Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 20  


The Secret Garden  by Frances Hodgson Burnett

"I Shall Live Forever—and Ever—and Ever!"

B UT they were obliged to wait more than a week because first there came some very windy days and then Colin was threatened with a cold, which two things happening one after the other would no doubt have thrown him into a rage but that there was so much careful and mysterious planning to do and almost every day Dickon came in, if only for a few minutes, to talk about what was happening on the moor and in the lanes and hedges and on the borders of streams. The things he had to tell about otters' and badgers' and water-rats' houses, not to mention birds' nests and field-mice and their burrows, were enough to make you almost tremble with excitement when you heard all the intimate details from an animal charmer and realized with what thrilling eagerness and anxiety the whole busy underworld was working.

"They're same as us," said Dickon, "only they have to build their homes every year. An' it keeps 'em so busy they fair scuffle to get 'em done."

The most absorbing thing, however, was the preparations to be made before Colin could be transported with sufficient secrecy to the garden. No one must see the chair-carriage and Dickon and Mary after they turned a certain corner of the shrubbery and entered upon the walk outside the ivied walls. As each day passed, Colin had become more and more fixed in his feeling that the mystery surrounding the garden was one of its greatest charms. Nothing must spoil that. No one must ever suspect that they had a secret. People must think that he was simply going out with Mary and Dickon because he liked them and did not object to their looking at him. They had long and quite delightful talks about their route. They would go up this path and down that one and cross the other and go round among the fountain flower-beds as if they were looking at the "bedding-out plants" the head gardener, Mr. Roach, had been having arranged. That would seem such a rational thing to do that no one would think it at all mysterious. They would turn into the shrubbery walks and lose themselves until they came to the long walls. It was almost as serious and elaborately thought out as the plans of march made by great generals in time of war.

Rumors of the new and curious things which were occurring in the invalid's apartments had of course filtered through the servants' hall into the stable yards and out among the gardeners, but notwithstanding this, Mr. Roach was startled one day when he received orders from Master Colin's room to the effect that he must report himself in the apartment no outsider had ever seen, as the invalid himself desired to speak to him.

"Well, well," he said to himself as he hurriedly changed his coat, "what's to do now? His Royal Highness that wasn't to be looked at calling up a man he's never set eyes on."

Mr. Roach was not without curiosity. He had never caught even a glimpse of the boy and had heard a dozen exaggerated stories about his uncanny looks and ways and his insane tempers. The thing he had heard oftenest was that he might die at any moment and there had been numerous fanciful descriptions of a humped back and helpless limbs, given by people who had never seen him.

"Things are changing in this house, Mr. Roach," said Mrs. Medlock, as she led him up the back staircase to the corridor on to which opened the hitherto mysterious chamber.

"Let's hope they're changing for the better, Mrs. Medlock," he answered.

"They couldn't well change for the worse," she continued; "and queer as it all is there's them as finds their duties made a lot easier to stand up under. Don't you be surprised, Mr. Roach, if you find yourself in the middle of a menagerie and Martha Sowerby's Dickon more at home than you or me could ever be."

There really was a sort of Magic about Dickon, as Mary always privately believed. When Mr. Roach heard his name he smiled quite leniently.

"He'd be at home in Buckingham Palace or at the bottom of a coal mine," he said. "And yet it's not impudence, either. He's just fine, is that lad."

It was perhaps well he had been prepared or he might have been startled. When the bedroom door was opened a large crow, which seemed quite at home perched on the high back of a carven chair, announced the entrance of a visitor by saying "Caw—Caw" quite loudly. In spite of Mrs. Medlock's warning, Mr. Roach only just escaped being sufficiently undignified to jump backward.

The young Rajah was neither in bed nor on his sofa. He was sitting in an armchair and a young lamb was standing by him shaking its tail in feeding-lamb fashion as Dickon knelt giving it milk from its bottle. A squirrel was perched on Dickon's bent back attentively nibbling a nut. The little girl from India was sitting on a big footstool looking on.

"Here is Mr. Roach, Master Colin," said Mrs. Medlock.

The young Rajah turned and looked his servitor over—at least that was what the head gardener felt happened.

"Oh, you are Roach, are you?" he said. "I sent for you to give you some very important orders."

"Very good, sir," answered Roach, wondering if he was to receive instructions to fell all the oaks in the park or to transform the orchards into water-gardens.

"I am going out in my chair this afternoon," said Colin. "If the fresh air agrees with me I may go out every day. When I go, none of the gardeners are to be anywhere near the Long Walk by the garden walls. No one is to be there. I shall go out about two o'clock and every one must keep away until I send word that they may go back to their work."

"Very good, sir," replied Mr. Roach, much relieved to hear that the oaks might remain and that the orchards were safe.

"Mary," said Colin, turning to her, "what is that thing you say in India when you have finished talking and want people to go?"

"You say, 'You have my permission to go,' " answered Mary.

The Rajah waved his hand.

"You have my permission to go, Roach," he said. "But, remember, this is very important."

"Caw—Caw!" remarked the crow hoarsely but not impolitely.

"Very good, sir. Thank you, sir," said Mr. Roach, and Mrs. Medlock took him out of the room.

Outside in the corridor, being a rather good-natured man, he smiled until he almost laughed.

"My word!" he said, "he's got a fine lordly way with him, hasn't he? You'd think he was a whole Royal Family rolled into one—Prince Consort and all."

"Eh!" protested Mrs. Medlock, "we've had to let him trample all over every one of us ever since he had feet and he thinks that's what folks was born for."

"Perhaps he'll grow out of it, if he lives," suggested Mr. Roach.

"Well, there's one thing pretty sure," said Mrs. Medlock. "If he does live and that Indian child stays here I'll warrant she teaches him that the whole orange does not belong to him, as Susan Sowerby says. And he'll be likely to find out the size of his own quarter."

Inside the room Colin was leaning back on his cushions.

"It's all safe now," he said. "And this afternoon I shall see it—this afternoon I shall be in it!"

Dickon went back to the garden with his creatures and Mary stayed with Colin. She did not think he looked tired but he was very quiet before their lunch came and he was quiet while they were eating it. She wondered why and asked him about it.

"What big eyes you've got, Colin," she said. "When you are thinking they get as big as saucers. What are you thinking about now?"

"I can't help thinking about what it will look like," he answered.

"The garden?" asked Mary.

"The springtime," he said. "I was thinking that I've really never seen it before. I scarcely ever went out and when I did go I never looked at it. I didn't even think about it."

"I never saw it in India because there wasn't any," said Mary.

Shut in and morbid as his life had been, Colin had more imagination than she had and at least he had spent a good deal of time looking at wonderful books and pictures.

"That morning when you ran in and said 'It's come! It's come!' you made me feel quite queer. It sounded as if things were coming with a great procession and big bursts and wafts of music. I've a picture like it in one of my books—crowds of lovely people and children with garlands and branches with blossoms on them, every one laughing and dancing and crowding and playing on pipes. That was why I said, 'Perhaps we shall hear golden trumpets' and told you to throw open the window."

"How funny!" said Mary. "That's really just what it feels like. And if all the flowers and leaves and green things and birds and wild creatures danced past at once, what a crowd it would be! I'm sure they'd dance and sing and flute and that would be the wafts of music."

They both laughed but it was not because the idea was laughable but because they both so liked it.

A little later the nurse made Colin ready. She noticed that instead of lying like a log while his clothes were put on he sat up and made some efforts to help himself, and he talked and laughed with Mary all the time.

"This is one of his good days, sir," she said to Dr. Craven, who dropped in to inspect him. "He's in such good spirits that it makes him stronger."

"I'll call in again later in the afternoon, after he has come in," said Dr. Craven. "I must see how the going out agrees with him. I wish," in a very low voice, "that he would let you go with him."

"I'd rather give up the case this moment, sir, than even stay here while it's suggested," answered the nurse with sudden firmness.

"I hadn't really decided to suggest it," said the doctor, with his slight nervousness. "We'll try the experiment. Dickon's a lad I'd trust with a new-born child."

The strongest footman in the house carried Colin down-stairs and put him in his wheeled chair near which Dickon waited outside. After the manservant had arranged his rugs and cushions the Rajah waved his hand to him and to the nurse.

"You have my permission to go," he said, and they both disappeared quickly and it must be confessed giggled when they were safely inside the house.

Dickon began to push the wheeled chair slowly and steadily. Mistress Mary walked beside it and Colin leaned back and lifted his face to the sky. The arch of it looked very high and the small snowy clouds seemed like white birds floating on outspread wings below its crystal blueness. The wind swept in soft big breaths down from the moor and was strange with a wild clear scented sweetness. Colin kept lifting his thin chest to draw it in, and his big eyes looked as if it were they which were listening—listening, instead of his ears.

"There are so many sounds of singing and humming and calling out," he said. "What is that scent the puffs of wind bring?"

"It's gorse on th' moor that's openin' out," answered Dickon. "Eh! th' bees are at it wonderful to-day."

Not a human creature was to be caught sight of in the paths they took. In fact every gardener or gardener's lad had been witched away. But they wound in and out among the shrubbery and out and round the fountain beds, following their carefully planned route for the mere mysterious pleasure of it. But when at last they turned into the Long Walk by the ivied walls the excited sense of an approaching thrill made them, for some curious reason they could not have explained, begin to speak in whispers.

"This is it," breathed Mary. "This is where I used to walk up and down and wonder and wonder."

"Is it?" cried Colin, and his eyes began to search the ivy with eager curiousness. "But I can see nothing," he whispered. "There is no door."

"That's what I thought," said Mary.

Then there was a lovely breathless silence and the chair wheeled on.

"That is the garden where Ben Weatherstaff works," said Mary.

"Is it?" said Colin.

A few yards more and Mary whispered again.

"This is where the robin flew over the wall," she said.

"Is it?" cried Colin. "Oh! I wish he'd come again!"

"And that," said Mary with solemn delight, pointing under a big lilac bush, "is where he perched on the little heap of earth and showed me the key."

Then Colin sat up.

"Where? Where? There?" he cried, and his eyes were as big as the wolf's in Red Riding-Hood, when Red Riding-Hood felt called upon to remark on them. Dickon stood still and the wheeled chair stopped.

"And this," said Mary, stepping on to the bed close to the ivy, "is where I went to talk to him when he chirped at me from the top of the wall. And this is the ivy the wind blew back," and she took hold of the hanging green curtain.

"Oh! is it—is it!" gasped Colin.

"And here is the handle, and here is the door. Dickon push him in—push him in quickly!"

And Dickon did it with one strong, steady, splendid push.

But Colin had actually dropped back against his cushions, even though he gasped with delight, and he had covered his eyes with his hands and held them there shutting out everything until they were inside and the chair stopped as if by magic and the door was closed. Not till then did he take them away and look round and round and round as Dickon and Mary had done. And over walls and earth and trees and swinging sprays and tendrils the fair green veil of tender little leaves had crept, and in the grass under the trees and the gray urns in the alcoves and here and there everywhere were touches or splashes of gold and purple and white and the trees were showing pink and snow above his head and there were fluttering of wings and faint sweet pipes and humming and scents and scents. And the sun fell warm upon his face like a hand with a lovely touch. And in wonder Mary and Dickon stood and stared at him. He looked so strange and different because a pink glow of color had actually crept all over him—ivory face and neck and hands and all.

