WEEK 14 |
T HE moor was hidden in mist when the morning came and the rain had not stopped pouring down. There could be no going out of doors. Martha was so busy that Mary had no opportunity of talking to her, but in the afternoon she asked her to come and sit with her in the nursery. She came bringing the stocking she was always knitting when she was doing nothing else.
"What's the matter with thee?" she asked as soon as they sat down. "Tha' looks as if tha'd somethin' to say."
"I have. I have found out what the crying was," said Mary.
Martha let her knitting drop on her knee and gazed at her with startled eyes.
"Tha' hasn't!" she exclaimed. "Never!"
"I heard it in the night," Mary went on. "And I got up and went to see where it came from. It was Colin. I found him."
Martha's face became red with fright.
"Eh! Miss Mary!" she said half crying. "Tha' shouldn't have done it—tha' shouldn't! Tha'll get me in trouble. I never told thee nothin' about him—but tha'll get me in trouble. I shall lose my place and what'll mother do!"
"You won't lose your place," said Mary. "He was glad I came. We talked and talked and he said he was glad I came."
"Was he?" cried Martha. "Art tha' sure? Tha' doesn't know what he's like when anything vexes him. He's a big lad to cry like a baby, but when he's in a passion he'll fair scream just to frighten us. He knows us daren't call our souls our own."
"He wasn't vexed," said Mary. "I asked him if I should go away and he made me stay. He asked me questions and I sat on a big footstool and talked to him about India and about the robin and gardens. He wouldn't let me go. He let me see his mother's picture. Before I left him I sang him to sleep."
Martha fairly gasped with amazement.
"I can scarcely believe thee!" she protested. "It's as if tha'd walked straight into a lion's den. If he'd been like he is most times he'd have throwed himself into one of his tantrums and roused th' house. He won't let strangers look at him."
"He let me look at him. I looked at him all the time and he looked at me. We stared!" said Mary.
"I don't know what to do!" cried agitated Martha. "If Mrs. Medlock finds out, she'll think I broke orders and told thee and I shall be packed back to mother."
"He is not going to tell Mrs. Medlock anything about it yet. It's to be a sort of secret just at first," said Mary firmly. "And he says everybody is obliged to do as he pleases."
"Aye, that's true enough—th' bad lad!" sighed Martha, wiping her forehead with her apron.
"He says Mrs. Medlock must. And he wants me to come and talk to him every day. And you are to tell me when he wants me."
"Me!" said Martha; "I shall lose my place—I shall for sure!"
"You can't if you are doing what he wants you to do and everybody is ordered to obey him," Mary argued.
"Does tha' mean to say," cried Martha with wide open eyes, "that he was nice to thee!"
"I think he almost liked me," Mary answered.
"Then tha' must have bewitched him!" decided Martha, drawing a long breath.
"Do you mean Magic?" inquired Mary. "I've heard about Magic in India, but I can't make it. I just went into his room and I was so surprised to see him I stood and stared. And then he turned round and stared at me. And he thought I was a ghost or a dream and I thought perhaps he was. And it was so queer being there alone together in the middle of the night and not knowing about each other. And we began to ask each other questions. And when I asked him if I must go away he said I must not."
"Th' world's comin' to a end!" gasped Martha.
"What is the matter with him?" asked Mary.
"Nobody knows for sure and certain," said Martha. "Mr. Craven went off his head like when he was born. Th' doctors thought he'd have to be put in a 'sylum. It was because Mrs. Craven died like I told you. He wouldn't set eyes on th' baby. He just raved and said it'd be another hunchback like him and it'd better die."
"Is Colin a hunchback?" Mary asked. "He didn't look like one."
"He isn't yet," said Martha. "But he began all wrong. Mother said that there was enough trouble and raging in th' house to set any child wrong. They was afraid his back was weak an' they've always been takin' care of it—keepin' him lyin' down and not lettin' him walk. Once they made him wear a brace but he fretted so he was downright ill. Then a big doctor came to see him an' made them take it off. He talked to th' other doctor quite rough—in a polite way. He said there'd been too much medicine and too much lettin' him have his own way."
"I think he's a very spoiled boy," said Mary.
"He's th' worst young nowt as ever was!" said Martha. "I won't say as he
hasn't been ill a good bit. He's had coughs an' colds that's nearly
killed him two or three times. Once he had rheumatic fever an' once he
had typhoid. Eh! Mrs. Medlock did get a fright then. He'd been out of
his head an' she was talkin' to th' nurse, thinkin' he didn't know
nothin', an' she said, 'He'll die this time sure enough, an' best thing
for him an' for everybody.' An' she looked at him an' there he was with
his big eyes open, starin' at her as sensible as she was herself. She
didn't know what'd happen but he just stared at her an' says, 'You give
me some water an'
"Do you think he will die?" asked Mary.
"Mother says there's no reason why any child should live that gets no fresh air an' doesn't do nothin' but lie on his back an' read picture-books an' take medicine. He's weak and hates th' trouble o' bein' taken out o' doors, an' he gets cold so easy he says it makes him ill."
Mary sat and looked at the fire.
"I wonder," she said slowly, "if it would not do him good to go out into a garden and watch things growing. It did me good."
"One of th' worst fits he ever had," said Martha, "was one time they took him out where the roses is by the fountain. He'd been readin' in a paper about people gettin' somethin' he called 'rose cold' an' he began to sneeze an' said he'd got it an' then a new gardener as didn't know th' rules passed by an' looked at him curious. He threw himself into a passion an' he said he'd looked at him because he was going to be a hunchback. He cried himself into a fever an' was ill all night."
"If he ever gets angry at me, I'll never go and see him again," said Mary.
"He'll have thee if he wants thee," said Martha. "Tha' may as well know that at th' start."
Very soon afterward a bell rang and she rolled up her knitting.
"I dare say th' nurse wants me to stay with him a bit," she said. "I hope he's in a good temper."
She was out of the room about ten minutes and then she came back with a puzzled expression.
"Well, tha' has bewitched him," she said. "He's up on his sofa with his picture-books. He's told the nurse to stay away until six o'clock. I'm to wait in the next room. Th' minute she was gone he called me to him an' says, 'I want Mary Lennox to come and talk to me, and remember you're not to tell any one.' You'd better go as quick as you can."
Mary was quite willing to go quickly. She did not want to see Colin as much as she wanted to see Dickon, but she wanted to see him very much.
There was a bright fire on the hearth when she entered his room, and in the daylight she saw it was a very beautiful room indeed. There were rich colors in the rugs and hangings and pictures and books on the walls which made it look glowing and comfortable even in spite of the gray sky and falling rain. Colin looked rather like a picture himself. He was wrapped in a velvet dressing-gown and sat against a big brocaded cushion. He had a red spot on each cheek.
"Come in," he said. "I've been thinking about you all morning."
"I've been thinking about you, too," answered Mary. "You don't know how frightened Martha is. She says Mrs. Medlock will think she told me about you and then she will be sent away."
"Go and tell her to come here," he said. "She is in the next room."
Mary went and brought her back. Poor Martha was shaking in her shoes. Colin was still frowning.
"Have you to do what I please or have you not?" he demanded.
"I have to do what you please, sir," Martha faltered, turning quite red.
"Has Medlock to do what I please?"
"Everybody has, sir," said Martha.
"Well, then, if I order you to bring Miss Mary to me, how can Medlock send you away if she finds it out?"
"Please don't let her, sir," pleaded Martha.
"I'll send her away if she dares to say a word about such a thing," said Master Craven grandly. "She wouldn't like that, I can tell you."
"Thank you, sir," bobbing a curtsy, "I want to do my duty, sir."
"What I want is your duty," said Colin more grandly still. "I'll take care of you. Now go away."
When the door closed behind Martha, Colin found Mistress Mary gazing at him as if he had set her wondering.
"Why do you look at me like that?" he asked her. "What are you thinking about?"
"I am thinking about two things."
"What are they? Sit down and tell me."
"This is the first one," said Mary, seating herself on the big stool. "Once in India I saw a boy who was a Rajah. He had rubies and emeralds and diamonds stuck all over him. He spoke to his people just as you spoke to Martha. Everybody had to do everything he told them—in a minute. I think they would have been killed if they hadn't."
"I shall make you tell me about Rajahs presently," he said, "but first tell me what the second thing was."
"I was thinking," said Mary, "how different you are from Dickon."
"Who is Dickon?" he said. "What a queer name!"
She might as well tell him, she thought. She could talk about Dickon without mentioning the secret garden. She had liked to hear Martha talk about him. Besides, she longed to talk about him. It would seem to bring him nearer.
"He is Martha's brother. He is twelve years old," she explained. "He is not like any one else in the world. He can charm foxes and squirrels and birds just as the natives in India charm snakes. He plays a very soft tune on a pipe and they come and listen."
There were some big books on a table at his side and he dragged one suddenly toward him.
"There is a picture of a snake-charmer in this," he exclaimed. "Come and look at it."
The book was a beautiful one with superb colored illustrations and he turned to one of them.
"Can he do that?" he asked eagerly.
"He played on his pipe and they listened," Mary explained. "But he doesn't call it Magic. He says it's because he lives on the moor so much and he knows their ways. He says he feels sometimes as if he was a bird or a rabbit himself, he likes them so. I think he asked the robin questions. It seemed as if they talked to each other in soft chirps."
Colin lay back on his cushion and his eyes grew larger and larger and the spots on his cheeks burned.
"Tell me some more about him," he said.
"He knows all about eggs and nests," Mary went on. "And he knows where foxes and badgers and otters live. He keeps them secret so that other boys won't find their holes and frighten them. He knows about everything that grows or lives on the moor."
"Does he like the moor?" said Colin. "How can he when it's such a great, bare, dreary place?"
"It's the most beautiful place," protested Mary. "Thousands of lovely things grow on it and there are thousands of little creatures all busy building nests and making holes and burrows and chippering or singing or squeaking to each other. They are so busy and having such fun under the earth or in the trees or heather. It's their world."
"How do you know all that?" said Colin, turning on his elbow to look at her.
"I have never been there once, really," said Mary suddenly remembering. "I only drove over it in the dark. I thought it was hideous. Martha told me about it first and then Dickon. When Dickon talks about it you feel as if you saw things and heard them and as if you were standing in the heather with the sun shining and the gorse smelling like honey—and all full of bees and butterflies."
"You never see anything if you are ill," said Colin restlessly. He looked like a person listening to a new sound in the distance and wondering what it was.
"You can't if you stay in a room," said Mary.
"I couldn't go on the moor," he said in a resentful tone.
Mary was silent for a minute and then she said something bold.
He moved as if he were startled.
"Go on the moor! How could I? I am going to die."
"How do you know?" said Mary unsympathetically. She didn't like the way he had of talking about dying. She did not feel very sympathetic. She felt rather as if he almost boasted about it.
"Oh, I've heard it ever since I remember," he answered crossly. "They are always whispering about it and thinking I don't notice. They wish I would, too."
Mistress Mary felt quite contrary. She pinched her lips together.
"If they wished I would," she said, "I wouldn't. Who wishes you would?"
"The servants—and of course Dr. Craven because he would get Misselthwaite and be rich instead of poor. He daren't say so, but he always looks cheerful when I am worse. When I had typhoid fever his face got quite fat. I think my father wishes it, too."
"I don't believe he does," said Mary quite obstinately.
That made Colin turn and look at her again.
"Don't you?" he said.
And then he lay back on his cushion and was still, as if he were thinking. And there was quite a long silence. Perhaps they were both of them thinking strange things children do not usually think of.
"I like the grand doctor from London, because he made them take the iron thing off," said Mary at last. "Did he say you were going to die?"
"What did he say?"
"He didn't whisper," Colin answered. "Perhaps he knew I hated whispering. I heard him say one thing quite aloud. He said, 'The lad might live if he would make up his mind to it. Put him in the humor.' It sounded as if he was in a temper."
