Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 2  

  Monday  


The Secret Garden  by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mistress Mary Quite Contrary

M ARY had liked to look at her mother from a distance and she had thought her very pretty, but as she knew very little of her she could scarcely have been expected to love her or to miss her very much when she was gone. She did not miss her at all, in fact, and as she was a self-absorbed child she gave her entire thought to herself, as she had always done. If she had been older she would no doubt have been very anxious at being left alone in the world, but she was very young, and as she had always been taken care of, she supposed she always would be. What she thought was that she would like to know if she was going to nice people, who would be polite to her and give her her own way as her Ayah and the other native servants had done.

She knew that she was not going to stay at the English clergyman's house where she was taken at first. She did not want to stay. The English clergyman was poor and he had five children nearly all the same age and they wore shabby clothes and were always quarreling and snatching toys from each other. Mary hated their untidy bungalow and was so disagreeable to them that after the first day or two nobody would play with her. By the second day they had given her a nickname which made her furious.

It was Basil who thought of it first. Basil was a little boy with impudent blue eyes and a turned-up nose and Mary hated him. She was playing by herself under a tree, just as she had been playing the day the cholera broke out. She was making heaps of earth and paths for a garden and Basil came and stood near to watch her. Presently he got rather interested and suddenly made a suggestion.

"Why don't you put a heap of stones there and pretend it is a rockery?" he said. "There in the middle," and he leaned over her to point.

"Go away!" cried Mary. "I don't want boys. Go away!"

For a moment Basil looked angry, and then he began to tease. He was always teasing his sisters. He danced round and round her and made faces and sang and laughed.

"Mistress Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And marigolds all in a row."

He sang it until the other children heard and laughed, too; and the crosser Mary got, the more they sang "Mistress Mary, quite contrary"; and after that as long as she stayed with them they called her "Mistress Mary Quite Contrary" when they spoke of her to each other, and often when they spoke to her.

"You are going to be sent home," Basil said to her, "at the end of the week. And we're glad of it."

"I am glad of it, too," answered Mary. "Where is home?"

"She doesn't know where home is!" said Basil, with seven-year-old scorn. "It's England, of course. Our grandmama lives there and our sister Mabel was sent to her last year. You are not going to your grandmama. You have none. You are going to your uncle. His name is Mr. Archibald Craven."

"I don't know anything about him," snapped Mary.

"I know you don't," Basil answered. "You don't know anything. Girls never do. I heard father and mother talking about him. He lives in a great, big, desolate old house in the country and no one goes near him. He's so cross he won't let them, and they wouldn't come if he would let them. He's a hunchback, and he's horrid."

"I don't believe you," said Mary; and she turned her back and stuck her fingers in her ears, because she would not listen any more.

But she thought over it a great deal afterward; and when Mrs. Crawford told her that night that she was going to sail away to England in a few days and go to her uncle, Mr. Archibald Craven, who lived at Misselthwaite Manor, she looked so stony and stubbornly uninterested that they did not know what to think about her. They tried to be kind to her, but she only turned her face away when Mrs. Crawford attempted to kiss her, and held herself stiffly when Mr. Crawford patted her shoulder.

"She is such a plain child," Mrs. Crawford said pityingly, afterward. "And her mother was such a pretty creature. She had a very pretty manner, too, and Mary has the most unattractive ways I ever saw in a child. The children call her 'Mistress Mary Quite Contrary,' and though it's naughty of them, one can't help understanding it."

"Perhaps if her mother had carried her pretty face and her pretty manners oftener into the nursery Mary might have learned some pretty ways too. It is very sad, now the poor beautiful thing is gone, to remember that many people never even knew that she had a child at all."

"I believe she scarcely ever looked at her," sighed Mrs. Crawford. "When her Ayah was dead there was no one to give a thought to the little thing. Think of the servants running away and leaving her all alone in that deserted bungalow. Colonel McGrew said he nearly jumped out of his skin when he opened the door and found her standing by herself in the middle of the room."

Mary made the long voyage to England under the care of an officer's wife, who was taking her children to leave them in a boarding-school. She was very much absorbed in her own little boy and girl, and was rather glad to hand the child over to the woman Mr. Archibald Craven sent to meet her, in London. The woman was his housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor, and her name was Mrs. Medlock. She was a stout woman, with very red cheeks and sharp black eyes. She wore a very purple dress, a black silk mantle with jet fringe on it and a black bonnet with purple velvet flowers which stuck up and trembled when she moved her head. Mary did not like her at all, but as she very seldom liked people there was nothing remarkable in that; besides which it was very evident Mrs. Medlock did not think much of her.

"My word! she's a plain little piece of goods!" she said. "And we'd heard that her mother was a beauty. She hasn't handed much of it down, has she, ma'am?"

"Perhaps she will improve as she grows older," the officer's wife said good-naturedly. "If she were not so sallow and had a nicer expression, her features are rather good. Children alter so much."

"She'll have to alter a good deal," answered Mrs. Medlock. "And there's nothing likely to improve children at Misselthwaite—if you ask me!"

They thought Mary was not listening because she was standing a little apart from them at the window of the private hotel they had gone to. She was watching the passing buses and cabs, and people, but she heard quite well and was made very curious about her uncle and the place he lived in. What sort of a place was it, and what would he be like? What was a hunchback? She had never seen one. Perhaps there were none in India.

Since she had been living in other people's houses and had had no Ayah, she had begun to feel lonely and to think queer thoughts which were new to her. She had begun to wonder why she had never seemed to belong to any one even when her father and mother had been alive. Other children seemed to belong to their fathers and mothers, but she had never seemed to really be any one's little girl. She had had servants, and food and clothes, but no one had taken any notice of her. She did not know that this was because she was a disagreeable child; but then, of course, she did not know she was disagreeable. She often thought that other people were, but she did not know that she was so herself.

She thought Mrs. Medlock the most disagreeable person she had ever seen, with her common, highly colored face and her common fine bonnet. When the next day they set out on their journey to Yorkshire, she walked through the station to the railway carriage with her head up and trying to keep as far away from her as she could, because she did not want to seem to belong to her. It would have made her very angry to think people imagined she was her little girl.

But Mrs. Medlock was not in the least disturbed by her and her thoughts. She was the kind of woman who would "stand no nonsense from young ones." At least, that is what she would have said if she had been asked. She had not wanted to go to London just when her sister Maria's daughter was going to be married, but she had a comfortable, well paid place as housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor and the only way in which she could keep it was to do at once what Mr. Archibald Craven told her to do. She never dared even to ask a question.

"Captain Lennox and his wife died of the cholera," Mr. Craven had said in his short, cold way. "Captain Lennox was my wife's brother and I am their daughter's guardian. The child is to be brought here. You must go to London and bring her yourself."

So she packed her small trunk and made the journey.

Mary sat in her corner of the railway carriage and looked plain and fretful. She had nothing to read or to look at, and she had folded her thin little black-gloved hands in her lap. Her black dress made her look yellower than ever, and her limp light hair straggled from under her black crepe hat.

"A more marred-looking young one I never saw in my life," Mrs. Medlock thought. (Marred is a Yorkshire word and means spoiled and pettish.) She had never seen a child who sat so still without doing anything; and at last she got tired of watching her and began to talk in a brisk, hard voice.

"I suppose I may as well tell you something about where you are going to," she said. "Do you know anything about your uncle?"

"No," said Mary.

"Never heard your father and mother talk about him?"

"No," said Mary frowning. She frowned because she remembered that her father and mother had never talked to her about anything in particular. Certainly they had never told her things.

"Humph," muttered Mrs. Medlock, staring at her queer, unresponsive little face. She did not say any more for a few moments and then she began again.

"I suppose you might as well be told something—to prepare you. You are going to a queer place."

Mary said nothing at all, and Mrs. Medlock looked rather discomfited by her apparent indifference, but, after taking a breath, she went on.

"Not but that it's a grand big place in a gloomy way, and Mr. Craven's proud of it in his way—and that's gloomy enough, too. The house is six hundred years old and it's on the edge of the moor, and there's near a hundred rooms in it, though most of them's shut up and locked. And there's pictures and fine old furniture and things that's been there for ages, and there's a big park round it and gardens and trees with branches trailing to the ground—some of them." She paused and took another breath. "But there's nothing else," she ended suddenly.

Mary had begun to listen in spite of herself. It all sounded so unlike India, and anything new rather attracted her. But she did not intend to look as if she were interested. That was one of her unhappy, disagreeable ways. So she sat still.

"Well," said Mrs. Medlock. "What do you think of it?"

"Nothing," she answered. "I know nothing about such places."

That made Mrs. Medlock laugh a short sort of laugh.

"Eh!" she said, "but you are like an old woman. Don't you care?"

"It doesn't matter," said Mary, "whether I care or not."

"You are right enough there," said Mrs. Medlock. "It doesn't. What you're to be kept at Misselthwaite Manor for I don't know, unless because it's the easiest way. He's  not going to trouble himself about you, that's sure and certain. He never troubles himself about no one."

She stopped herself as if she had just remembered something in time.

"He's got a crooked back," she said. "That set him wrong. He was a sour young man and got no good of all his money and big place till he was married."

Mary's eyes turned toward her in spite of her intention not to seem to care. She had never thought of the hunchback's being married and she was a trifle surprised. Mrs. Medlock saw this, and as she was a talkative woman she continued with more interest. This was one way of passing some of the time, at any rate.

"She was a sweet, pretty thing and he'd have walked the world over to get her a blade o' grass she wanted. Nobody thought she'd marry him, but she did, and people said she married him for his money. But she didn't—she didn't," positively. "When she died—"

Mary gave a little involuntary jump.

"Oh! did she die!" she exclaimed, quite without meaning to. She had just remembered a French fairy story she had once read called "Riquet à la Houppe." It had been about a poor hunchback and a beautiful princess and it had made her suddenly sorry for Mr. Archibald Craven.

"Yes, she died," Mrs. Medlock answered. "And it made him queerer than ever. He cares about nobody. He won't see people. Most of the time he goes away, and when he is at Misselthwaite he shuts himself up in the West Wing and won't let any one but Pitcher see him. Pitcher's an old fellow, but he took care of him when he was a child and he knows his ways."

