WEEK 7 |
Geppetto returns home, makes the puppet new feet, and gives him the breakfast that the poor man had brought for himself.
P OOR Pinocchio, whose eyes were still half shut from sleep, had not as yet discovered that his feet were burnt off. The moment, therefore, that he heard his father's voice he slipped off his stool to run and open the door; but after stumbling two or three times he fell his whole length on the floor.
And the noise he made in falling was as if a sack of wooden ladles had been thrown from a fifth story.
"Open the door!" shouted Geppetto from the street.
"Dear papa, I cannot," answered the puppet, crying and rolling about on the ground.
"Why cannot you?"
"Because my feet have been eaten."
"And who has eaten your feet?"
"The cat," said Pinocchio, seeing the cat, who was amusing herself by making some shavings dance with her forepaws.
"Open the door, I tell you!" repeated Geppetto. "If you don't, when I get into the house you shall have the cat from me!"
"Oh! Poor me! I shall have to walk on my knees for the rest of my life!"
"I cannot stand up, believe me. Oh, poor me! poor me! I shall have to walk on my
knees for the rest of my
"Oh! Poor me! I shall have to walk on my knees for the rest of my life!"
Geppetto, believing that all this lamentation was only another of the puppet's tricks, thought of a means of putting an end to it, and climbing up the wall he got in at the window.
He was very angry, and at first he did nothing but scold; but when he saw his Pinocchio lying on the ground and really without feet he was quite overcome. He took him in his arms and began to kiss and caress him and to say a thousand endearing things to him, and as the big tears ran down his cheeks, he said, sobbing:
"My little Pinocchio! how did you manage to burn your feet?"
"I don't know, papa, but believe me it has been an infernal night
that I shall remember as long as I live. It thundered and lightened,
and I was very hungry, and then the Talking-cricket said to me: 'It
serves you right; you have been wicked and you deserve it,' and I
said to him: 'Take care,
Geppetto, who from all this jumbled account had only understood one thing, which was that the puppet was dying of hunger, drew from his pocket three pears, and giving them to him said:
"These three pears were intended for my breakfast; but I will give them to you willingly. Eat them, and I hope they will do you good."
"If you wish me to eat them, be kind enough to peel them for me."
"Peel them?" said Geppetto, astonished. "I should never have
thought, my boy, that you were so dainty and fastidious. That
is bad! In this world we should accustom ourselves from
childhood to like and to eat everything, for there is no saying
to what we may be brought. There are so many
"You are no doubt right," interrupted Pinocchio, "but I will never eat fruit that has not been peeled. I cannot bear rind."
So that good Geppetto fetched a knife, and arming himself with patience peeled the three pears, and put the rind on a corner of the table.
Having eaten the first pear in two mouthfuls, Pinocchio was about to throw away the core; but Geppetto caught hold of his arm and said to him:
"Do not throw it away; in this world everything may be of use."
"But core I am determined I will not eat," shouted the puppet, turning upon him like a viper.
"Who knows! there are so many
And so the three cores, instead of being thrown out of the window, were placed on the corner of the table together with the three rinds.
Having eaten, or rather having devoured the three pears, Pinocchio yawned tremendously, and then said in a fretful tone:
"I am as hungry as ever!"
"But, my boy, I have nothing more to give you!"
"Nothing, really nothing?"
"I have only the rind and the cores of the three pears."
"One must have patience!" said Pinocchio; "if there is nothing else I will eat a rind."
And he began to chew it. At first he made a wry face; but then one after another he quickly disposed of the rinds: and after the rinds even the cores and when he had eaten up everything he clapped his hands on his sides in his satisfaction, and said joyfully:
"Ah! now I feel comfortable."
"You see now," observed Geppetto, "that I was right when I said to you
that it did not do to accustom ourselves to be too particular in our tastes.
We can never know, my dear boy, what may happen to us. There are so many
N OW King Halfdan had many foes. When he was alive they were afraid to make war upon him, for he was a mighty warrior. But when Harald became king, they said:
"He is but a lad. We will fight with him and take his land."
So they began to make ready. King Harald heard of this and he laughed and said:
"Good! 'Foes'-fear' is thirsty, and my legs are stiff with much sitting."
He called three men to him. To one he gave an arrow, saying:
"Run and carry this arrow north. Give it into the hands of the master of the next farm, and say that all men are to meet here within two weeks from this day. They must come ready for war and mounted on horses. Say also that if a man does not obey this call, or if he receives this arrow and does not carry it on to his next neighbor, he shall be outlawed from this country, and his land shall be taken from him."
He gave arrows to the other two men and told them to run south and east with the same message.
So all through King Harald's country men were soon busy mending helmets and polishing swords and making shields. There was blazing of forges and clanging of anvils all through the land.
On the day set, the fields about King Harald's house were full of men and horses. After breakfast a horn blew. Every man snatched his weapons and jumped upon his horse. Men of the same neighborhood stood together, and their chief led them. They waited for the starting horn. This did not look like our army. There were no uniforms. Some men wore helmets, some did not. Some wore coats of mail, but others wore only their jackets and tights of bright-colored wool. But at each man's left side hung a great shield. Over his right shoulder went his sword-belt and held his long sword under his left hand. Above most men's heads shone the points of their tall spears. Some men carried axes in their belts. Some carried bows and arrows. Many had ram's horns hanging from their necks.
King Harald rode at the front of his army with his standard-bearer beside him. Chain-armor covered the king's body. A red cloak was thrown over his shoulders. On his head was a gold helmet with a dragon standing up from it. He carried a round shield on his left arm. The king had made that shield himself. It was of brass. The rivets were of silver, with strangely shaped heads. On the back of Harald's horse was a red cloth trimmed with the fur of ermine.
King Harald looked up at his standard and laughed aloud.
"Oh, War-lover," he cried, "you and I ride out on a gay journey."
A horn blew again and the army started. The men shouted as they went, and blew their ram's horns.
"Now we shall taste something better than even King Harald's ale," shouted one.
Another rose in his stirrups and sniffed the air.
"Ah! I smell a battle," he cried. "It is sweeter than those strange waters of Arabia."
So the army went merrily through the land. They carried no tents, they had no provision wagons.
"The sky is a good enough tent for a soldier," said the Norsemen. "Why carry provisions when they lie in the farms beside you?"
After two days King Harald saw another army on the hills.
"Thorstein," he shouted, "up with the white shield and go tell King Haki to choose his battle-field. We will wait but an hour. I am eager for the frolic."
So Thorstein raised a white shield on his spear as a sign that he came on an errand of peace. He rode near King Haki, but he could not wait until he came close before he shouted out his message and then turned and rode back.
"Tell your boy king that we will not hang back," Haki called after Thorstein.
King Harald's men waited on the hillside and watched the other army across the valley. They saw King Haki point and saw twenty men ride off as he pointed. They stopped in a patch of hazel and hewed with their axes.
"They are getting the hazels," said Thorstein.
"Audun," said King Harald to a man near him, "stay close to my standard all day. You must see the best of the fight. I want to hear a song about it after it is over."
This Audun was the skald who sang at the drinking of King Halfdan's funeral ale.
King Haki's men rode down into the valley. They drove down stakes all about a great field. They tied the hazel twigs to the stakes in a string. But they left an open space toward King Harald's army and one toward King Haki's. Then a man raised a white shield and galloped toward King Harald.
"We are ready!" he shouted.
At the same time King Haki raised a red shield. King Harald's men put their shields before their mouths and shouted into them. It made a great roaring war-cry.
"Up with the war shield!" shouted King Harald. "Horns blow!"
There was a blowing of horns on both sides. The two armies galloped down into the field and ran together. The fight had begun.
All that day long swords were flashing, spears flying, men shouting, men falling from their horses, swords clashing against shields.
"Victory flashes from that dragon," Harald's men said, pointing to the king's helmet. "No one stands before it."
