Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 15  


The Secret Garden  by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Nest Building

A FTER another week of rain the high arch of blue sky appeared again and the sun which poured down was quite hot. Though there had been no chance to see either the secret garden or Dickon, Mistress Mary had enjoyed herself very much. The week had not seemed long. She had spent hours of every day with Colin in his room, talking about Rajahs or gardens or Dickon and the cottage on the moor. They had looked at the splendid books and pictures and sometimes Mary had read things to Colin, and sometimes he had read a little to her. When he was amused and interested she thought he scarcely looked like an invalid at all, except that his face was so colorless and he was always on the sofa.

"You are a sly young one to listen and get out of your bed to go following things up like you did that night," Mrs. Medlock said once. "But there's no saying it's not been a sort of blessing to the lot of us. He's not had a tantrum or a whining fit since you made friends. The nurse was just going to give up the case because she was so sick of him, but she says she doesn't mind staying now you've gone on duty with her," laughing a little.

In her talks with Colin, Mary had tried to be very cautious about the secret garden. There were certain things she wanted to find out from him, but she felt that she must find them out without asking him direct questions. In the first place, as she began to like to be with him, she wanted to discover whether he was the kind of boy you could tell a secret to. He was not in the least like Dickon, but he was evidently so pleased with the idea of a garden no one knew anything about that she thought perhaps he could be trusted. But she had not known him long enough to be sure. The second thing she wanted to find out was this: If he could be trusted—if he really could—wouldn't it be possible to take him to the garden without having any one find it out? The grand doctor had said that he must have fresh air and Colin had said that he would not mind fresh air in a secret garden. Perhaps if he had a great deal of fresh air and knew Dickon and the robin and saw things growing he might not think so much about dying. Mary had seen herself in the glass sometimes lately when she had realized that she looked quite a different creature from the child she had seen when she arrived from India. This child looked nicer. Even Martha had seen a change in her.

"Th' air from th' moor has done thee good already," she had said. "Tha'rt not nigh so yeller and tha'rt not nigh so scrawny. Even tha' hair doesn't slamp down on tha' head so flat. It's got some life in it so as it sticks out a bit."

"It's like me," said Mary. "It's growing stronger and fatter. I'm sure there's more of it."

"It looks it, for sure," said Martha, ruffling it up a little round her face. "Tha'rt not half so ugly when it's that way an' there's a bit o' red in tha' cheeks."

If gardens and fresh air had been good for her perhaps they would be good for Colin. But then, if he hated people to look at him, perhaps he would not like to see Dickon.

"Why does it make you angry when you are looked at?" she inquired one day.

"I always hated it," he answered, "even when I was very little. Then when they took me to the seaside and I used to lie in my carriage everybody used to stare and ladies would stop and talk to my nurse and then they would begin to whisper and I knew then they were saying I shouldn't live to grow up. Then sometimes the ladies would pat my cheeks and say 'Poor child!' Once when a lady did that I screamed out loud and bit her hand. She was so frightened she ran away."

"She thought you had gone mad like a dog," said Mary, not at all admiringly.

"I don't care what she thought," said Colin, frowning.

"I wonder why you didn't scream and bite me when I came into your room?" said Mary. Then she began to smile slowly.

"I thought you were a ghost or a dream," he said. "You can't bite a ghost or a dream, and if you scream they don't care."

"Would you hate it if—if a boy looked at you?" Mary asked uncertainly.

He lay back on his cushion and paused thoughtfully.

"There's one boy," he said quite slowly, as if he were thinking over every word, "there's one boy I believe I shouldn't mind. It's that boy who knows where the foxes live—Dickon."

"I'm sure you wouldn't mind him," said Mary.

"The birds don't and other animals," he said, still thinking it over, "perhaps that's why I shouldn't. He's a sort of animal charmer and I am a boy animal."

Then he laughed and she laughed too; in fact it ended in their both laughing a great deal and finding the idea of a boy animal hiding in his hole very funny indeed.

What Mary felt afterward was that she need not fear about Dickon.

On that first morning when the sky was blue again Mary wakened very early. The sun was pouring in slanting rays through the blinds and there was something so joyous in the sight of it that she jumped out of bed and ran to the window. She drew up the blinds and opened the window itself and a great waft of fresh, scented air blew in upon her. The moor was blue and the whole world looked as if something Magic had happened to it. There were tender little fluting sounds here and there and everywhere, as if scores of birds were beginning to tune up for a concert. Mary put her hand out of the window and held it in the sun.

"It's warm—warm!" she said. "It will make the green points push up and up and up, and it will make the bulbs and roots work and struggle with all their might under the earth."

She kneeled down and leaned out of the window as far as she could, breathing big breaths and sniffing the air until she laughed because she remembered what Dickon's mother had said about the end of his nose quivering like a rabbit's.

"It must be very early," she said. "The little clouds are all pink and I've never seen the sky look like this. No one is up. I don't even hear the stable boys."

A sudden thought made her scramble to her feet.

"I can't wait! I am going to see the garden!"

She had learned to dress herself by this time and she put on her clothes in five minutes. She knew a small side door which she could unbolt herself and she flew down-stairs in her stocking feet and put on her shoes in the hall. She unchained and unbolted and unlocked and when the door was open she sprang across the step with one bound, and there she was standing on the grass, which seemed to have turned green, and with the sun pouring down on her and warm sweet wafts about her and the fluting and twittering and singing coming from every bush and tree. She clasped her hands for pure joy and looked up in the sky and it was so blue and pink and pearly and white and flooded with springtime light that she felt as if she must flute and sing aloud herself and knew that thrushes and robins and skylarks could not possibly help it. She ran around the shrubs and paths toward the secret garden.

"It is all different already," she said. "The grass is greener and things are sticking up everywhere and things are uncurling and green buds of leaves are showing. This afternoon I am sure Dickon will come."

The long warm rain had done strange things to the herbaceous beds which bordered the walk by the lower wall. There were things sprouting and pushing out from the roots of clumps of plants and there were actually here and there glimpses of royal purple and yellow unfurling among the stems of crocuses. Six months before Mistress Mary would not have seen how the world was waking up, but now she missed nothing.

When she had reached the place where the door hid itself under the ivy, she was startled by a curious loud sound. It was the caw—caw of a crow and it came from the top of the wall, and when she looked up, there sat a big glossy-plumaged blue-black bird, looking down at her very wisely indeed. She had never seen a crow so close before and he made her a little nervous, but the next moment he spread his wings and flapped away across the garden. She hoped he was not going to stay inside and she pushed the door open wondering if he would. When she got fairly into the garden she saw that he probably did intend to stay because he had alighted on a dwarf apple-tree, and under the apple-tree was lying a little reddish animal with a bushy tail, and both of them were watching the stooping body and rust-red head of Dickon, who was kneeling on the grass working hard.

Mary flew across the grass to him.

"Oh, Dickon! Dickon!" she cried out. "How could you get here so early! How could you! The sun has only just got up!"

He got up himself, laughing and glowing, and tousled; his eyes like a bit of the sky.

"Eh!" he said. "I was up long before him. How could I have stayed abed! Th' world's all fair begun again this mornin', it has. An' it's workin' an' hummin' an' scratchin' an' pipin' an' nest-buildin' an' breathin' out scents, till you've got to be out on it 'stead o' lyin' on your back. When th' sun did jump up, th' moor went mad for joy, an' I was in the midst of th' heather, an' I run like mad myself, shoutin' an' singin'. An' I come straight here. I couldn't have stayed away. Why, th' garden was lyin' here waitin'!"

Mary put her hands on her chest, panting, as if she had been running herself.

"Oh, Dickon! Dickon!" she said. "I'm so happy I can scarcely breathe!"

Seeing him talking to a stranger, the little bushy-tailed animal rose from its place under the tree and came to him, and the rook, cawing once, flew down from its branch and settled quietly on his shoulder.

"This is th' little fox cub," he said, rubbing the little reddish animal's head. "It's named Captain. An' this here's Soot. Soot he flew across th' moor with me an' Captain he run same as if th' hounds had been after him. They both felt same as I did."

Neither of the creatures looked as if he were the least afraid of Mary. When Dickon began to walk about, Soot stayed on his shoulder and Captain trotted quietly close to his side.

"See here!" said Dickon. "See how these has pushed up, an' these an' these! An' Eh! look at these here!"

He threw himself upon his knees and Mary went down beside him. They had come upon a whole clump of crocuses burst into purple and orange and gold. Mary bent her face down and kissed and kissed them.

"You never kiss a person in that way," she said when she lifted her head. "Flowers are so different."

He looked puzzled but smiled.

"Eh!" he said, "I've kissed mother many a time that way when I come in from th' moor after a day's roamin' an' she stood there at th' door in th' sun, lookin' so glad an' comfortable."

They ran from one part of the garden to another and found so many wonders that they were obliged to remind themselves that they must whisper or speak low. He showed her swelling leaf-buds on rose branches which had seemed dead. He showed her ten thousand new green points pushing through the mould. They put their eager young noses close to the earth and sniffed its warmed springtime breathing; they dug and pulled and laughed low with rapture until Mistress Mary's hair was as tumbled as Dickon's and her cheeks were almost as poppy red as his.

There was every joy on earth in the secret garden that morning, and in the midst of them came a delight more delightful than all, because it was more wonderful. Swiftly something flew across the wall and darted through the trees to a close grown corner, a little flare of red-breasted bird with something hanging from its beak. Dickon stood quite still and put his hand on Mary almost as if they had suddenly found themselves laughing in a church.

"We munnot stir," he whispered in broad Yorkshire. "We munnot scarce breathe. I knowed he was mate-huntin' when I seed him last. It's Ben Weatherstaff's robin. He's buildin' his nest. He'll stay here if us don't flight him."

They settled down softly upon the grass and sat there without moving.

"Us mustn't seem as if us was watchin' him too close," said Dickon. "He'd be out with us for good if he got th' notion us was interferin' now. He'll be a good bit different till all this is over. He's settin' up housekeepin'. He'll be shyer an' readier to take things ill. He's got no time for visitin' an' gossipin'. Us must keep still a bit an' try to look as if us was grass an' trees an' bushes. Then when he's got used to seein' us I'll chirp a bit an' he'll know us'll not be in his way."

Mistress Mary was not at all sure that she knew, as Dickon seemed to, how to try to look like grass and trees and bushes. But he had said the queer thing as if it were the simplest and most natural thing in the world, and she felt it must be quite easy to him, and indeed she watched him for a few minutes carefully, wondering if it was possible for him to quietly turn green and put out branches and leaves. But he only sat wonderfully still, and when he spoke dropped his voice to such a softness that it was curious that she could hear him, but she could.

"It's part o' th' springtime, this nest-buildin' is," he said. "I warrant it's been goin' on in th' same way every year since th' world was begun. They've got their way o' thinkin' and doin' things an' a body had better not meddle. You can lose a friend in springtime easier than any other season if you're too curious."

"If we talk about him I can't help looking at him," Mary said as softly as possible. "We must talk of something else. There is something I want to tell you."

"He'll like it better if us talks o' somethin' else," said Dickon. "What is it tha's got to tell me?"

"Well—do you know about Colin?" she whispered.

He turned his head to look at her.

"What does tha' know about him?" he asked.

"I've seen him. I have been to talk to him every day this week. He wants me to come. He says I'm making him forget about being ill and dying," answered Mary.

