was grayish-brown. Peter could think of several Sparrows with backs very much like it. But when he looked closely he saw that just above his tail this little stranger wore a pinkish patch, and that was something no Sparrow of Peter's acquaintance possesses.

Then the lively little stranger turned to face Peter and a pair of bright eyes twinkled mischievously. "Well," said he, "how do you like my appearance? Anything wrong with me? I was taught that it is very impolite to stare at any one. I guess your mother forgot to teach you manners."

Peter paid no attention to what was said but continued to stare. "My, how pretty you are!" he exclaimed.

The little stranger was  pretty. His breast was pink.  Below this he was white. The middle of his throat was black and his sides were streaked with reddish-brown. He looked pleased at Peter's exclamation.

"I'm glad you think I'm pretty," said he. "I like pink myself. I like it very much indeed. I suppose you've already seen my friends, Snipper the Crossbill and Piny the Grosbeak."

Peter promptly bobbed his head. "I've just come from making their acquaintance," said he. "By the way you speak, I presume you also are from the Far North. I am just beginning to learn that there are more folks who make their homes in the Far North than I had dreamed of. If you please, I don't believe I know you at all."

"I'm Redpoll," was the prompt response. "I am called that because of my red cap. Yes, indeed, I make my home in the Far North. There is no place like it. You really ought to run up there and get acquainted with the folks who make their homes there and love it."

Redpoll laughed at his own joke, but Peter didn't see the joke at all. "Is it so very far?" he asked innocently; then added, "I'd dearly love to go."

Redpoll laughed harder than ever. "Yes," said he, "it is. I am afraid you would be a very old and very gray Rabbit by the time you got there. I guess the next thing is for you to make the acquaintance of some of us who get down here once in awhile."

Redpoll called softly and almost at once was joined by another red-capped bird but without the pink breast, and with sides more heavily streaked. "This is Mrs. Redpoll," announced her lively little mate. Then he turned to her and added, "I've just been telling Peter Rabbit that as long as he cannot visit our beautiful Far North he must become acquainted with those of us who come down here in the winter. I'm sure he'll find us very friendly folks."

"I'm sure I shall," said Peter. "If you please, do you live altogether on these weed seeds?"

Redpoll laughed his usual happy laugh. "Hardly, Peter," replied he. "We like the seeds of the birches and the alders, and we eat the seeds of the evergreen trees when we get them. Sometimes we find them in cones Snipper the Crossbill has opened but hasn't picked all the seeds out of. Sometimes he drops some for us. Oh, we always manage to get plenty to eat. There are some of our relatives over there and we must join them. We'll see you again, Peter."

Peter said he hoped they would and then watched them fly over to join their friends. Suddenly, as if a signal had been given, all spread their wings at the same instant and flew up in a birch-tree not far away. All seemed to take wing at precisely the same instant. Up in the birch-tree they sat for a minute or so and then, just as if another signal had been given, all began to pick out the tiny seeds from the birch tassels. No one bird seemed to be first. It was quite like a drill, or as if each had thought of the same thing at the same instant. Peter chuckled over it all the way home. And somehow he felt better for having made the acquaintance of the Redpolls. It was the feeling that everybody so fortunate as to meet them on a gold winter's day is sure to have.


The Christmas Porringer  by Evaleen Stein

At the Rag-Market

W HILE the fishing vessel was going up and down the Flemish coast, and every little while coming back to the quay at Bruges, the winter was wearing away, and along the water-courses and open squares of the city the chestnut and willow trees were putting on their April greenery.

Crocuses and hyacinths were blooming in many little nooks by the lazy canals where the white swans and ducks sailed happily, guiding their downy flocks of young. Sweeping the placid mirror of the Minne-Water out by the ancient city gateway, the stately elms were hung with pale green tassels, and, hidden among these, nightingales fluted all night long. While in the gardens by the tall brown houses in the older parts of the city, cuckoos and starlings sang all day from blossoming apple and cherry boughs.

Though on The Little Street Of The Holy Ghost the dwellings stood close to the cobblestones, and so had no dooryards for grass or flowers, nevertheless through the open windows of the little yellow house the spring wind blew in softly, laden with April fragrance. But by the window in the living-room Grandmother could not be seen bending over her lace-making as for so many years before. Instead, she lay propped up in her bed, too ill and weak to guide the bobbins full of delicate thread that hung idly from the pillow near by.

Poor Grandmother had been unable to work for several weeks; and, though better of her illness, strength came back but slowly to her trembling hands. Karen had had a sad and sorry time, too; for she was only a little girl, and every day there was so much work to do. Their neighbor folk had been good and kind, and had done all they could to help take care of Grandmother; but the little savings she had laid away were almost gone, and her great fear now was that she would be forced to go to one of the God's Houses; for besides those for children, there were many other almshouses in Bruges that bore this name. There were many of these because poverty lay heavily on the poorer people, and if they fell ill it meant bitter suffering.

Grandmother wished passionately to be able to stay in the little home where she had always lived, and to keep Karen with her.

So long as she could work at her lace-pillow she could manage this; but now her hands were idle, and Karen too young and her little fingers as yet untrained save for the simplest stitches; and so the pinch of want had come upon them, and with all Grandmother's pride it seemed no longer possible to live unless help came in some way.

Madame Koerner would no doubt have befriended them had she known their need. But Madame Koerner was not then in Bruges. She had been called to the city of Ghent by the illness of her own mother, and, in her anxiety for her, she did not know of the sore straits to which Grandmother and Karen had come.

As Grandmother now lay in her bed, she was thinking hard of how they might get a little money to keep them in food until she could gain enough strength to work again.

Presently, "Karen!" she called to the little girl who was in the living-room bending over her lace-pillow and trying hard to make some of the stitches she had been taught last. But the thread was so fine and it was so hard to manage the bobbins exactly right that her forehead was all puckered and the tears lay very near her eyes.

"Yes, Grandmother," she answered, as she laid down the bobbins, and jumping up from her stool went and stood by the bedside.

"Karen," said Grandmother, in a weak voice, "I have been thinking that to-day is the day for the rag-market down by the Quai Vert, and neighbor Radenour told me yesterday that she had some extra cloth from her weaving and she means to take it there to sell. And, Karen,"—Grandmother's voice was very low and sad, but she went bravely on,—"canst not thou go with her and take the two brass candlesticks? It may be thou canst sell them for a fair price, and we are sorely in need of money. Frau Radenour will help thee and see that none cheat thee. Run now and ask if thou canst go with her." And Grandmother shut her eyes and lay back on her pillow.

Karen listened with her blue eyes wide open, for she had not known how close they were to want. Grandmother had never told her how little she had been able to save; and, anyway, Karen had but small idea of the value of money. But now she realized that they must be terribly poor, or Grandmother would never part with the brass candlesticks of which she had always been very proud. These were really beautiful in their simple but good design and their honest workmanship; both were ornamented with a pattern of beaten work, and with them went a tiny, pointed snuffer; they had been made by hand, long before, and had been in Grandmother's family for many generations. Grandmother prized the candlesticks very highly, and so did Karen, who knew how to polish them till they fairly shone. For even among the poorer folk of old Bruges many things of household use were made of brass or copper, and every one kept these things scoured and polished with the greatest care.

As Karen passed through the living-room on her way to ask Frau Radenour she looked at the treasured candlesticks shining from the dresser shelf, and the tears; filled her eyes just as they did Grandmother's, who was weeping quietly as she lay back in her bed.

In a few minutes Karen came back and told Grandmother that Frau Radenour would gladly take her along to the market and look after her, and that she must be ready to start in just a little while.

"Stay close to her, Karen," warned Grandmother, "and do with thy wares whatever way she thinks best, for she is a good bargainer and will see that thou art dealt with fairly. Now, bring the candlesticks for me to see them once more before thou must take them away."

As Karen, lifting them from the dresser, brought them to her bed, Grandmother's thin fingers caressed them lovingly; for both had belonged to her mother and her mother's mother before her, and were the most treasured of the few possessions she had hoped to hand down to Karen. But they must have bread; and so with a sigh presently she withdrew her hands and folded them over the coverlet.

Karen placed the candlesticks carefully in her blue apron, and, holding up its hem tightly in one hand, she kissed Grandmother and smoothed her covers, and then she went over to Frau Radenour's house and together they set out for the rag-market.

Bruges has always been a city of many kinds of markets; and this one whither they were going was held every week or two on an open plot of ground on the banks of one of the quiet old canals and near the Quai Vert. It was called the rag-market because there on the grass under the double row of gnarled chestnut trees, dealers and humble folk of the poorer class spread out their wares.

Some brought only rags; though oftentimes others, driven by want, offered for sale something really beautiful: perhaps a bit of lace or a piece of old copper or brass handed down, as were Karen's wares, from the days when the poorer people were less poor and when in the making of even the simplest things for use in their homes the workmen had put their loving thought and skill.

When Karen and Fran Radenour reached the place, a number of people were already there arranging the things they had brought. Fran Radenour, who often came to the market, knew almost everyone, and with a smile and a "good day!" to those about her, she chose a place and spread out the bits of cloth she had for sale. "Do thou sit down here beside me," she said kindly to Karen, "and place thy things so," and she pointed to a spot in front of them.

As Karen placed her precious candlesticks on the ground, the polished brass gleamed in the fresh green grass like a cluster of yellow crocuses. Karen's face looked like a little spring flower, too, only very pale, and her eyes had a pathetic droop, as she sat under the flickering shadows of the young chestnut leaves. The cap that covered her plaited hair was very stiff and white, and as she smoothed her little blue apron over the black dress she wore, she looked wonderingly around at the people who were beginning to loiter along the path between the trees and now and then to stop and price or perhaps buy some of the wares for sale.

