Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 42  

  Monday  


Heidi  by Johanna Spyri

Preparations for a Journey

T HE kind doctor who had given the order that Heidi was to be sent home was walking along one of the broad streets towards Herr Sesemann's house. It was a sunny September morning, so full of light and sweetness that it seemed as if everybody must rejoice. But the doctor walked with his eyes fastened to the ground and did not once lift them to the blue sky above him. There was an expression of sadness on his face, formerly so cheerful, and his hair had grown grayer since the spring. The doctor had had an only daughter, who, after his wife's death, had been his sole and constant companion, but only a few months previously death had deprived him of his dear child, and he had never been the same bright and cheery man since.

Sebastian opened the door to him, greeting him with every mark of respectful civility, for the doctor was not only the most cherished friend of the master and his daughter, but had by his kindness won the hearts of the whole household.

"Everything as usual, Sebastian?" asked the doctor in his pleasant voice as he preceded Sebastian up the stairs.

"I am glad you have come, doctor," exclaimed Herr Sesemann as the latter entered. "We must really have another talk over this Swiss journey; do you still adhere to your decision, even though Clara is decidedly improving in health?"

"My dear Sesemann, I never knew such a man as you!" said the doctor as he sat down beside his friend. "I really wish your mother was here; everything would be clear and straightforward then and she would soon put things in right train. You sent for me three times yesterday only to ask me the same question, though you know what I think."

"Yes, I know, it's enough to make you out of patience with me; but you must understand, dear friend"—and Herr Sesemann laid his hand imploringly on the doctor's shoulder—"that I feel I have not the courage to refuse the child what I have been promising her all along, and for months now she has been living on the thought of it day and night. She bore this last bad attack so patiently because she was buoyed up with the hope that she should soon start on her Swiss journey, and see her friend Heidi again; and now must I tell the poor child, who has to give up so many pleasures, that this visit she has so long looked forward to must also be cancelled? I really have not the courage to do it."

"You must make up your mind to it, Sesemann," said the doctor with authority, and as his friend continued silent and dejected he went on after a pause, "Consider yourself how the matter stands. Clara has not had such a bad summer as this last one for years. Only the worst results would follow from the fatigue of such a journey, and it is out of the question for her. And then we are already in September, and although it may still be warm and fine up there, it may just as likely be already very cold. The days too are growing short, and as Clara cannot spend the night up there she would only have a two hours' visit at the outside. The journey from Ragatz would take hours, for she would have to be carried up the mountain in a chair. In short, Sesemann, it is impossible. But I will go in with you and talk to Clara; she is a reasonable child, and I will tell her what my plans are. Next May she shall be taken to the baths and stay there for the cure until it is quite hot weather. Then she can be carried up the mountain from time to time, and when she is stronger she will enjoy these excursions far more than she would now. Understand, Sesemann, that if we want to give the child a chance of recovery we must use the utmost care and watchfulness."

Herr Sesemann, who had listened to the doctor in sad and submissive silence, now suddenly jumped up. "Doctor," he said, "tell me truly: have you really any hope of her final recovery?"

The doctor shrugged his shoulders. "Very little," he replied quietly. "But, friend, think of my trouble. You have still a beloved child to look for you and greet you on your return home. You do not come back to an empty house and sit down to a solitary meal. And the child is happy and comfortable at home too. If there is much that she has to give up, she has on the other hand many advantages. No, Sesemann, you are not so greatly to be pitied—you have still the happiness of being together. Think of my lonely house!"

Herr Sesemann was now striding up and down the room as was his habit when deeply engaged in thought. Suddenly he came to a pause beside his friend and laid his hand on his shoulder. "Doctor, I have an idea; I cannot bear to see you look as you do; you are no longer the same man. You must be taken out of yourself for a while, and what do you think I propose? That you shall take the journey and go and pay Heidi a visit in our name."

The doctor was taken aback at this sudden proposal and wanted to make objections, but his friend gave him no time to say anything. He was so delighted with his idea, that he seized the doctor by the arm and drew him into Clara's room. The kind doctor was always a welcome visitor to Clara, for he generally had something amusing to tell her. Lately, it is true, he had been graver, but Clara knew the reason why and would have given much to see him his old lively self again. She held out her hand to him as he came up to her; he took a seat beside her, and her father also drew up his chair, and taking Clara's hand in his began to talk to her of the Swiss journey and how he himself had looked forward to it. He passed as quickly as he could over the main point that it was now impossible for her to undertake it, for he dreaded the tears that would follow; but he went on without pause to tell her of his new plan, and dwelt on the great benefit it would be to his friend if he could be persuaded to take this holiday.

The tears were indeed swimming in the blue eyes, although Clara struggled to keep them down for her father's sake, but it was a bitter disappointment to give up the journey, the thought of which had been her only joy and solace during the lonely hours of her long illness. She knew, however, that her father would never refuse her a thing unless he was certain that it would be harmful for her. So she swallowed her tears as well as she could and turned her thoughts to the one hope still left her. Taking the doctor's hand and stroking it, she said pleadingly,—

"Dear doctor, you will go and see Heidi, won't you? and then you can come and tell me all about it, what it is like up there, and what Heidi and the grandfather, and Peter and the goats do all day. I know them all so well! And then you can take what I want to send to Heidi; I have thought about it all, and also something for the grandmother. Do pray go, dear doctor, and I will take as much cod liver oil as you like."

Whether this promise finally decided the doctor it is impossible to say, but it is certain that he smiled and said,—

"Then I must certainly go, Clara, for you will then get as plump and strong as your father and I wish to see you. And have you decided when I am to start?"

"To-morrow morning—early if possible," replied Clara.

"Yes, she is right," put in Herr Sesemann; "the sun is shining and the sky is blue, and there is no time to be lost; it is a pity to miss a single one of these days on the mountain."

The doctor could not help laughing. "You will be reproaching me next for not being there already; well, I must go and make arrangements for getting off."

But Clara would not let him go until she had given him endless messages for Heidi, and had explained all he was to look at so as to give her an exact description on his return. Her presents she would send round later, as Fraülein Rottenmeier must first help her to pack them up; at that moment she was out on one of her excursions into the town which always kept her engaged for some time. The doctor promised to obey Clara's directions in every particular; he would start some time during the following day if not the first thing in the morning, and would bring back a faithful account of his experiences and of all he saw and heard.

The servants of a household have a curious faculty of divining what is going on before they are actually told about anything. Sebastian and Tinette must have possessed this faculty in a high degree, for even as the doctor was going downstairs, Tinette, who had been rung for, entered Clara's room.

"Take that box and bring it back filled with the soft cakes which we have with coffee," said Clara, pointing to a box which had been brought long before in preparation for this. Tinette took it up, and carried it out, dangling it contemptuously in her hand.

"Hardly worth the trouble I should have thought," she said pertly as she left the room.

As Sebastian opened the door for the doctor he said with a bow, "Will the Herr Doctor be so kind as to give the little miss my greetings?"

"I see," said the doctor, "you know then already that I am off on a journey."

Sebastian hesitated and gave an awkward little cough. "I am—I have—I hardly know myself. O yes, I remember; I happened to pass through the dining-room and caught little miss's name, and I put two and two together—and so I thought—"

"I see, I see," smiled the doctor, "one can find out a great many things by thinking. Good-bye till I see you again, Sebastian, I will be sure and give your message."

The doctor was hastening off when he met with a sudden obstacle; the violent wind had prevented Fraülein Rottenmeier prosecuting her walk any farther, and she was just returning and had reached the door as he was coming out. The white shawl she wore was so blown out by the wind that she looked like a ship in full sail. The doctor drew back, but Fraülein Rottenmeier had always evinced peculiar appreciation and respect for this man, and she also drew back with exaggerated politeness to let him pass. The two stood for a few seconds, each anxious to make way for the other, but a sudden gust of wind sent Fraülein Rottenmeier flying with all her sails almost into the doctor's arms, and she had to pause and recover herself before she could shake hands with the doctor with becoming decorum. She was put out at having been forced to enter in so undignified a manner, but the doctor had a way of smoothing people's ruffled feathers, and she was soon listening with her usual composure while he informed her of his intended journey, begging her in his most conciliatory voice to pack up the parcels for Heidi as she alone knew how to pack. And then he took his leave.

Clara quite expected to have a long tussle with Fraülein Rottenmeier before she would get the latter to consent to sending all the things that she had collected as presents for Heidi. But this time she was mistaken, for Fraülein Rottenmeier was in a more than usually good temper. She cleared the large table so that all the things for Heidi could be spread out upon it and packed under Clara's own eyes. It was no light job, for the presents were of all shapes and sizes. First there was the little warm cloak with a hood, which had been designed by Clara herself, in order that Heidi during the coming winter might be able to go and see grandmother when she liked, and not have to wait till her grandfather could take her wrapped up in a sack to keep her from freezing. Then came a thick warm shawl for the grandmother, in which she could wrap herself well up and not feel the cold when the wind came sweeping in such terrible gusts round the house. The next object was the large box full of cakes; these were also for the grandmother, that she might have something to eat with her coffee besides bread. An immense sausage was the next article; this had been originally intended for Peter, who never had anything but bread and cheese, but Clara had altered her mind, fearing that in his delight he might eat it all up at once and make himself ill. So she arranged to send it to Brigitta, who could take some for herself and the grandmother and give Peter his portion out by degrees. A packet of tobacco was a present for grandfather, who was fond of his pipe as he sat resting in the evening. Finally there was a whole lot of mysterious little bags, and parcels, and boxes, which Clara had had especial pleasure in collecting, as each was to be a joyful surprise for Heidi as she opened it. The work came to an end at last, and an imposing-looking package lay on the floor ready for transport. Fraülein Rottenmeier looked at it with satisfaction, lost in the consideration of the art of packing. Clara eyed it too with pleasure, picturing Heidi's exclamations and jumps of joy and surprise when the huge parcel arrived at the hut.

And now Sebastian came in, and lifting the package on to his shoulder, carried it off to be forwarded at once to the doctor's house.


[Illustration]

 



Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

Why He Carried the Turkey

I N Richmond, Virginia, one Saturday morning, an old man went into the market to buy something. He was dressed plainly, his coat was worn, and his hat was dingy. On his arm he carried a small basket.

"I wish to get a fowl for to-morrow's dinner," he said.