Dickon looked actually relieved as soon as the surprise died away from his round face.

"I am glad o' that," he exclaimed. "I'm right down glad. It makes me easier. I knowed I must say nothin' about him an' I don't like havin' to hide things."

"Don't you like hiding the garden?" said Mary.

"I'll never tell about it," he answered. "But I says to mother, 'Mother,' I says, 'I got a secret to keep. It's not a bad 'un, tha' knows that. It's no worse than hidin' where a bird's nest is. Tha' doesn't mind it, does tha'?' "

Mary always wanted to hear about mother.

"What did she say?" she asked, not at all afraid to hear.

Dickon grinned sweet-temperedly.

"It was just like her, what she said," he answered. "She give my head a bit of a rub an' laughed an' she says, 'Eh, lad, tha' can have all th' secrets tha' likes. I've knowed thee twelve year'.' "

"How did you know about Colin?" asked Mary.

"Everybody as knowed about Mester Craven knowed there was a little lad as was like to be a cripple, an' they knowed Mester Craven didn't like him to be talked about. Folks is sorry for Mester Craven because Mrs. Craven was such a pretty young lady an' they was so fond of each other. Mrs. Medlock stops in our cottage whenever she goes to Thwaite an' she doesn't mind talkin' to mother before us children, because she knows us has been brought up to be trusty. How did tha' find out about him? Martha was in fine trouble th' last time she came home. She said tha'd heard him frettin' an' tha' was askin' questions an' she didn't know what to say."

Mary told him her story about the midnight wuthering of the wind which had wakened her and about the faint far-off sounds of the complaining voice which had led her down the dark corridors with her candle and had ended with her opening of the door of the dimly lighted room with the carven four-posted bed in the corner. When she described the small ivory-white face and the strange black-rimmed eyes Dickon shook his head.

"Them's just like his mother's eyes, only hers was always laughin', they say," he said. "They say as Mr. Craven can't bear to see him when he's awake an' it's because his eyes is so like his mother's an' yet looks so different in his miserable bit of a face."

"Do you think he wants him to die?" whispered Mary.

"No, but he wishes he'd never been born. Mother she says that's th' worst thing on earth for a child. Them as is not wanted scarce ever thrives. Mester Craven he'd buy anythin' as money could buy for th' poor lad but he'd like to forget as he's on earth. For one thing, he's afraid he'll look at him some day and find he's growed hunchback."

"Colin's so afraid of it himself that he won't sit up," said Mary. "He says he's always thinking that if he should feel a lump coming he should go crazy and scream himself to death."

"Eh! he oughtn't to lie there thinkin' things like that," said Dickon. "No lad could get well as thought them sort o' things."

The fox was lying on the grass close by him looking up to ask for a pat now and then, and Dickon bent down and rubbed his neck softly and thought a few minutes in silence. Presently he lifted his head and looked round the garden.

"When first we got in here," he said, "it seemed like everything was gray. Look round now and tell me if tha' doesn't see a difference."

Mary looked and caught her breath a little.

"Why!" she cried, "the gray wall is changing. It is as if a green mist were creeping over it. It's almost like a green gauze veil."

"Aye," said Dickon. "An' it'll be greener and greener till th' gray's all gone. Can tha' guess what I was thinkin'?"

"I know it was something nice," said Mary eagerly. "I believe it was something about Colin."

"I was thinkin' that if he was out here he wouldn't be watchin' for lumps to grow on his back; he'd be watchin' for buds to break on th' rose-bushes, an' he'd likely be healthier," explained Dickon. "I was wonderin' if us could ever get him in th' humor to come out here an' lie under th' trees in his carriage."

"I've been wondering that myself. I've thought of it almost every time I've talked to him," said Mary. "I've wondered if he could keep a secret and I've wondered if we could bring him here without any one seeing us. I thought perhaps you could push his carriage. The doctor said he must have fresh air and if he wants us to take him out no one dare disobey him. He won't go out for other people and perhaps they will be glad if he will go out with us. He could order the gardeners to keep away so they wouldn't find out."

Dickon was thinking very hard as he scratched Captain's back.

"It'd be good for him, I'll warrant," he said. "Us'd not be thinkin' he'd better never been born. Us'd be just two children watchin' a garden grow, an' he'd be another. Two lads an' a little lass just lookin' on at th' springtime. I warrant it'd be better than doctor's stuff."

"He's been lying in his room so long and he's always been so afraid of his back that it has made him queer," said Mary. "He knows a good many things out of books but he doesn't know anything else. He says he has been too ill to notice things and he hates going out of doors and hates gardens and gardeners. But he likes to hear about this garden because it is a secret. I daren't tell him much but he said he wanted to see it."

"Us'll have him out here sometime for sure," said Dickon. "I could push his carriage well enough. Has tha' noticed how th' robin an' his mate has been workin' while we've been sittin' here? Look at him perched on that branch wonderin' where it'd be best to put that twig he's got in his beak."

He made one of his low whistling calls and the robin turned his head and looked at him inquiringly, still holding his twig. Dickon spoke to him as Ben Weatherstaff did, but Dickon's tone was one of friendly advice.

"Wheres'ever tha' puts it," he said, "it'll be all right. Tha' knew how to build tha' nest before tha' came out o' th' egg. Get on with thee, lad. Tha'st got no time to lose."

"Oh, I do like to hear you talk to him!" Mary said, laughing delightedly. "Ben Weatherstaff scolds him and makes fun of him, and he hops about and looks as if he understood every word, and I know he likes it. Ben Weatherstaff says he is so conceited he would rather have stones thrown at him than not be noticed."

Dickon laughed too and went on talking.

"Tha' knows us won't trouble thee," he said to the robin. "Us is near bein' wild things ourselves. Us is nest-buildin' too, bless thee. Look out tha' doesn't tell on us."

And though the robin did not answer, because his beak was occupied, Mary knew that when he flew away with his twig to his own corner of the garden the darkness of his dew-bright eye meant that he would not tell their secret for the world.


Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

A Lesson in Manners

O NE morning there was a loud knock at Dean Swift's door. The servant opened it. A man who was outside handed her a fine duck that had lately been killed, and said,—

"Here's a present for the Dean. It's from Mr. Boyle."

Then, without another word, he turned and walked away.

A few days afterward the man came again. This time he brought a partridge. "Here's another bird from Mr. Boyle."

Now, Mr. Boyle was a sporting neighbor who spent a good deal of time in shooting. He was a great admirer of Dean Swift, and took pleasure in sending him presents of game.

The third time, the man brought a quail. "Here's something else for the Dean," he said roughly, and tossed it into the servant's arms.

The servant complained to her master. "That fellow has no manners," she said.

"The next time he comes," said the Dean, "let me know, and I will go to the door."

It was not long until the man came with another present. The Dean went to the door.

"Here's a rabbit from Mr. Boyle," said the man.

"See here," said the Dean in a stern voice, "that is not the way to deliver a message here. Just step inside and make believe that you are Dean Swift. I will go out and make believe that I am bringing him a present. I will show you how a messenger ought to behave."

"I'll agree to that," said the man; and he stepped inside. The Dean took the rabbit and went out of the house. He walked up the street to the next block. Then he came back and knocked gently at the door.


The door was opened by the man from Mr. Boyle's. The Dean bowed gracefully and said, "If you please, sir, Mr. Boyle's compliments, and he wishes you to accept of this fine rabbit."

"Oh, thank you," said the man very politely. Then, taking out his purse, he offered the Dean a shilling. "And here is something for your trouble."

The lesson in manners was not forgotten; for, always after that, the man was very polite when he brought his presents. And the Dean also took the hint; for he always remembered to give the man a "tip" for his trouble.

Jonathan Swift, often called Dean Swift, was famous as a writer on many subjects. Among other books he wrote "Gulliver's Travels," which you, perhaps, will read some time.


M. Betham Edwards

A Child's Prayer

God make my life a little light,

Within the world to glow—

A tiny flame that burneth bright,

Wherever I may go.

God make my life a little flower,

That bringeth joy to all,

Content to bloom in native bower,

Although its place be small.

God make my life a little song,

That comforteth the sad,

That helpeth others to be strong,

And makes the singer glad.


  WEEK 15  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

How King Alfred Learned To Read

W HEN the Saxons first came to England, they came only to fight and kill, but soon they began to love their new home and, when two or three hundred years had passed, they forgot that they had ever lived in any other country. So, instead of fighting against England, they began to fight for and love the land as their own.

Then English kings arose who tried to make good laws and rule the people well, as some of the British kings had done. But just as the Romans had come to conquer Britain, and as the Saxons themselves had come, so now another people came.

These new enemies were the Northmen or Danes. They came from the countries which we now call Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

These Danes, as we shall call them all, were fierce, wild men. They loved to sail upon the sea; they loved to fight. They were heathen too, just as the Saxons had been when they first came to England.

Many and long were the battles which were fought between the English and the Danes, but year by year the Danes grew stronger, and the English weaker, till it seemed as if the land was going to be conquered once again. But at last a great English king, called Alfred, began to rule. He beat the Danes in many battles, and nearly drove them out of the country.

Alfred was the youngest son of Ethelwulf, who was King of Wessex, one of the seven kingdoms into which England was divided. He was also the grandson of Egbert, that king who changed the name of Britain to England.

Although Ethelwulf was really king only of Wessex, he was "over-lord" over all the rulers of the other seven kingdoms of England. So you must remember, when we speak of the King of England at this time, that we do not mean that he was the only king in the land. But Wessex was the chief of the seven kingdoms, and the King of Wessex was the chief of the seven kings. In the end the King of Wessex became real king of all England, while the other kingdoms disappeared and their kings were forgotten.

King Ethelwulf's wife was called Osburga. She was a good and wise woman, and a very kind mother to her little children. She was clever, too, and fond of reading, which was rather uncommon in those days when very few people could read or cared about it.

In the time of the Romans, you remember, books were written on strips of parchment, and rolled up like maps. Now they were shaped and bound just like our books, only as there was no paper and no printing, they were still written on parchment and the pictures were all painted by hand. It took a long time to make a book, and required a great deal of money to buy one.

One day when Alfred, the youngest son of King Ethelwulf, was quite a tiny boy, he was playing with his big brothers, while Osburga, his mother, sat watching them, and reading.

The book she read was one of old English songs. Osburga was very fond of these songs, and used to say them to her little boys when they were tired of play. It was a pretty book, full of pictures and bright letters in gold, and blue, and red.

As Osburga turned the pages Alfred saw the pretty pictures, so he left his play, and came to lean against his mother's knee, to look at them.

"What a pretty book it is, mother!" he said.

"Do you like it, little one?" said Osburga.

"Yes, mother, I do," replied Alfred.

Then all the other boys came crowding round their mother to see the pretty book too. They pressed against her, and leaned over her shoulder till nothing was to be seen but five curly heads close together.

"Oh, isn't it lovely!" they said, as Osburga slowly turned the pages, explaining the pictures, and letting them look at the beautiful colored letters at the beginnings of the songs.

When Osburga saw how they all liked the book, she was very much pleased. She pushed them all away from her a little, and looked round their happy eager faces. You see in those days even kings' sons had no picture-books, such as every child has now, and it was quite a treat for these princes to be allowed to look at this beautiful one.

"Do you truly like this book?" asked Osburga.

"Oh yes, mother, we do," they all answered at once.

