WEEK 13 |
M ARY took the picture back to the house when she went to her supper and she showed it to Martha.
"Eh!" said Martha with great pride. "I never knew our Dickon was as clever as that. That there's a picture of a missel thrush on her nest, as large as life an' twice as natural."
Then Mary knew Dickon had meant the picture to be a message. He had meant that she might be sure he would keep her secret. Her garden was her nest and she was like a missel thrush. Oh, how she did like that queer, common boy!
She hoped he would come back the very next day and she fell asleep looking forward to the morning.
But you never know what the weather will do in Yorkshire, particularly in the springtime. She was awakened in the night by the sound of rain beating with heavy drops against her window. It was pouring down in torrents and the wind was "wuthering" round the corners and in the chimneys of the huge old house. Mary sat up in bed and felt miserable and angry.
"The rain is as contrary as I ever was," she said. "It came because it knew I did not want it."
She threw herself back on her pillow and buried her face. She did not cry, but she lay and hated the sound of the heavily beating rain, she hated the wind and its "wuthering." She could not go to sleep again. The mournful sound kept her awake because she felt mournful herself. If she had felt happy it would probably have lulled her to sleep. How it "wuthered" and how the big rain-drops poured down and beat against the pane!
"It sounds just like a person lost on the moor and wandering on and on crying," she said.
She had been lying awake turning from side to side for about an hour, when suddenly something made her sit up in bed and turn her head toward the door listening. She listened and she listened.
"It isn't the wind now," she said in a loud whisper. "That isn't the wind. It is different. It is that crying I heard before."
The door of her room was ajar and the sound came down the corridor, a far-off faint sound of fretful crying. She listened for a few minutes and each minute she became more and more sure. She felt as if she must find out what it was. It seemed even stranger than the secret garden and the buried key. Perhaps the fact that she was in a rebellious mood made her bold. She put her foot out of bed and stood on the floor.
"I am going to find out what it is," she said. "Everybody is in bed and I don't care about Mrs. Medlock—I don't care!"
There was a candle by her bedside and she took it up and went softly out of the room. The corridor looked very long and dark, but she was too excited to mind that. She thought she remembered the corners she must turn to find the short corridor with the door covered with tapestry—the one Mrs. Medlock had come through the day she lost herself. The sound had come up that passage. So she went on with her dim light, almost feeling her way, her heart beating so loud that she fancied she could hear it. The far-off faint crying went on and led her. Sometimes it stopped for a moment or so and then began again. Was this the right corner to turn? She stopped and thought. Yes it was. Down this passage and then to the left, and then up two broad steps, and then to the right again. Yes, there was the tapestry door.
She pushed it open very gently and closed it behind her, and she stood in the corridor and could hear the crying quite plainly, though it was not loud. It was on the other side of the wall at her left and a few yards farther on there was a door. She could see a glimmer of light coming from beneath it. The Someone was crying in that room, and it was quite a young Someone.
So she walked to the door and pushed it open, and there she was standing in the room!
It was a big room with ancient, handsome furniture in it. There was a low fire glowing faintly on the hearth and a night light burning by the side of a carved four-posted bed hung with brocade, and on the bed was lying a boy, crying fretfully.
Mary wondered if she was in a real place or if she had fallen asleep again and was dreaming without knowing it.
The boy had a sharp, delicate face the color of ivory and he seemed to have eyes too big for it. He had also a lot of hair which tumbled over his forehead in heavy locks and made his thin face seem smaller. He looked like a boy who had been ill, but he was crying more as if he were tired and cross than as if he were in pain.
Mary stood near the door with her candle in her hand, holding her breath. Then she crept across the room, and as she drew nearer the light attracted the boy's attention and he turned his head on his pillow and stared at her, his gray eyes opening so wide that they seemed immense.
"Who are you?" he said at last in a half-frightened whisper. "Are you a ghost?"
"No, I am not," Mary answered, her own whisper sounding half frightened. "Are you one?"
He stared and stared and stared. Mary could not help noticing what strange eyes he had. They were agate gray and they looked too big for his face because they had black lashes all round them.
"No," he replied after waiting a moment or so. "I am Colin."
"Who is Colin?" she faltered.
"I am Colin Craven. Who are you?"
"I am Mary Lennox. Mr. Craven is my uncle."
"He is my father," said the boy.
"Your father!" gasped Mary. "No one ever told me he had a boy! Why didn't they?"
"Come here," he said, still keeping his strange eyes fixed on her with an anxious expression.
She came close to the bed and he put out his hand and touched her.
"You are real, aren't you?" he said. "I have such real dreams very often. You might be one of them."
Mary had slipped on a woolen wrapper before she left her room and she put a piece of it between his fingers.
"Rub that and see how thick and warm it is," she said. "I will pinch you a little if you like, to show you how real I am. For a minute I thought you might be a dream too."
"Where did you come from?" he asked.
"From my own room. The wind wuthered so I couldn't go to sleep and I heard some one crying and wanted to find out who it was. What were you crying for?"
"Because I couldn't go to sleep either and my head ached. Tell me your name again."
"Mary Lennox. Did no one ever tell you I had come to live here?"
He was still fingering the fold of her wrapper, but he began to look a little more as if he believed in her reality.
"No," he answered. "They daren't."
"Why?" asked Mary.
"Because I should have been afraid you would see me. I won't let people see me and talk me over."
"Why?" Mary asked again, feeling more mystified every moment.
"Because I am like this always, ill and having to lie down. My father won't let people talk me over either. The servants are not allowed to speak about me. If I live I may be a hunchback, but I shan't live. My father hates to think I may be like him."
"Oh, what a queer house this is!" Mary said. "What a queer house! Everything is a kind of secret. Rooms are locked up and gardens are locked up—and you! Have you been locked up?"
"No. I stay in this room because I don't want to be moved out of it. It tires me too much."
"Does your father come and see you?" Mary ventured.
"Sometimes. Generally when I am asleep. He doesn't want to see me."
"Why?" Mary could not help asking again.
A sort of angry shadow passed over the boy's face.
"My mother died when I was born and it makes him wretched to look at me. He thinks I don't know, but I've heard people talking. He almost hates me."
"He hates the garden, because she died," said Mary half speaking to herself.
"What garden?" the boy asked.
"Oh! just—just a garden she used to like," Mary stammered. "Have you been here always?"
"Nearly always. Sometimes I have been taken to places at the seaside, but I won't stay because people stare at me. I used to wear an iron thing to keep my back straight, but a grand doctor came from London to see me and said it was stupid. He told them to take it off and keep me out in the fresh air. I hate fresh air and I don't want to go out."
"I didn't when first I came here," said Mary. "Why do you keep looking at me like that?"
"Because of the dreams that are so real," he answered rather fretfully. "Sometimes when I open my eyes I don't believe I'm awake."
"We're both awake," said Mary. She glanced round the room with its high ceiling and shadowy corners and dim firelight. "It looks quite like a dream, and it's the middle of the night, and everybody in the house is asleep—everybody but us. We are wide awake."
"I don't want it to be a dream," the boy said restlessly.
Mary thought of something all at once.
"If you don't like people to see you," she began, "do you want me to go away?"
He still held the fold of her wrapper and he gave it a little pull.
"No," he said. "I should be sure you were a dream if you went. If you are real, sit down on that big footstool and talk. I want to hear about you."
Mary put down her candle on the table near the bed and sat down on the cushioned stool. She did not want to go away at all. She wanted to stay in the mysterious hidden-away room and talk to the mysterious boy.
"What do you want me to tell you?" she said.
He wanted to know how long she had been at Misselthwaite; he wanted to know which corridor her room was on; he wanted to know what she had been doing; if she disliked the moor as he disliked it; where she had lived before she came to Yorkshire. She answered all these questions and many more and he lay back on his pillow and listened. He made her tell him a great deal about India and about her voyage across the ocean. She found out that because he had been an invalid he had not learned things as other children had. One of his nurses had taught him to read when he was quite little and he was always reading and looking at pictures in splendid books.
Though his father rarely saw him when he was awake, he was given all sorts of wonderful things to amuse himself with. He never seemed to have been amused, however. He could have anything he asked for and was never made to do anything he did not like to do.
"Every one is obliged to do what pleases me," he said indifferently. "It makes me ill to be angry. No one believes I shall live to grow up."
He said it as if he was so accustomed to the idea that it had ceased to matter to him at all. He seemed to like the sound of Mary's voice. As she went on talking he listened in a drowsy, interested way. Once or twice she wondered if he were not gradually falling into a doze. But at last he asked a question which opened up a new subject.
"How old are you?" he asked.
"I am ten," answered Mary, forgetting herself for the moment, "and so are you."
"How do you know that?" he demanded in a surprised voice.
"Because when you were born the garden door was locked and the key was buried. And it has been locked for ten years."
Colin half sat up, turning toward her, leaning on his elbows.
"What garden door was locked? Who did it? Where was the key buried?" he exclaimed as if he were suddenly very much interested.
"It—it was the garden Mr. Craven hates," said Mary nervously. "He locked the door. No one—no one knew where he buried the key."
"What sort of a garden is it?" Colin persisted eagerly.
"No one has been allowed to go into it for ten years," was Mary's careful answer.
But it was too late to be careful. He was too much like herself. He too had had nothing to think about and the idea of a hidden garden attracted him as it had attracted her. He asked question after question. Where was it? Had she never looked for the door? Had she never asked the gardeners?
"They won't talk about it," said Mary. "I think they have been told not to answer questions."
"I would make them," said Colin.
"Could you?" Mary faltered, beginning to feel frightened. If he could make people answer questions, who knew what might happen!
"Every one is obliged to please me. I told you that," he said. "If I were to live, this place would sometime belong to me. They all know that. I would make them tell me."
Mary had not known that she herself had been spoiled, but she could see quite plainly that this mysterious boy had been. He thought that the whole world belonged to him. How peculiar he was and how coolly he spoke of not living.
"Do you think you won't live?" she asked, partly because she was curious and partly in hope of making him forget the garden.
"I don't suppose I shall," he answered as indifferently as he had spoken before. "Ever since I remember anything I have heard people say I shan't. At first they thought I was too little to understand and now they think I don't hear. But I do. My doctor is my father's cousin. He is quite poor and if I die he will have all Misselthwaite when my father is dead. I should think he wouldn't want me to live."
"Do you want to live?" inquired Mary.
"No," he answered, in a cross, tired fashion. "But I don't want to die. When I feel ill I lie here and think about it until I cry and cry."
"I have heard you crying three times," Mary said, "but I did not know who it was. Were you crying about that?" She did so want him to forget the garden.
"I dare say," he answered. "Let us talk about something else. Talk about that garden. Don't you want to see it?"
"Yes," answered Mary, in quite a low voice.
"I do," he went on persistently. "I don't think I ever really wanted to see anything before, but I want to see that garden. I want the key dug up. I want the door unlocked. I would let them take me there in my chair. That would be getting fresh air. I am going to make them open the door."