The market man showed him a fat turkey, plump and white and ready for roasting.

"Ah! that is just what I want," said the old man. "My wife will be delighted with it."

He asked the price and paid for it. The market man wrapped a paper round it and put it in the basket.

Just then a young man stepped up. "I will take one of those turkeys," he said. He was dressed in fine style and carried a small cane.

"Shall I wrap it up for you?" asked the market man.

"Yes, here is your money," answered the young gentleman; "and send it to my house at once."

"I cannot do that," said the market man. "My errand boy is sick to-day, and there is no one else to send. Besides, it is not our custom to deliver goods."

"Then how am I to get it home?" asked the young gentleman.

"I suppose you will have to carry it yourself," said the market man. "It is not heavy."

"Carry it myself! Who do you think I am? Fancy me carrying a turkey along the street!" said the young gentleman; and he began to grow very angry.

The old man who had bought the first turkey was standing quite near. He had heard all that was said.

"Excuse me, sir," he said; "but may I ask where you live?"

"I live at Number 39, Blank Street," answered the young gentleman; "and my name is Johnson."

"Well, that is lucky," said the old man, smiling. "I happen to be going that way, and I will carry your turkey, if you will allow me."

"Oh, certainly!" said Mr. Johnson. "Here it is. You may follow me."

When they reached Mr. Johnson's house, the old man politely handed him the turkey and turned to go.

"Here, my friend, what shall I pay you?" said the young gentleman.

"Oh, nothing, sir, nothing," answered the old man. "It was no trouble to me, and you are welcome."

He bowed and went on. Young Mr. Johnson looked after him and wondered. Then he turned and walked briskly back to the market.

"Who is that polite old gentleman who carried my turkey for me?" he asked of the market man.

"That is John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States. He is one of the greatest men in our country," was the answer.

The young gentleman was surprised and ashamed. "Why did he offer to carry my turkey?" he asked.

"He wished to teach you a lesson," answered the market man.

"What sort of lesson?"

"He wished to teach you that no man should feel himself too fine to carry his own packages."

"Oh, no!" said another man who had seen and heard it all. "Judge Marshall carried the turkey simply because he wished to be kind and obliging. That is his way."

 



Walter Thornbury

The Cavalier's Escape

Trample! trample! went the roan,

Trap! trap! went the gray;

But pad! pad! pad! like a thing that was mad,

My chestnut broke away.

It was just five miles from Salisbury town,

And but one hour to day.


Thud! thud! came on the heavy roan,

Rap! rap! the mettled gray;

But my chestnut mare was of blood so rare,

That she showed them all the way.

Spur on! spur on! I doffed my hat,

And wished them all good day.


They splashed through miry rut and pool,—

Splintered through fence and rail;

But chestnut Kate switched over the gate,—

I saw them croop and tail.

To Salisbury town—but a mile of down;

Once over this brook and rail.


Trap! trap! I heard their echoing hoofs

Past the walls of mossy stone;

The roan flew on at a staggering pace,

But blood is better than bone.

I patted old Kate, and gave her the spur,

For I knew it was all my own.


But trample! trample! came their steeds,

And I saw their wolves' eyes burn;

I felt like a royal hart at bay,

And made me ready to turn.

I looked where highest grew the may,

And deepest arched the fern.


I flew at the first knave's sallow throat;

One blow and he was down.

The second rogue fired twice, and missed;

I sliced the villain's crown.

Clove through the rest, and flogged brave Kate,

Fast, fast to Salisbury town!


Pad! pad! they came on the level sward,

Thud! thud! upon the sand:

With a gleam of swords, and a burning match,

And a shaking of flag and hand;

But one long bound, and I passed the gate,

Safe from the canting band.

 


  WEEK 42  

  Tuesday  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Edward I—The Hammer of the Scots

W HEN Edward had joined Wales to England, he longed more than ever to gain possession of Scotland. It seemed, too, as if he might succeed in doing this, for the King of Scotland died, and the heir to the throne was a little princess called the Maid of Norway.

Edward I. arranged with the people of Scotland that this princess should marry his son Edward, Prince of Wales, and in that way England and Scotland would be peaceably joined together. But unfortunately, on her way from Norway to claim the crown of Scotland, the princess died. So Edward's hopes of joining the two countries together in that way were at an end.

After the death of the Maid of Norway, twelve Scottish nobles claimed the crown, and, as they could not agree as to who had really the best right to it, they asked Edward, who was known to be a wise and just man, to settle the question.

Edward said that a man called John Balliol had the best right to the crown of Scotland, and John was accordingly crowned at Scone, the town where all the kings of Scotland were crowned.

But before Edward said that John was the real heir, he made him promise to own the King of England as over-lord.

Edward had no right to demand this homage, and John Balliol had no right to give it. But John did give it. Perhaps he thought, if he did not, Edward would choose some one else.

The Scots had always been a warlike people, and, ever since the days of the Romans, they had fought with the people in the south part of the island, and had tried to take away part of their land. At last it had been agreed between the kings of England and Scotland that the Scots should be allowed to keep part of the north of England, on condition that they did homage for that part, just as the Norman kings of England did homage to the King of France for Normandy and their other French possessions. But the King of England had no more right over Scotland than the King of France had over England.

The people of Scotland were very far from agreeing to John Balliol's bargain with Edward, and in less than a year quarrels began, and war followed. Edward marched into Scotland with a great army, and although the Scots were in the right and fighting for their freedom, Edward was the stronger, and the Scots were defeated.

Edward, thinking he had conquered the Scots, went back to England, taking with him the crown and sceptre of Scotland, and also the "Stone of Destiny" on which the Scottish kings sat when they were crowned. This stone was supposed to be the very stone which Jacob used as a pillow when he slept in the wilderness and saw the vision of the ladder up to heaven, with the angels going up and down upon it. The Scots prized this stone very highly, and it had been prophesied that wherever it was, there the kings of Scotland would be crowned.

Unless the fates are faithless found,

And prophet's voice be vain,

Where'er this monument is found,

The Scottish race shall reign.

Edward took the Stone of Destiny to Westminster, and there it remains to this day, and it is always used when the kings of Britain are crowned.

Besides taking these treasures away, Edward caused many of the old Scottish records to be destroyed, hoping in that way to make the people forget their freedom. But all this only made the Scots more determined not to submit to the King of England. Their weak king, John Balliol, had been driven from the throne, but other brave leaders arose, and wars between England and Scotland continued until Edward died in 1307 A.D.

Edward died while on his way to fight once more against Scotland. He was within sight of its blue mountains, and he died knowing that its people were still free, and that his dearest wish was not fulfilled. The disappointed king begged his son to go on with the war, to carry his bones with the army, and bury his heart in Scotland.

But Edward II. did not do as his father wished. He turned back to London, and Edward I. lies buried in Westminster, where you may still see his grave with these lines upon it in Latin: "Here lies Edward I., the Hammer of the Scots, 1308. Keep troth."

Edward I. has many names: Edward of Westminster, because he was born there; Edward Longshanks, because he was very tall and his legs were long and thin; Edward, the Hammer of the Scots, because of the many battles he fought with them; but the name by which it is best to remember him is Edward, the Lawgiver. He earned this name by the many wise laws which he made. Although his people were not always pleased with these laws at first, they generally came to see that they were just and good.

Edward was a great soldier and a valiant knight, but it was because he loved England and made good laws, because he was a true man and kept his word, that his people loved him, and mourned for him when he died.

All that are of heart true,

A while hearken to my song

Of douleur that death hath dealt us new

That maketh me sigh and sorrow among;

Of a knight that was so strong

Of whom God hath done His will:

Methinks that death hath done us wrong

That he so soon shall lie still.


All England ought to know

Of whom that song is that I sing;

Of Edward, king that lieth so low,

Through all the world his name did spring

Truest man in everything,

And in war wary and wise

For him we ought our hands to wring,

Of Christendom he bare the prize.


Now is Edward of Caernarvon

King of England in his right,

God never let him be worse man

Than his father, not less of might.

To hold his poor man to right,

And understand good council,

All England to rule and direct

Of good knights there need not him fail.


Though my tongue were made of steel,

And my heart smote out of brass,

The goodness might I never tell

That with King Edward was.

King, as thou art called conqueror,

In each battle thou hadest the prize;

God bring thy soul to the honour

That ever was and ever is

That lasteth aye without end,

Pray we God and our Lady

To that bliss Jesus us send.

 



Holiday Hill  by Edith M. Patch

A Tuft of Evening Primroses

I T was moonlight on Holiday Hill. The light was bright for night-time, as the moon was full. By it could be seen a well worn path that led up one side of the hill.

The odors of flowers drifted across the slope, some of them far sweeter than they ever were by day.

A quivery, quavery sound came through the quiet air. Somewhere out in the night an owl was calling—or perhaps it was a raccoon. The voices of some owls are so much like those of raccoons that it is often hard to tell the difference.

Moonlight, fragrance, strange musical notes—all seemed like invitations to pleasant and interesting experiences that can never be met during daytime hours. Anyone accepting them could have something better than dreams to remember by following the beaten track that lay between the meadow and the old hedgerow.


[Illustration]

Holiday Hill by moonlight

The plants beside the path had strange night manners. Clovers had folded their leaves. Dandelions had hidden their golden heads. They seemed to be resting. Bees and butterflies that sought flowers during the sunny hours were not there at night. They, too, were resting. Indeed, the whole daytime world seemed to be asleep.

But the night creatures were awake. There was a sound of some small animal moving among the bushes in the hedgerow. Several bats were flying overhead. A little owl drifted by on silent wings. A moment later he gave a sweet shivery call. Another owl answered him from a distance.

Even children who went often up the hill in the daytime, and were most familiar with it then, would have stopped in amazement halfway up the sloping path. For in the summer night, the trail led to a world of strange surprises.

A wave of fragrance passed across it—a scent sweeter than any the day breezes ever brought the place. And all around were wide-flaring flowers. They were on tall plants that, during the day, looked like big wilty weeds slouching in the sunshine.

But now these evening primroses were at their loveliest. Their stalks stood alert. Their dew-drenched leaves were fresh. Their pale yellow petals opened into blossoms that were marvelously beautiful.