"Then, boys," she said, "I will give it to the one who first learns to read it."

"O mother, do you mean it? May I try too?" asked Alfred.

"Yes, I do mean it, and, of course, you may try," answered Osburga, smiling at him. And perhaps she hoped that he would win the prize, for both his father and his mother loved Alfred best of all their children.

And Alfred did win the prize. He was so eager to have the book that he worked hard all day long. And one morning, while his big brothers were still trying to read the book, he came to his mother and read it without making any mistakes.

Then Osburga kissed him and gave him the prize, as she had promised. All his life afterwards Alfred was fond of books; and even when he became king, and had many, many other things to do, he still found time not only to read, but to write them.


Holiday Meadow  by Edith M. Patch


Part 1 of 2

I N her early life Daucus was a seed. At that time she had a stiff coat with rows of barbed prickles on it. She wore this strange spiny baby coat for more than half a year.

At first she lived with seven or eight hundred sister seeds in a hollow cup-shaped cluster that looked somewhat like a bird's nest. This seed-cluster grew at the tip of a wild carrot stem. There were many of these plants, each with several such stems, in a weedy field not far from Holiday Farm.


Blossoms and "Birds' Nests"

During the frosty fall weather the stems and the "birds' nests" at their tips became dry and brown. Later, when the winter storms came, the snow often piled in little fluffy white mounds on top of the nests. Sometimes the snow would be blown off by the wind while it was light. At other times it would melt a bit during the sunny part of the day and then freeze at night in icy crusts. Then when morning came the seed-clusters looked as if they were in sparkling glass cases.

Little Daucus never knew whether the winter days were sunny or stormy. She and the hundreds of sister seeds slept in the brown nest on the tip of the slender stem. They stayed there until nearly March. Then one day a blustering wind snapped the brittle stem and broke off the nest of seeds.

Away the round cluster rolled over the crusty snow like a feather ball before the wind! And all about were other similar clusters scurrying in the same direction.

Dick and Anne were coming home from school that afternoon while the field looked as if the winds there were playing a game with the little round balls.

"See," said Anne, "the birds' nests have broken off the wild carrot plants and they are rolling along like tumble-weeds."

"They are blowing toward Holiday Meadow. Let's race with them!" said Dick.

Just as Dick spoke, the seed-cluster with Daucus in it blew by and the cousins began to run. Daucus reached Holiday Meadow first. But the slope near the river was sheltered a bit from the wind; and the children overtook Daucus there.

"I'll beat you to the bottom of the slope," Anne said to the seed-ball with a laugh. But just then she slipped on an icy spot and sat down on top of Daucus's ball.

When Anne stood up she saw that the frail cluster was crushed and mixed with broken snow crust. So the cousins chose another ball with which to race.

Daucus was not harmed by the accident. Her hard coat protected her. But a lump of icy snow had rolled on top of her and held her still. The wind could not blow her any farther. She had reached the end of her journey.

In due time spring days came. Melted snow soaked the ground of Holiday Meadow and fresh rain fell. Daucus's coat was wet. Her little seed-body was moistened by water and warmed by sunshine; and it began to grow. She pushed sprouting roots down into the ground. She reached tiny leaves up into the air. She no longer needed her baby clothes.

The meadow slope was well drained and the ground did not stay too wet for the best health of wild carrot plants. So, before her first summer was over, Daucus had a tough pale yellow tap-root shaped somewhat like a scrawny little carrot; and she had a crown of beautiful feathery leaves. She did not have any tall stems and flowers; for, unlike many kinds of plants, wild carrots wait until their second summer before they blossom.

Although Daucus had no flowers that summer, she did have a butterfly for a guest. Of course the butterfly did not visit the green leaves for nectar. She came on a different sort of errand. One day at noon when the sun was bright she stopped for about a quarter of a minute on one of Daucus's soft feathery leaves. During that brief call she glued one egg to the under side of the leaf.

She was a rather large butterfly. When she spread her wings they measured more than three inches from the tip of the right fore wing to the tip of the left one. She was a beautiful creature whose black velvety wings were bordered by two rows of yellow spots. On the hind wings there were spots of pale blue on the black space between the yellow rows. Each hind wing was tipped with a slender black tail.

After Black Swallowtail, for that was her name, left Daucus she flew to a caraway leaf and glued one egg to the under side of that.

The carrot and the caraway both belong to the Parsley Family; and it is a wonderful fact that Black Swallowtail butterflies never lay an egg on any plant that does not belong to that family. They may leave their eggs, one in a place, on parsnip or dill or celery or parsley or other plants of this family; but they never waste their eggs by putting them on other kinds of leaves.

Of course you would like to know how a Black Swallowtail chooses plants of one family from all the other plants of fields and gardens. So should I. But no one can tell us exactly for no one has the senses of a butterfly. People think that when she is ready to lay her eggs, carrots and related plants have for her such an attractive scent that she cannot help stopping at such leaves.

All the plants belonging to the Parsley Family have certain likenesses in the shapes of their flowers. Perhaps to a Black Swallowtail they have the same sort of odor. Even to a human nose certain of these plants have somewhat similar smells.

If you wish to find out what plants belong to the Parsley Family you might follow a Black Swallowtail. That would be one way to study botany.

It is fortunate for the caterpillar youngsters of Black Swallowtail butterflies that their mothers never mislay their eggs, for leaves of plants belonging to the Parsley Family are the only sorts of food that agree with them.

When a tiny caterpillar crept out of the eggshell that had been left on Daucus's leaf he made himself quite at home; and as soon as he felt hungry, he helped himself to carrot-leaf salad.

He did not waste any of his food but ate every bit that he cut off with his little tooth-like jaws. So he grew rather fast.

At first he was black with some white marks and rows of little fleshy spines; but by the time he was in his last caterpillar stage he was much more handsome. His skin was then smooth and gayly colored. He was green with cross-bands of black and on each black band was a row of orange spots. He had two soft orange-colored horns but these were usually drawn in under the skin just behind his head and did not show.


A handsome caterpillar who likes celery and other plants of the Parsley Family.

One day a young bird, not yet much used to hunting for itself, saw this bright-colored caterpillar and poked him with its beak. When the bird touched him he thrust out his horns quickly and the air all about him was filled with a strange strong odor. The young bird did not like that smell and went away in a hurry. Left to himself, the caterpillar drew in his horns and crept along the leaf.


William Blake

Holy Thursday

'Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,

The children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and green.

Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,

Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!

Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.

The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,

Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,

Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among.

Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.

Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.


  WEEK 15  


The Burgess Animal Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

Two Unlike Little Cousins

W HITEFOOT the Wood Mouse is one of the smallest of the little people who live in the Green Forest. Being so small he is one of the most timid. You see, by day and by night sharp eyes are watching for Whitefoot and he knows it. Never one single instant, while he is outside where sharp eyes of hungry enemies may see him, does he forget that they are watching for him. To forget even for one little minute might mean—well, it might mean the end of little Whitefoot, but a dinner for some one with a liking for tender Mouse.

So Whitefoot the Wood Mouse rarely ventures more than a few feet from a hiding place and safety. At the tiniest sound he starts nervously and often darts back into hiding without waiting to find out if there really is any danger. If he waited to make sure he might wait too long, and it is better to be safe than sorry. If you and I had as many real frights in a year, not to mention false frights, as Whitefoot has in a day, we would, I suspect, lose our minds. Certainly we would be the most unhappy people in all the Great World.


One of the prettiest members of the Mouse family.

But Whitefoot isn't unhappy. Not a bit of it. He is a very happy little fellow. There is a great deal of wisdom in that pretty little head of his. There is more real sense in it than in some very big heads. When some of his neighbors make fun of him for being so very, very timid he doesn't try to pretend that he isn't afraid. He doesn't get angry. He simply says:

"Of course I'm timid, very timid indeed. I'm afraid of almost everything. I would be foolish not to be. It is because I am afraid that I am alive and happy right now. I hope I shall never be less timid than I am now, for it would mean that sooner or later I would fail to run in time and would be gobbled up. It isn't cowardly to be timid when there is danger all around. Nor is it bravery to take a foolish and needless risk. So I seldom go far from home. It isn't safe for me, and I know it."

This being the way Whitefoot looked at matters, you can guess how he felt when Chatterer the Red Squirrel caught sight of him and gave him Old Mother Nature's message.

"Hi there, Mr. Fraidy!" shouted Chatterer, as he caught sight of Whitefoot darting under a log. "Hi there! I've got a message for you!"

Slowly, cautiously, Whitefoot poked his head out from beneath the old log and looked up at Chatterer. "What kind of a message?" he demanded suspiciously.

"A message you'll do well to heed. It is from Old Mother Nature," replied Chatterer.

"A message from Old Mother Nature!" cried Whitefoot, and came out a bit more from beneath the old log.

"That's what I said, a message from Old Mother Nature, and if you will take my advice you will heed it," retorted Chatterer. "She says you are to come to school with the rest of us at sun-up to-morrow morning."

Then Chatterer explained about the school and where it was held each morning and what a lot he and his friends had already learned there. Whitefoot listened with something very like dismay in his heart. That place where school was held was a long way off. That is, it was a long way for him, though to Peter Rabbit or Jumper the Hare it wouldn't have seemed long at all. It meant that he would have to leave all his hiding places and the thought made him shiver.

But Old Mother Nature had sent for him and not once did he even think of disobeying. "Did you say that school begins at sun-up?" he asked, and when Chatterer nodded Whitefoot sighed. It was a sigh of relief. "I'm glad of that," said he. "I can travel in the night, which will be much safer. I'll be there. That is, I will if I am not caught on the way."

Meanwhile over on the Green Meadows Peter Rabbit was looking for Danny Meadow Mouse. Danny's home was not far from the dear Old Briar-patch, and he and Peter were and still are very good friends. So Peter knew just about where to look for Danny and it didn't take him long to find him.

"Hello, Peter! You look as if you have something very important on your mind," was the greeting of Danny Meadow Mouse as Peter came hurrying up.

"I have," said Peter. "It is a message for you. Old Mother Nature says for you to be on hand at sun-up to-morrow when school opens over in the Green Forest. Of course you will be there."

"Of course," replied Danny in the most matter-of-fact tone. "Of course. If Old Mother Nature really sent me that message—"

"She really did," interrupted Peter.

"There isn't anything for me to do but obey," finished Danny. Then his face became very sober. "That is a long way for me to go, Peter," said he. "I wouldn't take such a long journey for anything or for anybody else. Old Mother Nature knows, and if she sent for me she must be sure I can make the trip safely. What time did you say I must be there?"

"At sun-up," replied Peter. "Shall I call for you on my way there?"

Danny shook his head. Then he began to laugh. "What are you laughing at?" demanded Peter.

"At the very idea of me with my short legs trying to keep up with you," replied Danny. "I wish you would sit up and take a good look all around to make sure that Old Man Coyote and Reddy Fox and Redtail the Hawk and Black Pussy, that pesky Cat from Farmer Brown's, are nowhere about."

Peter obligingly sat up and looked this way and looked that way and looked the other way. No one of whom he or Danny Meadow Mouse need be afraid was to be seen. He said as much, then asked, "Why did you want to know, Danny?"

"Because I am going to start at once," replied Danny.

"Start for where?" asked Peter, looking much puzzled.

"Start for school of course," replied Danny rather shortly.

"But school doesn't begin until sun-up to-morrow," protested Peter.