It sounded like something in a book and it did not make Mary feel cheerful. A house with a hundred rooms, nearly all shut up and with their doors locked—a house on the edge of a moor—whatsoever a moor was—sounded dreary. A man with a crooked back who shut himself up also! She stared out of the window with her lips pinched together, and it seemed quite natural that the rain should have begun to pour down in gray slanting lines and splash and stream down the window-panes. If the pretty wife had been alive she might have made things cheerful by being something like her own mother and by running in and out and going to parties as she had done in frocks "full of lace." But she was not there any more.

"You needn't expect to see him, because ten to one you won't," said Mrs. Medlock. "And you mustn't expect that there will be people to talk to you. You'll have to play about and look after yourself. You'll be told what rooms you can go into and what rooms you're to keep out of. There's gardens enough. But when you're in the house don't go wandering and poking about. Mr. Craven won't have it."

"I shall not want to go poking about," said sour little Mary; and just as suddenly as she had begun to be rather sorry for Mr. Archibald Craven she began to cease to be sorry and to think he was unpleasant enough to deserve all that had happened to him.

And she turned her face toward the streaming panes of the window of the railway carriage and gazed out at the gray rain-storm which looked as if it would go on forever and ever. She watched it so long and steadily that the grayness grew heavier and heavier before her eyes and she fell asleep.

 



Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

Another Bird Story

A GREAT battle had begun. Cannon were booming, some far away, some near at hand. Soldiers were marching through the fields. Men on horseback were riding in haste toward the front.

"Whiz!" A cannon ball struck the ground quite near to a company of soldiers. But they marched straight onward. The drums were beating, the fifes were playing.

"Whiz!" Another cannon ball flew through the air and struck a tree near by. A brave general was riding across the field. One ball after another came whizzing near him.

"General, you are in danger here," said an officer who was riding with him. "You had better fall back to a place of safety."

But the general rode on.


[Illustration]

Suddenly he stopped at the foot of a tree. "Halt!" he cried to the men who were with him. He leaped from his horse. He stooped and picked up a bird's nest that had fallen upon the ground. In the nest were some tiny, half-fledged birds. Their mouths were open for the food they were expecting their mother to give them.

"I cannot think of leaving these little things here to be trampled upon," said the general.

He lifted the nest gently and put it in a safe place in the forks of the tree.

"Whiz!" Another cannon ball.

He leaped into the saddle, and away he dashed with his officers close behind him.

"Whiz! whiz! whiz!"

He had done one good deed. He would do many more before the war was over.

"Boom! boom! boom!"

The cannon were roaring, the balls were flying, the battle was raging. But amid all the turmoil and danger, the little birds chirped happily in the safe shelter where the great general, Robert E. Lee, had placed them.

"He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all."

 



Charles Kingsley

The Old, Old Song

When all the world is young, lad,

And all the trees are green;

And every goose a swan, lad,

And every lass a queen;—

Then hey for boot and horse, lad,

And round the world away;

Young blood must have its course, lad,

And every dog his day.


When all the world is old, lad,

And all the trees are brown;

And all the sport is stale, lad,

And all the wheels run down;—

Creep home, and take your place there,

The spent and maimed among:

God grant you find one face there,

You loved when all was young.

 


  WEEK 2  

  Tuesday  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

The Coming of the Romans

H UNDREDS of years passed after Brutus conquered Albion and changed its name to Britain, during which time many kings and queens reigned over the island. Our great poet Shakespeare has written about one of these kings who was called King Lear. Some day you must read his story.

There were many good and wise rulers among these ancient British kings. But it would take too long to tell of them, so we must pass on to the time when another great warrior heard of the little lonely island and came to conquer it.

The name of this great warrior was Julius Cæsar. He was a Roman. At that time the Romans were a very powerful people. They called themselves the masters of the world.

It is true they were very clever. They had taught themselves how to fight, how to make swords and armour, and how to build fortresses, better than any of the peoples who lived then. So it happened that the Romans generally won the victory over all who fought against them.

But they were a very greedy people and, as soon as they heard of a new country, they wanted to conquer it and call it part of the Roman Empire.

Julius Cæsar had been fighting in Gaul, or France as we now call it. While there, he heard of the little island with white cliffs over the sea. He was told that the people were very big and brave and fierce. He also heard that it was a rich land full of tin, lead, and other useful metals, and that the shores were strewn with precious pearls. So he resolved to conquer this land and add it to the Roman Empire.

Cæsar gathered together about eighty ships, twelve thousand men, and a great many horses. These he thought would be enough with which to conquer the wild men of Britain. One fine day he set sail from France and soon came in sight of the island. The Britons in some way or other had heard of his coming and had gathered to meet him. As he drew near, Cæsar saw with surprise that the whole shore was covered with men ready for battle. He also saw that the place which he had chosen for landing was not good, for there were high, steep cliffs upon which the Britons could stand and shower darts upon his soldiers. So he turned his ships and sailed along the coast until he came to a place where the shore was flat.


Illustration

The shore was covered with men ready for battle.

The Roman ships were called galleys. They had sails, but were also moved by oars. The rowers sat in long lines down each side of the galley. Sometimes there were two or three tiers of them sitting one above the other. These rowers were generally slaves and worked in chains. They were often soldiers who had been taken prisoner in war, or wicked men who were punished for their misdeeds by being made to row in these galleys.

It was a dreadful life. The work was very hard, and in a storm if the vessel was wrecked, as often happened, the poor galley slaves were almost sure to be drowned, because their heavy chains prevented them from swimming.

As the Roman galleys sailed along the coast, the British warriors with their horses and war chariots followed on land.

The war chariots of the British were very terrible. They were like light carts and held several men; one to drive the horses and the others to fight. On either side, from the centre of the wheels, swords stuck out. As the wheels went round these swords cut down, killed, or wounded every one who came within reach. The Britons trained their horses so well, that they would rush madly into battle or stand stock still in a moment. It was a fearful sight to see these war chariots charge an enemy.

After sailing along the coast a little way, Cæsar found a good place at which to land, and turned his vessels inshore. But the great galleys required so much water in which to sail that they could not come quite close to land.

Seeing this, Cæsar told his soldiers to jump into the water. But the soldiers hesitated, for the Britons had rushed into the water to meet them and the Romans did not like the idea of fighting in the sea.

Although the Romans were very good soldiers, they were not such good sailors as might have been expected. They did not love the water as the Britons did.

These fierce "barbarians," as the Romans called the Britons, urging their horses into the waves, greeted the enemy with loud shouts. Every inch of the shore was known to them. They knew exactly where it was shallow and where it was deep, so they galloped through the water without fear.

Suddenly a brave Roman, when he saw how the soldiers hesitated, seized a standard and leaped overboard crying, "Leap forth now, soldiers, if you will not betray your ensign to the enemy, for I surely will bear myself as is my duty."

The Romans did not have flags such as we have in our army. Their standard was an eagle which was carried upon a pole. The eagle was of gold, or gilded to look like gold. Wherever the eagle led, there the soldiers followed, for it was the emblem of their honour, and they fought for and guarded it as their most precious possession.

So now, when the Roman soldiers saw their standard in the midst of the enemy, they followed with all haste. Their fear was great lest it should be taken. It was counted as a terrible disgrace to the Romans if they returned from battle without their standard. Death was better than disgrace, so they leaped into the water to meet the fierce Britons.

A fearful fight followed. The Romans could not keep their proper order, neither could they find firm footing. Weighed down with their heavy armour, they sank in the sand or slipped upon the rocks. All the while the Britons showered darts upon them and struck at them fiercely with their battle-axes and swords.

The Britons were very brave, but they had not learned the best ways of fighting as the Romans had. So after a terrible struggle the Romans reached the land. On shore they formed in close ranks and charged the Britons.

The Britons in their turn charged the Romans with their war chariots. The horses tore wildly along, neighing and champing their bits, and trampling underfoot those who were not cut down with the swords on the wheels. As they galloped, the fighting men in the cars threw darts and arrows everywhere among the enemy. When they were in the thickest of the fray the horses would suddenly stand still. Then the soldiers, springing out of the chariot, would fight fiercely for a few minutes with their battle-axes, killing every one within reach. Again they would leap into the cart, the horses would start forward and once more gallop wildly through the ranks of the enemy, leaving a track of dead behind them wherever they passed. But in spite of all their wild bravery the Britons were beaten at last and fled before the Romans.

Thus Cæsar first landed upon the shores of Britain. But so many of his soldiers were killed and wounded that he was glad to make peace with these brave islanders.

He sailed away again in such of his ships as had not been destroyed. For fierce storms had arisen a few days after his landing and wrecked many of his vessels.

Cæsar did not gain much glory from this fight. Indeed, when he went away, it seemed rather as if he were fleeing from a foe than leaving a conquered land.

 



Holiday Shore  by Edith M. Patch

The Changing Shore

T HE road to Holiday Shore runs through meadows and past the farm at the foot of Holiday Hill. Then it winds through woods and crosses a stream. This is the stream up which the alewives and some other fish swim to lay their eggs in Holiday Pond.

At last the road comes near the sea. On windy days you can hear the waves as they break on the rocks. When the big waves come in and break like that, you can see how Holiday Shore was made, and why it changes every year.

For the shore really does change. Look at that rocky point: it was once bigger than it is to‑day. To be sure it seems firm and unchangeable while the water of the quiet sea ripples on the rocks at its foot. Even on stormy days the point still holds itself strong and steady against huge waves that roll in from the bay. They dash against its hard gray stone and splash into fine, white spray that the wind carries far inshore. How can waves that break into weak misty spray change the shape of Holiday Point?

Stand behind this old, twisted tree and see a little of what storm waves can do to the shore. Here comes a big one now; watch it fill every hole and crack. Will it succeed in pushing the rocks apart?

After the wave has broken against the point and the water has run back toward Holiday Bay, you will see pieces of rock come loose and whirl away in the water. Every piece leaves a crack to mark the place from which it fell. When these cracks become deep enough, larger blocks of stone will be loosened to fall from the cliff. You may find blocks on Holiday Point that seem almost ready to fall.