And, surely, before night came, King Haki fell dead under "Foes'-fear." When he fell, a great shout went up from his warriors, and they turned and fled. King Harald's men chased them far, but during the night came back to camp. Many brought swords and helmets and bracelets or silver-trimmed saddles and bridles with them.
"King Haki fell dead under 'Foe's‑fear'."
"Here is what we got from the foe," they said.
The next morning King Harald spoke to his men:
"Let us go about and find our dead."
So they went over all the battle-field. They put every
man on his shield and carried him and laid him on a
"This is a good place to lie. It looks far over the
country. The sound of the sea reaches it. The wind
sweeps here. It is a good grave for Norsemen and
Vikings. But it is a long road and a rough road to
Valhalla that these men must travel. Let the nearest
kinsman of each man come and tie on his
So friends tied shoes on the dead men's feet. Then King Harald said:
"Now let us make the mound."
Every man set to work with what tools he had and heaped earth over the dead until a great mound stood up. They piled stones on the top. On one of these stones King Harold made runes telling how these men had died.
After that was done King Harald said:
"Now set up the pole, Thorstein. Let every man bring to that pole all that he took from the foe."
So they did, and there was a great hill of things around it. Harald divided it into piles.
"This pile we will give to Thor in thanks for the victory," he said. "This pile is mine because I am king. Here are the piles for the chiefs, and these things go to the other men of the army."
So every man went away from that battle richer than he was before, and Thor looked down from Valhalla upon his full temple and was pleased.
The next morning King Harald led his army back. But on the way he met other foes and had many battles and did not lose one. The kings either died in battle or ran away, and Harald had their lands.
"He has kept his vow," men said, "and ground his father's foes under his heel."
So King Harald sat in peace for a while.
The world's a very happy place,
Where every child should dance and sing,
And always have a smiling face,
And never sulk for anything.
I waken when the morning's come,
And feel the air and light alive
With strange sweet music like the hum
Of bees about their busy hive.
The linnets play among the leaves
At hide-and-seek, and chirp and sing;
While, flashing to and from the eaves,
The swallows twitter on the wing.
And twigs that shake, and boughs that sway;
And tall old trees you could not climb;
And winds that come, but cannot stay,
Are singing gayly all the time.
From dawn to dark the old mill-wheel
Makes music, going round and round;
And dusty-white with flour and meal,
The miller whistles to its sound.
The brook that flows beside the mill,
As happy as a brook can be,
Goes singing its own song until
It learns the singing of the sea.
For every wave upon the sands
Sings songs you never tire to hear,
Of laden ships from sunny lands
Where it is summer all the year.
And if you listen to the rain
When leaves and birds and bees are dumb,
You hear it pattering on the pane
Like Andrew beating on his drum.
The coals beneath the kettle croon,
And clap their hands and dance in glee;
And even the kettle hums a tune
To tell you when it 's time for tea.
The world is such a happy place,
That children, whether big or small,
Should always have a smiling face
And never, never sulk at all.
WEEK 7 |
N the rude days of King
They had done something that was against the laws of the
land, and had been forced to hide themselves in the woods
to save their lives. There they spent their time in roaming
about among the trees, in hunting the king's deer, and in
There were nearly a hundred of these outlaws, and their
leader was a bold fellow called Robin Hood. They were
dressed in suits of green, and armed with bows and arrows;
and sometimes they carried long wooden lances and
broad-swords, which they knew how to handle well.
Robin never allowed his men to harm
Long after he was dead, men liked to talk about his deeds. Some praised him, and some blamed him. He was, indeed, a rude, lawless fellow; but at that time, people did not think of right and wrong as they do now.
A great many songs were made up about Robin Hood, and
these songs were sung in the
Here is a little story that is told in one of those
Robin Hood was standing one day under a green tree by the
"I will not
The next day Robin stood in the same place. He had not been there long when he saw the same young man coming down the road. But he did not seem to be so happy this time. He had left his scarlet coat at home, and at every step he sighed and groaned.
"Ah the sad day! the sad day!" he kept saying to himself.
Then Robin Hood stepped out from under the tree, and
"I say, young man! Have you any money to spare for my merry men and me?"
"I have nothing at all," said the young man, "but five
"A gold ring?" asked Robin.
"Yes," said the young man, "it is a gold ring. Here it is."
"Ah, I see!" said Robin; "it is a wedding ring."
"I have kept it these seven years," said the young man; "I
have kept it to give to my bride on our wedding day. We were
going to be
"What is your name?" asked Robin.
"My name is Allin-a-Dale," said the young man.
"What will you give me, in gold or fee," said Robin, "if I will help you win your bride again in spite of the rich old man to whom she has been promised?"
"I have no money," said Allin, "but I will promise to be your servant."
"How many miles is it to the place where the maiden lives?" asked Robin.
"It is not far," said Allin. "But she is to be married this very day, and the church is five miles away."
Then Robin made haste to dress himself as a harper; and in
"Who are you?" said the bishop, "and what are you doing here?"
"I am a bold harper," said Robin, "the best in the north country."
"I am glad you have come," said the bishop kindly. "There is no music that I like so well as that of the harp. Come in, and play for us."
"I will go in," said Robin Hood; "but I will not give you
any music until I see the bride and
Just then an old man came in. He was dressed in rich clothing, but was bent with age, and was feeble and gray. By his side walked a fair young girl. Her cheeks were very pale, and her eyes were full of tears.
"This is no match," said Robin. "Let the bride choose for herself."
Then he put his horn to his lips, and blew three
times. The very next minute, four and twenty men, all
dressed in green, and
"Now whom do you choose?" said Robin to the maiden.
"I choose Allin-a-Dale," she said blushing.
"And Allin-a-Dale you shall have," said Robin;
"and he that takes you from
And so the fair maiden and Allin-a-Dale were married then and there, and the rich old man went home in a great rage.
"And thus having ended this merry wedding,
The bride looked like a queen:
And so they returned to the merry green wood,
Amongst the leaves so green."
Don looked out of the window at the deep snow.
"Nan," he said, "we can have an outdoor visit on snow-shoes."
"That will be jolly!" said Nan.
So Don and Nan put on their snow-shoes and walked on the snow.
"If we play hide-and-seek we can find each other by the tracks," said Don.
"Perhaps we can find some animal tracks on the snow," said Nan. "Then we can follow them."
"I hope we may find tracks that have different shapes," said Don.
A dog ran across the snow. He ran under some trees.
Don and Nan saw him run but they could not see how far he went.
So they found his tracks and walked after him.
"I can hear him bark," said Nan.
After Don and Nan followed the dog, they came to some other tracks.
"Those are queer tracks," said Nan. "How could an animal make them? There are four marks close together. Then there is a space and then four more marks."
"An animal could not make them if he walked or ran," said Don. "But I think he could hop and make tracks like those.
"Perhaps a rabbit made them. And perhaps the dog is hunting for the rabbit."
After a while Don and Nan found the dog. He was digging in the snow near a heap of branches.
"The rabbit hopped into a hole under the branches," said Don.
"Now he is safe," said Nan. The dog can not dig far enough under the branches to catch him."
The dog wagged his tail. Then he said, "Woof!" and ran home.
"I hear birds that sound like juncos," said Don.
"Yes, that is the way the juncos twittered when they ate seeds at our party," said Nan.
Don and Nan found some juncos eating seeds under a birch tree.
After the juncos flew away Don and Nan looked at the birch seeds on the snow.
"There are so many seeds that the snow looks brown," said Don.
"I shall draw a picture to show their pretty shapes," said Nan.
There were some different tracks in the snow near the trees. A mouse with white feet had made them when he came for seeds.
"An animal with little paws ran here," said Don, "and dragged his tail in the snow."
"We can follow his tracks," said Nan, "and hunt for his hole."
Red sky at night is the sailors' delight;
Red sky in the morning, the sailors take warning.