Karen had once or twice before been to the rag-market with Grandmother; but that was to buy and not to sell, and she thought it a very different matter now.

Presently one, and then another woman stopped and looked at the candlesticks in front of Karen. But when they asked the price and Frau Radenour, who took charge of the matter, insisted on ten francs, they shook their heads and turned away. The poor little girl's eyes filled with tears, but Frau Radenour, who was a shrewd bargainer, said: "Cheer up, little one, thy wares are worth the price, and we will not give them to the first one who asks!"

Karen, though, was quite sure that no one else would come; and while she hated the thought of parting with the pretty candlesticks, neither did she wish to go back to Grandmother without carrying her the money, which she knew they must need so dreadfully. And so, that Frau Radenour might not see her tears, she turned away her face.

The sunlight glinting between the trees touched the quiet water of the canal near by and flecked it with silver. By the mossy piers of the picturesque old bridge that spanned it a family of black and white ducks were swimming about, every now and then dipping their broad, yellow bills into the water and spattering it in twinkling drops over their glossy feathers. And quite near to Karen a beautiful white swan drifted along arching her neck proudly and looking toward Karen as if she expected the happy smile and "Good day!" with which the little girl always greeted these stately white birds she so admired.

But poor Karen had no heart to talk to even her beloved swans; yet she put up her hand and brushed away the tears, and tried to be interested as Frau Radenour, after a little bargaining, sold her bits of cloth to a woman in a black dress with a fringed kerchief crossed over her shoulders. The woman was making a piece of rag carpet at home and needed a few more strips of cloth to finish it, and she found Frau Radenour's to her liking.

Just as the bargain was finished, a man came strolling along smoking a pipe. He seemed to have no special business there but just to smoke his pipe and enjoy the spring air as it blew softly between the chestnut trees. Now and then he stopped and glanced at some of the wares spread out for sale on either side of the path; but more often his eyes wandered down the length of the canal to a little gap between the brown roofs of the old houses that fringed its winding course. For through this little gap one could see the tall masts of a cluster of schooners moored at a quay beyond a not far distant bend.

The reason these interested the man more than anything else was because he was a sailor; and as his boat happened to be waiting for some cargo to be made ready, he was taking a little stroll in the meantime. But the reason that the sailor stopped still when he came to Frau Radenour and Karen, and looked hard at the little girl, was because he happened to be none other than Hans.

Now, Hans still had the little porringer, and though he had been back in Bruges several times since he went to live on Captain Helmgar's boat, he had not perhaps taken so much pains as he might to restore it. He had always meant to take it back, but always there was something to do that seemed to interfere, and perhaps, too, he had been almost glad of one excuse or another to delay returning it; for still the longer he had it, the more he hated to part with it. And, curiously enough, although he had stolen it, he somehow felt that if it had not been for it he would still be Robber Hans, and he found an honest life very much better and more agreeable than he had thought. And then, too, since he was leading a life in which he could respect himself once more, the memories which the porringer awakened no longer pained and angered him as they had done at first when he had tried to destroy it. For though he had thought then that it was with the porringer, it was really with himself that he had been angry, because he had made his life so worthless that he did not like to compare it with the happier days of his childhood that the porringer had recalled to him. But now he liked to look at it and think of the old Quiberon days; and still the little pictured face of Emschen smiled up at him from its bowl and spurred him on to do the best he could.

But though Hans still kept the porringer, he knew very well that he ought to return it to the little girl he had seen sweeping the steps of the yellow house on the corner; and notwithstanding he had delayed so long, he still honestly meant to try to find a chance to restore it to her.

Now, as he saw her sitting there on the grass beside Frau Radenour, he knew her at once, though he thought her face looked thinner and less rosy than when he had seen her before. As he stared at Karen, presently Frau Radenour looked up curiously at him, and "Good day, Ma'm!" said Hans awkwardly, taking the pipe from his mouth.


"he saw her sitting there on the grass beside frau radenour."

"Good day!" replied Frau Radenour, and Karen looked up, too. But though she half remembered Hans' face, she could not place him; for it had been only a minute or two that he had stopped at the doorstep that day he had spoken to her, and then he had looked much more closely at her than she at him.

"Hast thou something to sell?" asked Hans, looking down at the candlesticks still nestling in the grass in front of the little girl.

"Yes," spoke up Frau Radenour, "the price is ten francs for the pair, and any one can see that is little enough for them!"

"They are good work," said Hans, still awkwardly, as he stooped down and lifted them in his hands. And, indeed, Hans in his robber days had taken enough things to be a judge of values.

"Yes, sir," ventured Karen in a low voice, as he admired the candlesticks, "I think they are pretty, and we would not sell them only Grandmother is sick and we must have the money."

It was the first time Karen had spoken, and "Hush, child!" said Frau Radenour aside to her. "Let me manage the bargaining!"

But Hans had already set the candlesticks down, and was searching his pockets, his face red with confusion and mortification. He would have given anything to be able to buy them and at a much larger price than that asked, for he thought vaguely that he might thus make up to the little girl for having taken the porringer which of course was worth only a few sous. But he did not possess the ten francs! Again he felt desperately in his pockets, but scarcely half that sum was all he could muster.

The fact was Hans had not been wasting his earnings as a sailor, but had spent some of his first honest money to buy himself the decent clothes of which he was sorely in need; and then afterward he had used all he could spare to pay some old debts which he was ashamed to think had stood so long against him. His wages on the fishing vessel were not large, and so it had taken some time to do these things, and now barely five francs was all Hans possessed in the world.

As he thus stood confusedly, wishing with all his heart that he had more money to offer for the candlesticks, it happened that another man came along and began to look at them. This man was the owner of a little shop in the city and dealt in brass and copper wares, and he knew the rag-market and often picked up beautiful things very cheaply there; for the poor people who brought them for sale did not expect to receive the full value of their wares, but, pressed sharply by their need, had to be content to sell them for what they could.

As the dealer now examined Karen's candlesticks he quickly saw that they were of beautiful workmanship and that, as Frau Radenour declared, ten francs was little enough for them. But though he felt perfectly sure that he could sell them from his shop for a great deal more, he was unwilling to pay the ten francs until Frau Radenour had exhausted all her skill as a saleswoman. At last, slowly drawing the francs from his purse, he handed them over and carried off the candlesticks; and though Frau Radenour insisted that he had bought them for but half their value, she knew it was probably the best they could have hoped for in the rag-market.

While this chaffering was going on, Karen had sat mute and sad-eyed, and Hans, too, had not moved away, but still stood helplessly, not quite knowing what to do. But when the dealer had walked off, he drew a step nearer Karen, and, again turning very red with confusion, he extended to her his hand in which lay the five francs, and, "Little girl," he stammered, "won't you please take these? They are all I have."

At this Karen drew back timidly and looked up at him in bewilderment, while Frau Radenour stared with surprise. In a moment, however, the latter recovered herself and said, with a touch of sharpness in her voice, "Many thanks, sir, but keep your money; the child is no beggar!" Indeed, with the sturdy pride of the hard-working poor, Frau Radenour resented Hans' well-meant offer, and she knew, too, that Karen's Grandmother would be greatly displeased had she allowed Karen to accept the charity of a stranger.

But as she took the little girl's hand and they both rose to their feet and started off for home, she wondered over and over why the strange sailor had stared so at Karen and had wanted to give her all his money.

As they walked away, Hans, on his part, looked gloomily after them as he reluctantly replaced the five francs in his pocket.

He was deeply disappointed that he had not been able to give them to Karen, for he now realized that she and her Grandmother must be much poorer than he had supposed. The little yellow house looked comfortable, and better than those of most of the lace-makers, and Hans had not before thought that the two who lived there had found life a hard struggle.

As this began to sink into his mind he began to wake up. Indeed, Hans' better nature had been asleep so long while he was leading his evil life that it took quite a while for it to waken entirely; though every day for those three months past he had been rousing up more and more.

As he now turned again and strode along the path by the old canal, "What if it were Emschen?" he kept saying to himself. "She isn't even so big as Emschen was, and the Grandmother is sick and they have no one to work for them!" And then another idea came into the mind of Hans, and it interested him so that he forgot to finish smoking his pipe and he almost ran into a great, shaggy dog harnessed to a little cart full of brass milk cans.

"Look out!" cried the woman trudging along beside the cart. "Thou art a great clumsy fellow!"

And Hans, muttering a shame-faced apology, turned up a narrow street and made his way back to the quay where the fishing vessels were moored.


Mary Mapes Dodge

The Frost King

Oho! have you seen the Frost King,

A-marching up the hill?

His hoary face is stern and pale,

His touch is icy chill.

He sends the birdlings to the South,

He bids the brooks be still;

Yet not in wrath or cruelty

He marches up the hill.

He will often rest at noontime,

To see the sunbeams play;

And flash his spears of icicles,

Or let them melt away.

He'll toss the snowflakes in the air,

Nor let them go nor stay;

Then hold his breath while swift they fall,

That coasting boys may play.

He'll touch the brooks and rivers wide,

That skating crowds may shout;

He'll make the people far and near

Remember he's about.

He'll send his nimble, frosty Jack—

Without a shade of doubt—

To do all kinds of merry pranks,

And call the children out;

He'll sit upon the whitened fields,

And reach his icy hand

O'er houses where the sudden cold

Folks cannot understand.

The very moon, that ventures forth

From clouds so soft and grand,

Will stare to see the stiffened look

That settles o'er the land.

