Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 41  

  Monday  


Heidi  by Johanna Spyri

Sunday Bells

H EIDI was standing under the waving fir trees waiting for her grandfather, who was going down with her to grandmother's, and then on to Dörfli to fetch her box. She was longing to know how grandmother had enjoyed her white bread and impatient to see and hear her again; but no time seemed weary to her now, for she could not listen long enough to the familiar voice of the trees, or drink in too much of the fragrance wafted to her from the green pastures where the golden-headed flowers were glowing in the sun, a very feast to her eyes. The grandfather came out, gave a look round, and then called to her in a cheerful voice, "Well, now we can be off."

It was Saturday, a day when Alm-Uncle made everything clean and tidy inside and outside the house; he had devoted his morning to this work so as to be able to accompany Heidi in the afternoon, and the whole place was now as spick and span as he liked to see it. They parted at the grandmother's cottage and Heidi ran in. The grandmother had heard her steps approaching and greeted her as she crossed the threshold, "Is it you, child? Have you come again?"

Then she took hold of Heidi's hand and held it fast in her own, for she still seemed to fear that the child might be torn from her again. And now she had to tell Heidi how much she had enjoyed the white bread, and how much stronger she felt already for having been able to eat it, and then Peter's mother went on and said she was sure that if her mother could eat like that for a week she would get back some of her strength, but she was so afraid of coming to the end of the rolls, that she had only eaten one as yet. Heidi listened to all Brigitta said, and sat thinking for a while. Then she suddenly thought of a way.

"I know, grandmother, what I will do," she said eagerly, "I will write to Clara, and she will send me as many rolls again, if not twice as many as you have already, for I had ever such a large heap in the wardrobe, and when they were all taken away she promised to give me as many back, and she would do so I am sure."

"That is a good idea," said Brigitta; "but then, they would get hard and stale. The baker in Dörfli makes the white rolls, and if we could get some of those he has over now and then—but I can only just manage to pay for the black bread."

A further bright thought came to Heidi, and with a look of joy, "Oh, I have lots of money, grandmother," she cried gleefully, skipping about the room in her delight, "and I know now what I will do with it. You must have a fresh white roll every day, and two on Sunday, and Peter can bring them up from Dörfli."

"No, no, child!" answered the grandmother, "I cannot let you do that; the money was not given to you for that purpose; you must give it to your grandfather, and he will tell you how you are to spend it."

But Heidi was not to be hindered in her kind intentions, and she continued to jump about, saying over and over again in a tone of exultation, "Now, grandmother can have a roll every day and will grow quite strong again—and, Oh, grandmother," she suddenly exclaimed with an increase of jubilation in her voice, "if you get strong everything will grow light again for you; perhaps it's only because you are weak that it is dark." The grandmother said nothing, she did not wish to spoil the child's pleasure. As she went jumping about Heidi suddenly caught sight of the grandmother's song book, and another happy idea struck her, "Grandmother, I can also read now, would you like me to read you one of your hymns from your old book?"

"Oh, yes," said the grandmother, surprised and delighted; "but can you really read, child, really?"

Heidi had climbed on to a chair and had already lifted down the book, bringing a cloud of dust with it, for it had lain untouched on the shelf for a long time. Heidi wiped it, sat herself down on a stool beside the old woman, and asked her which hymn she should read.

"What you like, child, what you like," and the grandmother pushed her spinning-wheel aside and sat in eager expectation waiting for Heidi to begin. Heidi turned over the leaves and read a line out softly to herself here and there. At last she said, "Here is one about the sun, grandmother, I will read you that." And Heidi began, reading with more and more warmth of expression as she went on,—

The morning breaks,

And warm and bright

The earth lies still

In the golden light—

For Dawn has scattered the clouds of night.

God's handiwork

Is seen around,

Things great and small

To His praise abound—

Where are the signs of His love not found?

All things must pass,

But God shall still

With steadfast power

His will fulfil—

Sure and unshaken is His will.

His saving grace

Will never fail,

Though grief and fear

The heart assail—

O'er life's wild seas He will prevail.

Joy shall be ours

In that garden blest,

Where after storm

We find our rest—

I wait in peace—God's time is best.


The grandmother sat with folded hands and a look of indescribable joy on her face, such as Heidi had never seen there before, although at the same time the tears were running down her cheeks. As Heidi finished, she implored her, saying, "Read it once again, child, just once again."

And the child began again, with as much pleasure in the verses as the grandmother,—

Joy shall be ours

In that garden blest,

Where after storm

We find our rest—

I wait in peace—God's time is best.

"Ah, Heidi, that brings light to the heart! What comfort you have brought me!"

And the old woman kept on repeating the glad words, while Heidi beamed with happiness, and she could not take her eyes away from the grandmother's face, which had never looked like that before. She had no longer the old troubled expression, but was alight with peace and joy as if she were already looking with clear new eyes into the garden of Paradise.

Some one now knocked at the window and Heidi looked up and saw her grandfather beckoning her to come home with him. She promised the grandmother before leaving her that she would be with her the next day, and even if she went out with Peter she would only spend half the day with him, for the thought that she might make it light and happy again for the grandmother gave her the greatest pleasure, greater even than being out on the sunny mountain with the flowers and goats. As she was going out Brigitta ran to her with the frock and hat she had left. Heidi put the dress over her arm, for, as she thought to herself, the grandfather had seen that before, but she obstinately refused to take back the hat; Brigitta could keep it, for she should never put it on her head again. Heidi was so full of her morning's doings that she began at once to tell her grandfather all about them: how the white bread could be fetched every day from Dörfli if there was money for it, and how the grandmother had all at once grown stronger and happier, and light had come to her. Then she returned to the subject of the rolls. "If the grandmother won't take the money, grandfather, will you give it all to me, and I can then give Peter enough every day to buy a roll and two on Sunday?"

"But how about the bed?" said her grandfather. "It would be nice for you to have a proper bed, and there would then be plenty for the bread."

But Heidi gave her grandfather no peace till he consented to do what she wanted; she slept a great deal better, she said, on her bed of hay than on her fine pillowed bed in Frankfurt. So at last he said, "The money is yours, do what you like with it; you can buy bread for grandmother for years to come with it."

Heidi shouted for joy at the thought that grandmother would never need any more to eat hard black bread, and "Oh, grandfather!" she said, "everything is happier now than it has ever been in our lives before!" and she sang and skipped along, holding her grandfather's hand as light-hearted as a bird. But all at once she grew quiet and said, "If God had let me come at once, as I prayed, then everything would have been different, I should only have had a little bread to bring to grandmother, and I should not have been able to read, which is such a comfort to her; but God has arranged it all so much better than I knew how to; everything has happened just as the other grandmother said it would. Oh, how glad I am that God did not let me have at once all I prayed and wept for! And now I shall always pray to God as she told me, and always thank Him, and when He does not do anything I ask for I shall think to myself, It's just like it was in Frankfurt: God, I am sure, is going to do something better still. So we will pray every day, won't we, grandfather, and never forget Him again, or else He may forget us."

"And supposing one does forget Him?" said the grandfather in a low voice.

"Then everything goes wrong, for God lets us then go where we like, and when we get poor and miserable and begin to cry about it no one pities us, but they say, You ran away from God, and so God, who could have helped you, left you to yourself."

"That is true, Heidi; where did you learn that?"

"From grandmamma; she explained it all to me."

The grandfather walked on for a little while without speaking, then he said, as if following his own train of thought: "And if it once is so, it is so always; no one can go back, and he whom God has forgotten, is forgotten for ever."

"Oh, no, grandfather, we can go back, for grandmamma told me so, and so it was in the beautiful tale in my book—but you have not heard that yet; but we shall be home directly now, and then I will read it you, and you will see how beautiful it is." And in her eagerness Heidi struggled faster and faster up the steep ascent, and they were no sooner at the top than she let go her grandfather's hand and ran into the hut. The grandfather slung the basket off his shoulders in which he had brought up a part of the contents of the trunk which was too heavy to carry up as it was. Then he sat down on his seat and began thinking.

Heidi soon came running out with her book under her arm. "That's right, grandfather," she exclaimed as she saw he had already taken his seat, and in a second she was beside him and had her book open at the particular tale, for she had read it so often that the leaves fell open at it of their own accord. And now in a sympathetic voice Heidi began to read of the son when he was happily at home, and went out into the fields with his father's flocks, and was dressed in a fine cloak, and stood leaning on his shepherd's staff watching as the sun went down, just as he was to be seen in the picture. But then all at once he wanted to have his own goods and money and to be his own master, and so he asked his father to give him his portion, and he left his home and went and wasted all his substance. And when he had nothing left he hired himself out to a master who had no flocks and fields like his father, but only swine to keep; and so he was obliged to watch these, and he only had rags to wear and a few husks to eat, such as the swine fed upon. And then he thought of his old happy life at home and of how kindly his father had treated him and how ungrateful he had been, and he wept for sorrow and longing. And he thought to himself, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I am not worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.' " And when he was yet a great way off his father saw him . . . Here Heidi paused in her reading. "What do you think happens now, grandfather?" she said. "Do you think the father is still angry and will say to him, 'I told you so!' Well, listen now to what comes next." His father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." But the father said to his servants, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it; and let us eat and be merry, for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." And they began to be merry.

"Isn't that a beautiful tale, grandfather," said Heidi, as the latter continued to sit without speaking, for she had expected him to express pleasure and astonishment.

"You are right, Heidi; it is a beautiful tale," he replied, but he looked so grave as he said it that Heidi grew silent herself and sat looking quietly at her pictures. Presently she pushed her book gently in front of him and said, "See how happy he is there," and she pointed with her finger to the figure of the returned prodigal, who was standing by his father clad in fresh raiment as one of his own sons again.

A few hours later, as Heidi lay fast asleep in her bed, the grandfather went up the ladder and put his lamp down near her bed so that the light fell on the sleeping child. Her hands were still folded as if she had fallen asleep saying her prayers, an expression of peace and trust lay on the little face, and something in it seemed to appeal to the grandfather, for he stood a long time gazing down at her without speaking. At last he too folded his hands, and with bowed head said in a low voice, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee and am not worthy to be called Thy son." And two large tears rolled down the old man's cheeks.

Early the next morning he stood in front of his hut and gazed quietly around him. The fresh bright morning sun lay on mountain and valley. The sound of a few early bells rang up from the valley, and the birds were singing their morning song in the fir trees. He stepped back into the hut and called up, "Come along, Heidi! the sun is up! Put on your best frock, for we are going to church together!"

Heidi was not long getting ready; it was such an unusual summons from her grandfather that she must make haste. She put on her smart Frankfurt dress and soon went down, but when she saw her grandfather she stood still, gazing at him in astonishment. "Why, grandfather!" she exclaimed, "I never saw you look like that before! and the coat with the silver buttons! Oh, you do look nice in your Sunday coat!"

The old man smiled and replied, "And you too; now come along!" He took Heidi's hand in his and together they walked down the mountain-side. The bells were ringing in every direction now, sounding louder and fuller as they neared the valley, and Heidi listened to them with delight. "Hark at them, grandfather! it's like a great festival!"

The congregation had already assembled and the singing had begun when Heidi and her grandfather entered the church at Dörfli and sat down at the back. But before the hymn was over every one was nudging his neighbor and whispering, "Do you see? Alm-Uncle is in church!"

Soon everybody in the church knew of Alm-Uncle's presence, and the women kept on turning round to look and quite lost their place in the singing. But everybody became more attentive when the sermon began, for the preacher spoke with such warmth and thankfulness that those present felt the effect of his words, as if some great joy had come to them all. At the close of the service Alm-Uncle took Heidi by the hand, and on leaving the church made his way towards the pastor's house; the rest of the congregation looked curiously after him, some even following to see whether he went inside the pastor's house, which he did. Then they collected in groups and talked over this strange event, keeping their eyes on the pastor's door, watching to see whether Alm-Uncle came out looking angry and quarrelsome, or as if the interview had been a peaceful one, for they could not imagine what had brought the old man down, and what it all meant. Some, however, adopted a new tone and expressed their opinion that Alm-Uncle was not so bad after all as they thought, "for see how carefully he took the little one by the hand." And others responded and said they had always thought people had exaggerated about him, that if he was so downright bad he would be afraid to go inside the pastor's house. Then the miller put in his word, "Did I not tell you so from the first? What child is there who would run away from where she had plenty to eat and drink and everything of the best, home to a grandfather who was cruel and unkind, and of whom she was afraid?"