Suddenly there was a whirring sound of wings as if a humming bird had come. And there, hovering before the very nearest flowers was a creature about the size and somewhat the shape of a humming bird. Like a humming bird, too, it poised before one flower and then another to sip the nectar it found.

Of course a humming bird would have been asleep. This was not a bird of any sort. It was a beautiful insect named, because of its appearance, a humming-bird moth.


[Illustration]

A humming-bird moth

The wide-open, gleaming blossoms and the heavy fragrance of the evening primroses might seem strange and wonderful to a human being who usually walked that path in the daytime. But they did not surprise the moth. The light and odor of these flowers were a part of the life of the large insect. It, and others of its kind, visited evening primroses every pleasant night at this season of the year.

The large bird-shaped insect drank nectar and departed. A second visitor, however, stayed with the plants. She was a moth, also, though a small one with fringes on her wings. She was, indeed, so very, very small that a good name for her is Tiny. This wee mother had an important errand that night. She had some eggs to lay and she must put them in just the right places.

The baby caterpillars that were going to hatch from those eggs would need a special sort of diet. They would have such dainty appetites that nothing would agree with them except the tender parts that are found inside the buds of evening primroses. So, of course, the mother moth placed her eggs near the favorite food of her young. That was all she could ever do for them.

She is likely to be far away before it is time for one of her caterpillar brood to hatch. The young larva, however, does not need to find its mother. It makes itself comfortable inside a bud and feasts on stamens with lobes of stigma for a side-dish.

Now, as you know, plants grow stigmas and stamens for purposes of their own. That is their normal way of providing for the seed-children. So a primrose bud that has had its most important parts nibbled out may quite as well not waste its energy in blossoming.

But the fluids of growth pour into such a bud as they do into the others that are whole and sound. The bud responds—not by opening its petals and being a flower, but by staying closed and growing fat and chunky until it is just the sort of cozy nursery to hold a young caterpillar.

So, when you look at a bud of an evening primrose, you can tell by its shape whether a caterpillar has been living inside it. If the bud is long and slender, it should open some evening into a beautiful and fragrant flower. But if it is short and plump, a blossom will never come out of it though something else may.

For there will be a time when the little rascal inside has eaten its fill and must leave. It chews a round doorway through the side of the bud for its escape. Next it spins a filmy cocoon of silk. Within this dainty sleeping bag it changes first to a pupa. A fortnight or so later the pupa, in turn, changes to a sprite of a fringe-winged moth like Tiny, its mother.

A moth of a third kind often visits the evening primrose. Her first name is rather long; but her second name is Florida, so we will call her that. Florida's beautiful wings measure a little less than an inch and a quarter across when they are spread wide open. They are pink with pale yellow borders. Like the big humming-bird moth, this lovely creature seeks the blossoms to drink sweet nectar. Like Tiny, with the fringy wings, she comes to lay her eggs.

The young caterpillars which hatch from her eggs are green. At first they nibble holes in the tender buds. When they are older, they cling to the unripe seed-pods, the color of which matches the green of their bodies.

During the day the caterpillars rest among the seed pods so quietly that even keen-eyed and hungry birds may not notice them, although they are in plain sight. But when night comes they are awake and active. They bite into the juicy pods filled with seeds that seem as tempting to their taste as green peas are to ours. Before morning comes they have eaten so much that they can rest all day without being too hungry.

Florida, the mother with the rosy and yellow wings, sips nectar from dusk to dawn or busies herself during the night with her eggs that need to be laid. She, also, hides on the plant while she takes her daytime nap. She does not stay among the seed pods with her green caterpillar family, however. She seeks a nook more in harmony with her own colors.

The primrose flowers that were open a night or two before hang with drooping petals in the sunlight. The yellow blossoms, in fading, have become somewhat pinkish inside. The sleepy moth creeps into one of these chambers, pink-lined and yellow-edged. The yellow borders of her pink wings reach a little beyond the petal tips.

If you think Florida will be easy to find when she is napping, go and hunt for her some day!

Fortunately for evening primroses, they have so many seeds that some can be spared to the hungry caterpillars that will grow to be lovely moths. There will be seeds for birds to eat, too, and even then there will be enough left to be scattered on the ground by the winds.

A plant that sprouts from one of these seeds does not grow to be tall during its first season. It spends that time spreading a rosette of leaves flat on the ground.

All the soil under this round mat belongs to the seedling primrose. That is the way it has of claiming its own home. Other plants cannot thrive in the shade under the thick leaves; and so the primrose has room for its own roots.


[Illustration]

Over-wintering rosette of evening primrose

The young plant passes its first winter as a circular tuft of leaves. In the spring it is ready to send up a tall central stem. When summer comes this is tipped with yellow flowers most fragrant and lovely at night.

Although evening primroses grow near the tops of rather high hills, they grow also in low places. They are so common that you cannot go far in most country places without passing some of them.

Perhaps you have seen them only on some sunshiny day when their stems seemed weak, their leaves were limp, and their flowers were drooping. It may be that even their scent was stale and feeble. But it is not fair to judge an evening primrose by the way it looks in the daytime.

Evening primroses, of course, should be visited at night, as you can tell by their name. It is not necessary to wait until very late, however. The two pictures below were both taken of the same plant one evening shortly after eight o'clock. The second photograph was taken ten minutes later than the first. Who would not like to see so many petals fly open in ten minutes?


[Illustration]

Only one flower was open at five minutes after eight


[Illustration]

Seven flowers were open at fifteen minutes after eight

It was Margaret Deland who told how children came

To watch the primrose blow. Silent they stood,

Hand clasped in hand, in breathless hush around,

And saw her shyly doff her soft green hood

And blossom—with a silken burst of sound.

And John Keats knew, too,

A tuft of evening primroses

O'er which the wind may hover till it dozes;

O'er which it well might take a pleasant sleep,

But that 'tis ever startled by the leap

Of buds into ripe flowers.

Surely with the speech of poets in our ears, it would be unbecoming of me to tell you in prose how these blossoms open.

After all, why should you be told? For those of you who live anywhere from Labrador to the Gulf of Mexico and east of the Rocky Mountains are likely to be near enough a wild plant of this sort to go and see for yourselves how it is done. Those who dwell in other places can, perhaps, visit a garden variety which will serve the purpose as well.

 



William Blake

Eternity

He who binds to himself a joy

Does the winged life destroy;

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity's sun rise.

 


  WEEK 42  

  Wednesday  


Secrets of the Woods  by William J. Long

The Ol' Beech Pa'tridge

Part 2 of 2

Earlier in the season I found another of his families near the same spot. I was stealing along a wood road when I ran plump upon them, scratching away at an ant hill in a sunny open spot. There was a wild flurry, as if a whirlwind had struck the ant hill; but it was only the wind of the mother bird's wings, whirling up the dust to blind my eyes and to hide the scampering retreat of her downy brood. Again her wings beat the ground, sending up a flurry of dead leaves, in the midst of which the little partridges jumped and scurried away, so much like the leaves that no eye could separate them. Then the leaves settled slowly and the brood was gone, as if the ground had swallowed them up; while Mother Grouse went fluttering along just out of my reach, trailing a wing as if broken, falling prone on the ground, clucking and kwitting  and whirling the leaves to draw my attention and bring me away from where the little ones were hiding.

I knelt down just within the edge of woods, whither I had seen the last laggard of the brood vanish like a brown streak, and began to look for them carefully. After a time I found one. He was crouched flat on a dead oak leaf, just under my nose, his color hiding him wonderfully. Something glistened in a tangle of dark roots. It was an eye, and presently I could make out a little head there. That was all I could find of the family, though a dozen more were close beside me, under the leaves mostly. As I backed away I put my hand on another before seeing him, and barely saved myself from hurting the little sly-boots, who never stirred a muscle, not even when I took away the leaf that covered him and put it back again softly.

Across the pathway was a thick scrub oak, under which I sat down to watch. Ten long minutes passed, with nothing stirring, before Mother Grouse came stealing back. She clucked once—"Careful!" it seemed to say; and not a leaf stirred. She clucked again—did the ground open? There they were, a dozen or more of them, springing up from nowhere and scurrying with a thousand cheepings to tell her all about it. So she gathered them all close about her, and they vanished into the friendly shadows.

It was curious how jealously the old beech partridge watched over the solitudes where these interesting little families roamed. Though he seemed to care nothing about them, and was never seen near one of his families, he suffered no other cock partridge to come into his woods, or even to drum within hearing. In the winter he shared the southern pasture peaceably with twenty other grouse; and on certain days you might, by much creeping, surprise a whole company of them on a sunny southern slope, strutting and gliding, in and out and round about, with spread tails and drooping wings, going through all the movements of a grouse minuet. Once, in Indian summer, I crept up to twelve or fifteen of the splendid birds, who were going through their curious performance in a little opening among the berry bushes; and in the midst of them—more vain, more resplendent, strutting more proudly and clucking more arrogantly than any other—was the old beech partridge.

But when the spring came, and the long rolling drum-calls began to throb through the budding woods, he retired to his middle range on the ridge, and marched from one end to the other, driving every other cock grouse out of hearing, and drubbing him soundly if he dared resist. Then, after a triumph, you would hear his loud drum-call rolling through the May splendor, calling as many wives as possible to share his rich living.

He had two drumming logs on this range, as I soon discovered; and once, while he was drumming on one log, I hid near the other and imitated his call fairly well by beating my hands on a blown bladder that I had buttoned under my jacket. The roll of a grouse drum is a curiously muffled sound; it is often hard to determine the spot or even the direction whence it comes; and it always sounds much farther away than it really is. This may have deceived the old beech partridge at first into thinking that he heard some other bird far away, on a ridge across the valley where he had no concern; for presently he drummed again on his own log. I answered it promptly, rolling back a defiance, and also telling any hen grouse on the range that here was another candidate willing to strut and spread his tail and lift the resplendent ruff about his neck to win his way into her good graces, if she would but come to his drumming log and see him.

Some suspicion that a rival had come to his range must have entered the old beech partridge's head, for there was a long silence in which I could fancy him standing up straight and stiff on his drumming log, listening intently to locate the daring intruder, and holding down his bubbling wrath with difficulty.

Without waiting for him to drum again, I beat out a challenge. The roll had barely ceased when he came darting up the ridge, glancing like a bolt among the thick branches, and plunged down by his own log, where he drew himself up with marvelous suddenness to listen and watch for the intruder.