And so the Frost King o'er the hills,

And o'er the startled plain,

Will come and go from year to year

Till Earth grows young again—

Till Time himself shall cease to be,

Till gone are hill and plain:

Whenever Winter comes to stay,

The hoary King shall reign.


  WEEK 51  


The Christmas Porringer  by Evaleen Stein

Grandmother and Karen

W HEN Frau Radenour and Karen came back to The Little Street Of The Holy Ghost and drew near the corner where Karen lived, Frau Radenour, who had carefully carried the money for the candlesticks, now gave it to the little girl and with a cheery good-by went on to her own home.

Karen hurried up the steps and pushing open the door went into the room where Grandmother lay in her bed. Bending over her patient old face, she kissed her, and then laying the ten francs on the counterpane said, "See, Grandmother! Frau Radenour says this will keep us in bread for quite a long time! And you know we did not need the candlesticks."

Then Grandmother stroked Karen's hand and said: "Thou art a dear child, Karen, and thou hast done well. Grandmother is better now and we will get along."

She told Karen to go to a little shop not far away and buy them some food, of which they had but a scanty supply.

After their humble little dinner Grandmother felt so much better that she was able, with Karen's help, to put on her dress and sit by the open window for a while.

In a few days she had improved so much that she took up the lace-pillow again, and began work. Day by day, beneath her deft fingers, the delicate threads grew into white flowers and frosty tissues; and Karen, sitting by her side, learned to make a flower shaped like a little hyacinth bell, and Grandmother smiled proudly and said she would be a fine lace-maker. And then Karen tried harder than ever to learn how to use the tiny bobbins.

Sometimes, through the pleasant spring days, they sat on the doorstep and worked. There was a convent not far away where the nuns taught the children of the poorer folk of Bruges. And often, as Grandmother looked at Karen working so hard over her little black pillow, she grieved much that the little girl could not go to this school at least a part of every day, for she wanted her to have a chance to learn something; but she could not spare her. For though Grandmother was better, she was not strong and could not work so steadily as she had done before. Karen had to help as much as she could about the house and in every way relieve her, which kept the little girl busy.

Early in the summer Madame Koerner, who had returned from Ghent, had Karen come every afternoon to play with and look after her little boy, and, in this she earned a little money, till Madame Koerner was called away again.

But yet, in spite of all their efforts, Grandmother and Karen had hard work to keep themselves from want. And from time to time Grandmother's tired hands would tremble so she would have to stop work for a little while. And then Karen would have to go again to the rag-market with Frau Radenour and carry with her some one of their few possessions. In this way they parted with the little brass coffee-pot which, next to the candlesticks, had been the pride of Grandmother's heart; and then, later on, went a pitcher, and even Karen's pewter mug, and one or two pieces of the precious linen which Grandmother had tried to store up for the little girl against the time when she grew up and would perhaps have a home of her own.

So, gradually, the little house grew more and more bare within, though Grandmother and Karen still bravely struggled on, and in one way and another managed to keep from the almshouse.

But though the little girl had to work so hard, she had her simple little pleasures, too. Sometimes Grandmother finished her lace for some one of the ladies who had seen her work at Madame Koerner's and who lived in that part of the city. And then it was one of Karen's chief delights to take the work home; for she loved to walk through their gardens where old-fashioned roses and poppies and blue corn-flowers bloomed, and snapdragons and larkspurs and many other gay blossoms splashed their bright color along the box-bordered paths, for Bruges has always been famous for her beautiful flowers. And often when the little girl came home it would be with her hands full of posies that had been given her, and these brightened up the bare little house and helped make them forget the many things they had been obliged to part with. Though not all the flowers stayed within, for Karen always took pains to pick out the very prettiest one, and then with this in her hand she would lean from the sill of the window nearest the little shrine at the corner of the house, and there she would tuck the flower within the little hand of the Christ-child's image. For it did not seem to her fitting that the house should be decorated within and the shrine left bare.

Another thing Karen loved to do was to go with Grandmother, sometimes on Sunday afternoons when they had a holiday, out to the pretty little lake called the Minne-Water, which lay just within the old city walls. Here, where the great elm trees cast their dappled shadows, many white swans were always to be found floating about. Karen always saved part of her bread on Sundays that she might have the delight of feeding the lovely great birds, who would swim up as she leaned over the edge of the water and eat the morsels from her rosy palm.


"many white swans were always to be found floating about."

Indeed, it takes but little to give pleasure when one works hard all week long. And as Karen bent over her lace-pillow day after day, she would dream about the gardens and the swans on the Minne-Water till sometimes she would drop her bobbins and tangle her thread, and Grandmother would have to bid her be more careful; and then she would set to work again and her little fingers would fairly fly.

Day by day, up in the wonderful belfry, the silvery chimes rang out the hours, till the summer had passed away and the autumn came. Soon the starlings and cuckoos all flew away to warmer lands, and in the open spaces of the city the green leaves of the chestnut trees curled up and fluttered down to the ground, and the great willows, that here and there overhung the old canals, slowly dropped their golden foliage to float away on the silvery water below.

In the little yellow house Grandmother and Karen now had to burn some of their precious hoard of wood even after their bit of cooking on the hearth was done; and Karen could no longer put a flower for the Christ-child up in the little shrine of the house.

Indeed, as winter drew on, bringing with it thoughts of the Christmas time, Karen said to herself sadly that this year she would have no money to spend for the little gifts she so loved to make. She remembered how pleased she had been the Christmas before to select and buy the green jug for Grandmother and the pretty porringer for the Christ-child. Grandmother had liked the jug as well as Karen had hoped she would; and she hoped, too, that the Christ-child had been pleased with the porringer—she was sure he had found it on the doorstep, because it was gone the next morning.

She wished she might buy presents for both of them again, but she knew that even if some of the ladies Grandmother worked for should give her a silver piece as had Madame Koerner the year before, she would have to spend it for the food they must have and for which it seemed so hard to get the money.

There was one thing though that, poor as they were, Grandmother felt they must provide against the Christmas time; they must have their wax candles to take to the cathedral even if they had to do without light themselves.

So when the time wore on and the day before Christmas came, just as they had done as far back as Karen could remember, they set out for the ancient cathedral, each carrying a white taper to be blessed and lighted and add its tiny golden flame to the hundreds twinkling through the dim, perfumed air.

When the vesper service was over, and again they walked slowly back to the little house, its steep roof was powdered over with light snowflakes that were beginning to pile up in soft drifts on the points of the gable and to flutter down to the street below.

As Karen looked up at the little shrine hung with its wintry fringe of twinkling icicles, and at the image of the Christ-child within, she wondered if the real Christ-child would bring her something again at midnight. And she wondered, too, for the thousandth time, how he could bring gifts to so many children in a single night, and how it was that he did not grow very tired and cold, as she was then, and she had been no farther than the cathedral.

But Grandmother said he did not feel the cold nor grow tired like other children so long as they kept him warm with their love; but that if he found a child whose heart was cold and who did not try to obey him, then he shivered in the snow and his little feet grew so weary! Karen could not see how any child could help loving him when he was so good to them all; and she wished again that she had some little gift to show him that she thought about him, and cared for him.

She gave a little sigh as they went in, but soon she was busy helping set out their supper, and then when they had finished, and put the dishes back on the dresser, she and Grandmother sat by the hearth in the flickering light of the fire.

And as they looked into the embers, they both saw visions and dreamed dreams. Grandmother's dreams were of long ago, when Karen's mother was a little girl like Karen herself; while Karen dreamed of the time when she would be grown up and able to do wonderful things for Grandmother.


For the Children's Hour  by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Tiny Tim

I T was Christmas Day, and the Cratchit family were going to have a most wonderful dinner. Perhaps, some other days, they had scarcely enough to eat, for they were a large family. Work as hard as Father Bob Cratchit could, there was often not enough to go around. For there were Mother Cratchit, and Martha who worked in the milliner's shop, and Belinda who helped at home, and Peter, and the two little Cratchits, and, last of all, Tiny Tim. Alas for Tiny Tim! He bore always a little crutch and had his limbs supported by an iron frame! But, although he was only a little, little child, Tiny Tim was patient and mild, and they loved him more than all the rest. And it was Christmas Day.

Mother Cratchit and Belinda laid the cloth, and Peter blew the fire until the slow potatoes, bubbling up, knocked loudly at the saucepan lid to be let out and peeled. The two little Cratchits came tearing in to say that outside, at the baker's, they had smelled a goose and knew it for their very own. Martha came home, and, last of all, in came little Bob, the father, wrapped up in three feet of muffler, with his thread-bare clothes darned and brushed to look seasonable, and with Tiny Tim on his shoulder.

"And how did little Tim behave?" asked Mother Cratchit.

"As good as gold," said Bob, "and better," setting Tiny Tim carefully down, while the two little Cratchits hustled him off to the wash-house, that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper.

"He told me coming home that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant for them to remember, upon Christmas Day, Who made lame beggars to walk and blind men to see."

Bob's voice trembled, and it trembled more as he said that he thought Tiny Tim was growing very strong and well.

But they heard the sound of Tiny Tim's little crutch upon the floor and they helped him over to his stool by the fire—while the two little Cratchits went out to the baker's to fetch the goose. Mother Cratchit made the gravy (ready before in a little saucepan) hissing hot; Peter mashed the potatoes; Belinda sweetened the apple sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table; and the two little Cratchits (come home with the goose) set chairs for everybody, cramming spoons in their mouths lest they should shriek for goose before it came their turn to be served.