And so everybody began to feel quite friendly towards Alm-Uncle, and the women now came up and related all they had been told by Peter and his grandmother, and finally they all stood there like people waiting for an old friend whom they had long missed from among their number.

Meanwhile Alm-Uncle had gone into the pastor's house and knocked at the study door. The latter came out and greeted him, not as if he was surprised to see him, but as if he had quite expected to see him there; he probably had caught sight of the old man in church. He shook hands warmly with him, and Alm-Uncle was unable at first to speak, for he had not expected such a friendly reception. At last he collected himself and said, "I have come to ask you, pastor, to forget the words I spoke to you when you called on me, and to beg you not to owe me ill-will for having been so obstinately set against your well-meant advice. You were right, and I was wrong, but I have now made up my mind to follow your advice and to find a place for myself at Dörfli for the winter, for the child is not strong enough to stand the bitter cold up on the mountain. And if the people down here look askance at me, as at a person not to be trusted, I know it is my own fault, and you will, I am sure, not do so."

The pastor's kindly eyes shone with pleasure. He pressed the old man's hand in his, and said with emotion, "Neighbor, you went into the right church before you came to mine; I am greatly rejoiced. You will not repent coming to live with us again; as for myself, you will always be welcome as a dear friend and neighbor, and I look forward to our spending many a pleasant winter evening together, for I shall prize your companionship, and we will find some nice friends too for the little one." And the pastor laid his hand kindly on the child's curly head and took her by the hand as he walked to the door with the old man. He did not say good-bye to him till they were standing outside, so that all the people standing about saw him shake hands as if parting reluctantly from his best friend. The door had hardly shut behind him before the whole congregation now came forward to greet Alm-Uncle, every one striving to be the first to shake hands with him, and so many were held out that Alm-Uncle did not know with which to begin; and some said, "We are so pleased to see you among us again," and another, "I have long been wishing we could have a talk together again," and greetings of all kinds echoed from every side, and when Alm-Uncle told them he was thinking of returning to his old quarters in Dörfli for the winter, there was such a general chorus of pleasure that any one would have thought he was the most beloved person in all Dörfli, and that they had hardly known how to live without him. Most of his friends accompanied him and Heidi some way up the mountain, and each as they bid him good-bye made him promise that when he next came down he would without fail come and call. As the old man at last stood alone with the child, watching their retreating figures, there was a light upon his face as if reflected from some inner sunshine of heart. Heidi, looking up at him with her clear steady eyes, said, "Grandfather, you look nicer and nicer to-day, I never saw you quite like that before."

"Do you think so?" he answered with a smile. "Well, yes, Heidi, I am happier to-day than I deserve, happier than I had thought possible; it is good to be at peace with God and man! God was good to me when He sent you to my hut."

When they reached Peter's home the grandfather opened the door and walked straight in. "Good-morning, grandmother," he said. "I think we shall have to do some more patching, up before the autumn winds come."

"Dear God, if it is not Uncle!" cried the grandmother in pleased surprise. "That I should live to see such a thing! and now I can thank you for all that you have done for me. May God reward you! may God reward you!" She stretched out a trembling hand to him, and when the grandfather shook it warmly, she went on, still holding his, "And I have something on my heart I want to say, a prayer to make to you! If I have injured you in any way, do not punish me by sending the child away again before I lie under the grass. Oh, you do not know what that child is to me!" and she clasped the child to her, for Heidi had already taken her usual stand close to the grandmother.

"Have no fear, grandmother," said Uncle in a reassuring voice, "I shall not punish either you or myself by doing so. We are all together now, and pray God we may continue so for long."

Brigitta now drew the Uncle aside towards a corner of the room and showed him the hat with the feathers, explaining to him how it came there, and adding that of course she could not take such a thing from a child.

But the grandfather looked towards Heidi without any displeasure of countenance and said, "The hat is hers, and if she does not wish to wear it any more she has a right to say so and to give it to you, so take it, pray."

Brigitta was highly delighted at this. "It is well worth more than ten shillings!" she said as she held it up for further admiration. "And what a blessing Heidi has brought home with her from Frankfurt! I have thought sometimes that it might be good to send Peter there for a little while; what do you think, Uncle?"

A merry look came into the grandfather's eye. He thought it would do Peter no harm, but he had better wait for a good opportunity before starting. At this moment the subject of their conversation himself rushed in, evidently in a great hurry, knocking his head violently against the door in his haste, so that everything in the room rattled. Gasping and breathless he stood still after this and held out a letter. This was another great event, for such a thing had never happened before; the letter was addressed to Heidi and had been delivered at the post-office in Dörfli. They all sat down round the table to hear what was in it, for Heidi opened it at once and read it without hesitation. The letter was from Clara. The latter wrote that the house had been so dull since Heidi left that she did not know how to bear herself, and she had at last persuaded her father to take her to the baths at Ragatz in the coming autumn; grandmamma had arranged to join them there, and they both were looking forward to paying her and her grandfather a visit. And grandmamma sent a further message to Heidi which was that the latter had done quite right to take the rolls to the grandmother, and so that she might not have to eat them dry, she was sending some coffee, which was already on its way, and grandmamma hoped when she came to the Alm in the autumn that Heidi would take her to see her old friend.

There were exclamations of pleasure and astonishment on hearing all this news, and so much to talk and ask about that even the grandfather did not notice how the time was passing; there was general delight at the thought of the coming days, and even more at the meeting which had taken place on this one, and the grandmother spoke and said, "The happiest of all things is when an old friend comes and greets us as in former times; the heart is comforted with the assurance that some day everything that we have loved will be given back to us. You will come soon again, uncle, and you child, to-morrow?"

The old man and Heidi promised her faithfully to do so; then it was time to break up the party, and these two went back up the mountain. As they had been greeted with bells when they made their journey down in the morning, so now they were accompanied by the peaceful evening chimes as they climbed to the hut, which had quite a Sunday-like appearance as it stood bathed in the light of the low evening sun.

But when grandmamma comes next autumn there will be many fresh joys and surprises both for Heidi and grandmother; without doubt a proper bed will be put up in the hay-loft, for wherever grandmamma steps in, there everything is soon in right order, outside and in.


[Illustration]

 



Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

"Try, Try Again!"

T HERE was once a famous ruler of Tartary whose name was Tamerlane. Like Alexander the Great, he wished to become the master of the whole world.

So he raised a great army and made war against other countries. He conquered many kings and burned many cities.

But at last his army was beaten; his men were scattered; and Tamerlane fled alone from the field of battle.

For a long time he wandered in fear from place to place. His foes were looking for him. He was in despair. He was about to lose all hope.

One day he was lying under a tree, thinking of his misfortunes. He had now been a wanderer for twenty days. He could not hold out much longer.

Suddenly he saw a small object creeping up the trunk of the tree. He looked more closely and saw that it was an ant. The ant was carrying a grain of wheat as large as itself.

As Tamerlane looked, he saw that there was a hole in the tree only a little way above, and that this was the home of the ant. "You are a brave fellow, Mr. Ant," he said; "but you have a heavy load to carry."

Just as he spoke, the ant lost its footing and fell to the ground. But it still held on to the grain of wheat.

A second time it tried to carry its load up the rough trunk of the tree, and a second time it failed.

Tamerlane watched the brave little insect. It tried three times, four times, a dozen times, twenty times—but always with the same result.

Then it tried the twenty-first time. Slowly, one little step at a time, it crept up across the rough place where it had slipped and fallen so often. The next minute it ran safely into its home, carrying its precious load.

"Well done!" said Tamerlane. "You have taught me a lesson. I, too, will try, try again, till I succeed."

And this he did.

Of what other story does this remind you?

 



Robert Herrick

The Hag

The Hag is astride,

This night for a ride,

Her wild steed and she together;

Through thick and through thin,

Now out, and then in,

Though ne'er so foul be the weather.


A thorn or a burr

She takes for a spur;

With a last of a bramble she rides now,

Through brakes and through briars,

O'er ditches and mires,

She follows the spirit that guides now.


No beast for his food

Dares now range the wood,

But hushed in his lair he lies lurking;

While mischief by these,

On land and on seas,

At noon or night are found working.


The storm will arise

And trouble the skies

This night; and, more for wonder,

The ghost from the tomb

Affrighted shall come,

Called out by the clap of the thunder.

 


  WEEK 41  

  Tuesday  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Edward I—The Lawgiver

S OON after "The little war of Chalons," Edward reached England. The people welcomed him with delight, and he and his beautiful queen, Eleanor, were crowned at Westminster Abbey with great splendour.

Since the days of Alfred no king had been received with such joy and love, for the people felt that Edward was truly and indeed an English king.

We think now that such names as Henry, Richard, and John are English names. But they were not known in England until after the Conquest, when they were brought into England by the French. For more than two hundred years the kings of England had borne French names, and had indeed been Frenchmen. But Edward was a Saxon name. The King had been born and had lived nearly all his life in England, he spoke the English language, and he loved his people and his country, which no king of England since Harold had truly done. Not only did Edward love his people, but he longed for their love in return, and tried to be a good king.

The feasting and rejoicing at the coronation continued for a fortnight. Many large new buildings had to be made to hold all the guests. The streets were hung with silk and embroidery. Rich men scattered handfuls of gold and silver to the people. Fountains ran with wine instead of water. For the coronation feast alone there were needed three hundred and eighty cattle, four hundred and thirty sheep, four hundred and fifty pigs, eighteen wild boars, two hundred and seventy-eight flitches of bacon, and twenty thousand fowls. Never had there been such feasting and grandeur in England.

The King of Scotland came to the coronation, and with him a hundred knights. When they got off their horses they let them go free, and any one who caught them might keep them. Seeing this, and not wishing to be outdone, the King's brother, Edmund, and three other nobles came each with a hundred knights riding upon splendid horses and, leaping down, they, too, let them go free for any one to have who would.

Edward was crowned King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine. Aquitaine was all that remained of the great French possessions of Henry II. But Edward longed to rule over the whole island of Britain; he wanted to be Prince of Wales and King of Scotland as well as King of England.

You remember that hundreds of years before this, when the Saxons came to Britain, they gradually drove the Britons out before them, until they took refuge in the mountains of Wales. There they remained, speaking the ancient British language and having very little intercourse with the English, but often fighting with them. And the kings of England, ever since the days of Edward the Confessor, had from time to time forced the Welsh to own them as over-lords.

When Edward came to the throne he sent for Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, to come to do homage; that is, to own him as over-lord. Llewellyn would not come. Six times did Edward send. Still Llewellyn refused.

This made Edward very angry and, hearing that a beautiful lady was coming from France to be married to Llewellyn, he seized her and kept her prisoner in London. He then sent messengers to the Prince of Wales, telling him that he should have his bride when he had done homage, and not till then. Llewellyn, instead of submitting, was furiously angry. He raised an army and marched against Edward. But brave little Wales could not do much against great England. The Welsh were soon defeated and scattered, and their prince starved into submission in his castle on Snowdon. But as soon as Llewellyn did homage to Edward as over-lord, the king acknowledged him as Prince of Wales, and not only let him have his bride but made a great wedding-feast for her and gave her many presents. So there was peace.

But peace did not last long.

In the days when Arthur was king, Merlin, his wise councillor, had foretold that when money should be round, a Prince of Wales should be crowned in London. Before the time of Edward I. there was very little money of any kind. When the people wanted to give change, they took a large piece of money and cut it into two or three or four pieces, just as they liked. This of course made it easy to cheat with money, for, when a coin was cut up, it became difficult to know whether it really was a coin or not.

Edward made a law forbidding people to cut coins into pieces, and he had pennies and small silver coins made, in order that people could give change. So money was round, instead of being all sorts of shapes as it had been.

The Welsh thought that the time of which Merlin had spoken had now come, and they began to fight with the English, hoping to conquer them and to see Llewellyn crowned in London.

But the Welsh were again defeated, and this time Llewellyn was killed. In the cruel fashion of those days his head was cut off and sent to London. There it was crowned with a silver crown and carried through the streets on a spear, and at last it was set upon the Tower, wreathed with willow. Then the English laughed unkindly, saying that the prophecy was fulfilled.

Sad and overcome, the Welsh once more owned England's king as lord, but, when the barons came to do homage to Edward, he promised to give them a Welsh prince as ruler, one who had been born in Wales, and who could neither speak French nor English. On the day appointed, when the barons gathered to do homage to this new ruler, Edward appeared before them carrying in his arms his little baby son, who had been born at Caernarvon Castle only a few days before. He was truly a prince who could neither speak French nor English, nor indeed any other language.