"I'll tell you who would put you in the humor, perhaps," said Mary reflecting. She felt as if she would like this thing to be settled one way or the other. "I believe Dickon would. He's always talking about live things. He never talks about dead things or things that are ill. He's always looking up in the sky to watch birds flying—or looking down at the earth to see something growing. He has such round blue eyes and they are so wide open with looking about. And he laughs such a big laugh with his wide mouth—and his cheeks are as red—as red as cherries."
She pulled her stool nearer to the sofa and her expression quite changed at the remembrance of the wide curving mouth and wide open eyes.
"See here," she said. "Don't let us talk about dying; I don't like it. Let us talk about living. Let us talk and talk about Dickon. And then we will look at your pictures."
It was the best thing she could have said. To talk about Dickon meant to talk about the moor and about the cottage and the fourteen people who lived in it on sixteen shillings a week—and the children who got fat on the moor grass like the wild ponies. And about Dickon's mother—and the skipping-rope—and the moor with the sun on it—and about pale green points sticking up out of the black sod. And it was all so alive that Mary talked more than she had ever talked before—and Colin both talked and listened as he had never done either before. And they both began to laugh over nothings as children will when they are happy together. And they laughed so that in the end they were making as much noise as if they had been two ordinary healthy natural ten-year-old creatures—instead of a hard, little, unloving girl and a sickly boy who believed that he was going to die.
They enjoyed themselves so much that they forgot the pictures and they forgot about the time. They had been laughing quite loudly over Ben Weatherstaff and his robin and Colin was actually sitting up as if he had forgotten about his weak back when he suddenly remembered something.
"Do you know there is one thing we have never once thought of," he said. "We are cousins."
It seemed so queer that they had talked so much and never remembered this simple thing that they laughed more than ever, because they had got into the humor to laugh at anything. And in the midst of the fun the door opened and in walked Dr. Craven and Mrs. Medlock.
Dr. Craven started in actual alarm and Mrs. Medlock almost fell back because he had accidentally bumped against her.
"Good Lord!" exclaimed poor Mrs. Medlock, with her eyes almost starting out of her head. "Good Lord!"
"What is this?" said Dr. Craven, coming forward. "What does it mean?"
Then Mary was reminded of the boy Rajah again. Colin answered as if neither the doctor's alarm nor Mrs. Medlock's terror were of the slightest consequence. He was as little disturbed or frightened as if an elderly cat and dog had walked into the room.
"This is my cousin, Mary Lennox," he said. "I asked her to come and talk to me. I like her. She must come and talk to me whenever I send for her."
Dr. Craven turned reproachfully to Mrs. Medlock.
"Oh, sir," she panted. "I don't know how it's happened. There's not a servant on the place that'd dare to talk—they all have their orders."
"Nobody told her anything," said Colin, "she heard me crying and found me herself. I am glad she came. Don't be silly, Medlock."
Mary saw that Dr. Craven did not look pleased, but it was quite plain that he dare not oppose his patient. He sat down by Colin and felt his pulse.
"I am afraid there has been too much excitement. Excitement is not good for you, my boy," he said.
"I should be excited if she kept away," answered Colin, his eyes beginning to look dangerously sparkling. "I am better. She makes me better. The nurse must bring up her tea with mine. We will have tea together."
Mrs. Medlock and Dr. Craven looked at each other in a troubled way, but there was evidently nothing to be done.
"He does look rather better, sir," ventured Mrs. Medlock. "But"—thinking the matter over—"he looked better this morning before she came into the room."
"She came into the room last night. She stayed with me a long time. She sang a Hindustani song to me and it made me go to sleep," said Colin. "I was better when I wakened up. I wanted my breakfast. I want my tea now. Tell nurse, Medlock."
Dr. Craven did not stay very long. He talked to the nurse for a few minutes when she came into the room and said a few words of warning to Colin. He must not talk too much; he must not forget that he was ill; he must not forget that he was very easily tired. Mary thought that there seemed to be a number of uncomfortable things he was not to forget.
Colin looked fretful and kept his strange black-lashed eyes fixed on Dr. Craven's face.
"I want to forget it," he said at last. "She makes me forget it. That is why I want her."
Dr. Craven did not look happy when he left the room. He gave a puzzled glance at the little girl sitting on the large stool. She had become a stiff, silent child again as soon as he entered and he could not see what the attraction was. The boy actually did look brighter, however—and he sighed rather heavily as he went down the corridor.
"They are always wanting me to eat things when I don't want to," said Colin, as the nurse brought in the tea and put it on the table by the sofa. "Now, if you'll eat I will. Those muffins look so nice and hot. Tell me about Rajahs."
W HEN John Adams was president and Thomas Jefferson was vice president of the United States, there was not a railroad in all the world.
People did not travel very much. There were no broad, smooth highways as there are now. The roads were crooked and muddy and rough.
If a man was obliged to go from one city to another, he often rode on horseback. Instead of a trunk for his clothing, he carried a pair of saddlebags. Instead of sitting at his ease in a parlor car, he went jolting along through mud and mire, exposed to wind and weather.
One day some men were sitting by the door of a hotel in Baltimore. As they looked down the street they saw a horseman coming. He was riding very slowly, and both he and his horse were bespattered with mud.
"There comes old Farmer Mossback," said one of the men, laughing. "He's just in from the backwoods."
"He seems to have had a hard time of it," said another; "I wonder where he'll put up for the night."
"Oh, any kind of a place will suit him," answered the landlord. "He's one of those country fellows who can sleep in the haymow and eat with the horses."
The traveler was soon at the door. He was dressed plainly, and, with
"Have you a room here for me?" he asked the landlord.
Now the landlord prided himself upon keeping a
"Well, then," answered the stranger, "I will see what they can do for me at the Planters' Tavern, round the corner;" and he rode away.
About an hour later, a well-dressed gentleman came into the hotel and said, "I wish to see Mr. Jefferson."
"Mr. Jefferson!" said the landlord.
"Yes, sir. Thomas Jefferson, the vice president of the United States."
"He isn't here."
"Oh, but he must be. I met him as he rode into town, and he said that he intended to stop at this hotel. He has been here about an hour."
"No, he hasn't. The only man that has been here for lodging
"Did he have reddish-brown hair, and did he ride a gray horse?"
"Yes, and he was quite tall."
"That was Mr. Jefferson," said the gentleman.
"Mr. Jefferson!" cried the landlord. "Was that the vice president? Here, Dick! build a fire in the best room. Put everything in tiptop order, Sally. What a dunce I was to turn Mr. Jefferson away! He shall have all the rooms in the house, and the ladies' parlor, too, I'll go right round to the Planters' and fetch him back."
So he went to the other hotel, where he found the vice president sitting with some friends in the parlor.
"Mr. Jefferson," he said, "I have come to ask your pardon. You were so bespattered with mud that I thought you were some old farmer. If you'll come back to my house, you shall have the best room in it—yes, all the rooms if you wish. Won't you come?"
"No," answered Mr. Jefferson. "A farmer is as good as any other man; and where there's no room for a farmer, there can be no room for me."
Come, dear children, let us away;
Down and away below!
Now my brothers call from the bay,
Now the great winds shoreward blow,
Now the salt tides seaward flow;
Now the wild white horses play,
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.
Children dear, let us away!
This way, this way!
Call her once before you go—
Call once yet!
In a voice that she will know:
Children's voices should be dear
(Call once more) to a mother's ear;
Children's voices, wild with pain—
Surely she will come again!
Call her once and come away;
This way, this way!
"Mother dear, we cannot stay!
The wild white horses foam and fret."
Come, dear children, come away down;
Call no more!
One last look at the white-wall'd town,
And the little gray church on the windy shore;
Then come down!
She will not come though you call all day;
Come away, come away!
Children dear, was it yesterday
We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
In the caverns where we lay,
Through the surf and through the swell,
The far-off sound of a silver bell?
Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,
Where the winds are all asleep;
Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,
Where the salt weed sways in the stream,
Where the sea-beasts, ranged all round,
Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground;
Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,
Dry their mail and bask in the brine;
Where great whales come sailing by,
Sail and sail, with unshut eye,
Round the world forever and aye?
When did music come this way?
Children dear, was it yesterday?
Children dear, was it yesterday
(Call yet once) that she went away?
Once she sate with you and me,
On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,
And the youngest sate on her knee.
She comb'd its bright hair, and she tended it well,
When down swung the sound of a far-off bell.
She sigh'd, she look'd up through the clear green sea;
She said: "I must go, for my kinsfolk pray
In the little gray church on the shore to-day.
'Twill be Easter-time in the world—ah me!
And I lose my poor soul, Merman! here with thee."
I said: "Go up, dear heart, through the waves;
Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves!"
She smil'd, she went up through the surf in the bay.
Children dear, was it yesterday?
Children dear, were we long alone?
"The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan;
Long prayers," I said, "in the world they say;
Come!" I said; and we rose through the surf in the bay.
We went up the beach, by the sandy down
Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-wall'd town;
Through the narrow pav'd streets, where all was still,
To the little gray church on the windy hill.
From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers,
But we stood without in the cold blowing airs.
We climb'd on the graves, on the stones worn with rains,
And we gaz'd up the aisle through the small leaded panes.
She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear:
"Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here!
Dear heart," I said, "we are long alone;
The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan."
But, ah, she gave me never a look,
For her eyes were seal'd to the holy book!
Loud prays the priest: shut stands the door.
Come away, children, call no more!
Come away, come down, call no more!
Down, down, down!
Down to the depths of the sea!
She sits at her wheel in the humming town,
Singing most joyfully.
Hark what she sings: "O joy, O joy,
For the humming street, and the child with its toy!
For the priest, and the bell, and the holy well;
For the wheel where I spun,
And the blessèd light of the sun!"
And so she sings her fill,
Singing most joyfully,
Till the spindle drops from her hand,
And the whizzing wheel stands still.
She steals to the window, and looks at the sand,
And over the sand at the sea;
And her eyes are set in a stare;
And anon there breaks a sigh,
And anon there drops a tear,
From a sorrow-clouded eye,
And a heart sorrow-laden,
A long, long sigh;
For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden,
And the gleam of her golden hair.
Come away, away, children;
Come, children, come down!
The hoarse wind blows colder;
Lights shine in the town.
She will start from her slumber
When gusts shake the door;
She will hear the winds howling,
Will hear the waves roar.
We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.
Singing: "Here came a mortal,
But faithless was she!
And alone dwell forever
The kings of the sea."
But, children, at midnight,
When soft the winds blow,
When clear falls the moonlight,
When spring-tides are low;
When sweet airs come seaward
From heaths starr'd with broom,
And high rocks throw mildly
On the blanch'd sands a gloom;
Up the still, glistening beaches,
Up the creeks we will hie,
Over banks of bright seaweed
The ebb-tide leaves dry.
We will gaze, from the sand-hills,
At the white, sleeping town;
At the church on the hill-side—
And then come back down.
Singing: "There dwells a lov'd one,
But cruel is she!
She left lonely forever
The kings of the sea."
WEEK 14 |
Y OU remember that the Romans came to Britain and, in a manner, conquered it. But after staying several hundred years, they again went away. When the Romans came to the island, the people who lived there were Britons. When the Romans left the island, the people who lived there were still Britons. The Romans could not make the Britons Romans, however hard they tried. They could not even make them speak Latin, which was the language of the Romans. The Britons learned many things from the Romans, but in spite of all they learned, they never forgot that they were Britons.
When the Saxons came to Britain, things happened very differently. You remember that first of all Vortigern asked the Saxons to come, and that afterwards every British king fought against them and tried to drive them away.
It seemed sometimes as if the Britons might succeed, but it never seemed so for long. In fact, from the day Hengist and Horsa landed, Britain had never really been free from these fierce heathen people. As time went on, they came in greater and greater numbers from over the sea. They were all Saxons, but there were many different tribes of them, some called Jutes, some Angles, and some by other names.