He had become quite excited and his strange eyes began to shine like stars and looked more immense than ever.
"They have to please me," he said. "I will make them take me there and I will let you go, too."
Mary's hands clutched each other. Everything would be spoiled—everything! Dickon would never come back. She would never again feel like a missel thrush with a safe-hidden nest.
"Oh, don't—don't—don't—don't do that!" she cried out.
He stared as if he thought she had gone crazy!
"Why?" he exclaimed. "You said you wanted to see it."
"I do," she answered almost with a sob in her throat, "but if you make them open the door and take you in like that it will never be a secret again."
He leaned still farther forward.
"A secret," he said. "What do you mean? Tell me."
Mary's words almost tumbled over one another.
"You see—you see," she panted, "if no one knows but ourselves—if there
was a door, hidden somewhere under the ivy—if there was—and we could
find it; and if we could slip through it
together and shut it behind
us, and no one knew any one was inside and we called it our garden and
pretended that—that we were missel thrushes and it was our nest, and if
we played there almost every day and dug and planted seeds and made it
"Is it dead?" he interrupted her.
"It soon will be if no one cares for it," she went on. "The bulbs will
live but the
He stopped her again as excited as she was herself.
"What are bulbs?" he put in quickly.
"They are daffodils and lilies and snowdrops. They are working in the earth now—pushing up pale green points because the spring is coming."
"Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like? You don't see it in rooms if you are ill."
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth," said Mary. "If the garden was a secret and we could get into it we could watch the things grow bigger every day, and see how many roses are alive. Don't you see? Oh, don't you see how much nicer it would be if it was a secret?"
He dropped back on his pillow and lay there with an odd expression on his face.
"I never had a secret," he said, "except that one about not living to grow up. They don't know I know that, so it is a sort of secret. But I like this kind better."
"If you won't make them take you to the garden," pleaded Mary, "perhaps—I feel almost sure I can find out how to get in sometime. And then—if the doctor wants you to go out in your chair, and if you can always do what you want to do, perhaps—perhaps we might find some boy who would push you, and we could go alone and it would always be a secret garden."
"I should—like—that," he said very slowly, his eyes looking dreamy. "I should like that. I should not mind fresh air in a secret garden."
Mary began to recover her breath and feel safer because the idea of keeping the secret seemed to please him. She felt almost sure that if she kept on talking and could make him see the garden in his mind as she had seen it he would like it so much that he could not bear to think that everybody might tramp into it when they chose.
"I'll tell you what I think it would be like, if we could go into it," she said. "It has been shut up so long things have grown into a tangle perhaps."
He lay quite still and listened while she went on talking about the roses which might have clambered from tree to tree and hung down—about the many birds which might have built their nests there because it was so safe. And then she told him about the robin and Ben Weatherstaff, and there was so much to tell about the robin and it was so easy and safe to talk about it that she ceased to feel afraid. The robin pleased him so much that he smiled until he looked almost beautiful, and at first Mary had thought that he was even plainer than herself, with his big eyes and heavy locks of hair.
"I did not know birds could be like that," he said. "But if you stay in a room you never see things. What a lot of things you know. I feel as if you had been inside that garden."
She did not know what to say, so she did not say anything. He evidently did not expect an answer and the next moment he gave her a surprise.
"I am going to let you look at something," he said. "Do you see that rose-colored silk curtain hanging on the wall over the mantel-piece?"
Mary had not noticed it before, but she looked up and saw it. It was a curtain of soft silk hanging over what seemed to be some picture.
"Yes," she answered.
"There is a cord hanging from it," said Colin. "Go and pull it."
Mary got up, much mystified, and found the cord. When she pulled it the silk curtain ran back on rings and when it ran back it uncovered a picture. It was the picture of a girl with a laughing face. She had bright hair tied up with a blue ribbon and her gay, lovely eyes were exactly like Colin's unhappy ones, agate gray and looking twice as big as they really were because of the black lashes all round them.
"She is my mother," said Colin complainingly. "I don't see why she died. Sometimes I hate her for doing it."
"How queer!" said Mary.
"If she had lived I believe I should not have been ill always," he grumbled. "I dare say I should have lived, too. And my father would not have hated to look at me. I dare say I should have had a strong back. Draw the curtain again."
Mary did as she was told and returned to her footstool.
"She is much prettier than you," she said, "but her eyes are just like yours—at least they are the same shape and color. Why is the curtain drawn over her?"
He moved uncomfortably.
"I made them do it," he said. "Sometimes I don't like to see her looking at me. She smiles too much when I am ill and miserable. Besides, she is mine and I don't want every one to see her."
There were a few moments of silence and then Mary spoke.
"What would Mrs. Medlock do if she found out that I had been here?" she inquired.
"She would do as I told her to do," he answered. "And I should tell her that I wanted you to come here and talk to me every day. I am glad you came."
"So am I," said Mary. "I will come as often as I can, but"—she hesitated—"I shall have to look every day for the garden door."
"Yes, you must," said Colin, "and you can tell me about it afterward."
He lay thinking a few minutes, as he had done before, and then he spoke again.
"I think you shall be a secret, too," he said. "I will not tell them until they find out. I can always send the nurse out of the room and say that I want to be by myself. Do you know Martha?"
"Yes, I know her very well," said Mary. "She waits on me."
He nodded his head toward the outer corridor.
"She is the one who is asleep in the other room. The nurse went away yesterday to stay all night with her sister and she always makes Martha attend to me when she wants to go out. Martha shall tell you when to come here."
Then Mary understood Martha's troubled look when she had asked questions about the crying.
"Martha knew about you all the time?" she said.
"Yes; she often attends to me. The nurse likes to get away from me and then Martha comes."
"I have been here a long time," said Mary. "Shall I go away now? Your eyes look sleepy."
"I wish I could go to sleep before you leave me," he said rather shyly.
"Shut your eyes," said Mary, drawing her footstool closer, "and I will do what my Ayah used to do in India. I will pat your hand and stroke it and sing something quite low."
"I should like that perhaps," he said drowsily.
Somehow she was sorry for him and did not want him to lie awake, so she leaned against the bed and began to stroke and pat his hand and sing a very low little chanting song in Hindustani.
"That is nice," he said more drowsily still, and she went on chanting and stroking, but when she looked at him again his black lashes were lying close against his cheeks, for his eyes were shut and he was fast asleep. So she got up softly, took her candle and crept away without making a sound.
A BLACKSMITH was shoeing a horse.
"Shoe him quickly, for the king wishes to ride him to battle," said the groom who had brought him.
"Do you think there will be a battle?" asked the blacksmith.
"Most certainly, and very soon, too," answered the man. "The king's enemies are even now advancing, and all are ready for the fight. Today will decide whether Richard or Henry shall be king of England."
The smith went on with his work. From a bar of iron he made four horseshoes. These he hammered and shaped and fitted to the horse's feet. Then he began to nail them on.
But after he had nailed on two shoes, he found that he had not nails enough for the other two.
"I have only six nails," he said, "and it will take a little time to hammer out ten more."
"Oh, well," said the groom, "won't six nails do? Put three in each shoe. I hear the trumpets now. King Richard will be impatient."
"Three nails in each shoe will hold them on," said the smith. "Yes, I think we may risk it."
So he quickly finished the shoeing, and the groom hurried to lead the horse to the king.
The battle had been raging for some time. King Richard rode hither and thither, cheering his men and fighting his foes. His enemy, Henry, who wished to be king, was pressing him hard.
Far away, at the other side of the field, King Richard saw his men falling back. Without his help they would soon be beaten. So he spurred his horse to ride to their aid.
He was hardly halfway across the stony field when one of the horse's shoes flew off. The horse was lamed on a rock. Then another shoe came off. The horse stumbled, and his rider was thrown heavily to the ground.
Before the king could rise, his frightened horse, although lame, had galloped away. The king looked, and saw that his soldiers were beaten, and that the battle was everywhere going against him.
He waved his sword in the air. He shouted, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse."
But there was no horse for him. His soldiers were intent on saving themselves. They could not give him any help.
The battle was lost. King Richard was lost. Henry became king of England.
"For the want of a nail the shoe was lost;
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost;
For the want of a horse the battle was lost;
For the failure of battle the kingdom was lost;—
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."
Richard the Third was one of England's worst kings. Henry, the Duke of Richmond, made war upon him and defeated him in a great battle.
Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon:
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attained his noon.
Until the hasting day
But to the even-song:
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.
We have short time to stay as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain,
Or as the pearls of morning's dew
Ne'r to be found again.
WEEK 13 |
I T is said that Arthur not only drove the Saxons out of Britain, but that he conquered many parts of Europe, until at last he ruled over thirty kingdoms. Then for some years there was peace.
During these years, Arthur did much for his people. He taught them to love truth and goodness, and to be Christian and gentle. No king had ever been loved as Arthur was loved.
Liberal to each man, I ween,
Knight with the best, wondrous keen,
To the young he was as father,
To the old as comforter.
Wondrous stern to the unwise,
Wrong could he suffer nowise,
Right, dear exceeding was to him.
Now was Arthur right good king,
His folk and all peoples lovéd him.
In those fierce and
No noble thought himself perfect unless his armour, and clothes even, were made like those of Arthur's knights. No man thought himself worthy of love until, fighting for the right against the wrong, he had three times conquered an enemy.
Many pretty stories are told of Arthur and his gentle, courteous knights, although they did not learn all their gentleness and their courtesy at once, as you shall hear.
Upon an Easter Day, Arthur called together all his knights and nobles, from his many kingdoms, to a great feast. They came from far and near, kings, earls, barons and knights, gay in splendid clothes, glittering with jewels and gold.
As they waited for the King they laughed and talked together. But secretly each heart was full of proud thoughts. Each man thought himself nobler and grander than any of the others.
The tables were spread for the feast. They were covered with white silk cloths. Silver baskets piled with loaves, golden bowls and cups full of wine stood ready, and, as the knights and nobles talked and waited, they began to choose where they would sit.
In those days master and servants all sat together at the same table for meals. The master and his family sat at the top, and the servants and poor people at the bottom of the table. So it came to be considered that the seats near the top were the best. The further down the table any one sat, the less honour was paid him.
At this feast no servants nor poor people were going to sit at table, yet all the nobles wanted places at the top. "We will not sit in the seats of scullions and beggars," they said.
So they began to push each other aside, and to say, "Make way, this is my seat."
"Nay, I am more honourable than you. You must sit below me."
"How dare you? My name is more noble than yours. That is my seat."
"Give place, I say."
At first it was only words. Soon it came to blows. They had come to the feast unarmed, so they had only their hands with which to fight, but as they grew angrier and angrier, they seized the bowls of wine and threw them at each other. Next the loaves of bread and the gold and silver cups were thrown about, the tables and benches were overturned, howls and yells filled the hall, and everything was in dreadful confusion.
When the noise was at its worst, the door opened and the King appeared. His face was stern and grand as he looked down on the struggling, yelling crowd.