This little prince was named Edward, like his father. Ever since that time, the eldest son of the King of England has been called the Prince of Wales, and England and Wales have formed one kingdom.

 



Holiday Hill  by Edith M. Patch

The Cone Hunt

C HICKAREE'S name rhymed with Chickadee, and while he was quite young he stayed in a nest. But, for all that, Chickaree was not a bird. He was a squirrel.

The nest where Chickaree and his brothers and sisters lived their first spring was near the top of a ragged old pine on one side of Holiday Hill. After the young squirrels could climb and run they had many frolics among the branches of this tree. They played hide-and-seek and tag, and they chattered most gayly. Now and then they returned to their big dry nest of brown leaves and shredded bark to rest. If their mother were at home, they cuddled beside her.

There came a time, however, when these brothers and sisters were old enough to leave the house and lot that belonged to their father and mother and take care of themselves.

Chickaree chose Arbor Vitae Camp for his own new home.


[Illustration]

Arbor Vitae Camp

Arbor vitae trees often grow in low swampy places; but hillsides are all right for them, too, especially if their roots can find plenty of moisture. Arbor Vitae Camp is about halfway up Holiday Hill. A little brook runs down that side of the hill, and the tall trees as well as the short plants growing there are different from many of those on drier and more open parts of the hill.

It is a gurgling, burbling sort of brook, making tiny waterfalls as it leaps over bits of broken granite here and there. Chickaree, being a talkative and jumping young creature, quite possibly found some companionship in the music and the motions of the brook.

Of course Chickaree could not pay money for Arbor Vitae Camp and get a deed for it. He could not put up a sign with the words NO TRESPASSING on it. But before he was quite a year old he had some perfectly good squirrel ways of telling the wild world that he owned the place.

He stood on a branch and sang. His early spring tune was a series of pleasing notes that churred and rolled in happy tones. Fond as he was of music, he would sing nothing except his own solos.

If other squirrels tried to stay too near, he never sang any male duets or trios or quartets with them. Indeed, at such times, he stopped singing altogether and began to scold. If the other squirrels did not understand that he meant what he said, he chased them. And if that was not enough of a hint for them to go away from Arbor Vitae Camp, he fought—and his teeth were very sharp.

You may think from these actions that Chickaree had rather ugly manners. But it is well to consider that he had no gate that he could close. He had no lock and key. There was no policeman to walk back and forth and help protect his property. And there were many other places for other squirrels.

There was, however, one squirrel whom he did not chase or scold. She did not disturb his happy spring song. She liked his voice, and he seemed to enjoy singing to her. In fact, he actually invited her to stay and share his home. She accepted the invitation and became Mrs. Chickaree.

Mr. and Mrs. Chickaree were especially handsome in their spring colors, which were brighter than those they had been wearing. They lost their rather dingy, rusty look when winter was over. The ruddy back fur was separated from the white under fur by a neat dark line along each side. Their fluffy red tails had a prettier glow, too, for a while. Their fresh suits were becoming to them.

Mrs. Chickaree could not spend much of her time listening to squirrel songs. She found that a family of five youngsters kept her rather busy. As she was so very fond of them all, there was nothing she would rather do than take care of them. She was quite happy most of the time though she had a worried day when something happened to the nest and she had to move her family one at a time.


[Illustration]

Young Chickaree and two of his brothers

Each baby reached up its arms and held its little hands around its mother's neck while she carried it to a safer place. They could use their front paws like hands in so many ways that it seems natural to speak of them by that name.

Daddy Chickaree did not spend much time singing, as summer came on. He guarded his family and premises like a little watch dog, barking at all intruders. He even tried to scare away big creatures like the children from Holiday Farm.

At such times he barked so fast and furiously that he seemed to be coughing and sneezing and growling and squealing all at once. For his voice had low tones and high tones, and the queer thing about it was that he sounded as if he were using all his tones at the same moment.

When he ran out on a branch in a threatening way, his little face had a very cross expression, and his tail jerked and twitched with his fierce excitement.

But all his efforts were wasted on the children, for they were not a bit frightened. They only laughed. His fury, somehow, seemed just funny to them. They told him politely that they liked to come to the shade of Arbor Vitae Camp now and then, but they would not harm him or his family or take away the food from his pantry. And by way of peace offering, they often left a few peanuts where Chickaree could find them.

Chickaree did not understand the words they said to him, but he did seem to comprehend the message of the peanuts. So, as time went on, he did not scold them nearly as terribly as he had done at first.

Food interested Chickaree greatly, of course. What he ate was important to him, as, indeed, it must be to all animals. He found variety enough quite near his home.


[Illustration]

Food interested Chickaree greatly

He liked fruit and enjoyed the juicy sweet blueberries on the hillside. He needed some meat, too, and caught grasshoppers and other insects which he found here and there. Eggs and tender young fowl tasted good to him and, if he could find them in birds' nests, he helped himself. He was that kind of hunter.

Of course such a hunting trip was a sad affair for the birds who built the nests and laid the eggs. It is easy to see why Chickaree and his family were most unpopular with the birds of Holiday Hill. That may be the reason why so few of them chose to have their nests near Arbor Vitae Camp.

Seeds of many sorts pleased Chickaree, and perhaps there were none he liked better than those that grow in cones. The first seeds of this kind he had ever eaten came out of pine cones on his father's lot, where he lived when he was younger. He had once found some spruce seeds that he had been glad to eat. But the arbor vitae seeds that grew in his own camp satisfied him, too.


[Illustration]

Chickaree was a hunter

Since squirrels do not spend their winters in sleep, as woodchucks and frogs and some other animals do, Chickaree needed to have food stored for winter use. There would be cold days when Holiday Hill would be covered with snow. He must have plenty of food in piles where he could find it easily.

It seems unlikely that Chickaree could have done much real thinking about winter while all his hillside world was green and summery. So perhaps he gathered food for the mere fun of doing it. Certainly, while he was picking his cones, he acted as if there were nothing quite so jolly as a good cone hunt. He seemed never to be too tired, although he worked busily most of the day from sunrise to sunset.

He began to harvest his crop about the first of September. The trees were loaded with cones as that year was one of heavy bearing. To be sure the cones were not ripe yet. They were still almost cream-colored and were tinted with very pale green. Their scales were tightly closed, and the seeds were all safe inside.

These little cones do not grow singly like spruce or fir or pine cones. Arbor vitae leaves lie in flat sprays, and the tips of the branches spread out like open fans. The cones grow in clusters near the ends of the sprays. Often there are fifty or more cones in such a cluster.

Do you think that Chickaree cut those tiny cones one by one? Not at all! He nipped the twig with his teeth so that the whole end fell together. By the time he was through with a branch, all its tips were well trimmed.


[Illustration]

A cone cluster cut by Chickaree

His pruning shears were good tools. He could work very fast with them. They never became rusty or in need of sharpening. Snip, snip, snip—and down came a shower of cones! This was a jolly way to harvest a crop.

For several days Chickaree left the cones where they fell. It seemed to be more important for him to cut them than to gather them. If they stayed on the trees too long they would ripen and the seeds would drop out. His motto seemed to be "Hurry, hurry, hurry, lest a seed get lost!"

By the end of the first week in September the cone clusters lay on the ground in thick circles around the trees. Then the busy squirrel began to put his cone food away for winter.

What sort of places do you think Chickaree chose for this harvest? Good dry pantries like hollows in old trees or little caves sheltered by rock roofs? Not at all. He put his cones into cool damp places. He used cold storage for them.

Chickaree dug some small holes in soggy moss where the brook kept the ground wet. He did this with a few quick movements of his strong little hands. Into such a hole he tucked only a few cone clusters or often only one.

Most of the crop, however, he stored in large open cellars that he did not need to dig. He found some wet mossy hollows shaded by the trees and filled them; and he piled many cones between two old logs.

The cousins from Holiday Farm found these cellars, and Uncle David permitted them to measure one. The clusters lay in a heap about fifteen inches long, ten inches wide and four inches deep. There were more than three hundred clusters of cones in this heap. As most of the clusters had fifty or more cones, you can see there would be a great many arbor vitae seeds there even if each cone held only ten good seeds. There were probably somewhat more than 300 x 50 x 10 seeds in that one cellar of Chickaree's!

Another cellar had a larger heap—much larger. It looked more than five times as large. But the children did not touch this one to measure it or to count the seeds. Chickaree came and scolded them severely. He was very much worried about it. He had worked so long to cut all those cones and pack them away in flat piles that it is not strange he was anxious to keep them safe. The cousins thought they might feel as he did if they had harvested the cones.

Chickaree had been busy every day for about three weeks cutting and storing his crop of cones. He had done his work at exactly the right time. By the last week in September the season of unripe arbor vitae cones was over. There were only a few left on the trees in Chickaree's camp, and most of these had opened their scales. At a touch their seeds scattered to the ground.

But Chickaree's seeds not did scatter. The closed cones stored in his damp cellars did not open. Neither did they become sour or moldy. Perhaps there was enough aromatic cedar oil in the cones to keep them well preserved. Even those that were left untouched until the next spring were fresh and good.

The Chickaree family had their winter home in a dry hollow in an old tree. They slept there at night, each with a long tail curled around for a fur cover. During the very coldest, stormiest days they felt dozy and stayed at home then, too.

They were awake and active, however, on pleasant winter days. They were hungry, too. That is why the heaps of cones in Chickaree's cellars became smaller and smaller as time went on.

Little tunnels under the snow led, like subways, into these cellars. And here and there a pile of cone scales showed where a squirrel had brought his cones to nibble and break them for his dinner of seeds.

So the squirrel's cone hunt was not only a pleasant September task. It served, too, to provide food during a long cold winter when there were no berries or insects to be found.

In this connection it is interesting to know that the name "arbor vitae" means "tree of life." Chickaree never learned the meaning of those words. But he seemed, nevertheless, to appreciate the trees and their cones.

 



William Blake

The Clod and the Pebble

"Love seeketh not itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care,

But for another gives its ease,

And builds a heaven in hell's despair."


So sung a little clod of clay,

Trodden with the cattle's feet,

But a pebble of the brook

Warbled out these metres meet:


"Love seeketh only Self to please,

To bind another to its delight,

Joys in another's loss of ease,

And builds a hell in heaven's despite."

 


  WEEK 41  

  Wednesday  


Secrets of the Woods  by William J. Long

The Ol' Beech Pa'tridge

[Illustration]

Part 1 of 2

OF all the wild birds that still haunt our remaining solitudes, the ruffed grouse—the pa'tridge of our younger days—is perhaps the wildest, the most alert, the most suggestive of the primeval wilderness that we have lost. You enter the woods from the hillside pasture, lounging a moment on the old gray fence to note the play of light and shadow on the birch bolls. Your eye lingers restfully on the wonderful mixture of soft colors that no brush has ever yet imitated, the rich old gold of autumn tapestries, the glimmering gray-green of the mouldering stump that the fungi have painted. What a giant that tree must have been, generations ago, in its days of strength; how puny the birches that now grow out of its roots! You remember the great canoe birches by the wilderness river, whiter than the little tent that nestled beneath them, their wide bark banners waving in the wind, soft as the flutter of owls' wings that swept among them, shadow-like, in the twilight. A vague regret steals over you that our own wilderness is gone, and with it most of the shy folk that loved its solitudes.

Suddenly there is a rustle in the leaves. Something stirs by the old stump. A moment ago you thought it was only a brown root; now it runs, hides, draws itself erect—Kwit, kwit, kwit!  and with a whirring rush of wings and a whirling eddy of dead leaves a grouse bursts up, and darts away like a blunt arrow, flint-tipped, gray-feathered, among the startled birch stems. As you follow softly to rout him out again, and to thrill and be startled by his unexpected rush, something of the Indian has come unbidden into your cautious tread. All regret for the wilderness is vanished; you are simply glad that so much wildness still remains to speak eloquently of the good old days.

It is this element of unconquerable wildness in the grouse, coupled with a host of early, half-fearful impressions, that always sets my heart to beating, as to an old tune, whenever a partridge bursts away at my feet. I remember well a little child that used to steal away into the still woods, which drew him by an irresistible attraction while as yet their dim arches and quiet paths were full of mysteries and haunting terrors. Step by step the child would advance into the shadows, cautious as a wood mouse, timid as a rabbit. Suddenly a swift rustle and a thunderous rush of something from the ground that first set the child's heart to beating wildly, and then reached his heels in a fearful impulse which sent him rushing out of the woods, tumbling headlong over the old gray wall, and scampering halfway across the pasture before he dared halt from the terror behind. And then, at last, another impulse which always sent the child stealing back into the woods again, shy, alert, tense as a watching fox, to find out what the fearful thing was that could make such a commotion in the quiet woods.