The Britons fought nobly for their country, but all in vain. However many of the Saxons were killed did not seem to matter, for their ships always brought more and more of them from over the sea. At last the Saxons had killed nearly all the Britons, and the few who remained took refuge in the mountains, in that part of the country which we now call Wales, and in Cornwall. So to this day the men of Cornwall and the Welsh are the descendants of the ancient Britons, and the language they speak is very like the language spoken by the ancient Britons.
I want you to understand that the kings and people of whom you are now going to read are not British but Saxon, the new people from over the sea who had gradually taken possession of the whole of the south of Britain. There were other British kings after Arthur, but as nearly all their time was taken up with fighting against the Saxons, the story of their lives is not very interesting.
These wild Saxons did not at once settle down quietly into
one kingdom. No, they had many leaders, and each leader
seized a part of Britain for himself and his followers, so
there arose seven different kingdoms. And although they were
really all one race of people, and spoke almost the same
language, they were always fighting with each other. This
lasted until Egbert, one of the kings of one of the seven
kingdoms, succeeded in making the others own him as a kind
The Saxons were heathen as you know, and they pulled down the churches and killed the Christian priests. So all the land became heathen again. Only in the wild mountains of Wales, the teaching of Arthur and his Christian knights was remembered.
But once again the story of Christ was brought to Britain, and you shall now hear how it happened.
In those days slavery was allowed, that is, people used to buy and sell men and women, and little boys and girls, just as if they were cattle.
The merchants who came to trade with Britain used to take
away slaves to sell in
Suddenly he stood still. He had been awakened from his dream by the sound of children's voices, and now he stopped to watch them, as they laughed and played together. These children had fair faces and rosy cheeks, their eyes were merry and blue, and their hair shone like gold in the sunshine. Gregory thought they were the prettiest children that he had ever seen.
A very tender look came into Gregory's eyes as he stood and
watched them playing. Then he sighed, for he saw by the
chains round their necks that they were to be sold as slaves.
"Poor children," he said, "so far from home!" He knew they
must come from some
"Where do these children come from?" he asked, turning to the man who had charge of them.
"From the island called Britain," replied the man, "but the people are called Angles."
"Angles," said Gregory, as he gently put his hand on their curly heads, "nay, not Angles but angels they should be called."
The children could not understand what Gregory said, but they knew from his voice that it was something kind. They ceased their play, and stood round him, looking up trustingly into his face, with their big blue eyes.
Gregory stroked their curly heads, and as he bent over them he felt love for the pretty fair-haired children grow in his heart. He asked many questions about them, and when he heard that they were heathen, he made up his mind to buy them and teach them to be Christians.
Gregory took the pretty children home with him. He was very kind to them, and taught them how to grow up into good men and women. They loved him, you may be sure, and he loved them so much, that he made up his mind to go to Britain to teach all their brothers and sisters there to be Christians too.
But the people of his own land were so fond of Gregory that they would not let him go. So, although it was a great sorrow to him, he was obliged to give up his plan.
But Gregory did not forget about it. Some years after this he was made Bishop of Rome, and so became a very powerful and important person. And one of the first things he did after he became powerful was to send a good man called Augustine to preach about Christ to the Angles.
Augustine took about forty other good men with him, and set out for Britain. We are not told if the pretty children, whom Gregory had bought in the Roman market-place so many years before, were among these men, but I think very likely they were. They would be so glad to go back to their own country to teach their brothers and sisters all the good things they had learned from Gregory.
It is a long way from Italy to England, and in those days when there were no trains and travelling was both difficult and dangerous, it seemed very long indeed. But after many adventures Augustine and his men arrived safely on the seashore of France. There they had to wait for a ship to take them across to Britain, or England as we must now call it.
While they waited, Augustine and his men heard such stories about the fierceness of the Angles and the Saxons that they were frightened. They were so frightened that they turned back to Rome.
When Gregory heard that they had returned he was very angry. "I am ashamed that you should be so cowardly," he said to Augustine. "Go back again. If the people of England kill you, you die for others, even as Christ did."
So Augustine set out again. This time he reached England.
Although the Saxons were fierce and lawless, they treated Augustine and his followers very kindly. Ethelbert, who was King of Kent, one of the seven kingdoms into which England was divided, was the first to listen to them. He was a heathen, but he had married a Christian lady, and so had already heard something of the story of Christ. Soon he and all his people were baptized.
Augustine does not seem to have had any difficulty in persuading the Saxons to leave off worshipping idols. One would think that the heathen priests at least would have been very angry, and that they would have tried to stop the teaching of this new religion. But they did not.
A story is told of a priest whose name was Coifi. He sat one day among the people listening very attentively to the story of God and Christ. When the preacher had finished speaking there was a great silence. This new religion seemed to the people to be very beautiful, but they were so accustomed to believing that their idols had power to punish them, if they neglected them or disobeyed them, that they were afraid. Then Coifi rose. "No one," he said, "has ever served the old gods more faithfully than I have. I have tried to believe in them all my life, yet they have never done anything to make me better or happier. This new teaching seems to me to be good. Let us destroy our old gods and turn to the teaching of Christ."
Then while the astonished people looked on in fear, Coifi took a spear in his hand, mounted upon a horse, and riding at full speed knocked over the great idol which for so many years he had worshipped as God.
When the people saw their god fallen and broken, they trembled. They felt sure something dreadful would happen to Coifi for his wickedness. But nothing happened. So, taking heart and following the example of Coifi, the people set fire to their temple, which was soon burned to the ground, and the idols with it. Then all the people were baptized and became Christians.
In time Augustine or his followers went through all the seven kingdoms of England. It took a long time, but at last the whole land became Christian, although of course the people did not learn all at once to live as good Christians ought.
M AGNA, the meadowlark, was sitting on the broken top of an old tree trunk which stood at the edge of Holiday Meadow. The upper parts of his feather coat were mostly dark. His throat and breast were bright yellow. Between the yellow of his throat and the yellow of his breast he wore a black bib shaped somewhat like a new moon.
"Spring is here!" Magna's voice was sweet and a bit sad-sounding. The singer, himself, was not sorry about anything, though. He was happy. He was glad to be home again at Holiday Meadow. Perhaps he had spent his winter in Maryland or perhaps not so far south. He did not mind rather cold weather.
"Spring is here," sang Magna, the meadowlark.
It was pleasant for Magna that he did not feel chilly while he sat on top of the old tree trunk that first day of April. For it was a nipping sort of morning. The air was cold. When Magna opened his mouth and sang, his breath came out in white frosty puffs. It showed plainly because the sky beyond was clear deep blue.
If you had been there at six o'clock that morning you could have seen the bird's song while you were hearing it. That is it would have seemed like seeing a song,—with the notes floating up from the bird's mouth like frosted music.
"Spring is here!" Magna sang his song again and again. Way up the road a bird like him was sitting on the tip of a telegraph pole. He was singing rather slowly. He sounded as if he was saying, "Swe‑e‑et spri‑i‑ng is he‑ere!"
Over by the pasture a third bird was perched on top of a fence post. He was calling in a quick voice, "Spring's here!"
Young Dick, in his room at Holiday Farm, rubbed his eyes and then sat up in bed to listen. A few minutes later he was rapping on his cousin's door.
"Wake up, you lazy Anne," he called, "and look and listen out of the hall window."
Anne pulled on her warm bath robe and joined her cousin at the open window. First she looked, and what she saw was a fresh sprinkling of snow that had fallen on Holiday Meadow the evening before. Next she listened, and what she heard was "Spring is here!" "Swe‑e‑et spri‑i‑ng is he‑ere!" "Spring's here!"
Then Anne danced on her toes and said, "The meadowlarks have come—three of them and each with his own way of telling us that spring is here." And Anne was so glad that her voice sounded like a song, too.
Dick chuckled. "Doesn't look much like spring with last night's snow, does it? And see our breath going out of the window, all white and frosty!"
"Spring is here!" sang Magna.
The cousins laughed. "I think that is his April Fool Song, to‑day," said Anne.
Dick and Anne had learned from their bird book that the meadowlarks of western prairies had much longer and sweeter songs than those that came to Holiday Meadow. The cousins hoped that some time they might visit places where they could hear the full rich music of the western meadowlarks. Meanwhile they enjoyed Magna's song—what there was of it.
It was a short tune, to be sure, but he sang it a great many times. One of his favorite singing places was the top of the old broken tree where he perched the first day of April, but often he sang while he was standing on the ground. Sometimes he sang a warbly sort of twitter while he was flying.
Early in the season Magna met his mate and they passed pleasant days together. For a while they were most interested in their nest.
They did not make a hanging nest like the one a pair of orioles put on a swinging branch of an elm that stood in the yard of Holiday Farm. They did not attach their nest to a low willow bush over in Holiday Swamp as did a pair of red-winged blackbirds. They built their nest on the ground.
Even though it was in a different sort of place, the nest of Magna and his mate was, in one respect, somewhat like the nest in the elm and the one in the swamp bush. All three nests were carefully woven. Perhaps it is because meadowlarks and orioles and blackbirds are rather closely related that they all weave their nests, instead of making them with sticks laid criss-cross as some other birds do.
Magna's mate found a house lot that suited her exactly. There was a little hollow just right to fit a nest into. Close to the hollow grew a tall tuft of sheltering grass. This house lot was near one edge of the meadow not too far from the swamp where a thirsty bird could find a shallow stream and drinking pools. A water supply is as important to a bird as it is to a person.
When the nest was finished it had coarse grass on the outside and fine grass on the inside, and it had a dome-shaped roof of woven grass. Of course all the grass in the nest was brown and dry. That is, it was dry when the nest was finished. But while Mrs. Magna was working on it she used damp grass fibers which were so soft they could be woven without breaking. She gathered these in the morning while they were wet with dew. Afterward the grass dried in the sunshine.
It was a charming nest.
It was a charming nest even while it was empty. But about a week later when it had six eggs in it, it was such a dear nest that Mother Magna could not bear to leave it except when she was very thirsty or very hungry indeed. The rest of the time she brooded her eggs and kept them warm. They were white eggs with brown and purple speckles on them.
Dick and Anne had been watching the meadow through their bird glasses and had noticed that Magna quite often alighted near a certain spot when he flew down to the meadow. They thought that he was visiting Mother Magna.
One day Dick said, "Let's go and find the meadowlark's nest." When they reached the place near where Magna had disappeared, the bird flew up from the ground. While he was flying he showed the white outer feathers of his short tail. He went to the broken tree and called "Yert" in an anxious voice. That was his way of warning Mother Magna of danger.
The cousins walked slowly and were careful where they stepped. They hunted for more than an hour without finding the nest. Then Anne said, "Let's stop. That poor old meadowlark is staying on guard in the tree and he is worried. I'm worried, too. There is so much dry grass next the ground that it would be easy to step on a hidden nest without seeing it. If we do, we'll be sorry all summer."
"All right," said Dick, "we can go to the swamp and hunt for the red-winged blackbird's nest. There is no danger of stepping on that. Maybe there will be eggs to see now, and later we can visit the young birds and see how fast they grow."
Magna watched Dick and Anne walk toward the swamp. When they had gone far enough so that he no longer felt anxious about his mate and her nest, he stopped calling "Yert" and flew down to the meadow to hunt for food.
The old bird had a keen appetite and enjoyed stalking along in the tall grass to find something to eat. But it was not until the speckled eggs had hatched that his hunting season began in earnest. Then Father Magna hunted from dawn until dusk.
For there were six mouths always open to give him a hungry greeting when he went to the nest. And much fresh meat must be poked into those mouths before the young birds could grow up and be able to do their own hunting.
The food that was best for the young meadowlarks was insect-meat. Magna caught grasshoppers, both old ones with wings and young ones without. He pounced on grown moths and young caterpillars. He picked up beetles and grubs.