"Sit ye, sit ye down quickly, every man in the place where he is," he cried. "Whoso will not, he shall be put to death."
At the sound of their King's stern voice, the foolish nobles were filled with shame. Silently they sat down; the tables and benches were put back in their places and the feast began.
But Arthur was sad at heart. "How can I teach my people to be gentle and kind, if my knights will not even sit at meat in peace," he said to himself. Then as he sat sorrowfully wondering what he could do, Merlin came to him.
"Be not sad, O King," he said, "but listen to my advice. Tell your carpenters to make a great round table at which there shall be a place for every knight. Then there can be no more quarrelling. For at a round table there is neither top nor bottom, so no knight can say that he sits above or below another. All shall be equal."
Then Arthur was sad no longer. He did as Merlin advised, and had a great round table made, at which there was a seat for each one of his knights. After that there was no more quarrelling as to who should have the best place, for all were equal, and Arthur's knights became known as The Knights of the Round Table.
But, alas! the time of peace did not last. Again came days of war and strife. In a great and terrible battle, Arthur and nearly all his knights were killed. Once more the fierce heathen swept over the land, filling it with sorrow and bloodshed, and the glory and beauty of knighthood were forgotten in Britain.
But some people think that Arthur did not die. They say that when he was wounded so that he could fight no more, the wise fairies came to take him back to fairyland. They say that he is still there, and that some day he will come again.
Other people say the stories about Arthur and his knights
are not true, but at least we may believe that in those
Who reverenced his conscience as his king;
Whose glory was redressing human wrong;
Who spake no slander, no, nor listened to it,
Who loved one only and who clave to her.
T HERE is an open grassy field so crowded with flowers that the summer winds blowing over it are loaded with fragrance. A bobolink, gay in black and white and yellow, takes happy flights. He sings as he goes and his joyful music is like clear and sudden laughter. Then a meadowlark calls slowly a few sweet piping notes.
You do not need a map to tell you how to reach this place. It is along a pleasant country road that leads north or south or east or west. You can tell when you find it by the scent of the blossoms and by the songs of the birds and by the happy feeling you have when you look at it. Then you say, "Why, this must be Holiday Meadow!"—and sure enough it is!
Young dog, Sandy, knows one way to the meadow. He trots across a little brook on a rough bridge of old logs and planks. He looks back with a question and an invitation in his eyes. "Coming?" he seems to ask.
Sandy looks back with a question and an invitation in his eyes.
If you go with Sandy, he will be glad of your company for a while. Soon, however, he is likely to forget everything else in his hurry to find the nest of a mouse under a hummock of dry grass. Sandy would do well to be careful how he digs into that nest; for it may be that the mouse has moved out and that bumblebees have set up housekeeping there instead.
A crow flies scouting over the field. When he sees you he calls "Caw" several times in a way that seems to mean "Who comes here?"
Two little animals hear him and stand up on their hind legs while they look and listen and sniff. One is Wejack, the ground-hog, who presently slips into the doorway of his tunnel. The other is a rabbit with a quivery nose who decides to hide under the thorny tangle of blackberry branches by the pasture wall.
But Daisy, the young cow, does not heed the crow. She comes straight across the meadow to meet you. She likes boys and girls. When she was a little calf the children at Holiday Farm played with her and fed her. They named her "Daisy" for the white flowers with yellow centers that grow so thick in the field. Daisy, herself, does not care for these pretty blossoms. She much prefers the taste of grass.
The children named the young cow "Daisy."
Indeed Daisy takes little interest in many of the
meadow affairs. She does not wonder how the frothy
masses of bubbles come to be on the grass stems or what
may be inside of them. She does not guess what the
Black Swallowtail butterfly puts on the under side of a
caraway leaf. She never watches a slender green
grasshopper to see how he makes music with the edges of
his wings. She does not find out what happens
The field across which Daisy comes to meet you is full of puzzles. The more answers you can find by hunting and watching the better you will enjoy your holiday in a meadow.
Across the dimly lighted room
The violin drew wefts of sound,
Airily they wove and wound
And glimmered gold against the gloom.
I watched the music turn to light,
But at the pausing of the bow,
The web was broken and the glow
Was drowned within the wave of night.
WEEK 13 |
"N OW we come to the largest family of the Rodent order, the Rat family, which of course includes the Mice," said Old Mother Nature, after calling school to order at the old meeting-place. "And the largest member of the family reminds me very much of the one we learned about yesterday."
"I know!" cried Peter Rabbit. "You mean Jerry Muskrat."
"Go to the head of the class, Peter," said Old Mother Nature, smiling. "Jerry is the very one, the largest member of the Rat family. Sometimes he is spoken of as a little cousin of Paddy the Beaver. Probably this is because he looks something like a small Beaver, builds a house in the water as Paddy does, and lives in very much the same way. The truth is, he is no more closely related to Paddy than he is to the rest of you. He is a true Rat. He is called Muskrat because he carries with him a scent called musk. It is not an unpleasant scent, like that of Jimmy Skunk, and isn't used for the same purpose. Jerry uses his to tell his friends where he has been. He leaves a little of it at the places he visits. Some folks call him Musquash, but Muskrat is better.
He is the largest of American Rats. Note how his tail is flattened.
"Jerry is seldom found far from the water and then only when he is seeking a new home. He is rather slow and awkward on land; but in the water he is quite at home, as all of you know who have visited the Smiling Pool. He can dive and swim under water a long distance, though not as far as Paddy the Beaver."
"Has he webbed hind feet like Paddy?" piped up Jumper the Hare.
"Yes and no," replied Old Mother Nature. "They are not fully webbed as Paddy's are, but there is a little webbing between some of the toes, enough to be of great help in swimming. His tail is of greater use in swimming than is Paddy's. It is bare and scaly, but instead of being flat top and bottom it is flattened on the sides, and he uses it as a propeller, moving it rapidly from side to side.
"Like Paddy he has a dark brown outer coat, lighter underneath than on his back and sides, and like Paddy he has a very warm soft under coat, through which the water cannot get and which keeps him comfortable, no matter how cold the water is. You have all seen his house in the Smiling Pool. He builds it in much the same way that Paddy builds his, but instead of sticks he cuts and uses rushes. Of course it is not nearly as large as Paddy's house, because Jerry is himself so much smaller. It is arranged much the same, with a comfortable bedroom and one or more passages down to deep water. In winter Jerry spends much of his time in this house, going out only for food. Then he lives chiefly on lily roots and roots of other water plants, digging them up and taking them back to his house to eat. When the ice is clear you can sometimes see him swimming below."
"I know," spoke up Peter Rabbit. "Once I was crossing the Smiling Pool on the ice and saw him right under me."
"Jerry doesn't build dams, but he sometimes digs little canals along the bottom where the water isn't deep enough to suit him," continued Old Mother Nature. "Sometimes in the winter Jerry and Mrs. Jerry share their home with two or three friends. If there is a good bank Jerry usually has another home in that. He makes the entrance under water and then tunnels back and up for some distance, where he builds a snug little bedroom just below the surface of the ground where it is dry. Usually he has more than one tunnel leading to this, and sometimes an opening from above. This is covered with sticks and grass to hide it, and provides an entrance for fresh air.
"Jerry lives mostly on roots and plants, but is fond of mussels or
fresh-water clams, fish, some insects and, I am sorry to say, young
birds when he can catch them. Jerry could explain where some of
the babies of Mr. and
"Jerry and Mrs. Jerry have several families in a year, and Jerry
is a very good father, doing his share in caring for the babies.
He and Mrs. Jerry are rather social and enjoy visiting neighbors
of their own kind. Their voices are a sort of squeak, and you can
often hear them talking among the rushes in the early evening.
That is the hour they like best, though they are abroad during the
day when undisturbed. Man is their greatest enemy. He hunts and
traps them for their warm coats. But they have to watch out for
Hooty the Owl at night and for
"Jerry makes little landings of mud and rushes along the edge of the shore. On these he delights to sit to eat his meals. He likes apples and vegetables and sometimes will travel quite a distance to get them. Late in the summer he begins to prepare for winter by starting work on his house, if he is to have a new one. He is a good worker. There isn't a lazy bone in him. All things considered, Jerry is a credit to his family.
"But if Jerry is a credit to his family there is one of its members who is not and that is—who knows?"
"Robber the Brown Rat," replied Happy Jack Squirrel promptly. "I have often seen him around Farmer Brown's barn. Ugh! He is an ugly-looking fellow."
"And he is just as ugly as he looks," replied Old Mother Nature.
"There isn't a good thing I can say for him, not one. He doesn't
belong in this country at all. He was brought here by man, and
now he is found everywhere. He is sometimes called the Norway Rat
and sometimes the Wharf Rat and
"He lives chiefly around the homes of men,
and all his food is
stolen. That is why he is named Robber. He eats anything he can
find and isn't the least bit particular what it is or whether it
be clean or unclean. He gnaws into grain bins and steals the
grain. He gets into
Peter shivered. "I'm glad he sticks to the homes of men," said he.
"But he doesn't," declared Old Mother Nature. "Often in summer he moves out into the fields, digging burrows there and doing great damage to crops and also killing and eating any of the furred and feathered folk he can catch. But he is not fond of the light of day. His deeds are deeds of darkness, and he prefers dark places. He has very large families, sometimes ten or more babies at a time, and several families in a year. That is why his tribe has managed to overrun the Great World and why they cause such great damage. Worse than the harm they do with their teeth is the terrible harm they do to man by carrying dreadful diseases and spreading them—diseases which cause people to die in great numbers."
"Isn't Robber afraid of any one?" asked Peter.
"He certainly is," replied Old Mother Nature. "He is in deadly fear of one whom every one of you fears—Shadow the Weasel. One good thing I can say for Shadow is that he never misses a chance to kill a Rat. Wherever a Rat can go he can go, and once he finds a colony he hunts them until he has killed all or driven them away.
"When food becomes scarce, Robber and his family move on to where it is more plentiful. Often they make long journeys, a great number of them together, and do not hesitate to swim a stream that may be in their path."
"I've never seen Robber," said Peter. "What kind of a tail does he have?"
"I might have known you would ask that," laughed Old Mother Nature.
"It is long and slim and has no hair on it. His fur is very coarse
and harsh and is brown and gray. He has a close relative called
"What a dreadful thing—not to have a single friend," said Happy Jack.
"It is dreadful, very dreadful," replied Old
Mother Nature. "But
it is wholly his own fault. It shows what happens when one becomes
dishonest and bad at heart. The worst of it is Robber doesn't care.
When the Pilgrims first came to New England they found that the nearest tribe of Indians, the Wam-pa-no'-ags, of which Massasoit was chief, had been much reduced in number by a dreadful sickness. The bones of the dead lay bleaching on the ground.
The next neighbors to the Wampanoags were the Narragansetts. These had not been visited by the great sickness, but were as numerous and strong as ever. Massasoit was, therefore, very glad to have the English, with their strange guns and long swords, near him, to protect his people from the Narragansetts.
