WEEK 4 |
W HEN she opened her eyes in the morning it was because a young housemaid had come into her room to light the fire and was kneeling on the hearth-rug raking out the cinders noisily. Mary lay and watched her for a few moments and then began to look about the room. She had never seen a room at all like it and thought it curious and gloomy. The walls were covered with tapestry with a forest scene embroidered on it. There were fantastically dressed people under the trees and in the distance there was a glimpse of the turrets of a castle. There were hunters and horses and dogs and ladies. Mary felt as if she were in the forest with them. Out of a deep window she could see a great climbing stretch of land which seemed to have no trees on it, and to look rather like an endless, dull, purplish sea.
"What is that?" she said, pointing out of the window.
Martha, the young housemaid, who had just risen to her feet, looked and pointed also.
"That there?" she said.
"That's th' moor," with a good-natured grin. "Does tha' like it?"
"No," answered Mary. "I hate it."
"That's because tha'rt not used to it," Martha said, going back to her hearth. "Tha' thinks it's too big an' bare now. But tha' will like it."
"Do you?" inquired Mary.
"Aye, that I do," answered Martha, cheerfully polishing away at the grate. "I just love it. It's none bare. It's covered wi' growin' things as smells sweet. It's fair lovely in spring an' summer when th' gorse an' broom an' heather's in flower. It smells o' honey an' there's such a lot o' fresh air—an' th' sky looks so high an' th' bees an' skylarks makes such a nice noise hummin' an' singin'. Eh! I wouldn't live away from th' moor for anythin'."
Mary listened to her with a grave, puzzled expression. The native servants she had been used to in India were not in the least like this. They were obsequious and servile and did not presume to talk to their masters as if they were their equals. They made salaams and called them "protector of the poor" and names of that sort. Indian servants were commanded to do things, not asked. It was not the custom to say "please" and "thank you" and Mary had always slapped her Ayah in the face when she was angry. She wondered a little what this girl would do if one slapped her in the face. She was a round, rosy, good-natured looking creature, but she had a sturdy way which made Mistress Mary wonder if she might not even slap back—if the person who slapped her was only a little girl.
"You are a strange servant," she said from her pillows, rather haughtily.
Martha sat up on her heels, with her blacking-brush in her hand, and laughed, without seeming the least out of temper.
"Eh! I know that," she said. "If there was a grand Missus at Misselthwaite I should never have been even one of th' under housemaids. I might have been let to be scullery-maid but I'd never have been let up-stairs. I'm too common an' I talk too much Yorkshire. But this is a funny house for all it's so grand. Seems like there's neither Master nor Mistress except Mr. Pitcher an' Mrs. Medlock. Mr. Craven, he won't be troubled about anythin' when he's here, an' he's nearly always away. Mrs. Medlock gave me th' place out o' kindness. She told me she could never have done it if Misselthwaite had been like other big houses."
"Are you going to be my servant?" Mary asked, still in her imperious little Indian way.
Martha began to rub her grate again.
"I'm Mrs. Medlock's servant," she said stoutly. "An' she's Mr. Craven's—but I'm to do the housemaid's work up here an' wait on you a bit. But you won't need much waitin' on."
"Who is going to dress me?" demanded Mary.
Martha sat up on her heels again and stared. She spoke in broad Yorkshire in her amazement.
"Canna' tha' dress thysen!" she said.
"What do you mean? I don't understand your language," said Mary.
"Eh! I forgot," Martha said. "Mrs. Medlock told me I'd have to be careful or you wouldn't know what I was sayin'. I mean can't you put on your own clothes?"
"No," answered Mary, quite indignantly. "I never did in my life. My Ayah dressed me, of course."
"Well," said Martha, evidently not in the least aware that she was impudent, "it's time tha' should learn. Tha' cannot begin younger. It'll do thee good to wait on thysen a bit. My mother always said she couldn't see why grand people's children didn't turn out fair fools—what with nurses an' bein' washed an' dressed an' took out to walk as if they was puppies!"
"It is different in India," said Mistress Mary disdainfully. She could scarcely stand this.
But Martha was not at all crushed.
"Eh! I can see it's different," she answered almost sympathetically. "I dare say it's because there's such a lot o' blacks there instead o' respectable white people. When I heard you was comin' from India I thought you was a black too."
Mary sat up in bed furious.
"What!" she said. "What! You thought I was a native. You—you daughter of a pig!"
Martha stared and looked hot.
"Who are you callin' names?" she said. "You needn't be so vexed. That's not th' way for a young lady to talk. I've nothin' against th' blacks. When you read about 'em in tracts they're always very religious. You always read as a black's a man an' a brother. I've never seen a black an' I was fair pleased to think I was goin' to see one close. When I come in to light your fire this mornin' I crep' up to your bed an' pulled th' cover back careful to look at you. An' there you was," disappointedly, "no more black than me—for all you're so yeller."
Mary did not even try to control her rage and humiliation.
"You thought I was a native! You dared! You don't know anything about natives! They are not people—they're servants who must salaam to you. You know nothing about India. You know nothing about anything!"
She was in such a rage and felt so helpless before the girl's simple stare, and somehow she suddenly felt so horribly lonely and far away from everything she understood and which understood her, that she threw herself face downward on the pillows and burst into passionate sobbing. She sobbed so unrestrainedly that good-natured Yorkshire Martha was a little frightened and quite sorry for her. She went to the bed and bent over her.
"Eh! you mustn't cry like that there!" she begged. "You mustn't for sure. I didn't know you'd be vexed. I don't know anythin' about anythin'—just like you said. I beg your pardon, Miss. Do stop cryin'."
There was something comforting and really friendly in her queer Yorkshire speech and sturdy way which had a good effect on Mary. She gradually ceased crying and became quiet. Martha looked relieved.
"It's time for thee to get up now," she said. "Mrs. Medlock said I was to carry tha' breakfast an' tea an' dinner into th' room next to this. It's been made into a nursery for thee. I'll help thee on with thy clothes if tha'll get out o' bed. If th' buttons are at th' back tha' cannot button them up tha'self."
When Mary at last decided to get up, the clothes Martha took from the wardrobe were not the ones she had worn when she arrived the night before with Mrs. Medlock.
"Those are not mine," she said. "Mine are black."
She looked the thick white wool coat and dress over, and added with cool approval:
"Those are nicer than mine."
"These are th' ones tha' must put on," Martha answered. "Mr. Craven ordered Mrs. Medlock to get 'em in London. He said 'I won't have a child dressed in black wanderin' about like a lost soul,' he said. 'It'd make the place sadder than it is. Put color on her.' Mother she said she knew what he meant. Mother always knows what a body means. She doesn't hold with black hersel'."
"I hate black things," said Mary.
The dressing process was one which taught them both something. Martha had "buttoned up" her little sisters and brothers but she had never seen a child who stood still and waited for another person to do things for her as if she had neither hands nor feet of her own.
"Why doesn't tha' put on tha' own shoes?" she said when Mary quietly held out her foot.
"My Ayah did it," answered Mary, staring. "It was the custom."
She said that very often—"It was the custom." The native servants were always saying it. If one told them to do a thing their ancestors had not done for a thousand years they gazed at one mildly and said, "It is not the custom" and one knew that was the end of the matter.
It had not been the custom that Mistress Mary should do anything but stand and allow herself to be dressed like a doll, but before she was ready for breakfast she began to suspect that her life at Misselthwaite Manor would end by teaching her a number of things quite new to her—things such as putting on her own shoes and stockings, and picking up things she let fall. If Martha had been a well-trained fine young lady's maid she would have been more subservient and respectful and would have known that it was her business to brush hair, and button boots, and pick things up and lay them away. She was, however, only an untrained Yorkshire rustic who had been brought up in a moorland cottage with a swarm of little brothers and sisters who had never dreamed of doing anything but waiting on themselves and on the younger ones who were either babies in arms or just learning to totter about and tumble over things.
If Mary Lennox had been a child who was ready to be amused she would perhaps have laughed at Martha's readiness to talk, but Mary only listened to her coldly and wondered at her freedom of manner. At first she was not at all interested, but gradually, as the girl rattled on in her good-tempered, homely way, Mary began to notice what she was saying.
"Eh! you should see 'em all," she said. "There's twelve of us an' my father only gets sixteen shilling a week. I can tell you my mother's put to it to get porridge for 'em all. They tumble about on th' moor an' play there all day an' mother says th' air of th' moor fattens 'em. She says she believes they eat th' grass same as th' wild ponies do. Our Dickon, he's twelve years old and he's got a young pony he calls his own."
"Where did he get it?" asked Mary.
"He found it on th' moor with its mother when it was a little one an' he began to make friends with it an' give it bits o' bread an' pluck young grass for it. And it got to like him so it follows him about an' it lets him get on its back. Dickon's a kind lad an' animals likes him."
Mary had never possessed an animal pet of her own and had always thought she should like one. So she began to feel a slight interest in Dickon, and as she had never before been interested in any one but herself, it was the dawning of a healthy sentiment. When she went into the room which had been made into a nursery for her, she found that it was rather like the one she had slept in. It was not a child's room, but a grown-up person's room, with gloomy old pictures on the walls and heavy old oak chairs. A table in the center was set with a good substantial breakfast. But she had always had a very small appetite, and she looked with something more than indifference at the first plate Martha set before her.
"I don't want it," she said.
"Tha' doesn't want thy porridge!" Martha exclaimed incredulously.
"Tha' doesn't know how good it is. Put a bit o' treacle on it or a bit o' sugar."
"I don't want it," repeated Mary.
"Eh!" said Martha. "I can't abide to see good victuals go to waste. If our children was at this table they'd clean it bare in five minutes."
"Why?" said Mary coldly.
"Why!" echoed Martha. "Because they scarce ever had their stomachs full in their lives. They're as hungry as young hawks an' foxes."
"I don't know what it is to be hungry," said Mary, with the indifference of ignorance.
Martha looked indignant.
"Well, it would do thee good to try it. I can see that plain enough," she said outspokenly. "I've no patience with folk as sits an' just stares at good bread an' meat. My word! don't I wish Dickon and Phil an' Jane an' th' rest of 'em had what's here under their pinafores."
"Why don't you take it to them?" suggested Mary.
"It's not mine," answered Martha stoutly. "An' this isn't my day out. I get my day out once a month same as th' rest. Then I go home an' clean up for mother an' give her a day's rest."
Mary drank some tea and ate a little toast and some marmalade.
"You wrap up warm an' run out an' play you," said Martha. "It'll do you good and give you some stomach for your meat."
Mary went to the window. There were gardens and paths and big trees, but everything looked dull and wintry.
"Out? Why should I go out on a day like this?"
"Well, if tha' doesn't go out tha'lt have to stay in, an' what has tha' got to do?"
Mary glanced about her. There was nothing to do. When Mrs. Medlock had prepared the nursery she had not thought of amusement. Perhaps it would be better to go and see what the gardens were like.
"Who will go with me?" she inquired.
"You'll go by yourself," she answered. "You'll have to learn to play like other children does when they haven't got sisters and brothers. Our Dickon goes off on th' moor by himself an' plays for hours. That's how he made friends with th' pony. He's got sheep on th' moor that knows him, an' birds as comes an' eats out of his hand. However little there is to eat, he always saves a bit o' his bread to coax his pets."
It was really this mention of Dickon which made Mary decide to go out, though she was not aware of it. There would be birds outside though there would not be ponies or sheep. They would be different from the birds in India and it might amuse her to look at them.
Martha found her coat and hat for her and a pair of stout little boots and she showed her her way down-stairs.
"If tha' goes round that way tha'll come to th' gardens," she said, pointing to a gate in a wall of shrubbery. "There's lots o' flowers in summer-time, but there's nothin' bloomin' now." She seemed to hesitate a second before she added, "One of th' gardens is locked up. No one has been in it for ten years."
"Why?" asked Mary in spite of herself. Here was another locked door added to the hundred in the strange house.
"Mr. Craven had it shut when his wife died so sudden. He won't let no one go inside. It was her garden. He locked th' door an' dug a hole and buried th' key. There's Mrs. Medlock's bell ringing—I must run."