"I shall get well! I shall get well!" he cried out. "Mary! Dickon! I shall get well! And I shall live forever and ever and ever!"


Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

Our First Great Painter

A LONG time ago there lived, in Pennsylvania, a little boy whose name was Benjamin West.

This boy loved pictures. Indeed, there were few things that he loved more. But he had never seen any pictures except a few small ones in a book.

His father and mother were Quakers, and they did not think it was right to spend money for such things. They thought that pictures might take one's mind away from things that were better or more useful.

One day Benjamin's mother had to go to a neighbor's on some errand. So she told Benjamin to stay in the house and take care of his baby sister till she came back.

He was glad to do this; for he loved the baby.

"Yes, mother," he said, "I will watch her every minute. I won't let anything hurt her."

The baby was asleep in her cradle, and he must not make a noise and waken her. For some time he sat very still. He heard the clock ticking. He heard the birds singing. He began to feel a little lonesome.

A fly lighted on the baby's cheek, and he brushed it away. Then he thought what a pretty picture might be made of his sister's sweet face and little hands.

He had no paper, but he knew where there was a smooth board. He had no pencil, but there was a piece of black charcoal on the hearth. How pretty the baby was! He began to draw. The baby smiled but did not wake up.


As often as he touched the charcoal to the smooth board, the picture grew. Here was her round head, covered with pretty curls. Here was her mouth. Here were her eyes, and here her dainty ears. Here was her fat little neck. Here were her wonderful hands.

So busy was he with the drawing that he did not think of anything else. He heard neither the clock nor the birds. He did not even hear his mother's footsteps as she came into the room. He did not hear her soft breathing as she stood over him and watched him finish the wonderful drawing.

"O Benjamin! what has thee been doing?" she cried.

The lad sprang up alarmed.

"It's only a picture of the baby, mother," he said.

"A picture of the baby! Oh, wonderful! It looks just like her!"

The good woman was so overjoyed that she caught him in her arms and kissed him. Then suddenly she began to wonder whether this was right.

"Benjamin, how did thee learn to draw such a picture?" she asked.

"I didn't learn," he answered. "I just did it. I couldn't help but do it."

When Benjamin's father came home, his mother showed him the picture.

"It looks just like her, doesn't it?" she said. "But I am afraid. I don't know what to think. Does thee suppose that it is very wrong for Benjamin to do such a thing?"

The father did not answer. He turned the picture this way and that, and looked at it from every side. He compared it with the baby's pretty face. Then he handed it back to his wife and said:—

"Put it away. It may be that the hand of the Lord is in this."

Several weeks afterward, there came a visitor to the home of the Wests. It was a good old Friend, whom everybody loved—a white-haired, pleasant-faced minister, whose words were always wise.

Benjamin's parents showed him the picture. They told him how the lad was always trying to draw something. And they asked what they should do about it.

The good minister looked at the picture for a long time. Then he called little Benjamin to him. He put his hands on the lad's head and said:—

"This child has a wonderful gift. We cannot understand it nor the reason of it. Let us trust that great good may come from it, and that Benjamin West may grow up to be an honor to our country and the world."

And the words of the old minister came true. The pictures of Benjamin West made him famous. He was the first great American painter.


Clinton Scollard



He is here!


Hark, how clear

Drops the note

From his throat,

When he sways

On the sprays

Of the wheat

In the heat!




Is a beau.

See him prink!

Watch him go

Through the air

To his fair!

Hear him sing

On the wing,—

Sing his best

O'er her nest!




Linger long!

There's a kink

In your song

Like the joy

Of a boy

Left to run

In the sun,—

Left to play

All the day.




  WEEK 20  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Canute and the Waves

W HEN Edmund Ironside died, Canute became king over all England, as it had been agreed between them that whoever lived the longest should have the whole kingdom. Edmund had two sons, and Canute was afraid that the people might wish to make one of them king, so he sent both to a far-off country called Hungary. Perhaps it was wrong to banish these children, but at least it was better than killing them, as some people say he wanted to do.

Canute did not begin by being a good king. At first he was bad and cruel. But he ended by being very good and wise. In fact he seems to have ruled so well that the English came to love him almost as if he had been an English king.

They loved him, but they flattered him too. He was certainly a great king, for he ruled not only over England, but over Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The nobles thought it pleased Canute to be told of his greatness, so they used often to let him hear them praise him.

One day as they were walking upon the seashore, the nobles began, as usual, to tell Canute how powerful he was.

"All England obeys you," they said.

"And not only England, but Denmark, Norway, and Sweden."

"Should you desire it, you need but command all the nations of the world and they will kneel before you as their king and lord."

"You are king on sea and land. Even the waves obey you."

Now this was foolish talk, and Canute, who was a wise man, did not like it. He thought he would teach these silly nobles a lesson. So he ordered his servants to bring a chair.

When they had brought it, he made them set it on the shore, close to the waves. The servants did as they were told, and Canute sat down, while the nobles stood around him.

Then Canute spoke to the waves. "Go back," he said, "I am your lord and master, and I command you not to flow over my land. Go back, and do not dare to wet my feet."

But the sea, of course, neither heard nor obeyed him. The tide was coming in, and the waves rolled nearer and nearer, until the king's feet and robe were wet.

Then Canute rose, and turning sternly to his nobles said, "Do you still tell me that I have power over the waves? Oh! foolish men, do you not know that to God alone belongs such power? He alone rules earth and sky and sea, and we and they alike are His subjects, and must obey Him."

The nobles felt how foolish they had been, and did not again try to flatter Canute in such a silly way. From that day, too, Canute never wore his crown, but placed it upon the figure of Christ in the minster at Winchester, as a proof of his humility. From this story we learn that Canute was a Christian, although many of the Danes were still heathen, but no doubt they very soon followed the example of their king, and became Christians too.

Gradually the differences between the Danes and the English passed away. The Danes began to forget that they had ever lived in any other country, and lived like Englishmen, taking English ways and customs for their own. So once more England became a united kingdom. But this, of course, did not happen all at once. It was many years before the English and the Danes quite forgot their quarrels.

As Canute had other countries to govern as well as England, he felt the need of some one to help him to rule. So he divided England into four earldoms, and placed an earl over each part. These earls ruled the kingdom under the king. Over the part which was called Wessex, Canute placed a man named Godwin, who afterwards became of very great importance in English history.

In the year 1035 A.D. King Canute died, and was buried in the minster at Winchester.

After him his two sons, Harold Harefoot and Hardicanute, reigned. Neither of them was good and, at the death of Hardicanute, the English were easily persuaded by Earl Godwin not to have any more Danish rulers. Following his advice they chose Edward, the son of Ethelred the Unready, to be their king.


Holiday Meadow  by Edith M. Patch

Hay Day

T IMOTHY was a tuft of Herd's grass. He and several other tufts of long narrow thin flat leaves grew close together in a bunch. Besides these leaves Timothy had a slender straight stem about three feet tall. The base of this stem was shaped somewhat like a very little onion. This part was in the ground. At the other end of the stem were Timothy's many flowers crowded together in a spike-shaped tip.


The stem of the Timothy grass is thickened at its base.

In the field with Timothy were thousands of plants like him and altogether they were lovely to look at. When the breezes passed over them the tips of the grasses went down and then up like waves. As they touched one another in the wind they made pleasant murmuring sounds.

Timothy could not hear his own whispers or the lispings of his neighbors. He could not hear the tune of the little green musician who often clung to his stem and played.

The musician's name was a long Greek word which means "I‑dance‑in‑the‑meadows."  He was a graceful creature with six jointed legs, the hind pair being very long and useful when he went skipping and hopping here and there. His green body was a little more than an inch long and his waving threadlike antennae were about two inches long. He had a neat brown stripe on top of his head. His tiny jaws moved sidewise, instead of up and down, and his manners when he ate were most dainty. When he was thirsty he drank dew drops from the tips of grass leaves. It was pleasant to see him.

His hind wings folded and unfolded in straight creases like fans. He used them in flying. His fore wings were long and narrow. Their edges overlapped a bit along the back and they covered and protected the more delicate hind wings when these were folded. Near its base each overlapping fore wing was thickened and ridged to form a musical instrument, for little "I‑dance‑in‑the‑meadows"  played his tune by rubbing his wings together very rapidly.

There were short sharp notes like "zip‑zip‑zip!" in his music, and there were high-pitched and rather soft trills like "zreeeeeeeeee!" He played in the warm weather in the daytime and in the evening, but his cheeriest zips and trills were never heard by Timothy.

Timothy, indeed, could not hear even the loudest noise in the meadow. He did not know when the mowing machine clattered into the field and the racket of the cutting blades began.

But Dick and his cousin Anne heard the sounds though they were playing way down by the pond. "Hurrah!" cried Dick. "Hay day!" cried Anne. Then they both ran to the meadow as fast as they could go.

The cousins loved Holiday Meadow. It was a fragrant place with its clover and other sweet-scented blossoms. The notes of bumblebees and bobolinks and thousands of other musicians flooded it as full of pleasant sounds as a concert hall. And there were so many little creatures performing in the field that the children could not watch them all at the same time.


Jack was younger than Dick and Anne.

Anne had an especial liking for the Herd's grass. It grew so straight and was so thick and tall that she enjoyed walking among the stems. And when the Timothy heads were in full flower the lavender anthers, hanging from the blossoms, made the meadow lovely as if it were covered with a mist of color.


The Flowers of Timothy Grass

The children had many happy times in the meadow. Most exciting of all were the "hay days" when the men cut and raked the grass and then piled the dry hay on the big wagon and hauled it to the barn where they stowed it to use in winter. Of course Dick and Anne tumbled on the hay stacks and rode on the loaded wagon; and sometimes they were permitted to help drive the horse that pulled the rake, after the grass was cut.

Anne, now, enjoyed the fun of haying as much as Dick did, though her first hay day had an unhappy beginning. That was during her first summer at Holiday Farm while she was a very little girl.

"Do you remember," asked Dick, "how you ran out in front of the horses and screamed until the man stopped the mowing machine?"

"Yes, I thought all the lovely Timothies were being hurt until Uncle David explained that they couldn't feel the cutting blades. You see, we had such good times playing hide‑and‑seek in the tall grass and talking to it and calling it 'Timothy' that I had a feeling that the tufts of grass were like people, I suppose. They seemed like our little playmates."


A Tuft of Timothy Grass

Anne touched a head of Herd's grass gently. "Even now," she said, "I wonder what sort of life this Timothy has. It grows year after year in the meadow and never sees the summer shadows when the fluffy clouds go over it. It never sees the spotted eggs the bobolink lays in the nest at its feet. It can't hear the crickets or the grasshoppers or the birds or the wind. It doesn't smell the clover or its own blossoms. It doesn't feel any pain when it is cut in two. And yet it is alive—as we are."