And every time he carried insects to the nest, he found six little birds with mouths wide open and ready to swallow what he brought.
Of course Magna did not provide all the family meals. Mother Magna was as good a hunter as he was and she kept as busy. As soon as her eggs were hatched she did not need to stay on the nest. So she hurried here and there and did her full share of the day's hunting.
When the Man of Holiday Farm saw these birds busy in the meadow he smiled. "The meadowlarks help take care of the hay," he said. "Most of the insects they catch are such as feed on grass. So the more of these birds there are in the field, the better the hay crop will be."
Daisies are pretty but they do not make good hay.
Each time Magna and Mother Magna went to feed their young ones they brushed against the woven roof of the nest from the outside. Each time the growing birds reached up for food they brushed against the roof from the inside. The dome-shaped top was not very strong, so before the birds were ready to leave the nest they were without any roof to cover them. However, they did not really need a roof, so they were well enough off without it.
Besides they were growing rapidly for their diet of insects agreed with them. In due time they were too big and strong to stay crowded together in so small a home.
One day when Dick and Anne were running along the edge of the meadow, eight birds flew up ahead of them. They all showed white outer tail feathers. One of the birds went to the top of the old broken tree and said "Yert" in an anxious voice. One of them alighted on a fence post and moved her tail in a fidgety way. The other six flew a little way over the grass and then dropped to the ground as if they were a bit tired.
"Look," said Dick, "those must be the young meadowlarks. Perhaps that is the first time they ever flew. They did not go far. Aren't you glad they are out of the nest before it is time to cut the hay?"
Just then Magna sang from the top of his tree. "Spring is here!" was what his song sounded like to the cousins.
"It is summer, now, old chap," Anne called to him, "and next it will be fall."
"Perhaps," said Dick thoughtfully, "it always seems like spring to a meadowlark—when he is happy."
Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little lamb, I'll tell thee;
Little lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild,
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little lamb, God bless thee!
Little lamb, God bless thee!
WEEK 14 |
AY down in the Sunny South," began Old Mother Nature, "lives a
member of the Rat family who, though not nearly so bad as Robber,
is none too good and so isn't thought well of at all. He is
Little Robber the
"He lives in old fields, along ditches and hedges, and in similar
places where there is plenty of cover in which he can hide from
his enemies. He burrows in the ground and usually has his nest of
dry grass there, though often in summer it is on
the surface of the
ground. He does not live in and around the homes of men, like the
Brown Rat, but he causes a great deal of damage by stealing grain
in the shock. He eats all kinds of grain, many seeds, and meat
when he can get it. He is very destructive to eggs and young of
ground-nesting birds. He has a bad temper and will fight savagely.
"But there are other members of the Rat family far more interesting
and quite worth knowing. One of these is Trader the Wood Rat, in
some parts of the
"Next to Jerry Muskrat he is the largest native Rat, that is, of the Rats which belong in this country. He is about two thirds as big as Robber the Brown Rat, but though he is of the same general shape, so that you would know at once that he is related to Robber, he is in all other ways wholly unlike that outcast. His fur is thick and soft, almost as soft as that of a Squirrel. His fairly long tail is covered with hair. Indeed, some members of his branch of the family have tails almost as bushy as a Squirrel's. His coat is soft gray and a yellowish-brown above, and underneath pure white or light buff. His feet are white. He has rounded ears and big black eyes with none of the ugliness in them that you always see in the eyes of Robber. And he has long whiskers and plenty of them."
This is the Eastern form of this interesting branch of the Rat family.
"But why is he called Trader?" asked Peter Rabbit a bit impatiently.
"Patience, Peter, patience. I'm coming to that," chided Old Mother Nature. "He is Trader because his greatest delight is in trading. He is a born trader if ever there was one. He doesn't steal as other members of his family but trades. He puts something back in place of whatever he takes. It may be little sticks or chips or pebbles or anything else that is handy but it is something to replace what he has taken. You see, he is very honest. If Trader finds something belonging to some one else that he wants he takes it, but he tries to pay for it.
"Next to trading he delights in collecting. His home is a regular museum. He delights in anything bright and shiny. When he can get into the camps of men he will take anything he can move. But being honest, he tries to leave something in return. All sorts of queer things are found in his home—buckles cut from saddles, spoons, knives, forks, even money he has taken from the pockets of sleeping campers. Whenever any small object is missed from a camp, the first place visited in search of it is the home of Trader. In the mountains he sometimes makes piles of little pebbles just for the fun of collecting them.
"He is found all over the West, from the mountains to the deserts, in thick forests and on sandy wastes. He is also found in parts of the East and in the Sunny South. He is a great climber and is perfectly at home in trees or among rocks. He eats seeds, grain, many kinds of nuts, leaves and other parts of plants. In the colder sections he lays up stores for winter."
"What kind of a home does he have?" asked Happy Jack.
"His home usually is a very remarkable affair," replied Old Mother Nature. "It depends largely on where he is. When he is living in rocky country, he makes it amongst the rocks. In some places he burrows in the ground. But more often it is on the surface of the ground—a huge pile of sticks and thorns in the very middle of which is his snug, soft nest. The sticks and thorns are to protect it from enemies. When he lives down where cactus grow, those queer plants with long sharp spines, he uses these, and there are few enemies who will try to pull one of these houses apart to get at him.
"When he is alarmed or disturbed, he has a funny habit of drumming on
the ground with his hind feet in much the same way that Peter Rabbit
and Jumper the Hare thump, only he does it rapidly. Sometimes he
builds his house in a tree. When he finds a cabin in the woods he
at once takes possession, carrying in a great mass of sticks and
trash. He is chiefly active at night, and a very busy fellow he
is, trading and collecting. He has none of the mean disposition
of Robber the Brown Rat.
"Now we come to the handsomest member of the family, Longfoot the Kangaroo Rat, so called because of his long hind legs and tail and the way in which he sits up and jumps. Really he is not a member of the Rat branch of the family, but closely related to the Pocket Mice. You see, he has pockets in his cheeks."
He is not a true Rat but is related to the Pocket Mice.
"Like mine?" asked Striped Chipmunk quickly.
"No, they are on the outside instead of the inside of his cheeks. Yours are inside."
"I think mine must be a lot handier," asserted Striped Chipmunk, nodding his head in a very decided way.
"Longfoot seems to think his are quite satisfactory," replied Old Mother Nature. "He really is handsome, but he isn't a bit vain and is very gentle. He never tries to bite when caught and taken in a man's hand."
"But you haven't told us how big he is or what he looks like," protested impatient Peter.
"When he sits up or jumps he looks like a tiny Kangaroo. But that doesn't mean anything to you, and you are no wiser than before, for you never have seen a Kangaroo," replied Old Mother Nature. "In the first place he is about the size of Striped Chipmunk. That is, his body is about the size of Striped Chipmunk's; but his tail is longer than his head and body together."
"My, it must be some tail!" exclaimed Peter Rabbit admiringly.
Old Mother Nature smiled. "It is," said she. "You would like that tail, Peter. His front legs are short and the feet small, but his hind legs are long and the feet big. Of course you have seen Nimbleheels the Jumping Mouse, Peter."
Peter nodded. "Of course," he replied. "My how that fellow can jump!"
"Well, Longfoot is built on the same plan as Nimbleheels and for the same purpose," continued Old Mother Nature. "He is a jumper."
"Then I know what that long tail is for," cried Peter. "It is to keep him balanced when he is in the air so that he can jump straight."
"Right again, Peter," laughed Old Mother Nature. "That is just what it is for. Without it, he never would know where he was going to land when he jumped. As I told you, he is a handsome little fellow. His fur is very soft and silky. Above, it is a pretty yellowish-brown, but underneath it is pure white. His cheeks are brown, he is white around the ears, and a white stripe crosses his hips and keeps right on along the sides of his tail. The upper and under parts of his tail are almost or quite black, and the tail ends in a tuft of long hair which is pure white. His feet are also white. His head is rather large for his size, and long. He has a long nose. Longfoot has a number of cousins, some of them much smaller than he, but they all look very much alike."
"Where do they live?" asked Johnny Chuck, for Johnny had been unable to stay away from school another day.
"In the dry, sandy parts of the Southwest, places so dry that it seldom rains, and water is to be found only long distances apart," replied Old Mother Nature.
"Then how does Longfoot get water to drink?" demanded Chatterer the Red Squirrel.
"He gets along without drinking," replied Old Mother Nature. "Such moisture as he needs he gets from his food. He eats seeds, leaves of certain plants and tender young plants just coming up. He burrows in the ground and throws up large mounds of earth. These have several entrances. One of these is the main entrance, and during the day this is often kept closed with earth. Under the mound he has little tunnels in all directions, a snug little bedroom and storerooms for food. He is very industrious and dearly loves to dig.
"Longfoot likes to visit his relatives sometimes, and where there
are several families living near together, little paths lead from
mound to mound. He comes out mostly at night, probably because he
feels it to be safer then. Then, too, in that hot country it is
cooler at night. The dusk of early evening is his favorite
playtime. If Longfoot has a quarrel with one of his relatives they
fight, hopping about each other, watching for a chance to leap and
kick with those long, strong hind feet. Longfoot sometimes drums
with his hind feet after the manner of Trader the
"Now I think this will do for this morning.
If any of you should
meet Whitefoot the Wood Mouse, tell him to come to school
"We do!" cried Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare and
The white men had not learned how to fight the Indians, who moved swiftly from place to place, and hid themselves in the darkest swamps. But at last the man was found who could battle with the Indians in their own way. This was Captain Benjamin Church.
Church could not only fight the Indians, but he knew how to make them his friends. One tribe, not far from his home, was under the control of a squaw sachem, or woman chief. Her name was Awashonks. She and Benjamin Church were good friends, and after the war broke out Church tried to go to see her, but some of the Indians of her tribe who were friendly to Philip attacked Church and his men, so that they had to hide behind a fence till a boat came and took them away.
Later in the war, church sent word to Awashonks that he would meet her and four other Indians at a certain place. But the rulers of Plymouth Colony thought it too dangerous for church to go to see the squaw sachem. They would not give him any men for such an expedition.
However, Church went on his own account, with one white man and three Indians. He took some tobacco and a bottle of rum as presents suited to the taste of this Indian queen. Church ventured ashore, leaving his canoe to stand off at a safe distance, so that if he should be killed the men in the canoe might carry the news to the white people. Awashonks and the four Indians met him and thanked him for venturing among them. But soon a great number of warriors, frightfully painted and armed, rose up out of the tall grass and surrounded Captain church. The captain knew that if he showed himself frightened he would be killed.
"Have you not met me to talk about peace?" he said to Awashonks.
"Yes," said Awashonks.
"When people meet to talk of peace they lay down their arms," said Captain Church.
The Indians now began to look surly and to mutter something.
"If you will put aside your guns, that will do," said Church.
The Indian warriors laid down their guns and squatted on the grass. During the discussion some of them grew angry, and one fellow with a wooden tomahawk wished to kill Church, but the others pushed him away. The captain succeeded in making peace with this tribe, who agreed to take the side of the English against Philip.
Awashonks held a war dance after this, and Church attended. The Indians lighted a great bonfire, and moved about it in rings. One of the braves stepped inside the circle and called out the name of one of the tribes fighting on Philip's side against the white people. Then he pulled a firebrand out of the fire to represent that tribe, and he made a show of fighting with the firebrand. Every time the name of a tribe was called, a firebrand was drawn out and attacked in this way.
Fighting a Firebrand
After this ceremony Church could call on as many of these Indians as he wished to help him against Philip. With small bands of these Indians and a few white men Captain Church scoured the woods, capturing a great many Indian prisoners.