The two sons of Massasoit had been named by the white people Alexander and Philip, and they were very proud of their names. These young men remained friendly to the settlers for some time after their father's death. But many things made the Indians discontented. They readily sold their lands to the white people for blankets, hatchets, toys, and such things. The ground was all covered with woods, and, as they used it only for hunting, it was of little value. But when they saw how much the white men made out of it they wished to be paid over again.
Many of this tribe of Indians became Christians through the preaching of John Eliot, who was called "The Apostle to the Indians." These were called "praying Indians." They settled in villages and tried to live like white people, though they continued to dwell in bark houses, because they found that the easiest way to clean house was to leave the old one and built a new one. They no longer followed their chiefs or respected the charms of the medicine men. It made the great men among the Indians angry to see their people leave them.
The young chief Alexander began to show ill feeling toward the white people. The rulers of Plymouth Colony took harsh measures with him. They sent some soldiers and brought him to Plymouth to answer for his conduct. When this proud Indian saw himself arrested and degraded in this way he felt it bitterly. He was taken sick at Plymouth, and died soon after he got home.
Arrest of Alexander
The Indians imagined that Alexander had died of poison given him by white men. Some time afterwards the white people heard that Alexander's brother, Philip, was sharpening hatchets and knives. They immediately sent for him, and forced him and his men to give up the seventy guns they had brought with
69 them. They also made Philip promise to send in all the other guns his men had.
When the white people first came, the Indians had nothing to shoot with but bows and arrows. In Philip's time they had given up bows, finding guns much better for killing game. You may be sure that when Philip once got away from the white people he did not send in any more guns. But he hid his anger, as an Indian always does, and waited for a chance to strike.
Though Philip lived in a common, dirty wigwam, and was probably often in need of food, he was called King Philip, and he proudly called himself a king and thought himself as great a man as the King of England. He had a coat made of shell beads, or wampum. These beads were made by breaking and polishing little bits of hard-clam shells, and then boring a hole through them with a stone awl, as you see in the picture. Wampum was used for money among the Indians, and even among the white people at that time. Such a coat as Philip's was very valuable. Philip dressed himself, also, in a showy red blanket; he wore a belt of wampum about his head and another long belt of wampum around his neck, the ends of which dangled nearly to the ground.
The quarrel between the white people and the Indians grew more bitter. An Indian, who had told the white men of Philip's plans, was put to death, probably by Philip's order. The white people hanged the Indians who had killed their friend.
The Indians under Philip were now resolved on war. But their medicine men, or priests, who pretended to talk with spirits, told them that whichever side should shed the first blood would be beaten in the war. The Indians burned houses and robbed farms, but they took pains not to kill anybody, until a white man had wounded an Indian. Then, when blood had been shed, they began to kill the white people.
This Indian war broke out in 1675. The New England people lived at that time in villages, most of them not very far from the sea. The more exposed towns were struck first. The people took refuge in strong houses, which were built to resist the Indians. But everywhere those who moved about were killed. Some were shot in going for water, others were slain as they ran out after the savages had set fire to their houses.
The white men sent out troops, but the Indians sometimes waylaid soldiers and killed them suddenly. Philip cut up his fine wampum coat and sent the bead money of which it was made to neighboring chiefs to persuade them to join him. Soon other tribes, anxious to share in the plunder and slaughter, entered the fight.
As the Indians grew bolder, they attacked the white men in their forts or blockhouses. At Brookfield they shot burning arrow son the roof of the blockhouse, but the white men tore off the shingles and put out the fire. Then the savages crept up and lighted a fire under one corner of the house; but the men inside made a dash and drove back the enemy and put the fire out. Then the Indians made a cart with a barrel for a wheel. They loaded this with straw and lighted it, and backed the blazing mass up against the house, sheltering themselves behind it. Luckily a shower came up at that moment and put out the fire.
A very curious thing happened at Hadley. An old gentleman named General Goffe was hid away in a house in that town. He was one of the judges that had condemned Charles I to death twenty-six years before. When the son of King Charles I came to be king he put to death such of these judges as he could find, and Goffe had to flee from England and hide. Nobody in the village knew that Goffe was there, except those who entertained him. While all the people were at church one Sunday, the old general ventured to look out of the window, which he did not dare to do at other times. He saw the Indians coming to attack the town. He rushed out and gave the alarm, and, with long white hair and beard streaming in the wind, the old soldier took command of the villagers, who soon drove back the savages. But when the fight was over, the people could not find the old man who had led them, nor did they know who he was or where he came from. They said that a messenger had been sent from heaven to deliver them.
General Goffe Saves Hadley
The powerful tribe of the Narragansetts promised to remain peaceable, but young savages are too fond of war to miss a chance to engage in a battle. Some of the Narragansetts joined Philip, and their great fort was a refuge for Philip's men. They were probably waiting for spring to come before openly joining in the war.
The white men resolved to strike the first blow against them while it was yet winter. A thousand men from Massachusetts and Connecticut pushed through the snow and made a desperate assault by night on the Narragansett town, which was inside a fortification having but one entrance, and that by a bridge. Nearly two hundred of the white men were killed in this fight, and many hundreds of Indians were slain, and their fort and all their provisions were burned. The white men marched back, carrying their wounded through the bitter cold.
The Narragansetts took a terrible revenge. They joined Philip at once. Towns were now burned and people killed in every direction. The white men in armor could not catch the nimble Indians, who massacred the people in one village only to disappear and strike another village far away. Many women and children were carried into captivity by the Indians.
WEEK 13 |
In the court of the Netherlands there was great gladness, for tidings had come that Prince Siegfried and his beautiful wife were already on their homeward way.
King Siegmund rejoiced, and resolved that now indeed his son should wear the crown.
Sieglinde wept for joy, then dried her tears, and bade her maidens look out their richest robes that they might welcome the young bride as became her rank.
Then the King and Queen rode forth to meet the travellers, and greeted them with kisses and fair words, and with great rejoicings the whole company returned to the castle. Here a great feast was held, and Siegmund, calling together all his liegemen, placed the crown upon his dear son's head, bidding them henceforth swear fealty to him alone.
The Netherlanders were indeed well pleased to have the mighty hero Siegfried for their king, and the castle walls shook with the shouts of strong men crying, "Hail, King Siegfried, hail!"
For ten years Siegfried ruled and did justice in the land. At the end of ten years a little son came to gladden the hearts of the brave King and his gentle wife, and in memory of her royal brother, Kriemhild named him Gunther.
Now Queen Sieglinde had grown old and feeble, and after her little grandson had been born she grew still more weak until one day she passed away from earth.
Then Kriemhild took charge of the royal household. So kind was she and gentle that she was loved by all her maidens and indeed by all who dwelt in the castle.
Meanwhile Brunhild, the haughty Queen of Burgundy, was not happy, even her little son could not bring joy to her heart. Little had she to vex her, yet day by day her unhappiness grew.
Siegfried was now a mightier King than Gunther, and this displeased her more and more, for certainly he had once been but her lord's vassal. Had she not herself, from her castle window at Isenland, seen him hold King Gunther's charger until he had mounted, and that a Prince would have scorned to do. Yet to-day Siegfried was a King. Brunhild could not understand how this could be, and the more she thought about it, the angrier she grew. Even the gentle Kriemhild seemed to have grown haughty and disdainful, and for her too Brunhild had no love.
At length Brunhild made up her mind to speak to her husband.
"It is many years," she said to King Gunther, "since Siegfried has been at Worms. Bid him come hither with his wife."
Then Gunther frowned, ill-pleased at her words. "Thou dost not dream that I may command so mighty a King as Siegfried!" he cried.
But these words only made the Queen more angry. "However great Siegfried may be, he dare not disobey his lord," she said.
King Gunther smiled to himself at Brunhild's foolish thoughts. Full well he knew that the King of the Netherlands owed no duty to him, the King of Burgundy.
Then Brunhild, seeing that by anger she would not gain her wish, smiled and coming close to Gunther said, "My lord, fain would I see thy sweet sister once more. If thou mayest not bid, wilt thou not entreat Siegfried to bring Kriemhild to our country that again we may sit together as we were used to do? In truth the gentleness of thy lady sister did ever please me well."
Now Gunther, hearing his wife's kind words, was wishful to do her will. Therefore he sent for thirty warriors, and bade them ride into King Siegfried's land, and entreat him once again to come with his fair wife to the royal city of Worms. Queen Uté also sent messages to Queen Kriemhild beseeching her to come again to her own country.
Well pleased was Kriemhild when the knights from Burgundy were shown into her presence, and right glad was the welcome given to them by King Siegfried. Then one of the knights hastened to deliver King Gunther's greetings and the greetings of Queen Uté and her ladies.
"The King and Queen bid you also welcome to a high festival which they hold as soon as the winter is ended," he said.
But King Siegfried, thinking of all the business of the state, answered courteously, "Nay, I fear that I may scarce leave my land without a king. Yet will I lodge you here while I take counsel with my liegemen."
For nine days King Gunther's men tarried in the Netherlands, and banquets and tournaments were given in their honour.
Then Siegfried summoned his liegemen together and told them of King Gunther's desire that he and his Queen should go to Rhineland, and bade them give him their counsel.
"Take with thee a thousand warriors, sire, and if it be thy will ride thus into Burgundy," said the King's chief adviser.
"I also will go with thee," said Siegmund, for well did he love his son. "I also will go with thee and take a hundred swordsmen along with me."
Right glad was Siegfried when he heard his father's words. "My own good father dear," he cried, and seizing his hand he kissed it. "In twelve days will I leave my realm and journey toward Burgundy, and thou shalt ride with me and Queen Kriemhild."
Then the heralds of King Gunther, laden with rich gifts, were bidden to hasten back to their own land with tidings that Siegfried and his Queen would ere long follow them to the royal city.
When the heralds stood again before King Gunther, they delivered their tidings, and then spread out before him and his courtiers the raiment and the gold which Siegfried had bestowed upon them.
Hagen looked upon the gifts, his keen eyes full of greed. "Well may the mighty King Siegfried give such gifts," he said. "If he were to live for ever, yet could he not spend the great treasure which he possesses in the land of the Nibelungs."
Once upon a time a Cat and a Monkey lived as pets in the same house. They were great friends and were constantly in all sorts of mischief together. What they seemed to think of more than anything else was to get something to eat, and it did not matter much to them how they got it.
One day they were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. How to get them was the question.
"I would gladly get them," said the cunning Monkey, "but you are much more skillful at such things than I am. Pull them out and I'll divide them between us."
Pussy stretched out her paw very carefully, pushed aside some of the cinders, and drew back her paw very quickly. Then she tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and she drew out the chestnut. This performance she went through several times, each time singeing her paw severely. As fast as she pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, the Monkey ate them up.
Now the master came in, and away scampered the rascals, Mistress Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts. From that time on, they say, she contented herself with mice and rats and had little to do with Sir Monkey.
The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense.
Who passes down the wintry street?