"Maybe it has some sort of feeling," said Dick, "while its stems are growing up into the light and its roots are pushing down through the dark ground; but I suppose no person  can guess what it is like."

The cousins often told each other their thoughts about matters of this sort; but hay day was too exciting a time for long talks.

"Look!" exclaimed Anne. "You remember that bumblebee nest we found at the edge of the field among the golden rod? It was in the same spot where a mouse had a nest last year."

"That's so," said Dick. "John is driving the horses right towards it. We'd better run over and stop him in a hurry or he and the horses will be stung!"


The dry grass is ready to be taken to the barn.

The day after the grass was cut it was dry enough to be put into the barn. The children rode on the loads of hay and then climbed up into the hay-loft and played games in the fresh hay.

That evening Uncle David told Dick and Anne about a hay day in England when he was a boy visiting there, with his father.

"When the grass was dry," he told them, "the hay-makers hauled it to the edge of the field. There they piled it carefully in big long stacks. Then men who knew how to make thatching came and covered each of the stacks with a sloping thatched roof of hay. The stacks were shaped like cottages and, together with some tall elms which stood near them, they were pleasant to remember—like a pretty picture."


In England hay is kept in neat stacks.

The grass in England which is stored in neat thatched stacks is the same kind as that which Dick and Anne saw harvested in their uncle's meadow. Some people in England call it "Timothy grass" as we do. Others call it "cat's-tail" because of the shape of the blossom-spike.

After the grass in Holiday Meadow was cut, a party of crows came there for picnics. They were jolly noisy birds and had a merry time looking for insects in the stubble. Very early in the morning, before certain kinds of night cutworms had hidden themselves in the ground for the day, the crows went hunting for cutworms. Later, when the sun was bright, they had grasshopper hunts and amused themselves in other ways.

One day, not long after haying time, dull heavy clouds hung over Holiday Meadow and rain fell and soaked the ground. The grass plants found the moisture in the soil with their roots and began to grow new leaves. In a few weeks the field looked fresh and flourishing for the new leaves were high enough to hide the ends of the dry cut stubble.


After the grass was cut it grew again.

Then Dick and Anne were permitted to take down the pasture bars and invite Daisy and the other cows into the meadow for a feast of fresh grass which was better than the trampled sod of the pasture.


One of the cows visited the meadow after the hay was cut.

When the cows had enjoyed the change for a week or two, they were put back behind their pasture bars. The grass in the meadow needed a chance to grow before frosts came so that it could store up strength in its underground stems and be in good condition to stand the cold weather.

One morning the frost showed white and heavy on the grass blades, and after that the plants rested for several months. In time the snow fell on the field and tucked the thousands of sleeping Timothies under a soft thick blanket, for winter days and nights.

And not a Timothy of them all knew what had happened to him!


Sara Teasdale

May Day

A delicate fabric of bird song

Floats in the air,

The smell of wet wild earth

Is everywhere.

Red small leaves of the maple

Are clenched like a hand,

Like girls at their first communion

The pear trees stand.

Oh I must pass nothing by

Without loving it much,

The raindrop try with my lips,

The grass with my touch;

For how can I be sure

I shall see again

The world on the first of May

Shining after the rain?


  WEEK 20  


The Burgess Animal Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

Four Busy Little Miners

S CAMPERING along on his way to school and thinking of nothing so uninteresting as watching his steps, Peter Rabbit stubbed his toes. Yes, sir, Peter stubbed his toes. With a little exclamation of impatience he turned to see what he had stumbled over. It was a little ridge where the surface of the ground had been raised a trifle since Peter had passed that way the day before.

Peter chuckled. "Now isn't that funny?" he demanded of no one at all, for he was quite alone. Then he answered himself. "It certainly is," said he. "Here I am on my way to learn something about Miner the Mole, and I trip over one of the queer little ridges he is forever making. It wasn't here yesterday, so that means that he is at work right around here now. Hello, I thought so!"

Peter had been looking along that little ridge and had discovered that it ended only a short distance from him. Now as he looked at it again, he saw the flat surface of the ground at the end of the ridge rise as if being pushed up from beneath, and that little ridge became just so much longer. Peter understood perfectly. Out of sight beneath the surface Miner the Mole was at work. He was digging a tunnel, and that ridge was simply the roof to that tunnel. It was so near the surface of the ground that Miner simply pushed up the loose soil as he bored his way along, and this made the little ridge over which Peter had stumbled.

Peter watched a few minutes, then turned and scampered, lipperty-lipperty-lip, for the Green Forest. He arrived at school quite out of breath, the last one. Old Mother Nature was about to chide him for being late, but noticing his excitement, she changed her mind.

"Well, Peter," said she. "What is it now? Did you have a narrow escape on your way here?"

Peter shook his head. "No," he replied. "No, I didn't have a narrow escape, but I discovered something."

Happy Jack Squirrel snickered. "Peter is always discovering something," said he. "He is a great little discoverer. Probably he has just found out that the only way to get anywhere on time is to start soon enough."

"No such thing!" declared Peter indignantly. "You—"

"Never mind him, Peter," interrupted Old Mother Nature soothingly. "What was it you discovered?"

"That the very one we are to learn about is only a little way from here this very minute. Miner the Mole is at work on the Green Meadow; close to the edge of the Green Forest," cried Peter eagerly. "I thought perhaps you would want to—"

"Have this morning's lesson right there where we can at least see his works if not himself," interrupted Old Mother Nature again. "That is fine, Peter. We will go over there at once. It is always better to see things than to merely hear about them."

So Peter led the way to where he had stumbled over that little ridge on his way to school. It was longer than when he had left it, but even as the others crowded about to look, the earth was pushed up and it grew in length. Old Mother Nature stooped and made a little hole in that ridge. Then she put her lips close to it and commanded Miner to come out. She spoke softly, pleasantly, but in a way that left no doubt that she expected to be obeyed.

She was. Almost at once a queer, long, sharp nose was poked out of the little hole she had made, and a squeaky voice asked fretfully, "Do I have to come way out?"

"You certainly do," replied Old Mother Nature. "I want some of your friends and neighbors to get a good look at you, and they certainly can't do that with only that sharp nose of yours to be seen. Now scramble out here. No one will hurt you. I will keep you only a few minutes. Then you can go back to your everlasting digging. Out with you, now!"

While the others gathered in a little circle close about that hole there scrambled into view one of the queerest little fellows in all the Great World. Few of them had ever seen him close to before. He was a stout little fellow with the softest, thickest, gray coat imaginable. He was about six inches long and had a funny, short, pinkish-white, naked tail that at once reminded Peter of an Angleworm.

His head seemed to be set directly on his shoulders, so that there was no neck worth mentioning. His nose was long and sharp and extended far beyond his mouth. Neither ears nor eyes were to be seen.

Striped Chipmunk at once wanted to know how Miner could see. "He doesn't see as you do," replied Old Mother Nature. "He has very small eyes, tiny things, which you might find if you should part the fur around them, but they are of use only to distinguish light from darkness. Miner hasn't the least idea what any of you look like. You see, he spends his life under ground and of course has no use for eyes there. They would be a nuisance, for the dirt would be continually getting in them if they were any larger than they are or were not protected as they are. If you should feel of Miner's nose you would find it hard. That is because he uses it to bore with in the earth. Just notice those hands of his."


This shows how he uses his spade‑like hands in digging.

At once everybody looked at Miner's hands. No one ever had seen such hands before. The arms were short but looked very strong. The hands also were rather short, but what they lacked in length they made up in width and they were armed with long, stout claws. But the queer thing about them was the way he held them. He held them turned out. His hind feet were not much different from the hind feet of the Mouse family.

Miner was plainly uncomfortable. He wriggled about uneasily and it was very clear that he was there only because Old Mother Nature had commanded him to be there, and that the one thing he wanted most was to get back into his beloved ground. Old Mother Nature saw this and took pity on him. She picked him up and placed him on the ground where there was no opening near.

"Now, Miner," said she, "your friends and neighbors have had a good look at you, and I know just how uncomfortable you feel. There is but one thing more I'll ask of you. It is that you will show us how you can dig. Johnny Chuck thinks he is a pretty good digger. Just show him what you can do in that line."

Miner didn't wait to be told twice. The instant Old Mother Nature stopped speaking he began to push and bore into the earth with his sharp nose. One of those great, spadelike hands was slipped up past his face and the claws driven in beside his nose. Then it was swept back and the loosened earth with it. The other hand was used in the same way. It was quite plain to everybody why they were turned out in the way they were. There was nothing slow about the way Miner used that boring nose and those shoveling hands. Peter Rabbit had hardly time for half a dozen long breaths before Miner the Mole had disappeared.

"Some digging!" exclaimed Peter.

"Never again as long as I live will I boast of my digging," declared Johnny Chuck admiringly.

From the point where Miner had entered the ground a little ridge was being pushed up, and they watched it grow surprisingly fast as the little worker under the sod pushed his tunnel along in the direction of his old tunnels. It was clear that he was in a hurry to get back where he could work in peace.

"What a queer life," exclaimed Happy Jack Squirrel. "He can't have much fun. I should think it would be awful living in the dark that way all the time."

"You forget that he cannot see as you can, and so prefers the dark," replied Old Mother Nature. "As for fun, he gets that in his work. He is called Miner because he lives in the ground and is always tunneling."

"What does he eat, the roots of plants?" asked Jumper the Hare.

Old Mother Nature shook her head. "A lot of people think that," said she, "and often Miner is charged with destroying growing crops, eating seed corn, etc. That is because his tunnels are found running along the rows of plants. The fact is Miner has simply been hunting for grubs and worms around the roots of those plants. He hasn't touched the plants at all. I suspect that Danny Meadow Mouse or one of his cousins could explain who ate the seed corn and the young plants. They are rather fond of using Miner's tunnels when he isn't about."

Danny hung his head and looked guilty, but didn't say anything. "The only harm Miner does is sometimes to tunnel so close to garden plants that he lets air in around the tender roots and they dry out," continued Old Mother Nature. "His food consists almost wholly of worms, grubs and insects, and he has to have a great many to keep him alive. That is why he is so active. Those tunnels of his which seem to be without any plan are made in his search for food. He is especially fond of Angleworms.

"As a matter of fact, he is a useful little fellow. The only time he becomes a nuisance to man is when he makes his little ridges across smooth lawns. Even then he pays for the trouble by destroying the grubs in the grass roots, grubs that in their turn would destroy the grass. When you see his ridges you may know that his food is close to the surface. When in dry or cold weather the worms go deep in the ground, Miner follows and then there is no trace of his tunnels on the surface.

"Night and day are all the same to him. He works and sleeps when he chooses. In winter he tunnels below the frost line. You all noticed how dense his fur is. That is so the sand cannot work down in it. His home is a snug nest of grass or leaves in a little chamber under the ground from which several tunnels offer easy means of escape in case of sudden danger."

"Has Miner any near relatives?" asked Peter Rabbit.