After she was gone Mary turned down the walk which led to the door in the shrubbery. She could not help thinking about the garden which no one had been into for ten years. She wondered what it would look like and whether there were any flowers still alive in it. When she had passed through the shrubbery gate she found herself in great gardens, with wide lawns and winding walks with clipped borders. There were trees, and flower-beds, and evergreens clipped into strange shapes, and a large pool with an old gray fountain in its midst. But the flower-beds were bare and wintry and the fountain was not playing. This was not the garden which was shut up. How could a garden be shut up? You could always walk into a garden.
She was just thinking this when she saw that, at the end of the path she was following, there seemed to be a long wall, with ivy growing over it. She was not familiar enough with England to know that she was coming upon the kitchen-gardens where the vegetables and fruit were growing. She went toward the wall and found that there was a green door in the ivy, and that it stood open. This was not the closed garden, evidently, and she could go into it.
She went through the door and found that it was a garden with walls all round it and that it was only one of several walled gardens which seemed to open into one another. She saw another open green door, revealing bushes and pathways between beds containing winter vegetables. Fruit-trees were trained flat against the wall, and over some of the beds there were glass frames. The place was bare and ugly enough, Mary thought, as she stood and stared about her. It might be nicer in summer when things were green, but there was nothing pretty about it now.
Presently an old man with a spade over his shoulder walked through the door leading from the second garden. He looked startled when he saw Mary, and then touched his cap. He had a surly old face, and did not seem at all pleased to see her—but then she was displeased with his garden and wore her "quite contrary" expression, and certainly did not seem at all pleased to see him.
"What is this place?" she asked.
"One o' th' kitchen-gardens," he answered.
"What is that?" said Mary, pointing through the other green door.
"Another of 'em," shortly. "There's another on t'other side o' th' wall an' there's th' orchard t'other side o' that."
"Can I go in them?" asked Mary.
"If tha' likes. But there's nowt to see."
Mary made no response. She went down the path and through the second green door. There she found more walls and winter vegetables and glass frames, but in the second wall there was another green door and it was not open. Perhaps it led into the garden which no one had seen for ten years. As she was not at all a timid child and always did what she wanted to do, Mary went to the green door and turned the handle. She hoped the door would not open because she wanted to be sure she had found the mysterious garden—but it did open quite easily and she walked through it and found herself in an orchard. There were walls all round it also and trees trained against them, and there were bare fruit-trees growing in the winter-browned grass—but there was no green door to be seen anywhere. Mary looked for it, and yet when she had entered the upper end of the garden she had noticed that the wall did not seem to end with the orchard but to extend beyond it as if it enclosed a place at the other side. She could see the tops of trees above the wall, and when she stood still she saw a bird with a bright red breast sitting on the topmost branch of one of them, and suddenly he burst into his winter song—almost as if he had caught sight of her and was calling to her.
She stopped and listened to him and somehow his cheerful, friendly little whistle gave her a pleased feeling—even a disagreeable little girl may be lonely, and the big closed house and big bare moor and big bare gardens had made this one feel as if there was no one left in the world but herself. If she had been an affectionate child, who had been used to being loved, she would have broken her heart, but even though she was "Mistress Mary Quite Contrary" she was desolate, and the bright-breasted little bird brought a look into her sour little face which was almost a smile. She listened to him until he flew away. He was not like an Indian bird and she liked him and wondered if she should ever see him again. Perhaps he lived in the mysterious garden and knew all about it.
Perhaps it was because she had nothing whatever to do that she thought so much of the deserted garden. She was curious about it and wanted to see what it was like. Why had Mr. Archibald Craven buried the key? If he had liked his wife so much why did he hate her garden? She wondered if she should ever see him, but she knew that if she did she should not like him, and he would not like her, and that she should only stand and stare at him and say nothing, though she should be wanting dreadfully to ask him why he had done such a queer thing.
"People never like me and I never like people," she thought. "And I never can talk as the Crawford children could. They were always talking and laughing and making noises."
She thought of the robin and of the way he seemed to sing his song at her, and as she remembered the tree-top he perched on she stopped rather suddenly on the path.
"I believe that tree was in the secret garden—I feel sure it was," she said. "There was a wall round the place and there was no door."
She walked back into the first kitchen-garden she had entered and found the old man digging there. She went and stood beside him and watched him a few moments in her cold little way. He took no notice of her and so at last she spoke to him.
"I have been into the other gardens," she said.
"There was nothin' to prevent thee," he answered crustily.
"I went into the orchard."
"There was no dog at th' door to bite thee," he answered.
"There was no door there into the other garden," said Mary.
"What garden?" he said in a rough voice, stopping his digging for a moment.
"The one on the other side of the wall," answered Mistress Mary. "There are trees there—I saw the tops of them. A bird with a red breast was sitting on one of them and he sang."
To her surprise the surly old weather-beaten face actually changed its expression. A slow smile spread over it and the gardener looked quite different. It made her think that it was curious how much nicer a person looked when he smiled. She had not thought of it before.
He turned about to the orchard side of his garden and began to whistle—a low soft whistle. She could not understand how such a surly man could make such a coaxing sound.
Almost the next moment a wonderful thing happened. She heard a soft little rushing flight through the air—and it was the bird with the red breast flying to them, and he actually alighted on the big clod of earth quite near to the gardener's foot.
"Here he is," chuckled the old man, and then he spoke to the bird as if he were speaking to a child.
"Where has tha' been, tha' cheeky little beggar?" he said. "I've not seen thee before to-day. Has tha' begun tha' courtin' this early in th' season? Tha'rt too forrad."
The bird put his tiny head on one side and looked up at him with his soft bright eye which was like a black dewdrop. He seemed quite familiar and not the least afraid. He hopped about and pecked the earth briskly, looking for seeds and insects. It actually gave Mary a queer feeling in her heart, because he was so pretty and cheerful and seemed so like a person. He had a tiny plump body and a delicate beak, and slender delicate legs.
"Will he always come when you call him?" she asked almost in a whisper.
"Aye, that he will. I've knowed him ever since he was a fledgling. He come out of th' nest in th' other garden an' when first he flew over th' wall he was too weak to fly back for a few days an' we got friendly. When he went over th' wall again th' rest of th' brood was gone an' he was lonely an' he come back to me."
"What kind of a bird is he?" Mary asked.
"Doesn't tha' know? He's a robin redbreast an' they're th' friendliest, curiousest birds alive. They're almost as friendly as dogs—if you know how to get on with 'em. Watch him peckin' about there an' lookin' round at us now an' again. He knows we're talkin' about him."
It was the queerest thing in the world to see the old fellow. He looked at the plump little scarlet-waistcoated bird as if he were both proud and fond of him.
"He's a conceited one," he chuckled. "He likes to hear folk talk about him. An' curious—bless me, there never was his like for curiosity an' meddlin'. He's always comin' to see what I'm plantin'. He knows all th' things Mester Craven never troubles hissel' to find out. He's th' head gardener, he is."
The robin hopped about busily pecking the soil and now and then stopped and looked at them a little. Mary thought his black dewdrop eyes gazed at her with great curiosity. It really seemed as if he were finding out all about her. The queer feeling in her heart increased.
"Where did the rest of the brood fly to?" she asked.
"There's no knowin'. The old ones turn 'em out o' their nest an' make 'em fly an' they're scattered before you know it. This one was a knowin' one an' he knew he was lonely."
Mistress Mary went a step nearer to the robin and looked at him very hard.
"I'm lonely," she said.
She had not known before that this was one of the things which made her feel sour and cross. She seemed to find it out when the robin looked at her and she looked at the robin.
The old gardener pushed his cap back on his bald head and stared at her a minute.
"Art tha' th' little wench from India?" he asked.
"Then no wonder tha'rt lonely. Tha'lt be lonelier before tha's done," he said.
He began to dig again, driving his spade deep into the rich black garden soil while the robin hopped about very busily employed.
"What is your name?" Mary inquired.
He stood up to answer her.
"Ben Weatherstaff," he answered, and then he added with a surly chuckle, "I'm lonely mysel' except when he's with me," and he jerked his thumb toward the robin. "He's th' only friend I've got."
"I have no friends at all," said Mary. "I never had. My Ayah didn't like me and I never played with any one."
It is a Yorkshire habit to say what you think with blunt frankness, and old Ben Weatherstaff was a Yorkshire moor man.
"Tha' an' me are a good bit alike," he said. "We was wove out of th' same cloth. We're neither of us good lookin' an' we're both of us as sour as we look. We've got the same nasty tempers, both of us, I'll warrant."
This was plain speaking, and Mary Lennox had never heard the truth about herself in her life. Native servants always salaamed and submitted to you, whatever you did. She had never thought much about her looks, but she wondered if she was as unattractive as Ben Weatherstaff and she also wondered if she looked as sour as he had looked before the robin came. She actually began to wonder also if she was "nasty tempered." She felt uncomfortable.
Suddenly a clear rippling little sound broke out near her and she turned round. She was standing a few feet from a young apple-tree and the robin had flown on to one of its branches and had burst out into a scrap of a song. Ben Weatherstaff laughed outright.
"What did he do that for?" asked Mary.
"He's made up his mind to make friends with thee," replied Ben. "Dang me if he hasn't took a fancy to thee."
"To me?" said Mary, and she moved toward the little tree softly and looked up.
"Would you make friends with me?" she said to the robin just as if she was speaking to a person. "Would you?" And she did not say it either in her hard little voice or in her imperious Indian voice, but in a tone so soft and eager and coaxing that Ben Weatherstaff was as surprised as she had been when she heard him whistle.
"Why," he cried out, "tha' said that as nice an' human as if tha' was a real child instead of a sharp old woman. Tha' said it almost like Dickon talks to his wild things on th' moor."
"Do you know Dickon?" Mary asked, turning round rather in a hurry.
"Everybody knows him. Dickon's wanderin' about everywhere. Th' very blackberries an' heather-bells knows him. I warrant th' foxes shows him where their cubs lies an' th' skylarks doesn't hide their nests from him."
Mary would have liked to ask some more questions. She was almost as curious about Dickon as she was about the deserted garden. But just that moment the robin, who had ended his song, gave a little shake of his wings, spread them and flew away. He had made his visit and had other things to do.
"He has flown over the wall!" Mary cried out, watching him. "He has flown into the orchard—he has flown across the other wall—into the garden where there is no door!"
"He lives there," said old Ben. "He came out o' th' egg there. If he's courtin', he's makin' up to some young madam of a robin that lives among th' old rose-trees there."
"Rose-trees," said Mary. "Are there rose-trees?"
Ben Weatherstaff took up his spade again and began to dig.
"There was ten year' ago," he mumbled.
"I should like to see them," said Mary. "Where is the green door? There must be a door somewhere."
Ben drove his spade deep and looked as uncompanionable as he had looked when she first saw him.
"There was ten year' ago, but there isn't now," he said.
"No door!" cried Mary. "There must be."
"None as any one can find, an' none as is any one's business. Don't you be a meddlesome wench an' poke your nose where it's no cause to go. Here, I must go on with my work. Get you gone an' play you. I've no more time."
And he actually stopped digging, threw his spade over his shoulder and walked off, without even glancing at her or saying good-by.
Some of the children were pleased, and some were not.
"What shall we write about?" they asked.
"You may choose any subject that you like best," said the teacher.
Some of them thought that "Home" was a good subject. Others liked
"School." One little boy chose
The next day, every pupil except one had written a composition.
"Henry Longfellow," said the teacher, "why have you not written?"
"Because I don't know how," answered Henry. He was only a child.
"Well," said the teacher, "you can write words, can you not?"
"Yes, sir," said the boy.
"After you have written three or four words, you can put them together, can you not?"
"Yes, sir; I think so."
"Well, then," said the teacher, "you may take your slate and go out behind the schoolhouse for half an hour. Think of something to write about, and write the word on your slate. Then try to tell what it is, what it is like, what it is good for, and what is done with it. That is the way to write a composition."
Henry took his slate and went out. Just behind the schoolhouse was Mr. Finney's barn. Quite close to the barn was a garden. And in the garden, Henry saw a turnip.
"Well, I know what that is," he said to himself; and he wrote the word turnip on his slate. Then he tried to tell what it was like, what it was good for, and what was done with it.
Before the half hour was ended he had written a very neat composition on his slate. He then went into the house, and waited while the teacher read it.
The teacher was surprised and pleased. He said, "Henry Longfellow, you have done very well. Tomorrow you may stand up before the school and read what you have written about the turnip."
Many years after that, some funny little verses about Mr. Finney's turnip were printed in a newspaper. Some people said that they were what Henry Longfellow wrote on his slate that day at school.