He seemed relieved that the log was not occupied, but he was still full of wrath and suspicion. He glided and dodged all about the place, looking and listening; then he sprang to his log and, without waiting to strut and spread his gorgeous feathers as usual, he rolled out the long call, drawing himself up straight the instant it was done, turning his head from side to side to catch the first beat of his rival's answer—"Come out, if you dare; drum, if you dare. Oh, you coward!" And he hopped, five or six high, excited hops, like a rooster before a storm, to the other end of the log, and again his quick throbbing drum-call rolled through the woods.

Though I was near enough to see him clearly without my field glasses, I could not even then, nor at any other time when I have watched grouse drumming, determine just how the call is given. After a little while the excitement of a suspected rival's presence wore away, and he grew exultant, thinking that he had driven the rascal out of his woods. He strutted back and forth on the log, trailing his wings, spreading wide his beautiful tail, lifting his crest and his resplendent ruff. Suddenly he would draw himself up; there would be a flash of his wings up and down that no eye could follow, and I would hear a single throb of his drum. Another flash and another throb; then faster and faster, till he seemed to have two or three pairs of wings, whirring and running together like the spokes of a swift-moving wheel, and the drumbeats rolled together into a long call and died away in the woods.

Generally he stood up on his toes, as a rooster does when he flaps his wings before crowing; rarely he crouched down close to the log; but I doubt if he beat the wood with his wings, as is often claimed. Yet the two logs were different; one was dry and hard, the other mouldy and moss-grown; and the drum-calls were as different as the two logs. After a time I could tell by the sound which log he was using at the first beat of his wings; but that, I think, was a matter of resonance, a kind of sounding-board effect, and not because the two sounded differently as he beat them. The call is undoubtedly made either by striking the wings together over his back or, as I am inclined to believe, by striking them on the down beat against his own sides.

Once I heard a wounded bird give three or four beats of his drum-call, and when I went into the grapevine thicket, where he had fallen, I found him lying flat on his back, beating his sides with his wings.

Whenever he drums he first struts, because he knows not how many pairs of bright eyes are watching him shyly out of the coverts. Once, when I had watched him strut and drum a few times, the leaves rustled, and two hen grouse emerged from opposite sides into the little opening where his log was. Then he strutted with greater vanity than before, while the two hen grouse went gliding about the place, searching for seeds apparently, but in reality watching his every movement out of their eye corners, and admiring him to his heart's content.

In winter I used to follow his trail through the snow to find what he had been doing, and what he had found to eat in nature's scarce time. His worst enemies, the man and his dog, were no longer to be feared, being restrained by law, and he roamed the woods with greater freedom than ever. He seemed to know that he was safe at this time, and more than once I trailed him up to his hiding and saw him whirr away through the open woods, sending down a shower of snow behind him, as if in that curious way to hide his line of flight from my eyes.

There were other enemies, however, whom no law restrained, save the universal wood-laws of fear and hunger. Often I found the trail of a fox crossing his in the snow; and once I followed a double trail, fox over grouse, for nearly half a mile. The fox had struck the trail late the previous afternoon, and followed it to a bullbrier thicket, in the midst of which was a great cedar in which the old beech partridge roosted. The fox went twice around the tree, halting and looking up, then went straight away to the swamp, as if he knew it was of no use to watch longer.

Rarely, when the snow was deep, I found the place where he, or some other grouse, went to sleep on the ground. He would plunge down from a tree into the soft snow, driving into it head-first for three or four feet, then turn around and settle down in his white warm chamber for the night. I would find the small hole where he plunged in at evening, and near it the great hole where he burst out when the light waked him. Taking my direction from his wing prints in the snow, I would follow to find where he lit, and then trace him on his morning wanderings.

One would think that this might be a dangerous proceeding, sleeping on the ground with no protection but the snow, and a score of hungry enemies prowling about the woods; but the grouse knows well that when the storms are out his enemies stay close at home, not being able to see or smell, and therefore afraid each one of his own enemies. There is always a truce in the woods during a snowstorm; and that is the reason why a grouse goes to sleep in the snow only while the flakes are still falling. When the storm is over and the snow has settled a bit, the fox will be abroad again; and then the grouse sleeps in the evergreens.

Once, however, the old beech partridge miscalculated. The storm ceased early in the evening, and hunger drove the fox out on a night when, ordinarily, he would have stayed under cover. Sometime about daybreak, before yet the light had penetrated to where the old beech partridge was sleeping, the fox found a hole in the snow, which told him that just in front of his hungry nose a grouse was hidden, all unconscious of danger. I found the spot, trailing the fox, a few hours later. How cautious he was! The sly trail was eloquent with hunger and anticipation. A few feet away from the promising hole he had stopped, looking keenly over the snow to find some suspicious roundness on the smooth surface. Ah! there it was, just by the edge of a juniper thicket. He crouched down, stole forward, pushing a deep trail with his body, settled himself firmly and sprang. And there, just beside the hole his paws had made in the snow, was another hole where the grouse had burst out, scattering snow all over his enemy, who had miscalculated by a foot, and thundered away to the safety and shelter of the pines.


[Illustration]

Thundered away to the safety and shelter of the pines

There was another enemy, who ought to have known better, following the old beech partridge all one early spring when snow was deep and food scarce. One day, in crossing the partridge's southern range, I met a small boy,—a keen little fellow, with the instincts of a fox for hunting. He had always something interesting afoot,—minks, or muskrats, or a skunk, or a big owl,—so I hailed him with joy.

"Hello, Johnnie! what you after to-day—bears?"

But he only shook his head—a bit sheepishly, I thought—and talked of all things except the one that he was thinking about; and presently he vanished down the old road. One of his jacket pockets bulged more than the other, and I knew there was a trap in it.

Late that afternoon I crossed his trail and, having nothing more interesting to do, followed it. It led straight to the bullbrier thicket where the old beech partridge roosted. I had searched for it many times in vain before the fox led me to it; but Johnnie, in some of his prowlings, had found tracks and a feather or two under a cedar branch, and knew just what it meant. His trap was there, in the very spot where, the night before, the old beech partridge had stood when he jumped for the lowest limb. Corn was scattered liberally about, and a bluejay that had followed Johnnie was already fast in the trap, caught at the base of his bill just under the eyes. He had sprung the trap in pecking at some corn that was fastened cunningly to the pan by fine wire.

When I took the jay carefully from the trap he played possum, lying limp in my hand till my grip relaxed, when he flew to a branch over my head, squalling and upbraiding me for having anything to do with such abominable inventions.

I hung the trap to a low limb of the cedar, with a note in its jaws telling Johnnie to come and see me next day. He came at dusk, shamefaced, and I read him a lecture on fair play and the difference between a thieving mink and an honest partridge. But he chuckled over the bluejay, and I doubted the withholding power of a mere lecture; so, to even matters, I hinted of an otter slide I had discovered, and of a Saturday-afternoon tramp together. Twenty times, he told me, he had tried to snare the old beech partridge. When he saw the otter slide he forswore traps and snares for birds; and I left the place, soon after, with good hopes for the grouse, knowing that I had spiked the guns of his most dangerous enemy.

Years later I crossed the old pasture and went straight to the bullbrier tangle. There were tracks of a grouse in the snow,—blunt tracks that rested lightly on the soft whiteness, showing that Nature remembered his necessity and had caused his new snowshoes to grow famously. I hurried to the brook, a hundred memories thronging over me of happy days and rare sights when the wood folk revealed their little secrets. In the midst of them—kwit! kwit!  and with a thunder of wings a grouse whirred away, wild and gray as the rare bird that lived there years before. And when I questioned a hunter, he said: "That ol' beech pa'tridge? Oh, yes, he's there. He'll stay there, too, till he dies of old age; 'cause you see, Mister, there ain't nobody in these parts spry enough to ketch 'im."

 

 

----- ---OCTOBER--- -----


  WEEK 42  

  Thursday  


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

Robin Hood and the Silver Arrow

Over and over again the Sheriff of Nottingham tried to catch Robin Hood. Over and over again he failed. Each time he failed he grew more angry, till wicked anger filled all his heart, and he could think of nothing else.

At last he said to himself, "I will go to the King, and ask him to give me a great many soldiers, so that I can fight, Robin and his men, and kill them all."

King Richard had come back from the Holy Land, because, even far off there, he had heard of the wicked things Prince John was doing.

So one fine day the Sheriff of Nottingham set out for London to visit the King. It took him many days to reach London, for as there were no trains, he had to ride all the way. He took a great many servants with him, and soldiers too, in case they should meet any robbers on the road.

Late one evening he arrived in London, very tired indeed with his long journey.

Next day, after he had rested a little, he put on his best clothes. He put a thick gold chain round his neck and a lovely red cloak over his shoulders. He looked very fine indeed. Then he set off to visit the King in his palace.

There he told all his tale—how Robin robbed the rich and haughty Norman nobles, helped the poor Saxons, and, above all, how he killed and ate the King's deer in Sherwood Forest.

"Why, and what shall I do?" said the King. "Are you not Sheriff? Are there no laws? If you cannot make people keep the laws or punish them when they break them, you are no good Sheriff. Go back to Nottingham, and if, when I come, I find that you have not kept good order, and acted justly, I will take away your office and give it to a better man."

So the Sheriff returned home very sad indeed. Instead of giving him any help the King had been angry with him. What made him saddest was the thought of all the money he had spent in going to London. For the Sheriff of Nottingham was a greedy old man. He loved money almost as much as he hated Robin Hood.

All the long way home he kept thinking and thinking how he might get Robin into his power. At last he fell upon a plan.

He thought he would have a beautiful silver arrow made with a golden head. This arrow he would offer as a prize to the man who could shoot best. He knew Robin and his men would hear about this shooting-match, and would come to try to win the prize. He meant to have a great many soldiers ready, and, as soon as Robin and his men came into the town, the soldiers would seize them and put them into prison.

Long ago when people went to battle they had no guns or cannons. Instead, they fought with swords and spears, or bows and arrows. The English archers, as the men who used bows and arrows were called, were the best in all the world. They could shoot further and straighter than any one else. And of all the English archers Robin Hood was the best. He could shoot further and straighter than any one in the whole world.