Hey, ho, Daffodil!
A sudden flame of gold and sweet.
With sword of emerald girt so meet
And golden gay from head to feet.
How are you here this wintry day?
Hey, ho, Daffodil!
Your radiant fellows yet delay.
No wind-flower dances scarlet gay,
Nor crocus flame lights up the way.
What land of cloth o' gold and green,
Hey, ho, Daffodil!
Cloth o' gold with the green between,
Was that you left but yestere'en
To light a gloomy world and mean?
King trumpeter to Flora queen,
Hey, ho, Daffodil!
Blow, and the golden jousts begin.
WEEK 13 |
"The whole world and its history was waiting for this man."
E RASMUS was sixteen years old when Martin Luther was born,—Martin Luther, the great German Reformer, whose name was soon to be known throughout the whole continent of Europe. This is the story of his life. He was born in the year 1483. His father was a humble miner, his mother was noted for her goodness and virtue. When quite a little child, his parents wished to make a "scholar " of him—so he was early taught to read and write, and at six years old he was sent to school. Both at home and at school his training was very severe; his father whipped him for mere trifles, and one day poor little Martin was beaten fifteen times! He was bright and clever, but he had a strong will of his own, and a love of fun and mischief. When he was fourteen his parents could not afford to keep him any longer, so they sent him forth into the world with his bag on his back, to seek for learning from the charity of strangers. With a boy friend he set forth to walk to Magdeburg, where there was a school for poor boys kept by the Franciscan monks. In order to get food on the way, the boys had to beg or to sing. They were thankful enough for a morsel of bread or a night's shelter. Indeed, life became such a hard struggle, that Martin told himself he would never be a scholar, and it would be better to return home and win an honest livelihood with his spade. But at this moment the tide turned. By his sweet voice he attracted the notice of a good lady, who took pity on him and gave him a comfortable home. Here he worked hard, making great progress in Latin, till he was eighteen. By this time his father had made enough money to send him to a university, where he took his degree in 1505.
And now a strange thing happened, that altered his whole life. One day he was walking with a friend, when a
tremendous thunderstorm came on. A sudden vivid flash of lightning struck the friend at his side, who fell down
dead at his feet. The suddenness of the young man's death made a great impression on Martin Luther. Struck to
the heart, he made up his mind that henceforth he would devote his life to God and God's service. In spite of
his father's protests he became a monk. For the first two years his life was a very hard one: his food was very
scanty, he had to perform the lowliest tasks, and to beg for alms and bread. Whatever spare time he had, he
worked hard at his books, studying the epistles and gospels diligently. In the library of the university he
found a complete Bible in Latin. It was the first time he had seen one. He
devoured it eagerly. A new light came into his life, and in his close study of the Bible he strengthened
himself for his future work. Before long he had risen to a position of importance in the monastery. He became a
priest and went to live at Wittenberg—a town which he made famous by his name. In 1509 he began to lecture on
the Scriptures. Bibles were not in the hands of all as they are
"This monk," said the head of the university, "will bring in a new doctrine."
He also began now to preach in the churches. He was very earnest, and the people who listened to him were deeply moved at his words.
In 1511 he was sent on a mission to Rome, where Leo X. was Pope. Now, from early times there has been a Pope (Papa) or Father of Rome, who in the Middle Ages had come to be looked on as the Head of the Christian Church by many, if not all, of the countries of Europe. At first the Pope was a Bishop of Rome, as other Bishops were in other cities, but when Rome was no longer the sole imperial city, the power of the Bishops became greater and greater until, in the twelfth century, under Innocent III., the papal authority reached its height.
Now during the Middle Ages many abuses had crept into the Church. One of these was known as the "sale of indulgences."
All feel it right that sinners should suffer for their sins, but there is no Biblical foundation for the teaching that by money payments a sinner may be saved from the punishment of his sin. Yet, in those days, persons who paid money received an "indulgence," and agents went about the country selling them.
One of these, named John Tetzel, came to Germany. He disgusted Martin Luther by his method of extorting money from ignorant people, and being a man of great courage, Luther felt it his duty to remonstrate. He stood up boldly in his pulpit and denounced the system openly.
It was a tremendous moment. It was indeed the visible beginning of the Reformation—that great movement which was to spread wider and wider until it should affect the whole Christian world.
Into the deeper causes of the Reformation we cannot enter here. The revival of Greek learning had caused men to study the Scriptures for themselves as Luther did, and this caused dissatisfaction with the mediaeval corruption of the Roman Church.
T HERE was a nymph named Clymĕnē, who had a son so handsome that he was called Phaëthon, which means in Greek, "bright, radiant, shining," like the sun. When he grew up the goddess Venus was so charmed with him that she made him the chief ruler of all her temples, and took him into such high favor that all his friends and companions were filled with envy.
One day, when Phaëthon was foolishly bragging about his own beauty and greatness, and how much he was put by a goddess above other men, one of his companions, named Ĕpăphus, answered him, scornfully:—
"Ah! you may boast and brag, but you are a nobody after all! My father was Jupiter, as everybody knows; but who was yours?"
So Phaëthon went to his mother Clymene, and said:—
"Mother, they taunt me for not being the son of a god; me, who am fit to be a god myself for my grace and beauty. Who was my father? He must at least have been some great king, to be the father of such a son as I."
"A king!" said Clymene. "Ay—and a greater than all kings! Tell them, from me, that your father is Phœbus Apollo, the god of the Sun!"
But when he went back and told his friends, "My father is Phœbus Apollo, the god of the Sun," Epaphus and the others only scorned him and laughed at him the more. "You've caught your bragging from your mother," said they. "You're her son, anyhow, whoever your father may be."
When Clymene heard this, she felt terribly offended. "Then I will prove my words," said she. "Go to the Palace of the Sun and enter boldly. There you will see the Sun-god in all his glory. Demand of him to declare you to be his son openly before all the world, so that even the sons of Jupiter shall hang their heads for shame."
If Apollo had been still banished upon earth, of course Phaëthon could have found him very easily. But the nine years of banishment were over now, and the only way to find the god of the Sun was to seek him in his palace above the sky. How Phaëthon managed to get there I have never heard; but I suppose his mother was able to tell him the secret way. You may imagine the glorious and wonderful place it was—the House of the Sun, with the stars for the windows that are lighted up at night, and the clouds for curtains, and the blue sky for a garden, and the Zodiac for a carriage-drive. The sun itself, as you have heard, is the chariot of Apollo, drawn by four horses of white fire, who feed on golden grain, and are driven by the god himself round and round the world. Phaëthon entered boldly, as his mother had told him, found Apollo in all his glory, and said:—
"My mother, Clymene, says that I am your son. Is it true?"
"Certainly," said Apollo, "it is true."
"Then give me a sign," said Phaëthon, "that all may know and believe. Make me sure that I am your son."
"Tell them that I say so," said Apollo. "There—don't hinder me any more. My horses are harnessed: it is time for the sun to rise."
"No," said Phaëthon, "they will only say that I brag and lie. Give me a sign for all the world to see—a sign that only a father would give to his own child."
"Very well," said Apollo, who was getting impatient at being so hindered. "Only tell me what you want me to do, and it shall be done."
"You swear it—by Styx?" said Phaëthon.
Now you must know that the Styx was a river in Hades by which the gods swore; and that an oath "by Styx" was as binding upon a god as a plain promise is upon a gentleman.
"I swear it—by Styx!" said Apollo, rather rashly, as you will see. But he was now in a very great hurry indeed.
"Then," said Phaëthon, "let me drive the horses of the Sun for one whole day!"
This put Apollo in terrible alarm, for he knew very well that no hand, not even a god's, can drive the horses of the Sun but his own. But he had sworn by Styx—the oath that cannot be broken. All he could do was to keep the world waiting for sunrise while he showed Phaëthon how to hold the reins and the whip, and pointed out what course to take, and warned him of the dangers of the road. "But it's all of no use. You'll never do it," said he. "Give it up, while there is yet time! You know not what you do."
"Oh, but I do, though," said Phaëthon. "I know I can. There—I understand it all now, without another word." So saying, he sprang into the chariot, seized the reins, and gave the four fiery horses four lashes that sent them flying like comets through the air.
"Hold them in—hold them hard!" cried Apollo. But Phaëthon was off, and too far off to hear.
Off indeed! and where? The world must have been amazed that day to see the sun rise like a rocket and go dashing about the sky, north, south, east, west—anywhere, nowhere, everywhere! Well the horses knew that it was not Apollo, their master, who plied the whip and held the reins. They took their bits between their teeth, and—bolted. They kicked a planet to bits (astronomers know where the pieces are still): they broke holes in the chariot, which we can see, and call "sun-spots," to this day: it was as if chaos were come again. At last, Phaëthon, whose own head was reeling, saw to his horror that the horses, in their mad rush, were getting nearer and nearer to the earth itself—and what would happen then? If the wheels touched the globe we live on, it would be scorched to a cinder. Nearer, nearer, nearer it came—till a last wild kick broke the traces, overturned the sun itself, and Phaëthon fell, and fell, and fell, till he fell into the sea, and was drowned. And then the horses trotted quietly home.
The story of Phaëthon is always taken as a warning against being conceited and self-willed. But there are some curious things about it still to be told. The Greeks fancied that the great desert of Sahara, in Africa, is the place where the earth was scorched by the sun's chariot-wheel, and that the African negroes were burned black in the same way, and have never got white again. And the poplars are Phaëthon's sisters, who wept themselves for his death into trees.
WEEK 13 |
O NCE upon a time there was a poor husbandman who had many children and little to give them in the way either of food or clothing. They were all pretty, but the prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, who was so beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.
So once—it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn, and wild weather outside, terribly dark, and raining so heavily and blowing so hard that the walls of the cottage shook again—they were all sitting together by the fireside, each of them busy with something or other, when suddenly some one rapped three times against the window-pane. The man went out to see what could be the matter, and when he got out there stood a great big white bear.
"Good-evening to you," said the White Bear.
"Good-evening," said the man.
"Will you give me your youngest daughter?" said the White Bear; "if you will, you shall be as rich as you are now poor."
Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich, but he thought to himself: "I must first ask my daughter about this," so he went in and told them that there was a great white bear outside who had faithfully promised to make them all rich if he might but have the youngest daughter.
She said no, and would not hear of it; so the man went out again, and settled with the White Bear that he should come again next Thursday evening, and get her answer. Then the man persuaded her, and talked so much to her about the wealth that they would have, and what a good thing it would be for herself, that at last she made up her mind to go, and washed and mended all her rags, made herself as smart as she could, and held herself in readiness to set out. Little enough had she to take away with her.
Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch her. She seated herself on his back with her bundle, and thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of the way, the White Bear said: "Are you afraid?"
"No, that I am not," said she.
"Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no danger," said he.