But this was not true. Henry's composition was not in verse. As soon as it was read to the school, he rubbed it off the slate, and it was forgotten.
Perhaps you would like to read those funny verses. Here they are; but you must never, never, NEVER think that Henry Longfellow wrote them.
Mr. Finney had a turnip,
And it grew, and it grew;
It grew behind the barn,
And the turnip did no harm.
And it grew, and it grew,
Till it could grow no taller;
Then Mr. Finney took it up,
And put it in the cellar.
There it lay, there it lay,
Till it began to rot;
Then Susie Finney washed it
And put it in a pot.
She boiled it, and boiled it,
As long as she was able;
Then Mrs. Finney took it,
And put it on the table.
Mr. Finney and his wife
Both sat down to sup;
And they ate, and they ate,
They ate the turnip up.
All the school children in our country have heard of Henry W. Longfellow. He was the best loved of all our poets. He wrote "The Village Blacksmith," "The Children's Hour," and many other beautiful pieces which you will like to read and remember.
Weatherby George Dupree
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he:
"You must never go down to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me."
Put on a golden gown,
Drove to the end of the town.
Said to herself, said she:
"I can get right down to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea."
Put up a notice,
"LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED!
SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN MISLAID.
QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD,
SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN TO THE END
OF THE TOWN—FORTY SHILLINGS
(Commonly known as Jim)
Not to go blaming him.
Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he:
"You must never go down to the end of the town
without consulting me."
Hasn't been heard of since.
Said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
"If people go down to the end of the town, well,
what can anyone do?"
(Now then, very softly)
W. G. Du P.
C/o his M*****
Though he was only 3.
Said to his M*****
"M*****," he said, said he:
WEEK 4 |
A FTER the second coming of Cæsar, years passed during which the Romans left the Britons in peace. But they had by no means forgotten about the little green island in the blue sea.
Julius Cæsar had been dead many years when a Roman emperor called Caligula said he would go to Britain and thoroughly conquer the island. He did not mean to land and fight in one small part of it as Julius Cæsar had done. He meant to march over the island, north, south, east, and west, and bring it all under the power of Rome. That is what he said he was going to do. What he really did was something quite different.
He gathered a great army and marched from Italy right through France till he reached the coast. There news came to him that Guilderius, the king of Britain, had heard of his coming and had also gathered his soldiers together.
Caligula must have been afraid when he heard that the brave Britons were ready to fight him, for this is how he conquered Britain.
He drew his soldiers up in battle array upon the shore. Then he himself went into his galley and told his sailors to row him out to sea. After they had rowed him a short way he told them to return. When he had landed again he climbed into a high seat like a pulpit, which he had built on the sands. Then he sounded a trumpet and ordered his soldiers to advance as if to battle.
But there was no enemy there. In front of the soldiers there was nothing but the blue sea and the sandy shore covered with shells. They could not fight against the waves and the sand, and the brave Britons, whom they had come to fight, were far away on the other side of the water and quite out of reach.
So the soldiers stood and wondered what to do. Then Caligula ordered them to kneel down upon the sand and gather as many shells as they could.
The first thing a Roman was taught, was to obey. So now the soldiers did as their general commanded and gathered the cockle shells which lay around in hundreds.
It must have been a curious sight to see all these strong
soldiers, armed with sword, shield, and helmet, picking up
shells upon the
When they had gathered a great quantity, Caligula made a speech. He thanked the soldiers as if they had done him some great service. He told them that now he had conquered the ocean and the islands in it, and that these shells were the spoils of war. He praised the soldiers for their bravery, and said that the shells should be placed in the temples of Rome in remembrance of it. Then he rewarded them richly and they marched home again.
That was how Caligula conquered Britain.
After the death of Caligula, another Roman called Claudius tried to conquer Britain. He sent generals and came himself, but he could not thoroughly subdue the Britons. A few chiefs indeed owned themselves beaten, but others would not. They would rather die than be slaves of Rome, they said.
Among those who would not yield was a brave man called Caractacus. A great many of the Britons joined him and fought under his orders. Caractacus and his men fought well and bravely, but in the end the Romans defeated them.
After many battles Caractacus chose for his camp a place on
the top of a hill on the borders of Shropshire, Cheshire,
and Lancashire. There he made a very strong fortress
surrounded by three walls and a deep ditch. The walls were
so well built that after all these long years they can still
be seen quite plainly
When the Roman soldiers came to the foot of the hill,
Caractacus prepared for battle. He called his soldiers
together and made a speech to them. "Show yourselves to be
men," he said.
Then all the Britons called out, "We will die for our country." The noise of their shouts was carried by the wind to the camp of the Romans. It sounded to them as if the Britons were rejoicing. The Romans feared Caractacus. They knew how brave he and his men were. They knew that it would be very difficult to take his strong fortress. Yet they felt quite sure of taking it in the end, and they wondered what cause the Britons had for rejoicing.
And it happened as the Romans expected. After fierce fighting and great slaughter on both sides the camp was taken. Caractacus, his wife and daughter, and all his brothers were made prisoner and led in chains to Rome, and there was great sorrow in Britain.
Whenever a Roman emperor returned from battle and victory, he used to have what was called a Triumph. Every one in Rome had a holiday; the streets were gay with flowers and green wreaths. The conqueror, dressed in beautiful robes and wearing a crown of bay leaves, rode through the streets. He was followed by his soldiers, servants, and friends. Then came a long train of the captives he had made during the war, with the armour, weapons, jewels, and other riches he had taken from the conquered people.
After the war with Britain was over Claudius had a Triumph. The fame of Caractacus had already reached Rome, and when it became known that he had been taken prisoner and would walk in the Triumph there was great excitement. The people crowded into the streets eager to see this brave warrior. And although in chains he looked so proud and noble that many even of the Romans were sorry for him.
When he was brought before the Emperor and Empress, Claudius and Agrippina, he did not behave like a slave or a captive, but like the freeborn king and Briton he was.
"I am as nobly born as you," he said proudly to Claudius. "I had men and horses, lands and great riches. Was it wonderful that I wished to keep them? You fight to gain possession of the whole world and make all men your slaves, but I fought for my own land and for freedom. Kill me now and people will think little of you: but if you grant me my life, all men will know that you are not only powerful but merciful."
Instead of being angry, Claudius was pleased with the proud
words of Caractacus. He was so pleased that he set him at
liberty with his wife and all his family. But whether
Caractacus ever returned to his dear country, or whether he
died in that
A STER, the starfish, was hungry.
Aster was hungry so often that he did not wait long between meals. His favorite food was the mussels with dark purple shells and orange flesh. Thousands of them lived at the foot of Holiday Cliff. They could not hide or run away, for they had fastened themselves so firmly to the rocks that they could not pull themselves loose in time to escape.
As Aster was ready for dinner or luncheon, he walked to a colony of the purple mussels. How do you suppose he walked? Not by moving the five points or arms of his star, as you can move your hand by "walking" with your fingers. When Aster was ready to travel, he used hundreds of little, soft tubes on the under side of his queer body.
Each tube was about three-quarters of an inch long. It ended in a round sucker that could catch hold of rocks or shells. By stretching out some tube-feet and letting go with others, Aster managed to crawl over the stones. When he was going at top speed he walked six inches in a minute. But he did not walk steadily as fast as that, since he often stopped to feel things that were in the way. It was only when he was in a great hurry that he walked as far as twenty feet in an hour.
Of course he had to guide the movements of his many tube-feet. Otherwise he might crawl out into Holiday Bay instead of reaching the rocks where the mussels lived. He could not look to see where he was going although he had five eyes—one small red speck at the tip of each of his five arms. The best these eyes could do, however, was to tell light from darkness, so they were of no help to him in hunting for something to eat.
As Aster crawled, he stretched out a feeler from the tip of each arm, near an eye. These feelers looked much like tube-feet though they had no suckers at the ends. Aster groped here and there with his feeler-feet, somewhat as a blind man feels with his hands or his cane. These strange little organs had more than a sense of touch. They had a sense of taste, much like a sense of smell, as well. So by groping and smelling, Aster found his way to his food without needing eyes to help him.
When Aster came near them, the mussels shut their shells just as tightly as they could. But that did not bother the hungry starfish. He straddled a mussel, humped his body over it, and fastened the suckers of his tube-feet to its shell. Then he began to pull. For a while the mussel kept its shell shut; but Aster pulled and pulled and pulled until finally the purple shell opened.
At last the starfish was ready to eat. But he could not put the mussel into his mouth, or tear it to pieces as Hermit, the crab, tears clams. How was he to get his meal?
Aster had his own way of eating. Squeezing some muscles inside his body, he pushed his stomach out through his mouth! Soon the stomach covered the open purple shell and the bright orange body inside. Then it began to digest that orange-colored food and in this way Aster got his nourishment. When nothing was left of the mussel but the shell, Aster drew his stomach back into his body again, and went off to rest under some seaweeds.
This starfish is trying to turn over. He was eating purple‑shelled mussels even when the tide was out.
Aster did not really know much about what was happening near him. With eyes that sensed no more than a difference between light and dark places, he could not really see his neighbors. And though he had all the nerves he needed, he had no brain and could do no thinking. He did not even get very well acquainted with Mrs. Aster, who also came to Holiday Bay and laid many thousands of eggs in its shallow water.
Mother Aster's eggs floated in the water. They hatched into tiny, colorless things shaped somewhat like bunches of little thumbs. They could swim by means of movable hairs, but most of the time they merely drifted about. When currents or waves brought them close to the shore, some of them were pulled into the mouths of barnacles or mussels. This happened so quickly that they knew nothing about it.
After a time the infant starfish that had escaped being eaten stopped drifting and caught hold of seaweeds or eel grass. There they ate, grew, and changed into blunt, five-pointed stars. Soon they were shaped enough like Mother Aster to resemble her, though they were still very, very small. When they dropped among pebbles and rocks, they began to creep on tiny tube-feet and hunt for food.
The young starfish did not need to be very particular about their diet. They ate baby barnacles and baby clams part of the time. For some of their meals they ate bits of decayed things they found on the bottom of the bay. In this way they helped keep the places near them clean and such food did them no harm whatever.
You may think that all Mother Aster's children would be pink, as she was. Some of them were, but others were orange or brown, and a few were red or blue or purple. Young brother and sister starfish of this kind may have complexions of very unlike colors.
Every little while one or another of Aster's brothers or sisters had an accident of some sort. Quite often a hungry fish would come near enough to nip off an arm. The loss of a mere arm or two, however, is not so serious a matter to a starfish as you might think it would be. Aster himself was once caught by a big crab and seemed in danger of being torn in two.
How do you suppose Aster escaped? He simply let go of the arm that the crab held. Then he crawled off to hide among rocks. Soon the wound healed and a new arm began to grow. In time this became as large and as strong as the arm that was eaten by the crab.
One of Aster's arms was eaten by a crab but a new one soon began to grow.
When the tide goes out, Aster and others of his kind lie under bunches of cool damp seaweed. Since they do not crawl very far, a number of them often crowd together beneath the same shelter. Lift a bunch of seaweed and you may find seven or eight starfish, all squeezed into one corner. Look to see if some of them have small arms growing to replace arms they have lost.
When you lift the seaweeds you may find several big purple starfish.
If you live on the Pacific coast, you will not meet starfish just like Aster on the rocks. Instead, when you lift the seaweeds, you will find several much bigger purple starfish. Turn one of these over and you may see that he can eat even while the tide is out, for he will probably be holding a mussel or two within reach of his stomach.
You also can see how he uses his tube-feet to turn himself right-side-up if you lay him on his back. First he twists his five arms. Then he reaches out with his feet and begins to pull. In much less time than you expect, he turns himself over and lies on the rock, ready to eat another meal.
Aster has many relatives in the sea and some of them come to Holiday Shore. Two of these relatives are called sun-stars. They have big, round bodies and more arms, or rays, than Aster has.
One sun-star is dark red. Its skin is rather smooth and it has from nine to eleven slender, pointed arms. You sometimes will find it in deep tide pools or will see it lying under water on the rocks below Holiday Point.
Beside the dark red sun-star in the tide pool you may find a very spiny sun-star with as many as fifteen arms. Its body is covered with bunches of little spines, with longer spines on the sides of the arms. Its color is buff or pink, with spots and lines of red or purple. This spiny starfish in Holiday Bay is generally small but on the Pacific coast there is another spiny sun-star with fifteen to twenty arms that often grows to be two feet across. Sometimes a giant starfish of this sort is even twice as large as that—the very biggest starfish in the world.