"Which is just the reason I am going to start now," retorted Danny. "If I should put off starting until the last minute I might not get there at all. I would have to hurry, and it is difficult to hurry and watch for danger at the same time. I've noticed that people who put things off to the last minute and then have to hurry are quite apt to rush headlong into trouble. The way is clear now, so I am going to start. I can take my time and keep a proper watch for danger. I'll see you over there in the morning, Peter."

Danny turned and disappeared in one of his private little paths through the tall grass. Peter noticed that he was headed towards the Green Forest.

When Peter and the others arrived for school the next morning they found Whitefoot the Wood Mouse and Danny Meadow Mouse waiting with Old Mother Nature. Safe in her presence, they seemed to have lost much of their usual timidity. Whitefoot was sitting on the end of a log and Danny was on the ground just beneath him.

"I want all the rest of you to look well at these two little cousins and notice how unlike two cousins can be," said Old Mother Nature. "Whitefoot, who is quite as often called Deer Mouse as Wood Mouse, is one of the prettiest of the entire Mouse family. I suspect he is called Deer Mouse because the upper part of his coat is such a beautiful fawn color. Notice that the upper side of his long slim tail is of the same color, while the under side is white, as is the whole under part of Whitefoot. Also those dainty feet are white, hence his name. See what big, soft black eyes he has, and notice that those delicate ears are of good size.

"His tail is covered with short fine hairs, instead of being naked as is the tail of Nibbler the House mouse, of whom I will tell you later. Whitefoot loves the Green Forest, but out in parts of the Far West where there is no Green Forest he lives on the brushy plains. He is a good climber and quite at home in the trees. There he seems almost like a tiny Squirrel. Tell us, Whitefoot, where you make your home and what you eat."

"My home just now," replied Whitefoot, "is in a certain hollow in a certain dead limb of a certain tree. I suspect that a member of the Woodpecker family made that hollow, but no one was living there when I found it. Mrs. Whitefoot and I have made a soft, warm nest there and wouldn't trade homes with any one. We have had our home in a hollow log on the ground, in an old stump, in a hole we dug in the ground under a rock, and in an old nest of some bird. That was in a tall bush. We roofed that nest over and made a little round doorway on the under side. Once we raised a family in a box in a dark corner of Farmer Brown's sugar camp.

"I eat all sorts of things—seeds, nuts, insects and meat when I can get it. I store up food for winter, as all wise and thrifty people do."

"I suppose that means that you do not sleep as Johnny Chuck does in winter," remarked Peter Rabbit.

"I should say not!" exclaimed Whitefoot. "I like winter. It is fun to run about on the snow. Haven't you ever seen my tracks, Peter?"

"I have, lots of times," spoke up Jumper the Hare. "Also I've seen you skipping about after dark. I guess you don't care much for sunlight."

"I don't," replied Whitefoot. "I sleep most of the time during the day, and work and play at night. I feel safer then. But on dull days I often come out. It is the bright sunlight I don't like. That is one reason I stick to the Green Forest. I don't see how Cousin Danny stands it out there on the Green Meadows. Now I guess it is his turn."

Every one looked at Danny Meadow Mouse. In appearance he was as unlike Whitefoot as it was possible to be and still be a Mouse. There was nothing pretty or graceful about Danny. He wasn't dainty at all. His body was rather stout, looking stouter than it really was because his fur was quite long. His head was blunt, and he seemed to have no neck at all, though of course he did have one. His eyes were small, like little black beads. His ears were almost hidden in his hair. His legs were short and his tail was quite short, as if it had been cut off when half grown. No, those two cousins didn't look a bit alike. Danny felt most uncomfortable as the others compared him with pretty Whitefoot. He knew he was homely, but never before had he felt it quite so keenly. Old Mother Nature saw and understood.


He kills young trees by gnawing off the bark under the snow.

"It isn't how we look, but what we are and what we do and how we fit into our particular places in life that count," said she. "Now, Danny is a homely little fellow, but I know, and I know that he knows that he is just fitted for the life he lives, and he lives it more successfully for being just as he is.

"Danny is a lover of the fields and meadows where there is little else but grass in which to hide. Everything about him is just suited for living there. Isn't that so, Danny?"

"Yes'm, I guess so," replied Danny. "Sometimes my tail does seem dreadfully short to look well."

Everybody laughed, even Danny himself. Then he remembered how once Reddy Fox had so nearly caught him that one of Reddy's black paws had touched the tip of his tail. Had that tail been any longer Reddy would have caught him by it. Danny's face cleared and he hastened to declare, "After all, my tail suits me just as it is."

"Wisely spoken, Danny," said Old Mother Nature. "Now it is your turn to tell how you live and what you eat and anything else of interest about yourself."

"I guess there isn't much interesting about me," began Danny modestly. "I'm just one of the plain, common little folks. I guess everybody knows me so well there is nothing for me to tell."

"Some of them may know all about you, but I don't," declared Jumper the Hare. "I never go out on the Green Meadows where you live. How do you get about in all that tall grass?"

"Oh, that's easy enough," replied Danny. "I cut little paths in all directions."

"Just the way I do in the dear Old Briar-patch," interrupted Peter Rabbit.

"I keep those little paths clear and clean so that there never is anything in my way to trip me up when I have to run for safety," continued Danny. "When the grass gets tall those little paths are almost like little tunnels. The time I dread most is when Farmer Brown cuts the grass for hay. I not only have to watch out for that dreadful mowing machine, but when the hay has been taken away the grass is so short that it is hard work for me to keep out of sight.

"I sometimes dig a short burrow and at the end of it make a nice nest of dry grass. Sometimes in summer Mrs. Danny and I make our nest on the surface of the ground in a hollow or in a clump of tall grass, especially if the ground is low and wet. We have several good-sized families in a year. All Meadow Mice believe in large families, and that is probably why there are more Meadow Mice than any other Mice in the country. I forgot to say that I am also called Field Mouse."

"And it is because there are so many of your family and they require so much to eat that you do a great deal of damage to grass and other crops," spoke up Old Mother Nature. "You see," she explained to the others, "Danny eats grass, clover, bulbs, roots, seeds and garden vegetables. He also eats some insects. He sometimes puts away a few seeds for the winter, but depends chiefly on finding enough to eat, for he is active all winter. He tunnels about under the snow in search of food. When other food is hard to find he eats bark, and then he sometimes does great damage in young orchards. He gnaws the bark from young fruit trees all the way around as high as he can reach, and of course this kills the trees. He is worse than Peter Rabbit.

"Danny didn't mention that he is a good swimmer and not at all afraid of the water. No one has more enemies than he, and the fact that he is alive and here at school this morning is due to his everlasting watchfulness. This will do for to-day. To-morrow we will take up others of the Mouse family."


A First Book in American History  by Edward Eggleston

Bacon and His Men

In 1676, just a hundred years before the American Revolution, the people of Virginia were very much oppressed by Sir William Berkeley, the governor appointed by the King of England. Their property was taken away by unjust taxes, and in other ways. The governor had managed to get all the power into his own hands and those of his friends.

This was the time of King Philip's War in New England. The news of this war made the Indians of Virginia uneasy, and at length the Susquehannas and other tribes attacked the frontiers. Governor Berkeley would not do anything to protect the people on the frontier, because he was making a great deal of money out of the trade with friendly Indians, and if troops were sent against them this trade would be stopped.

When many hundreds of people on the frontier had been put to death, some three hundred men formed themselves into a company to punish the Indians. But Berkeley refused to allow any one to take command of this troop, or to let them go against the savages.

There was a brilliant young gentleman named Nathaniel Bacon, who had come from England three years before. He was a member of the governor's Council, and an educated man of wealth. He begged the governor to let him lead this company of three hundred men against the Indians; but the cruel and stubborn old governor said, No.

Bacon was sorry for the suffering people. He went to the camp of these men, to see and encourage them. But when they saw him they set up the cry, "A Bacon! A Bacon! A Bacon!" This was the way of cheering a man at that day and choosing him for a leader.

Bacon knew that the governor might put him to death if he disobeyed orders, but he could not refuse these poor men who had been driven from their homes. So off he went at their head to the Indian towns, where he killed many of the savages.

The old governor gathered his friends and started after Bacon, declaring that he would hang him for going to war without orders; but while he was looking for him, the people down by the coast rose in favor of Bacon. The governor had to make peace with them by promising to let them choose a new Legislature.

When Bacon got back from the Indian country the frontier people nearly worshiped him as their deliverer. They kept guard night and day over his house. They were afraid the angry governor would send men to kill him.


Guarding Bacon's House

The people of his county elected Bacon a member of the new Legislature. But they were afraid the governor might harm him. Forty of them with guns went down to Jamestown with him in a sloop. With the help of two boats and a ship the governor captured Bacon's sloop, and brought Bacon into Jamestown. But as the angry people were already rising to defend their leader, Berkeley was afraid to hurt him. He made him apologize, and restored him to his place in the Council.

But that night Bacon was warned that the next day he would be seized again, and that the roads and river were guarded to keep him from getting away. So he took horse suddenly and galloped out of Jamestown in the darkness. The next morning the governor sent men to search the house where he had stayed. They stuck their swords through the beds, thinking him hidden there.


But Bacon was already among friends. When the country people heard that he was in danger, they seized their guns and vowed to kill the governor and all his party. Bacon was quickly marching on Jamestown with five hundred angry men at his back. The people refused to help the governor, and Bacon and his men entered Jamestown. It was their turn to guard the roads and keep Berkeley in.

The old governor offered to fight the young captain single-handed, but Bacon told him he would not harm him. Bacon forced the governor to sign a commission appointing him a general. He also made the Legislature pass good laws for the relief of the people. These laws were remembered long after Nathaniel Bacon's death, and were known as "Bacon's Laws."

While this work of doing away with bad laws and making good ones was going on, the Indians crept down to a place only about twenty miles from Jamestown and murdered the people. General Bacon promptly started for the Indian country with his little army. But, just as he was leaving the settlements, he heard that the governor was raising troops to take him when he should get back; so he turned about and marched swiftly back to Jamestown.

The governor had called out the militia, but when they learned that instead of taking them to fight the Indians they were to go against Bacon, they all began to murder "Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!" Then they left the field and went home, and the old governor fainted with disappointment. He was forced to flee for safety to the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, and the government fell into the hands of General Bacon.

Bacon had an enemy on each side of him. No sooner had Berkeley gone than the Indians again began their murders. Bacon once more marched against them, and killed many. He and his men lived on horseflesh and chinquapin nuts during this expedition.

When Bacon got back to the settlements and had dismissed all but one hundred and thirty-six of his men, he heard that Governor Berkeley had gathered together seventeen little vessels and six hundred sailors and others, and with these had taken possession of Jamestown. Worn out as they were with fatigue and hunger, Bacon persuaded his little band to march straight for Jamestown, so as to take Berkeley by surprise.

As the weary and dusty heroes of the Indian war hurried onward to Jamestown, the people cheered the gallant little company. The women called after Bacon, "General, if you need help, send for us!" So fast did these men march that they reached the narrow neck of sand that connected Jamestown with the mainland before the governor had heard of their coming. Bacon's men dug trenches in the night, and shut in the governor and his people.

After a while Bacon got some cannon. He wanted to put them upon his breastworks without losing the life of any of his brave soldiers. So he sent to the plantations near by and brought to his camp the wives of the chief men in the governor's party. These ladies he made to sit down in front of his works until his cannon were in place. He knew that the enemy would not fire on them. When he had finished, he politely sent them home.