And when he found out at last—ah, that was a discovery beside which the panther's kittens are as nothing as I think of them. One day in the woods, near the spot where the awful thunder used to burst away, the child heard a cluck and a kwit-kwit, and saw a beautiful bird dodging, gliding, halting, hiding in the underbrush, watching the child's every motion. And when he ran forward to put his cap over the bird, it burst away, and then—whirr! whirr! whirr!  a whole covey of grouse roared up all about him. The terror of it weakened his legs so that he fell down in the eddying leaves and covered his ears. But this time he knew what it was at last, and in a moment he was up and running, not away, but fast as his little legs could carry him after the last bird that he saw hurtling away among the trees, with a birch branch that he had touched with his wings nodding good-by behind him.

There is another association with this same bird that always gives an added thrill to the rush of his wings through the startled woods. It was in the old school by the cross-roads, one sleepy September afternoon. A class in spelling, big boys and little girls, toed a crack in front of the master's desk. The rest of the school droned away on appointed tasks in the drowsy interlude. The fat boy slept openly on his arms; even the mischief-maker was quiet, thinking dreamily of summer days that were gone. Suddenly there was a terrific crash, a clattering tinkle of broken glass, a howl from a boy near the window. Twenty knees banged the desks beneath as twenty boys jumped. Then, before any of us had found his wits, Jimmy Jenkins, a red-headed boy whom no calamity could throw off his balance and from whom no opportunity ever got away free, had jumped over two forms and was down on the floor in the girls' aisle, gripping something between his knees—

"I've got him," he announced, with the air of a general.

"Got what?" thundered the master.

"Got a pa'tridge; he's an old buster," said Jimmy. And he straightened up, holding by the legs a fine cock partridge whose stiffening wings still beat his sides spasmodically. He had been scared-up in the neighboring woods, frightened by some hunter out of his native coverts. When he reached the unknown open places he was more frightened still and, as a frightened grouse always flies straight, he had driven like a bolt through the schoolhouse window, killing himself by the impact.

Rule-of-three and cube root and the unmapped wilderness of partial payments have left but scant impression on one of those pupils, at least; but a bird that could wake up a drowsy schoolroom and bring out a living lesson, full of life and interest and the subtile call of the woods, from a drowsy teacher who studied law by night, but never his boys by day,—that was a bird to be respected. I have studied him with keener interest ever since.

Yet however much you study the grouse, you learn little except how wild he is. Occasionally, when you are still in the woods and a grouse walks up to your hiding place, you get a fair glimpse and an idea or two; but he soon discovers you, and draws himself up straight as a string and watches you for five minutes without stirring or even winking. Then, outdone at his own game, he glides away. A rustle of little feet on leaves, a faint kwit-kwit  with a question in it, and he is gone. Nor will he come back, like the fox, to watch from the other side and find out what you are.

Civilization, in its first advances, is good to the grouse, providing him with an abundance of food and driving away his enemies. Grouse are always more numerous about settlements than in the wilderness. Unlike other birds, however, he grows wilder and wilder by nearness to men's dwellings. I suppose that is because the presence of man is so often accompanied by the rush of a dog and the report of a gun, and perhaps by the rip and sting of shot in his feathers as he darts away. Once, in the wilderness, when very hungry, I caught two partridges by slipping over their heads a string noose at the end of a pole. Here one might as well try to catch a bat in the twilight as to hope to snare one of our upland partridges by any such invention, or even to get near enough to meditate the attempt.

But there was one grouse—and he the very wildest of all that I have ever met in the woods—who showed me unwittingly many bits of his life, and with whom I grew to be very well acquainted after a few seasons' watching. All the hunters of the village knew him well; and a half-dozen boys, who owned guns and were eager to join the hunters' ranks, had a shooting acquaintance with him. He was known far and wide as "the ol' beech pa'tridge." That he was old no one could deny who knew his ways and his devices; and he was frequently scared-up in a beech wood by a brook, a couple of miles out of the village.

Spite of much learned discussion as to different varieties of grouse, due to marked variations in coloring, I think personally that we have but one variety, and that differences in color are due largely to the different surroundings in which they live. Of all birds the grouse is most invisible when quiet, his coloring blends so perfectly with the roots and leaves and tree stems among which he hides. This wonderful invisibility is increased by the fact that he changes color easily. He is darker in summer, lighter in winter, like the rabbit. When he lives in dark woods he becomes a glossy red-brown; and when his haunt is among the birches he is often a decided gray.

This was certainly true of the old beech partridge. When he spread his tail wide and darted away among the beeches, his color blended so perfectly with the gray tree trunks that only a keen eye could separate him. And he knew every art of the dodger perfectly. When he rose there was scarcely a second of time before he had put a big tree between you and him, so as to cover his line of flight. I don't know how many times he had been shot at on the wing. Every hunter I knew had tried it many times; and every boy who roamed the woods in autumn had sought to pot him on the ground. But he never lost a feather; and he would never stand to a dog long enough for the most cunning of our craft to take his position.

When a brood of young partridges hear a dog running in the woods, they generally flit to the lower branches of a tree and kwit-kwit  at him curiously. They have not yet learned the difference between him and the fox, who is the ancient enemy of their kind, and whom their ancestors of the wilderness escaped and tantalized in the same way. But when it is an old bird that your setter is trailing, his actions are a curious mixture of cunning and fascination. As old Don draws to a point, the grouse pulls himself up rigidly by a stump and watches the dog. So both stand like statues; the dog held by the strange instinct which makes him point, lost to sight, sound and all things else save the smell in his nose, the grouse tense as a fiddlestring, every sense alert, watching the enemy whom he thinks to be fooled by his good hiding. For a few moments they are motionless; then the grouse skulks and glides to a better cover. As the strong scent fades from Don's nose, he breaks his point and follows. The grouse hears him and again hides by drawing himself up against a stump, where he is invisible; again Don stiffens into his point, one foot lifted, nose and tail in a straight line, as if he were frozen and could not move.

So it goes on, now gliding through the coverts, now still as a stone, till the grouse discovers that so long as he is still the dog seems paralyzed, unable to move or feel. Then he draws himself up, braced against a root or a tree boll; and there they stand, within twenty feet of each other, never stirring, never winking, till the dog falls from exhaustion at the strain, or breaks it by leaping forward, or till the hunter's step on the leaves fills the grouse with a new terror that sends him rushing away through the October woods to deeper solitudes.

Once, at noon, I saw Old Ben, a famous dog, draw to a perfect point. Just ahead, in a tangle of brown brakes, I could see the head and neck of a grouse watching the dog keenly. Old Ben's master, to test the splendid training of his dog, proposed lunch on the spot. We withdrew a little space and ate deliberately, watching the bird and the dog with an interest that grew keener and keener as the meal progressed, while Old Ben stood like a rock, and the grouse's eye shone steadily out of the tangle of brakes. Nor did either move so much as an eyelid while we ate, and Ben's master smoked his pipe with quiet confidence. At last, after a full hour, he whacked his pipe on his boot heel and rose to reach for his gun. That meant death for the grouse; but I owed him too much of keen enjoyment to see him cut down in swift flight. In the moment that the master's back was turned I hurled a knot at the tangle of brakes. The grouse burst away, and Old Ben, shaken out of his trance by the whirr of wings, dropped obediently to the charge and turned his head to say reproachfully with his eyes: "What in the world is the matter with you back there—didn't I hold him long enough?"

The noble old fellow was trembling like a leaf after the long strain when I went up to him to pat his head and praise his steadiness, and share with him the better half of my lunch. But to this day Ben's master does not know what started the grouse so suddenly; and as he tells you about the incident will still say regretfully: "I ought to a-started jest a minute sooner, 'fore he got tired. Then I'd a had 'im."

The old beech partridge, however, was a bird of a different mind. No dog ever stood him for more than a second; he had learned too well what the thing meant. The moment he heard the patter of a dog's feet on leaves he would run rapidly, and skulk and hide and run again, keeping dog and hunter on the move till he found the cover he wanted,—thick trees, or a tangle of wild grapevines,—when he would burst out on the farther side. And no eye, however keen, could catch more than a glimpse of a gray tail before he was gone. Other grouse make short straight flights, and can be followed and found again; but he always drove away on strong wings for an incredible distance, and swerved far to right or left; so that it was a waste of time to follow him up. Before you found him he had rested his wings and was ready for another flight; and when you did find him he would shoot away like an arrow out of the top of a pine tree and give you never a glimpse of himself.

He lived most of the time on a ridge behind the 'Fales place,' an abandoned farm on the east of the old post road. This was his middle range, a place of dense coverts, bullbrier thickets and sunny open spots among the ledges, where you might, with good-luck, find him on special days at any season. But he had all the migratory instincts of a Newfoundland caribou. In winter he moved south, with twenty other grouse, to the foot of the ridge, which dropped away into a succession of knolls and ravines and sunny, well-protected little valleys, where food was plenty. Here, fifty years ago, was the farm pasture; but now it had grown up everywhere with thickets and berry patches, and wild apple trees of the birds' planting. All the birds loved it in their season; quail nested on its edges; and you could kick a brown rabbit out of almost any of its decaying brush piles or hollow moss-grown logs.

In the spring he crossed the ridge northward again, moving into the still dark woods, where he had two or three wives with as many broods of young partridges; all of whom, by the way, he regarded with astonishing indifference.

Across the whole range—stealing silently out of the big woods, brawling along the foot of the ridge and singing through the old pasture—ran a brook that the old beech partridge seemed to love. A hundred times I started him from its banks. You had only to follow it any November morning before eight o'clock, and you would be sure to find him. But why he haunted it at this particular time and season I never found out.

I used to wonder sometimes why I never saw him drink. Other birds had their regular drinking places and bathing pools there, and I frequently watched them from my hiding; but though I saw him many times, after I learned his haunts, he never touched the water.

One early summer morning a possible explanation suggested itself. I was sitting quietly by the brook, on the edge of the big woods, waiting for a pool to grow quiet, out of which I had just taken a trout and in which I suspected there was a larger one hiding. As I waited a mother-grouse and her brood—one of the old beech partridge's numerous families for whom he provided nothing—came gliding along the edge of the woods. They had come to drink, evidently, but not from the brook. A sweeter draught than that was waiting for their coming. The dew was still clinging to the grass blades; here and there a drop hung from a leaf point, flashing like a diamond in the early light. And the little partridges, cheeping, gliding, whistling among the drooping stems, would raise their little bills for each shining dewdrop that attracted them, and drink it down and run with glad little pipings and gurglings to the next drop that flashed an invitation from its bending grass blade. The old mother walked sedately in the midst of them, now fussing over a laggard, now clucking them all together in an eager, chirping, jumping little crowd, each one struggling to be first in at the death of a fat slug she had discovered on the underside of a leaf; and anon reaching herself for a dewdrop that hung too high for their drinking. So they passed by within a few yards, a shy, wild, happy little family, and disappeared into the shadow of the big woods.

Perhaps that is why I never saw the old beech partridge drink from the brook. Nature has a fresher draught, of her own distilling, that is more to his tasting.

 

 


Anonymous

To an Autumn Leaf

Wee shallop of shimmering gold!

Slip down from your ways in the branches.

Some fairy will loosen your hold—

Wee shallop of shimmering gold.

Spill dew on your bows and unfold

Silk sails for the fairest of launches!

Wee shallop of shimmering gold,

Slip down from your ways in the branches.

 


  WEEK 41  

  Thursday  


Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children  by H. E. Marshall

Robin Hood and Maid Marian

"A bonny fine maid of noble degree,

Maid Marian called by name,

Did live in the north, of excellent worth,

For she was a gallant dame.


For favour, and face, and beauty most rare,

Queen Helen she did excel;

For Marian then was praised of all men

That did in the country dwell."

Long before Robin came to live in Sherwood Forest he used often to go there to hunt. There were many wild animals in the woods which people were allowed to shoot. Only the deer belonged to the king, and no one was allowed to hunt or kill them.

One day while Robin was hunting in the forest he met a most beautiful lady. She was dressed in green velvet, the colour of the grass in spring. Robin thought she looked like a queen. He had never seen any one so lovely.

"Her gait it was graceful, her body was straight,

And her countenance free from all pride;

A bow in her hand, and a quiver of arrows,

Hung dangling down by her side.


Her eyebrows were black, ay, and so was her hair,

And her skin was as smooth as glass;

Her visage spoke wisdom and modesty too:

Suits with Robin Hood such a lass!"