WEEK 7 |
One morning, Mamma called Willy, and said, "I promised, my dear, to show you when a cloud was falling: look out at the window, and you will see one now."
Willy ran to the window, in a great hurry, to see what he thought must be so strange a sight. He looked first up in the skies; then he looked to the right, and then to the left: nowhere could he see any thing falling.
"Why, Willy, where are your eyes?" said Mamma: "I see a great many things falling."
"Where?" enquired Willy, eagerly: "I can see nothing at all but drops of rain."
"Well; and what are drops of rain made of?"
"They are made of water," replied Willy.
"And what are the clouds made of?"
"Why, you said, Mamma, they were made of water too."
"Well, then, my dear, when a cloud falls, it does not come down plump upon your head like a pail of water, as you were afraid it did, but it falls in drops, and those drops are called rain."
"How funny!" cried Willy. "Then rain is a cloud tumbling down to the ground?"
"Yes, it is, my love; but it is called a cloud only when it is up in the skies; and rain, when it falls to the ground."
"And, up in the clouds, is it in drops, Mamma; or all in one, like a pail of water?"
"In drops," replied his mother, "much smaller drops than rain: it is more like the little drops that we caught in the teaspoon when we held it over the steam."
"Oh yes, I remember," cried Willy; "and I said, how many things are made of water; and now I see there are a great many more things made of water, Mamma: there are the clouds, and rain, ay, and tea, too; I was forgetting that: but the steam put me in mind of it."
"And can you remember what were the other things made of water?"
"Oh yes, I think so," said Willy: "there is steam, and ice, and snow." Willy then thought a moment, and afterwards said, "Why, Mamma, you said that snow came from the clouds; so snow is a cloud falling as well as rain, is it not?"
"Yes," replied Mamma; "snow is a cloud falling when the weather is so cold that it freezes the rain, and turns it into snow; and rain is a cloud falling to the ground when the weather is warmer, so that water will not freeze."
"Oh then, Mamma, the weather must be warmer to-day, for you see the clouds come down in rain, and not in snow, as they did yesterday?"
"That is true, my dear: the weather is warmer to-day; and all the frozen water, that is, all the snow and ice, is beginning to melt."
"Oh, what a pity!" cried Willy: "I shall not be able to play with snowballs any more."
"Perhaps it may freeze again some other day," said Mamma: besides, there is so much snow on the ground now, that it will take a long time to melt the whole of it. The warm weather melts it little by little, as the sunbeams melted your snowball by degrees; and I dare say it will be many days before all the ice and snow is thawed."
"Thawed!" repeated Willy; what does that mean?"
"To thaw means to melt something that is frozen. When the weather is warm enough to melt frozen water, it is called a thaw; and when it is cold enough to freeze water, it is called a frost."
"I like a frost better than a thaw," said Willy, "because of the snowballs, and sliding on the ice."
"You cannot tell yet, Willy, till you know what you may find to like in a thaw."
"Look, Mamma!" said Willy, "what a number of little holes the drops of rain make in the snow; it does not look half so pretty, and white, and smooth, as it did when there was a frost."
"The rain melts the snow," said his Mother: "every drop that falls on it melts a little bit of snow; and that makes all those little holes in it."
Willy asked Mamma to open the window; and he was surprised to find how much warmer it felt out of doors than it was the day before. "Do you remember," said he, "when we opened the window yesterday, what a cold wind came in?—and now there comes in a warm wind."
"Yesterday it was a frost, Willy, and the weather was cold; and to-day it is a thaw, so the weather is warmer."
Willy then stretched his right hand as far as he could out of the window. His Mamma asked what he was doing; and he replied that he was trying to catch some drops of rain to feel if they were warm. After trying for some time, he caught a few drops. "No; they are not warm," said he: "how, then, can they melt the snow? I know that the warm nursery, and the warm chimney-piece, and the warm sunbeams, melted my snowball; but how can these drops of rain, which feel quite cold to my hand, melt the snow?"
"The rain feels cold to your hand, because your hand is warmer than the rain; but it would feel warm to the snow, if snow could feel," said Mamma, laughing, "because the snow is colder than the rain."
Mamma then took a little snow, and put it into Willy's left hand, and asked him which felt warmest, the snow or the rain.
"Oh, they are both cold," said Willy; "but the rain is not so cold as the snow."
"That is to say, the rain is the warmer of the two," said his Mamma: "and, being the warmer, it thaws the snow; and the warm air which you felt blowing in at the window thaws the snow also."
"And if the sun shone, that would thaw the snow too, Mamma?"
"Yes," answered Mamma. She then showed Willy a great number of carts, and of men who were very busy shovelling up the snow, which they put into the carts; and as soon as one of the carts was full, the driver cried out, "Gee-ho, Dobbin!" and the horse trotted off with the load of snow.
"I think those men are very foolish," said Willy, "to take so much trouble to carry away the snow: if they would but wait a little, till the warm air, and the rain, and the sunshine had melted it into water, it would run away of itself, as the water runs down the gutters in the street."
"I am afraid, Willy," said his Mamma,
"if the men heard you they would say,
'That little boy must be very foolish to
think he knows better than grown-up men;
and to fancy that we should do all this
hard work if it was not wanted. I think
it would be better to ask the reason why
we take away the
"Why, then, Mamma?" said Willy, colouring at having made so silly a speech.
"Because, my dear, when all this snow is melted, it will make such a great quantity of water that the gutters will not be large enough to hold it; so it would overflow all the streets, and run down the areas into the kitchens, and the kitchens would get half full of water. What would the cook say to that, do you think, Willy?"
"Perhaps, she would cry out that she was afraid of being drowned, Mamma."
"Oh, no; she would get all her pots and kettles, and fill them with water, to empty the kitchen. Well, but don't you think it better all those poor men should carry away the snow before it melts?"
"Oh, yes," replied Willy; "only the poor men must be sadly tired, it seems such hard work. I am sure, if I was helping them with my little spade, I should give up before now, I should be so tired."
"But those men are much older and much stronger than you, Willy; so they are not tired so easily as you would be. Then, when you work it is to amuse yourself, and when you are tired you leave off; but these men work to get money: they are paid for the hard work they do."
"And what do they want money for, Mamma? They are too big to play with toys; so I think they would not go to the toy-shop to buy toys."
"They want the money for things that men want as well as children; they buy meat and potatoes for their dinner, and milk and bread for their little children's breakfast and supper: so they are very glad to work that they may earn money to buy food for themselves and their children; and the more they work, the more money they get."
"And the more dinner they can buy," said Willy: "so I don't wonder now that they work so hard, and that they don't leave off even if they are a little tired."
Willy now observed that the icicles, which hung down from the roofs of the houses and the doorways, were all dripping with wet. "Ah! the rain and the air is melting them, I suppose," said he; "and, as they melt, the water comes, dribble, dribble, from them: they will be all gone soon, like my snowball."
An eagle, swooping down on powerful wings, seized a lamb in her talons and made off with it to her nest. A Jackdaw saw the deed, and his silly head was filled with the idea that he was big and strong enough to do as the Eagle had done. So with much rustling of feathers and a fierce air, he came down swiftly on the back of a large Ram. But when he tried to rise again he found that he could not get away, for his claws were tangled in the wool. And so far was he from carrying, away the Ram, that the Ram hardly noticed he was there.
The Shepherd saw the fluttering jackdaw and at once guessed what had happened. Running up, he caught the bird and clipped its wings. That evening he gave the Jackdaw to his children.
"What a funny bird this is!" they said laughing, "what do you call it, father?"
"That is a jackdaw, my children. But if you should ask him, he would say he is an Eagle."
Do not let your vanity make you overestimate your powers.
"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail,
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle—will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?
"You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!"
But the snail replied, "Too far, too far!" and gave a look askance—
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance,
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.