And thus she rode far, far away, until they came to a great mountain. Then the White Bear knocked on it, and a door opened, and they went into a castle where there were many brilliantly lighted rooms which shone with gold and silver, likewise a large hall in which there was a well-spread table, and it was so magnificent that it would be hard to make anyone understand how splendid it was. The White Bear gave her a silver bell, and told her that when she needed anything she had but to ring this bell, and what she wanted would appear. So after she had eaten, and night was drawing near, she grew sleepy after her journey, and thought she would like to go to bed. She rang the bell, and scarcely had she touched it before she found herself in a chamber where a bed stood ready made for her, which was as pretty as anyone could wish to sleep in. It had pillows of silk, and curtains of silk fringed with gold, and everything that was in the room was of gold or silver; but when she had lain down and put out the light a man came and lay down beside her, and behold it was the White Bear, who cast off the form of a beast during the night. She never saw him, however, for he always came after she had put out her light, and went away before daylight appeared.
So all went well and happily for a time, but then she began to be very sad and sorrowful, for all day long she had to go about alone; and she did so wish to go home to her father and mother and brothers and sisters. Then the White Bear asked what it was that she wanted, and she told him that it was so dull there in the mountain, and that she had to go about all alone, and that in her parents' house at home there were all her brothers and sisters, and it was because she could not go to them that she was so sorrowful.
"There might be a cure for that," said the White Bear, "if you would but promise me never to talk with your mother alone, but only when the others are there too; for she will take hold of your hand," he said, "and will want to lead you into a room to talk with you alone; but that you must by no means do, or you will bring great misery on both of us."
So one Sunday the White Bear came and said that they could now set out to see her father and mother, and they journeyed thither, she sitting on his back, and they went a long, long way, and it took a long, long time; but at last they came to a large white farmhouse, and her brothers and sisters were running about outside it, playing, and it was so pretty that it was a pleasure to look at it.
"Your parents dwell here now," said the White Bear; "but do not forget what I said to you, or you will do much harm both to yourself and me."
"No, indeed," said she, "I shall never forget;" and as soon as she was at home the White Bear turned round and went back again.
There were such rejoicings when she went in to her parents that it seemed as if they would never come to an end. Everyone thought that he could never be sufficiently grateful to her for all she had done for them all. Now they had everything that they wanted, and everything was as good as it could be. They all asked her how she was getting on where she was. All was well with her too, she said; and she had everything that she could want. What other answers she gave I cannot say, but I am pretty sure that they did not learn much from her. But in the afternoon, after they had dined at mid-day, all happened just as the White Bear had said. Her mother wanted to talk with her alone in her own chamber. But she remembered what the White Bear had said, and would on no account go. "What we have to say can be said at any time," she answered. But somehow or other her mother at last persuaded her, and she was forced to tell the whole story. So she told how every night a man came and lay down beside her when the lights were all put out, and how she never saw him, because he always went away before it grew light in the morning, and how she continually went about in sadness, thinking how happy she would be if she could but see him, and how all day long she had to go about alone, and it was so dull and solitary. "Oh!" cried the mother, in horror, "you are very likely sleeping with a troll! But I will teach you a way to see him. You shall have a bit of one of my candles, which you can take away with you hidden in your breast. Look at him with that when he is asleep, but take care not to let any tallow drop upon him."
So she took the candle, and hid it in her breast, and when evening drew near the White Bear came to fetch her away. When they had gone some distance on their way, the White Bear asked her if everything had not happened just as he had foretold, and she could not but own that it had. "Then, if you have done what your mother wished," said he, "you have brought great misery on both of us." "No," she said, "I have not done anything at all." So when she had reached home and had gone to bed it was just the same as it had been before, and a man came and lay down beside her, and late at night, when she could hear that he was sleeping, she got up and kindled a light, lit her candle, let her light shine on him, and saw him, and he was the handsomest prince that eyes had ever beheld, and she loved him so much that it seemed to her that she must die if she did not kiss him that very moment. So she did kiss him; but while she was doing it she let three drops of hot tallow fall upon his shirt, and he awoke.
"What have you done now?" said he; "you have brought misery on both of us. If you had but held out for the space of one year I should have been free. I have a stepmother who has bewitched me so that I am a white bear by day and a man by night; but now all is at an end between you and me, and I must leave you, and go to her. She lives in a castle which lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and there too is a princess with a nose which is three ells long, and she now is the one whom I must marry."
She wept and lamented, but all in vain, for go he must. Then she asked him if she could not go with him. But no, that could not be. "Can you tell me the way then, and I will seek you—that I may surely be allowed to do!"
"Yes, you may do that," said he; "but there is no way thither. It lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and never would you find your way there."
When she awoke in the morning both the Prince and the castle were gone, and she was lying on a small green patch in the midst of a dark, thick wood. By her side lay the self-same bundle of rags which she had brought with her from her own home. So when she had rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and wept till she was weary, she set out on her way, and thus she walked for many and many a long day, until at last she came to a great mountain. Outside it an aged woman was sitting, playing with a golden apple.
The girl asked her if she knew the way to the Prince who lived with his stepmother in the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and who was to marry a princess with a nose which was three ells long. "How do you happen to know about him?" enquired the old woman; "maybe you are she who ought to have had him." "Yes, indeed, I am," she said. "So it is you, then?" said the old woman; "I know nothing about him but that he dwells in a castle which is east of the sun and west of the moon. You will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get to it at all; but you shall have the loan of my horse, and then you can ride on it to an old woman who is a neighbour of mine: perhaps she can tell you about him. When you have got there you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home again; but you may take the golden apple with you."
So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode for a long, long way, and at last she came to the mountain, where an aged woman was sitting outside with a gold carding-comb. The girl asked her if she knew the way to the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but she said what the first old woman had said: "I know nothing about it, but that it is east of the sun and west of the moon, and that you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get there at all; but you shall have the loan of my horse to an old woman who lives the nearest to me: perhaps she may know where the castle is, and when you have got to her you may just strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home again." Then she gave her the gold carding-comb, for it might, perhaps, be of use to her, she said.
So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode a wearisome long way onwards again, and after a very long time she came to a great mountain, where an aged woman was sitting, spinning at a golden spinning-wheel. Of this woman, too, she enquired if she knew the way to the Prince, and where to find the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon. But it was only the same thing once again. "Maybe it was you who should have had the Prince," said the old woman. "Yes, indeed, I should have been the one," said the girl. But this old crone knew the way no better than the others—it was east of the sun and west of the moon, she knew that, "and you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get to it at all," she said; "but you may have the loan of my horse, and I think you had better ride to the East Wind, and ask him: perhaps he may know where the castle is, and will blow you thither. But when you have got to him you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear, and he will come home again." And then she gave her the golden spinning-wheel, saying: "Perhaps you may find that you have a use for it."
The girl had to ride for a great many days, and for a long and wearisome time, before she got there; but at last she did arrive, and then she asked the East Wind if he could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt east of the sun and west of the moon. "Well," said the East Wind, "I have heard tell of the Prince, and of his castle, but I do not know the way to it, for I have never blown so far; but, if you like, I will go with you to my brother the West Wind: he may know that, for he is much stronger than I am. You may sit on my back, and then I can carry you there." So she seated herself on his back, and they did go so swiftly! When they got there, the East Wind went in and said that the girl whom he had brought was the one who ought to have had the Prince up at the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and that now she was travelling about to find him again, so he had come there with her, and would like to hear if the West Wind knew whereabouts the castle was. "No," said the West Wind; "so far as that have I never blown: but if you like I will go with you to the South Wind, for he is much stronger than either of us, and he has roamed far and wide, and perhaps he can tell you what you want to know. You may seat yourself on my back, and then I will carry you to him."
So she did this, and journeyed to the South Wind, neither was she very long on the way. When they had got there, the West Wind asked him if he could tell her the way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the moon, for she was the girl who ought to marry the Prince who lived there. "Oh, indeed!" said the South Wind, "is that she? Well," said he, "I have wandered about a great deal in my time, and in all kinds of places, but I have never blown so far as that. If you like, however, I will go with you to my brother the North Wind; he is the oldest and strongest of all of us, and if he does not know where it is no one in the whole world will be able to tell you. You may sit upon my back, and then I will carry you there." So she seated herself on his back, and off he went from his house in great haste, and they were not long on the way. When they came near the North Wind's dwelling, he was so wild and frantic that they felt cold gusts a long while before they got there. "What do you want?" he roared out from afar, and they froze as they heard. Said the South Wind: "It is I, and this is she who should have had the Prince who lives in the castle which lies east of the sun and west of the moon. And now she wishes to ask you if you have ever been there, and can tell her the way, for she would gladly find him again."
"Yes," said the North Wind, "I know where it is. I once blew an aspen leaf there, but I was so tired that for many days afterwards I was not able to blow at all. However, if you really are anxious to go there, and are not afraid to go with me, I will take you on my back, and try if I can blow you there."
"Get there I must," said she; "and if there is any way of going I will; and I have no fear, no matter how fast you go."
"Very well then," said the North Wind; "but you must sleep here to-night, for if we are ever to get there we must have the day before us."
The North Wind woke her betimes next morning, and puffed himself up, and made himself so big and so strong that it was frightful to see him, and away they went, high up through the air, as if they would not stop until they had reached the very end of the world. Down below there was such a storm! It blew down woods and houses, and when they were above the sea the ships were wrecked by hundreds. And thus they tore on and on, and a long time went by, and then yet more time passed, and still they were above the sea, and the North Wind grew tired, and more tired, and at last so utterly weary that he was scarcely able to blow any longer, and he sank and sank, lower and lower, until at last he went so low that the crest of the waves dashed against the heels of the poor girl he was carrying. "Art thou afraid?" said the North Wind. "I have no fear," said she; and it was true. But they were not very, very far from land, and there was just enough strength left in the North Wind to enable him to throw her on to the shore, immediately under the windows of a castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but then he was so weary and worn out that he was forced to rest for several days before he could go to his own home again.
Next morning she sat down beneath the walls of the castle to play with the golden apple, and the first person she saw was the maiden with the long nose, who was to have the Prince. "How much do you want for that gold apple of yours, girl?" said she, opening the window. "It can't be bought either for gold or money," answered the girl. "If it cannot be bought either for gold or money, what will buy it? You may say what you please," said the Princess.
"Well, if I may go to the Prince who is here, and be with him to-night, you shall have it," said the girl who had come with the North Wind. "You may do that," said the Princess, for she had made up her mind what she would do. So the Princess got the golden apple, but when the girl went up to the Prince's apartment that night he was asleep, for the Princess had so contrived it. The poor girl called to him, and shook him, and between whiles she wept; but she could not wake him. In the morning, as soon as day dawned, in came the Princess with the long nose, and drove her out again. In the daytime she sat down once more beneath the windows of the castle, and began to card with her golden carding-comb; and then all happened as it had happened before. The princess asked her what she wanted for it, and she replied that it was not for sale, either for gold or money, but that if she could get leave to go to the Prince, and be with him during the night, she should have it. But when she went up to the Prince's room he was again asleep, and, let her call him, or shake him, or weep as she would, he still slept on, and she could not put any life in him. When daylight came in the morning, the Princess with the long nose came too, and once more drove her away. When day had quite come, the girl seated herself under the castle windows, to spin with her golden spinning-wheel, and the Princess with the long nose wanted to have that also. So she opened the window, and asked what she would take for it. The girl said what she had said on each of the former occasions—that it was not for sale either for gold or for money, but if she could get leave to go to the Prince who lived there, and be with him during the night, she should have it.