Robin watched this beautiful lady shooting, and thought he had never seen anything so fine in all his life. He loved her from the very first moment he saw her.

"Oh, how sweet it would be if this dear lady would be my bride," he sighed to himself, though he did not even know her name.

He soon found that she was called Marian, and that her father was the noble Earl of Fitzwalter, who had come to live at a castle not far from his own home.

After this, Marian and Robin met each other very often. They used to hunt together in the forest, and came to love one another very much indeed. They loved each other so much, that Robin asked Marian to marry him, so that they might never be parted any more.

Marian said "yes," and Robin thought he was the happiest man in all the world. She went back to her own home with her father, to prepare for the wedding, which was to be in a few days. But just then a terrible misfortune happened to Robin. He lost his home, and everything that he had.

"So fortune bearing these lovers a spite,

Thus soon they were forced to part;

To the merry Green Wood went Robin Hood

With a sad and sorrowful heart."

When Robin lost all his money and lands, and had no house but only the Green Wood to live in, he said: "I cannot ask a gentle lady to come and live this rough life with me. I must say good-bye to my dear Marian for ever."

So he wrote a sad letter, telling her of all the terrible misfortune that had befallen him. "I shall love you always," he said, "but this life is too hard for a sweet and gentle lady, so I will never see you more. Good-bye."

Marian was very, very sorrowful when she had read Robin's letter. She cried all day long as if her heart would break.

She was very sad and lonely now, and all the world seemed dark and dreary. It seemed as if the sun had forgotten to shine and the birds to sing.

At last she became so miserable that she could bear it no longer. "I must go into the Green Wood and look for Robin," she said. "Perhaps if I see him again the pain will go out of my heart and the weariness from my feet."

It was a long way to Sherwood Forest. Marian knew that it was not safe for a beautiful lady to travel so far by herself. She feared the robbers and the wild, wicked men she might meet. So she dressed herself like a knight all in shining armour. She wore a steel helmet, with a white feather as a crest. Over her lovely face she drew a steel chain cover, called a visor, which knights used to wear. It kept the face from being hurt by arrows and swords in battle, and also, if a knight wished not to be known, it prevented people from seeing his face altogether.

With quiver and bow, sword, buckler, and all,

Thus armed was Marian most bold,

She wandered about, to find Robin out,

Whose person was better than gold."

Robin was very fond of disguising himself. He was very clever at it too. Often his dearest friends could not recognise him when they met him dressed like some one else.

One day he dressed himself as a Norman knight, pulled his visor over his face, and went out into the forest in search of an adventure.

He had not gone far before he met another knight in shining armour and a white crest. He put on a deep and terrible voice and called out in Norman French, "Stop, Sir knight of the white feather. No one passes through the forest without leave from me. I give leave only to those whose errand is good and whose name is fair. What is your name and where are you going?"

Marian (for of course it was she) was very frightened. Robin's voice sounded so gruff and terrible that she did not know it, and she could not see his face.

She thought he was some wicked Norman knight. Without saying a word she drew her sword and prepared to fight.

"Ah," said Robin, "you refuse to answer. Your errand must be evil if you cannot tell what it is. Fight then, false knight."

He too drew his sword, and the fight began. Though Robin was taller and stronger than Marian, she used her sword so cleverly, that he found it hard to get the better of her. He could not but admire the skill and grace with which she defended herself. "It is wonderful that a knight so young and so slender should have such strength and quickness," he said to himself. "I would he were one of my men."

They fought for more than an hour. Marian was wounded in the arm. Robin had a cut in his cheek, where the point of her sword had pierced his visor. Marian was growing tired. Robin began to feel sorry for the young knight who fought so skilfully and well.

"Oh, hold thy hand, hold thy hand, said Robin Hood,

And thou shalt be one of my string,

To range in the wood with bold Robin Hood

And hear the sweet nightingale sing."

Robin had forgotten that he was pretending to be a haughty Norman knight, and spoke in his own voice. When Marian heard it she dropped her sword with a cry of delight. "Robin, Robin," was all she could say.

"Marian," he replied full of wonder, "Marian can it be you? Oh, why did you not speak before? I have hurt you," he added in great distress. Marian took off her helmet so that he might see it was indeed his own true love. Her face was pale, but there was a smile on her lips, and her eyes were full of happy tears.

How they laughed and cried, and kissed each other. It was a long, long time since they had met. They went to the brook, which gurgled and sang through the wood not far off. Very tenderly Robin bathed and bound up Marian's wound, and she as gently cared for his. All the time they laughed and talked, and Marian found that the pain had gone from her heart and the weariness from her feet.

She told Robin how sad and sorrowful she had been, and how she had put on a knight's armour, and come to look for him.

"Sweetheart," he said when she had finished her story, "I do not know how I shall live in the Green Wood when you go away again."

"But I never mean to go away again. I am going to stay with you always," she said.

"Dearest, you must not. It is a rough, uncomfortable life, not fit for a gentle lady like you."

"Oh Robin, do not be so unkind. The sun does not shine and the birds forget to sing when I am away from you. Let me stay."

So Robin let her stay. He wanted to have her with him so much that he could not say "no" when she begged so hard.

"And then as bold Robin Hood, and his sweet bride,

Went hand and hand to the green bower,

The birds sung with pleasure in merry Sherwood,

And twas a joyful hour."

As they walked along to the Trysting-Tree, as the place was called where Robin and his men used to gather, they met Little John. He was very much surprised to see his master and a strange young knight, walking arm-in-arm, chatting and laughing gaily.

"Ho, Little John," called out Robin, as soon as he saw him, "come, help me. This fair knight has pierced my heart, so that I fear I shall never recover."

Little John turned pale. "Master," he said, "are you indeed wounded? If it is so, this false knight has not long to live," and he looked fiercely at Marian.

She drew closer to Robin, saying, "This big man frightens me."

But Robin laughed. Putting one arm round her, and holding Little John off with the other, "Friend," he said, "I did but jest. This is no knight, but my own fair love, Maid Marian. If my heart is pierced and sore wounded, it is only with the bright glances from her eyes. Marian," he went on, "this is my friend Little John, of whom I have told you. He is the tallest and the bravest of my men, the wisest head among us."

Little John knelt on one knee, and, taking Marian's hand, kissed it as if she had been a queen. "Lady," he said, "if you have come to live with us in the Green Wood, and be our queen, as Robin is our king, I swear to serve you faithfully and well, as I do him."

Marian smiled down upon him. Her heart was so full, she could not speak.

"Now, master," said Little John, "we must have a feast to-day, for this must be a great day in the Green Wood. So by your leave I will take my bow and arrows, and see what I can bring to our cooks."

"So Little John took his bow in his hand,

And wandered in the wood,

To kill the deer, and make a good cheer

For Marian and Robin Hood."

"Robin," said Marian, when Little John had gone, "I wish I had a dress to wear instead of this armour."

"Sweetheart," replied Robin, "you are lovely as you are, but if you want a dress you can soon have one. Not long ago we stopped a rich Jew, who was travelling through the forest. He left a bale of goods with us. There are several fine dresses in it, of which you can take your choice. Come, I will show you the cave where they are."

Robin sat down outside the cave to wait till Marian came back to him again. He leaned his head against the trunk of a tree, and shutting his eyes, dreamed happy day dreams.

Then he heard his name whispered, and, opening his eyes, saw Marian, looking like a fairy princess. She wore an underdress of glittering white, and over it a robe of lovely satin, green and shimmering like beech leaves in early spring. Her dark hair was caught up in a net of pearls, and a soft white veil fell about her face.

Robin drew in his breath. He had not known that any one could look so beautiful.

Slowly they paced through the Green Wood together. They had so much to say to each other, the time went all too quickly.


[Illustration]

Slowly they paced through the Green Wood

Then, under the Trysting-Tree, Robin stopped, and blew his horn. In answer to it all, all his men came marching in a row. As they passed Robin, every man bowed. Then each one knelt on one knee, kissing Marian's hand, and vowing to serve and honour her as his queen. And so every man went to his place, and Marian stood blushing and smiling at them as they passed.

Then the merry feast began. The cooks had done their very best, and had made all the most dainty and delightful dishes they could think of. The table-cloths, which were spread upon the grass, were strewn with wildflowers. The sun shone, the birds sang, and happy talk and laughter rang merrily through the wood.

When the feast was over, Robin filled his drinking-horn, and holding it high above his head said, "Here's a health to Maid Marian, Queen of the Green Wood."

It was a fine sight to see all his men as they sprang to their feet. They looked so handsome and tall in their coats of Lincoln green. They waved their hats and cheered for Maid Marian, till the forest echoed again.

"Here's to fair Maid Marian and bold Robin Hood," they cried. "Long may they live, and happy may they be."

Then came fat and jolly Friar Tuck carrying his big book and trying to look grave.

A hush fell upon every one, while Robin and Marian knelt together, under the blue sky and green waving branches. Very solemn and still it was, in the great forest, as Robin and Marian were married.

"Then a garland they brought her, by two and by two,

And placed it all on the Bride's head.

Then music struck up, and they all fell to dance,

And the Bride and Bridegroom they led."

Every one was happy and merry. Only Little John felt the least bit sad. "Now Robin has such a lovely wife, he will not need his friends any more," he said sorrowfully to himself.

But Maid Marian saw that he looked sad, and guessed why, so she talked kindly to him, and soon he was as merry as the rest. They sang, and danced, and played, and no one seemed to tire.

"At last they ended their merriment,

And went to walk in the wood,

When Little John on Maid Marian

Attended and bold Robin Hood."

So this happy day came to an end. The red sun sank behind the trees. The birds slept, and all the forest was silent, only the bright stars were awake, and watched over Robin and his band.

Robin and Marian lived together for a long, long time, and were very, very happy. They lived so happily together, and loved each other so much, that "to love like Robin Hood and Maid Marian" came to be a proverb. And to this day, in the place where Maid Marian lived before she went to the Green Wood, and where she was buried when she died, they give a prize each year to the man and wife who have lived most happily together.

"In solid content together they lived

With all their yeomen gay,

They lived by their hands without any lands,

And so they did many a day."

 



The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Astrologer

A man who lived a long time ago believed that he could read the future in the stars. He called himself an Astrologer, and spent his time at night gazing at the sky.


[Illustration]

One evening he was walking along the open road outside the village. His eyes were fixed on the stars. He thought he saw there that the end of the world was at hand, when all at once, down he went into a hole full of mud and water.

There he stood up to his ears, in the muddy water, and madly clawing at the slippery sides of the hole in his effort to climb out.

His cries for help soon brought the villagers running. As they pulled him out of the mud, one of them said:

"You pretend to read the future in the stars, and yet you fail to see what is at your feet! This may teach you to pay more attention to what is right in front of you, and let the future take care of itself."

"What use is it," said another, "to read the stars, when you can't see what's right here on the earth?"

Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.

 



Helen Hunt Jackson

October's Bright Blue Weather

O suns and skies and clouds of June,

And flowers of June together,

Ye cannot rival for one hour

October's bright blue weather,


When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,

Belated, thriftless vagrant,

And golden-rod is dying fast,

And lanes with grapes are fragrant;


When gentians roll their fringes tight

To save them for the morning,

And chestnuts fall from satin burrs

Without a sound of warning;


When on the ground red apples lie

In piles like jewels shining,

And redder still on old stone walls

Are leaves of woodbine twining.


O suns and skies and flowers of June,

Count all your boasts together,

Love loveth best of all the year

October's bright blue weather.

 


  WEEK 41  

  Friday  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

The Great South Land

"We looked upon a world unknown."

—Whittier.

A T the beginning of the seventeenth century the vast ocean south of America, Africa, and Asia was unknown; there was a blank space on the old charts where Australia is now marked. As men in the days of Columbushad guessed at the great country on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean, so now they suspected some large tract of land to lie south of the equator—the Great South Land they called it vaguely, or Australia, from a word Austral,  meaning south.

Many a Spaniard had left the shores of Peru in search of it, but up to this time with little result. Now that the Dutch had entered on their career of discovery in the East, it was natural that they in their turn should search for that unknown land.

In 1606 a Dutch ship sailed along part of the coast of Australia, but whenever the men landed they were driven away by wild savages with clubs. They called the headland that marked the limit of their voyage Cape Keer Weer, or Turnagain, which name it bears to-day. So ship after ship sailed to the coast of Australia under the Dutch East India Company.

In 1642 an expedition was despatched from Batavia, the headquarters of the Company, under the command of Captain Tasman, on a voyage of discovery to the Great South Land. Let him tell his own story.