From the prisoners that he took, Church chose certain ones and made them soldiers under him. He would say to one of these men: "Come! come! You look wild, and mutter. That doesn't matter. The best soldiers I have got were as wild and surly as you a little while ago. By the time you've been one day with me you'll love me, too, and be as active as any of them."
And it always turned out so. The captain was so jolly, and yet so bold and so successful, that the savage whom he chose to help him would presently do anything for him, even to capturing his own friends.
At last so many of Philip's Indians were taken that Philip himself was fleeing from swamp to swamp to avoid falling into the hands of the white men. But he grew fiercer as he grew more desperate. He killed one of his men for telling him that he ought to make peace with the white men. The brother of the man whom he killed ran away from Philip, and came into the settlement to tell the white people where to find that chief.
Captain Church had just come from chasing Philip to make a short visit to his wife. The poor woman had been so anxious for her husband's safety that she fainted when she saw him. By the time she had recovered the Indian deserter came to tell Church where Philip could be found, and the captain galloped off at once.
Church placed his men near the swamp in which Philip was hidden. The Indians took the alarm and fled. In running away Philip ran straight toward Church's hidden men, and was shot by the very Indian whose brother he had killed. His head was cut off and stuck up over a gatepost at Plymouth. Such was the ugly custom in that day.
Philip's chief captain, Annawon, got away with a considerable number of Indians. Church and half a dozen of his Indian scouts captured an old Indian and a young squaw who belonged to Annawon's party. They made these two walk ahead of them carrying baskets, while Church and his men crept behind them. In this way they got down a steep bank right into the camp of Annawon, whose party was much stronger than Church's. But Church boldly seized the guns of the Indians, which were stacked together.
Indian Woman Carrying Basket
"I am taken," cried Annawon.
"What have you got for supper?" asked Church. "I have come to sup with you."
Annawon ordered the women to hurry up supper, and when it was ready he asked Church whether he would have "horse beef" or "cow beef." Church preferred to eat cow beef.
The captain told his Indians to stand guard while he tried to get a nap. But soon all were fast asleep except Church and Annawon, who lay eying each other. Presently, Annawon got up and walked away. Church moved all the Indians' guns close to himself. He thought that the old chief might have gone for another gun, and he lay down beside the chief's son, so that Annawon could not shoot him without killing his own son.
But Annawon came back with a bundle in his arms. He fell on his knees before Church.
"Great captain," he said, "you have killed Philip and conquered his country. I and my company are the last. This war is ended by you, and therefore these things are yours."
He opened the bundle, which contained Philip's belts of wampum and the red blanket in which Philip dressed on great occasions.
Annawon Opens Philip's Bundle
This ended King Philip's War.
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning;
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning.
No useless coffin inclosed his breast,
Not in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed,
And smoothed down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him,—
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone—
But we left him alone with his glory!
WEEK 14 |
One fine morning Siegfried and all his fair company set out on their journey to Rhineland. Their little son they left at the palace in the Netherlands.
As they drew near to Burgundy, a band of Gunther's most gallant warriors rode forth to meet their guests. Brunhild also went to greet the royal company, yet in her heart the hatred she felt for Siegfried and his wife grew ever more fierce, more cruel.
Gunther rejoiced when he saw the brave light-hearted hero once again, and he welcomed him right royally. As for Brunhild, she kissed the Queen of the Netherlands, and smiled upon her, so that the lovely lady was well pleased with her greeting.
Twelve hundred gallant warriors sat round the banqueting table in the good city of Worms that day. Then the feast ended, and the travellers sought their couches, weary with their long journey. The next morning the great chests which they had brought with them were opened, and many precious stones, and many beautiful garments were bestowed by King Siegfried and Queen Kriemhild on the ladies and the knights of the royal city.
Queen Uté, too, was happy, for now again she might look upon the face of her dear daughter.
Then a tournament was held, and the knights tilted, while beautiful damsels looked down upon them from the galleries of the great hall. And at evensong the happy court would wend its way to the Minster, and there, the Queens, wearing their crowns of state, would enter side by side. Thus for eleven days all went merry as a marriage ball.
One evening, ere the Minster bell pealed for vespers, the two Queens sat side by side under a silken tent. They were talking of Siegfried and Gunther, their lords.
"There is no braver warrior in the wide world than my lord Siegfried," said Kriemhild.
"Nay," cried Brunhild angrily, "nay, thou dost forget thy brother, King Gunther. None, I trow, is mightier than he."
Then the gentle Kriemhild forgot her gentle ways, and bitter to Queen Brunhild's ears were the words she spoke.
"My royal brother is neither strong nor brave as is my lord," she cried. "Dost thou not know that Siegfried it was, not Gunther, who vanquished thee in the contests held at thy castle in Isenland? Dost thou not know that it was Siegfried, clad in his Coat of Darkness, who wrested from thee both thy girdle and thy ring?" And Kriemhild pointed to the girdle which she was wearing round her waist, to the ring which she was wearing on her finger.
Brunhild, when she saw her girdle and her ring, wept, and her tears were tears of anger. Never would she forgive Siegfried for treating her thus; never would she forgive Kriemhild for telling her the truth.
"Alas! alas!" cried the angry Queen, "no hero have I wed, but a feeble-hearted knave."
Meanwhile, Kriemhild, already grieved that she had spoken thus foolishly, had left the angry Queen and gone down to the Minster to vespers.
That evening Brunhild had no smiles, no gentle words, for her lord.
"It was Siegfried, not thou, my lord, who vanquished me in the contests at Isenland," she said in a cold voice to the startled King.
Had Siegfried then dared to boast to the Queen of the wonderful feats he had done in the land across the sea? Nay, King Gunther could not quite believe that the hero would thus boast of his great strength.
But the Queen was still scolding him, so Gunther, in his dismay, stammered, "We will summon the King to our presence, and he shall tell us why he has dared to boast of his might as though he were stronger than I."
When Siegfried stood before the angry Brunhild, the crestfallen King said as sternly as he dared, "Hast thou boasted that it was thou who conquered the maiden Brunhild?"
But even as he spoke all Gunther's suspicions fled away. Siegfried with the steadfast eyes and the happy laugh had never betrayed him. Of that he felt quite sure. It was true that he might have told his wife Kriemhild—
Ah, now King Gunther knew what had happened! Not Siegfried, but his lady sister had told Brunhild the secret. Truly it was no fault of the gallant hero that Queen Brunhild had that day learned the secret which he would fain have kept from her for ever.
So King Gunther stretched out his hand to Siegfried, who had stood in silence before him, and said, "Not thou, but my sister Kriemhild hath boasted of thy prowess in Isenland," and the two Kings walked away together leaving Brunhild in her anger.
But not long was she left to weep alone, for Hagen, the keen-eyed, coming into the hall, saw her tears.
"Gracious lady, wherefore dost thou weep?" he asked.
"I weep for anger," said Brunhild, and she told Hagen the foolish words which Siegfried's wife had spoken.
When Hagen had heard them he smiled grimly to himself. Siegfried, the hero, nor his beautiful wife, should escape his vengeance now. And he began at once to plan with the Queen how he might punish them. Well did he know that Brunhild would do all in her power to aid him in his plots.
Slowly but very surely Hagen drew Gernot and one or two warriors into his schemes against the King of the Netherlands. But when Giselher heard that the cruel counsellors even wished to slay Siegfried, he was angry, and said bravely, "Never has Siegfried deserved such hate from any knight of Burgundy."
But Hagen did not cease his evil whispers against the hero. He would even steal upon King Gunther as he sat at his council-table, and he would whisper in his ear that if Siegfried were not so strong, his Burgundian heroes would win more glory for their arms, that if Siegfried were not living, all his broad lands would belong, through Kriemhild, to Burgundy.
At first, Gunther would bid Hagen be silent, and lay aside his hate of the mighty hero. But afterward he would listen and only murmur, "If Siegfried heard thy words, none of us would be safe from his wrath." For King Gunther was weak and easily made to fear.
"Fear not," said Hagen grimly, "Siegfried shall never hear of our plots. Leave the matter to me. I will send for two strange heralds to come to our land. They shall pretend that they have come from our old enemies, Ludegast and Ludeger, and they shall challenge us to battle once again."
"When Siegfried hears that thou must go forth to fight, he will even as aforetime offer to go for thee against the foe. Then, methinks, shall I learn the secret of the great warrior's strength from Kriemhild, ere he set out, as she will believe he must do, for the battlefield."
And Gunther listened and feared to gainsay the words of his wicked counsellor, also he thought of the great treasure, and longed that he might possess it.
Some Dogs found the skin of a Lion and furiously began to tear it with their teeth. A Fox chanced to see them and laughed scornfully.
"If that Lion had been alive," he said, "it would have been a very different story. He would have made you feel how much sharper his claws are than your teeth.
It is easy and also contemptible to kick a man that is down.
When to the flowers—so beautiful—
The Father gave a name,
Back came a little blue-eyed one
(All timidly it came),
And standing at its Father's feet,
And gazing in his face—
It said in low and trembling tones,
With sweet and gentle grace,
"Dear God, the name thou gavest me
Alas! I have forgot."
Then kindly looked the Father down,
And said, "Forget-me-not."
WEEK 14 |
"Here stand I. I cannot act otherwise. So help we God!"
T ETZEL was coming to Wittenberg in the autumn of 1517 when Luther determined on more open opposition. It was the eve of All Saints when he posted up on the door of the church ninety-five reasons against the sale of indulgences. He had no idea what a storm he was raising. He did not wish to quarrel with the Pope, only to expose this abuse in the Church. But he had kindled the spark that fired the great Reformation. Widespread excitement followed, and at last Luther was summoned to Rome to answer for his ninety-five reasons. But the distance was great, and it was agreed that he should go to Augsburg, where a representative of the Pope would meet him.
Martin Luther was but a poor friar still, and he walked the distance, clad in his brown frock with his few wants on his back. His fellow-citizens attended him to the gates and followed him some way along the road.
"Luther forever!" they cried as they bade him farewell.
"No," he answered quietly, "Christ for ever!"
Arrived at Augsburg, the cardinal sent by the Pope received Luther with all civility. He made no doubt that he could soon settle this son of a German miner; and so perhaps he might, had he been the right man. But he took a high hand, and simply told him to withdraw his opposition and retract his words at once.
"What is wrong?" asked Luther.
The cardinal refused to discuss matters.
"I am come to command, not to argue," he replied.
But the little monk refused to retract.
Then, history says, the cardinal grew angry.
"What!" he cried. "What! Do you think the Pope cares for the opinion of a German peasant? The Pope's little finger is stronger than all Germany. Do you expect princes to defend you. I tell you, No; and where will you be then?"
"Then, as now, in the hands of Almighty God," answered Luther.
Then cardinal and monk parted. But Luther was too deeply moved to keep silent.
"God hurries and drives me," he said. "I am not master of myself. I wish to be quiet and am hurried into the midst of tumults."
At this moment Charles V. became Emperor of Germany and ruler of half the world. Matters were now referred to him, for Luther was taking firmer ground and attacking not only the abuses of the papacy, but the whole Church of Rome.
At last a command came from the Pope forbidding Luther to preach any more. He replied by burning the document at the gate of the city. Crowds gathered to see the fire blaze up. Then Luther, pale as death, stepped forward holding in his hand the document with the Pope's seal upon it. He knew full well what he was doing now as he dropped it into the flames that rose high that wintry afternoon at Wittenberg. The crowds shouted approval and admiration.
"It was the shout of the awakening of nations," says a famous writer. Not only the little crowd at Wittenberg, but the whole world, was looking on. For that little fire lit up the whole of Europe. Luther was now ordered by the Emperor Charles to appear before a council, or Diet, as it was called, which should meet at Worms, a city on the Rhine. He was warned by his friends not to go, for feeling ran high. There would surely be bloodshed, they told him, and he would never leave Worms alive.
"Were there as many devils in Worms as there are tiles upon the roofs of the houses, I would go on," replied Luther.