"Several," replied Old Mother Nature. "All are much alike in habits. One who lives a little farther north is called Brewer's Mole or the Hairy-tailed Mole. His tail is a little longer than Miner's and is covered with fine hair. The largest and handsomest member of the family is the Oregon Mole of the Northwest. His coat is very dark and his fur extremely fine. His ways are much the same as those of Miner whom you have just met, excepting that when he is tunneling deep in the ground he pushes the earth to the surface after the manner of Grubby Gopher, and his mounds become a nuisance to farmers. When he is tunneling just under the surface he makes ridges exactly like these of his eastern cousin.

"But the oddest member of the Mole family is the Star-nosed Mole. He looks much like Miner with the exception of his nose and tail. His nose has a fringe of little fleshy points, twenty-two of them, like a many-pointed star. From this he gets his name. His tail is a little longer than Miner's and is hairy. During the late fall and winter this becomes much enlarged.


His nose is one of the oddest in the world.

"This funny little fellow with the star-like nose is especially fond of moist places, swamps, damp meadows, and the banks of streams. He is not at all afraid of the water and is a good swimmer. Sometimes he may be seen swimming under the ice in winter. He is seldom found where the earth is dry. For that matter, none of the family are found in those sections where there are long, dry periods and the earth becomes baked and hard.

"The fur of Miner and his cousins will lay in either direction, which keeps it smooth no matter whether the wearer is going forward or backward. Otherwise it would be badly mussed up most of the time. Altogether these little underground workers are most interesting little people when you know them. But that is something few people have a chance to do.

"Now just remember that the Shrews and the Moles belong to the order of Insectivora, meaning eaters of insects, and are the only two families in that order. And don't despise either of them, for they do a great deal of good in the Great World, more than some right here whom I might name, but will not. School is dismissed."


A First Book in American History  by Edward Eggleston

Washington in the French War

When Washington got back from the western side of the mountains, it became evident to the governor of Virginia that the French must be either driven away or the English people must be shut in to the country on the east of the Mountains. The people in the colonies did not like the notion of being fenced in like a lot of cattle in a pasture. So Washington was again sent to the West in 1754, to take possession of the country. On his first trip he had seen the point where the Allegheny [al-le-ga´-ny] and Monongahela [no-non´-ga-hee´-lah] rivers meet, which he thought would be a good place for a fort. A small company of men were sent ahead to build a fort at this place; but the French drove them away, and planted a fort of their own on the ground. This was called Fort Duquesne [du-kane´].


Though the French in America were not many, they were nearly all soldiers. So when Washington with his party had got through the wild mountains into the western wilderness he found that there were many more soldiers on the French side than he had. Hearing that a French party was dogging his steps, he marched in the night and surrounded them. After a sharp skirmish the French fled, but were nearly all captured. This little fight was George Washington's first battle.

But Washington soon found that he must retreat or be taken. He fell back to a place called Great Meadows, where he built a sort of fort and called it Fort Necessity. Here the Half-king in despair left him, and the French attacked his little force. After the conflict had lasted one day, Washington, seeing himself outnumbered, agreed to march out of the fort and return to the settlements, which he did. This expedition of Washington's was the beginning of a great war between England and France.


In Fort Necessity

The next year troops were sent from England under General Braddock, who set out to drive the French from Fort Duquesne. Braddock was a brave man, but one of the sort who can not learn anything. He laughed at the lank and careless-looking American troops, who cut a sorry figure alongside of the English with their bright red coats and fine drill. He was sure that these rough Americans were of no use. Even American officers were treated with contempt by the British authorities, and were not allowed to rank with English officers. Washington was so stung by this that he resigned his place, but he accepted a position on Braddock's staff.

Rough as the mountain roads were, Braddock traveled in a coach as far as he could, and tried to keep up the display common in Europe. He said that the Indians would not prove formidable when they came to fight his well-drilled English troops. Washington could not persuade the general to send scouts on either side of his line. One day there came to Braddock a company of woodsmen in hunting shirts. They were commanded by the famous Captain Jack, who was known as the "Black Hunter" of Pennsylvania. Captain Jack's whole family had been killed by the savages in his absence. He had then taken to the woods, and devoted himself to revenging the death of his family and to protecting the settlers. He and his followers lived in the forest, and kept the Indians in constant fear of them. This Captain Jack, and all his men, came to General Braddock and offered to help him as scouts. But Braddock put all his confidence in his solid ranks of English soldiers, and he foolishly refused the offer of the Black Hunter and his men.


General Braddock and Captain Jack

As the army drew near to Fort Duquesne, Washington suggested to the commander that the Virginia rangers should be sent in front, because they were used to the woods. But Braddock was angry to think that a young American should advise an old British general.

On the 9th of July, 1755, as Braddock's army was marching along the narrow track through the woods, the Indians and French attacked them. All at once the woods rang with the wild war cry of the Indians, like the barking of a thousand wild animals. The forest, but a minute before so silent, was alive with screaming savages. From every tree and thicket the Indians leveled their rifles at the red coats of the English, who fell like pigeons under their fire. Unable to see anybody to shoot at, the English soldiers did not know what to do. The Americans took to the trees and stumps and returned the fire in Indian fashion, and Washington begged the general to order the British to do the same; but Braddock made them stand up in line, where they could easily be shot down.

Braddock fought bravely, and fell at length mortally wounded. Colonel Washington did his best to rally the men and save the battle. He had two horses shot under him, and four bullets went through his coat. The army, so gay and brave in the morning, was soon broken to pieces, and the men fled back to the settlements.

But Washington had become the hero of the people. He was now put in chief command of the Virginia troops in defense of the frontier, and managed affairs well. In 1758 he commanded the foremost division in an expedition under General Forbes, which slowly cut its way through the rough wilderness of Pennsylvania, and, having at last got over the mountains, forced the French to leave Fort Duquesne. The fort was rebuilt by the English and renamed Fort Pitt, in honor of William Pitt, the great prime minister of England, who was a true friend to the Americans. When a town grew around Fort Pitt it as called Pittsburg.

The war between the English and the French was finally closed in 1763. Canada, with all the country east of the Mississippi, was given up to the English, and settlers soon began to make their way into the region now known as Kentucky and Tennessee.

Before the war closed Washington retired to his home at Mount Vernon, and was married to Mrs. Martha Custis, a widow.


Jane Taylor Taylor

The Little Lark

I hear a pretty bird, but hark!

I cannot see it anywhere.

Oh! it is a little lark,

Singing in the morning air.

Little lark, do tell me why

You are singing in the sky.

" 'Tis to watch the silver star,

Sinking slowly in the skies;

And beyond the mountain far,

To see the glorious sun arise.

Little lady, this is why

I am mounted up so high.

" 'Tis to sing a merry song

To the pleasant morning light;

Why stay in my nest so long,

When the sun is shining bright?

Little lady, this is why

I am mounted up so high.

"To the little birds below,

Here I sing a merry tune;

And I let the ploughman know

He must come to labor soon.

Little lady, this is why

I am singing in the sky."


  WEEK 20  


Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children  by H. E. Marshall

How the Water Witch Warred with the Dane Folk

And now while the people came and went, marvelling and praising the skill of him who had overcome the Goblin, men and women hurried hither and thither making gay the Hall.

The carving and gem work was much broken and destroyed by the fearful combat which had taken place within. The roof alone was quite unhurt. But beautiful tapestries gleaming with gold and colours were hung upon the walls, silken banners and embroideries were spread upon the benches, until the whole Hall glowed in splendour.

Then came the king with all his knights and nobles to the great feast which was prepared. Never was there more splendid banquet. Hart Hall from end to end was filled with friends, and laughter, and rejoicing sounded through it.

Then when the feasting was over Hrothgar gave to Beowulf rich presents. A splendid banner he gave him richly sewed with gold, a helmet and coat of mail, a sword the hilt of which was all of twisted gold.

Eight splendid horses, too, were led into the court about the Hall. Their harness was all of gold, and upon one was a saddle gaily decorated and finely adorned with silver. It was the saddle upon which Hrothgar himself rode when he went forth to battle.

All these the king gave to Beowulf, and much wealth besides.

And to his companions also, to the mighty heroes who were with their master, great treasure was given of swords and gold. Also for the man whom Grendel had slain Hrothgar ordered that much gold should be paid.

Then when the present-giving was over, the minstrel took his harp and sang. He sang of love and battle, and of the mighty deeds of heroes.

The singing ceased, and the noise of laughter and merriment burst forth once more. Around the board the cup-bearers carried the wine in vessels wondrously wrought.

Then came Queen Wealtheow forth once more, clad in splendid robes, wearing a golden crown upon her head, bearing in her hand a golden cup.

To the king she went where he sat with his sons and Beowulf beside him.

"Accept this cup, my beloved Lord," she said, "and be thou happy. Far and near now hast thou peace. Hart Hall is cleansed of the Evil One."

Then to Beowulf she turned bearing the cup to him with friendly words. At his feet she laid a rich dress with bracelets and a collar of fine gold.

"Take this collar, dear Beowulf," she said, "and this mantle. Long mayest thou wear them and enjoy life. A deed hast thou done this night that shall be remembered for all time. Far as the seas circle the land shall it be told of thee. Take thou my thanks, and be thou a friend to my sons."

Then the queen went again to her place and sat beside the king.

Once more there was song and laughter throughout the Hall until the shadows of evening fell. Then the king and Beowulf arose, and went forth to rest, each to his own chamber. But the Dane lords, as they had done so often before in days gone by, spread their beds and pillows upon the floor of the great Hall. For now that the Ogre was dead they had no more fear.

At the head of his bed each man placed his shield. Upon the bench near him stood his helmet, his sword and spear and coat of mail. Then each man lay down to rest secure and happy. For was not the terrible giant slain? No more was there need to watch and fear.

So silence and darkness fell upon the Hall, and all men sank to sleep.

But out on the wide moorland, far away in the Water Dragon's lake, there was one who waked and mourned. Over the dead body of her son Grendel's mother wept, desiring revenge.

Very terrible was this Water Witch to look upon. Almost as fearful as her wicked son she was. And as the darkness fell upon the land she crept forth across the moorland to Hart Hall.

On and on she crept until she reached the door. Then in she rushed among the sleeping warriors, eager for slaughter. The fear and confusion were great. A wild cry rang through the Hall, and each man sprang to his feet seizing his sword and shield.

Then the Water Witch, finding herself discovered, made haste to be gone. No mind had she to face these swords and spears. But ere she went she stretched forth her hand and seized a warrior, and tightly holding him, she carried him off to the moor. And though her haste to be gone was great she found yet time to seize the hand of Grendel and take it with her to her dark dwelling.

Great was the sound of woe throughout the Hall. For the warrior whom the Water Witch had carried off was a dear comrade of the king. He was the best beloved of all Hrothgar's thanes.

Now when messengers came running in all haste to the old king with the direful news, he was filled with grief and anger. His joy at the death of Grendel was all dashed with grief for the loss of his friend.

"Oh that Beowulf had been there," he moaned.

Then all men's thoughts turned to Beowulf. Quickly they ran to fetch him, and he, waked thus suddenly out of his sleep, came with his comrades wonderingly to the king where he awaited them.