"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly friend replied,
"There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France—
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"
WEEK 7 |
She spoke to the Giant who was still rattling the chain at the beasts. "Mighty man," said she, "would you let me wash myself?"
"Wash yourself and then come with me," said the Giant. "But I won't let you go out to get the water." He stepped outside the door and came back with a basin of rain-water. "Wash now," he said, "and come with me to the fastness where my nine and twenty other maids are kept."
She took the basin from him and left it down on the low bench. She stood there not knowing what next to do. And the Giant went to the door as before and made the beasts that were outside yelp and howl with the sight of the chain he held.
And now the two starlings flew down and lighted on the rim of the basin. They began to splash themselves with water. They flew into the basin and splashed louder and louder. Then she knew how the starlings were trying to help her. They would keep splashing and splashing while she stole away from the Giant.
The back door was shut by a bolt of wood that was within her reach. She put up her hands and laid them on the bolt. Louder and louder the starlings splashed in the basin. She pushed the bolt back slowly. She drew the door towards her. With more and more noise the birds splashed in the water.
She opened the door a little way. She stepped out and closed the door behind her. She stopped to listen. She heard the starlings in the basin of water splashing and splashing and splashing.
And then Girl-go-with-the-Goats ran on, ran on. Far, far she went before she stopped to drink at a stream or pick a berry. Along a pathway in a wood she went, fearful because she did not know where she was going.
It was then she heard two magpies discoursing to one another in human language: "When was your tongue split with a silver sixpence so that you were made able to speak in men's language?" said one to the other.
"It was before the night of the great wind," said the second magpie. "That same great wind blew myself and my cage away and ever since I'm in these woods. And when was your tongue split?"
"Mine was split before the battle in the sky was seen," said the first magpie. "The people in the house ran out to see the same battle and I hopped off my perch and came away."
"And when you want to speak human words to whom do you go?" said the second magpie.
"Oh, to no one else but the Woman of a Thousand Years," said the first magpie. "Her house is down by this pathway."
"I go to talk to the Little Green Man of the Mountain," said the second magpie. The two went hopping off together.
Girl-go-with-the-Goats went along the path that the first magpie had spoken of. She did not go far before she saw a small black house deep-sunken in the earth, with elder-bushes growing around it. The door of the house was open, and she stole up so that she might first look to see who was within.
An old woman was there spinning threads of grey on a spindle. The only garment she had on was a Cloak of Crow-feathers. She went in on the doorway. "Good evening," said she to the old woman.
The old woman in the Crow-feather Cloak looked at her from under her grey eyebrows. "Good evening, girl that I remember," she said.
"May I come in and rest myself?" said Girl-go-with-the-Goats.
"Come in and rest yourself," said the Woman of a Thousand Years.
Girl-go-with-the-Goats came into that little house, and oh, but her heart was rested to be within a house that was not fearful to her. She sat down on a stool, and the moment she did she began to think of her step-mother's Goats. Where were they, and who was minding them to-day?
"Girl that I remember, would you eat or drink?" said the Woman of a Thousand Years.
"I would take a drink of milk if you could spare it," said Girl-go-with-the-Goats.
"There's no milk in the house, but this may do as well," said the old woman. She brought the girl a bowl of elder-berry wine; dark-red and sharp-smelling it was. She drank the bowl of wine and the fears that she still had began to go away from her.
And then the two starlings flew into the house and lighting on the window sill behind her began to sing loudly and joyfully. Oh, it was well to be here in this house, with the bowl in her hands and the two starlings singing. She laid her head against the wall, and no sooner did she do this than she fell into slumber.
IT was now late in the afternoon. The sun was shining in the bright sky. The storm was at an end.
I began to look around me, to see what kind of place I was in. "Where shall I go?" I asked myself. "What shall I do?"
My clothes were still wet. I could dry them only by sitting in the sun.
I had nothing to eat or drink.
I had nothing about me but a knife, a pipe, and a little tobacco.
How could I live on this strange shore without shelter and without food?
The thought of this made me almost wild. I ran this way and that, like a madman.
Then I sat down and cried like a child.
I never felt so lonely as at that moment. I never felt so helpless and lost.
Soon I saw that night was coming on.
I thought: "What if there are wild beasts in the woods? They will come out in the darkness and find me here. And then how can I save myself from them?"
A little way from the shore I saw a tree. It stood all alone, with no other trees near it.
It was thick and bushy, with long thorns on its branches.
I walked out to look at it.
To my great joy I found a spring of fresh water bubbling out from among its roots.
I knelt down and took a long drink, for I was very thirsty. Then I climbed up into the tree.
The branches grew very close together. I found a place where I could rest, half sitting and half lying, with no danger of falling.
With my pocket knife I cut a strong stick about two feet long. This would be my weapon if any beast should find me in the night.
It was now quite dark. The only sound that I could hear was that of the waves breaking against the shore.
It seemed so good to be on dry land that I forgot every danger. I was so tired that I soon fell asleep. Never have I slept more soundly.
Listen, children, hear me tell,
Ten now tolls from the old church bell.
Once were given commandments ten,
To be always kept by men.
Naught avails that men should ward us,—
One will watch and One will guard us,
May He, of His boundless night,
Give unto us all "good night."
Listen, children, hear me tell,
Eleven now tolls from the old church bell.
Eleven Apostles went there forth,
Preaching truth through all the earth.
Listen, children, hear me tell,
Twelve now tolls from the old church bell.
Twelve hours day, and twelve hours night,
Time to order all things right.
Listen, children, hear me tell,
One now tolls from the old church bell.
One hath made the world, and He
Orders all things righteously.
Listen, children, hear me tell,
Two now strikes on the old church bell.
Two ways lie in each man's sight,—
May you, children, choose the right.
Listen, children, hear me tell,
Three now strikes on the old church bell.
Three times think when you're in doubt,
Ere you set your task about.
Listen, children, hear me tell,
Four now strikes on the old church bell.
Four sides hath the plowed field,—
May thy life, child, harvest yield.
Now the stars must fade away,
Quickly now will come the day:
Children, thank the bounteous Power
That doth guard you every hour.
Naught avails that man should ward you,
One doth watch and One doth guard you;
He hath, of His bounteous might,
Given unto you all "good night."
WEEK 7 |
"Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change."
I N this new century, the story of the world was the story of Rome herself, for she ruled over nearly all the world that was known to the men of these olden times.
Let us remember that we are still talking of two thousand years ago, though we have almost unconsciously glided from the era known as B.C.—that is, Before Christ—to that known as A.D., Anno Domini, the year of our Lord.
It is sometimes hard to realise all that had happened before this time in the far-off ages of long ago. And yet it is all so interesting and so vastly important. It shows us how earnest work and toil raised each nation in turn to a high position, and how the acquisition of wealth or the greed of conquest brought that nation low.
We must now see how Rome too,—"Golden Rome," as she was called by the poets of her day,—the Mistress of the World, fell, owing to her desire for wealth and display, indolence and luxury, and how great and terrible was her fall.
While the child Christ was growing up in his quiet home in the East, Cæsar Augustus was still ruling the great Roman world, of which Rome itself was the centre. Augustus did what he could to make Rome, the capital of the whole world, worthy of her name.
Like Pericles at Athens in the olden days, he built beautiful buildings and tried to make the city as famous as possible. Many races met within her gates, many languages were spoken in her streets. Eastern princes and wildly-clad Britons and Gauls, low-browed Egyptians and sunburnt Spaniards,—all might have been seen at this time in the Forum at Rome, together with the Romans and Greeks.
Anxious to communicate with all parts of his mighty empire, Augustus started the imperial post. At certain stations along the great military roads, which now stretched from Rome to Cadiz in Spain, as well as to the coasts of France and Holland, he established settlements. Officers and messengers, with horses and mules, were ready to ride off, at a moment's notice, with messages from the emperor, to those who were ruling provinces under him. Along these great roads the legions of Rome were continually marching to and from the provinces, their tall helmets flashing in the sunlight as they tramped along the paved roads to protect the interests of Rome in distant lands.