There never was such a goose! Bob said he didn't believe there ever was such a goose cooked. With the apple sauce and the mashed potatoes there was sufficient dinner for the whole family. Indeed, Mother Cratchit said, as she looked at one small atom of a bone upon the dish: "They hadn't eaten it all, at last." The little Cratchits were steeped in sage and onions to the eyebrows. But presently Belinda changed the plates and Mother Cratchit left the room—alone—to take up the pudding and bring it in!

Suppose it should not be done. Suppose it should break. Suppose some one had come over the back wall and stolen it while they were making merry with the goose. Hello! a great deal of steam. The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastry cook's next door to each other, with a laundress's next door to that! That was the pudding.

In half a minute Mother Cratchit entered with the pudding like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, and blazing, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top! Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody thought it at all a small pudding for a large family. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.

At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept and the fire made up. A whole pile of apples and oranges was put upon the table; and a shovelful of chestnuts upon the fire, beginning at once to sputter and crackle noisily. Then all the Cratchit family drew around the hearth, and Tiny Tim sat very close to his father's side upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his, for he loved the child, and he said:

"A merry Christmas to us all, my dears; God bless us!"

"Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" said all the Cratchit family.

And: "God bless us—every one!" said Tiny Tim, the last of all.

— Adapted from Charles Dickens' "Christmas Carol"
by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey


Santa Claus

He comes in the night! He comes in the night!

He softly, silently comes;

While the little brown heads on the pillows so white

Are dreaming of bugles and drums.

He cuts through the snow like a ship through the foam,

While the white flakes around him whirl;

Who tells him I know not, but he findeth the home

Of each good little boy and girl.

His sleigh it is long, and deep, and wide;

It will carry a host of things,

While dozens of drums hang over the side,

With the sticks sticking under the strings.

And yet not the sound of a drum is heard,

Not a bugle blast is blown,

As he mounts to the chimney-top like a bird,

And drops to the hearth like a stone.

The little red stockings he silently fills,

Till the stockings will hold no more;

The bright little sleds for the great snow hills

Are quickly set down on the floor.

Then Santa Claus mounts to the roof like a bird,

And glides to his seat in the sleigh;

Not the sound of a bugle or drum is heard

As he noiselessly gallops away.

He rides to the East, and he rides to the West,

Of his goodies he touches not one;

He eateth the crumbs of the Christmas feast

When the dear little folks are done.

Old Santa Claus doeth all that he can;

This beautiful mission is his;

Then, children, be good to the little old man,

When you find who the little man is.


  WEEK 51  


Gabriel and the Hour Book  by Evaleen Stein

Gabriel's Prayer

dropcap image EANTIME, though they worked quietly, they were both very industrious; and at last one day, late in October, when the first snow was beginning to fall, Brother Stephen finished the last page of the beautiful book. He gave a sigh as he laid down his paintbrush; not because he was tired, but because in his heart he was really sorry to finish his work, for he knew that then it would soon be taken away, and he hated to part with it.

As he and Gabriel laid all the pages together in the order in which they were to go, Brother Stephen's heart swelled with pride, and Gabriel thought he had never seen anything half so lovely!

The text was written in beautiful letters of the lustrous black ink which Gabriel had made; and at the beginnings of new chapters, wonderful initial letters glittered in gold and colours till they looked like little mosaics of precious stones.

Here and there through the text were scattered exquisite miniature pictures of saints and angels; while as for the borders that enclosed every page, they wreathed around the written words such lovely garlands of painted blossoms, that to Gabriel the whole book seemed a marvelous bouquet of all the sweet flowers he had daily gathered from the Norman fields, and that Brother Stephen, by the magic of his art, had made immortal.

Indeed the little boy fairly blinked as he looked at the sparkling beauty of those pages where the blossoms were to live on, through the centuries, bright and beautiful and unharmed by wind or rain or the driving snow, that even then was covering up all the bare frost-smitten meadows without.

And so Gabriel turned over page after page shining with gold and purple and rose-colour, till he came to the very last of the text; and then he saw that there was yet one page more, and on turning over this he read these words:

"I, Brother Stephen, of the Abbey of St. Martin-de-Bouchage, made this book; and for every initial letter and picture and border of flowers that I have herein wrought, I pray the Lord God to have compassion upon some one of my grievous sins!"

This was written in beautifully, and all around it was painted a graceful border like braided ribbons of blue.

Now in Brother Stephen's time, when any one finished an especially beautiful illumination of any part of the Bible, it was quite customary for the artist to add, at the end, a little prayer. Indeed, no one can make a really beautiful thing without loving the work; and those old-time artist-monks took such delight in the flowery pages they painted, that they felt sure the dear Lord himself could not help but be pleased to have his words made so beautiful, and that he would so grant the little prayer at the end of the book, because of the loving labour that had gone before.

As Gabriel again read over Brother Stephen's last page, it set him to thinking; and a little later, as he walked home in the frosty dusk, he thought of it again.

It was true, he said to himself, that all the beautiful written and painted work on King Louis's book had been done by Brother Stephen's hands,—and yet,—and yet,—had not he, too, helped? Had he not gathered the thorny hawthorn, and pricked his fingers, and spent days and days making the ink? Had he not, week after week, ground the colours and the gold till his arms ached, and his hands were blistered? Had he not made the glue, and prepared the parchment, and ruled the lines (and one had to be so  careful not to blot them!), and brought all the flowers for the borders?

Surely, he thought, though he had not painted any of its lovely pages, yet he had done his little part to help make the book, and so, perhaps—perhaps—might not the Lord God feel kindly toward him, too, and be willing to grant a little prayer to him also?

Now of course Gabriel could have prayed any time and anywhere, and simply asked for what he wanted. But he had a strong feeling that God would be much more apt to notice it, if the prayer were beautifully written out, like Brother Stephen's, and placed in the book itself, on the making of which he had worked so long and so hard.

Gabriel was very pleased with his idea, and by the time he reached home, he had planned out just what he wanted to say. He ate his supper of hard black bread very happily, and when, soon after, he crept into bed and pulled up his cover of ragged sheepskin, he went to sleep with his head so full of the work of the past few months, that he dreamed that the whole world was full of painted books and angels with rose-coloured wings; that all the meadows of Normandy were covered with gold, and the flowers fastened on with white of egg and eel-skins; and then, just as he was getting out his ruler to rule lines over the blue sky, he rubbed his eyes and woke up; and, finding it was morning, he jumped out of bed, and hastened to make himself ready for his day's work.

When he reached the Abbey, Brother Stephen was busy binding together the finished leaves of the book; for the monks had to do not only the painting, but also the putting together of their books themselves.

After Gabriel had waited on Brother Stephen for awhile, the latter told him he could have some time to himself, and so he hurried to get out the little jars of scarlet and blue and black ink, and the bits of parchment that Brother Stephen had given him. He looked over the parchment carefully, and at last found one piece from which he could cut a page that was almost as large as the pages of the book. It was an old piece, and had some writing on one side, but he knew how to scrape it off clean; and then taking some of the scarlet ink, he ruled some lines in the centre of the page, and between these, in the nicest black letters he knew how to make, he wrote his little prayer. And this is the way it read:

"I, Gabriel Viaud, am Brother Stephen's colour-grinder; and I have made the ink for this book, and the glue, and caught the eels, and ground the gold and colours, and ruled the lines and gathered the flowers for the borders, and so I pray the Lord God will be kind and let my father out of prison in Count Pierre's castle, and tell Count Pierre to give us back our meadow and sheep, for we cannot pay the tax, and mother says we will starve."

Now in the little prayers that the monks added at the end of a book, it was the custom to ask only that their sins might be forgiven. But Gabriel, though he knew he had plenty of sins,—for so the parish priest of St. Martin's village told all the peasant folk every Sunday,—yet somehow could not feel nearly so anxious to have them forgiven, as he was to have his father freed from prison in the castle, and their little farm and flock restored to them; and so he had decided to word his prayer the way he did.

It took him some time to write it out, for he took great pains to shape every letter as perfectly as possible. Nor did he forget that Brother Stephen had taught him always to make the word God more beautiful than the others; so he wrote that in scarlet ink, and edged it with scallops and loops and little dots of blue; and then all around the whole prayer he made graceful flourishes of the coloured inks. He very much wished for a bit of gold with which to enrich his work, but gold was too precious for little boys to practise with, and so Brother Stephen had not given him any for his own. Nevertheless, when the page was finished, the artistic effect was very pleasing, and it really was a remarkably clever piece of work for a little boy to have made.

He did not tell Brother Stephen what he was doing, for he was afraid that perhaps he might not quite approve of his plan. Not that Gabriel wished for a moment to do anything that Brother Stephen would not like him to do, but only that he thought their affairs at home so desperate that he could not afford to risk losing this means of help;—and then, too, he felt that the prayer was his own little secret, and he did not want to tell any one about it anyway.

And so he was greatly relieved that Brother Stephen, who was very much absorbed in his own work, did not ask him any questions. The monk was always very kind about helping him in every way possible, but never insisted on Gabriel's showing him everything, wisely thinking that many times it was best to let the boy work out his own ideas. So Gabriel said nothing about his page, but put it carefully away, until he could find some opportunity to place it in the book itself.

Meantime Brother Stephen worked industriously, and in a few days more he had quite finished the book. He had strongly bound all his painted pages together, and put on a cover of violet velvet, which the nuns of a nearby convent had exquisitely embroidered in pearls and gold. And, last of all, the cover was fastened with clasps of wrought gold, set with amethysts. Altogether it was a royal gift, and one worthy of any queen. Even the Abbot, cold and stately though he usually was, exclaimed with pleasure when he saw it, and warmly praised Brother Stephen upon the loveliness of his work.