As soon as the Sheriff arrived home he sent for a man who made arrows. He told him to make the most beautiful arrow that had ever been seen, as he was going to have a grand shooting-match, and must have a very splendid prize.

Then he sent messengers into the towns and villages round to tell all the archers about it. Next he sent for the captain of his soldiers. He told him that he hoped to seize Robin Hood at the shooting-match, and that he must gather together as many soldiers as he could. "We must have two for every one of Robin Hood's men," he said. "There must be no mistake this time."

Everything was arranged and the day fixed.

Among Robin's men there was a brave young man called David of Doncaster. He had not been very long with Robin, and had a sister who lived in Nottingham, and who was a servant in the Sheriff's house.

David often used to disguise himself and go into Nottingham to see his sister. One day she met him with a pale face. "David," she said, "you must not come here any more. Go, tell your master Robin Hood that the Sheriff means to kill him and all his men at the great shooting-match."

"What shooting-match?" asked David.

"Oh, have you not heard?" said his sister. "There is to be a great shooting-match next Tuesday. The prize is a silver arrow tipped with gold. But it is all a trick of the Sheriff's to get hold of Robin Hood. I heard him talking about it to the captain of the soldiers last night."

"Good-bye," said David, "I must go back to the forest to warn Robin as quickly as possible."

When he got back to the Green Wood he found that the news of the match had reached Robin. The men were all gathered together talking it over, and already preparing their bows and arrows.

"With that stepped forth the brave young man,

David of Doncaster:

Master, he said, be ruled by me,

From the Green Wood we'll not stir;


To tell the truth, I'm well informed

This match it is a wile;

The Sheriff, I wiss, devises this,

Us archers to beguile."

"You talk like a coward," said Robin. "If you are afraid, stay home with the women. As for me, I intend to try for this prize." Robin was so brave, that it made him careless of danger, and often led him into doing foolish things.

David was hurt that Robin should call him a coward, so he turned away without another word.

But in a minute Robin was sorry for what he had said. "Ho there! David," he called out. "I didn't mean it, my lad. Come back and tell us what you have heard."

When David had told them all he knew, they agreed that it would never do to walk straight into the trap which the Sheriff had prepared for them.

"Yet I should dearly like to go," said Robin.

"Well I don't see why we should not," said Little John. "Of course it would be very foolish to go as we are, dressed in Lincoln green. But why should we not all leave off our Lincoln green for one day, and dress ourselves each as differently as possible? No one would notice us then. We could go and come quite safely.

"One shall wear white, another red,

One yellow, another blue,

Thus in disguise, to the exercise

We'll gang, whate'er ensue."

"That is a very good plan," said Robin. "Do you not think so, David?" he added, laying a hand upon his shoulder, for he wanted to make David forget his unkind words.

"Why, yes, master, I think it will be very good fun," replied David, laughing, for he was very good tempered as well as brave, and had quite forgiven Robin already. "May I come too?"

"Yes, lad," said Robin. "You shall come with me. For we must not go all together," he continued, turning to the men. "We must go in twos and threes, and mix with the other people, or the Sheriff will soon guess who we are in spite of our clothes."

So it was all settled. The men had a merry time dressing up and arranging what they were to wear. Early on Tuesday morning they set off in twos and threes, going to Nottingham by different roads. They were soon lost among the crowds, who were all making their way to the place where the match was to be. All sorts of people were hurrying along, some to try for the prize, others to look on. Men, women, and children, old and young, rich and poor, were there. Every one had a holiday, even the schoolgirls and boys, and dressed in their best, they were all crowding along towards Nottingham.

From a window in his house the Sheriff kept looking and looking for Robin and his men, but no Lincoln green could he see. He was dreadfully disappointed. He kept saying to himself, "Surely he will come yet. Surely he will come."

The man who kept order and arranged everything about the match, and who was called the Master of the Lists, came to him and said, "Will you come now please, your honour, for it is time the match began? Every one is waiting for you and your lady."

"How many men have come to try for the prize?" asked the Sheriff.

"About eight hundred," replied the Master of the Lists.

"Is Robin Hood there, and any of his men, think you?"

"Nay," said the Master of the Lists, shaking his head, "not a man of his. There are many strangers, and a good number of King's foresters, but not a man in the Lincoln green of Robin Hood."

The Sheriff sighed. "He will surely come," he said. "Wait but a few minutes yet."

So the Master of the Lists waited for a few minutes. Then he came again to the Sheriff, and said, "We must indeed begin now. The people grow impatient. There are so many men to try for the prize, that if we do not begin at once, we cannot finish to-day."

"I suppose we must begin," sighed the Sheriff. "But I thought he would surely come."

He gave his wife his arm, and they took the seats of honour prepared for them, just behind where the archers stood to shoot their arrows.

Then the match began. It was a fine sight. The open space where it took place was like a great plain. At one end were set up fifty targets for the men to shoot at. These were painted different colours. The very middle of the target was painted white. Then came a red ring, then a black one, and last a yellow one.

At the opposite end of the plain, or lists as it was called, stood the archers. They had to try to send their arrows right into the middle of the target, and hit the white spot.

It was very exciting. All round, the people stood or sat, watching. Whenever any one hit the white, they cheered loudly. If any one missed the target altogether, they groaned. Those who missed the target were not allowed to shoot any more. The man who hit the white most often won the prize.

Robin and his men shot splendidly. Every time, Robin sent his arrow right into the very middle of the white part. His men sometimes hit the white, sometimes the red, but never got so far away from the middle of the target as the black or yellow.

"Some said, if Robin Hood was here,

And all his men to boot,

Sure none of them could pass these men,

So bravely they do shoot.


Ay, quoth the Sheriff, and scratched his head,

I thought he would have been here;

I thought he would, but though he's bold

He durst not now appear."

Robin had just been shooting. He was standing very close to where the Sheriff and his wife were sitting, and heard what the Sheriff said. It made him quite angry to think that any one would believe that he and his men had been frightened away. He longed to tell the Sheriff there and then that Robin Hood was standing beside him. He made up his mind to win the prize, and to let the Sheriff know somehow or other that he had done so.

The shooting went on, and the people grew more and more excited.

"Some cried Blue jacket, another cried Brown,

And the third cried Brave Yellow,

But the fourth man said, Yon man in Red

In this place has no fellow."

The man in red was Robin Hood himself. The man they called Brave Yellow was no other than brave David of Doncaster, who had shot nearly as well as Robin Hood.

At last the shooting came to an end. Of course Robin had won the prize. The people cheered loudly when he went up to the Sheriff's wife, who presented him with the arrow. She made a pretty little speech to him, and he thanked her politely, as he always did.


[Illustration]

The Sheriff's wife, who presented him with the arrow

Then every one went home again. Robin and his men went back as they had come, by twos and threes, and by different roads, so no one suspected who they were, least of all the Sheriff.

That night the Sheriff's wife said to him, "What a nice-looking man that was who won the prize to-day. How well he shot too! I have never seen anything like it. Do you know, he reminded me very much of that pleasant young butcher you brought to see me some time ago."

"Eh! What!" said the Sheriff, "I hope not. I most sincerely hope not." The Sheriff had never dared to tell his wife that the pleasant butcher man was really Robin Hood.

When Robin and his men were all met again under the Green Wood Tree, they had a merry time. There was a grand supper waiting for them. Such laughing and talking there was; they had so many adventures to relate, such jokes to tell. The beautiful silver arrow was passed round, and every one admired it very much.

"Says Robin Hood, All my care is

How that yon Sheriff may

Know certainly that it was I

That bore his arrow away."

Then Little John said, "You took my advice about going to the match, perhaps you will let me give you a little more."

"Speak on, speak on, said Robin Hood,

Thy wit's both quick and sound;

I know no man amongst us can

For wit like thee be found."

"I advise you then," said Little John, "to write a letter to the Sheriff. Tell him that we were all there, and that you were the man in red who carried off the prize. Then when you have written the letter, send it to Nottingham."

"Very good advice," replied Robin; "but how are we going to send it? Our messenger could not get out of the town before the Sheriff had read the letter. He would certainly send after him to seize him and shut him up in prison. I cannot allow any of my men to put himself in danger for a mere whim of mine."

In those days, you see, there were no posts, or postmen. If you wanted to send a letter to any one, you had to pay a special messenger to carry it for you. It cost a great deal, so people hardly ever wrote letters at all. Indeed, very many people could neither read nor write them.

"Pugh!" said Little John, in answer to Robin, "it is easy enough. Write your letter, address it to the Sheriff, and I will stick it on to the end of an arrow, and shoot it into the town."

"Bravo! Bravo!" shouted every one. "Hurrah for Little John, clever Little John."

"The project it was well performed:

The Sheriff the letter had,

Which, when he read, he scratched his head,

And raved like one that's mad."

 



The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

Three Bullocks and a Lion

A Lion had been watching three Bullocks feeding in an open field. He had tried to attack them several times, but they had kept together, and helped each other to drive him off. The Lion had little hope of eating them, for he was no match for three strong Bullocks with their sharp horns and hoofs. But he could not keep away from that field, for it is hard to resist watching a good meal, even when there is little chance of getting it.


[Illustration]

Then one day the Bullocks had a quarrel, and when the hungry Lion came to look at them and lick his chops as he was accustomed to do, he found them in separate corners of the field, as far away from one another as they could get.

It was now an easy matter for the Lion to attack them one at a time, and this he proceeded to do with the greatest satisfaction and relish.

In unity is strength.

 



Charles Kingsley

The Sands of Dee

"O Mary, go and call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

Across the sands of Dee."

The western wind was wild and dark with foam,

And all alone went she.


The western tide crept up along the sand,

And o'er and o'er the sand,

And round and round the sand,

As far as eye could see.

The rolling mist came down and hid the land:

And never home came she.


"Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair—

A tress of golden hair,

A drownèd maiden's hair,

Above the nets at sea?

Was never salmon yet that shone so fair

Among the stakes on Dee."


They rowed her in across the rolling foam,

The cruel crawling foam,

The cruel hungry foam,

To her grave beside the sea:

But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home

Across the sands of Dee!


 


  WEEK 42  

  Friday  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

Van Riebeek's Colony

"All the past we leave behind;

We debouch upon a newer, mightier world, varied world.

Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labour and the march,

Pioneers! O Pioneers!"

—Walt Whitman.