The sun had not yet risen, and all the Hall was dim in grey shadow, as Beowulf and his men marched through it, breaking the stillness with the clang of their weapons and armour.

"My lord king," said Beowulf, as he reached the Gift-seat, "hath the night not passed fair and pleasantly with thee? Is some evil chance befallen that thy messengers seek me thus early?"

Hrothgar leaned his head upon his hand and sighed.

"Ask not thou of happiness," he moaned. "Sorrow is renewed to the Dane folk. My dearest comrade is dead, my friend and counsellor. Thou didst slay Grendel yesternight, but one hath come to avenge him, even his mother. She it is who hath carried off my dear warrior to slay and devour him in her dwelling.

"Scarce a mile hence lieth that grim lake. Dank trees overshadow it and no man knoweth its depth, for all shun the gloomy place. Yet if thou durst, seek it out. Rid me of this Water Witch, avenge there the death of my comrade, and with treasure and twisted gold will I reward thee," and overcome with grief Hrothgar ceased from speaking.

"Sorrow not, O king," replied Beowulf. "It is ever better to avenge than to grieve for one's friend. To each of us must death come, and well for him then who hath done justice while he yet lived. Arise, O king, let us see quickly the track of Grendel's kin. I promise thee she shall not escape. Do thou but have patience this day, that only do I ask of thee."

Then up sprang the aged king. "May the gods be praised," he cried, "who have sent me such a man."

Quickly he gave orders that horses should be brought, and mounting, he rode forth with Beowulf. After them came a great train of warriors as across the moor they went, following the track of the Water Witch to her home.

By rocky gorges and lonely ways over the murky moor they went, following always the gory track of the foe. At length they came to the place where gloomy trees hung over red and troubled waters. Upon the bank lay the head of that Dane warrior, Hrothgar's dear friend, and at the sight of it the knights were again filled with woe.

Upon the dark water there swam strange Sea Dragons, many kinds of snakes and savage worms. But when they saw the company of Danes upon the bank, and heard the blast of the war-horn, they fled swimming away, diving into the depths.

Yet ere they vanished Beowulf drew his bow and shot one of them. Then quickly with boar-spears and hooks the warriors drew him to land, and as he lay there dead they gazed in wonder upon the grisly monster.

And now once more did Beowulf prepare himself for battle. He wore his trusty coat of steel, and upon his head was a wondrously wrought helmet, through which no sword might bite.

Then as Beowulf made ready, Hunferth came to him. In his hand he bare an ancient and famous sword named Hrunting. The edge of it was stained with poisonous twigs and hardened in gore. Never had it failed a man, who carrying it went forth to ways of terror and war. Many valiant deeds had it wrought.

And now Hunferth, remembering how he had taunted Beowulf, and in sorrow at the memory, brought the famous sword to the Goth hero.

Hunferth himself durst not venture his life amid the waves to do the deed, and thus fame was lost to him. But he was now eager to aid Beowulf. And the Goth, who thought no longer of Hunferth's taunting words, received the sword right gladly.

Then Beowulf turned to King Hrothgar. "I am ready, O prince," he said, "for my journey. Let me but first call to thy mind what we have already spoken. If I for thy need lose my life, be thou a friend to my fellow-thanes. And do thou also send the treasure which thou hast given unto me to my king, Hygelac. Then by that gold may he know that I did fight manfully, and found in thee a noble rewarder.

"But to Hunferth I pray thee to give the curious war-sword which is among thy gifts, for he is a right noble warrior. With his Hrunting I will work renown, or death shall take me."

Then, waiting for no answer, Beowulf plunged into the dark lake and was lost to sight.


The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Cock and the Fox

One bright evening as the sun was sinking on a glorious world a wise old Cock flew into a tree to roost. Before he composed himself to rest, he flapped his wings three times and crowed loudly. But just as he was about to put his head under his wing, his beady eyes caught a flash of red and a glimpse of a long pointed nose, and there just below him stood Master Fox.

"Have you heard the wonderful news?" cried the Fox in a very joyful and excited manner.

"What news?" asked the Cock very calmly. But he had a queer, fluttery feeling inside him, for, you know, he was very much afraid of the Fox.

"Your family and mine and all other animals have agreed to forget their differences and live in peace and friendship from now on forever. Just think of it! I simply cannot wait to embrace you! Do come down, dear friend, and let us celebrate the joyful event."

"How grand!" said the Cock. "I certainly am delighted at the news." But he spoke in an absent way, and stretching up on tiptoes, seemed to be looking at something afar off.

"What is it you see?" asked the Fox a little anxiously.

"Why, it looks to me like a couple of Dogs coming this way. They must have heard the good news and—"

But the Fox did not wait to hear more. Off he started on a run.

"Wait," cried the Cock. "Why do you run? The Dogs are friends of yours now!"

"Yes," answered the Fox. "But they might not have heard the news. Besides, I have a very important errand that I had almost forgotten about."

The Cock smiled as he buried his head in his feathers and went to sleep, for he had succeeded in outwitting a very crafty enemy.

The trickster is easily tricked.


Robert Browning


Such a starved bank of moss

Till, that May morn,

Blue ran the flash across—

Violets were born.


  WEEK 20  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

The Siege of Leyden

"Better a drowned land than a lost land."


T HE news of the terrible massacre of St Bartholomew that had staggered Europe seemed only to strengthen the resolution of the Protestants in the Netherlands. The return of William of Orange had given new vigour to the Hollanders; town after town rose after the taking of Briel, turned out the hated Spaniard, and raised aloft the colours of their Prince. As winter came on and the great expanses of water froze into masses of solid ice, the undaunted Dutchmen put on their skates and glided into battle, to the astonishment of the Spaniards. Not to be beaten, Alva ordered 7000 pairs of skates to be supplied to the Spaniards, who soon became expert skaters too.

Haarlem was now attacked—Haarlem, one of the most beautiful cities in the country, lying between the Zuyder Zee and the German Ocean. With the utmost heroism she held out for seven months and then fell. She had cost the Spaniards 12,000 men; and even rich Spain, with all her treasure from the New World, could not go on much longer at this rate.

Men from England were helping the Netherlands now. Over the seas they sailed in small companies, and with pike and musket they stood shoulder to shoulder with the men of Haarlem against the power of mighty Spain.

"Like a hen calling her chickens, his Majesty still seeks to gather you all under the parental wing," cried Alva at last. "But if you will not," he added sternly, "every city in the Netherlands shall be burned to the ground."

The Protestants refused, and the Spaniards next besieged the town of Leyden, to the south of Haarlem. It was one of the most wonderful feats of the whole war.

The siege began on October 1573. It was October 1574 when it ended, and all through this long dreary year the Dutchmen inside the town were fighting with famine and starvation—fighting for their religious liberty and freedom from the Spanish tyranny.

In the very centre of Leyden rose an old tower, standing high above the surrounding low country. From it could be seen the broad fertile fields which once had lain under the sea, little villages with their bright gardens and fruitful orchards, numerous canals, and the 145 bridges that spanned those watery streets.

The Prince of Orange was doing all he could from outside to help his countrymen in their plucky defence; but as the long months wore on their condition became desperate. They were starving, but they would not yield; for if Leyden fell, Holland fell too. Yet what could be done?

The Prince of Orange knew what could be done. "Better a drowned land than a lost land. If nothing else could save the city, the dykes could be opened, and the great stormy sea would once more ebb and flow over the country. Holland would be ruined, but it would not be in the hands of the Spaniards."

"We have held out as long as we can," wrote the starving citizens. "Human strength can do no more."

Then the Prince went himself and had the great dykes bored in sixteen places; the water-gates were opened, and the water began slowly to pour over the flat land.

The good news was carried into the despairing city. The citizens took fresh heart. Leyden, their city, would yet be saved. The besiegers, too, heard the news of the cutting of the dykes; but they did not believe in the possibility of the sea getting up so far as Leyden.

"Go up to the tower, ye Beggars," they laughed; "go up to the tower and tell us if you can see the ocean coming over the dry land to your relief."

And day after day the citizens crept up the old ruined tower and strained their eyes out over the sea, "watching, hoping, praying, fearing, and at last almost despairing of relief by God or man."

Meanwhile the Prince lay in a burning fever at Rotterdam. Under the strain of the last months he had broken down. In his fever he seemed to hear the cries of the starving citizens. Would they give in before the ships could sail to their relief?

It was the 1st of September when the Sea Beggars embarked in their shallow boats on the water that was now slowly rising over the land. The little fleet made its way over fifteen miles of flooded country between the sea-coast and Leyden. So far a favourable wind had blown them onwards. Now the wind changed, the waters began to sink, and despair once more fell on the starving people within Leyden. They had eaten everything now. They had boiled the leaves of trees and eaten roots. Women and children dropped down dead in the streets, the burghers could hardly drag their weary legs up to the watch-tower. Yet they would not give up. "Leyden was sublime in her despair." They must be true to their charge, true to their Prince, true to their country. The old burgomaster of the town spoke to the wavering from time to time.

"My life is at your disposal," he said one day. "Here is my sword. Plunge it into me and divide my flesh among you. But expect no surrender as long as I live."

"As well," shouted the angry Spaniards—"As well can the Prince of Orange pluck the stars from the sky as bring the ocean to the walls of Leyden."

On the 1st of October a violent gale swept over the waste of waters from the north-west. The waters rose rapidly, and the Sea Beggars sailed proudly forward in the darkness of the night.

Within the town all was mysterious. Would the Spaniards attack them or flee? Must they yet perish in sight of help?

But before morning had dawned the Spanish host had grown alarmed at the rapidly rising waters, and the crews of wild fierce sailors sailing ever nearer and nearer. And before the waters reached them they had crept away under cover of the darkness.

A long line of moving lights were seen to flit across the black face of the waters at dead of night, and when day dawned at last there was not a Spaniard left. Only a boy stood waving his cap from the summit of the Spanish fort, a boy who had seen the enemy's flight and had had the courage to go and wave the signal. So the Sea Beggars sailed to Leyden and the city was saved.

The Prince of Orange had a new and beautiful town built up to celebrate the victory over Spain. And as long as the world rolls on, this splendid story of heroic defence will be told and retold with ever-growing enthusiasm.


Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon


I F you look back at the second of these stories—that of Jupiter and Juno—you will read that "when 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." You will read the story of Pluto presently. This is about Neptune, of whom there is much less to say. You have already read, in the story of Minerva, how Neptune contended with the goddess of Wisdom for the honor of naming the capital of Attica, and how he produced the first horse by striking the earth with his trident—that is to say, with his scepter in the shape of a fork with three prongs, by which he may always be known. You will remember that the honor was given to Minerva, because she produced the olive, the emblem of peace, and therefore better for mankind than the horse, the emblem of war. This decision, however, did not satisfy Neptune. So when the people of Argolis also built a capital city, he disputed with Minerva for the honor of naming that. Jupiter, however, settled the matter by giving it a name which had nothing to do with either god or goddess—that is to say, Trœzene—and by making Minerva its patroness and Neptune its patron. But this did not please Neptune either. He wanted to have some city or piece of dry land all to himself, which was natural enough for a god who had nothing of his own but the sea. So he went to law with Apollo for the possession of the isthmus of Corinth. The case was tried before Briareus, the Cyclops with fifty heads and a hundred hands, as judge. Briareus decided that Neptune should have the isthmus, all except a certain headland, which was given to Apollo.