The Wonder Clock  by Howard Pyle

How The Good Gifts Were Used by Two



T HIS is the way that this story begins:

Once upon a time there was a rich brother and a poor brother, and the one lived across the street from the other.

The rich brother had all of the world's gear that was good for him and more besides; as for the poor brother, why, he had hardly enough to keep soul and body together, yet he was contented with his lot, and contentment did not sit back of the stove in the rich brother's house; wherefore in this the rich brother had less than the poor brother.

Now these things happened in the good old times when the saints used to be going hither and thither in the world upon this business and upon that. So one day, who should come travelling to the town where the rich brother and the poor brother lived, but Saint Nicholas himself.

Just beside the town gate stood the great house of the rich brother; thither went the saint and knocked at the door, and it was the rich brother himself who came and opened it to him.

Now, Saint Nicholas had had a long walk of it that day, so that he was quite covered with dust, and looked no better than he should. Therefore he seemed to be only a common beggar; and when the rich brother heard him ask for a night's lodging at his fine, great house, he gaped like a toad in a rain-storm. What! Did the traveller think that he kept a free lodging house for beggars? If he did he was bringing his grist to the wrong mill; there was no place for the likes of him in the house, and that was the truth. But yonder was a poor man's house across the street, if he went over there perhaps he could get a night's lodging and a crust of bread. That was what the rich brother said, and after he had said it he banged to the door, and left Saint Nicholas standing on the outside under the blessed sky.


So now there was nothing for good Saint Nicholas to do but to go across the street to the poor brother's house, as the other had told him to do. Rap! tap! tap! he knocked at the door, and it was the poor brother who came and opened it for him.

"Come in, come in!" says he, "come in and welcome!"

So in came Saint Nicholas, and sat himself down behind the stove where it was good and warm, while the poor man's wife spread before him all that they had in the house—a loaf of brown bread and a crock of cold water from the town fountain.

"And is that all that you have to eat?" said Saint Nicholas.

Yes; that was all that they had.

"Then, maybe, I can help you to better," said Saint Nicholas. "So bring me hither a bowl and a crock."

You may guess that the poor man's wife was not long in fetching what he wanted. When they were brought the saint blessed the one and passed his hand over the other.

Then he said, "Bowl be filled!" and straightway the bowl began to boil up with a good rich meat pottage until it was full to the brim. Then the saint said, "Bowl be stilled!" and it stopped making the broth, and there stood as good a feast as man could wish for.


Then Saint Nicholas said, "Crock be filled!" and the crock began to bubble up with the best of beer. Then he said, "Crock be stilled!" and there stood as good drink as man ever poured down his throat.

Down they all sat, the saint and the poor man and the poor man's wife, and ate and drank till they could eat and drink no more, and whenever the bowl and the crock grew empty, the one and the other became filled at the bidding.

The next morning the saint trudged off the way he was going, but he left behind him the bowl and the crock, so that there was no danger of hunger and thirst coming to that house.

Well, the world jogged along for a while, maybe a month or two, and life was as easy for the poor man and his wife as an old shoe. One day the rich brother said to his  wife. "See now, Luck seems to be stroking our brother over yonder the right way; I'll just go and see what it all means."

So over the street he went, and found the poor man at home. Down he sat back of the stove and began to chatter and talk and talk and chatter, and the upshot of the matter was that, bit by bit, he dragged out the whole story from the poor man. Then nothing would do but he must see the bowl and the crock at work. So the bowl and the crock were brought and set to work and—Hui!—how the rich brother opened his eyes when he saw them making good broth and beer of themselves.

And now he must and would have that bowl and crock. At first the poor brother said "No," but the other bargained and bargained until, at last, the poor man consented to let him have the two for a hundred dollars. So the rich brother paid down his hundred dollars, and off he marched with what he wanted.

When the next day had come, the rich brother said to his wife, "Never you mind about the dinner to-day. Go you into the harvest-field, and I will see to the dinner." So off went the wife with the harvesters, and the husband stayed at home and smoked his pipe all the morning, for he knew that dinner would be ready at the bidding. So when noontide had come he took out the bowl and the crock, and, placing them on the table, said, "Bowl be filled! crock be filled!" and straightway they began making broth and beer as fast as they could.

In a little while the bowl and the crock were filled, and then they could hold no more, so that the broth and beer ran down all over the table and the floor. Then the rich brother was in a pretty pickle, for he did not know how to bid the bowl and the crock to stop from making what they were making. Out he ran and across the street to the poor man's house, and meanwhile the broth and beer filled the whole room until it could hold no more, and then ran out into the gutters so that all the pigs and dogs in the town had a feast that day.

"Oh, dear brother!" cried the rich man to the poor man, "do tell me what to do or the whole town will soon be smothered in broth and beer."

But, no; the poor brother was not to be stirred in such haste; they would have to strike a bit of a bargain first. So the upshot of the matter was that the rich brother had to pay the poor brother another hundred dollars to take the crock and the bowl back again.

See, now, what comes of being covetous!

As for the poor man, he was well off in the world, for he had all that he could eat and drink, and a stockingful of money back of the stove besides.

Well, time went along as time does, and now it was Saint Christopher who was thinking about taking a little journey below. "See, brother," says Saint Nicholas to him, "if you chance to be jogging by yonder town, stop at the poor man's house, for there you will have a warm welcome and plenty to eat."

But when Saint Christopher came to the town, the rich man's house seemed so much larger and finer than the poor man's house, that he thought that he would ask for lodging there.

But it fared the same with him that it had with Saint Nicholas. Prut! Did he think that the rich man kept free lodgings for beggars? And—bang!—the door was slammed in his face, and off packed the saint with a flea in his ear.

Over he went to the poor man's house, and there was a warm welcome for him, and good broth and beer from the bowl and the crock that Saint Nicholas had blessed. After he had supped he went to bed, where he slept as snug and warm as a mouse in the nest.


Then the good wife said to the husband, "See, now, the poor fellow's shirt is none too good for him to be wearing. I'll just make him another while he is sleeping, so that he'll have a decent bit of linen to wear in the morning."

So she brought her best roll of linen out of the closet, and set to work stitching and sewing, and never stopped till she had made the new shirt to the last button. The next morning, when the saint awoke, there lay the nice, new, clean shirt, and he put it on and gave thanks for it.

Before he left the house the poor man took him aside, and emptied the stockingful of silver money on the table, and bade the saint take what he wanted, "for," says he, "a penny or two is never amiss in the great world."

After that it was time for the traveller to be jogging; but before he went he said, "See, now, because you have been so kind and so good to a poor wayfarer, I will give you a blessing; whatever you begin doing this morning, you shall continue doing till sunset." So saying, he took up his staff and went his way.

After Saint Christopher had gone the poor man and his wife began talking together as to what would be best for them to be doing all of the day, and one said one thing and the other said the other, but every plug was too small for the hole, as we say in our town, for nothing seemed to fit the case.

"Come, come," said the good woman, "here we are losing time that can never be handled again. While we are talking the matter over I will be folding the linen that is left from making the shirt."

"And I," said the good man, "will be putting the money away that the holy man left behind him."

So the wife began folding the linen into a bundle again, and the man began putting away the money that he had offered in charity. Thus they began doing, and thus they kept on doing; so that by the time that the evening had come the whole house was full of fine linen, and every tub and bucket and mug and jug about the place was brimming with silver money. As for the good couple, their fortune was made, and that is the heart of the whole matter in four words.

That night who should come over from across the street but the rich brother, with his pipe in his mouth and his hands in his pockets. But when he saw how very rich the poor man had become all of a sudden, and what a store of fine linen and silver money he had, he was so wonder-struck that he did not know whither to look and what to think.

Dear heart's sake alive! Where did all these fine things come from? That was what he should like to know.

Oh! there was nothing to hide in the matter, and the poor man told all about what had happened.

As for the rich brother, when he found how he had shut his door in the face of good-fortune, he rapped his head with his knuckles because he was so angry at his own foolishness. However, crying never mended a torn jacket, so he made the poor brother promise that if either of the saints came that way again, they should be sent over to his house for a night's lodging, for it was only fair and just that he should have a share of the same cake his brother had eaten.

So the poor brother promised to do what the other wanted, and after that the rich brother went back home again.

Well, a year and a day passed, and then, sure enough, who should come along that way but both the saints together, arm in arm. Rap! tap! tap! they knocked at the poor man's door, for they thought that where they had had good lodging before they could get it again. And so they could and welcome, only the poor brother told them that his rich brother across the street had asked that they should come and lodge at the fine house when they came that way again.

The saints were willing enough to go to the rich brother's house, though they would rather have stayed with the other. So over they went, and when the rich brother saw them coming he ran out to meet them, and shook each of them by the hand, and bade them to come in and sit down back of the stove where it was warm.

But you should have seen the feast that was set for the two saints at the rich brother's house! I can only say that I never saw the like, and I only wish that I had been there with my legs under the table. After supper they were shown to a grand room, where each saint had a bed all to his very own self, and before they were fairly asleep the rich man's wife came and took away their old shirts, and laid a shirt of fine cambric linen in the place of each. When the next morning came and the saints were about to take their leave, the rich brother brought out a great bag of golden money, and bade them to stuff what they would of it into their pockets.


Well, all this was as it should be, and before the two went on their way they said that they would give the same blessing to him and his wife that they had given to the other couple—that whatsoever they should begin doing that morning, that they should continue doing until sunset.

After that they put on their hats and took up their staffs, and off they plodded.

Now the rich brother was a very envious man, and was not contented to do only as well as his brother had done, no indeed! He would do something that would make him even richer than counting out money for himself all day. So down he sat back of the stove and began turning the matter over in his mind, and rubbing up his wits to make them the brighter.