T HE Dutch were now the chief carriers of the world, "waggoners of the sea," and their ships were constantly passing round the Stormy Cape on their way to and from Batavia. No longer did the Portuguese sail to and from the East as they had done of old. They had no Vasco da Gama, no Albuquerque, to lead them again to golden Goa. Portugal, once the pioneer of navigation, now lay quiet, nerveless, crushed, and she has never since risen to play any large part in the world's history.

But the Dutch ships had much farther to go than had the Portuguese, and for some time past they had been in the habit of putting in to Table Bay, to take in fresh water on their long voyage to the East. These old Dutch ships, the quickest in the world then, took about 120 days, instead of twenty, to sail from Holland to the Cape. And they stood sorely in need of refreshment at the end of that time.

One day in the year 1649 a ship, the Haarlem,—one of the finest of Dutch ships,—was driven by a gale upon the beach at Table Bay. Her crew managed to save the cargo, but the ship became a total wreck. There was nothing to do now but to await the Dutch fleet, which would return shortly from Batavia. The crew under two men, Janssen and Proot, then explored the country, finally encamping on a site near the centre of the present city of Cape Town. They had saved some seeds and garden tools from the wreck, and soon a plot of ground was under cultivation. Cabbages, pumpkins, turnips, onions, and other vegetables grew splendidly; natives traded in friendship, bringing cattle and sheep; game fell to their guns, and fish was plentiful. Added to this, there was a stream of pure water, and the climate was delightful.


[Illustration]

Van Riebeek's arrival at the Cape.

With the return fleet they sailed home to Holland to tell their countrymen of their experiment. A station was greatly needed somewhere in that region, and two years later a party of colonists left Holland to make a settlement on the shores of Table Bay. Jan van Riebeek was in command. He had been a great sailor and seen many countries, including the Cape. There were three ships, one of which was called the Goede Hoop, and on Christmas Day in the year 1651 the little fleet sailed for South Africa.

It was Sunday morning, April 7, that Van Riebeek and his colonists looked for the first time upon the site of their future home. A suitable spot for the new fort was soon chosen, and building began at once. The new fort, called Good Hope, was in the form of a square, with very thick walls of earth, round which was a moat. A square tower rose to some height, from which the defenders could fire down upon any enemy who might attempt to scramble up the banks of earth. They built a hospital, where sick men from the ships could be left to recover, and a cattle-kraal to enclose the cattle bought from the natives.

Such was the original fort Good Hope, built by the Dutch in 1652 as a half-way house between the mother country and the Far East.

Like all the other early colonists, Van Riebeek and his settlers were doomed to suffer. The cold stormy winter set in about May, the heavy rain poured through their tents, bringing sickness in its train, and soon, out of the original 116 men, only sixty were fit for work. They could get no fresh meat save hippopotamus. They were as solitary as the Pilgrim Fathers had been, thirty years before, on the shores of North America. But with spring dawned a new life. The grass began to grow. Hendrik Boom, the gardener, sowed his seeds, and soon there were plenty of fresh vegetables, green grass for the cattle and sheep, and fresh life for the home-sick colonists in news from Holland brought by passing ships.

One day—it was January 18, 1653—a ship came sailing hastily into Table Bay bringing the news that war had been declared between Holland and England. One can see the eager colonists crowding round the Dutch sea-captain as he told them all the news, for which they thirsted.

They knew there was no king in England at this time, but that the country was in the hands of a great man called Oliver Cromwell. It was this Cromwell who had now made the famous Navigation Act, which was aimed against Holland. It decreed that English ships alone might bring goods into England. Thus the trade of England would be increased, but at the expense of Holland, already supreme in the world of trade and commerce. So the long rivalry of the two sea-going nations had ended in a declaration of war. The little colony at the Cape must strengthen its garrison without delay, and the Dutch ship must sail on quickly to Batavia to warn the Dutch there of possible danger.

Meanwhile let us see what was really happening in England.

 



Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon

The Tunic of Nessus

H ERCULES, passing through the land of Thessaly fell deeply in love with the Princess Iŏle, daughter of King Eurytus, whom her father, a famous archer, had promised in marriage to the man who should fly an arrow further than he.

This Hercules did with such ease that the king, angry at being surpassed, refused to perform his promise, so that Hercules went mad with rage and sorrow. In a sudden fury he slew Iphitus, a brother of Iole, and his own friend and comrade, and then, still more maddened by what he had done, wandered away again to Delphi to ask Apollo's oracle once more what he should do.

But this time the voice of Apollo was silent. It seemed as if, in spite of all he had done for men, the gods had turned away their faces from him, and had become deaf to his prayers, even to his repentance—for he would have given his own life if that would bring Iphitus to life again. Were they angry because he had saved Prometheus from their vengeance? Or were the labors of a life to be lost for one moment of passion? Then were the gods unjust, and Hercules, who abhorred injustice, broke forth against the gods themselves.

"I will no longer serve such wretches!" he cried. "Beings which bring man into the world only to torment him, and to be a sport and a jest for them! I will tear down their temples and destroy their altars; I will side with the fallen Titans; I will sooner bear the punishment of Prometheus forever, with none to save me, than serve monsters of injustice, who allow man to sin and to suffer without help, and then cast him away."

But Apollo was as deaf to his curses as to his prayers. So Hercules put forth his whole strength against the temple, and no doubt would have left it a ruin, when, from the clear sky there burst such flames and thunders that the Titans themselves would have been dismayed. And then spoke the oracle at last—

"Is this the free service you vowed when you chose between Pleasure and Duty? It is the justice of the gods that you go back into slavery again until you have learned how to be free."

The thunder and the lightning ceased, and Hercules saw beside him a young man who looked like a traveling merchant—at least for such he took him, until the stranger for one moment stood revealed as the god Mercury, with winged heels and cap, and bearing the rod round which two live serpents twined. It was only for a moment; the next, the god became the traveling merchant again.

"As we are to be fellow-travelers," said Mercury, "I will tell you at once that I am under orders from the Court of Olympus to take you to market and sell you for a slave. Do you submit? Or do you wish to learn from me the strength of heaven?"

"I wish I could learn its justice," said Hercules. "But I suppose I am too stupid to understand. Everything is so dark and so strange. But what does it all matter, after all? I would as soon be a slave as anything else, now that I have lost Iole and killed my friend."

"That is not the right mood," said Mercury. "It is better to rebel, as you did a minute ago, than to think that nothing matters, as you do now. However, let us go."

Mercury was always the most delightful and amusing of companions; and he was very good-natured also, and did his best to make the journey cheerful. But, though he was the god of Eloquence, and of Business besides, he could not persuade anybody to become the purchaser of Hercules either by auction or by private bargain. Nobody wanted a slave who looked so certain to become his master's master. Besides, people had forgotten all his good deeds, and only remembered that he had been a dangerous madman. But in time they came to a country in Asia called Lydia, which was then ruled by a queen whose name was Omphăle. And she, having seen Hercules, was brave enough to buy him.

Of course Hercules expected that she would make him outdo what he had done for Eurystheus; and nothing would have pleased him better than to be sent on the most impossible errands, so that, in toil and danger, he might forget his murder of Iphitus and his love for Iole. Instead, however, of treating him like the most glorious hero of his time, and employing him on services of honor, she amused herself by giving him a spindle and distaff, and setting him to spin among her women, while she robed herself in his lion-skin and tried to swing his club in her delicate hands. And whenever he was clumsy with the distaff, which was very often, she would laugh at him, and strike him across the face with her slipper.

For three long years Hercules sat and span among Omphale's handmaids; and then she, being tired of her amusement and of his submission, set him free, and gave him back his club and lion-skin. They had been three wasted, unwholesome years, and his strength had wasted with them; moreover, his fame was being forgotten, and nothing seemed left for him to do. How long it seemed since he had fought the Hydra and borne upon his shoulders the weight of the sky—it was as if he had become another and a feebler man.


While waiting to see what should happen, he abode at the Court of King Tyndărus of Sparta, the stepfather of the great twin brethren, Castor and Pollux, and of their sister Helen—the most beautiful woman in the whole world; of whom you will hear more some day. And it was while here that he heard of the fame of another beautiful woman, the Princess Deianira, daughter of King Œneus of Ætolia, whose hand was to be the prize of a great wrestling-match to be held at Calydon. Hercules, longing for some adventure to try his strength again, betook himself thither; and, weakened though he was, overthrew every one of his rivals with ease. Then, after his marriage with Deianira, he set out with her for the Court of King Ceyx of Trachinia, where he intended to remain a while.

But when they reached the river Evenus, which they had to cross on their way from Calydon to Trachinia, the water was so swollen with heavy rains that Hercules did not know how to bring his wife over. As they stood wondering what they should do without boat or bridge, there cantered up a Centaur, who saw the plight they were in, and said—

"I am Nessus. If this fair lady will deign to seat herself upon my back, I will swim over with her quickly; and then I will come back for you also."

He spoke frankly and courteously; so Hercules, thinking no harm, lifted Deianira upon the back of the Centaur, who plunged into the river, and soon reached the other side. But on landing, instead of performing his promise, he set off at a gallop; and it was soon clear enough that he meant to run away with Deianira, while Hercules stood helpless beyond the river.

He was almost out of sight when Hercules let fly an arrow, which had been dipped in the poison of the Hydra, with such force and so true an aim that it pierced the Centaur without touching Deianira. Nessus fell to the earth, and, feeling himself dying, said to her—

"I die for love of you; but I forgive you freely. Take my tunic; for it is of magic power. If your husband's heart ever strays from you, bid him wear it, and his love will return to you and never wander again."

So saying, he groaned and died; and Deianira, having taken from him his blood-stained tunic, waited there till Hercules, having found a ford higher up the river, was able to rejoin her. And so at last they reached the Court of King Ceyx, who received them with all kindness and honor.

Here they dwelt in great content; nor was there any cause why they should not have spent all their life to come in rest and peace, had not, by ill luck, a great war broken out between King Ceyx and King Eurytus of Thessaly. Hercules gained the victory for his host; King Eurytus was slain; and then—among the prisoners of war was the slain king's daughter, Iole; she on whose account Hercules had killed Iphitus, and cursed the gods, and been a slave.