Still another of Aster's relatives lives on the rocks near Holiday Point. He likes to stay where the water is so deep that low tide will not leave him dry, though he may also be found in some of the tide pools at the foot of Holiday Cliff.
This relative is Spiny, the green sea urchin. As he lies on the bottom of a tide pool, Spiny looks like a flattened ball of spines. Watch him closely and you will see that the spines move. You know, then, that they are fastened to something beneath, with muscles that move them to and fro.
Spiny has a hard, nearly round shell in which there are many holes. Through some of these holes he breathes. Inside a big hole, at the center of his under side, is his mouth with its five strong teeth. On his top and sides are many small holes through which Spiny pokes long tube-feet.
You will see all these holes if you find an empty shell lying on the sand of Holiday Shore. You will also see many shiny knobs, to which the sharp green spines are fastened.
By means of these spines the sea urchin walks. With strong muscles he moves them about, like a boy walking on stilts. Spiny, however, has many stilts, not two only, and he is in no danger of falling. If the stilts do not work fast enough, he reaches out with a dozen or more tube-feet and pulls himself over the rocks.
Just now, Spiny is eating a meal. He has found a patch of mosslike animals that are relatives of the sea anemone. He cuts them with his five white teeth. Pieces that might float away are caught by many little pincers among his spines. With his tube-feet Spiny takes these bits from the pincers and puts them into his mouth.
Some of the other sea urchins are eating the green plants that cover many of the rocks. Crawling as they eat, they leave bare trails across the surfaces where they live.
If a sea urchin gets plenty to eat without moving, he may sit for weeks or even months in one spot. His spines and teeth scrape the rock away while he eats, until he settles into a deep cup-shaped hollow. While he is digging, day after day, the sea urchin grows, so he makes his hole bigger at the bottom. Sometimes you may find old sea urchins that cannot get out through the small openings at the top of the caves they have made while feeding.
A group of green sea urchins
Spiny is a little sea urchin not more than two or three inches wide when full grown. His spines are short. There are sea urchins belonging to this same species, or kind, living in many parts of the sea. Children on the shores of Germany watch urchins like Spiny in the tide pools. Eskimo boys and girls see them in Greenland. If you should travel along the Pacific coast, you would find Spinies of the same kind all the way from Washington to Alaska.
You would find urchins of two other kinds along the northern Pacific coast also, one that looks like a little purple brother and another three or four times as large as Spiny with long red or purple spines. But not even this large sea urchin has spines as long as those of a kind living on the coast of Ireland. An urchin that an Irish child might find has spines longer than its body is wide.
Here is something interesting you will wish to know about Aster and Spiny: They belong to the only important group of animals that has never ventured into fresh water or lived on land.
You can find some worms, snails, crabs, and so on, dwelling in creeks, ponds, and on land, while some of their relatives remain in the ocean. But neither land nor fresh water tempts a starfish or a sea urchin of any kind. They all still remain in the sea where they have lived for millions of years.
English children often dig in the sand for cake urchins. These creatures have hundreds of velvety spines, and crawl along just under the sand. Instead of biting off plants, they shovel sand into their mouths, eating tiny creatures that live in it. You have seen that some sea cucumbers get their food like this—and they are distant cousins of the cake urchin.
Heart urchins live in sand, too. They dig holes about nine inches deep, using their short, flattened spines. They plaster a chimney leading up to the water, using a sort of glue that they make. Their food must come in through that chimney, while the heart urchin lies in wait. A lazy way of living? Of course, but the heart urchin seems satisfied!
Sweet dreams, form a shade
O'er my lovely infant's head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!
Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown!
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o'er my happy child!
Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother's smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.
Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes!
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.
Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o'er thee thy mother weep.
Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me:
Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee!
Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are His own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.
WEEK 4 |
P ETER RABBIT, on his way to school to Old Mother Nature, was trying to make up his mind about which of his neighbors he would ask. He had learned so many surprising things about his own family that he shrewdly suspected many equally surprising things were to be learned about his neighbors. But there were so many neighbors he couldn't decide which one to ask about first.
But that matter was settled for him, and in a funny way. Hardly had he reached the edge of the Green Forest when he was hailed by a sharp voice. "Hello, Peter Rabbit!" said this sharp voice. "Where are you bound at this hour of the morning? You ought to be heading for home in the dear Old Briar-patch."
Peter knew that voice the instant he heard it. It was the voice of
Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel.
No one knows better than he the value of thrift.
"Going to school! Ho, ho, ho! Going to school!" exclaimed
"I'm going to school to Old Mother Nature," retorted Peter. "I've been going for several days, and so has my cousin, Jumper the Hare. We've learned a lot about our own family and now we are going to learn about the other little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows."
"Pooh!" exclaimed Happy Jack. "Pooh! I know all about my own family, and I guess there isn't much worth knowing about my neighbors that I don't know."
"Is that so, Mr. Know-it-all," retorted Peter. "I don't believe you even know all your own cousins. I thought I knew all mine, but I found I didn't."
"What are you fellows talking about?" asked another voice, a sharp scolding voice, and Chatterer the Red Squirrel jumped from one tree to another just above Peter's head.
"Peter is trying to make me believe that I don't know as much as I
might about our own family," snapped
"Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't," retorted
Chatterer, who isn't
the best of friends with his cousin,
Peter said that he thought it would be a very fine thing and that
Chatterer never would regret it. Chatterer winked at his cousin,
"Hello!" exclaimed Old Mother Nature, as
Happy Jack and Chatterer appeared to have lost their tongues,
something very unusual for them, especially for Chatterer. The
fact is, in the presence of Old Mother Nature they felt bashful.
Peter replied for them. "They've decided to come to school,
too," said he.
"It won't take us long to find out," said Old Mother Nature softly and her eyes twinkled with amusement. "How many cousins have you, Happy Jack?"
Happy Jack thought for a moment. "Three," he replied, but he
didn't say it in a very positive way. Peter chuckled to himself,
for he knew that already doubt was beginning to grow in
"Name them," commanded Old Mother Nature promptly.
"Chatterer the Red Squirrel, Timmy the Flying Squirrel, and
Striped Chipmunk," replied
"He's forgotten Rusty the Fox Squirrel," shouted Chatterer, dancing about gleefully.
His coat varies from red to gray.
Happy Jack looked crestfallen and gave Chatterer an angry look.
"That's right, Chatterer," said Old Mother Nature. "Rusty is a very important member of the Squirrel family. Now suppose you name the others."
"Wha—wha—what others?" stammered Chatterer. "I don't know of any others."
Peter Rabbit hugged himself with glee as he watched the faces of
As for Old Mother Nature, she smiled indulgently. "Put on your
Chatterer looked at Happy Jack, and Happy Jack looked at Chatterer,
and each scratched his head. Each wanted to be the first to think
of that other cousin, for each was jealous of the other. But though
they scratched and scratched their heads, they couldn't think who
that other cousin could be. Old Mother Nature waited a few minutes
before she told them. Then, seeing that either they couldn't
remember or didn't know, she said, "You didn't mention
"Johnny Chuck!" exclaimed Chatterer and Happy Jack together, and the look of surprise on their faces was funny to see. For that matter, the looks on the faces of Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare were equally funny.
Old Mother Nature nodded. "Johnny Chuck," she repeated. "He is a member of the Squirrel family. He belongs to the Marmot branch, but he is a Squirrel just the same. He is one of your cousins."
"He's a mighty funny looking Squirrel," said Chatterer, jerking his tail as only he can.
"That just shows your ignorance, Chatterer," replied Old Mother
Nature rather sharply. "I'm surprised at the ignorance of you
two." She looked first at Chatterer, than at
Happy Jack looked at Chatterer, Chatterer looked at Peter Rabbit, and Peter looked at Jumper the Hare. On the face of each was such a funny, puzzled expression that Old Mother Nature almost laughed right out. Finally Peter Rabbit found his tongue. "If you please," said he, "I guess we don't know what you mean by an order."
"I thought as much," said Old Mother Nature. "I thought as much. In the first place, the animals of the Great World are divided into big groups or divisions, and then these groups are divided into smaller groups, and these in turn into still smaller groups. Happy Jack and Chatterer belong to a group called the Squirrel family, and Peter and Jumper to a group called the Hare family. Both of these families and several other families belong to a bigger group called an order, and this order is the order of Gnawers, or Rodents."
His long legs and long ears show him to be a Hare, not a Rabbit.
Peter Rabbit fairly jumped up in the air, he was so excited. "Then Jumper and I must be related to Happy Jack and Chatterer," he cried.
"In a way you are," replied Old Mother Nature. "It isn't a very close relationship, still you are related. All of you are Rodents. So are all the members of the Rat and Mouse family, the Beaver family, the Porcupine family, the Pocket Gopher family, the Pika family, and the Sewellel family."
By this time Peter's eyes looked as if they would pop right out of his head. "This is the first time I've ever heard of some of those families," said he. "My, what a lot we have to learn! Is it because all the members of all those families have teeth for gnawing that they are all sort of related?"
Old Mother Nature looked pleased. "Peter," said she, "I think you
ought to go to the head of the class. That is just why. All the
members of all the families I have named belong to the same order,
the order of Rodents. All the members have big, cutting, front
teeth. Animals without such teeth cannot gnaw. Now, as you and
Jumper have learned about your family, it is the turn of
"Where does Striped Chipmunk come in?" asked Chatterer.
"I'm coming to that," replied Old Mother Nature. "The true Squirrels
are divided into the Tree Squirrels, Rock Squirrels, and Ground
Squirrels. Of course Chatterer and
"And Striped Chipmunk is a Ground Squirrel," interrupted Peter, looking as if he felt very much pleased with his own smartness.
Old Mother Nature shook her head. "You are wrong this time,
Peter," said she, and Peter looked as foolish as he felt. "Striped
Chipmunk is a Rock Squirrel.
So Peter and Jumper and Chatterer and Happy Jack thanked Old Mother Nature for what she had told them and scampered away. Peter headed straight for the far corner of the Old Orchard where he was sure he would find Johnny Chuck. He couldn't get there fast enough, for he wanted to be the first to tell Johnny Chuck that he was a Squirrel. You see he didn't believe that Johnny knew it.
The food eaten four or five hundred years ago was mostly coarse and unwholesome. The people were therefore very fond of all sorts of spices which they mixed with almost everything they ate. These spices were brought from Asia by caravans. It was chiefly to get to the land of spices by sea that Prince Henry the Navigator tried to send ships around the southern point of Africa. Columbus had also tried to reach the "Spice Islands" of Asia in his voyage to the west.
Now another Italian was to try it. This man was John Cabot [cab'-ot]. Like Columbus, he was probably born in or near the city of Genoa; like Columbus, he thought much about geography as it was then understood; and, like Columbus, he was a great traveler. He moved to Venice and then to Bristol in England.
The Italian merchants traveled farther than any others in that day. One of Cabot's long trading journeys had carried him into Arabia as far as the city of Mecca [mek'-kah]. Here he saw the caravans that brought their loads of costly spices on the backs of camels from the countries of the East. Now the people of Europe in Cabot's time, having very few printed books, knew almost nothing about these far-away Eastern countries.
"Where do these spices come from?" Cabot asked of the men belonging to the caravan.
They answered that they brought them from a country far to the east of Mecca, where they bought spices of other caravans which brought them from a land yet farther to the east. From this Cabot reasoned as Columbus had done, that, if he should sail to the west far enough, he would get round the world to the land of spices. It would be something like going about a house to come in by the back door.
While Cabot was living in England there came great news out of Spain. One Christopher Columbus, it was said, had discovered the coasts of India by sailing to the westward, for Columbus thought the land he had found a part of India. When this was told in England, people thought it "a thing more divine than human to sail by the west into the east." And when Cabot heard the story, there arose in his heart, as he said, "a great flame of desire to do some notable thing."
While Columbus had waited in discouragement for Ferdinand and Isabella to accept his project, he had sent his brother Bartholomew Columbus to Henry the Seventh, then King of England, to offer the plan to him. What answer the king gave to Bartholomew is not known, for, before the latter got back to Spain, Christopher Columbus had returned from his first voyage.
But now for this same King Henry of England Cabot offered to make a voyage like that of Columbus. As the Atlantic had already once been crossed, the king readily agreed to allow Cabot to sail under his authority.