In the meantime the wife said to herself, "See, now, I shall be folding fine cambric linen all day, and the pigs will have to go with nothing to eat. I have no time to waste in feeding them, but I'll just run out and fill their troughs with water at any rate."

So out she went with a bucketful of water which she began pouring into the troughs for the pigs. That was the first thing she did, and after that there was no leaving off, but pour water she must until sunset.

All this while the man sat back of the stove, warming his wits and saying to himself, "Shall I do this? shall I do that?" and answering "No" to himself every time. At last he began wondering what his wife was doing, so out he went to find her. Find her he did, for there she was pouring out water to the pigs. Then if anybody was angry it was the rich man. "What!" cried he, "and is this the way that you waste the gifts of the blessed saints?"

So saying, he looked around, and there lay a bit of a switch on the ground near by. He picked up the bit of a switch and struck the woman across the shoulders with it, and that was the first thing that he began doing. After that he had to keep on doing the same.

So the woman poured water and poured water, and the man stood by and beat her with the little switch until there was nothing left of it, and that was what they did all day.

And what is more, they made such a hubbub that the neighbors came to see what was going forward. They looked and laughed and went away again, and others came, and there stood the two—the woman pouring water and the man beating her with the bit of a switch.

When the evening came, and they left off their work, they were so weary that they could hardly stand; and nothing was to show for it but a broken switch and a wet sty, for even the blessed saints cannot give wisdom to those who will have none of it, and that is the truth.

And such is the end of this story, with only this to tell: Tommy Pfouce tells me that there are folks, even in these wise times, who, if they did all day what they began in the morning, would find themselves at sunset doing no better work than pouring pure water to pigs.

That is the small kernel to this great nut.



Christina Georgina Rossetti

A Christmas Carol

The Shepherds had an Angel,

The Wise Men had a star,

But what have I, a little child,

To guide me home from far,

Where glad stars sing together

And singing angels are?

Those Shepherds through the lonely night

Sat watching by their sheep,

Until they saw the heavenly host

Who neither tire nor sleep,

All singing "Glory, glory,"

In festival they keep.

The Wise Men left their country

To journey morn by morn,

With gold and frankincense and myrrh,

Because the Lord was born:

God sent a star to guide them

And sent a dream to warn.

My life is like their journey,

Their star is like God's book;

I must be like those good Wise Men

With heavenward heart and look:

But shall I give no gifts to God?—

What precious gifts they took!


  WEEK 51  


Gabriel and the Hour Book  by Evaleen Stein

The Book Goes to Lady Anne

dropcap image ND it was well that the beautiful book was finished, for the very next afternoon a nobleman, with several attendants, arrived at the Abbey to see if the work were done. The nobleman was Count Henri of Lisieux, who had been sent by King Louis to bear to Lady Anne a precious casket of jewels as part of his bridal gifts to her; and the count had also received orders from the king to go to St. Martin's Abbey on his way, and if the book of hours were finished, to take it along to the Lady Anne.

Count Henri was greatly pleased when they showed the work to him, and he said that he knew both King Louis and his bride could not help but be delighted with it. And then, after it had been duly looked at and admired, the book was wrapped up in a piece of soft, rich silk and laid on a shelf in the chapter-house to wait until the next morning, when Count Henri would take it away. For he had come far, and the Abbot had invited him to stay overnight in the Abbey before going on with his journey.

While all this was taking place, and the book was being examined, Gabriel had been quietly at work in one corner of the chapter-house, grinding some gold; and when he heard that Count Henri was going away the next morning, he knew that if he expected to put his own little page in the book, he must do so some time before he went home that evening; and he did not quite see how he could manage it.

Late in the afternoon, however, a little before dusk, all the others left the chapter-house, Brother Stephen to go to his own cell, while the Abbot took Count Henri out to show him over the Abbey. And just as soon as they were gone, Gabriel hastily put down the stone mortar in which he was grinding the gold, and, going over to the work-table, opened the drawer in which he kept his own things, and took out the page on which he had written his little prayer.

He then went to the shelf and took down the book. He felt guilty as he unfolded the silk wrappings, and his hands trembled as he loosened the golden clasps, and hurriedly slipped in his piece of parchment. He put it at the very back of the book, after Brother Stephen's last page. Then carefully refastening the clasps, and again folding it up in its silken cover, he replaced the book on the shelf.

Poor Gabriel did not know whether he had done very wrong or not in taking this liberty with the painted book. He only knew that he could not bear to have it go away without his little prayer between its covers; and he thought that now God would surely notice it, as he had written it as nicely as he knew how, and had placed it next to Brother Stephen's.

By this time it was growing dark, and so Gabriel left the Abbey and took his way home. When he reached their forlorn little cottage, he found only a scanty supper awaiting him, and very early he went to bed; for they had but little fire and were too poor to afford even a single candle to burn through the long winter evening.

As Gabriel lay shivering in his cold little bed, he wondered how long it would be before God would grant his prayer for help. And then he wondered if God would be displeased because he had dared to put it in the beautiful book without asking permission from Brother Stephen or the Abbot. And the more he thought of the possibility of this, and of all their other troubles, the more miserable he felt, till at last he sobbed himself to sleep.


"Taking down the book . . . he unwrapped it and unclasped it"

The poor little boy did not know that after he himself had been sleeping for several hours, Brother Stephen, who had not slept, came out of his cell in the Abbey, and, carrying in his hand a small lamp, passed softly down the corridor and into the chapter-house. For Brother Stephen, like many another true artist who has worked long and lovingly upon some exquisite thing, found it very hard to part with that which he had made. He did not expect ever again to see the beautiful book after it left the Abbey, and so he felt that he must take a farewell look at it all by himself.

As he entered the chapter-house, he set the lamp on the table; and then taking down the book and placing it also on the table, he unwrapped and unclasped it, and seating himself in front of it, looked long and earnestly at each page as he slowly turned them over, one by one.

When at last he came to the end, and found a loose leaf, he picked it up in dismay, wondering if his binding could have been so badly done that one of the pages had already become unfastened. But his look of dismay changed to bewilderment as he examined the page more closely, and saw Gabriel's little prayer. He read this over twice, very slowly; and then, still holding the page in his hand, he sat for a long time with his head bowed; and once or twice something that looked very like a tear fell on the stone floor at his feet.

After awhile the lamp began to burn low; and Brother Stephen rising, gave a tender look to the loose page he had been holding, and then carefully put it back in the book, taking pains to place it, as nearly as he could, exactly as Gabriel had done. Then, with a sigh, he shut the velvet covers, once more fastened the golden clasps, and, replacing the silken wrappings, laid the book on the shelf, and went back to his cell.

The next morning Count Henri and his escort made ready for their journey to Bretagne. Count Henri himself placed the precious book in the same velvet bag which held the casket of jewels for the Lady Anne, and this bag he hung over his saddle-bow directly in front of him, so that he could keep close watch and see that no harm befell King Louis's gifts.

And then he and his soldiers mounted their horses, and, taking a courteous leave of the Abbot and the brotherhood of St. Martin's, they trotted off along the frosty road.


Christmas in Legend and Story: A Book for Boys and Girls  by Elva S. Smith

The First Christmas Roses

Adapted from an Old Legend

T HE sun had dropped below the western hills of Judea, and the stillness of night had covered the earth. The heavens were illumined only by numberless stars, which shone the brighter for the darkness of the sky. No sound was heard but the occasional howl of a jackal or the bleat of a lamb in the sheepfold. Inside a tent on the hillside slept the shepherd, Berachah, and his daughter, Madelon. The little girl lay restless,—sleeping, waking, dreaming, until at last she roused herself and looked about her.

"Father," she whispered, "oh, my father, awake. I fear for the sheep."

The shepherd turned himself and reached for his staff. "What nearest thou, daughter! The dogs are asleep. Hast thou been burdened by an evil dream?"

"Nay, but father," she answered, "seest thou not the light? Hearest thou not the voice?"

Berachah gathered his mantle about him, rose, looked over the hills toward Bethlehem, and listened. The olive trees on yonder slope were casting their shadows in a marvellous light, unlike daybreak or sunset, or even the light of the moon. By the camp-fire below on the hillside the shepherds on watch were rousing themselves. Berachah waited and wondered, while Madelon clung to his side. Suddenly a sound rang out in the stillness. Madelon pressed still closer.

"It is the voice of an angel, my daughter. What it means I know not. Neither understand I this light." Berachah fell on his knees and prayed.

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

The voice of the angel died away, and the air was filled with music. Berachah raised Madelon to her feet. "Ah, daughter," said he, "It is the wonder night so long expected. To us hath it been given to see the sign. It is the Messiah who hath come, the Messiah, whose name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. He it is who shall reign on the throne of David, he it is who shall redeem Israel."

Slowly up the hillside toiled the shepherds to the tent of Berachah, their chief, who rose to greet them eagerly.

"What think you of the wonder night and of the sign?" he queried. "Are we not above all others honored, thus to learn of the Messiah's coming!"

"Yea, and Berachah," replied their spokesman, Simon, "believest thou not that we should worship the infant King! Let us now go to Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass."

A murmur of protest came from the edge of the circle, and one or two turned impatiently away, whispering of duty toward flocks, and the folly of searching for a new-born baby in the city of Bethlehem. Hardheaded, practical men were these, whose hearts had not been touched by vision or by song.

The others, however, turned expectantly toward Berachah, awaiting his decision. "Truly," said Jude, "the angel of the Lord hath given us the sign in order that we might go to worship Him. How can we then do otherwise? We shall find Him, as we have heard, lying in a manger. Let us not tarry, but let us gather our choicest treasures to lay at His feet, and set out without delay across the hills toward Bethlehem."