Yet, seeing her again, all thought of Deianira passed away from him, and his love for Iole was stronger even than at first; while he found that her love had remained true to him and unchanged. He could not part from her, and so he took her with him to Mount Œta, where he was about to sacrifice to Jupiter in honor of his victory.

The altar was prepared, and the sacrifice was ready, when there arrived from Trachinia, the city of King Ceyx, his servant Lichas, who knelt before him, and said—

"The Princess Deianira, your loving wife, has heard of this great sacrifice, and sends you by me this tunic, which she prays you to wear for her sake, that she may have some part in your thanksgiving."

But in truth it was of her husband's love for Iole that Deianira had heard; and therefore she had sent him the tunic of Nessus, which was to bring his heart back to her again.

Little she guessed the cunning revenge of the Centaur, who knew that the arrow of Hercules, in piercing the tunic, had left upon it a drop of the poison of the Hydra. Hercules put on the gift of Deianira, and, accompanied only by Prince Philoctetes of Melibœa, ascended Mount Œta to celebrate the sacrifice. But no sooner had he reached the altar than the poison began to work, eating through his skin into his flesh, even to his bones, so that his agony was too great to bear.

He tried to tear off the fatal tunic; but the more he tore at it the more it clung. At last the agony began to gnaw his heart, and he despaired.

"Would," he cried, "that I had never been born! My strength has been my curse. I have labored to clear the world of evil; and pain and sin are still as strong as if the serpents had strangled me in my cradle. The Hydra is dead, but its poison goes on working; and open savage force is only changed into fraud and guile. Happier is Eurystheus, whom weakness and cowardice have kept from doing harm; wiser are they who choose peace and pleasure; who sit with folded hands, and let monsters and ogres devour whomsoever else they will. As for me, I have been a curse to those whom I have loved the best, and leave more evil in the world than I found. There is no use in strength, since it can be conquered by pain; nor in subduing others, when one cannot master one's own self; nor in duty without knowledge; nor in life, which is only blunder and misery and toil and sin. The best thing is never to have been born; and the next best thing is to die."

So he gave his bow and arrows to Philoctetes, whom he swore to bury his ashes in the earth, and never to reveal where they were laid. "For," said he, "I wish to sleep and forget and be forgotten. I will not that men shall pay me even so much honor as a tomb." Then he spread his lion skin over the altar, and laid himself upon it with his club for a pillow, and bade Philoctetes set fire to it, so that he might die, not of poison and treachery, but like a man, and of his own free will, making himself the sacrifice he had vowed.

Philoctetes mournfully obeyed. And thus miserably perished Hercules, the greatest and last of the heroes; for after him there came no more. Thus died the strongest of men, in the belief that all effort is useless, and that he had lived in vain.


But the gods knew better; for not once had they been unjust, in spite of seeming. They knew both his strength and his weakness; they saw the whole man—often foolish and sinful and weak; often failing and falling, but willing what was right, and loving it even when he fell into wrong. They judged him by his whole life, not by its wretched end, when he was maddened by passion and tortured by pain. The gods remembered how he had chosen between Pleasure and Duty; how he had striven with Tartarus for the life of Alcestis; how he had scaled Caucasus because he had heard a cry of pain; how, even when he cursed the gods at Delphi, it was because he thought them unjust, and because he loved justice and hated injustice with his whole soul and being. He might hold his own service cheap; but not they, for, with the gods, effort cannot fail: to fight is the same thing as to conquer. If Hercules had cut off ninety-nine of the Hydra's heads, and been slain by the hundredth, men would still have held him a hero. And so was it with the gods. They had watched his long battle with the Hydra of Life and Evil, and did not condemn him because he was slain before the end.

And so, in the fire of the altar on Mount Œta, his pains, his sins, his weaknesses, were purged away. And even as he was the only mortal who ever conquered Tartarus, so was he the only one who ever received such reward. Instead of being sent among the happy shades of the Elysian fields, he was received into the glory of Olympus, among the gods themselves, there, with strength made pure and perfect, to serve and help mankind forever.

 

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


  WEEK 42  

  Saturday  


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

Murdoch's Rath

[Illustration]

T HERE was not a nicer boy in all Ireland than Pat, and clever at his trade too, if only he'd had one.

But from his cradle he learned nothing (small blame to him with no one to teach him!), so when he came to years of discretion, he earned his living by running messages for his neighbours; and Pat could always be trusted to make the best of a bad bargain, and bring back all the change, for he was the soul of honesty and good nature.

It's no wonder then that he was beloved by every one, and got as much work as he could do, and if the pay had but fitted the work, he'd have been mighty comfortable; but as it was, what he got wouldn't have kept him in shoe-leather, but for making both ends meet by wearing his shoes in his pocket, except when he was in the town, and obliged to look genteel for the credit of the place he came from.

Well, all was going on as peaceable as could be, till one market-day, when business (or it may have been pleasure) detained him till the heel of the evening, and by night fall, when he began to make the road short in good earnest, he was so flustered, rehearsing his messages to make sure he'd forgotten nothing, that he never bethought him to leave off his brogues, but tramped on just as if shoe-leather were made to be knocked to bits on the king's highway.

And this was what he was after saying—

"A dozen hanks of grey yarn for Mistress Murphy."

"Three gross of bright buttons for the tailor."

"Half an ounce of throat drops for Father Andrew, and an ounce of snuff for his housekeeper," and so on.

For these were what he went to the town to fetch, and he was afraid lest one of the lot might have slipped his memory.

Now everybody knows there are two ways home from the town; and that's not meaning the right way and the wrong way, which my grandmother (rest her soul!) said there was to every place but one that it's not genteel to name. (There could only be a wrong way there,  she said.) The two ways home from the town were the highway, and the way by Murdoch's Rath.

Murdoch's Rath was a pleasant enough spot in the daytime, but not many persons cared to go by it when the sun was down. And in all the years Pat was going backwards and forwards, he never once came home except by the high road till this unlucky evening, when, just at the place where the two roads part, he got, as one may say, into a sort of confusion.

"Halt!" says he to himself (for his own uncle had been a soldier, and Pat knew the word of command). "The left hand turn is the right one," says he, and he was going down the high road as straight as he could go, when suddenly he bethought himself. "And what am I doing?" he says. "This was my left hand going to town, and how in the name of fortune could it be my left going back, considering that I've turned round? It's well that I looked into it in time." And with that he went off as fast down the other road as he started down this.

But how far he walked he never could tell, before all of a sudden the moon shone out as bright as day, and Pat found himself in Murdoch's Rath.

And this was the smallest part of the wonder; for the Rath was full of fairies.

When Pat got in they were dancing round and round till his feet tingled to look at them, being a good dancer himself. And as he sat on the side of the Rath, and snapped his fingers to mark the time, the dancing stopped, and a little man comes up, in a black hat and a green coat, with white stockings, and red shoes on his feet.

"Won't you take a turn with us, Pat?" says he, bowing till he nearly touched the ground. And, indeed, he had not far to go, for he was barely two feet high.

"Don't say it twice, sir," says Pat. "It's myself will be proud to foot the floor wid ye;" and before you could look round, there was Pat in the circle dancing away for bare life.

At first his feet felt like feathers for lightness, and it seemed as if he could have gone on for ever. But at last he grew tired, and would have liked to stop, but the fairies would not, and so they danced on and on. Pat tried to think of something good to say, that he might free himself from the spell, but all he could think of was:

"A dozen hanks of grey yarn for Missis Murphy."

"Three gross of bright buttons for the tailor."

"Half an ounce of throat drops for Father Andrew, and an ounce of snuff for his housekeeper," and so on.

And it seemed to Pat that the moon was on the one side of the Rath when they began to dance, and on the other side when they left off; but he could not be sure after all that going round. One thing was plain enough. He danced every bit of leather off the soles of his feet, and they were blistered so that he could hardly stand; but all the little folk did was to stand and hold their sides with laughing at him.

At last the one who spoke before stepped up to him, and—"Don't break your heart about it, Pat," says he; "I'll lend you my own shoes till the morning, for you seem to be a good-natured sort of a boy."

Well, Pat looked at the fairy man's shoes, that were the size of a baby's, and he looked at his own feet; but not wishing to be uncivil, "Thank ye kindly, sir," says he. "And if your honour be good enough to put them on for me, maybe you won't spoil the shape." For he thought to himself, "Small blame to me if the little gentleman can't get them to fit."

With that he sat down on the side of the Rath, and the fairy man put on the shoes for him, and no sooner did they touch Pat's feet, than they became altogether a convenient size, and fitted him like wax. And, more than that, when he stood up, he didn't feel his blisters at all.

"Bring 'em back to the Rath at sunrise, Pat, my boy," says the little man.

And as Pat was climbing over the ditch, "Look round, Pat," says he. And when Pat looked round, there were jewels and pearls lying at the roots of the furze-bushes on the ditch, as thick as peas.

"Will you help yourself, or take what's given ye, Pat?" says the fairy man.

"Did I ever learn manners?" says Pat. "Would you have me help myself before company? I'll take what your honour pleases to give me, and be thankful."

The fairy man picked a lot of yellow furze-blossoms from the bushes, and filled Pat's pockets.

"Keep 'em for love, Pat, me darlin'," says he.

Pat would have liked some of the jewels, but he put the furze-blossoms by for love.

"Good evening to your honour," says he.

"And where are you going, Pat, dear?" says the fairy man.

"I'm going home," says Pat. And if the fairy man didn't know where that was, small blame to him.

"Just let me dust them shoes for ye, Pat," says the fairy man. And as Pat lifted up each foot he breathed on it, and dusted it with the tail of his green coat.

"Home!" says he, and when he let go, Pat was at his own doorstep before he could look round, and his parcels safe and sound with him.

Next morning he was up with the sun, and carried the fairy man's shoes back to the Rath. As he came up, the little man looked over the ditch.

"The top of the morning to your honour," says Pat; "here's your shoes."

"You're an honest boy, Pat," says the little gentleman. "It's inconvenienced I am without them, for I have but the one pair. Have you looked at the yellow flowers this morning?" he says.

"I have not, sir," says Pat; "I'd be loth to deceive you. I came off as soon as I was up."

"Be sure to look when you get back, Pat," says the fairy man, "and good luck to ye."

With which he disappeared, and Pat went home. He looked for the furze-blossoms, as the fairy man told him, and there's not a word of truth in this tale if they weren't all pure gold pieces.