"Yes," said the Princess, "I will gladly consent to that."
But in that place there were some Christian folk who had been carried off, and they had been sitting in the chamber which was next to that of the Prince, and had heard how a woman had been in there who had wept and called on him two nights running, and they told the Prince of this. So that evening, when the Princess came once more with her sleeping-drink, he pretended to drink, but threw it away behind him, for he suspected that it was a sleeping-drink. So, when the girl went into the Prince's room this time he was awake, and she had to tell him how she had come there. "You have come just in time," said the Prince, "for I should have been married to-morrow; but I will not have the long-nosed Princess, and you alone can save me. I will say that I want to see what my bride can do, and bid her wash the shirt which has the three drops of tallow on it. This she will consent to do, for she does not know that it is you who let them fall on it; but no one can wash them out but one born of Christian folk: it cannot be done by one of a pack of trolls; and then I will say that no one shall ever be my bride but the woman who can do this, and I know that you can." There was great joy and gladness between them all that night, but the next day, when the wedding was to take place, the Prince said, "I must see what my bride can do." "That you may do," said the stepmother.
"I have a fine shirt which I want to wear as my wedding shirt, but three drops of tallow have got upon it which I want to have washed off, and I have vowed to marry no one but the woman who is able to do it. If she cannot do that, she is not worth having."
Well, that was a very small matter, they thought, and agreed to do it. The Princess with the long nose began to wash as well as she could, but, the more she washed and rubbed, the larger the spots grew. "Ah! you can't wash at all," said the old troll-hag, who was her mother. "Give it to me." But she too had not had the shirt very long in her hands before it looked worse still, and, the more she washed it and rubbed it, the larger and blacker grew the spots.
So the other trolls had to come and wash, but, the more they did, the blacker and uglier grew the shirt, until at length it was as black as if it had been up the chimney. "Oh," cried the Prince, "not one of you is good for anything at all! There is a beggar-girl sitting outside the window, and I'll be bound that she can wash better than any of you! Come in, you girl there!" he cried. So she came in. "Can you wash this shirt clean?" he cried. "Oh! I don't know," she said; "but I will try." And no sooner had she taken the shirt and dipped it in the water than it was white as driven snow, and even whiter than that. "I will marry you," said the Prince.
Then the old troll-hag flew into such a rage that she burst, and the Princess with the long nose and all the little trolls must have burst too, for they have never been heard of since. The Prince and his bride set free all the Christian folk who were imprisoned there, and took away with them all the gold and silver that they could carry, and moved far away from the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon.
D O all bees build in hives? No. Wild bees like to build in hollow trees.
A City in a Tree
In hot lands, some bees build in holes in the rocks. Swarms of bees that leave hives find odd places to live in. I knew of a swarm that found a hole in the roof of a house.
The bees got into the roof and lived there, five years. When a man took them out they had two big tubs full of comb. Is it not odd that bees can make so much wax from their small wax-bags?
Did you ever find in the earth the nest of a humble-bee? The humble-bee queen works. Humble-bees dig holes in the earth with their front feet. When they have made a hall and a room, they make a nest. It is of grass, or leaves, or hay, cut fine. They lay eggs in the nest.
They make honey in large combs. The combs are more soft and dark than those which the hive bee makes. Field mice and moles eat these bees and their combs.
One little bee, that lives alone, saws out a nest in a post or a tree. She makes one room over the other. In each she puts an egg and food.
She seals up the door with a paste made of sawdust. Then she goes off and dies. The next spring out come the new bees.
They know how to get food and make homes, just as the mother did.
One kind of bee makes a house much like an ant-hill. She makes a long hall. From the hall she opens small rooms. In each room she puts food, in a ball like a pea. Then she lays an egg by it, and leaves the small bee to grow up alone.
"Give me of your bark, O Birch Tree!
Of your yellow bark, O Birch Tree!
Growing by the rushing river,
Tall and stately in the valley!
I a light canoe will build me,
Build a swift Cheemaun for sailing,
That shall float upon the river,
Like a yellow leaf in autumn,
Like a yellow water lily!
"Lay aside your cloak, O Birch Tree!
Lay aside your white skin wrapper,
For the summer time is coming,
And the sun is warm in heaven,
And you need no white skin wrapper!"
Thus aloud cried Hiawatha
In the solitary forest,
By the rushing Taquamenaw,
When the birds were singing gaily,
In the Moon of Leaves were singing,
And the Sun, from sleep awaking,
Started up and said, "Behold me!
Geezis, the great Sun, behold me!"
And the tree with all its branches
Rustled in the breeze of morning,
Saying, with a sigh of patience,
"Take my cloak, O Hiawatha!"
With his knife the tree he girdled;
Just beneath its lowest branches,
Just above the roots, he cut it,
Till the sap came oozing outward;
Down the trunk, from top to bottom,
Sheer he cleft the bark asunder,
With a wooden wedge he raised it,
Stripped it from the trunk unbroken.
"Give me of your boughs, O Cedar!
Of your strong and pliant branches,
My canoe to make more steady,
Make more strong and firm beneath me!"
Through the summit of the Cedar
Went a sound, a cry of horror,
Went a murmur of resistance;
But it whispered, bending downward,
"Take my boughs, O Hiawatha!"
Down he hewed the boughs of cedar,
Shaped them straightway to a framework,
Like two bows he formed and shaped them,
Like two bended bows together.
"Give me of your roots, O Tamarack!
Of your fibrous roots, O Larch Tree!
My canoe to bind together,
So to bind the ends together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!"
And the Larch with all its fibers,
Shivered in the air of morning,
Touched his forehead with its tassels,
Said, with one long sigh of sorrow,
"Take them all, O Hiawatha!"
From the earth he tore the fibers,
Tore the tough roots of the Larch Tree,
Closely sewed the bark together,
Bound it closely to the framework.
"Give me of your balm, O Fir Tree!
Of your balsam and your resin,
So to close the seams together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!"
And the Fir Tree, tall and somber,
Sobbed through all its robes of darkness,
Rattled like a shore with pebbles,
Answered wailing, answered weeping,
"Take my balm, O Hiawatha!"
And he took the tears of balsam,
Took the resin of the Fir Tree,
Seamed therewith each seam and fissure,
Made each crevice safe from water.
"Give me of your quills, O Hedgehog!
All your quills, O Kagh, the Hedgehog!
I will make a necklace of them,
Make a girdle for my beauty,
And two stars to deck her bosom!"
From a hollow tree the Hedgehog
With his sleepy eyes looked at him,
Shot his shining quills, like arrows,
Saying, with a drowsy murmur,
Through the tangle of his whiskers,
"Take my quills, O Hiawatha!"
From the ground the quills he gathered,
All the little shining arrows,
Stained them red and blue and yellow,
With the juice of roots and berries;
Into his canoe he wrought them,
Round its waist a shining girdle,
Round its bows a gleaming necklace,
On its breast two stars resplendent.
Thus the Birch Canoe was builded,
In the valley, by the river,
In the bosom of the forest;
And the forest's life was in it,
All its mystery and its magic,
All the lightness of the birch tree,
All the toughness of the cedar,
All the larch's supple sinews;
And it floated on the river
Like a yellow leaf in autumn,
Like a yellow water lily.
Paddles none had Hiawatha,
Paddles none he had or needed,
For his thoughts as paddles served him,
And his wishes served to guide him;
Swift or slow at will he glided,
Veered to right or left at pleasure.
WEEK 13 |
I Kings xxii: 1 to 40.
FTER the two victories which King Ahab gained over the Syrians (see Story 79), there was peace between Syria and Israel for three years. But in the third year the Syrians became strong once more, and they seized a city of Israel on the east of Jordan, called Ramoth-gilead. At that time there was peace and friendship between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and Ahab, the king of Israel, sent to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, saying, "Do you know that Ramoth-gilead is ours, and yet we have done nothing to take it out of the hands of the king of Syria? Will you go up with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?" And King Jehoshaphat sent word to the king of Israel, "I am with you, and my people are with your people, and my horses with your horses."
So the king of Israel and the king of Judah gathered their armies for war against the Syrians, and King Jehoshaphat came to Samaria to meet King Ahab. Jehoshaphat was a good man, and a worshipper of the Lord. He said to Ahab, "Let us ask the prophets to give us the word of the Lord before we go to battle."
Then the king of Israel called together his prophets, four hundred men, not prophets of the Lord, but false prophets of the idols, and he asked them, "Shall I go up to battle at Ramoth-gilead, or shall I remain at home?" And the prophets of the idols said, with one voice, "Go up; for the Lord will give Ramoth-gilead to you."
But Jehoshaphat was not satisfied with the words of these men. He asked, "Is there not here a prophet of the Lord of whom we can ask the Lord's will?"
"There is one prophet," answered Ahab; "his name is Micaiah, the son of Imlah; but I hate him; for he never prophesies any good about me, but always evil."
"Let not the king say that," said Jehoshaphat. "Let us hear what Micaiah will speak."
Then King Ahab sent one of his officers to bring the prophet Micaiah. And the officer said to Micaiah, "All the prophets have spoken good to the king; now, I pray you, let your words be like theirs, and do you speak good also."
And Micaiah said, "As the Lord lives, what the Lord say to me, that I will speak, and nothing else."
The king of Israel and the king of Judah were seated together in their royal robes, at an open place in front of the gate of Samaria. And King Ahab said to Micaiah, "Micaiah, speak to me nothing but the truth, in the name of the Lord."
Then Micaiah said, "I saw all Israel scattered upon the
mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd; and the Lord
said, 'These have no master; let every man go back to
Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that Micaiah would prophesy about me no good, but only evil?"
For Ahab knew that the words of Micaiah meant that he would be slain in the battle.
And Micaiah went on and said, "Hear thou the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing around him, on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, 'Who will go and deceive Ahab, so that he will go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one spirit came forth and said, 'I will go, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all Ahab's prophets.' And the Lord said to the spirit, 'Go and deceive him.' Now, therefore, the Lord has let all these false prophets deceive you; and the Lord has spoken evil against you."
Then the king of Israel said to his guards, "Take
Micaiah, and lead him to the governor of the city, and
say, 'Put this fellow in prison, and let him have
nothing to eat but dry bread and water until I come
And Micaiah said, "If you return at all in peace, then the Lord has not spoken by me. Hear my words, all ye people."
So the kings of Israel and Judah led their armies across the river Jordan and up the mountains on the east, to battle at Ramoth-gilead. Ahab felt afraid after the prophecy of Micaiah, and he said to Jehoshaphat, "I will dress as a common soldier before going into the battle; but do you wear your royal robes."