But Neptune was not even yet satisfied. What was the sea and one little isthmus when Jupiter had all earth and air and sky, and when Pluto had the still greater world below? Then Jupiter ruled over the immortal gods and living men and women, and Pluto over all the dead; but Neptune had neither gods nor men, dead or alive, for subjects—only fishes and sea-monsters, creatures really not worth the ruling. It is true he had all sorts of treasures got from shipwrecks; but what is the good of gold and jewels at the bottom of the sea? And he had many wonderful and beautiful things belonging to him by nature—pearls, and seaweed, and coral, and amber; but he had no use for them. At any rate he was thoroughly discontented, and thought Jupiter's division of the universe exceedingly unfair.

It so happened that, while he was in this envious state of mind, Juno was furious against Jupiter for throwing Vulcan out of heaven, and Apollo was seeking revenge for the death of Æsculapius. So these three—Neptune, Juno, and Apollo—made a conspiracy against Jupiter. Their plot was to excite all the gods and goddesses to rebel against their king, to take him by surprise, to imprison him forever, and to get—I do not know what they meant to get by it; most likely, like all rebels, they did not know that themselves. However, in one way and another, by promises, and by working up all sorts of grievances, they drew nearly every god and goddess into their treason, of which Jupiter, in his trust of them all, had not the faintest suspicion. He went on ruling and feasting, little guessing that his own wife, his own brother, and the whole of his court, were secret traitors. Even Minerva, in spite of her wisdom and her old quarrel with Neptune, is said to have joined in the plot against her own father, though this is hard to believe.

The plotters made only one mistake—they forgot that traitors must expect treachery. There was a certain sea-nymph named Thetis, married to a mortal, and she, having been admitted into the plot, tried to think of some way of saving the kin of gods and men. But what could one sea-nymph do? If she went and told Jupiter, he would not believe her: he would most likely only punish her for lying and slander. So, in her trouble, she went for advice to the giant Briareus, who had fifty heads to think with instead of only one. Having thought with them all, one after another, he said at last, "Leave it to me."

At length the time came for carrying out the plot. The conspirators held a great meeting, and, having talked themselves into a great state of rage against Jupiter, marched in a body into the council chamber of Olympus, where they expected to find him at that time of day sleeping upon his throne, and at their mercy. And so indeed they did find him. But, to their dismay, there sat beside him a monstrous and terrible giant, with a hundred huge hands and fifty yawning mouths, and a hundred eyes wide awake and rolling. And so terrified were they by the unexpected sight, that they stood rooted to the spot by fear; and when Jupiter woke up and saw how matters were, they could only confess their treason and pray for pardon.

Thus Jupiter learned the lesson that a king must not venture to go to sleep, even on his throne, unless he is guarded by at least a hundred faithful hands, fifty shrewd brains, and a hundred vigilant eyes, which cannot happen often, since a Briareus is not to be found every day. But Jupiter thought that the plotters, or at least their ringleaders, deserved a lesson also. He thought it better to hush up the conspiracy, and not to make another scandal by punishing Juno. But he banished Apollo from Olympus for nine years as a punishment for having killed the Cyclopes, as you have read in the story of Marsyas; and he condemned Neptune, by way of hard labor, to build the walls of the famous city of Troy. And so the great Olympian conspiracy came to an end, and Jupiter remained more powerful than ever.

Neptune is chiefly known by his trident or three-pronged scepter, by means of which he causes earthquakes, and can bring up islands from the bottom of the sea. He had a great many sea-gods and sea-goddesses under him, his queen-consort being Amphitrīte. There were Oceanus and Tethys, the father and mother of all the Rivers: Triton, a strange god, in shape half man and half fish, who makes storms and calms by blowing a shell as if it were a horn; Proteus, who foretells the future to anybody who can find him on the sea-shore, catch him, and chain him up so that he cannot change his shape and escape into the sea; Nereus, with his long blue hair and beard. There were also the Nereids, his fifty daughters, among whom was Thetis; the Oceanides or sea-nymphs: and the Sirens—mermaids who drew sailors to their island by their wonderful singing, and then fell upon them and devoured them. There were the Harpies also: three horrible monsters, each with a woman's face, a vulture's body, and feet and hands having sharp claws for toes and fingers—these were the whirlwinds. But it is impossible to make a list of the wonders of the sea.


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

  WEEK 20  


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

Dick Whittington and His Cat

M ORE than five hundred years ago there was a little boy named Dick Whittington and this is true. His father and mother died when he was too young to work, and so poor little Dick was very badly off. He was quite glad to get the parings of the potatoes to eat and a dry crust of bread now and then, and more than that he did not often get, for the village where he lived was a very poor one and the neighbors were not able to spare him much.

Now the country folk in those days thought that the people of London were all fine ladies and gentlemen, and that there was singing and dancing all the day long, and so rich were they there that even the streets, they said, were paved with gold. Dick used to sit by and listen while all these strange tales of the wealth of London were told, and it made him long to go and live there and have plenty to eat and fine clothes to wear instead of the rags and hard fare that fell to his lot in the country.

So one day when a great wagon with eight horses stopped on its way through the village, Dick made friends with the wagoner and begged to be taken with him to London. The man felt sorry for poor little Dick when he heard that he had no father or mother to take care of him, and saw how ragged and how badly in need of help he was. So he agreed to take him, and off they set.

How far it was and how many days they took over the journey I do not know, but in due time Dick found himself in the wonderful city which he had heard so much of and pictured to himself so grandly. But oh! How disappointed he was when he got there. How dirty it was! And the people, how unlike the gay company, with music and singing, that he had dreamt of! He wandered up and down the streets, one after another, until he was tired out, but not one did he find that was paved with gold. Dirt in plenty he could see, but none of the gold that he thought to have put in his pockets as fast as he chose to pick it up.

Little Dick ran about till he was tired and it was growing dark. And at last he sat himself down in a corner and fell asleep. When morning came he was very cold and hungry, and though he asked every one he met to help him, only one or two gave him a halfpenny to buy some bread. For two or three days he lived in the streets in this way, only just able to keep himself alive, when he managed to get some work to do in a hayfield, and that kept him for a short time longer, till the haymaking was over.

After this he was as badly off as ever, and did not know where to turn. One day in his wanderings he lay down to rest in the doorway of the house of a rich merchant whose name was Fitzwarren. But here he was soon seen by the cook-maid who was an unkind, bad-tempered woman, and she cried out to him to be off. "Lazy rogue," she called him; and she said she'd precious quick throw some dirty dishwater over him, boiling hot, if he didn't go. However, just then Mr. Fitzwarren himself came home to dinner, and when he saw what was happening, he asked Dick why he was lying there. "You're old enough to be at work, my boy," he said. "I'm afraid you have a mind to be lazy."


"Indeed, sir," said Dick to him, "indeed that is not so"; and he told him how hard he had tried to get work to do, and how ill he was for want of food. Dick, poor fellow, was now so weak that though he tried to stand he had to lie down again, for it was more than three days since he had had anything to eat at all. The kind merchant gave orders for him to be taken into the house and gave him a good dinner, and then he said that he was to be kept, to do what work he could to help the cook.

And now Dick would have been happy enough in this good family if it had not been for the ill-natured cook, who did her best to make life a burden to him.


Night and morning she was for ever scolding him. Nothing he did was good enough. It was "Look sharp here" and "Hurry up there," and there was no pleasing her. And many's the beating he had from the broomstick or the ladle, or whatever else she had in her hand.


At last it came to the ears of Miss Alice, Mr. Fitzwarren's daughter, how badly the cook was treating poor Dick. And she told the cook that she would quickly lose her place if she didn't treat him more kindly, for Dick had become quite a favorite with the family.

After that the cook's behavior was a little better, but Dick still had another hardship that he bore with difficulty. For he slept in a garret where were so many holes in the walls and the floor, that every night as he lay in bed the room was overrun with rats and mice, and sometimes he could hardly sleep a wink. One day when he had earned a penny for cleaning a gentleman's shoes, he met a little girl with a cat in her arms and asked whether she would not sell it to him. "Yes, she would," she said, though the cat was such a good mouser that she was sorry to part with her. This just suited Dick, who kept pussy up in his garret, feeding her on scraps of his own dinner that he saved for her every day. In a little while he had no more bother with the rats and mice. Puss soon saw to that, and he slept sound every night.


Soon after this Mr. Fitzwarren had a ship ready to sail; and as it was his custom that all his servants should be given a chance of good fortune as well as himself, he called them all into the counting-house and asked them what they would send out.

They all had something that they were willing to venture except poor Dick, who had neither money nor goods, and so could send nothing. For this reason he did not come into the room with the rest. But Miss Alice guessed what was the matter, and ordered him to be called in. She then said, "I will lay down some money for him out of my own purse"; but her father told her that would not do, for it must be something of his own.

When Dick heard this he said, "I have nothing whatever but a cat, which I bought for a penny some time ago."

"Go, my boy, fetch your cat then," said his master, "and let her go."

Dick went upstairs and fetched poor puss, but there were tears in his eyes when he gave her to the captain. "For," he said, "I shall now be kept awake all night by the rats and mice." All the company laughed at Dick's odd venture, and Miss Alice, who felt sorry for him, gave him some money to buy another cat.

Now this, and other marks of kindness shown him by Miss Alice, made the ill-tempered cook jealous of poor Dick, and she began to use him more cruelly than ever, and was always making game of him for sending his cat to sea. "What do you think your cat will sell for?" she'd ask. "As much money as would buy a stick to beat you with?"

At last poor Dick could not bear this usage any longer, and he thought he would run away. So he made a bundle of his things—he hadn't many—and started very early in the morning, on All-hallows Day, the first of November. He walked as far as Holloway, and there he sat down to rest on a stone, which to this day, they say, is called "Whittington's Stone," and began to wonder to himself which road he should take.


While he was thinking what he should do the Bells of Bow Church in Cheapside began to chime, and as they rang he fancied that they were singing over and over again:

"Turn again, Whittington,

Lord Mayor of London."

"Lord Mayor of London!" said he to himself. "Why, to be sure, wouldn't I put up with almost anything now to be Lord Mayor of London, and ride in a fine coach, when I grow to be a man! Well, I'll go back, and think nothing of the cuffing and scolding of the cross old cook if I am to be Lord Mayor of London at last."

So back he went, and he was lucky enough to get into the house, and set about his work before the cook came down.