When they go down, they will lie among the other rocks in the foaming water. Waves will bump them together, small rocks will be pushed against them, and sand will be scrubbed over their faces. All this rubbing will wear away rough bits from the rocks. It may take only a year or so for the waves to turn sharp-edged rocks into rounded stones like those that lie on the sandy part of Holiday Shore.

Stones worn round by water are called cobbles. Some cobbles are very large. They are blocks that fell from the cliff only a few years ago. Others are small and very smooth. They have been tossed and pounded so long that most of their mass has been carried away. A few were dropped by melting glaciers that once came down from the north and covered the cliffs of Holiday Shore. When the glaciers dropped them, these stones were scratched, but waves have worn their faces smooth.


[Illustration]

Waves pound the cobbles against one another until they become smooth and round.

You can hear the cobbles being ground together. A strong wave rolls up the shore. Listen as the wave breaks and the water runs back to the sea. Clatter-clatter-clatter go the cobbles as they roll about and hit one another. And clackety-clackety-clack go the pebbles that once were cobbles themselves, but have been worn down until they are little. Some day they will be only grains of sand as tiny as those on the beach that covers part of Holiday Shore.

So you see how waves may change the coast. Once it was a straight line of cliffs. Then the waves found a place where they could break off chips of rock, and let big stones fall into the water. They kept this up year after year. In time they dug a little cove. After hundreds and thousands of years, the cove grew big enough to be a bay. You have seen that it is still growing to‑day as the waves break on its shore.

What happened to all the rock and sand that was dug out to make Holiday Bay? Part of it was worn so very fine that it drifted far away on the waves. When it did settle to the bottom of the ocean, it was many miles from shore. Much stayed in the bay itself. A great deal still lies on the shore or in the shallow water near by.

To study the sands of Holiday Shore, we shall come on a quiet, sunny day. We should choose a time when the tide is low, so that we can walk along the beach and wade far out in the shallow water.

We may dig holes in the wet sand, finding worms, sand dollars, and white-shelled clams that spend their lives burrowing in it. It is not well to waste the clams. So, unless you wish to cook them for a meal, throw your clams back into the water or give them to people who may use them for food.

As your spade turns up sand from the beach, you find that it lies in layers or beds like many rocks that stand on land. Some layers go this way and that, as the waves or currents dropped the sand. If you pry or dig into the bedrock of Holiday Hill you may find stones that show the same kind of crisscrossed layers. Then you will know that they were formed near shore very, very long ago.

Now let us go to a place where the water hardly covers the sand. It ripples under the summer breeze—and looking at the beach we find ripples like those in the water.


[Illustration]

Water, rippling in the breeze, makes these marks on the sand of Holiday Shore.

If the sand were to become hard stone, most of those ripples would be preserved. There are many places where you can find sandstones that are millions and millions of years old. And they show the marks of rippling waves like those we now see on the beach even though they may be miles from any ocean. Surely in the ages when the earth was young the sea waves must have rippled over countless shores that are now far inland.


[Illustration]

This piece of old sandstone shows ripples made by waves millions of years ago.

As the coast changes and is worn by waves, the things that live upon it change their homes. When Holiday Shore inclosed a little cove, barnacles and rock mussels lived where we now find sand with seaweeds and clams. Perhaps a hundred years from to‑day that cliff will have crumpled and become a pile of cobbles where snails and crabs will crawl.

 



William Blake

A Cradle Song

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,

Dreaming in the joys of night;

Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep

Little sorrows sit and weep.


Sweet babe, in thy face

Soft desires I can trace,

Secret joys and secret smiles,

Little pretty infant wiles.


As thy softest limbs I feel,

Smiles as of the morning steal

O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast

Where thy little heart doth rest.


O the cunning wiles that creep

In thy little heart asleep!

When thy little heart doth wake,

Then the dreadful light shall break.


From thy cheeck and from thy eye

O'er the youthful harvest nigh

Infant wiles and infant smiles

Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

 


  WEEK 2  

  Wednesday  


The Burgess Animal Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

Peter and Jumper Go to School

H ARDLY had jolly, round, red Mr. Sun thrown off his rosy blankets and begun his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky when Peter Rabbit and his cousin, Jumper the Hare, arrived at the place in the Green Forest where Peter had found Old Mother Nature the day before. She was waiting for them, ready to begin the first lesson.

"I am glad you are so prompt," said she. "Promptness is one of the most important things in life. Now I am very, very busy these days, as you know, so we will begin school at once. Before either of you ask any questions, I am going to ask some myself. Peter, what do you look like? Where do you live? What do you eat? I want to find out just how much you really know about yourself."

Peter scratched one ear with a long hind foot and hesitated as if he didn't know just how to begin. Old Mother Nature waited patiently. Finally Peter began rather timidly.

"Of course," said he, "the only way I know how I look is by the way the other members of my family look, for I've never seen myself. I suppose in a way I look like all the rest of the Rabbit family. I have long hind legs and short front ones. I suppose this is so I can make long jumps when I am in a hurry."

Old Mother Nature nodded, and Peter, taking courage, continued. "My hind legs are stout and strong, but my front ones are rather weak. I guess this is because I do not have a great deal of use for them, except for running. My coat is a sort of mixture of brown and gray, more brown in summer and more gray in winter. My ears are longer for my size than are those of most animals, but really not very long after all, not nearly as long for my size as my cousin Jumper's are for his size. My tail doesn't amount to much because it is so short that it is hardly worth calling a tail. It is so short I carry it straight up. It is white like a little bunch of cotton, and I suppose that that is why I am called a Cottontail Rabbit, though I have heard that some folks call me a Gray Rabbit and others a Bush Rabbit. I guess I'm called Bush Rabbit because I like bushy country in which to live.

"I live in the dear Old Briar-patch and just love it. It is a mass of bushes and bramble-tangles and is the safest place I know of. I have cut little paths all through it just big enough for Mrs. Peter and myself. None of our enemies can get at us there, excepting Shadow the Weasel or Billy Mink. I have a sort of nest there where I spend my time when I am not running about. It is called a form and I sit in it a great deal.

"In summer I eat clover, grass and other green things, and I just love to get over into Farmer Brown's garden. In winter I have to take what I can get, and this is mostly bark from young trees, buds and tender twigs of bushes, and any green plants I can find under the snow. I can run fast for a short distance, but only for a short distance. That is why I like thick brush and bramble-tangles. There I can dodge. I don't know any one who can beat me at dodging. If Reddy Fox or Bowser the Hound surprises me away from the dear Old Briar-patch I run for the nearest hollow log or hole in the ground. Sometimes in summer I dig a hole for myself, but not often. It is much easier to use a hole somebody else has dug. When I want to signal my friends I thump the ground with my hind feet. Jumper does the same thing. I forgot to say I don't like water."

Old Mother Nature smiled. "You are thinking of that cousin of yours, the Marsh Rabbit who lives way down in the Sunny South," said she.

Peter looked a wee bit foolish and admitted that he was. Jumper the Hare was all interest at once. You see, he had never heard of this cousin.

"That was a very good account of yourself, Peter," said Old Mother Nature. "Now take a look at your cousin, Jumper the Hare, and tell me how he differs from you."


[Illustration]

The familiar Cottontail Rabbit whom everybody knows and loves.



[Illustration]

The Northern or Varying Hare in summer and winter coat.

Peter took a long look at Jumper, and then, as before, scratched one ear with a long hind foot. "In the first place," said he, "Jumper is considerably bigger than I. He has very long hind legs and his ears are very long. In summer he wears a brown coat, but in winter he is all white but the tips of those long ears, and those are black. Because his coat changes so, he is called the varying Hare. He likes the Green Forest where the trees grow close together, especially those places where there are a great many young trees. He's the biggest member of our family. I guess that's all I know about Cousin Jumper."

"That is very good, Peter, as far as it goes," said Old Mother Nature. "You have made only one mistake. Jumper is not the biggest of his family."

Both Peter and Jumper opened their eyes very wide with surprise. "Also," continued Old Mother Nature, "you forgot to mention the fact that Jumper never hides in hollow logs and holes in the ground as you do. Why don't you, Jumper?"

"I wouldn't feel safe there," replied Jumper rather timidly. "I depend on my long legs for safety, and the way I can dodge around trees and bushes. I suppose Reddy Fox may be fast enough to catch me in the open, but he can't do it where I can dodge around trees and bushes. That is why I stick to the Green Forest. If you please, Mother Nature, what is this about a cousin who likes to swim?"

Old Mother Nature's eyes twinkled. "We'll get to that later on," said she. "Now, each of you hold up a hind foot and tell me what difference you see."

Peter and Jumper each held up a hind foot and each looked first at his own and then at the other's. "They look to me very much alike, only Jumper's is a lot longer and bigger than mine," said Peter. Jumper nodded as if he agreed.

"What's the matter with your eyes?" demanded Old Mother Nature. "Don't you see that Jumper's foot is a great deal broader than yours, Peter, and that his toes are spread apart, while yours are close together?"

Peter and Jumper looked sheepish, for it was just as Old Mother Nature had said. Jumper's foot really was quite different from that of Peter. Peter's was narrow and slim.

"That is a very important difference," declared Old Mother Nature. "Can you guess why I gave you those big feet, Jumper?"

Jumper slowly shook his head. "Not unless it was to make me different," said he.

"I'm surprised," said Old Mother Nature. "Yes, indeed, I'm surprised. You ought to know by this time that I never give anybody anything without a purpose. What happens to those big feet of yours in the winter, Jumper?"

"Nothing that I know of, excepting that the hair grows out long between my toes," Jumper replied.

"Exactly," snapped Old Mother Nature. "And when the hair does this you can travel over light snow without sinking in. It is just as if you had snowshoes. That is why you are often called a Snowshoe Rabbit. I gave you those big feet and make the hair grow out every winter because I know that you depend on your legs to get away from your enemies. You can run over the deep snow where your enemies break through. Peter, though he is small and lighter than you are, cannot go where you can. But Peter doesn't need to depend always on his legs to save his life. There is one thing more that I want you both to notice, and that is that you both have quite a lot of short hairs on the soles of your feet. That is where you differ from that cousin of yours down in the Sunny South. He has only a very few hairs on his feet. That is so he can swim better."