"On August 14, 1642, I sailed from Batavia with two vessels," he says in his log-book, "and on September 5 anchored at Maurice Island, which has a very fine harbour. The country is mountainous, but the mountains are covered with green trees. The tops of these mountains are so high that they are lost in the clouds. The finest ebony in the world grows here. It is a tall, straight tree covered with a green bark, very thick, under which the wood is as black as pitch and as close as ivory. I left this island on the 8th of October and continued my course to the south. The weather was foggy, with hard gales and a rolling sea from the south.

"On November 24 I discovered land, which I called Van Diemen's Land, after the Governor of Batavia, and on December 1 I anchored in a bay. I heard the sound of people on the shore, but I saw nobody. I perceived in the sand the mark of wild beasts' feet, resembling those of a tiger. We did nothing more here than set up a post, on which every one cut his name or his mark, and upon which I hoisted a flag.

"On December 5 I quitted Van Diemen's Land and steered east. On the 13th I discovered a high mountainous country. I coasted along the shore and anchored in a fine bay. We found here abundance of inhabitants: they had very hoarse voices and were very large-made people. They durst not approach the ship nearer than a stone's-throw, and we often observed them playing on a kind of trumpet. These people were of a colour between brown and yellow; their hair was long, combed up, and fixed at the top of their heads with a quill. On the 19th of December these savages began to grow a little bolder, insomuch that at last they ventured on board in order to trade with one of our vessels. Fearful lest they should surprise the ship, I sent a small boat with seven men to put the sailors on their guard. My seven men being without arms, were attacked by the savages, who killed three and forced the other four to swim for their lives: from which we called that place the Bay of Murderers.

"This country appeared to us rich, fertile, and well situated; but as the weather was very foul, and we had at this time a very strong west wind, we continued our route to the north.

"On January 4, 1643, we sailed to a cape (Cape Maria Van Diemen), where we found the sea rolling in from the north-east, whence we concluded we had at last found a passage, which gave us no small joy.

"There was in this strait an island, which we called the Three Kings. Here we would have refreshed ourselves, but as we approached it we perceived on the mountain some thirty persons, men of very large size and each with a club in his hand. They called to us in a rough strong voice, but we could not understand what they said. They walked at a very great rate and took prodigious large strides. On January 21 we drew near to the coast of two islands, which we named Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Upon the island of Rotterdam we found plenty of hogs, fowls, and other refreshments. The people were good-natured, parting readily with what they had, and did not seem to know the use of arms."

From here Tasman sailed among many small islands surrounded with shoals and rocks, known as the Friendly Islands, until he returned to Batavia by the northern coast of New Guinea.

Not only had he discovered New Zealand, but he had sailed right round the vast unknown island of Australia without knowing it.

Some years later, when William III. was King of England, a brave sea-captain named Dampier was sent to further examine the shores of that great south land then known as New Holland. He found the country inhospitable, the natives "the most unpleasant and worst-featured of any people" he had ever seen.

After this the shores of Australia seem to have been forgotten for nearly a hundred years, when Captain Cook made his famous discoveries and took possession of the country in the name of England.

 



Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon

The Choice of Hercules

Y ES; at last Hercules was free, after twelve long years of slavery, during which he had scarce known a day's pleasure or ease. It seemed too good to be true.

His only trouble now was what to do with his liberty. He was his own master; the whole world was before him, and he was strong enough to do whatever he pleased. And while thus thinking what he should do with his life and strength, there came to him in the middle of the night a vision as of two women, real and yet unreal, bringing with them a strange light of their own.

The first to speak was young, and beautiful, crowned with flowers, and with a voice as sweet as her smile.

"What folly is thinking!" said she. "You have toiled enough; you have won the right to do whatever you like best for the rest of your days. No more labor to serve another's will or whim; no more hateful tasks, one ending only for another to begin; no more cold, hunger, thirst, strife with monsters, and self-denial; and all for what? Why, for nothing. My name is Pleasure. Choose me for your soul, and you shall have Power, Glory, Riches, Comfort, Delight—all your whole heart's desire."

The other shape wore no flowers: her lips did not smile, and the light of her clear bright eyes was cold; and her voice belonged to her eyes.

"Yet think," said she, "before you choose, because you must choose to-night once for all. Was it Pleasure who helped you to rid the people of the ravage of the Nemæan lion? No, indeed: she would have bidden you stay at home. Was it Pleasure who stood by you as you struck off the heads of the Hydra, one by one? No, indeed. Did Pleasure join with you in chasing the Erymanthine boar and the stag with the golden horns? Did she clean away the Augean stable? Did she send you forth to free the world of the man-eating birds of Lake Stymphalus, and the dreadful Cretan bull, and the mares of King Diomedes, and the Giant Antæus, and the Ogre Geryon, and Cacus the Robber? Did Pleasure save Alcestis from death, and break through the very gates of hell? No; it was Obedience. And if obedience to a mere earthly master has worked such wonders for the good of all mankind, how much more good will come of willing obedience to Me?"

"And how, then, are you called?" asked Hercules, looking from one to the other—from the warm glowing smile of Pleasure to the grave eyes of the form which had last spoken.

"Among men I am called Duty," said she.

Hercules could not help sighing—for the more he looked at Pleasure the more beautiful she grew; while the face of Duty seemed every moment to become more stern and cold.

"It does seem hard," said he, "to use my freedom in only making a change of service. But after all, what is the good of having more strength than other men, except to help them? It's true, though I never thought of it before. And if Pleasure won't help me to rid the world of the rest of its monsters, and Duty will, why, there's only one thing for a man to do, and that's to choose Duty, and obey her, however hard she may be."

Then he went to sleep with his mind made up, and when he woke in the morning his choice woke with him.


So Hercules, instead of being the servant of Eurystheus, became, of his own free will, the servant of all mankind. He made it his work to seek out wrong, and never to rest until he had set it right: he traveled about the world, carrying everywhere with him the love of law and justice, and the worship of the gods, even into savage lands where such things had never been known. Ogres and monsters disappeared: it seemed as if his strength were bringing back the Golden Age.

One day his wanderings brought him into the heart of the great mountain-range called Caucasus, a vast and dreadful region of snow-covered peaks which no human foot had ever climbed. Never had even he known a harder labor than to make his way among these icy precipices, where every step meant danger. Not a sign of life was to be seen or heard, when suddenly he heard a terrible cry like that of a giant in pain.

He looked round; but saw nothing but the silent mountains. Then the cry came again, as if from far above him; and, lifting his eyes to the highest peak of all, he was sure that something moved there like the flapping of great wings.

What could it be? What could be happening upon the highest mountain peak in the world? He set himself to climb its sides, often so steep and icy that he was over and over again on the point of giving up in despair; and the higher he climbed the louder and more full of agony became the cry. At last, after many days of toil, he reached the topmost peak whence the cry came, and there he forgot hunger, cold, and weariness in wonder at what he saw.

Bound to the rocks by huge chains, so that he could not move a limb, lay what seemed a man, bigger than Hercules himself, with every muscle drawn and writhing in agony. And with good reason, for a gigantic and horrible vulture had his limbs in its talons and its beak in his heart, which it was fiercely tearing.

The vulture was too busy at his cruel feast to see Hercules. But its tortured victim cried—

"Depart, whoever you are: I am Prometheus the Titan, who tried to conquer the strength of the gods by cunning, and am thus punished for my sin forever."

And then he sent forth another dreadful cry as the vulture plunged its beak into his heart again.


Prometheus! Yes; it was nothing less than Prometheus the Titan, who, when his race was beaten in the great battle with the gods of Olympus, had stolen fire from heaven, and made Man, and who was thus punished for having made what gave the gods such trouble. But Hercules, though he knew all this, and the story of Pandora besides, exclaimed—

"Then, gods or no gods, sin or no sin, this shall not be!"

And at the word he grasped the vulture by the throat, and then followed a struggle beside which even his battle with the hell-hound Cerberus had been as nothing. For it was no common vulture of the mountains: it was the demon of Remorse, whose beak had not left the heart of Prometheus one moment for thousands and thousands of years. But it was over at last, and the vulture lay strangled at the feet of Hercules.

To free Prometheus from his chains was the work of a moment, and the Titan rose and stretched his free limbs with a heart at ease.

*     *     *

What passed between the Titan and the Mortal is beyond my guessing, and I have never heard. I only know that a mere Man had, by his strength and his courage, saved one who was greater and wiser than he from Remorse and Despair. I have thought of this story till it means too much for me to say anything more. Only, if you have forgotten the story of Prometheus and Pandora, I should be glad if you will read it again.

 

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


  WEEK 41  

  Saturday  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Aboard the Ship  by Lisa M. Ripperton

Puss in Boots; or, The Master Cat

[Illustration]

O NCE upon a time a miller, who was carrying some sacks to market through a wood, perceived a very large and handsome cat struggling to free itself from a water snake which had coiled round its throat so that poor Puss could not even mew for help.

The miller was kind to animals, of course, because he was a brave man, so he rushed forward and released the cat, throwing the snake with all his force back into the deep river running through the wood.

The cat, thus delivered, came purring and rubbing itself against his boots, causing the miller to say:

"Get out of my path and go home, Puss, you should not be wandering in the wood."

Puss looked up, to his surprise, and replied: "Kind master, I have no home."

"Then you had better come and live with me," said the miller. "I shall be very glad to have you, for the rats and mice give me a great deal of trouble at home."

When they reached the mill, three boys rushed shouting out to welcome their father.

They all began to talk at once when they saw the cat.

"Father, father! What a fine cat! Where did you get it?"

"In the wood, boys. He wishes to live with us, therefore be kind to him."

"I will," said the youngest son, stroking Puss; "he shall have half my milk for supper."


[Illustration]

And so he had; and many another little kindness. The other brothers were not so kind.

Years went on. The three boys grew into young men. The two elder were rather selfish; the youngest, generous, kind, and unselfish.

At last the old miller was taken very ill and died, leaving his mill to the eldest son, his ass to the second, and his cat to the youngest.

When the poor young fellow found that he was left without any means of livelihood he was very much distressed, and sat down to think, for as he expected, his selfish brothers told him to leave the mill the very next day.

"What shall I do? What will become of me?" he said to himself aloud. "What am I to do with poor Puss?"

There was a slight noise from an old walnut-press close by, and the miller's cat jumped on the table.


[Illustration]

"My dear young master," said he, "do not grieve. Only get me a nice pair of boots and a bag, and I will get your living for you."

"What is the meaning of this?" exclaimed the miller's son. "Who would have ever thought you were able to talk like a man."


[Illustration]

That very evening he set off with Puss to the next town, and bought a splendid pair of boots for the cat and a large, handsome leather bag, with the little money he had saved, for he thought there must be something mysterious in that sort of talking animal.


[Illustration]

They then wandered about to seek a dwelling place, and at last found one in a broken-down lodge, which stood unoccupied at the entrance to an ogre's park, which was situated in that neighbourhood.

The next morning Puss made his appearance in top boots, with his bag slung over his shoulder, before setting out on an expedition.

Now he had put some bran and parsley into his bag, and, trotting on till he came to a rabbit-warren, he put it down open, and hid himself amongst the ferns and the bushes, at the same time holding the strings.


[Illustration]

By-and-by, two fat, giddy young rabbits crept into the bag. Puss instantly drew the strings of the bag tightly, and then hurried off till he reached the king's palace. Arriving at the gate he demanded an audience of the sovereign.


[Illustration]

The attendants were so amazed at hearing a cat talk, that they reported the demand to the king, and the royal curiosity was aroused so greatly by the story of a talking cat, that he at once desired them to admit Puss.

Puss walked through the palace stroking his moustache, till he stood in the royal presence. Then he bowed very low; and on the king's asking him from whence he came, and what was his business, he replied:

"Please your majesty, my master, the Marquis of Carabas, sends me with these rabbits as a present to your majesty."

"Tell my lord marquis," replied the astonished king, "that I am much obliged for his gift"; and he dismissed Puss with many compliments, and a purse of gold.

The next day Puss went into the ogre's preserves and contrived to catch two partridges.

With these he again proceeded to the palace, was once more admitted, and gave the same message.

The king was quite charmed with Puss; and sent for his daughter to see the wonderful Puss in Boots.


[Illustration]

She was a very beautiful lady, and was so very kind and amiable to Puss that he was very pleased, and purred out his admiration so warmly that she said she had never met with his equal for intelligence and grace.

"Ah!" said Puss, turning up his eyes, "what would you say then to my good master, the Marquis of Carabas?"

"I wish the worthy noble would come to court," said the king. "Tell him I greatly desire his acquaintance."