But now you must hear what befell Mrs. Puss all this while. The ship Unicorn  that she was on was a long time at sea, and the cat made herself useful, as she would, among the unwelcome rats that lived on board too. At last the ship put into harbor on the coast of Barbary, where the only people are the Moors. They had never before seen a ship from England, and flocked in numbers to see the sailors, whose different color and foreign dress were a great wonder to them. They were soon eager to buy the goods with which the ship was laden, and patterns were sent ashore for the King to see. He was so much pleased with them that he sent for the captain to come to the palace, and honored him with an invitation to dinner. But no sooner were they seated, as is the custom there, on the fine rugs and carpets that covered the floor, than great numbers of rats and mice came scampering in, swarming over all the dishes, and helping themselves from all the good things there were to eat. The captain was amazed, and wondered whether they didn't find such a pest most unpleasant.

"Oh yes," said they, "it was so, and the King would give half his treasure to be freed of them, for they not only spoil his dinner, but they even attack him in his bed at night, so that a watch has to be kept while he is sleeping, for fear of them."

The captain was overjoyed; he thought at once of poor Dick Whittington and his cat, and said he had a creature on board ship that would soon do for all these vermin if she were there. Of course, when the King heard this he was eager to possess this wonderful animal.

"Bring it to me at once," he said; "for the vermin are dreadful, and if only it will do what you say, I will load your ship with gold and jewels in exchange for it."

The captain, who knew his business, took care not to underrate the value of Dick's cat. He told His Majesty how inconvenient it would be to part with her, as when she was gone the rats might destroy the goods in the ship; however, to oblige the king, he would fetch her.

"Oh, make haste, do!" cried the Queen, "I, too, am all impatience to see this dear creature."

Off went the captain, while another dinner was got ready. He took Puss under his arm and got back to the palace just in time to see the carpet covered with rats and mice once again.


When Puss saw them, she didn't wait to be told, but jumped out of the captain's arms, and in no time almost all the rats and mice were dead at her feet, while, the rest of them had scuttled off to their holes in fright.


The King was delighted to get rid so easily of such an intolerable plague, and the Queen desired that the animal who had done them such a service might be brought to her. Upon which the captain called out, "Puss, Puss, Puss," and she came running to him. Then he presented her to the Queen, who was rather afraid at first to touch a creature who had made such a havoc with her claws. However, when the captain called her, "Pussy, pussy," and began to stroke her, the Queen also ventured to touch her and cried, "Putty, putty," in imitation of the captain, for she hadn't learned to speak English. He then put her on to the Queen's lap, where she purred and played with Her Majesty's hand and was soon asleep.

The King having seen what Mrs. Puss could do and learning that her kittens would soon stock the whole country, and keep it free from rats, after bargaining with the captain for the whole ship's cargo, then gave him ten times as much for the cat as all the rest amounted to.

The captain then said farewell to the court of Barbary, and after a fair voyage reached London again with his precious load of gold and jewels safe and sound.

One morning early Mr. Fitzwarren had just come to his counting-house and settled himself at the desk to count the cash, when there came a knock at the door. "Who's there?" said he. "A friend," replied a voice. "I come with good news of your ship the Unicorn."  The merchant in haste opened the door, and who were there but the ship's captain and the mate, bearing a chest of jewels and a bill of lading. When he had looked this over he lifted his eyes and thanked heaven for sending him such a prosperous voyage.

The honest captain next told him all about the cat, and showed him the rich present the King had sent for her to poor Dick. Rejoicing on behalf of Dick as much as he had done over his own good fortune, he called out to his servants to come and to bring up Dick:

"Go fetch him, and we'll tell him of his fame;

Pray call him Mr. Whittington by name."

The servants, some of them, hesitated at this, and said so great a treasure was too much for a lad like Dick; but Mr. Fitzwarren now showed himself the good man that he was and refused to deprive him of the value of a single penny. "God forbid!" he cried. "It's all his own, and he shall have it, to a farthing."

He then sent for Dick, who at the moment was scouring pots for the cook and was black with dirt. He tried to excuse himself from coming into the room in such a plight, but the merchant made him come, and had a chair set for him. And he then began to think they must be making game of him, so he begged them not to play tricks on a poor simple boy, but to let him go downstairs again back to his work in the scullery.

"Indeed, Mr. Whittington," said the merchant, "we are all quite in earnest with you, and I most heartily rejoice at the news that these gentlemen have brought. For the captain has sold your cat to the King of Barbary, and brings you in return for her more riches than I possess in the whole world; and may you long enjoy them!"

Mr. Fitzwarren then told the men to open the great treasure they had brought with them, saying, "There is nothing more now for Mr. Whittington to do but to put it in some place of safety."

Poor Dick hardly knew how to behave himself for joy. He begged his master to take what part of it he pleased, since he owed it all to his kindness. "No, no," answered Mr. Fitzwarren, "this all belongs to you; and I have no doubt that you will use it well."


Dick next begged his mistress, and then Miss Alice, to accept a part of his good fortune, but they would not, and at the same time told him what great joy they felt at his great success. But he was far too kind-hearted to keep it all to himself; so he made a present to the captain, the mate, and the rest of Mr. Fitzwarren's servants; and even to his old enemy, the cross cook.

After this Mr. Fitzwarren advised him to send for a tailor and get himself dressed like a gentleman, and told him he was welcome to live in his house till he could provide himself with a better.

When Whittington's face was washed, his hair curled, and he was dressed in a smart suit of clothes he was just as handsome and fine a young man as any who visited at Mr. Fitzwarren's, and so thought fair Alice Fitzwarren, who had once been so kind to him and looked upon him with pity. And now she felt he was quite fit to be her sweetheart, and none the less, no doubt, because Whittington was always thinking what he could do to please her, and making her the prettiest presents that could be.

Mr. Fitzwarren soon saw which way the wind blew, and ere long proposed to join them in marriage, and to this they both readily agreed. A day for the wedding was soon fixed; and they were attended to church by the Lord Mayor, the court of aldermen, the sheriffs, and a great number of the richest merchants in London, whom they afterwards treated with a magnificent feast.

History tells us that Mr. Whittington and his lady lived in great splendor, and were very happy. They had several children. He was Sheriff, and thrice Lord Mayor of London, and received the honor of knighthood from Henry V.


After the King's conquest of France, Sir Richard Whittington entertained him and the Queen at dinner at the Mansion House in so sumptuous a manner that the King said, "Never had Prince such a subject!" To which Sir Richard replied, "Never had subject such a Prince."


Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

Very Queer Spiders

I HAVE told you of the spider that dives. I also told you of the spider that makes a raft. The one that makes the round web is the garden spider.

There is a spider that runs on water. How can she do that? Have you seen boys dash about on ice with skates on their feet? Did you ever see a man walk on snow-shoes? This spider wears shoes.

They are shoes made for walking on the water. What are they like? They are like bags of air. It is as if she had a wee toy-balloon on each of her eight feet. She cannot sink.

There is one spider called a trap-door spider. She lives in the ground. She digs a tube down, and makes her nest deep in the earth.


Traps and Snares

Then she makes a door. It is a nice door at the top of the hole. It has a hinge. It will open and shut.

It is like the lid of a box. How does she make this? She spins a thick, round web. She fills it with earth.

Then she folds the web over, to hold in the dirt. She makes a hinge of web. This trap-door will open and shut. It is firm and strong.

But the odd thing is, that the spider plants moss or small ferns on this door! She digs the moss up, sets it on her door, and it grows well. These trap-door spiders eat ants and worms. When they come out of their holes, they leave the door wide open so that they can go back.

Once a man put a lady-bird at a spider's trap-door. She took it in to eat. She found it had too hard a shell for her to bite. So she took it back and laid it out by her door.

Then the man put a soft grub by the door, and the spider took that to eat. She did not bring that back. She ate it. Spiders now and then eat other spiders, but not often.

One kind of spider makes a tent of leaves. She ties the leaves down with silk. She lives in the tent and keeps her eggs there.

One garden spider makes a nest in the shape of a pear. One ties a little ball to stems of grass. Two or three stems are tied together to hold the ball firmly.

The young spiders have not their thick coats at first. Small spiders will stay by their mother and sit on her back. They act like the small chicks with the hen. Most spiders live only one year. Some live two. Others live over four.

There are some mason spiders. When a man is a mason, what does he do? In what does he work? There are mason wasps, and mason bees, and mason worms. Mason spiders make nests of clay.

They take the clay in small bits and build a clay mug. It is six inches long. They line it with thick silk. The door is like a box lid. It has a hinge.

Some spiders are so small you can hardly see them. One of the very wee ones is clear, bright red. Some are very big. The big ones are black, with spots and stripes, and have thick coats like fur.

If you could find a tower spider, or a trap-door spider, and sit down to watch it build or catch its food, I think you would be happy for a whole day, or for many days. The tower spider builds over her hole a neat tower two or three inches high; she sits on her tower. She has as many as fifty baby spiders at once. They sit on her back for four or five weeks, until they moult two or three times. They do not fight with each other.

When Mrs. Spider gets a fly or a bug for the little ones to eat, she crushes it, and the baby spiders come and suck the juice, as she holds the food for them.




I find earth not gray, but rosy,

Heaven not grim, but fair of hue.

Do I stoop, I pick a posy,

Do I stand and stare—all 's blue.


  WEEK 20  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Chariots of Fire around Elisha

II Kings vi: 8 to 23.

dropcap image HERE was constant war between Israel and Syria through all the years of Elisha, the prophet. And the king of Israel found Elisha a greater help than his horses and chariots. For whenever the king of Syria told his officers to make an attack upon any place in the land of Israel, Elisha would send word to the king of Israel, saying, "Watch carefully that place, and send men to guard it, for the Syrians are coming to attack it."

And then, when the Syrian army came to the place, they were sure to find it strongly guarded, so that their soldiers could do nothing. This happened so many times that the king of Syria at last said to his nobles, "Some one among you is secretly helping the king of Israel, and is sending him word of all our plans. Will no one tell me who the traitor is?"

And they said, "No one of us, my lord, O king, has made known your plans; but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your own room."

Then the king of Syria said, "Go and find where that man is, so that I may send an army to take him."

After a time the king of Syria heard that Elisha was staying in Dothan. Then he sent to that place a great army, with horses and chariots. They came by night, and stood in a great ring all around the city, ready to seize the prophet. In the morning the prophet's helper rose up early; and he found the city surrounded on every side by a host of men, with swords and spears. He called Elisha, in great alarm, and said to him, "O my master, what shall we do?"

"Fear not," answered Elisha, "there are more men on our side than on theirs."

And then Elisha prayed to the Lord, saying, "O Lord, open the eyes of this young man, and let him see who are with us."

Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw what other men could not see, that the mountain on which the city stood was covered with horses and chariots of fire, sent by the Lord to keep his prophet safe. But this the Syrians could not see; and they came up to the gates of the city to take Elisha. Then Elisha prayed to the Lord, saying, "Lord, make these men blind for a little while" Then a mist came over the eyes of the Syrians, and they could not see clearly. And Elisha went out to them, ad said, "This is not the right city, but I will show you the way. Follow me."

And Elisha led them from Dothan to Samaria, and into the walls of the city, where the army of Israel were standing all around them. Then Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see."

And the Lord opened their eyes, ad they saw the walls of Samaria, and the host of Israel all around them. The king of Israel was glad to have his enemies in his power; and he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?"