"If you please, Mother Nature, why is that cousin of ours so fond of the water?" piped up Peter.

"Because," replied Old Mother Nature, "he lives in marshy country where there is a great deal of water. He is very nearly the same size as you, Peter, and looks very much like you. But his legs are not quite so long, his ears are a little smaller, and his tail is brownish instead of white. He is a poor runner and so in time of danger he takes to the water. For that matter, he goes swimming for pleasure. The water is warm down there, and he dearly loves to paddle about in it. If a Fox chases him he simply plunges into the water and hides among the water plants with only his eyes and his nose out of water."

"Does he make his home in the water like Jerry Muskrat?" asked Peter innocently.

Mother Nature smiled and shook her head. "Certainly not," she replied. "His home is on the ground. His babies are born in a nest made just as Mrs. Peter makes her nest for your babies, and Mrs. Jumper makes a nest for Jumper's babies. It is made of grass and lined with soft fur which Mrs. Rabbit pulls from her own breast, and it is very carefully hidden. By the way, Peter how do your babies differ from the babies of your Cousin Jumper?"

Peter shook his head. "I don't know," said he. "My babies don't have their eyes open when they are born, and they haven't any hair."

Jumper pricked up his long ears. "What's that?" said he. "Why, my babies have their eyes open and have the dearest little fur coats!"

Old Mother Nature chuckled. "That is the difference," said she. "I guess both of you have learned something."

"You said a little while ago that Jumper isn't the biggest of our family," said Peter. "If you please, who is?"

"There are several bigger than Jumper," replied Old Mother Nature, and smiled as she saw the funny look of surprise on the faces of Peter and Jumper. "There is one way up in the Frozen North and there are two cousins way out in the Great West. They are as much bigger than Jumper as Jumper is bigger than you, Peter. But I haven't time to tell you about them now. If you really want to learn about them, be here promptly at sun-up to-morrow morning. Hello! Here comes Reddy Fox, and he looks to me as if a good breakfast would not come amiss. Let me see what you have learned about taking care of yourselves."

Peter and Jumper gave one startled look in the direction Mother Nature was pointing. Sure enough, there was Reddy Fox. Not far away was a hollow log. Peter wasted no time in getting to it. In fact, he left in such a hurry that he forgot to say good-by to Old Mother Nature. But she didn't mind, for she quite understood Peter's feelings, and she laughed when she saw his funny little white tail disappear inside the hollow log. As for Jumper, he promptly took to his long legs and disappeared with great bounds, Reddy Fox racing after him.

 



A First Book in American History  by Edward Eggleston

How Columbus Discovered America

About two hundred years before Columbus sailed, there arrived in the city of Venice [ven'-is] one day three travelers, coarsely dressed in Chinese fashion. They said that they were three gentlemen named Polo, who had left Venice many years before. They had almost forgotten how to speak Italian, and at first their own relatives thought them foreigners and impostors. But they gave a magnificent banquet at which they all appeared in rich robes. They changed their garments again and again as the feast went on. Every robe taken off was cut up and given to the servants. At last they took their old garments and ripped them open, and poured out before the guests a collection of precious stones of untold value.


[Illustration]

One of these gentlemen, Marco Polo, whose portrait you see here, wrote a book of his travels, describing the vast riches of Eastern countries, before unknown to people in Europe. Columbus had read this book, and it was to find a new way to reach the rich countries seen by Polo that he was now resolved to sail partly round the globe.


[Illustration]

In spite of the power which the King of Spain gave him to force ships and seamen to go with him, Columbus found the greatest trouble in fitting out his expedition, so much were the sailors afraid of the ocean. But at last all was ready. Those who were to sail into "The Sea of Darkness" with Columbus took the sacrament and bade a solemn farewell to their friends, feeling much like men condemned to death. They embarked in three little vessels, only one of which had a deck over it.

Columbus went to the Canary Islands first. Then with bitter lamentations the men took leave of the last known land, and sailed into seas in which no ship had ever been. Columbus tried to cheer them with the stories he had read in Marco Polo's book, of the riches of the great country of China. But he also deceived them by keeping two separate accounts of his sailing. In the one which he showed to his companions he made the distance from Spain much less than it really was.


[Illustration]

Columbus Reading Polo's Book

But they were greatly alarmed to find that, as they went west, the needle of the compass did not point directly to the north star. This change, though well known now, was probably as surprising to Columbus as to his men, but he did his best to keep up their courage.

The weather was fine, and the winds blew always from the east. This alarmed the sailors more than ever, for they were sure they would get no wind to come back with. One day the wind came around to the southwest, which was a great encouragement.

But presently the ships struck great masses of seaweed, and all was grumbling and lamentation again. The frightened sailors remembered old stories of a frozen ocean, and imagined that this must be the very place. When the wind fell to a calm, they thought the ships might lie there and rot for want of wind to fill the sails.

They were getting farther and farther away from Europe. Where would they find food and water to last them till they got home? They thought their commander a crack-brained fool, who would go on to their destruction. They planned, therefore, to throw him into the sea, and go back. They could say that, while he was gazing at the stars, after his fashion, he had tumbled over.

But the worst disappointments were to come. One day the glad cry of "Land!" was raised. Columbus fell on his knees to return thanks, while the men scrambled up into the rigging. But it proved to be only a cloud. On the 7th of October another false alarm disheartened the sailors more than ever.


[Illustration]

From the first Columbus had pointed to seaweed, and other supposed signs of land, until the men would no longer listen to his hopeful words. Now the appearance of some song birds, a heron, and a duck, could not comfort them. The great enterprise was about to end in failure, after all, when, on the 11th of October, the sailors found a branch of a thorn-tree with berries on it. At length a carved stick was found, and the men began to believe that they were really near to some inhabited land.

During the night which followed this discovery no one on the ships slept. About ten o'clock Columbus saw a glimmering light appearing and disappearing, as though someone on shore were carrying a torch. At two o'clock a sailor sighted land.


[Illustration]

The morning light of Friday, October 12, 1492, showed the Spaniards a beautiful little island. Columbus dressed himself in scarlet, and planted the Spanish standard on the shore, throwing himself on the earth and kissing it, while the naked Indians wondered whether these men in bright armor had flown from the skies in their winged boats or had sailed down upon the clouds. The sailors, lately so ready to cast Columbus into the sea, now crowded about him, embracing him and kissing his hands.

When the Indians had recovered from their first surprise, they visited the ships, some of them in canoes, and others by swimming. They brought with them a ball of cotton yarn, bread made from roots, and some tame parrots, which, with a few golden ornaments, they exchanged for caps, glass beads, tiny bells, and other trifles, with which they could adorn themselves.


[Illustration]

The island which Columbus first discovered was a small one, which he called San Salvador, but we do not now know which of the West India Islands it was. He thought that he was on the coast of Asia. But where were the rich islands and great cities and houses roofed with gold, of which Marco Polo had written two hundred years before?

From island to island Columbus sailed, looking for these things, not knowing that they were thousands of miles away. Finding the island of Cuba very large, he concluded that it was a part of the mainland of Asia.

 



Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Excerpt from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

He prayeth well who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.

 


  WEEK 2  

  Thursday  


Stories of Siegfried Told to the Children  by Mary Macgregor

Siegfried Wins the Treasure

Now this is what befell the Prince.

In his wanderings he reached the country called Isenland, where the warlike but beautiful Queen Brunhild reigned. He gazed with wonder at her castle, so strong it stood on the edge of the sea, guarded by seven great gates. Her marble palaces also made him marvel, so white they glittered in the sun.

But most of all he marvelled at this haughty queen, who refused to marry any knight unless he could vanquish her in every contest to which she summoned him.

Brunhild from the castle window saw the fair face and the strong limbs of the hero, and demanded that he should be brought into her presence, and as a sign of her favour she showed the young Prince her magic horse Gana.

Yet Siegfried had no wish to conquer the warrior-queen and gain her hand and her broad dominions for his own. Siegfried thought only of a wonder-maiden, unknown, unseen as yet, though in his heart he hid an image of her as he dreamed that she would be.

It is true that Siegfried had no love for the haughty Brunhild. It is also true that he wished to prove to her that he alone was a match for all her boldest warriors, and had even power to bewitch her magic steed, Gana, if so he willed, and steal it from her side.

And so one day a spirit of mischief urged the Prince on to a gay prank, as also a wayward spirit urged him no longer to brook Queen Brunhild's haughty mien.

Before he left Isenland, therefore, Siegfried in a merry mood threw to the ground the seven great gates that guarded the Queen's strong castle. Then he called to Gana, the magic steed, to follow him into the world, and this the charger did with right good-will.

Whether Siegfried sent Gana back to Isenland or not I do not know, but I know that in the days to come Queen Brunhild never forgave the hero for his daring feat.

When the Prince had left Isenland he rode on and on until he came to a great mountain. Here near a cave he found two little dwarfish Nibelungs, surrounded by twelve foolish giants. The two little Nibelungs were princes, the giants were their counsellors.

Now the King of the Nibelungs had but just died in the dark little underground town of Nibelheim, and the two tiny princes were the sons of the dead king.

But they had not come to the mountain-side to mourn for their royal father. Not so indeed had they come, but to divide the great hoard of treasure which the King had bequeathed to them at his death.

Already they had begun to quarrel over the treasure, and the twelve foolish giants looked on, but did not know what to say or do, so they did nothing, and never spoke at all.

The dwarfs had themselves carried the hoard out of the cave where usually it was hidden, and they had spread it on the mountain-side.

There it lay, gold as far as the eye could see, and farther. Jewels, too, were there, more than twelve waggons could carry away in four days and nights, each going three journeys.

Indeed, however much you took from this marvellous treasure, never did it seem to grow less.