In May, 1497, Cabot set sail from Bristol in a small vessel with eighteen men, mostly Englishmen. Cabot sailed much farther north than Columbus, and he appears to have discovered first the island of Cape Breton, now part of the Dominion of Canada. He went ashore on the 24th of June, and planted a large cross and the flag of England, as well as the flag of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. He also discovered the mainland of North America. Cabot was thus the first to see the American continent. Columbus discovered the mainland of South America a year later. Cabot did not see any Indians, but he brought back some of their traps for catching wild animals.
He got back to England in August, having been gone but three months. He brought news that he had discovered the territory of the Emperor of China. The king gave him a pension, he dressed himself in silks, and was called "The Great Admiral." It is to be feared this sudden rise in the world puffed him up a great deal. To one of his companions he promised an island, and another island he was going to bestow on his barber! On the strength of these promises, both of these men set themselves up for counts!
That there were many fish on the new coast was a fact which impressed the practical Bristol people, though Cabot had no thought of engaging in fishery. He imagined that by sailing a little farther south than before he might come to the large island that Marco Polo called Cipango, and we now call Japan. He did not know that the far-off country he had seen was not half so far away as Japan. Cabot believed that all the spices and precious stones in the world came from Cipango.
King Henry the Seventh fitted out Cabot with another and much larger expedition. This expedition went far to the north along the coast of America, and then away to the south as far as the shores of what is now the State of North Carolina. Cabot found Indians dressed in skins, and possessing no metal but a little copper. He found no gold, and he brought back no spices. The island of Cipango and the territories of the Emperor of China he looked for in vain, though he was sure that he had reached the coast of Asia.
Cabot's crew brought back stories of seas so thick with codfish that their vessels were made to move more slowly by them. They even told of bears swimming out into the sea and catching codfish in their claws. But the English people lost interest in voyages that brought neither gold nor spices, and we do not know anything more about John Cabot.
John Cabot's second son, Sebastian, who was with him on this voyage, became, like his father, famous for his knowledge of geography, and was sometimes employed by the King of Spain and sometimes by the King of England. He promoted expeditions to try to find a way to China by the north of Europe. When a very old man he took a great interest in the sailing of a new expedition of discovery, and visited with a company of ladies and gentlemen the Search-thrift, a little vessel starting on a voyage of exploration to the northeast. Having tasted of "such good cheer" as the sailors could make aboard the ship, and after making them liberal presents, the little company went ashore and dined at the sign of the "Christopher," where the lively old gentleman for joy, as it is said, at the "towardness" of the discovery, danced with the rest of "the young company," after which he and his friends departed, "most gently commending" the sailors to the care of God.
"Speak! speak! thou fearful guest!
Who, with thy hollow breast
Still in rude armor drest,
Comest to daunt me!
Wrapt not in Eastern balms,
But with thy fleshless palms
Stretched, as if asking alms,
Why dost thou haunt me?"
Then from those cavernous eyes
Pale flashes seemed to rise,
As when the Northern skies
Gleam in December;
And, like the water's flow
Under December's snow,
Came a dull voice of woe
From the heart's chamber.
"I was a Viking old!
My deeds, though manifold,
No Skald in song has told,
No Saga taught thee!
Take heed, that in thy verse
Thou dost the tale rehearse,
Else dread a dead man's curse;
For this I sought thee.
"Far in the Northern Land,
By the wild Baltic's strand,
I, with my childish hand,
Tamed the gerfalcon;
And, with my skates fast bound,
Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,
That the poor whimpering hound
Trembled to walk on.
"Oft to his frozen lair
Tracked I the grisly bear,
While from my path the hare
Fled like a shadow;
Oft through the forest dark
Followed the werewolf's bark,
Until the soaring lark
Sang from the meadow.
"But when I older grew,
Joining a corsair's crew,
O'er the dark sea I flew
With the marauders.
Wild was the life we led;
Many the souls that sped,
Many the hearts that bled,
By our stern orders.
"Many a wassail bout
Wore the long Winter out;
Often our midnight shout
Set the cocks crowing,
As we the Berserk's tale
Measured in cups of ale,
Draining the oaken pail
Filled to o'erflowing.
"Once as I told in glee
Tales of the stormy sea,
Soft eyes did gaze on me,
Burning yet tender;
And as the white stars shine
On the dark Norway pine,
On that dark heart of mine
Fell their soft splendor.
"I wooed the blue-eyed maid,
Yielding, yet half afraid,
And in the forest's shade
Our vows were plighted.
Under its loosened vest
Fluttered her little breast,
Like birds within their nest
By the hawk frighted.
"Bright in her father's hall
Shields gleamed upon the wall,
Loud sang the minstrels all,
Chanting his glory.
When of old Hildebrand
I asked his daughter's hand,
Mute did the minstrels stand
To hear my story.
"While the brown ale he quaffed,
Loud then the champion laughed,
And as the wind gusts waft
The sea foam brightly,
So the loud laugh of scorn,
Out of those lips unshorn,
From the deep drinking horn
Blew the foam lightly.
"She was a Prince's child,
I but a Viking wild,
And though she blushed and smiled,
I was discarded!
Should not the dove so white
Follow the sea mew's flight?
Why did they leave that night
Her nest unguarded?
"Scarce had I put to sea,
Bearing the maid with me,—
Fairest of all was she
Among the Norsemen!—
When on the white sea strand,
Waving his armèd hand,
Saw we old Hildebrand
With twenty horsemen.
"Then launched they to the blast,
Bent like a reed each mast,
Yet we were gaining fast,
When the wind failed us;
And with a sudden flaw
Came round the gusty Skaw,
So that our foe we saw
Laugh as he hailed us.
"And as to catch the gale
Round veered the flapping sail,
'Death!' was the helmsman's hail,
'Death without quarter!'
Midships with iron keel
Struck we her ribs of steel;
Down her black hulk did reel
Through the black water!
"As with his wings aslant,
Sails the fierce cormorant,
Seeking some rocky haunt,
With his prey laden,
So toward the open main,
Beating to sea again,
Through the wild hurricane,
Bore I the maiden.
"Three weeks we westward bore,
And when the storm was o'er,
Cloud-like we saw the shore
Stretching to leeward!
There for my lady's bower
Built I the lofty tower
Which to this very hour
Stands looking seaward.
"There lived we many years;
Time dried the maiden's tears;
She had forgot her fears,
She was a mother;
Death closed her mild blue eyes;
Under that tower she lies;
Ne'er shall the sun arise
On such another!
"Still grew my bosom then,
Still as a stagnant fen!
Hateful to me were men,
The sunlight hateful!
In the vast forest here,
Clad in my warlike gear,
Fell I upon my spear,
Oh, death was grateful!
"Thus, seamed with many scars,
Bursting these prison bars,
Up to its native stars
My soul ascended!
There from the flowing bowl,
Deep drinks the warrior's soul,
Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!"
Thus the tale ended.
WEEK 4 |
Now in the Kingdom of Burgundy the court sat in the city of Worms, a city built on the banks of the great Rhine river.
At this court dwelt a beautiful Princess named Kriemhild. More beautiful was she than any other maiden in the wide world. Gentle and kind too she was, so that her fame had spread to many a far-off land.
The King, her father, had died when Kriemhild was a tiny maiden. Her mother was Queen Uté, who loved well her beautiful and gentle daughter.
But though the maiden's father was dead, she was well guarded by her three royal brothers, King Gunther, King Gernot, and King Giselher.
It was King Gunther, Kriemhild's eldest brother, who sat upon the throne, and it was to him that the liegemen took their oath of fealty.
King Gunther's chief counsellor was his uncle, a cruel man, whose name was Hagen.
There was great wealth and splendour at the Court of Worms, and many nobles and barons flocked thither to take service under King Gunther's banners.
Now one night it chanced that Kriemhild dreamed a strange dream. As she lay in her soft, white bed it seemed to the Princess that a beautiful hawk, with feathers of gold, came and perched upon her wrist.
Strong and wild was the bird, but in her dream Kriemhild fondled and petted it until it grew quiet and tame. Then the Princess dressed herself for the hunt, and with her hawk on her wrist set out with her three royal brothers to enjoy the sport.
No sooner, however, did the maiden loosen the hawk from off her wrist than it soared upward toward the bright blue sky.
Then the dream-maiden saw two mighty eagles swoop down upon her petted hawk, and bearing it away in their cruel talons, tear it into pieces.
When the Princess awoke and remembered her dream she trembled for fear. In the early dawn the beautiful maiden slipped into her mother's bower. Perchance the Queen would be able to tell her the meaning of her dream.
Queen Uté listened kindly to her daughter's fears, but when she heard of the two cruel eagles she covered her face with her fair white hands and answered slowly: "The hawk, my daughter, is a noble knight who shall be thy husband, but, alas, unless God defend him from his foes, thou shalt lose him ere he has long been thine."
But the beautiful maiden tossed her head, forgetting the sorrow of her dream, and cried with a light heart, "O lady mother, I wish no knight to woo me from thy side. Merry and glad is my life here in our court at Worms, and here will I dwell with thee and my three royal brothers."
"Nay," said the Queen, "speak not thus, fair daughter, for God will send to thee a noble knight and strong."
Yet still the maiden laughed. She knew not that even now a hero of great renown was on his way to the royal city, a hero who already bore the maiden's image in his heart, and hoped to win her one day for his bride.
The Peacock, they say, did not at first have the beautiful feathers in which he now takes so much pride. These, Juno, whose favorite he was, granted to him one day when he begged her for a train of feathers to distinguish him from the other birds. Then, decked in his finery, gleaming with emerald, gold, purple, and azure, he strutted proudly among the birds. All regarded him with envy. Even the most beautiful pheasant could see that his beauty was surpassed.
Presently the Peacock saw an Eagle soaring high up in the blue sky and felt a desire to fly, as he had been accustomed to do. Lifting his wings he tried to rise from the ground. But the weight of his magnificent train held him down. Instead of flying up to greet the first rays of the morning sun or to bathe in the rosy light among the floating clouds at sunset, he would have to walk the ground more encumbered and oppressed than any common barnyard fowl.
Do not sacrifice your freedom for the sake of pomp and show.
Jane Jones keeps talkin' to me all the time,
An' says "You must make it a rule
To study your lessons an' work hard an' learn,
An' never be absent from school.
Remember the story of Elihu Burritt,
An' how he clum up to the top,
Got all the knowledge 'at he ever had
Down in a blacksmithing shop.
Jane Jones she honestly said it was so!
Mebbe he did—
O' course what 's a keepin' me 'way from the top,
Is not never havin' no blacksmithing shop.
She said that Ben Franklin was awfully poor,
But full of ambition an' brains;
An' studied philosophy all his hull life,
An' see what he got for his pains!
He brought electricity out of the sky,
With a kite an' a bottle an' key,
An' we're owing him more 'n any one else
For all the bright lights 'at we see.
Jane Jones she honestly said it was so!
Mebbe he did—
O' course what's allers been hinderin' me
Is not havin' any kite, lightning, er key.
Jane Jones said Abe Lincoln had no books at all
An' used to split rails when a boy;
An' General Grant was a tanner by trade
An' lived way out in Ill'nois.
So when the great war in the South first broke out
He stood on the side o' the right,
An' when Lincoln called him to take charge o' things,
He won nearly every blamed fight.
Jane Jones she honestly said it was so!
Mebbe he did—
Still I ain't to blame, not by a big sight,
For I ain't never had any battles to fight.
She said 'at Columbus was out at the knees
When he first thought up his big scheme,
An' told all the Spaniards 'nd Italians, too,
An' all of 'em said 't was a dream.
But Queen Isabella jest listened to him,
'Nd pawned all her jewels o' worth,
'Nd bought him the Santa Maria, 'nd said,
"Go hunt up the rest o' the earth!"
Jane Jones she honestly said it was so!
Mebbe he did—
O' course that may be, but you must allow
They ain't no land to discover jest now!—
WEEK 4 |
"In later years a time will come when ocean shall relax his bars,
and a vast territory shall appear."
—Seneca (died 67 A.D.)
W E now come to one of the most romantic chapters in the world's history—the conquest of Mexico by Hernando Cortes, and the tragic end of Mexico's native king, Montezuma.