But Elisha said to him, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill helpless men whom you had taken as prisoners? Give them bread to eat, and water to drink, and send them home to their master."

So, instead of killing the Syrian soldiers or holding them as prisoners, the king of Israel set plenty of food before them, and gave them all that they needed. Then he sent them home to their master, the king of Syria. And after that it was a long time before the Syrian armies came into the land of Israel.


The Wind in the Willows  by Kenneth Grahame

The Open Road

Part 1 of 2

"R ATTY," said the Mole suddenly, one bright summer morning, "if you please, I want to ask you a favour."

The Rat was sitting on the river bank, singing a little song. He had just composed it himself, so he was very taken up with it, and would not pay proper attention to Mole or anything else. Since early morning he had been swimming in the river, in company with his friends the ducks. And when the ducks stood on their heads suddenly, as ducks will, he would dive down and tickle their necks, just under where their chins would be if ducks had chins, till they were forced to come to the surface again in a hurry, spluttering and angry and shaking their feathers at him, for it is impossible to say quite all  you feel when your head is under water. At last they implored him to go away and attend to his own affairs and leave them to mind theirs. So the Rat went away, and sat on the river bank in the sun, and made up a song about them, which he called



All along the backwater,

Through the rushes tall,

Ducks are a-dabbling,

Up tails all!

Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,

Yellow feet a-quiver,

Yellow bills all out of sight

Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth

Where the roach swim—

Here we keep our larder,

Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!

We  like to be

Heads down, tails up,

Dabbling free!

High in the blue above

Swifts whirl and call—

We  are down a-dabbling

Up tails all!

"I don't know that I think so very  much of that little song, Rat," observed the Mole cautiously. He was no poet himself and didn't care who knew it; and he had a candid nature.

"Nor don't the ducks neither," replied the Rat cheerfully. "They say, 'Why  can't fellows be allowed to do what they like when  they like and as  they like, instead of other fellows sitting on banks and watching them all the time and making remarks and poetry and things about them? What nonsense  it all is!' That's what the ducks say."

"So it is, so it is," said the Mole, with great heartiness.

"No, it isn't!" cried the Rat indignantly.

"Well then, it isn't, it isn't," replied the Mole soothingly. "But what I wanted to ask you was, won't you take me to call on Mr. Toad? I've heard so much about him, and I do so want to make his acquaintance."

"Why, certainly," said the good-natured Rat, jumping to his feet and dismissing poetry from his mind for the day. "Get the boat out, and we'll paddle up there at once. It's never the wrong time to call on Toad. Early or late he's always the same fellow. Always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorry when you go!"

"He must be a very nice animal," observed the Mole, as he got into the boat and took the sculls, while the Rat settled himself comfortably in the stern.

"He is indeed the best of animals," replied Rat. "So simple, so good-natured, and so affectionate. Perhaps he's not very clever—we can't all be geniuses; and it may be that he is both boastful and conceited. But he has got some great qualities, has Toady."

Rounding a bend in the river, they came in sight of a handsome, dignified old house of mellowed red brick, with well-kept lawns reaching down to the water's edge.

"There's Toad Hall," said the Rat; "and that creek on the left, where the notice-board says, 'Private. No landing allowed,' leads to his boat-house, where we'll leave the boat. The stables are over there to the right. That's the banqueting-hall you're looking at now—very old, that is. Toad is rather rich, you know, and this is really one of the nicest houses in these parts, though we never admit as much to Toad."

They glided up the creek, and the Mole slipped his sculls as they passed into the shadow of a large boat-house. Here they saw many handsome boats, slung from the cross-beams or hauled up on a slip, but none in the water; and the place had an unused and a deserted air.

The Rat looked around him. "I understand," said he. "Boating is played out. He's tired of it, and done with it. I wonder what new fad he has taken up now? Come along and let's look him up. We shall hear all about it quite soon enough."

They disembarked, and strolled across the gay flower-decked lawns in search of Toad, whom they presently happened upon resting in a wicker garden-chair, with a pre-occupied expression of face, and a large map spread out on his knees.

"Hooray!" he cried, jumping up on seeing them, "this is splendid!" He shook the paws of both of them warmly, never waiting for an introduction to the Mole. "How kind  of you!" he went on, dancing round them. "I was just going to send a boat down the river for you, Ratty, with strict orders that you were to be fetched up here at once, whatever you were doing. I want you badly—both of you. Now what will you take? Come inside and have something! You don't know how lucky it is, your turning up just now!"

"Let's sit quiet a bit, Toady!" said the Rat, throwing himself into an easy chair, while the Mole took another by the side of him and made some civil remark about Toad's "delightful residence."

"Finest house on the whole river," cried Toad boisterously. "Or anywhere else, for that matter," he could not help adding.

Here the Rat nudged the Mole. Unfortunately the Toad saw him do it, and turned very red. There was a moment's painful silence. Then Toad burst out laughing. "All right, Ratty," he said. "It's only my way, you know. And it's not such a very bad house, is it? You know you rather like it yourself. Now, look here. Let's be sensible. You are the very animals I wanted. You've got to help me. It's most important!"

"It's about your rowing, I suppose," said the Rat, with an innocent air. "You're getting on fairly well, though you splash a good bit still. With a great deal of patience and any quantity of coaching, you may—"

"O, pooh! boating!" interrupted the Toad, in great disgust. "Silly boyish amusement. I've given that up long  ago. Sheer waste of time, that's what it is. It makes me downright sorry to see you fellows, who ought to know better, spending all your energies in that aimless manner. No, I've discovered the real thing, the only genuine occupation for a lifetime. I propose to devote the remainder of mine to it, and can only regret the wasted years that lie behind me, squandered in trivialities. Come with me, dear Ratty, and your amiable friend also, if he will be so very good, just as far as the stable-yard, and you shall see what you shall see!"

He led the way to the stable-yard accordingly, the Rat following with a most mistrustful expression; and there, drawn out of the coach house into the open, they saw a gipsy caravan, shining with newness, painted a canary-yellow picked out with green, and red wheels.

"There you are!" cried the Toad, straddling and expanding himself. "There's real life for you, embodied in that little cart. The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs! Camps, villages, towns, cities! Here to-day, up and off to somewhere else to-morrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing! And mind! this is the very finest cart of its sort that was ever built, without any exception. Come inside and look at the arrangements. Planned 'em all myself, I did!"

The Mole was tremendously interested and excited, and followed him eagerly up the steps and into the interior of the caravan. The Rat only snorted and thrust his hands deep into his pockets, remaining where he was.

It was indeed very compact and comfortable. Little sleeping bunks—a little table that folded up against the wall—a cooking-stove, lockers, book-shelves, a bird-cage with a bird in it; and pots, pans, jugs, and kettles of every size and variety.

"All complete!" said the Toad triumphantly, pulling open a locker. "You see—biscuits, potted lobster, sardines—everything you can possibly want. Soda-water here—baccy there—letter-paper, bacon, jam, cards and dominoes—you'll find," he continued, as they descended the steps again, "you'll find that nothing whatever has been forgotten, when we make our start this afternoon."

"I beg your pardon," said the Rat slowly, as he chewed a straw, "but did I overhear you say something about 'we,'  and 'start,'  and 'this afternoon'?"

"Now, you dear good old Ratty," said Toad, imploringly, "don't begin talking in that stiff and sniffy sort of way, because you know you've got  to come. I can't possibly manage without you, so please consider it settled, and don't argue—it's the one thing I can't stand. You surely don't mean to stick to your dull fusty old river all your life, and just live in a hole in a bank, and boat?  I want to show you the world! I'm going to make an animal  of you, my boy!"

"I don't care," said the Rat, doggedly. "I'm not coming, and that's flat. And I am  going to stick to my old river, and  live in a hole, and  boat, as I've always done. And what's more, Mole's going to stick me and do as I do, aren't you, Mole?"

"Of course I am," said the Mole, loyally. "I'll always stick to you, Rat, and what you say is to be—has got to be. All the same, it sounds as if it might have been—well, rather fun, you know!" he added, wistfully. Poor Mole! The Life Adventurous was so new a thing to him, and so thrilling; and this fresh aspect of it was so tempting; and he had fallen in love at first sight with the canary-coloured cart and all its little fitments.

The Rat saw what was passing in his mind, and wavered. He hated disappointing people, and he was fond of the Mole, and would do almost anything to oblige him. Toad was watching both of them closely.

"Come along in, and have some lunch," he said, diplomatically, "and we'll talk it over. We needn't decide anything in a hurry. Of course, I  don't really care. I only want to give pleasure to you fellows. 'Live for others!' That's my motto in life."

During luncheon—which was excellent, of course, as everything at Toad Hall always was—the Toad simply let himself go. Disregarding the Rat, he proceeded to play upon the inexperienced Mole as on a harp. Naturally a voluble animal, and always mastered by his imagination, he painted the prospects of the trip and the joys of the open life and the roadside in such glowing colours that the Mole could hardly sit in his chair for excitement. Somehow, it soon seemed taken for granted by all three of them that the trip was a settled thing; and the Rat, though still unconvinced in his mind, allowed his good-nature to over-ride his personal objections. He could not bear to disappoint his two friends, who were already deep in schemes and anticipations, planning out each day's separate occupation for several weeks ahead.

When they were quite ready, the now triumphant Toad led his companions to the paddock and set them to capture the old grey horse, who, without having been consulted, and to his own extreme annoyance, had been told off by Toad for the dustiest job in this dusty expedition. He frankly preferred the paddock, and took a deal of catching. Meantime Toad packed the lockers still tighter with necessaries, and hung nose-bags, nets of onions, bundles of hay, and baskets from the bottom of the cart. At last the horse was caught and harnessed, and they set off, all talking at once, each animal either trudging by the side of the cart or sitting on the shaft, as the humour took him. It was a golden afternoon. The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying; out of thick orchards on either side the road, birds called and whistled to them cheerily; good-natured wayfarers, passing them, gave them "Good-day," or stopped to say nice things about their beautiful cart; and rabbits, sitting at their front doors in the hedgerows, held up their fore-paws, and said, "O my! O my! O my!"

Late in the evening, tired and happy and miles from home, they drew up on a remote common far from habitations, turned the horse loose to graze, and ate their simple supper sitting on the grass by the side of the cart. Toad talked big about all he was going to do in the days to come, while stars grew fuller and larger all around them, and a yellow moon, appearing suddenly and silently from nowhere in particular, came to keep them company and listen to their talk. At last they turned in to their little bunks in the cart; and Toad, kicking out his legs, sleepily said, "Well, good night, you fellows! This is the real life for a gentleman! Talk about your old river!"


Robert Louis Stevenson

The Sun Travels

The sun is not a-bed, when I

At night upon my pillow lie;

Still round the earth his way he takes,

And morning after morning makes.

While here at home, in shining day,

We round the sunny garden play,

Each little Indian sleepy-head

Is being kissed and put to bed.

And when at eve I rise from tea,

Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea;

And all the children in the west

Are getting up and being dressed.