"Oh, my father," whispered Madelon, "permit me to go with thee." Berachah did not hear her, but turned and bade the men gather together their gifts.

"I, too, father?" asked Madelon. Still Berachah said nothing. Madelon slipped back into the tent, and throwing her arms around Melampo, her shepherd dog, whispered in his ear.

Soon the shepherds returned with their gifts. Simple treasures they were,—a pair of doves, a fine wool blanket, some eggs, some honey, some late autumn fruits. Berachah had searched for the finest of his flock,—a snow-white lamb. Across the hills toward Bethlehem in the quiet, star-lit night they journeyed. As they moved silently along, the snow beneath their feet was changed to grass and flowers, and the icicles which had dropped from the trees covered their pathway like stars in the Milky Way.

Following at a distance, yet close enough to see them, came Madelon with Melampo at her heels. Over the hills they travelled on until Madelon lost sight of their own hillside. Farther and farther the shepherds went until they passed David's well, and entered the city. Berachah led the way.

"How shall we know?" whispered Simon. And the others answered, "Hush, we must await the sign."

When at last they had compassed the crescent of Bethlehem's hills, they halted by an open doorway at a signal from their leader. "The manger," they joyfully murmured, "the manger! We have found the new-born King!"

One by one the shepherds entered. One by one they fell on their knees. Away in the shadow stood the little girl, her hand on Melampo's head. In wonder she gazed while the shepherds presented their gifts, and were permitted each to hold for a moment the newborn Saviour.

Melampo, the shepherd dog, crouched on the ground, as if he too, like the ox and the ass within, would worship the Child. Madelon turned toward the darkness weeping. Then, lifting her face to heaven, she prayed that God would bless Mother and Baby. Melampo moved closer to her, dumbly offering his companionship, and, raising his head, seemed to join in her petition. Once more she looked at the worshipping circle.

"Alas," she grieved, "no gift have I for the infant Saviour. Would that I had but a flower to place in His hand."

Suddenly Melampo stirred by her side, and as she turned again from the manger she saw before her an angel, the light from whose face illumined the darkness, and whose look of tenderness rested on her tear-stained eyes.

"Why grievest thou, maiden?" asked the angel.

"That I come empty-handed to the cradle of the Saviour, that I bring no gift to greet Him," she murmured.

"The gift of thine heart, that is the best of all," answered the angel. "But that thou mayst carry something to the manger, see, I will strike with my staff upon the ground."

Wonderingly Madelon waited. From the dry earth wherever the angel's staff had touched sprang fair, white roses. Timidly she stretched out her hand toward the nearest ones. In the light of the angel's smile she gathered them, until her arms were filled with flowers. Again she turned toward the manger, and quietly slipped to the circle of kneeling shepherds.

Closer she crept to the Child, longing, yet fearing, to offer her gift.

"How shall I know," she pondered, "whether He will receive this my gift as His own?"

Berachah gazed in amazement at Madelon and the roses which she held. How came his child there, his child whom he had left safe on the hillside? And whence came such flowers! Truly this was a wonder night.

Step by step she neared the manger, knelt, and placed a rose in the Baby's hand. As the shepherds watched in silence, Mary bent over her Child, and Madelon waited for a sign. "Will He accept them?" she questioned. "How, oh, how shall I know?" As she prayed in humble silence, the Baby's eyes opened slowly, and over His face spread a smile.



As Joseph Was A-Walking

As Joseph was a-walking,

He heard an angel sing,

"This Night shall be the birth-time

Of Christ, the Heavenly King.

He neither shall be born

In house nor in hall,

Nor in a place of paradise,

But in an ox's stall.

He shall not be clothèd

In purple nor in pall;

But in the fair white linen,

That usen babies all.

He neither shall be rockèd

In silver nor in gold,

But in a wooden manger

That resteth on the mold."

As Joseph was a-walking

There did an angel sing,

And Mary's child at midnight

Was born to be our King.

Then be ye glad, good people,

This night of all the year,

And light ye up your candles,

For His star it shineth clear.


  WEEK 51  


Gabriel and the Hour Book  by Evaleen Stein

Lady Anne Writes to the King

dropcap image FTER several days' journey they entered Bretagne, and before long drew near to the city of Nantes and the castle of Lady Anne. This castle was very large, and had many towers and gables and little turrets with sharp-pointed, conical roofs. There was a high wall and a moat all around it, and as Count Henri approached, he displayed a little banner given him by King Louis, and made of blue silk embroidered with three golden lilies.

At the sight of this, the keepers of the drawbridge (who in those days always had to be very watchful not to admit enemies to their lord's castle) instantly lowered the bridge, and Count Henri and his guard rode over and were respectfully received within the gate.

They dismounted in the courtyard, and then, after resting awhile in one of the rooms of the castle, Count Henri was escorted into the great hall of state, where Lady Anne was ready to receive him.

This hall was very large and handsome, with a high, arched ceiling, and walls hung with wonderful old tapestries. Standing about in groups were numbers of picturesquely dressed pages, ladies-in-waiting, richly clad, and Breton gentlemen gorgeous in velvets and lace ruffles, for a hundred of these always attended Lady Anne wherever she went. At one end of the hall was a dais spread with cloth of gold, and there, in a carved chair, sat the Lady Anne herself. She wore a beautiful robe of brocaded crimson velvet, and over her dark hair was a curious, pointed head-dress of white silk embroidered with pearls and gold thread.

As Count Henri approached, she greeted him very cordially; and then, kneeling before her, he said:

"My Lady, I have the happiness to deliver to your hands these bridal gifts which our gracious sovereign, King Louis, did me the honour to entrust to my care."

And then, as he handed to her the casket of jewels and the silken package containing the hour book, she replied:

"Sir Count, I thank you for your courtesy in bearing these gifts to me, and I am well pleased to receive them."

Then summoning a little page, she told him to carry the presents up to her own chamber, where she might examine them at her leisure.

By and by, Count Henri withdrew, after asking permission to start the next morning on his return to Paris; for he wished to report to the king that he had safely accomplished his errand.

And then Lady Anne, having given orders that he and his followers be hospitably entertained during their stay in the castle, mounted the great stone staircase, and went to her own room, for she very much wanted to look at the gifts from King Louis.

These she found on a table where the little page had placed them. The casket was uncovered, while the book was still wrapped up in the piece of silk, so that one could not tell just what it was.

Lady Anne opened the casket first, as it happened to be nearest to her; and she drew in her breath, and her eyes sparkled with pleasure, as she lifted out a magnificent necklace, and other rich jewels that gleamed and glittered in the light like blue and crimson fires. She tried on all the ornaments, and then, after awhile, when she had admired them to her heart's content, she took up the silk-covered package, and curiously unwrapped it. When she saw what it contained, however, her face grew radiant with delight, and—

"Ah!" she exclaimed to herself, "King Louis's gifts are indeed princely, and this one is the most royal of all!"

For King Louis had been entirely right in thinking nothing would please the Lady Anne quite so much as a piece of fine illumination.

Still holding the book carefully in her hands, she at once seated herself in a deep, cushioned chair, and began slowly to turn over the pages, taking the keenest pleasure, as she did so, in every fresh beauty on which her eyes fell. When she had gone about half through the book, she lifted it up to look more closely at an especially beautiful initial letter, and then, all at once, out fluttered the loose leaf which Gabriel had put in.


"Began slowly to turn over the pages"

As it fell to the floor, a little page near by hastened to pick it up, and, bending on one knee, presented it to Lady Anne. At first she frowned a little, for she thought, as had Brother Stephen, that the book must have been badly bound. But when she took the leaf in her hand, to her surprise, she saw that it was different from the others, and that it had not been bound in with them; and then she read over the writing very carefully. When she had finished, she sat for some time, just as Brother Stephen had done, holding the page in her hand, while her face wore a very tender expression.

Lady Anne was really deeply touched by Gabriel's little prayer, and she wished greatly that she herself might find a way to help him and his family out of their trouble.

But the more she thought about it, she realized that she had no authority over a Norman nobleman, and that no one in France, except the king, was powerful enough to compel Count Pierre to release the peasant Viaud from imprisonment.

So going over to a little writing-table, she took out a thin sheet of parchment, a quaint goose-quill pen, and a small horn full of ink, and wrote a letter which she addressed to King Louis. Then she took the loose leaf on which Gabriel's prayer was written, and, folding it in with her letter, tied the little packet with a thread of scarlet silk (for no one used envelopes then), and sealed it with some red wax. And on the wax she pressed a carved ring which she wore, and which left a print that looked like a tiny tuft of ermine fur encircled by a bit of knotted cord; for this was Lady Anne's emblem, as it was called, and King Louis, seeing it, would know at once that the packet came from her.

Then she went down into the great hall of the castle, and sent one of her Breton gentlemen to bring Count Henri. When the latter entered, she said to him:

"Sir Count, it would give me great pleasure to keep you longer as my guest, but if you must return to Paris to-morrow, I will ask you to be my bearer for a little packet which I am anxious to send to King Louis."

Then, as she handed it to him, she added with a smile, "I give it to you now, for if you ride early in the morning, I must leave my Breton gentlemen to do the honours of your stirrup-cup."

(This last was the cup of wine which it was considered polite to offer a departing guest as he mounted his horse, and was a little ceremony over which Lady Anne liked to preside herself; that is, when her guests went away at agreeable hours.)

As Count Henri received the packet from her, he made a very deep bow, and replied that he would be most happy to serve the Lady Anne in any way he could, and that he only awaited her command to start at once on his journey.