Bacon's Defenses

Great numbers of the people now flocked to General Bacon's standard, and the governor and his followers left Jamestown in their vessels. Knowing that they would try to return, Bacon ordered the town to be burned to the ground.

Almost all of the people except those on the eastern shore sided with Bacon, who now did his best to put the government in order. But the hardships he had been through were too much for him. He sickened and died. His friends knew that Berkeley would soon get control again, now that their leader was dead. They knew that his enemies would dig up Bacon's body and hang it, after the fashion of that time. Therefore they buried it nobody knows where; but as they put stones into his coffin, they must have sunk it in the river.

Governor Berkeley got back his power, and hanged many of Bacon's friends. But the King of England removed Berkeley in disgrace, and he died of a broken heart. The governors who came after were generally careful not to oppress the people too far. They were afraid another Bacon might rise up against them.


Lucy Larcom

The Brown Thrush

There's a merry brown thrush sitting up in the tree,

He's singing to me! He's singing to me!

And what does he say, little girl, little boy?

"Oh, the world's running over with joy!

Don't you hear? don't you see?

Hush! Look! In my tree,

I'm as happy as happy can be!"

And the brown thrush keeps singing, "A nest do you see,

And five eggs hid by me in the juniper tree?

Don't meddle! don't touch! little girl, little boy,

Or the world will lose some of its joy!

Now I'm glad! now I'm free!

And I always shall be,

If you never bring sorrow to me."

So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree,

To you and to me, to you and to me;

And he sings all the day, little girl, little boy,

"Oh, the world's running over with joy;

But long it won't be,

Don't you know? don't you see?

Unless we are as good as can be!"


  WEEK 15  


Stories of Siegfried Told to the Children  by Mary Macgregor

Siegfried Is Slain

Hagen did not delay to carry out his wicked plot. Four days later, thirty-two strangers rode into Rhineland, and demanded to see King Gunther. These were the men who had been hired by the counsellor to bring false tidings of battle.

When the heralds stood before the King their spokesman said, "We come from King Ludegast and King Ludeger, who have gathered together new armies with which to invade thy land, and forthwith they challenge thee to combat."

Then the King pretended that he did not know that these were false heralds with false tidings. He frowned, and his eyes flashed anger at the strangers as he listened to their words.

Siegfried, who had heard the strangers' words, cried eagerly, "Fear not, O King, I and my warriors will fight for thee, even as aforetime we have done."

Well pleased then seemed Gunther at the hero's words. As though he really feared the armies of the foreign kings, he graciously thanked Siegfried for his offered aid.

Gaily then did Siegfried summon his thousand warriors and bade them polish their armour and make their shields shine, for they must go forth to fight for the realm of Burgundy.

"Now," thought Hagen, "is the moment to win from Kriemhild the secret of her lord's strength," so he hastened to her apartments to bid her farewell. For he, too, was going forth to battle.

When Kriemhild saw the grim warrior she cried, "If thou art near to my lord in the battlefield, guard him for my sake, and ever shalt thou have Queen Kriemhild's thanks."

"Right gladly will I serve Siegfried for thy sake," said the false knight. "Tell me how best I may guard thy lord."

"Thou art my kinsman, Hagen," said the noble lady, "therefore will I trust thee with the secret of his strength."

Then the Queen told the warrior of the tiny spot between her husband's shoulders on which the linden leaf had fallen while he bathed in the dragon's blood, and how, while all the rest of his body was too tough to be pierced by spear or arrow, on that spot, he might be wounded as easily as any other man.

Hagen's eyes glittered. The life of the King was well-nigh in his hands.

"If this be so, noble lady, I beg of thee sew a token upon his garment, that I may know the spot which I must guard with my shield, and if need be with my life," said the counsellor.

Then Kriemhild promised to sew a tiny cross upon Siegfried's tunic, that so Hagen might the better be able to shield her lord.

Bowing low, Hagen said farewell, then hastened from the presence of the gentle lady whose trust he meant to betray and that right cruelly.

The next morning Siegfried set out, merrily as was his wont, at the head of his warriors, and close behind him rode Hagen, his keen eyes searching for the little cross.

It was there, the token which the lady Kriemhild had sewn with eager hands on her lord's tunic, thinking thus to guard him from all harm.

There was no need now for the pretence of war, for Hagen himself held Siegfried's life in his hands. The wicked counsellor, therefore, ordered two of his own followers to ride away in secret, bidding them return in a day or two, travel-stained, as though they had come from afar. With them they were to bring tidings of submission and peace from Ludegast and Ludeger.

Thus, before Siegfried and his great host had marched into the enemy's land they were stayed by heralds who brought messages of peace and good-will to Gunther, and much against his wish the gallant hero had to return to Worms, no battle fought, no enemy conquered.

But if Siegfried grieved, Kriemhild rejoiced at his return. Already she had begun to be sorry that she had trusted her kinsman, Hagen.

Gunther, too, seemed happy to welcome Siegfried. "Now that there is peace we will go a-hunting," he said to the hero. Now this hunt had been planned by Hagen.

Then Siegfried went to say farewell to his beautiful wife ere he rode away to the hunt.

But Kriemhild clung to him, begging her dear lord not to leave her. She longed to warn him, too, against Hagen, yet this she did not dare to do.

"Ah, my lord," she cried, "last night I dreamed that two wild boars chased thee, and again I dreamed that as thou didst ride into the valley two mountains fell upon thee and hid thee for ever from my sight. Go not to the hunt, my dear lord Siegfried."

Yet the hero would not heed the dreams of his lady. Gently he loosened her hands, and saying farewell, he left her weeping.

Out in the glad sunshine Siegfried smiled. He would be back so soon to comfort his dear wife, and then she, too, would laugh at her fears, and thinking thus he joined Gunther and his merry huntsmen, and together they rode toward the forest.

Never had there been such a hunt or such merry huntsmen, and no prey seemed to escape the hero Siegfried.

A strong and savage ox he felled to the ground with his own hand. A lion sprang toward him, but swiftly the hero drew his bow, and it lay harmless at his feet. An elk, a buffalo, four strong bisons, a fierce stag, and many a hart and hind were slain by his prowess. But when, with his sword, he slew a wild boar that had attacked him, his comrades slipped the leash round the hounds and cried, "Lord Siegfried, nought is there left alive in the forest. Let us return to the camp with our spoils."

At that moment, clear and loud rang out the hunting horn. It was the King who bade it sound that his merry huntsmen might come to feast with him in the green meadow on the outskirts of the forest.

Now the horn had roused a grisly bear, and Siegfried, seeing it, jumped from his charger, chased it, and having at length caught it with his strong right hand, bound it without receiving even a scratch from its claws or a bite from its jaws.

Then the hero dragged the bear back to his charger, tied it to his saddle, and mounting rode quickly forward to the camp.

King Gunther watched him as he drew near, and so gallant and brave he looked, that his heart grew heavy because he had listened to the cruel counsels of his uncle Hagen.

The hero wore a tunic of black velvet, a riding cap of sable. By his side hung his good sword Balmung, a quiver thrust through his girdle was filled with arrows, the shafts of which were golden.

Before he reached the camp, Siegfried again alighted and loosed the great bear, and bewildered, the brute sprang forward into the camp kitchen.

Up sprang the scullions from the fire, kettles were toppled over, the fire was put out, fish, fowl, meat, all lay in the black and smoking ashes.

Then Gunther and his merry huntsmen chased the huge bear into the wood, and while all were swift, none was so swift as Siegfried. His good sword Balmung flashed in the air, and the bear was slain and carried back to the camp.

Now Hagen had arranged the feast for the huntsmen, and for his own purpose he had ordered no wine.

"Where are the cupbearers?" cried Siegfried, who was thirsty after the day's sport.

"They have gone across the Rhine whither they thought we hunted," said Hagen, the false knight. "But there is a spring of cold water a little way off, thither may we go to quench our thirst."

Siegfried soon rose to go to the fountain. Then Hagen drew near and said, "Ofttimes I have heard that thou art sure and swift of foot. Wilt thou race with me to the spring?"

"If thou art at the fountain before me," said the mighty hero, "I will even lay myself at thy feet."

Gunther heard Siegfried's words and shuddered. Yet now he dared not save the hero from his foe.

"I will bear my spear, my sword, my quiver, and my shield as I race," said Siegfried. But Hagen and King Gunther, who also wished to run, stripped off their upper garments, that they might run more lightly.

Fleet of foot were Hagen and the King, yet fleeter still was Siegfried. He reached the well, loosened his sword, and laid it with his bow and arrows on the ground, and leant his spear against a linden tree that grew close to the fountain.

He looked down into the spring, yet though his thirst was great, so courteous was he that he would not drink before King Gunther.

When Gunther reached the well, he knelt at once to drink, then having quenched his thirst he turned and wandered back along the hillside toward his merry huntsmen.

As Siegfried now bent over the spring, Hagen with stealthy steps crept near and drew the hero's sword and quiver out of his reach. Stealthy still, he seized the spear which rested against the linden tree. Then while Siegfried drank of the cool, clear water, Hagen stabbed him, straight through the little cross of silk which Kriemhild's gentle hand had sewed, he stabbed.


While Siegfried drank of the clear, cool water, Hagen stabbed him

The cruel deed was done, and Hagen turned to flee, leaving the spear there where he had thrust it, between the hero's shoulders, where once, alas! had lain a linden leaf.

Siegfried sprang to his feet as he felt the cruel blow, and reached for his quiver that he might speed the traitor to his death, but neither quiver nor sword could he find.

Then unarmed save for his shield the wounded hero ran, nor could Hagen escape him. With his shield Siegfried struck the false knight such heavy blows that the precious stones dropped out of the shield and were scattered, and Hagen lay helpless at King Siegfried's feet.

But Siegfried had no sword with which to slay his enemy, moreover his wound began to smart until he writhed with pain. Then, his strength failing him, he fell upon the green grass, while around him gathered Gunther and his huntsmen.

Sore wounded was King Siegfried, even unto death, and Gunther, sorry now the cruel deed was done, wept as he looked down upon the stricken King.

"Never would I have been slain, save by treachery," murmured Siegfried. "Yet how can I think of aught but my beautiful wife Kriemhild. Unto thee, O King Gunther, do I entrust her. If there be any faith in thee, defend her from all her foes."

No more could he say, for he was faint from his wound, and ere long the hero lay still on the grass, dead.

Then the knights, when they saw that the mighty King no longer breathed, laid him on a shield of gold, and when night fell they carried him thus, back to the royal city.

When Kriemhild knew that her lord, King Siegfried, was dead, bitter were her tears. Full well did she know that it was Hagen who had slain him, and greatly did she bemoan her foolishness in telling the grim counsellor the secret known to her alone.

The body of the great hero was laid in a coffin of gold and silver and carried to the Minster. Then when the days of mourning were over, the old King Siegmund and his warriors went sadly back to the Netherlands.

But Kriemhild stayed at Worms, and for thirteen years she mourned the loss of her dear lord.

Her sufferings, during these years, were made the greater through the greed of Hagen. For at the cruel warrior's bidding, Gunther went to the Queen and urged her to send for the treasure of the Nibelungs.

"It shall be guarded for thy use in the royal city," said the King.