Now the king of Syria had given word to all his captains to look out especially for the king of Israel, and to fight him, and kill him, even if they should kill no other man. When they saw Jehoshaphat in his kingly garments standing in his chariot, they thought that he was King Ahab, and they turned all battle toward him. But Jehoshaphat cried out, and then they found that he was not the king of Israel, and they left him. In the battle one soldier of the Syrians drew his bow, and shot an arrow, not knowing that he was aiming at the king of Israel. The arrow struck King Ahab just between his breastplate and his lower armor. He was badly wounded, but they held him up in his chariot, so that the men might not see him fall; and his blood was running out of the wound upon the floor of the chariot, until the sun set, when Ahab died. And the cry went through all the host of Israel, "Every man to his city, and every man to his country."
And then all knew that the king of Israel was dead. They brought his body to Samaria, and buried him there. And at the pool of Samaria they washed the king's chariot and his armor. And there the wild dogs of the city licked up Ahab's blood, according to the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
Thus died King Ahab, the son of Omri. He was not a bad man at heart, but he was weak in the hands of his wife, Jezebel, who led him and his kingdom into wickedness in the sight of the Lord.
"We're starting," said Rabbit. "I must go." And he hurried off to the front of the Expotition with Christopher Robin.
"All right," said Eeyore. "We're going. Only Don't Blame Me."
So off they all went to discover the Pole. And as they walked, they chattered to each other of this and that, all except Pooh, who was making up a song.
"This is the first verse," he said to Piglet, when he was ready with it.
"First verse of what?"
"Well, if you listen, Piglet, you'll hear it."
"How do you know I'm not listening?"
Pooh couldn't answer that one, so he began to sing.
They all went off to discover the Pole,
Owl and Piglet and Rabbit and all;
It's a Thing you Discover, as I've been tole
By Owl and Piglet and Rabbit and all.
Eeyore, Christopher Robin and Pooh
And Rabbit's relations all went
And where the Pole was none of them knew. . . .
Sing Hey! for Owl and Rabbit and all!
"Hush!" said Christopher Robin turning round to Pooh, "we're just coming to a Dangerous Place."
"Hush!" said Pooh turning round quickly to Piglet.
"Hush!" said Piglet to Kanga.
"Hush!" said Kanga to Owl, while Roo said "Hush!" several times to himself very quietly.
"Hush!" said Owl to Eeyore.
"Hush!" said Eeyore in a terrible voice to all Rabbit's friends-and-relations, and "Hush!" they said hastily to each other all down the line, until it got to the last one of all. And the last and smallest friend-and-relation was so upset to find that the whole Expotition was saying "Hush!" to him, that he buried himself head downwards in a crack in the ground, and stayed there for two days until the danger was over, and then went home in a great hurry, and lived quietly with his Aunt ever-afterwards. His name was Alexander Beetle.
They had come to a stream which twisted and tumbled between high rocky banks, and Christopher Robin saw at once how dangerous it was.
"It's just the place," he explained, "for an Ambush."
"What sort of bush?" whispered Pooh to Piglet. "A gorse-bush?"
"My dear Pooh," said Owl in his superior way, "don't you know what an Ambush is?"
"Owl," said Piglet, looking round at him severely, "Pooh's
whisper was a perfectly private whisper,
and there was no
"An Ambush," said Owl, "is a sort of Surprise."
"So is a gorse-bush sometimes," said Pooh.
"An Ambush, as I was about to explain to Pooh," said Piglet, "is a sort of Surprise."
"If people jump out at you suddenly, that's an Ambush," said Owl.
"It's an Ambush, Pooh, when people jump at you suddenly," explained Piglet.
Pooh, who now knew what an Ambush was, said that a gorse-bush had sprung at him suddenly one day when he fell off a tree, and he had taken six days to get all the prickles out of himself.
"We are not talking about gorse-bushes," said Owl a little crossly.
"I am," said Pooh.
They were climbing very cautiously up the stream now, going from rock to rock, and after they had gone a little way they came to a place where the banks widened out at each side, so that on each side of the water there was a level strip of grass on which they could sit down and rest. As soon as he saw this, Christopher Robin called "Halt!" and they all sat down and rested.
"I think," said Christopher Robin, "that we ought to eat all our Provisions now, so that we shan't have so much to carry."
"Eat all our what?" said Pooh.
"All that we've brought," said Piglet, getting to work.
"That's a good idea," said Pooh, and he got to work too.
"Have you all got something?" asked Christopher Robin with his mouth full.
"All except me," said Eeyore. "As Usual." He looked round at them in his melancholy way. "I suppose none of you are sitting on a thistle by any chance?"
"I believe I am," said Pooh. "Ow!" He got up, and looked behind him. "Yes, I was. I thought so."
"Thank you, Pooh. If you've quite finished with it." He moved across to Pooh's place, and began to eat.
"It don't do them any Good, you know, sitting on them," he went on, as he looked up munching. "Takes all the Life out of them. Remember that another time, all of you. A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference."
As soon as he had finished his lunch Christopher Robin whispered to Rabbit, and Rabbit said "Yes, yes, of course," and they walked a little way up the stream together.
"I didn't want the others to hear," said Christopher Robin.
"Quite so," said Rabbit, looking important.
"It's—I wondered—It's only—Rabbit, I suppose you don't know, What does the North Pole look like."
"Well," said Rabbit, stroking his whiskers. "Now you're asking me."
"I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten," said Christopher Robin carelessly.
"It's a funny thing," said Rabbit, "but I've sort of forgotten too, although I did know once."
"I suppose it's just a pole stuck in the ground?"
"Sure to be a pole," said Rabbit, "because of calling it a pole, and if it's a pole, well, I should think it would be sticking in the ground, shouldn't you, because there'd be nowhere else to stick it."
"Yes, that's what I thought."
"The only thing," said Rabbit, "is, where is it sticking?"
"That's what we're looking for," said Christopher Robin.
They went back to the others. Piglet was lying on his back, sleeping peacefully. Roo was washing his face and paws in the stream, while Kanga explained to everybody proudly that this was the first time he had ever washed his face himself, and Owl was telling Kanga an Interesting Anecdote full of long words like Encyclopaedia and Rhododendron to which Kanga wasn't listening.
"I don't hold with all this washing," grumbled Eeyore. "This modern Behind-the-ears nonsense. What do you think, Pooh?"
"Well," said Pooh, "I
But we shall never know what Pooh thought, for there came a sudden squeak from Roo, a splash, and a loud cry of alarm from Kanga.
"So much for washing," said Eeyore.
"Roo's fallen in!" cried Rabbit, and he and Christopher Robin came rushing down to the rescue.
"Look at me swimming!" squeaked Roo from the middle of his pool, and was hurried down a waterfall into the next pool.
"Are you all right, Roo dear?" called Kanga anxiously.
"Yes!" said Roo. "Look at me sw—" and down he went over the next waterfall into another pool.
Everybody was doing something to help. Piglet, wide awake suddenly, was jumping up and down and making "Oo, I say" noises; Owl was explaining that in a case of Sudden and Temporary Immersion the Important Thing was to keep the Head Above Water; Kanga was jumping along the bank, saying "Are you sure you're all right, Roo dear?" to which Roo, from whatever pool he was in at the moment, was answering "Look at me swimming!" Eeyore had turned round and hung his tail over the first pool into which Roo fell, and with his back to the accident was grumbling quietly to himself, and saying, "All this washing; but catch on to my tail, little Roo, and you'll be all right"; and, Christopher Robin and Rabbit came hurrying past Eeyore, and were calling out to the others in front of them.
"All right, Roo, I'm coming," called Christopher Robin.
"Get something across the stream lower down, some of you fellows," called Rabbit.
But Pooh was getting something. Two pools below Roo he was standing with a long pole in his paws, and Kanga came up and took one end of it, and between them they held it across the lower part of the pool; and Roo, still bubbling proudly, "Look at me swimming," drifted up against it, and climbed out.
"Did you see me swimming?" squeaked Roo excitedly, while Kanga scolded him and rubbed him down. "Pooh, did you see me swimming? That's called swimming, what I was doing. Rabbit, did you see what I was doing? Swimming. Hallo, Piglet! I say, Piglet! What do you think I was doing! Swimming! Christopher Robin, did you see me—"
But Christopher Robin wasn't listening. He was looking at Pooh.
"Pooh," he said, "where did you find that pole?" Pooh looked at the pole in his hands.
"I just found it," he said. "I thought it ought to be useful. I just picked it up."
"Pooh," said Christopher Robin solemnly, "the Expedition is over. You have found the North Pole!"
"Oh!" said Pooh.
Eeyore was sitting with his tail in the water when they all got back to him.
"Tell Roo to be quick, somebody," he said. "My tail's getting cold. I don't want to mention it, but I just mention it. I don't want to complain but there it is. My tail's cold."
"Here I am!" squeaked Roo.
"Oh, there you are."
"Did you see me swimming?"
Eeyore took his tail out of the water, and swished it from side to side.
"As I expected," he said. "Lost all feeling. Numbed it. That's what it's done. Numbed it. Well, as long as nobody minds, I suppose it's all right."
"Poor old Eeyore. I'll dry it for you," said Christopher Robin, and he took out his handkerchief and rubbed it up.
"Thank you, Christopher Robin. You're the only one who seems to understand about tails. They don't think—that's what the matter with some of these others. They've no imagination. A tail isn't a tail to them, it's just a Little Bit Extra at the back."
"Never mind, Eeyore," said Christopher Robin, rubbing his hardest. "Is that better?"
'It's feeling more like a tail perhaps. It Belongs again, if you know what I mean."
"Hullo, Eeyore," said Pooh, coming up to them with his pole.
'Hullo, Pooh. Thank you for asking, but I shall be able to use it again in a day or two."
"Use what?" said Pooh.
"What we are talking about."
"I wasn't talking about anything," said Pooh, looking puzzled.
"My mistake again. I thought you were saying how sorry you were about my tail, being all numb, and could you do anything to help?"
"No," said Pooh. "That wasn't me," he said. He thought for a little and then suggested helpfully, "Perhaps it was somebody else."
"Well, thank him for me when you see him."
Pooh looked anxiously at Christopher Robin.
"Pooh's found the North Pole," said Christopher Robin. "Isn't that lovely?"
Pooh looked modestly down.
"Is that it?" said Eeyore.
"Yes," said Christopher Robin.
"Is that what we were looking for?"
"Yes," said Pooh.
"Oh!" said Eeyore. "Well, anyhow—it didn't rain," he said.
They stuck the pole in the ground, and Christopher Robin tied a message on to it.
DISCOVERED BY POOH
POOH FOUND IT.
Then they all went home again. And I think, but I am not quite sure, that Roo had a hot bath and went straight to bed. But Pooh went back to his own house, and feeling very proud of what he had done, had a little something to revive himself.
A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;
At least as far as he is able.