The whole country was moved by his heroism. Whether he was right or whether he was wrong, this was a brave man. In April 1521, at ten in the morning, he arrived at Worms in the covered waggon provided for him.
"God will be with me," he said as he descended from the waggon.
Crowds assembled to see him as he passed to the council chamber, this resolute little monk, who was defying the Pope of Rome.
Inside, the scene was most impressive. On a raised platform sat Charles V., ruler of half the world. Archbishops, ministers, princes, stood on either side to hear and judge this son of a miner who had made the world ring with his name. In the body of the hall stood knights and nobles, stern hard men in gleaming armour. Between them Luther was led, still in his monk's dress. As he passed up the hall a knight touched him on the arm.
"Pluck up thy spirit, little monk," he said. "Some of us here have seen warm work in our time, but never knight in this company more needed a stout heart than thou needest it now. If thou hast faith, little monk, go on; in the name of God, forward!"
"Yes," said Luther, throwing back his head, "in the name of God, forward!"
At last he stood alone before his judges. "It was the greatest scene in modern European history—the greatest moment in the modern history of men."
The books he had written lay on a table at hand. The titles were read aloud, and he was asked if he had written them.
"Yes," was his firm answer.
Would he withdraw all he had written? No—that was impossible. For two long hours Luther defended his opinions. He would retract nothing. They might kill him if they wished, and he knew death was the penalty, but he was ready to die in such a cause. What he said he now repeated, for the matter had gone far beyond the sale of indulgences by this time.
"Here stand I. I cannot act otherwise. So help me God!"
Uttering these famous words, he ended.
The council broke up in excitement, and Luther was free to go home.
"It is past! it is past!" he cried in heartrending accents, as he clasped his hands above his head.
The verdict was not long in coming. It was against him. He must preach no more, teach no more. The emperor of half the world must uphold the authority of the Pope.
"Be it so," said Luther, uncomplaining. "I will bear anything for his Imperial Majesty and the Empire, but the Word of God must not be bound."
For the next year he was sheltered by one of his friends in an old German castle, lest he should suffer violence from the hands of those who disapproved his conduct. But after a time he returned to Wittenberg,—the scene of his old labours,—while others carried on the work of reformation which he had begun.
Y OU know that the fixed stars are divided into groups, called constellations. A name has been given to every constellation; and each is supposed to be like the shape of some creature or thing—such as the Great Bear, the Swan, the Cup, the Eagle, the Dragon, and so on. Most of their names were given by the Greeks, who fancied they could see in them the shapes after which they were named. We have kept the old names, and still paint the supposed figure of each constellation on the celestial globe, which is the image or map of the sky.
Now the grandest, brightest, and largest of all the constellations is named Orīon. It is supposed to represent a giant, with a girdle and a sword, and is rather more like what is fancied than most of the constellations are. You are now going to read the story of Orion, and how he came to be placed among the stars. You may notice, by the way, that the planets, the sun, and the moon are named after gods and goddesses; the fixed stars after mortals who were raised to the skies.
There was once a man named Hyrĭēus, whose wife died, and he loved her so much, and was so overcome with grief that he vowed never to marry again. But she left him no children. And when, in course of time, he grew old, he sadly felt the want of sons and daughters to make his old age less hard and lonely.
One day it happened that Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury (who was one of the gods, and Jupiter's chief minister and messenger) were on a visit to earth. The night fell, and they grew tired and hungry. So they wandered on to find rest and food; and, as luck would have it, they came to the cottage of Hyrieus, and asked for shelter. Hyrieus thought they were only three poor benighted travelers who had lost their way. But he was very good and charitable, so he asked them in and gave them the best fare he had—bread, roots, and wine—he himself waiting upon them, and trying to make them comfortable. He poured out a cup of wine, and offered it first to Neptune. But Neptune, instead of drinking it, rose from his seat and gave the cup to Jupiter, like a subject to a king who should be first served. You may not think there was much to notice in this; but Hyrieus noticed it, and then, looking intently upon the stranger to whom Neptune had given the cup, he was struck by a sudden religious awe that told him he was in the presence of the king and father of gods and men. He straightway fell on his knees and said: —
"I am poor and humble; but I have in my stall one ox to plough my field. I will gladly offer him up as a sacrifice for joy that Jupiter has thought me worthy to give him bread and wine."
"You are a good and pious man," said Jupiter. "Ask of us any gift you please, and it shall be yours."
"My wife is dead," said Hyrieus, "and I have vowed never to marry again. But let me have a child."
"Take the ox," said Jupiter, "and sacrifice him."
So Hyrieus, being full of faith, sacrificed his ox, and, at the bidding of Jupiter, buried the skin. And from that skin, and out of the ground, there grew a child, who was named Orion.
Orion grew and grew till he became a giant, of wonderful strength and splendid beauty. He took the most loving care of Hyrieus, and was the best of sons to him. But when the old man died, Orion went out into the world to seek his fortune. And the first service he found was that of Diana, the sister of Apollo, and queen and goddess of the Moon.
Diana, however, had a great deal to do besides looking after the moon. She was three goddesses in one—a goddess of the sky, a goddess of earth, and a goddess of Hades besides. In heaven she was called Luna, whose duty is to light the world when Apollo is off duty. In Hades she was called Hĕcătē, who, with her scepter, rules the ghosts of dead souls. And on earth her name is Diana, the queen of forests and mountains, of wild animals and hunters. She wears a crescent on her forehead and a quiver at her back; her limbs are bare, and she holds a bow, with which she shoots as well as her brother Apollo. Just as he is called Phœbus, so she is often called Phœbe. She goes hunting all night among the hills and woods, attended by the Nymphs and Oreads, of whom she is queen. There are not so many stories about her as about the other gods and goddesses, and yet she is really the most interesting of them all, as you will see some day.
This great strange goddess had sworn never to love or marry—had sworn it by Styx, I suppose. But Orion was so beautiful and so strong and so great a hunter that she went as near to loving him as she ever did to loving any one. She had him always with her, and could never bear him to leave her. But Orion never thought of becoming the husband of a goddess, and he fell in love with a mortal princess, the daughter of Œnopion, King of Chios, an island in the Ægean Sea.
When, however, he asked the king for his daughter, Œnopion was terribly frightened at the idea of having a giant for his son-in-law. But he dared not say "No." He answered him:—
"My kingdom is overrun with terrible wild beasts. I will give my daughter to the man who kills them all." He said this, feeling sure that any man who tried to kill all the wild beasts in Chios would himself be killed.
But Orion went out, and killed all the wild beasts in no time, with his club and his sword. Then Œnopion was still more afraid of him and said:—
"You have won my daughter. But before you marry her, let us drink together, in honor of this joyful day."
Orion, thinking no harm, went with Œnopion to the sea-shore, where they sat down and drank together. But Œnopion (whose name means "The Wine-Drinker") knew a great deal more about what wine will do, and how to keep sober, than Orion. So before long Orion fell asleep with the strong Chian wine, which the King had invented; and when Orion was sound asleep, Œnopion put out both his eyes.
The giant awoke to find himself blind, and did not know what to do or which way to go. But at last, in the midst of his despair, he heard the sound of a blacksmith's forge. Guided by the clang, he reached the place, and prayed the blacksmith to climb up on his shoulders, and so lend him his eyes to guide him.
The blacksmith consented, and seated himself on the giant's shoulder. Then said Orion:—
"Guide me to the place where I can see the first sunbeam that rises at daybreak in the east over the sea."
Orion strode out, and the blacksmith guided him, and at last they came to the place where the earliest sunbeam first strikes upon human eyes. It struck upon Orion's, and it gave him back his sight again. Then, thanking the blacksmith, he plunged into the sea to swim back to Diana.
Now Apollo had long noticed his sister's affection for Orion, and was very much afraid for fear she should break her vow against love and marriage. To break an oath would be a horrible thing for a goddess to do. While Orion was away, making love and killing wild beasts in Chios, there was no fear; but now he was coming back, there was no knowing what might happen. So he thought of a trick to get rid of Orion, and he said:—
"My sister, some people say that you can shoot as well as I can. Now, of course, that is absurd."
"Why absurd?" asked Diana. "I can shoot quite as well as you."
"We will soon see that," said Apollo. "Do you see that little dark speck out there, in the sea? I wager that you won't hit it, and that I can."
"We will see," said Diana. So she drew her bow and shot her arrow at the little dark speck, that seemed dancing on the waves miles and miles away. To hit it seemed impossible. But Diana's arrow went true. The speck was hit—it sank, and rose no more.
It was the head of Orion, who was swimming back to Diana. She had been tricked into killing him with an arrow from her own bow. All she could do was to place him among the stars.
So her vow was kept; and from that time she never allowed herself to be seen by a man. Women may see her; but if men see her, they go mad or die. There is a terrible story of a hunter named Actæon, who once happened to catch a glimpse of her as she was bathing in a pool. She instantly turned him into a stag, so that his own dogs fell upon him and killed him. And another time, when she saw a shepherd named Endymion on Mount Latmos, and could not help wishing to kiss him for his beauty, she covered herself with clouds as she stooped, and threw him into a deep sleep, so that he might not see her face, or know that he had been kissed by the moon. Only from that hour he became a poet and a prophet, full of strange fancies; and it is said that every man becomes a madman or a poet who goes to sleep in the moonlight on the top of a hill. Diana comes and kisses him in his dreams.
WEEK 14 |
NCE upon a time there was a man whose name was just Master Jacob and nothing more.
All that Master Jacob had in the world was a good fat pig, two black goats, a wife, and a merry temper—which was more than many a better man than he had, for the matter of that.
"See, now," says Master Jacob, "I will drive the fat pig to the market to-morrow; who knows but that I might strike a bit of a sale."
"Do," says Master Jacob's wife, for she was of the good sort, and always nodded when he said "yes," as the saying goes.
Now there were three rogues in the town over the hill, who lived in plenty; one was the priest, one was the provost, and one was the master mayor; and which was the greatest rogue of the three it would be a hard matter to tell, but perhaps it was the priest.
"See, now," says the priest to the other two, "Master Jacob, who lives over yonder way, is going to bring his fat pig to market to-morrow. If you have a mind for a trick, we will go snacks in what we win, and each of us will have a rib or two of bacon hanging in the pantry, and a string or so of sausages back in the chimney without paying so much as a brass button for them."
Well, of course that was a tune which the others were willing to dance. So the rogue of a priest told them to do thus and so, and to say this and that, and they would cheat Master Jacob out of his good fat pig as easily as a beggar eats buttered parsnips.
So the next morning off starts Master Jacob to the market, driving his fat pig before him with a bit of string around the leg of it. Down he comes into the town, and the first one whom he meets is the master priest.
"How do you find yourself, Master Jacob?" says the priest, "and where are you going with that fine, fat dog?"
"Dog!" says Master Jacob, opening his eyes till they were as big and as round as saucers. "Dog! Prut! It is as fine a pig as ever came into this town, I would have you know."
"What!" says the priest. "Do you try to tell me that that is a pig, when I can see with both of my ears and all of my eyes that it is a great, fat dog?"
"I say it is a pig!" says Master Jacob.
"I say it is a dog!" says the priest.
"I say it is a pig!" says Master Jacob.
"I say it is a dog!" says the priest.
"I say it is a pig!" says Master Jacob.
Just then who should come along but the provost, with his hands in his pockets and his pipe in his mouth, looking as high and mighty as though he owned all of that town and the sun and the moon into the bargain.
"Look, friend," says the priest. "We have been saying so and so and so and so, just now. Will you tell me, is that a pig, or is it a dog?"
"Prut!" says the provost, "how you talk, neighbor! Do you take me for a fool I should like to know? Why, it is as plain as the nose on your face that it is a great, fat dog."
"I say it is a pig!" bawled Master Jacob.
"I say it is a dog!" says the provost.
"I say it is a pig!" says Master Jacob.