But more precious even than the gold or the jewels of the hoard was a wonderful sword which it possessed. It was named Balmung, and had been tempered by the Nibelungs in their glowing forges underneath the glad green earth.

Before the magic strength of Balmung's stroke, the strongest warrior must fall, nor could his armour save him, however close its links had been welded by some doughty smith.

As Siegfried rode towards the two little dwarfs, they turned and saw him, with his bright, fair face, and flowing locks.

Nimble as little hares they darted to his side, and begged that he would come and divide their treasure. He should have the good sword Balmung as reward, they cried.

Siegfried dismounted, well pleased to do these ugly little men a kindness.

But alas! ere long the dwarfs began to mock at the hero with their harsh voices, and to wag their horrid little heads at him, while they screamed in a fury that he was not dividing the treasure as they wished.

Then Siegfried grew angry with the tiny princes, and seizing the magic sword, he cut off their heads. The twelve foolish giants also he slew, and thus became himself master of the marvellous hoard as well as of the good sword Balmung.


[Illustration]

Seizing the magic sword, he cut off their heads

Seven hundred valiant champions, hearing the blast of the hero's horn, now gathered together to defend the country from this strange young warrior. But he vanquished them all, and forced them to promise that they would henceforth serve no other lord save him alone. And this they did, being proud of his great might.

Now tidings of the slaughter of the two tiny princes had reached Nibelheim, and great was the wrath of the little men and little women who dwelt in the dark town beneath the earth.

Alberich, the mightiest of all the dwarfs, gathered together his army of little gnomes to avenge the death of the two dwarf princes and also, for Alberich was a greedy man, to gain for himself the great hoard.

When Siegfried saw Alberich at the head of his army of little men he laughed aloud, and with a light heart he chased them all into the great cave on the mountain-side.

From off the mighty dwarf, Alberich, he stripped his famous Cloak of Darkness, which made him who wore it not only invisible, but strong as twelve strong men. He snatched also from the dwarf's fingers his wishing rod, which was a Magic Wand. And last of all he made Alberich and his thousands of tiny warriors take an oath, binding them evermore to serve him alone. Then hiding the treasure in the cave with the seven hundred champions whom he had conquered, he left Alberich and his army of little men to guard it, until he came again. And Alberich and his dwarfs were faithful to the hero who had shorn them of their treasure, and served him for evermore.

Siegfried, the magic sword Balmung by his side, the Cloak of Darkness thrown over his arm, the Magic Wand in his strong right hand, went over the mountain, across the plains, nor did he tarry until he came again to the castle built on the banks of the river Rhine in his own low-lying country of the Netherlands.

 



The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Wolf and the Lion

A Wolf had stolen a Lamb and was carrying it off to his lair to eat it. But his plans were very much changed when he met a lion, who, without making any excuses, took the Lamb away from him.

The Wolf made off to a safe distance, and then said in a much injured tone:

"You have no right to take my property like that!"


[Illustration]

The Lion looked back, but as the Wolf was too far away to be taught a lesson without too much inconvenience, he said:

"Your property? Did you buy it, or did the Shepherd make you a gift of it? Pray tell me, how did you get it?"

What is evil won is evil lost.

 



James T. Fields

The Captain's Daughter

We were crowded in the cabin,

Not a soul would dare to sleep,—

It was midnight on the waters,

And a storm was on the deep.


'Tis a fearful thing in winter

To be shattered by the blast,

And to hear the rattling trumpet

Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"


So we shuddered there in silence,—

For the stoutest held his breath,

While the hungry sea was roaring

And the breakers talked with Death.


As thus we sat in darkness,

Each one busy with his prayers,

"We are lost!" the captain shouted

As he staggered down the stairs.


But his little daughter whispered,

As she took his icy hand,

"Isn't God upon the ocean,

Just the same as on the land?"


Then we kissed the little maiden.

And we spoke in better cheer,

And we anchored safe in harbour

When the morn was shining clear.

 


  WEEK 2  

  Friday  


The Discovery of New Worlds  by M. B. Synge

Magellan's Straits

"Beneath the southern stars' cold gleam, he braves

And stems the whirls of land-surrounded waves;

For ever sacred to the hero's name,

These foaming straits shall bear his deathless fame."

—Camoens.

I T was on September 20, 1519, that Magellan's little fleet put out to sea. There were five ships, all small, all old, and the worse for wear. The flag-ship was the Trinidad, though it was not the largest; the smallest ship was commanded by another Serrano, the brother of Magellan's friend, who was still in the East Indies. One was called the Victoria. Little did they think that she alone would struggle back to tell the tale of the wonderful voyage round the world,—she alone, and without her commander Magellan. Some two hundred and eighty men sailed with the fleet—a medley crew of Spaniards and Portuguese, Italians, French, Germans, Greeks, one Englishman, and some black men.

But the King of Portugal was determined that the expedition smiled on by the young King of Spain should not succeed; and the seeds of mutiny were sown among the captains, who actually sailed out of port with treason in their hearts. Though this came to the ears of the commander, yet "be they true men or false, I will fear them not," said Magellan; "I will do my appointed work."

It was three months before they reached the coast of Brazil, in South America. Great Atlantic storms had driven the frail ships out of their course, water had grown scarce, food ran short, and mutiny was brewing. The Spaniards whispered among themselves that the Portuguese commander was not loyal. One day the captain of one of the ships came on board the Trinidad and faced Magellan with threats and insults. He was not a little astonished when Magellan—a strong man with fierce black eyes—seized him and had him bound in irons and sent on board another ship as a prisoner. This firm conduct on the part of the commander quieted matters for a time. They sailed on south to the river La Plata, and satisfied themselves that it was a river and no strait. On they went, coasting ever south and looking for some opening which should lead them into the great South Sea seen by Balboa six years before.

The cold now became intense, so that, finding a sheltered harbour at last and plenty of fish, Magellan anchored for the winter months. It was Easter time, when another mutiny, long smouldering, burst forth in its full fury. The hardships of the voyage had been intense, the terrific Atlantic storms had strained the worn-out ships. The Spaniards felt they had done enough. But, like Vasco da Gama. the commander was firm. They had put their hands to the plough, there must be no turning back.

It was Easter Day, when two of the Spanish captains boarded one of the other ships, seized its loyal captain, put him in irons, and handed round a generous supply of food. With three ships now in their hands, it seemed easy enough to capture the flag-ship, murder Magellan, and seize the faithful Serrano. But Magellan heard of their design. He sent a messenger with five men bearing concealed arms to summon one of the traitor captains on board the flagship.

"I am not to be caught thus," smiled the Spanish captain, as he read the command and shook his head. As he refused, Magellan's messenger drew his dagger and stabbed him. He fell dead on the deck of his ship. The crew surrendered at once to Magellan's brother-in-law, who now took command of the ship. Magellan blockaded the two remaining ships in the harbour. One of the captains was then beheaded, the other being kept in chains till the fleet sailed off once more, when he was put ashore and left to his fate. Such prompt measures put down mutiny for the rest of the voyage, and once more the ships sailed on their way.

It was now August, in the year 1520, nearly a year since they had left home; but it was not till October that they at last found the bay for which they were searching. With head winds and bad weather the ships fought their way inch by inch between broken land and islands, with strong currents running. In this way a month passed by. The crews begged to turn back. They were riding to destruction.

"If we have to eat the leather on the ship's yards, yet will we go on," answered the brave Magellan.

His words came truer than he knew, for later on, broken down with famine and sickness, they actually did eat the leather on the yards.

At last came a day when they reached a cape beyond which lay the open sea—Balboa's Sea of the South. It was the end of the straits through which they had fought for five long hard weeks; and, says the old story, "when the captain Magellan was past the strait and saw the way open to the other main sea, he was so glad thereof that for joy the tears fell from his eyes."

The broad expanse of calm waters looked peaceful to his tired eyes after the heavy storms through which he had passed, and he called the still sea before him the "Pacific Ocean," which name it bears to-day.

 



Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon

The Gods and the Giants

W HEN Jupiter became god and king of the whole world, he made his two brothers, Neptune and Pluto, kings under him. He made Neptune god and king of the sea: Pluto he made god and king of Hades. Hades was a world underground, in the middle of the earth, where men and women go and live when they die.

The next thing that Jupiter did was to marry Juno. Their wedding was the grandest and most wonderful that ever was seen. Invitations were sent out to all the gods and nymphs. The nymphs were a sort of fairies—some of them waited upon the goddesses; some of them lived in rivers, brooks, and trees. All of them came to the wedding, except one nymph named Chĕlōnē.

She refused to come: and, besides that, she laughed at the whole thing. When they told her that Jupiter was going to marry Juno, she laughed so loud that Jupiter himself could hear her. I don't know why she thought it so ridiculous, but I can guess pretty well. I expect she knew Juno's bad temper better than Jupiter did, and how Jupiter was just the sort of husband to spoil any wife's temper. But Jupiter was very fond of Juno just then, and he did not like to be laughed at on his wedding-day. So he had Chelone turned into a tortoise, so that she might never be able to laugh again. Nobody ever heard a tortoise laugh, nor ever will.

Jupiter and Juno set up their palace in the sky, just over the top of Mount Olympus, a high mountain in the north of Greece. And very soon, I am sorry to say, his quarrels with Juno began—so that, after all, poor Chelone had been right in not thinking much of the grand wedding. He always kept her for his Queen; but he cared for a great many Titanesses and nymphs much more than he did for her, and married more of them than anybody can reckon, one after another. This made Juno very angry, and they used to quarrel terribly. But something was going to happen which was almost as bad as quarreling, and which must have made Jupiter envy the peace and comfort of old Saturn, who had become only an earthly king.