The "Queen of Roman Roads," as it was called, was that known as the Appian Way, along which passed the traffic between Rome and the South, extending to Brindisi. It was a splendid road, broad enough for two carriages to pass one another, and built of hard stones hewn smooth.
Thus the countries dependent on Rome could pour their produce into the Golden City; while on the other hand the famous Augustan roads, starting from the golden milestone in the Forum,—the very heart of the Empire,—carried Roman civilisation and life to the western limits of Europe.
Then there were Roman possessions across the sea.
The whole northern coast of Africa was hers, from Carthage to Alexandria. Alexandria was at this time second only to Rome itself: as a centre for commerce she stood at the head of all the cities in the world.
Egypt supplied Rome with grain, which was shipped from Alexandria; the traffic of the East and West met in her streets; she had the finest Greek library in the world, and she was famous for her scholars and merchants.
But the reign of the emperor Augustus was drawing to its end. He was an old man now, and he had reigned over the empire forty-five years.
There had been peace throughout the latter part of his reign, disturbed only by one battle. This was in Germany, when the Germans won a victory over the consul Varus. It preyed on the mind of the old emperor, and he would sit grieving over it, at times beating his head against the wall and crying "Varus, Varus, give me back my legions."
He was never the same again. He set his empire in order and prepared for death.
"Do you think I have played my part well on the stage of life?" he asked those who stood round him, as he arranged his grey hair and beard before a mirror which he had called for.
Compared with those that came after, he had indeed played his part well. The Romans delighted to honour him. They called the sixth month in the Roman year, August, after him, just as they had called the month before, July, after Julius Cæsar, and these names have lasted to this very day.
O NCE, on their way from school, two Greek boys began to quarrel.
"You are nobody!" said one. "Who is your father?"
"My father is Phoebus Apollo, god of the sun. He drives the four great horses of the day. He lights the earth and the heavens with his light, and I, Phaeton, am his son."
His comrade laughed loudly at his boast. He could not believe that the father of Phaeton, his schoolmate, was Apollo, the god of the sun. He called the other boys together and told them Phaeton's story. They crossed their fingers at him and made all manner of fun of the boy for pretending to be the son of a god.
Phaeton, his cheeks flaming with anger, ran home and burst into his mother's chamber. He told her what had happened.
"Is Apollo indeed my father?" he demanded. "How can I be sure, how can I find proof?"
"Is Apollo indeed my father?"
Clymene, his mother, smiled and drew him to her side. She told him again of the glories of Apollo, as she had often told him before.
"Soon," she said, "you will wish to go yourself to the land where the sun rises and find him where he sits on his throne of light, with the four seasons beside him and the hours and the days grouped near by. Why not journey there and see for yourself, and find proof that Apollo is your father?"
So, although Clymene grieved to have him leave her, she made him ready for the journey and bade him a loving farewell.
He traveled many days through gray and barren lands, over mountains and across streams, until at length he reached the land of the rising sun and saw afar off the flaming light which glowed about the palace of his father.
As he drew nearer he saw that the columns of the palace were of gold and ivory, upholding a jeweled roof. The steps leading to the entrance shone with every kind of precious stone.
Phaeton entered the palace, and there on his golden throne in the great central hall, surrounded by a wonderful white light, he saw Apollo, clad in pale purple, beautiful and dazzling.
On the sun god's right stood Spring, her head crowned with flowers, and Summer, with poppies in her hair. On his left stood Autumn, wreathed in grapes, and aged Winter, bowed over with the weight of ice and snow.
Apollo looked down and saw the boy as he drew near, his hand shielding his eyes. He knew in a moment that this was his son Phaeton, and laid aside the rays that shone about his head, so that Phaeton might not be blinded by their brightness.
"O light of the boundless world, Phoebus, my father!" Phaeton cried. "If you are indeed my parent, give me some proof by which I may be known as your son."
Apollo stretched out his hand to Phaeton and drew him nearer. He looked at him, so straight and brave and young, and the sun god was proud of him.
"My son," he said, "for proof, ask of me what you wish and it shall be given."
Phaeton at once thought of the chariot of the sun. He pictured himself riding across the sky holding the reins of his father's horses. He imagined the amazement of his friends if they could see him.
"Let me for one day drive the chariot of the sun," he answered. "Let me ride from morning until evening through the clouds in your chariot, holding the reins of your four horses."
Apollo was sorry that he had made Phaeton so rash a promise, and begged him to choose something else. He reminded the boy that he was not yet grown, and that he was only mortal. He told of the dreadful dangers that every day surrounded the chariot on both its upward and its downward path.
"The first part of the way," he said, "is so steep that the horses can barely climb it, and the last part descends so rapidly that I can hardly hold them. Besides, the heaven itself is always turning, hurrying with it the stars, and always I am afraid lest it sweep me from the chariot and carry the horses from the road. The way leads through the abode of frightful monsters. You must pass the horns of the Bull, the Lion's jaws, the Scorpion, and the Crab.
"O Phaeton," he begged, "look around the world and choose whatever you wish that is precious, whether in the sea or in the midst of the earth, and it shall be yours; but give up this longing to drive my chariot, which can mean only death to you, and destruction."
"No," said Phaeton, "I do not care for anything either in the sea or on the earth. I want only to drive the chariot of Phoebus, my father."
So Phoebus Apollo sadly led the way to the chariot. It was of gold, with a seat of jewels, and around it flamed such a blaze of light that for a moment Phaeton feared to go nearer, it seemed so fiery and scorching.
Rosy-fingered Dawn threw open the silver doors of the East, and there before him Phaeton saw the stars fading away, and the moon, her nightly journey finished, hurrying from the sky. The four great chargers were led from their stalls, and Phaeton cried out in delight as he saw their arched necks and stamping feet. Fire poured from their nostrils, and their hoofs were shod with light.
Phoebus bathed the boy's face with a powerful oil so that he would not be burned, set the rays of the sun on his head, and bade him hold tight to the reins, keep to the middle of the road, and follow the tracks of the wheels.
"Go not too high," he warned, "or you will burn the heavenly dwellings; nor too low, or you will set the earth on fire."
Phaeton joyfully grasped the reins and, holding his head high with delight and pride, rode into the purple path of the morning sky.
The horses darted forward with mighty strength and scattered the clouds. Soon they felt that the touch on the reins was not their master's, but a lighter one, and that the chariot itself was not so heavy. So, filling the air with their fiery snorting, they sped on faster and faster, while Phaeton tried to hold them back.
They left the traveled road and dashed headlong in among the stars. Phaeton was borne along like the petal of a flower by the wind, and knew not how to guide his fiery steeds.
The horses left the traveled road and dashed headlong in among the stars.
Looking down, he saw the earth spreading below, and his knees grew weak with fright. He wished that he had never left his mother or asked to drive the chariot of the sun.
Around him on every side were the monsters of the sky. The Scorpion reached his great claws toward the chariot as it passed, and Phaeton dropped the reins.
The Scorpion reached his great claws toward the chariot.
The horses galloped off into unknown regions of the sky, now high up toward the abode of the gods, now downward, so close to the earth that the mountains caught fire, the Alps covered with snow grew hot, and the Apennines flamed.
The earth cracked open. Grassy plains were scorched into deserts. Even the sea shrank, and the fishes and water nymphs hurried down to the deepest parts of the ocean.
So terrible was the heat that Mother Earth cried out to Jupiter, "O ruler of the gods, I can no more supply fruits for men, or herbage for cattle, and my brother Ocean suffers with me. Your own heaven is smoking, and your clouds are on fire. If sea, earth, and heaven burn, we fall again into Chaos. Oh, take thought for our deliverance!"
Then Jupiter mounted the tower on Olympus, from which he shook his thunderbolts and his forked lightning. He hurled a mighty bolt at the chariot and poured rain on the smoking earth until the fires were extinguished.