A new and glorious world had been thrown open. No longer did the Spanish sailors recoil with horror at the thought of the dark and stormy waters of the broad Atlantic. There was treasure beyond. Was it not a land of gold and pearls? Ship after ship sailed across in safety, always making for Hayti or Cuba, the West Indies of Columbus. From these centres the Spaniards sailed to unknown coasts, and wandered about strange new countries.
One day in the year 1518, some Spaniards, sailing west from Cuba, landed on soil and met natives, whom they at once recognised as different to any they had seen before. They were astonished to see houses built of stone and lime, the soil cultivated, gold ornaments on the people, and delicately made cotton garments. They gave the Spaniards rich treasures of jewels, and golden ornaments of wondrous form and workmanship. Surely here was a rich country, a country which must be conquered for Spain as soon as possible.
A messenger was sent off to the mother country with news of this rich discovery and its treasures of gold. The king—no longer Ferdinand—was pleased; and he soon selected a rich subject, Fernando Cortes, to take charge of an expedition to this new country, which the natives called Mexico. Cortes had already been to Cuba. He was delighted at the prospect of his new work. He received his instructions from the King of Spain. He was to convert the Indians of Mexico to the Christian faith; he was to impress on them the greatness of Spain, to which country they should in future look for protection, showing their good will by presents of pearls, gold, and precious jewels. All was to be done for the service of God and the king.
On the 18th of November 1518, Cortes set sail from Spain. His banner was a red cross set amid flames of blue and white, on a background of black velvet and gold, bearing the motto: "Friends, let us follow the cross, and under this sign we shall conquer."
Arrived at Cuba he mustered his forces. There were one hundred and ten sailors, five hundred and fifty-three soldiers, two hundred natives from Cuba, together with ten heavy guns and sixteen horses. A small enough force for the conquest of Mexico. Before embarking, Cortes addressed his men.
"I hold out to you a glorious prize," he said, "but it is to be won by incessant toil. Be true to me, as I will be true to you. You are few in number but strong in resolution, and if this does not fail, the Almighty, who has never deserted the Spaniard in his contest with the heathen, will shield you, for your cause is a just one, and you are to fight under the banner of the cross."
With great enthusiasm for their leader Cortes, they crossed over to the coast of Mexico. It was April 21—Good Friday—in the year 1519, when Cortes landed his little force on the very spot where now stands the modern town of Vera Cruz. Little did he think, as he set foot on this desolate beach, that one day a flourishing city should arise to be a market of Eastern trade and the commercial capital of New Spain.
Natives now flocked to the shore, bringing presents to the Spanish general,—fine cottons, feather-work cloaks, and ornaments of gold,—till the men grew enthusiastic over the riches of Mexico. Cortes asked if he could see the ruler of this rich country. He told them all about the great King of Spain, who had sent him thither. That there should be another ruler in the world as great as their great emperor Montezuma surprised the natives not a little. They must go and tell him all this news.
Then a curious thing happened. One native took a pencil and sketched, on a piece of canvas or cotton, pictures of the Spaniards—their dress, their shining helmets, their pointed beards, their arms. Nothing was lost on these Mexican painters. They drew the ships—the water-houses as they called them—with their dark hulls and snow-white sails, as they swung lazily at anchor in the bay. To impress them yet more deeply, Cortes ordered his soldiers to go through some of their military exercises on horseback. The clever management of the fiery horses on the wet sand, the shrill blast of the trumpets, the shining swords, filled the natives with surprise. But when they heard the thunder of the guns, and saw the smoke and flame of the cannon, they were filled with terror.
They must indeed go and tell their great Montezuma of all they had seen and heard, and they would bring the Spaniards word again whether he would grant Cortes an audience.
P ROMETHEUS turned out to be quite right in saying that men would give more trouble to Jupiter than the Titans or the Giants, or anything that had ever been made. As time went on, men became more and more wicked every day.
Now there lived in Thessaly, on the banks of a river, a man and his wife, named Deucalion and Pyrrha. I think they must have been good people, and not like all the other men and women in the world. One day, Deucalion noticed that the water in the river was rising very high. He did not think much of it at the time, but the next day it was higher, and the next higher still. At last the river burst its banks, and spread over the country, sweeping away houses and drowning many people.
Deucalion and Pyrrha escaped out of their own house just in time, and went to the top of a mountain. But, to their terror, the waters still kept on spreading and rising, until all the plain of Thessaly looked like a sea, and the tops of the hills like islands.
"The water will cover the hills soon," said Deucalion, "and then the mountains. What shall we do?"
Pyrrha thought for a moment, and then said:—
"I have heard that there is a very wise man on the top of Mount Caucasus who knows everything. Let us go to him, and perhaps he will tell us what to do and what all this water means."
So they went down the other side, and went on and on till they reached the great Caucasian mountains, which are the highest in all Europe, and are always covered with snow. They climbed up to the highest peak, and there they saw a man, chained to the ice, with a vulture tearing and gnawing him. It was Prometheus, who had made the first man.
Deucalion tried to drive the horrible bird away. But Prometheus said:—
"It is no use. You can do nothing for me. Not even the Great Flood will drive this bird away, or put me out of my pain."
"Ah! the Great Flood!" cried Deucalion and Pyrrha together. "We have left it behind us—are we safe up here?"
"You are safe nowhere," said Prometheus. "Soon the waters will break over the mountains round Thessaly and spread over the whole world. They will rise and rise till not even this peak will be seen. Jupiter is sending this flood to sweep away from the face of the earth the wickedness of man. Not one is to be saved. Even now, there is nobody left alive but you two."
Deucalion and Pyrrha looked: and, in the distance, they saw the waters coming on, and rising above the hills.
"But perhaps," said Prometheus, "Jupiter may not wish to punish you. I cannot tell. But I will tell you what to do—it may save you. Go down the mountain till you come to a wood, and cut down a tree." Then he told them how to make a boat—for nobody knew anything about boats in those days. Then he bade them good bye, and they went down the hill sorrowfully, wishing they could help Prometheus, and doubting if they could help themselves.
They came to the wood, and made the boat—just in time. The water rose; but their boat rose with the water. At last even the highest peak of Caucasus was covered, and they could see nothing but the sky above them and the waters round. Then the clouds gathered and burst, and the sky and the sea became one great storm.
For nine days and nights their little boat was tossed about by the winds and waves. But on the tenth day, as if by magic, the sky cleared, the water went down, and their boat was left high and dry on the top of a hill.
They knelt, and thanked Jupiter, and went down the hill hand in hand—the only man and the only woman in the whole world. They did not even know where they were.
But presently they met, coming up the hill, a form like a woman, only grander and more beautiful. They were afraid. But at last they had courage to ask:—
"Who are you? And where are we?"
"This hill is Mount Parnassus; and I am Themis, the goddess of Justice," said she. "I have finished my work upon the earth, and am on my way home to the sky. I know your story. Live, and be good, and be warned by what has happened to all other men."
"But what is the use of our living?" they asked, "and what is the use of this great world to us two? For we have no children to come after us when we die."
"What you say is just," said the goddess of Justice. "Jupiter will be pleased enough to give this empty world to a wiser and better race of men. But he will be quite as content without them. In short, you may have companions, if you want them, and if you will teach them to be better and wiser than the old ones. Only you must make them for yourselves."
"But how can we make men?" asked they.
"I will tell you. Throw your grandmother's bones behind you without looking round."
"Our grandmother's bones? But how are we to find them after this flood, or to know which are hers?"
"The gods," said Themis, "tell people what to do, but not how it is to be done." And she vanished into the air.
I think Themis was right. All of us are taught what we ought to do; but we are usually left to ask ourselves whether any particular thing is right or wrong.
Deucalion and Pyrrha asked one another; but neither knew what to say. The whole world, after the Great Flood, was full of bones everywhere. Which were their grandmother's, and where? They wandered about over half the world trying to find them, but all in vain, till they thought they would have to give it up in despair.
At last, however, Pyrrha said to Deucalion:—
"I have a thought. We are all called the children of Jupiter, you know, because he is called the father of gods and men. And Jupiter and all the gods are the children of Cœlus and Terra. Now, if we are the children of Jupiter, and Jupiter is the child of Terra, then Terra must be our grandmother. And Terra is the Earth; so our grandmother is the Earth, you see."
"But," asked Deucalion, "what about the bones?"
"What are the bones of the Earth but the stones?" said Pyrrha. "The stones must be our Grandmother's Bones."
"I don't think you're right," said Deucalion. "It's much too easy a thing—only to throw a few stones. But there's no harm in trying."
So they gathered two heaps of stones, one for him and one for her, and threw the stones behind them, over their shoulders, without turning round—just as Themis had told them.
When they had thrown away all their stones, they looked to see if anything had happened. And lo! every stone thrown by Pyrrha had become a woman, and every stone thrown by Deucalion had become a man.
So they kept on throwing stones till the world was full of men and women again. And Deucalion and Pyrrha became their king and queen.
WEEK 4 |
NCE upon a time there was a lad who was a fisherman, and every morning he shouldered his net, and went down to the river to catch fish to sell in the town.
One morning as he walked beside the edge of the water, he came upon a great tall stork caught in a trap that had been set for the water-rats.
It was a tender heart that the young fisherman had under his jacket, so when he saw Father Longlegs in such a pickle he waded out into the water, among the reeds and arrowheads to where the other was, and loosened the noose from about his leg.
The storks bring good-luck to folks some people say, and that was what happened to the young fisherman.
"One good turn deserves another," says Father Longlegs; "cross your heart three times, cast your net into the water yonder, and see what you catch." So the lad did as he was told, and when he drew his net to the shore, there was just one fish in it.
Yes; just one fish, but that was worth the catching, I can tell you, for the scales were all of pure silver and gold, so that it glistened like the moon on smooth ice, and it was most wonderful to see.
"There," says the stork; "and now if you have your wits about you, it is your fortune that you have caught out of the water. Take the fish up to the king's castle and show it to nobody but the king. When he sees it he will want to have it for his own and will be for buying it, but there is only one price you must ask for it, and that is to have the princess for your wife." That was what the stork said, and then he spread his wings and flew away over the house-tops.
So the lad wrapped the fish up in a clean white napkin and laid it in a wicker basket, and then off he marched to the king's castle to try his luck there, as the stork had said.
Rap! tap! tap! He knocked at the door.
Well, and what did he want?
Oh, he had brought a fish that he had caught over at the river yonder, but he would show it to nobody but the king himself.
No, it did no good for them to ask and to question and to talk; what he had said he had said. So at last they had to take him up-stairs, and there was the king sitting upon a golden throne with a golden crown upon his head and a golden sceptre in his hand.
"Well, and why do you wish to see me?" That was what the king said.
It was no word that the lad spoke with his tongue, but he just unfolded the napkin, and showed the king what he had brought in the wicker basket.
When the king saw the gold-and-silver fish, he thought he had never seen anything so wonderful in all of his life before. Then it was just as the stork had said. He must and would have the fish, no matter what it cost; and what would the lad take for it?
Why, the body over at the river yonder, who had put the lad up to catching the fish, had told him that there was only one price to be asked for it. Now, if the king would let him have the princess for his wife, he might have the fish and welcome; for that was the price, and the long and the short of it.
Well, the king hemmed and hawed, but he did not speak the little word "no;" and after a while he said he would send for the princess, and see what she had to say about it. So the princess came, and she was a beauty I can tell you, for the very sight of her was enough to make one's heart melt inside of one, like a lump of butter in the oven. And as for the wits of her, why, she was just as smart as she was pretty (which is saying much and a little over), and that is why the king had sent for her, for he wanted to get the gold-and-silver fish without paying the price for it.
"Yes," says the princess when the king had told her all. "I am ready enough to marry the lad, only he must promise to do one thing first."
Dear, dear, how the lad's heart jumped inside of him at that. He was willing enough to promise whatever was asked, for he would do anything to marry the princess, now that he had seen how pretty she was.
"Very well, then," said the princess, "just bring me the key of wish-house and I will marry you."
"There," said the king, "that is a bargain; go and bring the key of wish-house and you shall marry the princess; and you may just leave the fish here until you come back again. And don't show your face about here without the key, if you wish to keep your head upon your shoulders."
So off went the lad from the king's castle, with nothing at all in his pocket and ill-luck astride of his back. Down he went to the river as straight as he could walk, and there stood Father Stork gazing down into the water and looking as wise as our minister on Sunday. See now, thus and so and thus and so had happened, and the stork had gotten him into a pretty scrape over at the castle by putting him up to asking such a price for his herring; that was what the lad said.