"Nay," said Lady Anne, with another little smile, " 'tis no affair of state importance! Only a matter of my own on which I have set my heart. But I will not hear to your setting forth, until you have sat at my table and rested overnight in the castle."

To this Count Henri again gallantly bowed his obedience; and then, before long, Lady Anne led all the company into the great banquet-hall, where a number of long tables were set out with roasted game, and bread and wine and the many different cakes and sweetmeats of Bretagne.

The Lady Anne took her place at the head of the longest table of all, and she placed Count Henri at her right hand. Near them sat many of the ladies-in-waiting, and Breton gentlemen of the highest rank; while at the farther end, beyond a great silver saltcellar standing in the middle of the table, were seated those of less degree.

The dishes were of gold and silver, and Lady Anne herself was waited upon by two noblemen of Bretagne, for she lived very magnificently, as was fitting for the bride of King Louis.

When the supper was over, they all went back into the great castle hall, where bright fires of logs were blazing in the huge fireplaces; and as they sat in the firelight, they listened to the beautiful songs and music of two troubadours who had that day chanced to come to the castle, and who sang so sweetly that it was very late before the company broke up for the night.

All through the evening, however, in spite of the pleasant entertainment, Lady Anne, who was very sympathetic, could not help but think many times of poor little Gabriel, and how cold and hungry and miserable he must be! She had been much struck, too, with the beautiful way in which he had written out and ornamented his little prayer, for she was a good judge of such things; and, as she thought about it, she determined some day to see the lad herself. Meantime she was very anxious to help him as soon as possible. Indeed, she felt much happier when the next morning came, and Count Henri set out for Paris; for then she knew that her letter and Gabriel's little written page were on their way to King Louis.

In due time, Count Henri arrived safely at the king's palace, and delivered the packet from Lady Anne. And when King Louis broke the wax seal, and read the letter and Gabriel's little prayer, he, too, was deeply touched. Lady Anne's letter explained to him about finding the loose page in the beautiful book he had sent her, and asked that he would see to it that Count Pierre set the boy's father free.

This King Louis at once determined to do, for he was a just and kind-hearted monarch, and during his reign did much to lighten the taxes and oppression of the peasant-folk; and, moreover, in this trouble of Gabriel's father, he now took an especial interest, as it gave him great pleasure to grant any wish of the Lady Anne, whom he loved deeply.

So that very day he sent for a trusty messenger, and after explaining things to him, directed him to set out as soon as possible for St. Martin's Abbey, and there to seek out Brother Stephen and inquire about the little peasant boy, Gabriel Viaud. And then, if he found everything to be true that Gabriel had said in his prayer, he was to act according to further orders which King Louis gave him.


The Sandman: His Sea Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Pilot 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 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.

The channel into Boston Harbor was crooked and narrow and a captain had to know it very well to be able to take a ship in safely. A good many captains didn't like to risk it, even if they thought they did know the channel pretty well. So there were some men who made it their business to take vessels out of the harbor, that wanted to go out, and to bring vessels in, that wanted to come in. Those men were called harbor pilots, or just pilots. And they knew just exactly how much water they would find at each place; and they knew the whole harbor so well that they could tell, almost, where every stone, of the size of a hat, was on the bottom of it. In the year 1820, John Wilson was one of these pilots, and he lived at Winthrop. Winthrop was a convenient place for a pilot to live in, for it is on a sort of a point that bends around, so that it is outside of Boston Harbor.

Now John Wilson's house was where he could see, from the windows of a room upstairs, far out to sea. He could have seen Provincetown, on the end of Cape Cod, if it hadn't been so far away that it was hidden by the roundness of the world; and there was nothing, except the ocean and the ships that sailed on it, between him and Europe. On clear days he was apt to sit at his upper window, looking out over the ocean and smoking. And whenever he saw the upper sails of some vessel beginning to show, far away, over the waters of Massachusetts Bay, he would hurry off to his sloop, that always lay ready at the wharf, just below; and he would tell the man who was pottering about on the sloop, and who was named Joe, that there was a vessel coming up and that he had better stir his stumps. For he thought that it was the ship Dawn. Or, perhaps, it was the brig Sally Ann  or the Coromandel, or the ship Pactolys, or the Savannah, or the Augusta Ramsay, or the brig Industry. For John Wilson knew every vessel that sailed from Boston so well that he could tell a vessel's name as soon as he caught sight of her upper sails.

Then Joe would hurry and John Wilson would hurry and they would sail down to meet that vessel. And John Wilson, if he was the first pilot to get to the vessel, which he generally was, would climb aboard, leaving Joe to sail the sloop alone; and he would take command of the vessel and pilot her safely in, through the channel, to her wharf.

But, if it was foggy or hazy, so that John Wilson could not see the sails of vessels far off, over the water, even with his long glass, he and Joe would sail back and forth before the entrance to Boston Harbor. Sometimes there would be three or four pilot boats sailing back and forth, waiting for the ships to come in; and, when they sighted a ship, it would be a race to see which boat would get to her first.

One afternoon, in the late summer, John Wilson sat at his upper window, smoking and looking out at the gulls. His long glass lay on another chair beside him, all ready to look through; and, once in a while, he took it up and looked, very carefully, all along the edge of the ocean. But, no matter how hard he looked, he couldn't see any ships. There was a fisherman going out, but fishermen didn't take pilots, and, if they had, it was too late, anyway. And he saw another small vessel coming in, pretty soon after the fisherman had gone. It was the Portland packet. She didn't take a pilot, either, but her captain was a pilot.

John Wilson was getting tired of sitting by that window, although it was a very pleasant place on a summer afternoon. He got up and stretched sleepily, for it was sleepy work sitting there, doing nothing. Then he thought that he might as well take a last look through the glass, before he went, and he lifted it and held it against the frame of the window and looked.


"Hello!" he said to himself. "The skysails and royals of something. It's a brig. By the cut of her sails, she'll be the Industry. Haven't heard of her since she was spoken, going out, five months ago. She must have made a quick passage."

Then he put down the glass and hurried down to the sloop.

"Hurry up, Joe," he said. "The old Industry's coming in. And she's in a hurry, too. That Cap'n Sol's carrying royals and skysails. That's all that showed. Like enough he's got stu'n'sails on her, too. He seems to want to get in to-night; and we've got to hurry, for she'll keep right on to his wharf, pilot or no pilot."

"He hasn't been reported at Manila," said Joe.

"No," said John Wilson, "he hasn't. But he'll report his own arrival there. There's few can carry sail with Cap'n Sol."

The sloop was on her way, by that time, out to the channel and down to the bay. She was rather fast, for such a small vessel, for the pilot who had the fastest boat had the best chance; and she had a good deal of sail for a boat of her size. But she couldn't sail as fast as the Industry. She met the Industry  about five miles out in the bay, and John Wilson saw that Captain Sol had put a flag in the rigging, to show that he wanted a pilot.


The sloop was on her way.

Captain Sol had the sails fixed so that the Industry  wouldn't go ahead very fast, and the sloop came alongside and John Wilson scrambled aboard. The sloop wasn't tied to the ship at all, and she didn't stay alongside as long as a minute; then she was sailing off again, towards Boston. For Joe had to take John Wilson home again after he had got a vessel piloted safely in to the wharf that she was going to.

Captain Sol met John Wilson when he came on board and shook hands with him.

"Hello, John," he said. "I hoped we should get you."

"Hello, Sol," said John Wilson. "You haven't been reported at Manila, yet, and you have no business to be here."

"So?" asked Captain Sol. "Three ships sailed from Manila for Boston ahead of me. They'll be along in the course of time." He smiled to himself at the thought of his having passed those ships. But Captain Sol didn't generally say much, and John Wilson didn't ask him anything more about those ships. But he made up his mind that he would keep a sharp lookout for them. "Get us in as soon as you can, John," continued Captain Sol. "I have some business that I want to get done before dark."

"All right," said John Wilson; and he began to give his orders.

The sails were fixed so that the ship would go ahead again as fast as she was going before. They passed the pilot boat, with Joe sailing it all alone, and then John Wilson told the sailors to begin to take in sail. They had so much sail spread that it would take the sailors all the time, until they got to the wharf, to take it in, for they had reached the beginning of the channel between the islands.

And they sailed in, past the islands, and John Wilson had the ship steered so that she went in the deepest part of the channel. And they came up to the wharf, gently, and the ship was tied to the wharf with great ropes; and there was a little of the afternoon left. So Captain Sol went to attend to the business that he wanted to do. But John Wilson went to the office of Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob and they paid him some money for piloting the Industry  up the harbor.

Then he went back to the wharf and watched the sailors, who were busy on the Industry, and he waited for Joe to come, with the sloop, to take him back to Winthrop. And, in about half an hour, there was the sloop. And John Wilson got aboard and sailed away for Winthrop.

And that's all.


Frances Chesterton

How Far Is It to Bethlehem?

How far is it to Bethlehem?

Not very far.

Shall we find the stable-room

Lit by a star?

Can we see the little Child?

Is He within?

If we lift the wooden latch,

May we go in?

May we stroke the creatures there—

Ox, ass, or sheep?

May we peep like them and see

Jesus asleep?

If we touch His tiny hand,

Will He awake?

Will He know we've come so far

Just for His sake?

Great kings have precious gifts,

And we have naught;

Little smiles and little tears

Are all we brought.

For all weary children

Mary must weep;

Here, on His bed of straw,

Sleep, children, sleep.

God, in His mother's arms,

Babes in the byre,

Sleep, as they sleep who find

Their heart's desire.