Poor Phaeton, still clinging to the reeling chariot as it swayed across the sky, was struck by Jupiter's thunderbolt and, his hair on fire, fell headlong like a streak of lightning into the river Eridanus, which soothed him and cooled his burning body.
I know a little cupboard,
With a teeny tiny key,
And there's a jar of Lollypops
For me, me, me.
It has a little shelf, my dear,
As dark as dark can be,
And there's a dish of Banbury Cakes
For me, me, me.
I have a small fat grandmamma,
With a very slippery knee,
And she's the Keeper of the Cupboard
With the key, key, key.
And when I'm very good, my dear,
As good as good can be,
There's Banbury Cakes, and Lollypops
For me, me, me.
WEEK 7 |
Aunt Abigail was gone, Eleanor was gone. The room was quite empty except for the bright sunshine pouring in through the small-paned windows. Elizabeth Ann stretched and yawned and looked about her. What funny wall-paper it was—so old-fashioned looking! The picture was of a blue river and a brown mill, with green willow-trees over it, and a man with sacks on his horse's back stood in front of the mill. This picture was repeated a great many times, all over the paper; and in the corner, where it hadn't come out even, they had had to cut it right down the middle of the horse. It was very curious-looking. She stared at it a long time, waiting for somebody to tell her when to get up. At home Aunt Frances always told her, and helped her get dressed. But here nobody came. She discovered that the heat came from a hole in the floor near the bed, which opened down into the room below. From it came a warm breath of baking bread and a muffled thump once in a while.
The sun rose higher and higher, and Elizabeth Ann grew hungrier and hungrier. Finally it occurred to her that it was not absolutely necessary to have somebody tell her to get up. She reached for her clothes and began to dress. When she had finished she went out into the hall, and with a return of her aggrieved, abandoned feeling (you must remember that her stomach was very empty) she began to try to find her way downstairs. She soon found the steps, went down them one at a time, and pushed open the door at the foot. Cousin Ann, the brown-haired one, was ironing near the stove. She nodded and smiled as the child came into the room, and said, "Well, you must feel rested!"
"Oh, I haven't been asleep!" explained Elizabeth Ann. "I was waiting for somebody to tell me to get up."
"Oh," said Cousin Ann, opening her black eyes a little. "Were you?" She said no more than this, but Elizabeth Ann decided hastily that she would not add, as she had been about to, that she was also waiting for somebody to help her dress and do her hair. As a matter of fact, she had greatly enjoyed doing her own hair—the first time she had ever tried it. It had never occurred to Aunt Frances that her little baby-girl had grown up enough to be her own hairdresser, nor had it occurred to Elizabeth Ann that this might be possible. But as she struggled with the snarls she had had a sudden wild idea of doing it a different way from the pretty fashion Aunt Frances always followed. Elizabeth Ann had always secretly envied a girl in her class whose hair was all tied back from her face, with one big knot in her ribbon at the back of her neck. It looked so grown-up. And this morning she had done hers that way, turning her neck till it ached, so that she could see the coveted tight effect at the back. And still—aren't little girls queer?—although she had enjoyed doing her own hair, she was very much inclined to feel hurt because Cousin Ann had not come to do it for her.
She had greatly enjoyed doing her own hair.
Cousin Ann set her iron down with the soft thump which Elizabeth Ann had heard upstairs. She began folding a napkin, and said: "Now reach yourself a bowl off the shelf yonder. The oatmeal's in that kettle on the stove and the milk is in the blue pitcher. If you want a piece of bread and butter, here's a new loaf just out of the oven, and the butter's in that brown crock."
Elizabeth Ann followed these instructions and sat down before this quickly assembled breakfast in a very much surprised silence. At home it took the girl more than half an hour to get breakfast and set the table, and then she had to wait on them besides. She began to pour the milk out of the pitcher and stopped suddenly. "Oh, I'm afraid I've taken more than my share!" she said apologetically.
Cousin Ann looked up from her rapidly moving iron, and said, in an astonished voice: "Your share? What do you mean?"
"My share of the quart," explained Elizabeth Ann. At home they bought a quart of milk and a cup of cream every day, and they were all very conscientious about not taking more than their due share.
"Good land, child, take all the milk you want!" said Cousin Ann, as though she found something shocking in what the little girl had just said. Elizabeth Ann thought to herself that she spoke as though milk ran out of a faucet, like water.
She was fond of milk, and she made a very good breakfast as she sat looking about the low-ceilinged room. It was unlike any room she had ever seen.
It was, of course, the kitchen, and yet it didn't seem possible that the same word could be applied to that room and the small, dark cubby-hole which had been Grace's asthmatical kingdom. This room was very long and narrow, and all along one side were windows with white, ruffled curtains drawn back at the sides, and with small, shining panes of glass, through which the sun poured a golden flood of light on a long shelf of potted plants that took the place of a window-sill. The shelf was covered with shining white oil-cloth, the pots were of clean reddish brown, the sturdy, stocky plants of bright green with clear red-and-white flowers. Elizabeth Ann's eyes wandered all over the kitchen from the low, white ceiling to the clean, bare wooden floor, but they always came back to those sunny windows. Once, back in the big brick school-building, as she had sat drooping her thin shoulders over her desk, some sort of a procession had gone by with a brass band playing a lively air. For some queer reason, every time she now glanced at that sheet of sunlight and the bright flowers she had a little of the same thrill which had straightened her back and gone up and down her spine while the band was playing. Possibly Aunt Frances was right, after all, and Elizabeth Ann was a very impressionable child. I wonder, by the way, if anybody ever saw a child who wasn't.
At one end, the end where Cousin Ann was ironing, stood the kitchen stove, gleaming black, with a tea-kettle humming away on it, a big hot-water boiler near it, and a large kitchen cabinet with lots of drawers and shelves and hooks and things. Beyond that, in the middle of the room, was the table where they had had supper last night, and at which the little girl now sat eating her very late breakfast; and beyond that, at the other end of the room, was another table with an old dark-red cashmere shawl on it for a cover. A large lamp stood in the middle of this, a bookcase near it, two or three rocking-chairs around it, and back of it, against the wall, was a wide sofa covered with bright cretonne, with three bright pillows. Something big and black and woolly was lying on this sofa, snoring loudly. As Cousin Ann saw the little girl's fearful glance alight on this she explained: "That's Shep, our old dog. Doesn't he make an awful noise! Mother says, when she happens to be alone here in the evening, it's a real company to hear Shep snore—as good as having a man in the house."
Although this did not seem at all a sensible remark to Elizabeth Ann, who thought soberly to herself that she didn't see why snoring made a dog as good as a man, still she was acute enough (for she was really quite an intelligent little girl) to feel that it belonged in the same class of remarks as one or two others she had noted as "queer" in the talk at Putney Farm last night. This variety of talk was entirely new to her, nobody in Aunt Harriet's conscientious household ever making anything but plain statements of fact. It was one of the "queer Putney ways" which Aunt Harriet had forgotten to mention. It is possible that Aunt Harriet had never noticed it.
When Elizabeth Ann finished her breakfast, Cousin Ann made three suggestions, using exactly the same accent for them all. She said: "Wouldn't you better wash your dishes up now before they get sticky? And don't you want one of those red apples from the dish on the side table? And then maybe you'd like to look around the house so's to know where you are." Elizabeth Ann had never washed a dish in all her life, and she had always thought that nobody but poor, ignorant people, who couldn't afford to hire girls, did such things. And yet (it was odd) she did not feel like saying this to Cousin Ann, who stood there so straight in her gingham dress and apron, with her clear, bright eyes and red cheeks. Besides this feeling, Elizabeth Ann was overcome with embarrassment at the idea of undertaking a new task in that casual way. How in the world did you wash dishes? She stood rooted to the spot, irresolute, horribly shy, and looking, though she did not know it, very clouded and sullen. Cousin Ann said briskly, holding an iron up to her cheek to see if it was hot enough: "Just take them over to the sink there and hold them under the hot-water faucet. They'll be clean in no time. The dish-towels are those hanging on the rack over the stove."