"Prut!" says the stork, "break no bones over that furrow; ill-luck always comes before good-luck, and rain before the little flowers; what is worth having is worth working for. Just get upon my back and I will carry you to where the queen of the birds lives; if anybody can put you in the way of finding the key of wish-house she will be the one." So the stork bent his red legs and up the lad got upon his back. Then Father Longlegs spread his wings and away he flew, and on and on, over field and fallow, over valley and mountain, over forest and over stream.
After they had gone so far that the lad thought the end of the world could not be a great way off, they came to a grand house, all built of red brick, that stood on a high hill, and that was where the queen of the birds lived. The stork flew straight to the house, and there was the queen of the birds walking in the garden.
The stork told everything from first to last, and that now what they wanted to know was, whether the queen of the birds could tell them where the key of wish-house was to be found.
No, the queen did not know that herself; but she would call all of the birds of the heavens and of the earth, and perhaps there would be some one among them that could tell.
A little silver whistle hung about her neck; she put it to her lips and blew upon it so shrilly that it made a body's ear ring to listen to it, and the birds of the heavens and of the earth came flying from far and near until the air was as full of them as a sunbeam is full of motes on sweeping-day.
The queen of the birds asked them one and all, from tom-tit to the wild swan, if they could tell where the key of wish-house was to be found; but not a single one of them knew.
After all the rest had spoken there came flying an old eagle, so old that he was as grey as the ashes upon the hearth, and he was six times as big as any of the rest. He had come from the other end of nowhere, and that is a long way off, as even simple Jack can tell you; that was what had kept him such a time in coming.
And was it the key of wish-house that they were talking about? Oh, yes; the old eagle knew where the key of wish-house was as well as he knew his bread-and-butter, for the old Grey Master that lives on the iron mountain had it hanging back of the kitchen door, and the eagle had seen it there more than once.
"Very well," says the queen of the birds; "then here is a lad who has come out into the world hunting for that key, a good-hearted fellow who helped Father Stork out of a tight place over at the river yonder, where he had been caught in a trap set for the water-rats. Now can you not help him to find what he wants?"
Well, the old eagle did not say no, for one good turn deserves another; so he took the lad on his back at the root of his wings and away he flew.
One would have thought that the red-legged stork had flown far, but it was nothing at all to the journey that the eagle took. On and on he flew for such a long way that I, for one, could never find words to tell you how far away it was.
All the same, every journey must have an ending. And at last they came to a great iron mountain the sides of which were as smooth as the face of a looking-glass; so it was a good thing for the lad that he had a great grey eagle to carry him up to the top, and that is the truth.
There on the top of the mountain lay a green meadow, so wide that the eye could not see to the other end of it. And in the middle of the meadow stood a tall castle; that was where the Grey Master lived who kept the key of wish-house back of the kitchen door.
"This is all the farther I can carry you just now," says the eagle; "but here is a feather, when you are ready to come away just throw it up into the air, and I will not be long in coming."
The lad thanked the eagle for the help he had had, and then he put the feather in the lining of his hat.
After that the eagle went one way and the lad went the other, and that was towards the castle where the Grey Master lived.
Off he stepped right foot foremost, and by and by he came to a little stream of water that ran along through the meadow. But just in the middle of the brook lay a great stone, that choked the stream so that it could hardly crawl around it.
"Here is a body in trouble as well as myself," said the lad, and he stooped and rolled away the great round stone so that the brook might flow smoothly and freely.
"One good turn deserves another," said the brook. "Look in the place where the great round stone lay and you will find a little red pebble; so long as you keep that pebble in your mouth you will be as strong as ten common men."
Well, the lad hunted until he found the pebble, and then he thanked the brook and jogged along the way he was going.
By and by he came to an apple-tree, and it was so loaded down with apples that the branches were bent to the very ground.
"Here is another body weighed down by the cares of the world," said the lad. So he shook some of the apples off and cut props to put under the branches, that they might not be broken by the load.
"One good turn deserves another," said the apple-tree. "Look under my roots and you will find a golden apple; while you keep that in your bosom neither fire nor water can harm you, for it is an apple from the tree of life."
Well, the lad found the apple under the roots of the tree, and then he said "thank you," and went on his way.
By and by he came to a place where he heard a great hubbub over the hedge; he looked and there he saw that it was a black cock and a red cock fighting for dear life, and the red cock was having the worst of it, for it was nearly dead already.
"Here is another who is having the worst of the fight," said the lad, and he jumped over the hedge, and drove away the black cock with the staff he held in his hand.
"One good turn deserves another," said the red cock. "I know what you have come hither to find, and I will give you a bit of advice that will be worth the having. When the Grey Master asks you what you want, tell him it is to watch his black cattle for one night. If you do that he must give you whatsoever you ask for. And listen; this is what you must do to watch the cattle. When you open the stable door there will come out three-and-twenty black cows, and after them a black bull breathing fire and smoke. Him you must catch by the horns and must hold him fast until the cock crows in the morning. But you must have the strength of ten men to do that."
Well, the lad thanked the cock for the advice he had given, and then he went on his way and up to the castle where the Grey Master lived.
He knocked at the door, and it was the Grey Master himself who came and opened it. He was a head and shoulders taller than other men, was the Grey Master, and he had but one eye, which gleamed and glistened like the dog-star in January. Beside him flew two black ravens with eyes as red as coals of fire.
"And what is it that you want?" said the Grey Master.
"Oh!" said the lad, "I have come from over in the brown world yonder, and I want to watch your black cattle for one night, that is all I am after."
When the Grey Master heard what the lad said, he frowned until his one eye shone like lightning. "Very well," said he, "you shall have a chance and a try at what you want, but if you fail your head shall be cut off and hung up over the gate yonder."
"That is not so pleasant to think of," said the lad; "all the same, I will have a try and see what I can do." So in he came, and he and the Grey Master sat down to supper together.
By and by, when the lad had eaten all that he wanted the Grey Master told him it was time to go about the business he had come for. So off went the lad to the stable where the four-and-twenty black cattle stood all in a row. He opened the door, and out they ran helter-skelter and as fast as they could push, and—whisk! pop!—soon as they came out of the door each cow changed into a black crow and flew around and around the lad's head as though it would beat his eyes out. Last of all came the black bull, and the lad was ready and waiting for him.
He clapped the red pebble into his mouth; and then he was as strong as ten common men. He caught the bull by the horns, and it might puff out fire and smoke, as it chose, for it could do him no harm because of the apple of life which he carried in his bosom.
How the bull did pitch and toss, and bellow and roar, to be sure, but it was all for no use, the lad held on like hunger, until by and by the bull stopped struggling and stood as quiet as a lamb. But the lad held fast to the bull's horns, and all the time the black crows flew about his head, but never once so much as touched him.
At last a cock crew, and then they all changed again into cows, and the lad drove them back into the stable once more, and there they were.
By and by came the Grey Master. "Well," said he, "and did you watch the black cattle?"
Oh, yes, the lad had watched them, and it was no such hard task to do; there they were in the stable yonder, safe and sound.
Then you should have seen what a sour face the Master pulled over the business! All the same, he had to pay the lad; so what did he want for his wages?
"Oh!" said the lad, "it is little that I want. If you will let me have the key that hangs back of the kitchen door I will be satisfied." So the Grey Master had to go and get it for him, though he would rather have given him one of his eye-teeth.
Off marched the lad with what he had come for, and that is more than most of us get. But the Grey Master was not for letting him off so easy as all that, I can tell you, for the more he thought over the business the less he liked to give up the key of wish-house.
So after a while he took down the Sword of Sharpness which hung against the wall, slipped his feet into the Shoes of Speed that stood in the corner, took a peep into the Book of Knowledge which lay upon the shelf, to see which way the lad had gone, and then set off after him hot-foot, to get back what he had given away.
Just as the lad got to where the apple-tree stood he looked over his shoulder, and there he saw the Grey Master coming over the hills.
"And where shall I go now," says he.
"One good turn deserves another," said the apple-tree; "just come under my branches."
The lad did as he was told, and the apple-tree drooped its branches about him, until one could see neither hide nor hair of him.
By and by up came the Grey Master puffing and blowing. "Apple-tree," says he, "did you see the fisher-lad come by this way?"
No, the apple-tree had seen nobody go past that place. So back went the Master home again to have another look into his Book of Knowledge. There he saw as clear as day what sort of trick had been played upon him. Off he started again after the lad at such a rate that the ground smoked under his feet.
But the lad had lost no time either, so that when he looked over his shoulder and saw the Grey Master coming across the hills behind him, he had gone as far as the brook.
"One good turn deserves another," said the brook, and it made itself small and smaller, so that the lad stepped over without wetting so much as the sole of his foot. Then it spread itself out again three times as broad as before. Presently up came the Master, fuming like a pot on the fire.
"Brook," says he, "did you see the fisher-lad go by this way?"
"Yes," said the brook; "there he is just on the other side." And there he was sure enough.
The Grey Master never stopped to take off his shoes and stockings, but into the water he splashed as fast as he could go. Just as he reached the middle of the stream the brook began to swell, and grew large and larger until it carried away the Grey Master like a cork in the gutter, and there was an end of him.
After that the lad went on without hurrying any more than he chose, until he came to the side of the mountain. He took the eagle's feather from out his cap and threw it up in the air, and there was the eagle before he had time to grow tired of waiting.
He sat him upon the eagle's back, and away they flew, and on and on without stopping until they came to the house where the queen of the birds lived. There was Father Longlegs (the stork) waiting for them. He took his turn of carrying the lad, and when they stopped it was just over beyond the king's castle.
But the lad had been out into the world, and had learned a thing or two.
"See now," says he, "it was hasty cooking that burned the broth;" and so he would not go up to the castle with his key of wish-house without first trying what door he could unlock with it himself. He took it out of his pocket and struck it a rap or two upon the ground.
"I should like," says he, "to have golden clothes upon my back, and to have a golden horse and a golden greyhound that shall chase a golden hare." That was what he said, and he did not have to say it twice; for before he could wink there they were standing beside him just as he wanted. He leaped upon his horse and away he rode after the greyhound and the golden hare.
How the people in the castle did stare when they saw him riding past! The princess herself ran to the window to see the fine sight, and as for the king, he sent six of his knights posting after the fisher-lad, for he thought that it was some great lord who had come into those parts.
By and by the lad came to a thicket, and there he jumped off of his horse and rapped upon the ground with his key.
"I wish to be as I was before," says he, and then he was the poor fisher-lad and nothing else. As for the golden clothes, the golden horse, the golden greyhound, and the golden hare, they went back to Nomans-land whither they had come; and when the king's people came riding up there was nobody but a lad in rags and tatters whistling into a key.
They hunted up and they hunted down, but they could find neither sign nor trace of the golden rider and the golden horse. So after a while they had to ride back to the castle without them.
"You should have brought the lad who blew upon the key," said the princess.
The next day the lad rapped upon the ground with his key again.
"I should like to have," says he, "a golden coach drawn by six milk-white horses, with coachman and footman and out-riders dressed in clothes of gold and silver."
That was what he said: and there they were just as he wanted. Into the coach he got, and off he rode down by the king's castle.
Dear, dear, how the folks did stare, to be sure! This time the king sent twelve knights after the golden coach, for he thought it must be a king or a prince for certain who rode by in such style.
Pretty soon the lad came to a woods, and there he jumped out of the coach and rapped upon the ground with his key.
"I want to be just as I was before," says he; and, sure enough, he was.
Up clattered the twelve knights on their horses, and there sat the lad in rags and tatters whistling upon his key.
The twelve knights hunted high and hunted low, and not another soul could they find, and so they had to ride back to the castle again.
"See now," said the princess, "did I not say that you should have brought the lad who blew upon the key?"
The next day the lad went out and rapped upon the ground for the third time.
"I should like," said he, "to have a splendid castle all built of silver and gold, such as nobody ever saw before."
That was what he said, and before the words had left his tongue just such a great castle grew up out of nothing like a soap-bubble.
The king chanced to look out of the window just then, and there was the great splendid gold-and-silver castle. He took off his spectacles and rubbed them and rubbed them, but there was the castle just the same as ever.
He bade them saddle the horses, and he and the princess, and all of the court besides, rode away to find out who it was that had built such a fine castle all in one night.