"I say it is a dog!" says the provost.
"I say it is a pig!" says Master Jacob.
"Come, come," says the priest, "let us have no high words over the matter. No, no; we will take it to the mayor. If he says that it is a pig we two will give you ten shillings; and if he says it is a dog, you will give the animal to us as a penance."
Well, Master Jacob was satisfied with that, for he was almost certain that it was a pig. So off they marched to the mayor's house. There the priest told all about the matter, for he was used to talking. "And now," says he, "is it a pig, or is it a dog?"
"Why," says the mayor, "I wish I may be choked to death with a string of sausages if it is not a dog, and a big dog and a fat dog into the bargain."
So there was an end of the matter, and Master Jacob had to march off home without his pig and with no more in his pockets than he had before. All the same, he saw what kind of trick had been played on him, and, says he to himself, "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If one can pipe another can whistle; I'll just try a bit of a trick myself." So he went to his wife and told her that he had a mind to do thus and so, and that she must do this and that; for he thought of trying his hand at a little trickery as well as other folks.
Now, as I told you before, Master Jacob had two goats, both of them as black as the inside of your hat at midnight; moreover, they were as like as two spoons in the same dish; for no one could have told them apart unless he had lived with them year in and year out, rainy weather and clear, as Master Jacob had done.
Well, the next day Master Jacob tied a rope around the neck of one of the goats, took down a basket from the wall, and started off to the town over the hill, leading his goat behind him. By and by he came to the market place and began buying many and one things, until his basket was as full as it could hold. After a while whom should he see coming along but the priest and the provost and the mayor, walking arm-in-arm as bold as you please.
"Halloa, Master Jacob," said they, "and what have you there?"
"The blessed saints only know that," said Master Jacob. "It may be a black cat for all that I know; it was a black goat when I left home this morning."
And what was Master Jacob going to do with his little black goat? That was what they should like to know.
"Oh," said Master Jacob, "I am about to send my little black goat on an errand, if you will wait you shall see for yourselves."
Then what did he do but hang the basket around the goat's neck. "Go home to your mistress," said he, "and tell her to boil the beef and cabbage for dinner to-day; and, stop! tell her to go to Neighbor Nicholas's house and borrow a good big jug of beer, for I have a masterful thirst this morning." Then he gave the goat a slap on the back, and off it went as though the ground were hot under it. But whether it ever really went home or not, I never heard.
As for the priest, the provost, and the mayor, you may guess how they grinned at all of this. Good land sake's alive! And did Master Jacob really mean to say that the little black goat would tell the mistress all that?
Oh, yes; that it would. It was a keen blade, that little black goat, and if they would only come home with him, Master Jacob would show them.
So off they all went, Master Jacob and the priest and the provost and the mayor, and after a while they came to Master Jacob's house. Yes, sure enough, there was a black goat feeding in the front yard, and how should the priest and the provost and the mayor know that it was not the same one that they had seen at the market-place! And just then out came Master Jacob's wife. "Come in, Jacob," says she, "the cabbage and the meat are all ready. As for the beer, Neighbor Nicholas had none to spare, so I just borrowed a jugful of Neighbor Frederick, and it is as good as the other for certain and sure."
Dear, dear! how the three cronies did open their eyes when they heard all of this! They would like to have such a goat as that, indeed they would. Now, if Master Jacob had a mind to sell his goat, they would give as much as twenty dollars for it.
Oh, no; Master Jacob could not think of selling his nice little, dear little black goat for twenty dollars.
For thirty, then.
No; Master Jacob would not sell his goat for thirty dollars, either.
Well, they would give as much as forty.
No; forty dollars was not enough for such a goat as that.
So they bargained and bargained till the upshot of the matter was that they paid Master Jacob fifty dollars, and marched off with the goat as pleased as pleased could be.
Well, the three rogues were not long in finding out what a trick had been played upon them, I can tell you. So, in a day or two, whom should Master Jacob see coming down the road but the priest, the provost, and the master mayor, and anybody could see with half an eye that they were in an awful fume.
"Hi!" says Master Jacob, "there will be hot water boiling presently." In he went to his good wife. "Here," says he, "take this bladder of blood that we were going to make into pudding, and hide it under your apron, and then when I do this and that, you do thus and so."
Presently in came the priest, the provost, and the mayor, bubbling and sizzling like water on slake lime. "What kind of a goat was that that you sold us?" bawled they, as soon as they could catch their breaths.
"My black goat," says Master Jacob.
Then look! He would run on no errands, and would do nothing that it was told. It was of no more use about the house than five wheels to a wagon. Now Master Jacob might just go and put his hat on and come along with them, for they were about to take him away to prison.
"But stop a bit," says Master Jacob. "Did you say 'by the great horn spoon,' when you told the goat to do this or that?"
No; the cronies had done nothing of the kind, for Master Jacob had said nothing about a great horn spoon when he sold them the goat.
"Why didn't you remind me?" says Master Jacob to his good wife.
"I didn't think of it," says she.
"You didn't?" says he.
"No," says she.
"Then take that!" says he, and he out with a great sharp knife and jabbed it into the bladder under her apron, so that the blood ran out like everything.
"Ugh!" says the good wife, and then fell down and lay quite still, just for all the world as though she were dead.
When the three cronies saw this, they gaped like fish out of water. Just look now! Master Jacob had gone and killed his good wife, and all for nothing at all. Dear, dear! what a hasty temper the man had. Now he had gotten himself into a pretty scrape, and would have to go before the judge and settle the business with him.
"Tut! tut!" says Master Jacob, "the broth is not all in the ashes yet. Perhaps I am a bit hasty, but we will soon mend this stocking."
So he went to the closet in the corner of the room, and brought out a little tin horn. He blew a turn or two over his wife, whereat she sneezed, and then sat up as good and as sound as ever.
As for the priest and the provost and the mayor, they thought that they had never seen anything so wonderful in all of their lives before. They must and would have that tin horn if it was to be had; now, how much would Master Jacob take for it, money down?
Oh, Master Jacob did not want to part with his horn: all the same, if he had to sell it, he would just as lief that they should buy it as anybody. So they bargained and bargained, and the end of the matter was that they paid down another fifty dollars and marched off with the little tin horn, blowing away at it for dear life.
By and by they came home, and there stood the goat, nibbling at the grass in front of the house and thinking of no harm at all. "So!" says the provost, "was it you that would do nothing for us without our saying, 'By the great horn spoon?' Take that then!" And he fetched the goat a thwack with his heavy walking-staff so that it fell down, and lay with no more motion than a stone. "There," says he, "that business is done: and now lend me the horn a minute, brother, till I fetch him back again."
Well, he blew and he blew, and he blew and he blew, till he was as red in the face as a cherry, but the goat moved never so much as a single hair. Then the priest took a turn at the horn, but he had no better luck than the provost. Last of all the mayor had a try at it; but he might as well have blown the horn over a lump of dough for all the answer he had for his blowing.
Then it began to work into their heads that they had been befooled again. Phew! what a passion they were in. I can only say that I am glad that I was not in Master Jacob's shoes. "We'll put him in prison right away," said they, and off they went to do as they said.
But Master Jacob saw them coming down the road, and was ready for them this time too. He took two pots and filled them with pitch, and over the top of the pitch he spread gold and silver money, so that if you had looked into the pots you would have thought that there was nothing in them but what you saw on the top. Then he took the pots off into the little woods back of the house. Now in the woods was a great deep pit, and all around the pit grew a row of bushes, so thick that nothing was to be seen of the mouth of the hole.
By and by came the priest and the mayor and the provost to Master Jacob's house, puffing and blowing and fuming.
Rap! rap! tap! They knocked at the door, but nobody was there but Master Jacob's wife.
Was Master Jacob at home? That was what they wanted to know, for they had a score to settle with him.
Oh, Master Jacob's wife did not know just where he was, but she thought that he was in the little woods back of the house yonder, gathering money.
Phew! and did money grow so near to the house as all that? This was a matter to be looked into, for if money was to be gathered they must have their share. So off they went to the woods, hot-foot.
Yes; there was Master Jacob, sure enough, and what was more, he was carrying two pots, one on each arm.
"Hi! Master Jacob, and what have you there?" said they.
"Oh, nothing much," says Master Jacob.
Yes; that was all very good, but they would like to look into those pots that he was carrying; that was what the three cronies said.
"Well," says Master Jacob, "you may look into the pots if you choose; all the same, I will tell you that they are both full of pitch, and that there is only just a little money scattered over the top."
Yes, yes; that was all very well, but the three cronies knew the smell of money from the smell of pitch. See now, they had been fooled twice already, and were not to be caught again. Now, where did Master Jacob get that money, that was what they wanted to know.
"Oh," says Master Jacob, "I cannot tell you that; if you want to gather money you will have to look for it yourselves. But you must not go too near to those thick bushes yonder, for there is a deep pit hidden there, and you will be sure to fall into it."
When the priest and the provost and the mayor heard this, they nudged one another with their elbows and winked with one eye. They knew how much of that cheese to swallow. They would just take a look at this wonderful pit, for they thought that the money was hidden in the bushes for sure and certain. So off they went as fast as they could lay foot to the ground.
"Just you stay here," said the priest to the others, "while I go and see whether there really is a pit as he said." For he thought to himself that he would go and gather a pocketful of the money before it would be share and share with his comrades. So, into the thicket he jumped, and—plump!—he fell into the great deep pit; and there was an end of number one.
By and by the others grew tired of tarrying. "I'll go and see what he is waiting for," says the provost. For he thought to himself, "He is filling his pockets, and I might as well have my share." So, into the thicket he jumped, and—plump!—he fell into the great, deep pit; and there was an end of number two.
As for the mayor, he waited and waited. "What a fool am I," said he at last, "to sit here twiddling my thumbs while the two rogues yonder are filling their pockets without me. It is little or nothing but the scraps and the bones that I will come in for."
So the upshot of the matter was that he too ran and jumped into the thicket, and heels over head into the great, deep pit, and there was an end of number three. And if Master Jacob ever helped them out, you may depend upon it that he made them promise to behave themselves in time to come.
And this is true that I tell you: it would have been cheaper for them to have bought their pork in the first place, for, as it was, they paid a pretty penny for it.
As for Master Jacob and his good wife, they had a hundred dollars in good hard money, and if they did not get along in the world with that, why I, for one, want nothing more to do with them.
O NE bee is called a mason bee. She takes fine mud or clay, to make a cell. The cell is the shape of an urn. Now and then, she builds this urn in an empty snail shell.
One kind of mason bee is of a dark green color. Mason bees are very small. Some mason bees live in holes in the ground. In the hole they make a clay cell like a box.
They are so neat that they do not like to see a mud wall. What does the bee do to her wall? She cuts out bits of nice, soft leaves, and lines her cell! Some bees take bits of green leaves, as of the plum tree, but they like bright color best. One kind of bee lines her cell with the petals of roses. When she has glued them all over the cell, she then puts into it some food and an egg.
Do you not think the new bee will like its gay, pink cell? One kind of bee likes red poppy leaves best. She cuts the bits of leaf quite small.
There is a bee in Brazil, which makes a large nest, like a great bag. It is full of round balls. The balls are full of honey. The wax and honey of this bee are of a dark color.
One kind of bee has no sting. Would you like that bee best?
The tree bee is also called the wild bee. This bee chooses an old tree with a hollow trunk. It cleans out more and more of the old, dead wood, and builds nice combs.
Jacks of All Trades
A tall tree may be full of combs, from root to top. In such a tree, more than one swarm will live and work. Each swarm has its queen, and keeps in its own place.
Smoke makes bees fall as if dead. People drive bees off with the smoke from a fire of wood or paper.
When I was a little girl, our bees sometimes swarmed on the Fourth of July. I had to stay at home and watch them, and I am sure I did not like that.