The Titans made another war. And this time they got the help of the Giants, who were more terrible even than the Titans. They were immense monsters, some almost as tall as the tallest mountain, fearfully strong, and horribly ugly, with hair miles long, and rough beards down to their middle. One of them had fifty heads and a hundred hands. Another had serpents instead of legs. Others, called Cyclopes, had only one eye, which was in the middle of their foreheads. But the most terrible of all was a giant named Typhon. He had a hundred heads, each like a dragon's, and darted flames from his mouth and eyes. A great battle was fought between the gods and the giants. The giants tried to get into the sky by piling up the mountains one upon another. They used oak-trees for clubs, and threw hills for stones. They set whole forests on fire, and tossed them up like torches to set fire to the sky. And at last Typhon's hundred fiery mouths set up a hundred different yells and roars all at once, so loud and horrible that Jupiter and all the gods ran away into Egypt and hid themselves there in the shapes of animals. Jupiter turned himself into a ram, and Juno became a cow.

But, when their fright was over, the gods came back into their own shapes, and fought another battle, greater and more terrible than before. And this time the gods won. Some of the giants were crushed under mountains or drowned in the sea. Some were taken prisoners: and of these some were beaten to death and others were skinned alive. Atlas, who was the tallest, was ordered to spend all his days in holding up the sky on his shoulders,—how it was held up before, I do not know. Some of the Cyclopes were set to work in making thunderbolts for Jupiter. They became the blacksmiths of the gods, and Mount Ætna, which is a volcano, was one of their forges.

After this, the gods lived in peace: though Jupiter and Juno never left off quarreling a good deal. Jupiter made most of his children gods and goddesses, and they all lived together over Mount Olympus, ruling the earth and the sky, and the air, the sun, and the stars. You will read the stories of all of them. They used to eat a delicious food called Ambrosia, and their wine was a wonderful drink called Nectar. Hebe, the goddess of Youth, mixed and poured out the Nectar, and Ganymede was Jupiter's own page and cup-bearer. These gods and goddesses of the sky were a sort of large family, with Jupiter and Juno for father and mother. Of course Neptune with his gods of the sea, and Pluto with his gods of Hades, were like different families, and lived in their own places.

Whenever it thunders, that is the voice of Jupiter. One of the planets is named after him—it is a beautiful large white star. In pictures, he is a large, strong man, with a thick brown beard, looking like a king. He sits on a throne, with lightning in his hand, and an eagle by his side. Juno is a large, beautiful woman, tall and grand, looking like a queen, with a proud face and splendid eyes. The peacock is her favorite bird, just as Jupiter's is the eagle.

 



Rachel Lyman Field

A Fire

Why does a fire eat big sticks of wood?

I shouldn't like to have that for my food.

But the flames all lick their lips—it must taste good!

 


  WEEK 2  

  Saturday  


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

The Fisherman and His Wife

[Illustration]

dropcap image HERE was once a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a hovel by the sea-shore, and the fisherman went out every day with his hook and line to catch fish, and he angled and angled.

One day he was sitting with his rod and looking into the clear water, and he sat and sat.

At last down went the line to the bottom of the water, and when he drew it up he found a great flounder on the hook. And the flounder said to him,

"Fisherman, listen to me; let me go, I am not a real fish but an enchanted prince. What good shall I be to you if you land me? I shall not taste well; so put me back into the water again, and let me swim away."

"Well," said the fisherman, "no need of so many words about the matter, as you can speak I had much rather let you swim away."


[Illustration]

Then he put him back into the clear water, and the flounder sank to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind him. Then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in their hovel.

"Well, husband," said the wife, "have you caught nothing to-day?"

"No," said the man—"that is, I did catch a flounder, but as he said he was an enchanted prince, I let him go again."

"Then, did you wish for nothing?" said the wife.

"No," said the man; "what should I wish for?"

"Oh dear!" said the wife; "and it is so dreadful always to live in this evil-smelling hovel; you might as well have wished for a little cottage; go again and call him; tell him we want a little cottage, I daresay he will give it us; go, and be quick."

And when he went back, the sea was green and yellow, and not nearly so clear. So he stood and said,

"O man, O man!—if man you be,

Or flounder, flounder, in the sea—

Such a tiresome wife I've got,

For she wants what I do not."

Then the flounder came swimming up, and said,

"Now then, what does she want?"

"Oh," said the man, "you know when I caught you my wife says I ought to have wished for something. She does not want to live any longer in the hovel, and would rather have a cottage."

"Go home with you," said the flounder, "she has it already."


[Illustration]

So the man went home, and found, instead of the hovel, a little cottage, and his wife was sitting on a bench before the door. And she took him by the hand, and said to him,

"Come in and see if this is not a great improvement."

So they went in, and there was a little house-place and a beautiful little bedroom, a kitchen and larder, with all sorts of furniture, and iron and brass ware of the very best. And at the back was a little yard with fowls and ducks, and a little garden full of green vegetables and fruit.

"Look," said the wife, "is not that nice?"

"Yes," said the man, "if this can only last we shall be very well contented."

"We will see about that," said the wife. And after a meal they went to bed.

So all went well for a week or fortnight, when the wife said,

"Look here, husband, the cottage is really too confined, and the yard and garden are so small; I think the flounder had better get us a larger house; I should like very much to live in a large stone castle; so go to your fish and he will send us a castle."

"O my dear wife," said the man, "the cottage is good enough; what do we want a castle for?"

"We want one," said the wife; "go along with you; the flounder can give us one."

"Now, wife," said the man, "the flounder gave us the cottage; I do not like to go to him again, he may be angry."

"Go along," said the wife, "he might just as well give us it as not; do as I say!"

The man felt very reluctant and unwilling; and he said to himself,

"It is not the right thing to do;" nevertheless he went.

So when he came to the seaside, the water was purple and dark blue and grey and thick, and not green and yellow as before. And he stood and said,

"O man, O man!—if man you be,

Or flounder, flounder, in the sea—

Such a tiresome wife I've got,

For she wants what I do not."

"Now then, what does she want?" said the flounder.

"Oh," said the man, half frightened, "she wants to live in a large stone castle."

"Go home with you, she is already standing before the door," said the flounder.

Then the man went home, as he supposed, but when he got there, there stood in the place of the cottage a great castle of stone, and his wife was standing on the steps, about to go in; so she took him by the hand, and said,

"Let us enter."

With that he went in with her, and in the castle was a great hall with a marble pavement, and there were a great many servants, who led them through large doors, and the passages were decked with tapestry, and the rooms with golden chairs and tables, and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling; and all the rooms had carpets. And the tables were covered with eatables and the best wine for any one who wanted them. And at the back of the house was a great stable-yard for horses and cattle, and carriages of the finest; besides, there was a splendid large garden, with the most beautiful flowers and fine fruit trees, and a pleasance full half a mile long, with deer and oxen and sheep, and everything that heart could wish for.

"There!" said the wife, "is not this beautiful?"

"Oh yes," said the man, "if it will only last we can live in this fine castle and be very well contented."

"We will see about that," said the wife, "in the meanwhile we will sleep upon it." With that they went to bed.

The next morning the wife was awake first, just at the break of day, and she looked out and saw from her bed the beautiful country lying all round. The man took no notice of it, so she poked him in the side with her elbow, and said,

"Husband, get up and just look out of the window. Look, just think if we could be king over all this country. Just go to your fish and tell him we should like to be king."

"Now, wife," said the man, "what should we be kings for? I don't want to be king."

"Well," said the wife, "if you don't want to be king, I will be king."

"Now, wife," said the man, "what do you want to be king for? I could not ask him such a thing."

"Why not?" said the wife, "you must go directly all the same; I must be king."

So the man went, very much put out that his wife should want to be king.

"It is not the right thing to do—not at all the right thing," thought the man. He did not at all want to go, and yet he went all the same.

And when he came to the sea the water was quite dark grey, and rushed far inland, and had an ill smell. And he stood and said,

"O man, O man!—if man you be,

Or flounder, flounder, in the sea—

Such a tiresome wife I've got,

For she wants what I do not."

"Now then, what does she want?" said the fish.

"Oh dear!" said the man, "she wants to be king."

"Go home with you, she is so already," said the fish.

So the man went back, and as he came to the palace he saw it was very much larger, and had great towers and splendid gateways; the herald stood before the door, and a number of soldiers with kettle-drums and trumpets.


[Illustration]

And when he came inside everything was of marble and gold, and there were many curtains with great golden tassels. Then he went through the doors of the saloon to where the great throne-room was, and there was his wife sitting upon a throne of gold and diamonds, and she had a great golden crown on, and the sceptre in her hand was of pure gold and jewels, and on each side stood six pages in a row, each one a head shorter than the other. So the man went up to her and said,

"Well, wife, so now you are king!"

"Yes," said the wife, "now I am king."

So then he stood and looked at her, and when he had gazed at her for some time he said,

"Well, wife, this is fine for you to be king! now there is nothing more to wish for."

"O husband!" said the wife, seeming quite restless, "I am tired of this already. Go to your fish and tell him that now I am king I must be emperor."

"Now, wife," said the man, "what do you want to be emperor for?"

"Husband," said she, "go and tell the fish I want to be emperor."

"Oh dear!" said the man, "he could not do it—I cannot ask him such a thing. There is but one emperor at a time; the fish can't possibly make any one emperor—indeed he can't."

"Now, look here," said the wife, "I am king, and you are only my husband, so will you go at once? Go along! for if he was able to make me king he is able to make me emperor; and I will and must be emperor, so go along!"

So he was obliged to go; and as he went he felt very uncomfortable about it, and he thought to himself,

"It is not at all the right thing to do; to want to be emperor is really going too far; the flounder will soon be beginning to get tired of this."

With that he came to the sea, and the water was quite black and thick, and the foam flew, and the wind blew, and the man was terrified. But he stood and said,

"O man, O man!—if man you be,

Or flounder, flounder, in the sea—

Such a tiresome wife I've got,

For she wants what I do not."

"What is it now?" said the fish.

"Oh dear!" said the man, "my wife wants to be emperor."

"Go home with you," said the fish, "she is emperor already."

So the man went home, and found the castle adorned with polished marble and alabaster figures, and golden gates. The troops were being marshalled before the door, and they were blowing trumpets and beating drums and cymbals; and when he entered he saw barons and earls and dukes waiting about like servants; and the doors were of bright gold. And he saw his wife sitting upon a throne made of one entire piece of gold, and it was about two miles high; and she had a great golden crown on, which was about three yards high, set with brilliants and carbuncles; and in one hand she held the sceptre, and in the other the globe; and on both sides of her stood pages in two rows, all arranged according to their size, from the most enormous giant of two miles high to the tiniest dwarf of the size of my little finger; and before her stood earls and dukes in crowds. So the man went up to her and said,

"Well, wife, so now you are emperor."