But the lad saw them coming, and rapped upon the ground with his key. "I should like," said he, "for things to be just as they were before;" and puff! away went the castle like the light of a candle when one blows it out.
Up came the king and the princess and all the court, and not a speck of the grand castle could they find, but only a lad in rags and tatters who sat upon a great round stone and whistled upon a key.
But the princess was a lass who could see through a millstone with a hole in it. So soon as she set eyes upon him she knew the whole business from beginning to end. Up she marched to him, before them all, and took him by the hand. "Now I will marry you," said she, "for I see that you have brought the key of the wish-house with you;" and there she was as wise as ever. For there be many kings and princes in the world, but I have never yet heard of any one except the fisher-lad who had the key of wish-house. Have you?
I WILL now tell you of a wasp that does not live alone. This Mrs. Wasp takes good care of her babies. She is called the social wasp.
While it is winter Mrs. Wasp hides. She does not like the cold.
Most wasps die in the winter. Only a few live to come out in the spring.
The first thing Mrs. Wasp does in the spring is to build a new house. She does not use an old house.
She puts her eggs into the house, with some food. When the young wasps grow up, and come out, they help build.
Rooms To Let
More cells are added to the house. An egg is laid in each cell.
The egg grows into a grub. The wasps feed the grub.
They bring it honey. The baby wasp has no wings or feet.
It has to be shut up, to grow into a true wasp. When the time comes, the wasps put a wax lid upon the cell, and leave the grub to rest.
At last the new wasp eats off the lid, and comes out, a full-grown wasp.
Wasps work hard all the time. They fly about for food, and for stuff to make paper, wax, and varnish and glue. They have homes to build, and little wasps to rear.
Rooms To Let
They seem to know they must nearly all die, when frost comes. When the cold begins, the old wasps look into the cells.
They kill all the eggs, grubs, and half-grown wasps that they find there. Why do they do that?
Do they not seem to love the baby wasps? Yes.
They kill them quickly to keep them from dying of hunger and cold. Is not that a queer way to show love?
Some wise people do not feel sure that the wasps kill the little ones in this way.
Do not forget that the wasp does not grow after it gets its wings and leaves its cell. When it comes out, it is full grown.
When it is a fat, round, wingless grub it is called a larva. When it has changed its shape, and has wings, it is called a pupa.
Some call the pupa a nymph. Are those very hard words? Try and keep them in mind.
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.
WEEK 4 |
I Kings xii: 1 to 24;
II Chronicles x: 1 to 19.
HEN the strong rule of King Solomon was ended by his death, and his weak son, Rehoboam, followed him as king, all the people of Israel rose as one man against the heavy burdens which Solomon had laid upon the land. They would not allow Rehoboam to be crowned king in Jerusalem, but made him come to Shechem, in the tribe-land of Ephraim, and in the center of the country. The people sent for Jeroboam, who was in Egypt, and he became their leader. They said to Rehoboam, "Your father, Solomon, laid upon us heavy burdens of taxes and of work. If you will promise to take away our load, and make the taxes and the work lighter, then we will receive you as king, and will serve you."
"Give me three days," said Rehoboam, "and then I will tell you what I will do."
So Jeroboam and the people waited for three days, while Rehoboam talked with the rulers and with his friends. Rehoboam first called together the old men who had stood before the throne of Solomon and had helped him in his rule. He said to these men, "What answer shall I give to this people, who ask to have their burdens made light?"
And these old men said to King Rehoboam, "If you will
But Rehoboam would not heed the advice of these wise old men. He talked with the young princes who had grown up with him in the palace, and who cared nothing for the people or their troubles; and he said to these young men, "The people are asking to have their heavy burdens taken away. What shall I say to them?"
And the young nobles said to Rehoboam, "Say to the
people this, 'My father made your burdens heavy, but I
will make them heavier still. My father beat you with
whips, but I will sting you with scorpions. My little
finger shall be thicker than my father's
On the third day Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam for his answer. And the foolish young king did not follow the good advice of the old men who knew the people and their needs. He did as the haughty young princes told him to do, and spoke harshly to the people, and said, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it, and make it heavier. You will find my little finger thicker than my father's waist. My father struck you with whips, but I will sting you with scorpions." Then the people of Israel were very angry against the king. They said, "Why should we submit any longer to the house of David? Let us leave the family of David, and choose a king of our own. To your tents, O Israel! Now, Rehoboam, son of David, care for your own house!"
Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people.
Thus in one day ten of the twelve tribes of Israel broke away forever from the rule of King Rehoboam and the house of David. They made Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, their king. In his kingdom was all the land northward from Bethel to Dan, and also all the tribes on the east of the river Jordan. His kingdom being the larger, was called Israel; but it was also called "the kingdom of the Ten Tribes," and because Ephraim was its leading tribe, it was often spoken of as "the land of Ephraim."
When Rehoboam saw that he had lost his kingdom, he made haste to save his life by fleeing away from Shechem. He rode in his chariot quickly to Jerusalem, where the people were his friends; and there he ruled as king, but only over the tribe of Judah and as much of Benjamin as was south of Bethel. The tribe of Simeon had once lived on the south of Judah, but some of its people were lost among the people of Judah, and others among the Arabs of the desert, so that it was no longer a separate tribe.
Rehoboam ruled over the mountain country on the west of the Dead Sea, but he had no control over the Philistine cities on the plain beside the Great Sea. So the kingdom of Judah, as it was called, was less than one-third the size of the kingdom of Israel, or the Ten Tribes.
David had conquered, and Solomon had ruled, not only the land of Israel, but Syria on the north of Israel, reaching up to the great river Euphrates, and Ammon by the desert on the east, and Moab on the east of the Dead Sea, and Edom on the south. When the kingdom was divided, all the empire of Solomon was broken up. The Syrians formed a kingdom of their own, having Damascus as its chief city. The Ammonites, the Moabites, and the Edomites, all had their own kings, though the king of Moab was for a time partly under the king of Israel, and the king of Edom partly under the king of Judah. So the great and strong empire founded by David, and held by Solomon, fell apart, and became six small, struggling states.
Yet all this was by the will of the Lord, who did not wish Israel to become a great nation, but a good people. The Israelites were growing rich, and were living for the world, while God desired them to be his people, and to worship him only. So, when Rehoboam undertook to gather an army to fight the Ten Tribes, and to bring them under his rule, God sent a prophet to Rehoboam, who said to him, "Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up and fight against your brothers, the children of Israel. Return every man to his house; for it is God's will that there should be two kingdoms."
And the men of Judah obeyed the word of the Lord, and left the Ten Tribes to have their own kingdom and their own king.
T HE Piglet lived in a very grand house in the middle of a beech-tree, and the beech-tree was in the middle of the forest, and the Piglet lived in the middle of the house. Next to his house was a piece of broken board, which had: "TRESPASSERS W" on it. When Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what it meant, he said it was his grandfather's name, and had been in the family for a long time. Christopher Robin said you couldn't be called Trespassers W, and Piglet said yes, you could, because his grandfather was, and it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one—Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers.
"I've got two names," said Christopher Robin carelessly.
"Well, there you are, that proves it," said Piglet.
One fine winter's day when Piglet was brushing away the snow in front of his house, he happened to look up, and there was Winnie-the-Pooh. Pooh was walking round and round in a circle, thinking of something else, and when Piglet called to him, he just went on walking.
"Hallo!" said Piglet, "what are you doing?"
"Hunting," said Pooh.
"Tracking something," said Winnie-the-Pooh very mysteriously.
"Tracking what?" said Piglet, coming closer. "That's just what I ask myself. I ask myself, What?"
"What do you think you'll answer?"
"I shall have to wait until I catch up with it," said Winnie-the-Pooh. "Now, look there." He pointed to the ground in front of him. "What do you see there?"
"Tracks," said Piglet. "Paw-marks." He gave a little squeak of excitement. "Oh, Pooh! Do you think it's a—a—a Woozle?"
"It may be," said Pooh. "Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. You never can tell with paw-marks."
With these few words he went on tracking, and Piglet, after watching him for a minute or two, ran after him. Winnie-the-Pooh had come to a sudden stop, and was bending over the tracks in a puzzled sort of way.
"What's the matter?" asked Piglet.
"It's a very funny thing," said Bear, "but there seem to be two animals now. This—whatever-it-was—has been joined by another—whatever-it-is and the two of them are now proceeding in company. Would you mind coming with me, Piglet, in case they turn out to be Hostile Animals?"
Piglet scratched his ear in a nice sort of way, and said that he had nothing to do until Friday, and would be delighted to come, in case it really was a Woozle.
"You mean, in case it really is two Woozles," said Winnie-the-Pooh, and Piglet said that anyhow he had nothing to do until Friday. So off they went together.
There was a small spinney of larch trees just here, and it seemed as if the two Woozles, if that is what they were, had been going round this spinney; so round this spinney went Pooh and Piglet after them; Piglet passing the time by telling Pooh what his Grandfather Trespassers W had done to Remove Stiffness after Tracking, and how his Grandfather Trespassers W had suffered in his later years from Shortness of Breath, and other matters of interest, and Pooh wondering what a Grandfather was like, and if perhaps this was Two Grandfathers they were after now, and, if so, whether he would be allowed to take one home and keep it, and what Christopher Robin would say. And still the tracks went, on in front of them. . . .
Suddenly Winnie-the-Pooh stopped, and pointed excitedly in front of him. "Look!"
"What?" said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn't been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.
"The tracks!" said Pooh. "A third animal has joined the other two!"
"Pooh!" cried Piglet. "Do you think it is another Woozle?"
"No," said Pooh, "because it makes different marks. It is either Two Woozles and one, as it might be, Wizzle, or Two, as it might be, Wizzles and one, if so it is, Woozle. Let us continue to follow them."
So they went on, feeling just a little anxious now, in case the three animals in front of them were of Hostile Intent. And Piglet wished very much that his Grandfather T. W. were there, instead of elsewhere, and Pooh thought how nice it would be if they met Christopher Robin suddenly but quite accidentally, and only because he liked Christopher Robin so much. And then, all of a sudden, Winnie-the-Pooh stopped again, and licked the tip of his nose in a cooling manner, for he was feeling more hot and anxious than ever in his life before. There were four animals in front of them!
"Do you see, Piglet? Look at their tracks! Three, as it were, Woozles, and one, as it was, Wizzle. Another Woozle has joined them!"
And so it seemed to be. There were the tracks; crossing over each other here, getting muddled up with each other there; but, quite plainly every now and then, the tracks of four sets of paws.
"I think," said Piglet, when he had licked the tip of his nose too, and found that it brought very little comfort, "I think that I have just remembered something. I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan't be able to do to-morrow. So I suppose I really ought to go back and do it now."
"We'll do it this afternoon, and I'll come with you," said Pooh.
"It isn't the sort of thing you can do in the afternoon," said Piglet quickly. "It's a very particular morning thing, that has to be done in the morning, and, if possible, between the hours of—What would you say the time was?"
"About twelve," said Winnie-the-Pooh, looking at the sun.
"Between, as I was saying, the hours of twelve and twelve five. So, really, dear old Pooh, if you'll excuse me—What's that?"
Pooh looked up at the sky, and then, as he heard the whistle again, he looked up into the branches of a big oak-tree, and then he saw a friend of his.
"It's Christopher Robin," he said.
"Ah, then you'll be all right," said Piglet. "You'll be quite safe with him. Good-bye," and he trotted off home as quickly as he could, very glad to be Out of All Danger again.
Christopher Robin came slowly down his tree.
"Silly old Bear," he said, "what were you doing? First you went round the spinney twice by yourself, and then Piglet ran after you and you went round again together, and then you were just going round a fourth time—"
"Wait a moment," said Winnie-the-Pooh, holding up his paw.
He sat down and thought, in the most thoughtful way he could think. Then he fitted his paw into one of the Tracks . . . and then he scratched his nose twice, and stood up.
"Yes," said Winnie-the-Pooh.
"I see now," said Winnie-the-Pooh.
"I have been Foolish and Deluded," said he, "and I am a Bear of No Brain at All."
"You're the Best Bear in All the World," said Christopher Robin soothingly.
"Am I?" said Pooh hopefully. And then he brightened up suddenly.
"Anyhow," he said, "it is nearly Luncheon Time."
So he went home for it.
If I was a cobbler, it should be my pride
The best of all cobblers to be;
If I was a tinker, no tinker beside
Should mend an old kettle like me.