To the Lords o' Convention 't was Claver'se who spoke,
'Ere the king's crown shall fall, there are crowns to be broke;
So let each cavalier who loves honor and me
Come follow the bonnets o' Bonnie Dundee!
Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can!
Come saddle your horses, and call out your men;
Come open the West Port and let me gang free,
And it's room for the bonnets o' Bonnie Dundee!
Dundee he is mounted, he rides up the street,
The bells are rung backwards, the drums they are beat;
But the provost, donce man, said, "Just e'en let him be,
The Gude Town is well quit of that deil of Dundee!"
As he rode down the sanctified bends of the bow,
Ilk carline was flyting and shaking her pow;
But the young plants o' grace they looked couthie and slee,
Thinking, Luck to thy bonnet, thou Bonnie Dundee!
With sour-featured Whigs the Grass Market was cramm'd,
As if half the west had set tryst to be hanged;
There was spite in each look, there was fear in each ee,
As they watched for the bonnets o' Bonnie Dundee.
These cowls of Kilmarnock had spits and had spears,
And lang-hafted gullies to kill Cavaliers;
But they shrunk to close-heads, and the causeway was free
At the toss o' the bonnet o' Bonnie Dundee.
He spurred to the foot o' the proud castle rock,
And with the gay Gordon he gallantly spoke:
"Let Mons Meg and her marrows speak twa words or three,
For the love o' the bonnet o' Bonnie Dundee."
The Gordon demands of him which way he goes,
"Where'er shall direct me the shade o' Montrose!
Your grace in short space shall hear tidings of me,
Or that low lies the bonnet o' Bonnie Dundee.
"There are hills beyond Pentland and lands beyond Forth;
If there's lords in the lowland, there's chiefs in the north;
There are wild Duniewassals three thousand times three
Will cry 'Hey!' for the bonnet o' Bonnie Dundee.
"There's brass on the target of barken'd bull-hide,
There's steel in the scabbard that dangles beside;
The brass shall be burnished, the steel shall flash free,
At a toss o' the bonnet o' Bonnie Dundee.
"Away to the hills, to the caves, to the rocks,
Ere I own a usurper I'll couch with the fox:
And tremble, false Whigs, in the midst of your glee,
Ye have no seen the last o' my Bonnet and me."
He waved his proud hand, and the trumpets were blown.
The kettle-drums clashed, and the horsemen rode on.
Till, on Ravelston's cliffs and on Clermiston's lea
Died away the wild war-notes o' Bonnie Dundee.
Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,
Come saddle the horses, and call up the men;
Come open your gates, and let me gang free,
For it's up with the bonnets o' Bonnie Dundee.
WEEK 14 |
Kings i: 1, to ii: 15.
FTER the death of Ahab, his son Ahaziah reigned for only two years as king of Israel He fell out of a window in his palace, and was injured so that he died; and as he had no son, his brother, Jehoram, became king in his place.
The work of Elijah, the prophet, was now ended, and the Lord was about to take him up to heaven. Elijah and Elisha went together to a place called Gilgal, not the place beside the river Jordan where the army of Israel was encamped under Joshua (see Part Second, Stories Two and Three), but another place of the same name among the mountains, not far from Bethel. And Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here, I pray you, for the Lord has sent me to Bethel."
Elisha knew that Elijah would be taken from him very soon, and he said, "As surely as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you."
So Elijah and Elisha walked together to Bethel. At Bethel were living many worshippers of the Lord, who were called "sons of the prophets," because they followed the teaching of the prophets, and some of them became prophets themselves. These men came to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from you very soon?"
And Elisha answered them, "Yes, I know it; but hold your peace; do not speak of it."
And at Bethel Elijah said to Elisha again, "Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho." But Elisha answered him, "As surely as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you."
So Elijah and Elisha walked together down the steep
road from Bethel to Jericho. And at Jericho the
followers of the prophets came to Elisha, and said to
him, "Do you know that the Lord will take your master
away from you
And he answered them, "Yes, I know it; but hold your peace, and say nothing." And Elijah said to him again, "Stay here at Jericho, I pray you, for the Lord has sent me to the river Jordan."
But Elisha said to Elijah once more, "As surely as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you."
So Elijah and Elisha walked from Jericho to the river Jordan, about five miles. About fifty men of the sons of the prophets who lived at Jericho followed them at a distance When they came to the bank of Jordan, Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and struck the waters. Then the waters were divided on each side, and a path was made across the river; and the two prophets walked across on dry ground. And as they walked, Elijah said, "As what I shall do for you, before I am taken away from you."
Elijah strikes the water with his mantle.
Elisha answered him, "All that I ask is that your spirit shall come upon me in greater power than comes upon any other man."
And Elijah said to him, "You have asked a great blessing; and if you see me when I am taken away, it shall come to you; but if you do not see me, it shall not come"
And as they still went on, and talked, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire came between them, and parted them; and Elijah went up in a whirlwind on the fiery chariot to heaven.
And Elisha saw him going up toward heaven, and he cried out, "O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof!"
He meant that in losing Elijah the kingdom had lost more than an army of chariots and horsemen. After this he saw Elijah no more; but he caught up the mantle of Elijah which had fallen from him. With the mantle he struck the waters of Jordan, saying, "Where now is the Lord God of Elijah?"
And as he struck the water with Elijah's mantle it parted on either side, and Elisha walked across the Jordan. The sons of the prophets who were standing near the river had not seen Elijah go up; but now they saw Elisha walking through the river alone, and they felt that God had taken Elijah away. They said, "The spirit of Elijah now rests upon Elisha," and they came to meet him, and bowed down before him as their chief. So Elijah was taken away, but Elisha stood in his place as the Lord's prophet.
I T rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old—three, was it, or four?—never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.
"If only," he thought, as he looked out of the window, "I had been in Pooh's house, or Christopher Robin's house, or Rabbit's house when it began to rain, then I should have had Company all this time, instead of being here all alone, with nothing to do except wonder when it will stop." And he imagined himself with Pooh, saying, "Did you ever see such rain, Pooh?" and Pooh saying, "Isn't it awful, Piglet?" and Piglet saying, "I wonder how it is over Christopher Robin's way" and Pooh saying, "I should think poor old Rabbit is about flooded out by this time." It would have been jolly to talk like this, and really, it wasn't much good having anything exciting like floods, if you couldn't share them with somebody.
For it was rather exciting. The little dry ditches in which Piglet had nosed about so often had become streams, the little streams across which he had splashed were rivers, and the river, between whose steep banks they had played so happily, had sprawled out of its own bed and was taking up so much room everywhere, that Piglet was beginning to wonder whether it would be coming into his bed soon.
"It's a little Anxious," he said to himself, "to be a Very Small Animal Entirely Surounded by Water. Christopher Robin and Pooh could escape by Climbing Trees, and Kanga could escape by Jumping, and Rabbit could escape by Burrowing, and Owl could escape by Flying, and Eeyore could escape by—by Making a Loud Noise Until Rescued, and here am I, surrounded by water and I can't do anything."
It went on raining, and every day the water got a little higher, until now it was nearly up to Piglet's window . . . and still he hadn't done anything.
"There's Pooh," he thought to himself. "Pooh hasn't much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right. There's Owl. Owl hasn't exactly got Brain, but he Knows Things. He would know the Right Thing to Do when Surrounded by Water. There's Rabbit. He hasn't Learnt in Books, but he can always Think of a Clever Plan. There's Kanga. She isn't Clever, Kanga isn't, but she would be so anxious about Roo that she would do a Good Thing to Do without thinking about it. And then there's Eeyore. And Eeyore is so miserable anyhow that he wouldn't mind about this. But I wonder what Christopher Robin would do?"
Then suddenly he remembered a story which Christopher Robin had told him about a man on a desert island who had written something in a bottle and thrown it in the sea; and Piglet thought that if he wrote something in a bottle and threw it in the water, perhaps somebody would come and rescue him!
He left the window and began to search his house, all of it that wasn't under water, and at last he found a pencil and a small piece of dry paper, and a bottle with a cork to it. And he wrote on one side of the paper:
and on the other side:
IT'S ME PIGLET, HELP HELP.
Then he put the paper in the bottle, and he corked the bottle up as tightly as he could, and he leant out of his window as far as he could lean without falling in, and he threw the bottle as far as he could throw—splash! —and in a little while it bobbed up again on the water; and he watched it floating slowly away in the distance, until his eyes ached with looking, and sometimes he thought it was the bottle, and sometimes he thought it was just a ripple on the water which he was following, and then suddenly he knew that he would never see it again and that he had done all that he could do to save himself.
"So now," he thought, "somebody else will have to do something, and I hope they will do it soon, because if they don't I shall have to swim, which I can't, so I hope they do it soon." And then he gave a very long sigh and said, "I wish Pooh were here. It's so much more friendly with two."
When the rain began Pooh was asleep. It rained, and it rained, and it rained, and he slept and he slept and he slept. He had had a tiring day. You remember how he discovered the North Pole; well, he was so proud of this that he asked Christopher Robin if there were any other Poles such as a Bear of Little Brain might discover.
"There's a South Pole," said Christopher Robin, "and I expect there's an East Pole and a West Pole, though people don't like talking about them."
Pooh was very excited when he heard this, and suggested that they should have an Expotition to discover the East Pole, but Christopher Robin had thought of something else to do with Kanga; so Pooh went out to discover the East Pole by himself. Whether he discovered it or not, I forget; but he was so tired when he got home that, in the very middle of his supper, after he had been eating for little more than half-an-hour, he fell fast asleep in his chair, and slept and slept and slept.
Then suddenly he was dreaming. He was at the East Pole, and it was a very cold pole with the coldest sort of snow and ice all over it. He had found a bee-hive to sleep in, but there wasn't room for his legs, so he had left them outside. And Wild Woozles, such as inhabit the East Pole, came and nibbled all the fur off his legs to make nests for their Young. And the more they nibbled, the colder his legs got, until suddenly he woke up with an Ow! —and there he was, sitting in his chair with his feet in the water, and water all round him!
He splashed to his door and looked out. . . .
"This is Serious," said Pooh. "I must have an Escape."
So he took his largest pot of honey and escaped with it to a broad branch of his tree, well above the water, and then he climbed down again and escaped with another pot . . . and when the whole Escape was finished, there was Pooh sitting on his branch, dangling his legs, and there, beside him, were ten pots of honey. . . .
Two days later, there was Pooh, sitting on his branch, dangling his legs, and there, beside him, were four pots of honey. . . .
Three days later, there was Pooh, sitting on his branch, dangling his legs, and there beside him, was one pot of honey.
Four days later, there was Pooh . . .
And it was on the morning of the fourth day that Piglet's bottle came floating past him, and with one loud cry of "Honey!" Pooh plunged into the water, seized the bottle, and struggled back to his tree again.
"Bother!" said Pooh, as he opened it. "All that wet for nothing. What's that bit of paper doing?"
He took it out and looked at it.
"It's a Missage," he said to himself, "that's what it is. And that letter is a 'P,' and so is that, and so is that, and 'P' means 'Pooh,' so it's a very important Missage to me, and I can't read it. I must find Christopher Robin or Owl or Piglet, one of those Clever Readers who can read things, and they will tell me what this missage means. Only I can't swim. Bother!"
Then he had an idea, and I think that for a Bear of Very Little Brain, it was a good idea. He said to himself:
"If a bottle can float, then a jar can float, and if a jar floats, I can sit on the top of it, if it's a very big jar."
So he took his biggest jar, and corked it up.
"All boats have to have a name," he said, "so I shall call mine The Floating Bear." And with these words he dropped his boat into the water and jumped in after it.
For a little while Pooh and The Floating Bear were uncertain as to which of them was meant to be on the top, but after trying one or two different positions, they settled down with The Floating Bear underneath and Pooh triumphantly astride it, paddling vigorously with his feet.
There was a crooked man, and he went a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence beside a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.