In her grief Kriemhild cared little where the treasure was kept; and seeing this, her brother sent in her name to command that it should be brought to Worms.

No sooner, however, did it reach the city than it was seized upon by Hagen the traitor, and Kriemhild's wealth was no longer her own.

That henceforth it might be secure from every one save himself and King Gunther, Hagen buried the great treasure beneath the fast-flowing river Rhine.

When thirteen years had passed away, Kriemhild married Etzel, the powerful King of the Huns, and then at last Hagen began to fear. Would the lady to whom he had been so false punish him now that she was again a mighty Queen?

The years passed by, and Hagen was beginning to forget his fears when heralds came from Etzel, the King of the Huns, bidding King Gunther and his knights come visit Queen Kriemhild in her distant home. The command of Etzel was obeyed.

But no sooner did Hagen stand before her throne than Kriemhild commanded him to give her back the hidden treasure. This the grim counsellor refused to do.

"Then shalt not thou nor any of thy company return to Burgundy," cried Kriemhild.

And as the Queen said, so it was, for the warriors of King Etzel fought with the warriors of King Gunther, until after a grievous slaughter not one Burgundian was left alive. Thus after many years was King Siegfried's death avenged by Queen Kriemhild.


The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Dogs and the Hides

Some hungry Dogs saw a number of hides at the bottom of a stream where the Tanner had put them to soak. A fine hide makes an excellent meal for a hungry Dog, but the water was deep and the Dogs could not reach the hides from the bank. So they held a council and decided that the very best thing to do was to drink up the river.

All fell to lapping up the water as fast as they could. But though they drank and drank until, one after another, all of them had burst with drinking, still, for all their effort, the water in the river remained as high as ever.

Do not try to do impossible things.



Celia Thaxter

A Song of Easter

Sing, children, sing!

And the lily censers swing;

Sing that life and joy are waking and that Death no more is king.

Sing the happy, happy tumult of the slowly brightening spring;

Sing, little children, sing!

Sing, children, sing!

Winter wild has taken wing.

Fill the air with sweet tidings till the frosty echoes ring!

Along the eaves the icicles no longer glittering cling,

And the crocus in the garden lifts its bright face to the sun,

And in the meadows softly the brooks begin to run,

And the golden catkins swing

In the warm airs of the spring;

Sing, little children, sing!

Sing, children, sing!

The lilies white you bring

In the joyous Easter morning for hope are blossoming;

And as the earth her shroud of snow from off her breast doth fling,

So may we cast our fetters off in God's eternal spring.

So may we find release at last from sorrow and from pain,

So may we find our childhood's calm, delicious dawn again.

Sweet are your eyes, O little ones, that look with smiling grace

Without a shade of doubt or fear into the future's face!

Sing, sing in happy chorus, with joyful voices tell

That death is life, and God is good, and all things shall be well;

That bitter days shall cease

In warmth and light and peace,

That winter yields to spring,—

Sing, little children, sing!


  WEEK 15  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

An Historic Scene

"Europe's eye is fixed on mighty things,

The fall of empires and the fate of kings."


T HE great movement known as the Reformation now swept through Europe. Gradually the conflict, begun in Germany between Luther and the Pope, passed into England, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Throughout the long vexed reign of the Emperor Charles V. this war of religion raged fiercely, intolerantly. Those who followed Luther were known as the Protestants, or those who protested against the power of the Pope, while those who acknowledged the supreme power of Rome were Roman Catholics.

In the year 1530 a religious peace was made at Augsburg. Though Martin Luther was not allowed to appear, he helped to draw up twenty-eight articles of the faith professed by the Protestants.

Luther passed to his rest, but his followers carried on the conflict. Twenty-six years after the Diet of Worms Charles the emperor was at Wittenberg. He asked to see the tomb of Martin Luther. As he stood gazing at it, full of many thoughts, some one suggested that the body should be taken up, tied to a stake, and burned in the market-place of the town. There was nothing unusual in the suggestion. Most heretics were burned in those days. They thought to please the emperor, but Charles was "one of nature's gentlemen."

"I war not with the dead," he answered quietly.

But the troubles and toils of a long reign had already begun to tell on the emperor, and he determined to lay down a burden which he was no longer fitted to bear. The 25th of October 1555 was fixed for the great abdication of this mighty emperor. It was to take place in the palace at Brussels, the Court residence of the emperor in the Netherlands. His beloved son Philip was to succeed him.

Long before the appointed hour crowds had filled the historic palace. The wealth of the Netherlands was there. There were the knights of the famous Order of the Golden Fleece; there was the flower of Flemish chivalry—bishops, counts, barons, representatives from all the emperor's vast empire. As the clock struck three the hero of the whole scene arrived. "Cæsar," as he was more often called, in the classic language of the day, came in leaning heavily on the shoulder of William of Orange, the man who was to play such a large part in the story of the Netherlands. They were followed by Philip, and accompanied by an immense throng of glittering Spanish warriors. Here stood Count Egmont, the idol of the people, whose victories were to resound through Europe, tall, gallant, ill-fated. Here, too, was Count Horn, sullen and gloomy, though as yet ignorant of his coming tragedy.

The whole company rose to their feet as the emperor entered, and all eyes were directed towards him and his young son. Charles himself, though not yet fifty-six, was bent with old age, crippled with gout, worn with anxiety. It was with some difficulty that he supported himself even with the aid of a crutch. Philip, his son, had the same broad forehead and blue eyes of his father; but he was very small, with thin legs, a narrow chest, and the timid air of an invalid. He had been married but a year since to Mary of England, a valuable alliance to this great empire which was now passing into his weak hands.

Presently the emperor rose, supporting himself upon the shoulder of a handsome young man of two-and-twenty. Then he spoke to the vast throng before him. He sketched shortly his wars, his nine expeditions into Germany, six to Spain, seven to Italy, four to France, two to England, ten to the Netherlands, two to Africa, and eleven voyages by sea. He assured his subjects that he had striven to uphold the Roman Catholic religion. They knew of his lifelong opposition to Martin Luther. Now he told them life was ebbing away. Instead of an old man whose strength was past, they should have a young man in the prime of his youthful manhood to rule over them. Turning to the fair-haired son at his side, he bequeathed to him the magnificent empire, begging him to prove himself worthy of so great an inheritance. He entreated the nations under him to help in the colossal task of putting down the Protestants in the empire; then, beseeching them to pardon his own shortcomings, he ceased.

Sobs were heard in every part of the hall, and tears flowed from many eyes, as the old emperor sank back, pale and fainting, into his golden chair. The tears poured freely down his furrowed cheeks as Philip dropped on his knees and kissed his hand with reverence. Raising his son, he kissed him tenderly.

So the curtain fell for ever upon the mightiest emperor since the days of Charlemagne, and when it rose again Philip had begun the long and tremendous tragedy which lasted till his death.


Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon

Minerva; or, Wisdom

O NE day Jupiter had a very bad headache. He had never had one before, so he did not know what it was or what to do. One god recommended one thing and another proposed another, and Jupiter tried them all; but the more things he tried the worse the headache grew. At last he said:—

"I can't stand this any more. Vulcan, bring your great sledge-hammer and split open my skull. Kill or cure."

Vulcan brought his sledge-hammer and split open Jupiter's skull with a single blow. And out there came a fine, full-grown goddess, clad in complete armor from head to foot, armed with a spear and shield, and with beautiful large blue eyes. She was Minerva (or, in Greek, Athēnē), the Wisdom that comes from Jupiter's brain, and makes it ache sometimes.

Minerva was wonderfully good as well as wonderfully wise: not that there is much difference between goodness and wisdom. She is the only goddess, or god either, who never did a foolish, an unkind, or a wrong thing. By the way, though, she once took it into her head that she could play the flute, and the gods laughed at her; but when she looked into a brook and saw what ugly faces she made when she played, she knew at once what made the gods laugh, laughed at herself, threw the flute away, and never played it again; so she was even wise enough not to be vain, or to think she could do well what she did badly.

The only bad thing about good people is that there are so few good stories to tell of them. She was Jupiter's favorite daughter, and no wonder; and she was the only one of all the gods and goddesses whom he allowed to use his thunder. She was the only one he could trust, I suppose. She was rather too fond of fighting, considering that she was a lady, but she was as good at her needle as her sword. She was so good at spinning, that a woman named Arachne, who was the best spinner and seamstress in the world, hanged herself in despair because she could not spin a web so neatly and finely as Minerva. The goddess turned her into a spider, who is still the finest spinner in the world, next to Minerva alone.

Once the people of Attica wanted a name for their capital, which they had just been building. They asked the gods, and the gods in council decreed that the new city should be named by the god who should give the most useful new present to mankind. Neptune struck the earth with his trident, and out sprang the horse, and nobody thought that his gift could be beaten. But Minerva planted the olive, which is the plant of peace. So the gods gave the honor of naming the new city to Minerva, because the emblem of peace is better than the horse, who is the emblem of war. The name she gave was from her own—Athēnæ; and the city is called Athens to this day. The Athenians always paid their chief worship to their goddess-godmother.

Minerva was very handsome, but rather manly-looking for a goddess, and grave; her most famous feature was her blue eyes. "The Blue-eyed Maid" is one of her most usual titles in poetry. She wore a large helmet with waving plumes; in one hand she held a spear; on her left arm she carried the shield on which was the head of the Gorgon Medusa, with living snakes darting from it. But sometimes she carried a distaff instead of a spear. The olive was of course sacred to her, and her favorite bird is the owl, who is always called the Bird of Wisdom.


----- Poem by Rachel Field -----

  WEEK 15  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Beside the Sea  by Lisa M. Ripperton

The Greedy Shepherd


O NCE upon a time there lived in the south country two brothers, whose business it was to keep sheep on a great grassy plain, which was bounded on the one side by a forest, and on the other by a chain of high hills. No one lived on that plain but shepherds, who dwelt in low cottages thatched with heath, and watched their sheep so carefully that no lamb was ever lost, nor had one of the shepherds ever travelled beyond the foot of the hills and the skirts of the forest.

There were none among them more careful than these two brothers, one of whom was called Clutch, and the other Kind. Though brethren born, two men of distant countries could not be more unlike in disposition. Clutch thought of nothing in this world but how to catch and keep some profit for himself, while Kind would have shared his last morsel with a hungry dog. This covetous mind made Clutch keep all his father's sheep when the old man was dead and gone, because he was the eldest brother, allowing Kind nothing but the place of a servant to help him in looking after them. Kind wouldn't quarrel with his brother for the sake of the sheep, so he helped him to keep them, and Clutch had all his own way. This made him agreeable. For some time the brothers lived peaceably in their father's cottage, which stood low and lonely under the shadow of a great sycamore-tree, and kept their flock with pipe and crook on the grassy plain, till new troubles arose through Clutch's covetousness.

On that plain there was neither town, nor city, nor market-place, where people might sell or buy, but the shepherds cared little for trade. The wool of their flocks made them clothes; their milk gave them butter and cheese. At feast times every family killed a lamb or so; their fields yielded them wheat for bread. The forest supplied them with firewood for winter; and every midsummer, which is the sheep-shearing time, traders from a certain far-off city came through it by an ancient way to purchase all the wool the shepherds could spare, and give them in exchange either goods or money.