"Yes," said she, "now I am emperor."

Then he went and sat down and had a good look at her, and then he said,

"Well now, wife, there is nothing left to be, now you are emperor."

"What are you talking about, husband?" said she; "I am emperor, and next I will be pope! so go and tell the fish so."

"Oh dear!" said the man, "what is it that you don't want? You can never become pope; there is but one pope in Christendom, and the fish can't possibly do it."

"Husband," said she, "no more words about it; I must and will be pope; so go along to the fish."

"Now, wife," said the man, "how can I ask him such a thing? it is too bad—it is asking a little too much; and, besides, he could not do it."

"What rubbish!" said the wife; "if he could make me emperor he can make me pope. Go along and ask him; I am emperor, and you are only my husband, so go you must."

So he went, feeling very frightened, and he shivered and shook, and his knees trembled; and there arose a great wind, and the clouds flew by, and it grew very dark, and the sea rose mountains high, and the ships were tossed about, and the sky was partly blue in the middle, but at the sides very dark and red, as in a great tempest. And he felt very desponding, and stood trembling and said,

"O man, O man!—if man you be,

Or flounder, flounder, in the sea—

Such a tiresome wife I've got,

For she wants what I do not."

"Well, what now?" said the fish.

"Oh dear!" said the man, "she wants to be pope."

"Go home with you, she is pope already," said the fish.

So he went home, and he found himself before a great church, with palaces all round. He had to make his way through a crowd of people; and when he got inside he found the place lighted up with thousands and thousands of lights; and his wife was clothed in a golden garment, and sat upon a very high throne, and had three golden crowns on, all in the greatest priestly pomp; and on both sides of her there stood two rows of lights of all sizes—from the size of the longest tower to the smallest rushlight, and all the emperors and kings were kneeling before her and kissing her foot.

"Well, wife," said the man, and sat and stared at her, "so you are pope."

"Yes," said she, "now I am pope!"

And he went on gazing at her till he felt dazzled, as if he were sitting in the sun. And after a little time he said,

"Well, now, wife, what is there left to be, now you are pope?"

And she sat up very stiff and straight, and said nothing.

And he said again, "Well, wife, I hope you are contented at last with being pope; you can be nothing more."

"We will see about that," said the wife. With that they both went to bed; but she was as far as ever from being contented, and she could not get to sleep for thinking of what she should like to be next.

The husband, however, slept as fast as a top after his busy day; but the wife tossed and turned from side to side the whole night through, thinking all the while what she could be next, but nothing would occur to her; and when she saw the red dawn she slipped off the bed, and sat before the window to see the sun rise, and as it came up she said,

"Ah, I have it! what if I should make the sun and moon to rise—husband!" she cried, and stuck her elbow in his ribs, "wake up, and go to your fish, and tell him I want power over the sun and moon."

The man was so fast asleep that when he started up he fell out of bed. Then he shook himself together, and opened his eyes and said,

"Oh,—wife, what did you say?"

"Husband," said she, "if I cannot get the power of making the sun and moon rise when I want them, I shall never have another quiet hour. Go to the fish and tell him so."

"O wife!" said the man, and fell on his knees to her, "the fish can really not do that for you. I grant you he could make you emperor and pope; do be contented with that, I beg of you."

And she became wild with impatience, and screamed out,

"I can wait no longer, go at once!"

And so off he went as well as he could for fright. And a dreadful storm arose, so that he could hardly keep his feet; and the houses and trees were blown down, and the mountains trembled, and rocks fell in the sea; the sky was quite black, and it thundered and lightened; and the waves, crowned with foam, ran mountains high. So he cried out, without being able to hear his own words,

"O man, O man!—if man you be,

Or flounder, flounder, in the sea—

Such a tiresome wife I've got,

For she wants what I do not."

"Well, what now?" said the flounder.

"Oh dear!" said the man, "she wants to order about the sun and moon."

"Go home with you!" said the flounder, "you will find her in the old hovel."

And there they are sitting to this very day.


[Illustration]

 



Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

What Mrs. Wasp Can Do

H OW does Mrs. Wasp make paper? First she finds a piece of dry, old wood.

She cuts off bits of wood, like fine, soft threads. She wets these with a kind of glue from her mouth, and rolls them into a ball.

Then, she stands on her hind legs, and with her front feet puts the ball between her jaws.

She then flies to her nest.


[Illustration]

A Paper House

She uses her tongue, her jaws, and her feet, to spread the ball out thin. On her hind legs she has flat feet, to help her lay down the paper.

She lays one sheet of paper on the other, until it is thick enough to make a nest. Some wasps hang these paper nests in trees.

The nests are round, like balls, or they may be the shape of a top. At the bottom of each you will find two doors.

The wasp that builds in a tree does not live alone.

She has in her home very many paper rooms. They are like cells in a honey-comb. Sometimes she lays one sheet of her paper upon another until it is strong paste-board.

She can make wax. She puts a wax lid on the cells.

She can make varnish, to keep the cells dry.

One kind of wasp is a mason.

Her house is made of mud. She brings mud in little balls, and builds a house.

In the house she puts a baby wasp. She puts in little spiders for him to eat.

A hornet is a kind of wasp. We may call him Mrs. Wasp's cousin. Hornets catch and eat flies.

There is a black wasp that is called a mud-dauber. She builds a little mud house. I know a boy who broke one of these mud houses thirty-two times.

The wasp built it up each time. One of these mud-wasps built a house ten times on a man's desk. Each time that he broke it up, she built it again.

This kind of wasp does not leave her baby alone. She waits until it is hatched from the egg, and then she feeds and cares for it.

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

A Year's Windfalls

On the wind of January

Down flits the snow,

Traveling from the frozen North

As cold as it can blow.

Poor robin redbreast,

Look where he comes;

Let him in to feel your fire,

And toss him of your crumbs.


On the wind in February

Snowflakes float still,

Half inclined to turn to rain,

Nipping, dripping, chill.

Then the thaws swell the streams,

And swollen rivers swell the sea:—

If the winter ever ends

How pleasant it will be.


In the wind of windy March

The catkins drop down,

Curly, caterpillar-like,

Curious green and brown.

With concourse of nest-building birds

And leaf-buds by the way,

We begin to think of flowers

And life and nuts some day.


With the gusts of April

Rich fruit-tree blossoms fall,

On the hedged-in orchard-green,

From the southern wall.

Apple trees and pear trees

Shed petals white or pink,

Plum trees and peach trees;

While sharp showers sink and sink.


Little brings the May breeze

Beside pure scent of flowers,

While all things wax and nothing wanes

In lengthening daylight hours.

Across the hyacinth beds

The wind lags warm and sweet,

Across the hawthorn tops,

Across the blades of wheat.


In the wind of sunny June

Thrives the red rose crop,

Every day fresh blossoms blow

While the first leaves drop;

White rose and yellow rose.

And moss rose choice to find,

And the cottage cabbage rose

Not one whit behind.


On the blast of scorched July

Drives the pelting hail,

From thunderous lightning-clouds, that blot

Blue heaven grown lurid-pale.

Weedy waves are tossed ashore,

Sea-things strange to sight

Gasp upon the barren shore

And fade away in light.


In the parching August wind

Cornfields bow the head,

Sheltered in round valley depths,

On low hills outspread.

Early leaves drop loitering down

Weightless on the breeze,

First fruits of the year's decay

From the withering trees.


In brisk wind of September

The heavy-headed fruits

Shake upon their bending boughs

And drop from the shoots;

Some glow golden in the sun,

Some show green and streaked,

Some set forth a purple bloom,

Some blush rosy-cheeked.


In strong blast of October

At the equinox,

Stirred up in his hollow bed

Broad ocean rocks;

Plunge the ships on his bosom,

Leaps and plunges the foam,

It's oh! for mothers' sons at sea,

That they were safe at home.


In slack wind of November

The fog forms and shifts;

All the world comes out again

When the fog lifts.

Loosened from their sapless twigs

Leaves drop with every gust,

Drifting, rustling, out of sight

In the damp or dust.


Last of all, December,

The year's sands nearly run,

Speeds on the shortest day

Curtails the sun;

With its bleak raw wind

Lays the last leaves low,

Brings back the nightly frosts,

Brings back the snow.

 


  WEEK 2  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The House of God on Mount Moriah

I Kings v: 1, to ix: 9;
II Chronicles iii: 1, to vii: 22.

dropcap image HE great work of Solomon's reign was the building of the house of God, which was called "The Temple." This stood on Mount Moriah, on the east of Mount Zion, and it covered the whole mountain. King David had prepared for it by gathering great stores of gold, and silver, and stone, and cedar-wood. The walls were made of stone, and the roof of cedar.


[Illustration]

Solomon builds The Temple.

For the building the cedar was brought from Mount Lebanon, where there were many large cedar-trees. The trees were cut down and carried to Tyre on the seacoast. There they were made into rafts in the Great Sea, and were floated down to Joppa. At Joppa they were taken ashore and were carried up to Jerusalem. All this work was done by the men of Tyre, at the command of their king, Hiram, who was a friend of Solomon, as he had been a friend of King David.

All the stones for the building of the Temple were hewn into shape and fitted together before they were brought to Mount Moriah. And all the beams for the roof and the pillars of cedar were carved and made to join each other; so that as the walls arose no sound of hammer or chisel was heard; the great building rose up quietly. You remember the form of the Tabernacle which was built before Mount Sinai, in the wilderness, with its court, its Holy Place, and its Holy of Holies. (See Story 27.) The Temple was copied after the Tabernacle, except that it was much larger, and was a house of stone and cedar, instead of a tent.