Elizabeth Ann moved promptly over to the sink, as though Cousin Ann's words had shoved her there, and before she knew it, her saucer, cup, and spoon were clean and she was wiping them on a dry checked towel. "The spoon goes in the side-table drawer with the other silver, and the saucer and cup in those shelves there behind the glass doors where the china belongs," continued Cousin Ann, thumping hard with her iron on a napkin and not looking up at all, "and don't forget your apple as you go out. Those Northern Spies are just getting to be good about now. When they first come off the tree in October you could shoot them through an oak plank."
Now Elizabeth Ann knew that this was a foolish thing to say, since of course an apple never could go through a board; but something that had always been sound asleep in her brain woke up a little, little bit and opened one eye. For it occurred dimly to Elizabeth Ann that this was a rather funny way of saying that Northern Spies were very hard when you first pick them in the autumn. She had to figure it out for herself very slowly, because it was a new idea to her, and she was halfway through her tour of inspection of the house before there glimmered on her lips, in a faint smile, the first recognition of humor in all her life. She felt a momentary impulse to call down to Cousin Ann that she saw the point, but before she had taken a single step toward the head of the stairs she had decided not to do this. Cousin Ann, with her bright, dark eyes, and her straight back, and her long arms, and her way of speaking as though it never occurred to her that you wouldn't do just as she said—Elizabeth Ann was not very sure that she liked Cousin Ann, and she was very sure that she was afraid of her.
So she went on, walking from one room to another, industriously eating the red apple, the biggest she had ever seen. It was the best, too, with its crisp, white flesh and the delicious, sour-sweet juice which made Elizabeth Ann feel with each mouthful like hurrying to take another. She did not think much more of the other rooms in the house than she had of the kitchen. There were no draped "throws" over anything; there were no lace curtains at the windows, just dotted Swiss like the kitchen; all the ceilings were very low; the furniture was all of dark wood and very old-looking; what few rugs there were were of bright-colored rags; the mirrors were queer and old, with funny old pictures at the top; there wasn't a brass bed in any of the bedrooms, just old wooden ones with posts, and curtains round the tops; and there was not a single plush portière in the parlor, whereas at Aunt Harriet's there had been two sets for that one room.
"A PLAGUE upon Old Mr. Toad!" grumbled Jimmy, as he ambled up the Lone Little Path through the Green Forest on his way to the hill where Prickly Porky lives. "Of course I'm not afraid, but just the same I don't like meddling with things I don't know anything about. I'm not afraid of anybody I know of, because everybody has the greatest respect for me, but it might be different with a creature without legs or head or tail. Whoever heard of such a thing? It gives me a queer feeling inside."
However, he kept right on, and as he reached the foot of the hill where Prickly Porky lives, he looked sharply in every direction and listened with all his might for strange sounds. But there was nothing unusual to be seen. The Green Forest looked just as it always did. It was very still and quiet there save for the cheerful voice of Redeye the Vireo telling over and over how happy he was.
"That doesn't sound as if there were any terrible stranger around here," muttered Jimmy.
Then he heard a queer, grunting sound, a very queer sound, that seemed to come from somewhere on the top of the hill. Jimmy grinned as he listened. "That's Prickly Porky telling himself how good his dinner tastes," laughed Jimmy. "Funny how some people do like to hear their own voices."
The contented sound of Prickly Porky's voice made Jimmy feel very sure that there could be nothing very terrible about just then, anyway, and so he slowly ambled up the hill, for you know he never hurries. It was an easy matter to find the tree in which Prickly Porky was at work stripping off bark and eating it, because he made so much noise.
"Hello!" said Jimmy Skunk.
Prickly Porky took no notice. He was so busy eating, and making so much noise about it, that he didn't hear Jimmy at all.
"Hello!" shouted Jimmy a little louder. "Hello, there! Are you deaf?" Of course this wasn't polite at all, but Jimmy was feeling a little out of sorts because he had had to make this call. This time Prickly Porky looked down.
"Hello yourself, and see how you like it, Jimmy Skunk!" he cried. "Come on up and have some of this nice bark with me." Then Prickly Porky laughed at his own joke, for he knew perfectly well that Jimmy couldn't climb, and that he wouldn't eat bark if he could.
Jimmy made a face at him. "Thank you, I've just dined. Come down here where I can talk to you without straining my voice," he replied.
"Wait until I get another bite," replied Prickly Porky, stripping off a long piece of bark. Then with this to chew on, he came half way down the tree and made himself comfortable on a big limb. "Now, what is it you've got on your mind?" he demanded.
At once Jimmy told him the queer story Peter Rabbit had told. "I've been sent up here to find out if you have seen this legless, headless, tailless creature. Have you?" he concluded.
Prickly Porky slowly shook his head. "No," said he. "I've been right here all the time, and I haven't seen any such creature."
"That's all I want to know," replied Jimmy. "Peter Rabbit's got something the matter with his eyes, and I'm going straight back to the Old Briar-patch to tell him so. Much obliged." With that Jimmy started back the way he had come, grumbling to himself.
Small service is true service while it lasts.
Of humblest friends, bright creature! scorn not one:
The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun.
WEEK 7 |
Joshua xxii: 1, to xxiv: 33.
HEN the war for the conquest of Canaan was ended, and the tribes were about to leave for their places in the land, Joshua broke up the camp at Gilgal, which had been the meeting place of the Israelites through all the war.
You remember that two of the tribes and half of another tribe had received their land on the east of Jordan (see Story 33), but their soldiers crossed the Jordan with the men of the other tribes. Joshua now called these soldiers, and said to them:
"You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you; you have stood faithfully by your brothers of the other tribes; and now the time has come for you to go back to your wives and your children in your own tribe-lands on the other side of Jordan. Go to your homes, where your wives and children are waiting for you. Only remember always to keep the commandments of the Lord, and be true to the Lord, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul."
Then Joshua gave them the blessing of the Lord, and sent them away. They left Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was standing, and came to the river Jordan. There on a great rock where it could be seen from far, they built a high altar of stone.
The altar which stood as a witness.
Soon it was told among the tribes that the men of the two tribes and a half-tribe had built for themselves an altar. God had commanded the people to have but one altar for all the tribes and one high-priest, and one offering for all the tribes upon the altar. This was for the purpose of keeping all the people together, as one family, with one worship.
The people of Israel were greatly displeased when they found that these tribes had built an altar, while there was already one altar for all the tribes at Shiloh. They were almost ready to go to war against the tribes on the east of the Jordan on account of this altar.
But before going to war they sent one of the priests, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, and with him ten of the princes of Israel, one from each tribe, to ask the men of the tribes on the east for what purpose they had built this altar. These men came to the men of Reuben and Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them:
"What is this that you have done in building for yourselves an altar? Do you mean to turn away from the Lord and set up your own gods? Have you forgotten how God was made angry when Israel worshipped other gods? Do not show yourselves rebels against God by building an altar while God's altar is standing at Shiloh."
Then the men of the two tribes and a half answered:
"The Lord, the only God, he knows that we have not built this altar for the offering of sacrifices. Let the Lord himself be our judge, that we have done no wrong. We have built this altar so that our children may see it, standing as it stands on your side of the river and not on our side: and then we can say to them, 'Let that altar remind you that we are all one people, we and the tribes on the other side of Jordan.' This altar stands as a witness between us that we are all one people and worship the one Lord God of Israel."
Then the princes of the nine tribes and a half were satisfied. They were pleased when they knew that it was an altar for witness and not for offerings. They named the altar Ed, a word which means witness. "For," they said, "it is a witness between us that the Lord is our God, the God of us all."