One midsummer it so happened that these traders praised the wool of Clutch's flock above all they found on the plain, and gave him the highest price for it. That was an unlucky happening for the sheep: from thenceforth Clutch thought he could never get enough wool off them. At the shearing time nobody clipped so close, and, in spite of all Kind could do or say, he left the poor sheep as bare as if they had been shaven; and as soon as the wool grew long enough to keep them warm, he was ready with the shears again—no matter how chilly might be the days or how near the winter. Kind didn't like these doings, and many a debate they caused between him and his brother. Clutch always tried to persuade him that close clipping was good for the sheep, and Kind always strove to make him think he had got all the wool—so they were never done with disputes. Still Clutch sold the wool, and stored up his profits, and one midsummer after another passed. The shepherds began to think him a rich man, and close clipping might have become the fashion, but for a strange thing which happened to his flock.

The wool had grown well that summer. He had taken two crops off them, and was thinking of a third,—though the misty mornings of autumn were come, and the cold evenings made the shepherds put on their winter cloaks,—when first the lambs, and then the ewes, began to stray away; and search as the brothers would, none of them was ever found again. Clutch blamed Kind with being careless, and watched with all his might. Kind knew it was not his fault, but he looked sharper than ever. Still the straying went on. The flocks grew smaller every day, and all the brothers could find out was, that the closest clipped were the first to go; and, count the flock when they might, some were sure to be missed at the folding.

Kind grew tired of watching, and Clutch lost his sheep with vexation. The other shepherds, over whom he had boasted of his wool and his profits, were not sorry to see pride having a fall. Most of them pitied Kind, but all of them agreed that they had marvellous ill luck, and kept as far from them as they could for fear of sharing it. Still the flock melted away as the months wore on. Storms and cold weather never stopped them from straying, and when the spring came back nothing remained with Clutch and Kind but three old ewes, the quietest and lamest of their whole flock. They were watching these ewes one evening in the primrose time, when Clutch, who had never kept his eyes off them that day, said:

"Brother, there is wool to be had on their backs."

"It is too little to keep them warm," said Kind. "The east wind still blows sometimes"; but Clutch was off to the cottage for the bag and shears.

Kind was grieved to see his brother so covetous and to divert his mind he looked up at the great hills; it was a sort of comfort to him, ever since their losses began, to look at them evening and morning. Now their far-off heights were growing crimson with the setting sun, but as he looked, three creatures like sheep scoured up a cleft in one of them as fleet as any deer; and when Kind turned, he saw his brother coming with the bag and shears, but not a single ewe was to be seen. Clutch's first question was, what had become of them; and when Kind told him what he saw, the eldest brother scolded him with might and main for ever lifting his eyes off them:

"Much good the hills and the sunset do us," said he, "now that we have not a single sheep. The other shepherds will hardly give us room among them at shearing time or harvest; but for my part, I'll not stay on this plain to be despised for poverty. If you like to come with me, and be guided by my advice, we shall get service somewhere. I have heard my father say that there were great shepherds living in old times beyond the hills; let us go and see if they will take us for sheep-boys."

Kind would rather have stayed and tilled his father's wheat-field, hard by the cottage; but since his elder brother would go, he resolved to bear him company. Accordingly, next morning Clutch took his bag and shears, Kind took his crook and pipe, and away they went over the plain and up the hills. All who saw them thought that they had lost their senses, for no shepherd had gone there for a hundred years, and nothing was to be seen but wide moorlands, full of rugged rocks, and sloping up, it seemed, to the very sky. Kind persuaded his brother to take the direction the sheep had taken, but the ground was so rough and steep that after two hours' climbing they would gladly have turned back, if it had not been that their sheep were gone, and the shepherds would laugh at them.

By noon they came to the stony cleft, up which the three old ewes had scoured like deer; but both were tired, and sat down to rest. Their feet were sore, and their hearts were heavy; but as they sat there, there came a sound of music down the hills, as if a thousand shepherds had been playing on their tops. Clutch and Kind had never heard such music before. As they listened, the soreness passed from their feet, and the heaviness from their hearts; and getting up, they followed the sound up the cleft, and over a wide heath, covered with purple bloom; till at sunset, they came to the hill-top, and saw a broad pasture, where violets grew thick among the grass, and thousands of snow-white sheep were feeding, while an old man sat in the midst of them, playing on his pipe. He wore a long coat, the colour of the holly leaves; his hair hung to his waist, and his beard to his knees; but both were as white as snow, and he had the countenance of one who had led a quiet life, and known no cares nor losses.

"Good father," said Kind, for his eldest brother hung back and was afraid, "tell us what land is this, and where can we find service; for my brother and I are shepherds, and can well keep flocks from straying, though we have lost our own."

"These are the hill pastures," said the old man, "and I am the ancient shepherd. My flocks never stray, but I have employment for you. Which of you can shear best?"

"Good father," said Clutch, taking courage, "I am the closest shearer in all the plain country; you would not find as much wool as would make a thread on a sheep when I have done with it."

"You are the man for my business," replied the old shepherd. "When the moon rises, I will call the flock you have to shear. Till then sit down and rest, and take your supper out of my wallet."

Clutch and Kind gladly sat down by him among the violets, and opening a leathern bag which hung by his side, the old man gave them cakes and cheese, and a horn cup to drink from a stream hard by. The brothers felt fit for any work after that meal; and Clutch rejoiced in his own mind at the chance he had got for showing his skill with the shears. "Kind will see how useful it is to cut close," he thought to himself; but they sat with the old man, telling him the news of the plain, till the sun went down and the moon rose, and all the snow-white sheep gathered and laid themselves down behind him. He then took his pipe and played a merry tune, when immediately there was heard a great howling, and up the hills came a troop of shaggy wolves, with hair so long that their eyes could scarcely be seen. Clutch would have fled for fear, but the wolves stopped, and the old man said to him:

"Rise, and shear—this flock of mine have too much wool on them."

Clutch had never shorn wolves before, yet he couldn't think of losing the good service, and went forward with a stout heart; but the first of the wolves showed its teeth, and all the rest raised such a howl the moment he came near them, that Clutch was glad to throw down his shears, and run behind the old man for safety.

"Good father," cried he, "I will shear sheep, but not wolves."

"They must be shorn," said the old man, "or you go back to the plains, and them after you; but whichever of you can shear them will get the whole flock."

On hearing this, Clutch began to exclaim on his hard fortune, and his brother who had brought him there to be hunted and devoured by wolves; but Kind, thinking that things could be no worse, caught up the shears he had thrown away in his fright, and went boldly up to the nearest wolf. To his great surprise the wild creature seemed to know him, and stood quietly to be shorn, while the rest of the flock gathered round as if waiting their turn. Kind clipped neatly, but not too close, as he had wished his brother to do with the sheep, and heaped up the hair on one side. When he had done with one, another came forward, and Kind went on shearing by the bright moonlight till the whole flock were shorn. Then the old man said:

"Ye have done well, take the wool and the flock for your wages, return with them to the plain, and if you please, take this little-worth brother of yours for a boy to keep them."

Kind did not much like keeping wolves, but before he could make answer, they had all changed into the very sheep which had strayed away so strangely. All of them had grown fatter and thicker of fleece, and the hair he had cut off lay by his side, a heap of wool so fine and soft that its like had never been seen on the plain.

Clutch gathered it up in his empty bag, and glad was he to go back to the plain with his brother; for the old man sent them away with their flock, saying no man must see the dawn of day on that pasture but himself, for it was the ground of the fairies. So Clutch and Kind went home with great gladness. All the shepherds came to hear their wonderful story, and ever after liked to keep near them because they had such good luck. They keep the sheep together till this day, but Clutch has grown less greedy, and Kind alone uses the shears.


Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

More about Bees

W OULD you like to own bees? Once I knew a boy who had some bees. He kept them in a room, at the top of his house. He left the window open, and the bees came and went as they chose.

A swarm of bees costs about five dollars. Each year it may gain for you five dollars, or more, by honey, and a new swarm.

If you live in the city, you cannot so easily keep bees. Why not?

They could not find the right food.

They need to fly in the field or in a garden, so that they can get the honey and the yellow dust of flowers. They need to fly where they can get the thick gum from trees to line their cells.

If you have a hive of bees, you should learn to watch them well. Like Huber, you may find out some new things. We do not yet know all about bees. We could learn more than is now known about drones.

If you stand by a hive, the bees will not hurt you if you keep still, and do not get in their way to the door as they go in and out.

Bees lay up for winter more honey than they need. So the bee-keepers take out much of it to eat or to sell.

They must leave some for the bees. If too much comb is taken out, the bees must be fed. You can give them sugar or some sweet stuff. Bees like flour made of peas.

They cannot feed the young bees if they do not have sweet dust or flour. They cannot make wax if they have no sweet food. They cannot line their cells, or seal them well, if they have no strong gum from trees.

I know some people who think bees like to hear a song, and so sit near the hives and sing to them. But bees, really, like color, and sweet smell, and nice tastes, and do not care much for any noise.


Jane Taylor

The Violet

Down in a green and shady bed

A modest violet grew;

Its stalk was bent, it hung its head,

As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower,

Its colours bright and fair!

It might have graced a rosy bower,

Instead of hiding there.

Yet there it was content to bloom,

In modest tints arrayed;

And there diffused its sweet perfume,

Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go,

This pretty flower to see;

That I may also learn to grow

In sweet humility.


  WEEK 15  


Our Island Saints  by Amy Steedman

Saint Molios

I N the days of long ago, an old legend tells us, there lived a holy man whose heart was so filled with tender compassion for others that it even grieved him to think that there lay in the church-yard poor forgotten dead people for whom no one cared.

So, when the busy work of the day was done, this holy man made his way to the churchyard, and knelt and prayed there beside the lonely graves. He prayed so earnestly that he never noticed that the sun had set and the twilight was creeping on, and he never saw the silver moon as it rose over the hill. Hour after hour passed, and all the village lights were out, but still the saint knelt on in the churchyard. And then it was that the angels came.

They came in solemn procession, robed in white, with silver censers in their hands, but there was no great glory or heavenly light around them, and the saint thought they were a company of priests passing through the churchyard. Only their garments were whiter than any earthly robes, and the perfume that rose from the silver censers was sweeter than anything on earth.

Here and there among the grass-grown mounds the procession stayed, and the censers were swung as if before the shrine of a saint. They were but poor neglected graves by which the white-robed angels stopped, some without even a name to mark them, and some among the nettles, where the grass grew so high and rank that there was scarcely a trace to show a grave was there at all. But even there the silver censers were swung on high, and the incense, sweet as the breath of flowers, floated up to heaven.

Each night the holy man returned to pray in the quiet churchyard, and each night the white-robed figures came and went, and the saint longed to ask them what they did. At last, taking courage, he stopped them and put his question. But even as he spoke he knew that these were no earthly priests but a company of angels.

"We are God's messengers," answered one of the white-robed throng, "sent by Him to do honour to His saints whose bodies lie forgotten here. Even their dust is dear to Him, and although the world has forgotten them, He marks their hallowed graves. Each night He sends us to His garden, where His seeds are sown which shall one day, like the flowers, blossom into a more glorious body."

It is a beautiful thought which this old legend teaches us—the thought that even the dust of God's saints is precious in His sight. It comes as a comforting message when we find how quickly the busy world forgets even the names of those saints to whom it owes so much; when the visions which have kept the world in touch with heaven have been forgotten and faith grows dim.