The cat went home walking quite proudly, and related this conversation to his master, who shook his head, and said:

"What folly, my dear Puss! How can you be so very absurd? and how is it all to end?"

"We shall see," said Puss, stroking his moustache.

Now one day the cat heard the king tell his daughter that he would take her for a long drive by the river's side the next day. So he ran home, and said to his master:

"If you will take my advice, your fortune is certainly made. Go and bathe in the river, at the place I will show you, and leave the rest to me."

The "marquis" did as he was desired; and as soon as he was in the stream, the cunning cat carried off all his clothes, and hid them under a large stone.


[Illustration]

While the young man was bathing, the royal carriage and attendants came in sight. Directly he saw the procession, Puss began to utter a succession of the most alarming cries:

"Help, help! or my lord Marquis of Carabas will be drowned!"


[Illustration]

The king, seeing his favourite, the cat, immediately desired two of his attendants to go to his assistance.

The young man was drawn out of the water, and asked for his clothes. Then the cunning Puss in Boots ran hither and thither to find them, and pretending not to be able to see them, cried out that they were certainly stolen, and that his master would catch his death of cold.

By a lucky accident a suit of clothes was in the carriage.

So the "marquis" was dressed in them, and the king, pleased with his frank, good looks, insisted on his entering the carriage, and taking a drive with the princess and himself.


[Illustration]

The cat, enchanted at the success of his cunning trick, ran hastily on; and coming to a large field, in which reapers were at work, he told them that if they did not tell the king that those fields belonged to the Marquis of Carabas, they should be chopped up as small as mincemeat.


[Illustration]

The poor peasants, terrified at the fierce looks of the cat, and amazed at hearing him talk, and seeing him walk in boots, did not even dream of refusing; so when the king, looking out over the rich wheat-fields, asked, "Whose noble harvest is this?" they replied, "It belongs to my lord Marquis of Carabas."

By-and-by the cat came to the gamekeepers' and woodmen's lodges, and he said:

"If the king asks you whose broad lands are these, you must say they belong to the Marquis of Carabas, or you shall be chopped up as small as mincemeat."


[Illustration]

When the king asked:

"To whom do these broad lands belong?"

The woodmen answered:

"To my lord Marquis of Carabas."


[Illustration]

And the king smiled, and said: "I had always understood that these extensive domains belonged to an ogre. The idea of calling you  by such a name!"

The cat had run on meanwhile, and had reached a magnificent castle, which he knew was the abode of the cruel ogre, who ate children.

"Do you call yourself a cat?" growled the ogre, who opened the door himself.

"No! I am Puss in Boots," said the cat, with dignity, "prime minister to the Marquis of Carabas."

"Oh!" said the ogre, much impressed. "What do you want?"

"To make your acquaintance, most magnificent ogre," said the cat. He saw the ogre was stupid, so he used all the longest words he knew.

Now the ogre could not understand all these long words, so he looked very wise and said:

"Come in."


[Illustration]

So Puss entered the castle, which was a most magnificent place.

"Is it true, may I presume to inquire," asked the cat, bowing down to the ground, "can your wonderful ogreship turn into any very large animal that you please?"

"I can, O Cat," replied the ogre, "I can. Would you like to see me do so?"

"Oh! really," purred the cat, "you are too good. I should be delighted."

In one moment an elephant stood in the ogre's place, and Puss uttered a cry of amazement.


[Illustration]

"Most wonderful!" he said.

"That's nothing," said the ogre; and suddenly the elephant turned into a lion, and Puss really was very much alarmed.

"I must say," observed Puss, "that all which report says of your great powers, most gracious ogre, is true! But I suppose you cannot change yourself into a small animal, as a dog or a rat?"


[Illustration]

"You shall see," replied the ogre, greatly flattered by Puss's admiration, "you shall see!"

And then he became a dog, and flew at the cat, and Puss scratched his face; and then he turned into a rat, and then into a mouse, and the moment Puss in Boots saw him capering in the latter form on the floor, he made a dart at him, and killed him directly.


[Illustration]

Puss now perceived from the hall window the king's carriage driving past, and so he ran out and cried:

"My lord Marquis of Carabas, won't you ask his majesty to walk in and take a little refreshment?" for a splendid feast had been spread out for the ogre.

"You presume," said his master, with a frown.

"Nay, my lord," said the king, laughing. So he ordered the carriage to be driven up to the castle, and having enjoyed luncheon, Puss showed them all the wonders and riches of the castle.

The king went home greatly impressed by the wealth and charming appearance of his neighbour, and resolved to make him his son-in-law.

After they had gone the young miller said: "You have been a very clever Puss, but surely I cannot keep this castle, which does not belong to me?"

"Yes, yes, it is yours. I won it, and I give it to you."

By-and-by the king, who came frequently to the castle, made proposals of marriage for the princess.


[Illustration]

Now the young man loved the lady very much, for she was sweet and gentle and kind, and Puss adored her; and as the princess had fallen in love with him during their acquaintance, in a little while the king gave the Marquis of Carabas his daughter for his wife and made him a prince.


[Illustration]

The miller's son was very grateful to Puss, who never had to catch mice for his dinner any more, for dainty meat and the best cream were every day given to him, as was only a fitting reward for this faithful Puss in Boots.


[Illustration]

 



Seaside and Wayside, Book Two  by Julia McNair Wright

Mr. Worm at Work

W ORMS are found in all parts of the world. I have told you that they help to build the world, and make it fit for the home of man.

Man cannot live without food. He gets his food from the earth. The worms help to prepare the earth to bring forth the food of man.

Oh, this is very strange, that humble and dirty worms can be a help to man! Man is the highest of all animals. Worms are nearly the lowest. And can worms help man?

Now let us see how this is done. The worms live under ground. They make long, winding halls, like streets, some inches below the top soil. These halls, or little tunnels, help to keep the earth loose, so that the fine roots of the plants can grow well in it.

These tunnels also serve to help the air move more easily through the soil. By their constant motion below the surface the worms till the earth, as rakes, spades, or ploughs till it above.

All this is of great use, and people say, "Many worms, rich land." Now and then you will hear, on the other hand, that the worms have eaten up the seed sown. Or, people say the worms have bitten off the roots of the plants. Some say that the worms cut the vines below the soil.

You need not think the earth-worms did that. Not at all! The earth-worms never behave so ill. The "worms" that people mean, when they speak of this harm done, are the grubs or larvæ of some insects, as of the daddy-long-legs and others.

These grubs and cut-worms will eat living plants, but Mr. Worm likes dead leaves and stems best. He wants his food made soft by decay.

Now we come to the chief work of the true earthworms. When they make their halls and houses, they fill their long bodies with the earth. Some say it is their food.

Mr. Darwin says, "Oh, no! they fill their bodies with earth just to get it out of their way." If they get any food from the dirt it is not much. They turn themselves into baskets to carry the dirt out from their houses.

The worms work, work, work all the time, taking out earth, and carrying it to the top of the ground.

There they pile it in heaps, called worm-casts. Each piece is the shape of a small worm.

The earth takes this shape as the worm presses it out of its long, soft body. Early in the day you can find these worm-casts over all the garden paths. So you can after a rain. Go and look for them.

There are so many worms busy all the time that each year they bring up tons of earth. This shows you the power that is in small, weak things. In India there are worm-casts in heaps six inches high.

The worms make the earth fine and loose, by pinching it off with their mouths. Then they bring this rich soil from below, and lay it on top, and so on and on.

It is only some twenty years since this work of worms was known. At first people said, "Oh, no, no! It cannot be that little, soft worms could cover a great field, some inches deep, with new earth." But it was shown to be quite true.

Fields once stony and hard have become rich and fine. Things grow now where once scarcely anything would grow. Ashes and gravel, once on top, go two or three inches below.

All this is done by the busy worms. That is why I said that you could call the tail end of the worm the tool with which he helps to build the world.

Worms at work under ground have caused great walls and pavements to sink, as the earth sinks over mines. Also, they have helped to bury ruins and old cities, and to keep them safe hidden, until we found them. We are glad when we learn of the old world days, from ruins which the worms helped to hide.

Then, too, the worms help make the soil rich, by the dead leaves and stems which they drag into their holes to decay. When the worms die, their bodies also help to make the earth more fertile.

 



Anonymous

Sir Patrick Spens

The king sits in Dunfermline town,

Drinking the blude-red wine:

"Oh, whaur will I get a skeely skipper

To sail this new ship o' mine?"


Oh, up and spake an eldern knight,

Sat at the king's right knee:

"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor

That ever sailed the sea."


Our King has written a braid letter

And sealed it wi' his hand,

And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,

Was walking on the strand.


"To Noroway, to Noroway,

To Noroway o'er the faem;

The king's daughter to Noroway,

'T is thou maun bring her hame."


The first word that Sir Patrick read,

Sae loud, loud laughèd he;

The neist word that Sir Patrick read,

The tear blinded his ee.


"Oh, wha is this has done this deed,

And tauld the king of me,

To send us out at this time o' year

To sail upon the sea?


"Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet,

Our ship must sail the faem;

The king's daughter to Noroway,

'T is we must bring her hame."


They hoysed their sails on Monday morn

Wi' a' the speed they may;

They hae landed in Noroway

Upon a Wodensday.


They hadna been a week, a week,

In Noroway but twae,

When that the lords o' Noroway

Began aloud to say:


"Ye Scottishmen spend a' our king's goud

And a' our queenis fee."

"Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud,

Fu' loud I hear ye lie!


"For I brought as mickle white monie

As will gain my men and me,

And I brought a half-fou o' gude red goud

Out o'er the sea wi' me.


"Mak' ready, mak' ready, my merry men a'!

Our gude ships sails the morn."

"Now, ever alake, my master dear,

I fear a deadly storm.


"I saw the new moon late yestreen

Wi' the auld moon in her arm;

And, if we gang to sea, master,

I fear we'll come to harm."


They hadna sailed a league, a league,

A league but barely three,

When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud,

And gurly grew the sea.


"Oh, where will I get a gude sailor

To tak' my helm in hand,

Till I gae up to the tall topmast

To see if I can spy land?"


They fetched a web o' the silken claith,

Anither o' the twine,

And they wrapped them round that gude ship's side,

But still the sea cam' in.


Oh, laith, laith were our gude Scots lords

To weet their milk-white hands;

But lang ere a' the play was ower

They wat their gowden bands.


Oh, laith, laith were our gude Scots lords

To weet their cork-heeled shoon;

But lang ere a' the play was played

They wat their hats aboon.


Oh, lang, lang may the ladies sit

Wi' their fans intill their hand,

Before they see Sir Patrick Spens

Come sailing to the strand!


And lang, lang may the maidens sit

Wi' their goud kaims in their hair,

A' waiting for their ain dear loves!

For them they'll see nae mair.


Half ower, half ower to Aberdour,

It's fifty fathoms deep,

And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens

Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.

 


  WEEK 41  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Story of a Joyous Journey

Ezra i: 1, to iii: 7.

dropcap image E have seen, in the story of the kingdom of Israel, or the Ten Tribes, how the great empire of Assyria arose from the city of Nineveh, on the Tigris river; how it ruled all the lands and carried away the Ten Tribes of Israel into captivity, from which they never came back to their own land. (Story 91.) We saw, too, how the empire of Assyria went down, and the empire of Babylon, or Chaldea, arose in its place under Nebuchadnezzar. (Story 97.) As soon as Nebuchadnezzar died, the empire of Babylon began to fall, and in its place arose the empire of Persia, under Cyrus, who is called Cyrus the Great, because of his many victories and his wide rule. His empire was much greater than either the Assyrian or the Chaldean empire, for it held in its rule the land of Egypt, all the lands known as Asia Minor, and also many lands in the far east.

Cyrus, the great king, was a friend to the Jews, who at this time were still living in the land of Chaldea, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It was now seventy years since the first company of captives had been taken away from the land of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar (see Story 97), and fifty years since the city of Jerusalem had been burned. By that time the Jews were no longer looked upon as captives in the land of Chaldea. They lived in their own houses, and tilled their own farms, and were in peace. Many of them were rich, and some of them, like Daniel and his three friends, were in high places at the court of the king.

You remember that in the early days of the captivity, Jeremiah the prophet wrote a letter to those who had been carried away to Babylon, telling them that after seventy years they would come back to their own land. (Story 97.) The seventy years were now ended. The older men and women who had been taken away had died in the land of Chaldea, but their children, and their children's children still loved the land of Judah as their own land, although it was so far away.