Joshua was now a very old man, more than a hundred years old. He knew that he must soon die, and he wished to give to the people his last words. So he called the elders and rulers and judges of the tribes to meet him at Shechem, in the middle of the land and near his own home.
When they were all together before him, Joshua reminded them of all that God had done, for their fathers and for themselves. He told them the story of Abraham, how he left his home at God's call; the story of Jacob and his family going down to Egypt; and how after many years the Lord had brought them out of that land; how the Lord had led them through the wilderness and had given them the land where they were now living at peace. Joshua then said:
"You are living in cities that you did not build, and you are eating of vines and olive-trees that you did not plant. It is the Lord who has given you all these things. Now, therefore, fear the Lord, and serve him with all your hearts. And if any of you have any other gods, such as Abraham's father worshipped beyond the River, and as your fathers sometimes worshipped in Egypt, put them away, and serve the Lord only. And if you are not willing to serve the Lord, then choose this day whatever god you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Then the people answered Joshua:
"We will not turn away from the Lord to serve other gods; for the Lord brought us out of Egypt where we were slaves; and the Lord drove out our enemies before us; and the Lord gave us this land. We will serve the Lord, for he is the God of Israel."
"But," said Joshua, "you must remember that the Lord is very strict in his commands. He will be angry with you if you turn away from him after promising to serve him; and will punish you if you worship images, as the people do around you."
And the people said, "We pledge ourselves to serve the Lord, and the Lord only."
Then Joshua wrote down the people's promise in the book of the law, so that others might read it and remember it. And he set up a great stone under an oak-tree in Shechem, and he said:
"Let this stone stand as a witness between you and the Lord, that you have pledged yourselves to be faithful to him."
Then Joshua sent the people away to their tribe-lands, telling them not to forget the promise that they had made. After this Joshua died, at the age of a hundred and ten years. And as long as the people lived who remembered Joshua, the people of Israel continued serving the Lord.
NCE upon a time there was a wide river that ran into the ocean, and beside it was a little city. And in that city was a wharf where great ships came from far countries. And a narrow road led down a very steep hill to that wharf, and anybody that wanted to go to the wharf had to go down the steep hill on the narrow road, for there wasn't any other way. And because ships had come there for a great many years, and all the sailors and all the captains and all the men who had business with the ships had to go on that narrow road, the flagstones that made the sidewalks were much worn. That was a great many years ago.
The river and the ocean are there yet, as they always have been and always will be; and the city is there, but it is a different kind of a city from what it used to be. And the wharf is slowly falling down, for it is not used now; and the narrow road down the steep hill is all grown up with weeds and grass.
One day, in the long ago, the brig Industry lay at that wharf and Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob were in their office. The Industry had just come in, the day before, from her first voyage, and Captain Jacob was telling Captain Jonathan about it. He told what a good seaworthy vessel she was, but he didn't say much about that. Then he told how their affairs were going in that far country where he had been, and where most of the ships of Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob went. And then he asked Captain Jonathan if he had found a good captain for the Industry, and Captain Jonathan said he hadn't, and he was just as much bothered about that as ever.
"Well," said Captain Jacob, "I recommend the mate." And he told how the mate had got the ship loaded sooner than he had expected, and how he had got all the things to eat, and the water to drink. And Captain Jacob said that he had had his eye on the mate on the way home, and he saw that he was a good sailor and a capable man.
"All right," said Captain Jonathan. "If you're satisfied, I am." For he knew that Captain Jacob expected a good deal, and if any man had done more than Captain Jacob expected him to do, he must be a good man and a smart one.
So they sent for the mate. He was busy in getting ready to unload the ship, and he didn't like to be interrupted. But when the owners send for any man who is employed on the ships, that man has to go. So the mate went.
And he came into the office, which was near.
"Good morning," said Captain Jacob. "We have been looking for a captain for the Industry. We think you will be a good captain. Would you like the place?"
Then Mate Solomon was glad that he had been interrupted, and he said he would like the place, very much.
"Then we make you captain," said Captain Jacob, "and you draw captain's pay from to-day. But you will have to see to the unloading of the Industry and to getting her ready for another voyage."
And Captain Solomon said that he would be glad to see to those things as well as he was able to. And he thanked both Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob for making him a captain.
And Captain Jonathan smiled and said something nice about his being a good sailor and a capable man, but Captain Jacob didn't say anything nice.
"Good morning," said Captain Jacob, when Captain Jonathan had finished.
"Good morning," said Captain Solomon; and he was just going when Captain Jonathan called him back.
"Captain," said Captain Jonathan, "we should like to have you drink a glass of wine with us before you go; that is, if it pleases you."
And Captain Solomon said that he would feel honored to drink a glass of wine with Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob, and that he was very much obliged to them.
So Captain Jonathan called a servant and sent him down cellar for a bottle of old wine—their best. And the servant brought it, and wiped the neck of the bottle, for it was all covered with dust and cobwebs. And he drew the cork out, and wiped the mouth of the bottle and set it before Captain Jonathan. And he set three glasses beside it, and went away.
Then Captain Jonathan poured out the three glasses of wine, and he pushed one over to Captain Solomon and one to Captain Jacob. They were little slender glasses, and they had, each of them, cut in the glass, the picture of a leopard's head with what looked like the leg of an eagle above it; and the foot had its talons fixed in the leopard's fur, as if it was holding the head. It probably was not an eagle's leg, but it may have been a griffin's; for the leg of a griffin looks very much like the leg of an eagle, so far as anyone knows.
Captain Solomon took hold of his glass in a gingerly way, as if he was afraid that his great hand would break it. And Captain Jacob took hold of his glass as if it were a glass of water. And Captain Jonathan took hold of his glass as if he had an affection for it; which he may have had, for they were old glasses, and had belonged to his grandfather.
Then Captain Jonathan rose, and Captain Jacob and Captain Solomon rose, too.
"I drink to your very good health, Captain," said Captain Jonathan, when they were all standing. "And may all your voyages prove prosperous and be completed without misadventure."
Then Captain Jonathan bowed toward Captain Solomon and Captain Jacob bowed toward him; and Captain Solomon bowed in acknowledgment of their bows. And they all drank and emptied the glasses.
When the glasses were emptied, Captain Solomon said that he would like to propose a toast. And Captain Jonathan smiled and filled the glasses again. Then Captain Solomon proposed the health of his owners, that were Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob; and he said that he wished that all captains might have owners that were as nice as they were. And again Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob bowed toward Captain Solomon, and they all emptied their glasses again.
Then Captain Jonathan smiled once more and asked Captain Solomon if there was not another toast that he would like to propose. And Captain Solomon said that there was, but he had hesitated to propose it. And Captain Jonathan said that Captain Solomon was the only man of those three that were there who could propose it, and he hoped he would. So the glasses were filled again, and Captain Solomon proposed the health of the daughter of Captain Jonathan and the wife of Captain Jacob, Mistress Lois, who had just been on one long voyage in the ship he was to command. And he said some more things, praising Lois.
Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob both bowed toward Captain Solomon when he had said these things, and they drank their glasses of wine for the third time. But they were very small glasses and they didn't hold much; and it was the custom to drink a good deal of wine and of what is called spirits in those days. So Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob and Captain Solomon were none the worse for theirs.
Then Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob shook hands with Captain Solomon, and Captain Solomon went away, to see about the unloading of the Industry. And, as he went down that steep hill on the narrow road, he thought that the sun had never shone so brightly as it did on that day; and, as he looked at the Industry, that lay at the end of the wharf, with the men all busy about her, he thought that never had man commanded a better ship than he commanded.
And that's all.
When Little Claude was naughty wunst
At dinner-time, an' said
He won't say "Thank you" to his Ma,
She maked him go to bed
An' stay two hours an' not git up—
So when the clock struck Two,
Nen Claude says—"Thank you, Mr. Clock,
I'm much obleeged to you!"