Among the many half-forgotten churchyards there is one in the little clachan of Shiskine among the Arran hills, where perhaps there is many a humble mound over which the angels swing their silver censers; and we know at least one saint by name whose dust lies there. A flat grey stone covers the grave, and on it is cut the name of Saint Molios and his story still lingers in the memory of the old folk in the country round, although to the young ones he is little more than a name.

But when winter comes, and the evenings are dark and long, the children often ask for a story, and are content then to listen to the tale of Saint Molios. The old grandmother in her white mutch sits in the armchair close to the fire, while the children gather round on their little stools. The sweet scent of peat smoke fills the kitchen and wraps everything in a blue haze, so that the oil-lamp which hangs from the rafters above scarcely lifts the shadows from the dark corners where cupboard-beds can dimly be seen.

"Och ay," says the grandmother, a smile on her sweet old face as her mind goes back to the past, "He was a good man was he they ca' Saint Molaise. Folk say he lived a terrible strict life over yonder in the Holy Isle, close to Lamlash. His house was a wee bit cave, high up among the rocks, and a' he had for a bed was a shelf cut oot o' the side o' the rock, scarcely wide eneuch to turn in. He had a bath too, doon by the sea, for he was aye fond o' the water, and summer and winter he would go in to wash."

Here for a moment her eye rested upon a little grimy upturned face, which blushed and hid itself against her petticoat.

"He knew it was a good thing to keep the body clean as well as the soul. All alone he lived with no a body to help him, and all the time he had for idleness he was praying and praising God. 'Twas him that brocht the Gospel to the Arran folk, and aften he would cross the hills and come awa' doon to the clachan here, and teach and preach the Word o' God.

"If ony o' the folk were in trouble and needed a friend, it was to Molaise they turned, and he was aye ready to help, not only with the words o' comfort, but with kind acts as well. The poor loved his very name, and the bairns would rin by his side haudin' on to his hand: they likit fine to look up and see the smile on his face. Awa' doon by his cave the sea-birds would come fleein' roond as if they too had come to listen to the good words o' the saint, and the wild deer in the bracken would just gie him a friendly look and go on chumping away at the grass as he passed. They werena feart for him, for a' beasts ken well eneuch that when a man loves God he loves God's craturs too.

"There were few graveyards in Arran in those days, and they carried most o' the dead to the wee kirkyard here; and so, when the good man died, they brocht his body across the island and laid him there at the foot o' the hills, where the burn is aye singing; where the grey stones stand so straight and solemn, pointing up the glen.

"They made a picter of Saint Molaise cut oot o' the stone, and put it there to show where he was laid. And there it lay, winter and summer, for hundreds and hundreds o' years, so they say. And when I was a bairn we had no gran' picter books like what ye have now. The only picter we had was the old stone of Molaise, and we a' loved it and thocht it awfu' bonnie. And when we had a holiday frae the schule it was always there we went, to the wee kirkyard to see the picter on Molaise's stone.

"Whenever a baby was born in the clachan, its mother would go and pit a silver saxpence on the old stone, a kind o' thanksgiving they ca'ed it. But the saxpence never bade there for long, and we bairns aye thocht it was ta'en awa' by Sandy the herd. He was a puir body was Sandy, no quite like ither folk, and he was aye sae joyful when he heard o' a birth in the clachan. There's a queer kind o' crack across the old stone just above where the saint's knees would come, and my mither would sometimes be telling us the tale of how that happened. It was one day, she said, when they would be bringing an old man from the north end o' the island to be buried at Shiskine. There were no roads then where they could drive a cart, so they had to carry the chest on long spakes; and one o' the young men when he got to the kirkyard would be very tired and kind o' impatient, for it had been a heavy job. So he flung down the spake while he would be swearing, and it fell across the saint's stone and crackit it clean across by the knees. An' that very night, when the young man was finding his way home above the cliffs o' Drumadoon, he slippit and fell, and they found him next morning with baith his legs broken clean across, in the very same place where he had cracked Molaise's stone. Mind I'm no sayin' that was the reason he slippit and hurt himself. Maybe it was, maybe it wasna. But ye can see the crack across the old stone to this day.

"Och ay, but ye wunna find the stone in the old place now. They couldna let it bide in the place where it had always been, but they must take it up to be an ornament for the gran' new kirk, and poor Molaise's picter stands there now, and the grave has only a plain grey stone to mark it.

"Never a hand in the clachan could be bribed to lift that stone, and so they brocht men from the ither side o' the island and took it away in the mirk when no a body saw. Ay, but they say that after moving the saint's picter, one o' the men driving home in the cart met with a terrible accident, for the wheel came off the cart, and the man was coupit oot and was very near killed."

So runs the old woman's story, and if you wander up the glen by the side of the surging burn, past the little ruined church to the old churchyard, you will find among the long dank grass the tomb of Saint Molios. The purple heather grows close to the churchyard gate; the silent hills, like great watchers, keep guard over God's little garden there; and it seems a fitting place for the saint of Arran to take his rest "until the day break, and the shadows flee away."


Winnie-the-Pooh  by A. A. Milne

Piglet Is Entirely Surounded by Water

Part 2 of 2

Christopher Robin lived at the very top of the Forest. It rained, and it rained, and it rained, but the water couldn't come up to his  house. It was rather jolly to look down into the valleys and see the water all round him, but it rained so hard that he stayed indoors most of the time, and thought about things. Every morning he went out with his umbrella and put a stick in the place where the water came up to, and every next morning he went out and couldn't see his stick any more, so he put another stick in the place where the water came up to, and then he walked home again, and each morning he had a shorter way to walk than he had had the morning before. On the morning of the fifth day he saw the water all round him, and knew that for the first time in his life he was on a real island. Which was very exciting.


It was on this morning that Owl came flying over the water to say "How do you do," to his friend Christopher Robin.

"I say, Owl," said Christopher Robin, "isn't this fun? I'm on an island!"

"The atmospheric conditions have been very unfavourable lately," said Owl.

"The what?"

"It has been raining," explained Owl.

"Yes," said Christopher Robin. "It has."

"The flood-level has reached an unprecedented height."

"The who?"

"There's a lot of water about," explained Owl.

"Yes," said Christopher Robin, "there is."

"However, the prospects are rapidly becoming more favourable. At any moment—"

"Have you seen Pooh?"

"No. At any moment—"

"I hope he's all right," said Christopher Robin. "I've been wondering about him. I expect Piglet's with him. Do you think they're all right, Owl?"

"I expect so. You see, at any moment—"

"Do go and see, Owl. Because Pooh hasn't got very much brain, and he might do something silly, and I do love him so, Owl. Do you see, Owl?"

"That's all right," said Owl. "I'll go. Back directly." And he flew off.

In a little while he was back again.

"Pooh isn't there," he said.

Not there?"

"Has been  there. He's been sitting on a branch of his tree outside his house with nine pots of honey. But he isn't there now."

"Oh, Pooh!" cried Christopher Robin. "Where are  you?"

"Here I am," said a growly voice behind him.



They rushed into each other's arms.

"How did you get here, Pooh?" asked Christopher Robin, when he was ready to talk again.

"On my boat,", said Pooh proudly. "I had a Very Important Missage sent me in a bottle, and owing to having got some water in my eyes, I couldn't read it, so I brought it to you. On my boat."


With these proud words he gave Christopher Robin the missage.

"But it's from Piglet!" cried Christopher Robin when he had read it.

"Isn't there anything about Pooh in it?" asked Bear, looking over his shoulder.

Christopher Robin read the message aloud.

"Oh, are those 'P's' piglets? I thought they were poohs."

"We must rescue him at once! I thought he was with you,  Pooh. Owl, could you rescue him on your back?"

"I don't think so," said Owl, after grave thought.

"It is doubtful if the necessary dorsal muscles—"

"Then would you fly to him at once  and say that Rescue is Coming? And Pooh and I will think of a Rescue and come as quick as ever we can. Oh, don't talk,  Owl, go on quick!" And, still thinking of something to say, Owl flew off.

"Now then, Pooh," said Christopher Robin, "where's your boat?"

"I ought to say," explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, "that it isn't just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it's a Boat, and sometimes it's more of an Accident. It all depends."

"Depends on what?"

"On whether I'm on the top of it or underneath it.

"Oh! Well, where is it?"

"There!" said Pooh, pointing proudly to The Floating Bear.

It wasn't what Christopher Robin expected, and the more he looked at it, the more he thought what a Brave and Clever Bear Pooh was, and the more Christopher Robin thought this, the more Pooh looked modestly down his nose and tried to pretend he wasn't.

"But it's too small for two of us," said Christopher Robin sadly.

"Three of us with Piglet."

"That makes it smaller still. Oh, Pooh Bear, what shall we do?"

And then this Bear, Pooh Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, F.O.P. (Friend of Piglet's), R.C. (Rabbit's Companion), P.D. (Pole Discoverer), E.C. and T.F. (Eeyore's Comforter and Tail-finder)—in fact, Pooh himself—said something so clever that Christopher Robin could only look at him with mouth open and eyes staring, wondering if this was really the Bear of Very Little Brain whom he had known and loved so long.

"We might go in your umbrella," said Pooh.


"We might go in your umbrella," said Pooh.

"? ?"

"We might go in your umbrella," said Pooh.

"! ! ! ! ! !"

For suddenly Christopher Robin saw that they might. He opened his umbrella and put it point downwards in the water. It floated but wobbled.


Pooh got in. He was just beginning to say that it was all right now, when he found that it wasn't, so after a short drink which he didn't really want he waded back to Christopher Robin. Then they both got in together, and it wobbled no longer.

"I shall call this boat The Brain of Pooh,"  said Christopher Robin, and The Brain of Pooh  set sail forthwith in a south-westerly direction, revolving gracefully. You can imagine Piglet's joy when at last the ship came in sight of him. In after-years he liked to think that he had been in Very Great Danger during the Terrible Flood, but the only danger he had really been in was in the last half-hour of his imprisonment, when Owl, who had just flown up, sat on a branch of his tree to comfort him, and told him a very long story about an aunt who had once laid a seagull's egg by mistake, and the story went on and on, rather like this sentence, until Piglet who was listening


out of his window without much hope, went to sleep quietly and naturally, slipping slowly out of the window towards the water until he was only hanging on by his toes, at which moment luckily, a sudden loud squawk from Owl, which was really part of the story, being what his aunt said, woke the Piglet up and just gave him time to jerk himself back into safety and say, "How interesting, and did she?" when—well, you can imagine his joy when at last he saw the good ship, Brain of Pooh  (Captain,  C. Robin; 1st Mate,  P. Bear) coming over the sea to rescue him. Christopher Robin and Pooh again. . . .

And that is really the end of the story, and I am very tired after that last sentence, I think I shall stop there.



Eugene Field

The Rock-a-By Lady

The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby Street

Comes stealing; comes creeping;

The poppies they hang from her head to her feet,

And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet—

She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet,

When she findeth you sleeping!

There is one little dream of a beautiful drum—

"Rub-a-dub!" it goeth;

There is one little dream of a big sugarplum,

And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come

Of popguns that bang, and tin tops that hum,

And a trumpet that bloweth!

And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams

With laughter and singing;

And boats go a-floating on silvery streams,

And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty gleams,

And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams,

The fairies go winging!

Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet?

They'll come to you sleeping;

So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet,

For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby Street,

With poppies that hang from her head to her feet,

Comes stealing; comes creeping.