The Tabernacle had one court around it, where the priests only could enter; but the Temple had two courts, both open to the sky, with walls of stone around them, and on the walls double rows of cedar pillars, and a roof above the pillars, so that people could walk around the court upon the walls protected from the sun. The court in front was for the people, for all the men of Israel could enter it, but no people of foreign race. This was called "the Fore-court." Beyond the Fore-court was the Court of the Priests, where only the priests were allowed to walk. At the east gate of this court stood the great altar of burnt-offerings, built of rough, unhewn stones, for no cut stones could be used in the altar. This altar stood on the rock which had been the threshing-floor of Araunah, where David saw the angel of the Lord standing. (See Story 69.)

Near the altar, in the Court of the Priests, stood a great tank for water, so large that it was called "a sea." It was made of brass, and stood on the backs of twelve oxen, also made of brass. From this the water was taken for washing the offerings.

Within the Court of the Priests stood the Holy House, or the Temple building, made of marble and of cedar. Its front was a high tower, called the Porch. In this were rooms for the high-priest and his sons.

Back of the Porch was the Holy Place. This was a long room in which stood the table for the twelve loaves of the bread, and golden altar of incense. In the Holy Place of the Tabernacle stood the golden lampstand. We are not sure whether it was in the Temple; for either in place of the lampstand, or perhaps in addition to it, Solomon placed ten lamps of gold in the Holy Place.

Between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was a great vail, as in the Tabernacle. And in the Holy of Holies the priests placed the Ark of the Covenant. This, you remember, was a box or chest of gold, in which were kept the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. This ark of the covenant was all that stood in the Holy of Holies; and into this room only the high-priest came, and he only on one day in the year, the great Day of Atonement, when the scapegoat was sent away. (See Story 30.)

Outside of the Temple building were rooms for the priests. They were built on the outer wall of the house, on the rear and the two sides, but not in front, three stories high; and were entered from the outside only. In these rooms the priests lived while they were staying at the Temple to lead in the worship.

Seven years were spent in building the Temple, but at last it was finished; and a great service was held when the house was set apart to the worship of the Lord. Many offerings were burned upon the great altar, the ark was brought from Mount Zion and placed in the Holy of Holies, and King Solomon knelt upon a platform in front of the altar and offered a prayer to the Lord before all the people, who filled the courts of the Temple.

One night, after the Temple was finished, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream for the second time. And the Lord said to Solomon, "I have heard the prayer which you have offered to me, and I have made this house holy. It shall be my house, and I will dwell there. And if you will walk before me as David, your father, walked, doing my will, then your throne shall stand forever. But if you turn aside from following the Lord, then I will leave this house, and will turn from it, and will let the enemies of Israel come and destroy this house that was built for me."

 



Winnie-the-Pooh  by A. A. Milne

Winnie-the-Pooh, Some Bees and the Stories Begin

Part 2 of 2

So Winnie-the-Pooh went round to his friend Christopher Robin, who lived behind a green door in another part of the forest.

"Good morning, Christopher Robin," he said.

"Good morning, Winnie-ther -Pooh," said you.

"I wonder if you've got such a thing as a balloon about you?"


[Illustration]

"A balloon?"

"Yes, I just said to myself coming along: 'I wonder if Christopher Robin has such a thing as a balloon about him?' I just said it to myself, thinking of balloons, and wondering."

"What do you want a balloon for?" you said.

Winnie-the-Pooh looked round to see that nobody was listening, put his paw to his mouth, and said in a deep whisper: "Honey!"

"But you don't get honey with balloons!"

"I  do," said Pooh.


[Illustration]

Well, it just happened that you had been to a party the day before at the house of your friend Piglet, and you had balloons at the party. You had had a big green balloon; and one of Rabbit's relations had had a big blue one, and had left it behind, being really too young to go to a party at all; and so you had brought the green one and  the blue one home with you.

"Which one would you like?" you asked Pooh.

He put his head between his paws and thought very carefully.

"It's like this," he said. "When you go after honey with a balloon, the great thing is not to let the bees know you're coming. Now, if you have a green balloon, they might think you were only part of the tree, and not notice you, and if you have a blue balloon, they might think you were only part of the sky, and not notice you, and the question is: Which is most likely?"

"Wouldn't they notice you  underneath the balloon?" you asked.

"They might or they might not," said Winnie-the-Pooh. "You never can tell with bees." He thought for a moment and said: "I shall try to look like a small black cloud. That will deceive them."

"Then you had better have the blue balloon," you said; and so it was decided.

Well, you both went out with the blue balloon, and you took your gun with you, just in case, as you always did, and Winnie-the-Pooh went to a very muddy place that he knew of, and rolled and rolled until he was black all over; and then, when the balloon was blown up as big as big, and you and Pooh were both holding on to the string, you let go suddenly, and Pooh Bear floated gracefully up into the sky, and stayed there—level with the top of the tree and about twenty feet away from it.


[Illustration]


[Illustration]

"Hooray!" you shouted.

"Isn't that fine?" shouted Winnie-the-Pooh down to you. "What do I look like?"

"You look like a Bear holding on to a balloon," you said.

"Not," said Pooh anxiously, "—not like a small black cloud in a blue sky?"

"Not very much."

"Ah, well, perhaps from up here it looks different. And, as I say, you never can tell with bees."

There was no wind to blow him nearer to the tree, so there he stayed. He could see the honey, he could smell the honey, but he couldn't quite reach the honey.

After a little while he called down to you.

"Christopher Robin!" he said in a loud whisper.

"Hallo!"

"I think the bees suspect  something!"

"What sort of thing?"

"I don't know. But something tells me that they're suspicious!"


[Illustration]

"Perhaps they think that you're after their honey."

"It may be that. You never can tell with bees."

There was another little silence, and then he called down to you again.

"Christopher Robin!"

"Yes?"

"Have you an umbrella in your house?"

"I think so."

"I wish you would bring it out here, and walk up and down with it, and look up at me every now and then, and say 'Tut-tut, it looks like rain.' I think, if you did that, it would help the deception which we are practising on these bees."

Well, you laughed to yourself, "Silly old Bear!" but you didn't say it aloud because you were so fond of him, and you went home for your umbrella.

"Oh, there you are!" called down Winnie-the-Pooh, as soon as you got back to the tree. "I was beginning to get anxious. I have discovered that the bees are now definitely Suspicious."

"Shall I put my umbrella up?" you said.

"Yes, but wait a moment. We must be practical. The important bee to deceive is the Queen Bee. Can you see which is the Queen Bee from down there?"

"No."


[Illustration]

"A pity. Well, now, if you walk up and down with your umbrella, saying, 'Tut-tut, it looks like rain,' I shall do what I can by singing a little Cloud Song, such as a cloud might sing. . . . Go!"

So, while you walked up and down and wondered if it would rain, Winnie-the-Pooh sang this song:

How sweet to be a Cloud

Floating in the Blue!

Every little cloud

Always  sings aloud,


[Illustration]

"How sweet to be a Cloud

Floating in the Blue!"

It makes him very proud

To be a little cloud.

The bees were still buzzing as suspiciously as ever. Some of them, indeed, left their nests and flew all round the cloud as it began the second verse of this song, and one bee sat down on the nose of the cloud for a moment, and then got up again.

"Christopher—ow! —Robin," called out the cloud.

"Yes?"

"I have just been thinking, and I have come to a very important decision. These are the wrong sort of bees."


[Illustration]

"Are they?"

"Quite the wrong sort. So I should think they would make the wrong sort of honey, shouldn't you?"

"Would they?"

"Yes. So I think I shall come down."

"How?" asked you.

Winnie-the-Pooh hadn't thought about this. If he let go of the string, he would fall—bump —and he didn't like the idea of that. So he thought for a long time, and then he said:

"Christopher Robin, you must shoot the balloon with your gun. Have you got your gun?"

"Of course I have," you said. "But if I do that, it will spoil the balloon," you said.


[Illustration]

"But if you don't,"  said Pooh, "I shall have to let go, and that would spoil me."

When he put it like this, you saw how it was, and you aimed very carefully at the balloon, and fired.

"Ow!"  said Pooh.

"Did I miss?" you asked.

"You didn't exactly miss,"  said Pooh, "but you missed the balloon."


[Illustration]

"I'm so sorry," you said, and you fired again, and this time you hit the balloon, and the air came slowly out, and Winnie-the-Pooh floated down to the ground.

But his arms were so stiff from holding on to the string of the balloon all that time that they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think—but I am not sure—that that  is why he was always called Pooh.


* * * * *

"Is that the end of the story?" asked Christopher Robin.

"That's the end of that one. There are others."

"About Pooh and Me?"

"And Piglet and Rabbit and all of you. Don't you remember?"

"I do remember, and then when I try to remember, I forget."

"That day when Pooh and Piglet tried to catch the Heffalump—"

"They didn't catch it, did they?"

"No."

"Pooh couldn't, because he hasn't any brain. Did I  catch it?"

"Well, that comes into the story."

Christopher Robin nodded.

"I do remember," he said, "only Pooh doesn't very well, so that's why he likes having it told to him again. Because then it's a real story and not just a remembering."

"That's just how I  feel," I said.

Christopher Robin gave a deep sigh, picked his Bear up by the leg, and walked off to the door, trailing Pooh behind him. At the door he turned and said, "Coming to see me have my bath?"

"I might," I said.


[Illustration]

"I didn't hurt him when I shot him, did I?"

"Not a bit."

He nodded and went out, and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh—bump, bump, bump —going up the stairs behind him.

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

The Land of Story-Books

At evening when the lamp is lit,

Around the fire my parents sit;

They sit at home and talk and sing,

And do not play at anything.


Now, with my little gun, I crawl

All in the dark along the wall,

And follow round the forest track

Away behind the sofa back.


There, in the night, where none can spy,

All in my hunter's camp I lie,

And play at books that I have read

Till it is time to go to bed.


These are the hills, these are the woods,

These are my starry solitudes;

And there the river by whose brink

The roaring lions come to drink.


I see the others far away

As if in firelit camp they lay,

And I, like to an Indian scout,

Around their party prowled about.


So when my nurse comes in for me,

Home I return across the sea,

And go to bed with backward looks

At my dear land of Story-Books.