The Lord put it into the heart of Cyrus, the king of Persia, very early in his reign, to send word among the Jews that they might now go back to their own land. This was the word, as it was written and sent out:

"Thus saith Cyrus, the king of Persia, The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has commanded me to build him a house in Jerusalem, in the land of Judah. Therefore, let those of the people of God who are among you go up to Jerusalem, and help to build the house of the Lord. And those who do not go to Jerusalem, but stay in the places where they are living, let them give to those who go back to their own land gifts of gold and silver, and beasts to carry them, and goods, and also a free gift toward the building of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem."

At this the Jews in the land of Chaldea were very glad, for they loved their own land, and longed to see it. One of them wrote a song at this time. It is Psalm 126:

"When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion,

We were like unto them that dream.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter,

And our tongue with singing.

Then said they among the nations,

'The Lord hath done great things for them,'

The Lord hath done great things for us;

Whereof we are glad.

Turn again our capitivity, O Lord,

As the streams in the South,

They that sow in tears

Shall reap in joy,

Though he goeth on his way weeping,

Bearing forth the seed,

He shall come again with joy,

Bringing his sheaves with him."

So the Jewish people began to make ready for going back to their own land. Those who were rich, and noble in rank, stayed in the land of Chaldea and in other lands of the Persian Empire. But though they did not go back to the land from which their fathers had come, they gave large gifts of gold and silver to help those who did go. And Cyrus, the king, took from the treasure-house in Babylon all the vessels of the Temple that had been taken away by Nebuchadnezzar, and gave them to the Jews, to be used in the new Temple which they were soon to build. These were plates, and dishes, and bowls, and cups of gold and silver, more than four thousand in all. So, with the gifts of the king, and the gifts of their own people, and what was owned by those who went to the land of Judah, the company took away a vast treasure of gold and silver.

It was a happy company of people that met together for the journey back to the land which they still called their own, though very few of them had seen it. There were forty-two thousand of them, besides their servants to help them in the journey. They traveled slowly up the Euphrates river, singing songs of joy, until they reached the northern end of the great desert. Then they turned toward the southwest, and journeyed beside the Lebanon mountains, past Damascus, and through Syria, until at last they came to the land of their fathers, the land of Judah.

With all their joy they must have felt sad when they saw the city of Jerusalem all in ruins, its walls broken down, its houses heaps of blackened stone, its once beautiful Temple burned into a heap of ashes.


[Illustration]

A distant view of Jerusalem.

As soon as they came, they found the rock where the altar of the Lord had stood, the same rock where David had long before offered a sacrifice (see Story 69), and the same rock upon which travelers look even in our time under the Dome of the Rock. From the smooth face of this rock they gathered up the stones, and swept away the ashes and the dust. Then they built upon it the altar of the Lord, and Joshua, the high-priest, began to offer the sacrifices which for fifty years had not been placed upon the altar. Every morning and every afternoon they laid on the altar the burnt-offering, and thus gave themselves to the Lord, and asked God's help.

From this time there were two branches of the Jewish race. Those who came back to the land of Judah, which was also called the land of Israel, were called "Hebrews," which was an old name of the Israelites. Those who stayed in the lands abroad, in Chaldea and throughout the empire of Persia, were called "the Jews of the Dispersion." There were far more of the Jews abroad than in their own land, and they were the richer, and the greater people. Many of them went up to Jerusalem to visit and to worship, and many others sent rich gifts; so that between the two great branches of the Jewish people, in their own land and in other lands, there was a close friendship, and they all felt wherever the Jews were they were still one people.

The Jews who had been captives in the land of Babylon were now free to go wherever they chose; and besides those who went back to the land of their fathers, there were many who chose to visit other lands, wherever they could find work and get gain. It was not many years before Jews were found in many cities of the Persian Empire. They went also to Africa; and also to Europe, choosing the cities for their home rather than the country. Everywhere, in all the great cities, the "Jews of the Dispersion" were found, besides those who were living in their own land of Israel.

When the Jews came back to their land their leader was named Zerubbabel, a word which means "One born in Babylon." He belonged to the family of David, and was called "the prince"; but he ruled under the commands of Cyrus, the great king, for Judah (which now began to be spoken of as Judea) was a small part, or "province" as it was called, in the great empire of Persia.

 



The Wind in the Willows  by Kenneth Grahame

The Further Adventures of Toad

Part 2 of 3

The barge-woman was still laughing when he drew up level with her. "Put yourself through your mangle, washerwoman," she called out, "and iron your face and crimp it, and you'll pass for quite a decent-looking Toad!"

Toad never paused to reply. Solid revenge was what he wanted, not cheap, windy, verbal triumphs, though he had a thing or two in his mind that he would have liked to say. He saw what he wanted ahead of him. Running swiftly on he overtook the horse, unfastened the tow-rope and cast off, jumped lightly on the horse's back, and urged it to a gallop by kicking it vigorously in the sides. He steered for the open country, abandoning the tow-path, and swinging his steed down a rutty lane. Once he looked back, and saw that the barge had run aground on the other side of the canal, and the barge-woman was gesticulating wildly and shouting, "Stop, stop, stop!" "I've heard that song before," said Toad, laughing, as he continued to spur his steed onward in its wild career.

The barge-horse was not capable of any very sustained effort, and its gallop soon subsided into a trot, and its trot into an easy walk; but Toad was quite contented with this, knowing that he, at any rate, was moving, and the barge was not. He had quite recovered his temper, now that he had done something he thought really clever; and he was satisfied to jog along quietly in the sun, steering his horse along by-ways and bridle-paths, and trying to forget how very long it was since he had had a square meal, till the canal had been left very far behind him.

He had travelled some miles, his horse and he, and he was feeling drowsy in the hot sunshine, when the horse stopped, lowered his head, and began to nibble the grass; and Toad, waking up, just saved himself from falling off by an effort. He looked about him and found he was on a wide common, dotted with patches of gorse and bramble as far as he could see. Near him stood a dingy gipsy caravan, and beside it a man was sitting on a bucket turned upside down, very busy smoking and staring into the wide world. A fire of sticks was burning near by, and over the fire hung an iron pot, and out of that pot came forth bubblings and gurglings, and a vague suggestive steaminess. Also smells—warm, rich, and varied smells—that twined and twisted and wreathed themselves at last into one complete, voluptuous, perfect smell that seemed like the very soul of Nature taking form and appearing to her children, a true Goddess, a mother of solace and comfort. Toad now knew well that he had not been really hungry before. What he had felt earlier in the day had been a mere trifling qualm. This was the real thing at last, and no mistake; and it would have to be dealt with speedily, too, or there would be trouble for somebody or something. He looked the gipsy over carefully, wondering vaguely whether it would be easier to fight him or cajole him. So there he sat, and sniffed and sniffed, and looked at the gipsy; and the gipsy sat and smoked, and looked at him.

Presently the gipsy took his pipe out of his mouth and remarked in a careless way, "Want to sell that there horse of yours?"

Toad was completely taken aback. He did not know that gipsies were very fond of horse-dealing, and never missed an opportunity, and he had not reflected that caravans were always on the move and took a deal of drawing. It had not occurred to him to turn the horse into cash, but the gipsy's suggestion seemed to smooth the way towards the two things he wanted so badly—ready money, and a solid breakfast.

"What?" he said, "me sell this beautiful young horse of mine? O, no; it's out of the question. Who's going to take the washing home to my customers every week? Besides, I'm too fond of him, and he simply dotes on me."

"Try and love a donkey," suggested the gipsy. "Some people do."

"You don't seem to see," continued Toad, "that this fine horse of mine is a cut above you altogether. He's a blood horse, he is, partly; not the part you see, of course—another part. And he's been a Prize Hackney, too, in his time—that was the time before you knew him, but you can still tell it on him at a glance, if you understand anything about horses. No, it's not to be thought of for a moment. All the same, how much might you be disposed to offer me for this beautiful young horse of mine?"

The gipsy looked the horse over, and then he looked Toad over with equal care, and looked at the horse again. "Shillin' a leg," he said briefly, and turned away, continuing to smoke and try to stare the wide world out of countenance.

"A shilling a leg?" cried Toad. "If you please, I must take a little time to work that out, and see just what it comes to."

He climbed down off his horse, and left it to graze, and sat down by the gipsy, and did sums on his fingers, and at last he said, "A shilling a leg? Why, that comes to exactly four shillings, and no more. O, no; I could not think of accepting four shillings for this beautiful young horse of mine."

"Well," said the gipsy, "I'll tell you what I will do. I'll make it five shillings, and that's three-and-sixpence more than the animal's worth. And that's my last word."

Then Toad sat and pondered long and deeply. For he was hungry and quite penniless, and still some way—he knew not how far—from home, and enemies might still be looking for him. To one in such a situation, five shillings may very well appear a large sum of money. On the other hand, it did not seem very much to get for a horse. But then, again, the horse hadn't cost him anything; so whatever he got was all clear profit. At last he said firmly, "Look here, gipsy! I tell you what we will do; and this is my  last word. You shall hand me over six shillings and sixpence, cash down; and further, in addition thereto, you shall give me as much breakfast as I can possibly eat, at one sitting of course, out of that iron pot of yours that keeps sending forth such delicious and exciting smells. In return, I will make over to you my spirited young horse, with all the beautiful harness and trappings that are on him, freely thrown in. If that's not good enough for you, say so, and I'll be getting on. I know a man near here who's wanted this horse of mine for years."

The gipsy grumbled frightfully, and declared if he did a few more deals of that sort he'd be ruined. But in the end he lugged a dirty canvas bag out of the depths of his trouser pocket, and counted out six shillings and sixpence into Toad's paw. Then he disappeared into the caravan for an instant, and returned with a large iron plate and a knife, fork, and spoon. He tilted up the pot, and a glorious stream of hot rich stew gurgled into the plate. It was, indeed, the most beautiful stew in the world, being made of partridges, and pheasants, and chickens, and hares, and rabbits, and peahens, and guinea-fowls, and one or two other things. Toad took the plate on his lap, almost crying, and stuffed, and stuffed, and stuffed, and kept asking for more, and the gipsy never grudged it him. He thought that he had never eaten so good a breakfast in all his life.

When Toad had taken as much stew on board as he thought he could possibly hold, he got up and said good-bye to the gipsy, and took an affectionate farewell of the horse; and the gipsy, who knew the riverside well, gave him directions which way to go, and he set forth on his travels again in the best possible spirits. He was, indeed, a very different Toad from the animal of an hour ago. The sun was shining brightly, his wet clothes were quite dry again, he had money in his pocket once more, he was nearing home and friends and safety, and, most and best of all, he had had a substantial meal, hot and nourishing, and felt big, and strong, and careless, and self-confident.

As he tramped along gaily, he thought of his adventures and escapes, and how when things seemed at their worst he had always managed to find a way out; and his pride and conceit began to swell within him. "Ho, ho!" he said to himself as he marched along with his chin in the air, "what a clever Toad I am! There is surely no animal equal to me for cleverness in the whole world! My enemies shut me up in prison, encircled by sentries, watched night and day by warders; I walk out through them all, by sheer ability coupled with courage. They pursue me with engines, and policemen, and revolvers; I snap my fingers at them, and vanish, laughing, into space. I am, unfortunately, thrown into a canal by a woman fat of body and very evil-minded. What of it? I swim ashore, I seize her horse, I ride off in triumph, and I sell the horse for a whole pocketful of money and an excellent breakfast! Ho, ho! I am The Toad, the handsome, the popular, the successful Toad!" He got so puffed up with conceit that he made up a song as he walked in praise of himself, and sang it at the top of his voice, though there was no one to hear it but him. It was perhaps the most conceited song that any animal ever composed.

"The world has held great Heroes,

As history-books have showed;

But never a name to go down to fame

Compared with that of Toad!

"The clever men at Oxford

Know all that there is to be knowed.

But they none of them know one half as much

As intelligent Mr. Toad!

"The animals sat in the Ark and cried,

Their tears in torrents flowed.

Who was it said, 'There's land ahead?'

Encouraging Mr. Toad!

"The army all saluted

As they marched along the road.

Was it the King? Or Kitchener?

No. It was Mr. Toad.

"The Queen and her Ladies-in-waiting

Sat at the window and sewed.

She cried, 'Look! who's that handsome  man?'

They answered, 'Mr. Toad.' "


There was a great deal more of the same sort, but too dreadfully conceited to be written down. These are some of the milder verses.

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens

And all up the vale,

From the autumn bonfires

See the smoke trail!


Pleasant summer over

And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

The gray smoke towers.


Sing, a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!