Well, now Pat was so rich, he went to the shoemaker to order another pair of brogues, and being a kindly, gossiping boy, the shoemaker soon learned the whole story of the fairy man and the Rath. And this so stirred up the shoemaker's greed that he resolved to go the very next night himself, to see if he could not dance with the fairies, and have like luck.

He found his way to the Rath all correct, and sure enough the fairies were dancing, and they asked him to join. He danced the soles off his brogues, as Pat did, and the fairy man lent him his shoes, and sent him home in a twinkling.

As he was going over the ditch, he looked round, and saw the roots of the furze-bushes glowing with precious stones as if they had been glow-worms.

"Will you help yourself, or take what's given ye?" said the fairy man.

"I'll help myself, if you please," said the cobbler, for he thought—"If I can't get more than Pat brought home, my fingers must all be thumbs."

So he drove his hand into the bushes, and if he didn't get plenty, it wasn't for want of grasping.

When he got up in the morning, he went straight to the jewels. But not a stone of the lot was more precious than roadside pebbles. "I ought not to took till I come from the Rath," said he. "It's best to do like Pat all through."

But he made up his mind not to return the fairy man's shoes.

"Who knows the virtue that's in them?" he said. So he made a small pair of red leather shoes, as like them as could be, and he blacked the others upon his feet, that the fairies might not not know them, and at sunrise he went to the Rath.

The fairy man was looking over the ditch, as before.

"Good morning to you," said he.

"The top of the morning to you, sir," said the cobbler; "here's your shoes." And he handed him the pair that he had made, with a face as grave as a judge.

The fairy man looked at them, but he said nothing, though he did not put them on.

"Have you looked at the things you got last night?" says he.

"I'll not deceive you, sir," says the cobbler. "I came off as soon as I was up. Sorra peep I took at them."

"Be sure to look when you get back," says the fairy man. And just as the cobbler was getting over the ditch to go home, he says,

"If my eyes don't deceive me," says he, "there's the least taste in life of dirt on your left shoe. Let me dust it with the tail of my coat."

"That means home in a twinkling," thought the cobbler, and he held up his foot.

The fairy man dusted it, and muttered something the cobbler did not hear. Then, "Sure," says he, "it's the dirty pastures that you've come through, for the other shoe's as bad."

So the cobbler held up his right foot, and the fairy man rubbed that with the tail of his green coat. When all was done the cobbler's feet seemed to tingle, and then to itch, and then to smart, and then to burn. And at last he began to dance, and he danced all round the Rath (the fairy man laughing and holding his sides), and then round and round again. And he danced till he cried out with weariness, and tried to shake the shoes off. But they stuck fast, and the fairies drove him over the ditch, and through the prickly furze-bushes, and he danced away.

Where he danced to, I cannot tell you. Whether he ever got rid of the fairy shoes, I do not know, The jewels never were more than wayside pebbles, and they were swept out when his cabin was cleaned, which was not too soon, you may be sure.

All this happened long ago; but there are those who say that the covetous cobbler dances still, between sunset and sunrise, round Murdoch's Rath.

 



Seaside and Wayside, Book Two  by Julia McNair Wright

Mr. Worm's Cottage by the Sea

O N the seashore you will find two or three kinds of worms. These are called "Tube Worms," from the shape of the houses which they build. Some of them are called "Swimming Worms."

The swimming worm is cousin to another family of creatures which look like worms, but have many feet. They have a name which means "many feet."

You know that on most of the rings, in the body of the worm, are hairs or hooks. You can see how easy it would be for these to become feet.

Each animal seems to have parts that are like some other animals, and some new forms of its own. Thus, next the worm, with his rings and hooks, comes another animal with rings and feet. Of all the ring animals, Mr. Worm is the pattern, and after him comes his cousin, Mr. Many-Feet.

While Mr. Many-Feet is like Mr. Worm, he is also like Mrs. Fly, and seems to come between the two, a little related to both.

Now let us look at the sea-side worms. Here we find some worms that have eyes. We also find some that have little hard teeth, set in a ring inside their mouths. There are some that have fine plumes, as gay as any bird. These poor worms gleam like a rainbow.


[Illustration]

Are they Cousins?

New parts can grow on these worms as well as on the earth-worm, or even better. Some say that they can even get a new head if the old one is lost.

Some of these worms can bore into very hard things, as wood or stone. Some of them shine like a fire. Ask some one to tell you of this kind of light; it is like what we call Jack o' Lantern.

Dig in the sea sand anywhere, and you will find worms, black, brown, green, red, orange. They dig through sand and mud, and move very fast.

It is not yet known how these worms bore into stone and wood. Perhaps it is by means of some acid stuff in their mouths. Perhaps it is by a file, such as Mr. Drill has.

If you look along the sea sand of some shores, you will find the tube-homes of these sea worms. In their way of making a shell-home, and making it larger as they grow, they are like the little shell-fish you have read of.

Most of these tube-homes are small, but some are very large. A gentleman told me he had one with the bore or hole as large as his arm.

These worms by the sea serve as food for many fish and other creatures. You know that nearly all fish like to eat worms, and that they are used for bait. The boy who knew nothing else about worms knew they made good bait.

He would have been full of wonder if I had told him that large worms are used for food by men in some parts of the world. In this country we do not make use of such food.

 



James Ferguson

Auld Daddy Darkness

Auld Daddy Darkness creeps frae his hole,

Black as a blackamoor, blin' as a mole:

Stir the fire till it lowes, let the bairnie sit,

Auld Daddy Darkness is no wantit yit.


See him in the corners hidin' frae the licht,

See him at the window gloomin' at the nicht;

Turn up the gas licht, close the shutters a',

An' Auld Daddy Darkness will flee far awa'.


Awa' to hide the birdie within its cosy nest,

Awa' to lap the wee flooers on their mither's breast,

Awa' to loosen Gaffer Toil frae his daily ca',

For Auld Daddy Darkness is kindly to a'.


He comes when we're weary to wean's frae oor waes,

He comes when the bairnies are gettin' aff their claes;

To cover them sae cosy, an' bring bonnie dreams,

So Auld Daddy Darkness is better than he seems.


Steek yer een, my wee tot, ye'll see Daddy then;

He's in below the bed claes, to cuddle ye he's fain;

Noo nestle in his bosie, sleep and dream yer fill,

Till Wee Davie Daylicht comes keekin' owre the hill.

 


  WEEK 42  

  Sunday  


In God's Garden  by Amy Steedman

Saint Ursula

Part 1 of 2

Once upon a time in the land of Brittany there lived a good king, whose name was Theonotus. He had married a princess who was as good as she was beautiful, and they had one little daughter, whom they called Ursula.

It was a very happy and prosperous country over which Theonotus ruled, for he was a Christian, and governed both wisely and well, and nowhere was happiness more certain to be found than in the royal palace where the king and queen and little Princess Ursula lived.

All went merrily until Ursula was fifteen years old, and then a great trouble came, for the queen, her mother, died. The poor king was heart-broken, and for a long time even Ursula could not comfort him. But with patient tenderness she tried to do for him all that her mother had done, and gradually he began to feel that he still had something to live for.

Her mother had taught Ursula with great care, and the little maid had loved her lessons, and so it came to pass that there was now no princess in all the world so learned as the Princess Ursula. It is said that she knew all that had happened since the beginning of the world, all about the stars and the winds, all the poetry that had ever been written, and every science that learned men had ever known.

But what was far better than all this learning was that the princess was humble and good. She never thought herself wiser than other people, and her chief pleasure was in doing kind things and helping others. Her father called her the light of his eyes, and his one fear was that she would some day marry and leave him alone.

And true it was that many princes wished to marry Ursula, for the fame of her beauty and of her learning had spread to far distant lands.

Now on the other side of the sea, not very far from Brittany, there was a great country called England. The people there were strong and powerful, but they had not yet learned to be Christians. The king of that land had an only son called Conon, who was as handsome as he was brave. And when his father heard of the fame of the Princess Ursula he made up his mind that she should be his son's wife. So he sent a great company of nobles and ambassadors to the court of Brittany to ask King Theonotus for the hand of the Princess Ursula.

That king received the messengers most courteously, but he was very much troubled and perplexed at the request. He did not want to part with Ursula, and he knew she did not wish to marry and leave him. And yet he scarcely dared offend the powerful King of England, who might be such a dangerous enemy.

So to gain time he told the messengers he would give them their answer next day, and then he shut himself up in his room and sorrowfully leaned his head upon his hand as he tried to think what was best to be done. But as he sat there thinking the door opened and Ursula came in.

"Why art thou so sad, my father?" she asked, "and what is it that troubleth thee so greatly?"

"I have this day received an offer for thy hand," answered her father sadly, "and the messengers are even now here, and because they come from the King of England I dare not refuse their request, and yet I know not what answer to give them when they return in the morning."

"If that is all, do not trouble thyself, dear father," answered Ursula; "I myself will answer the messengers and all will be well."

Then the princess left her father and went to her own room that she might consider what answer might be wisest to send. But the more she thought the more troubled she became, until at last she grew so weary that she took off her crown and placed it as usual at the foot of her bed and prepared to go to rest. Her little dog lay guarding her, and she slept calmly and peacefully until she dreamed a dream which seemed almost like a vision. For she thought she saw a bright light shining through the door and through the light an angel coming towards her, who spoke to her and said:—


[Illustration]

"Trouble not thyself, Ursula, for to-morrow thou shalt know what answer thou shalt give. God has need of thee to save many souls, and though this prince doth offer thee an earthly crown, God has an unfading crown of heavenly beauty laid up for thee, which thou shalt win through much suffering."

So next morning when the messengers came into the great hall to receive their answer, they saw the Princess Ursula herself sitting on the throne next to her father. She was so beautiful, and greeted them so graciously that they longed more than ever that their prince might win her for his bride.

And as they listened for the king to speak, it was Ursula's voice that fell on their ears. She began by sending her greeting to the King of England and to Prince Conon, his son, and bade the messengers say that the honour offered her was more than she deserved, but since their choice had fallen upon her, she on her side was ready to accept the prince as her promised husband, if he would agree to three conditions. "And first," went on Ursula, leaning forward and speaking very clearly and slowly, so that the foreign ambassadors might understand every word, "I would have the prince, your master, send to me ten of the noblest ladies of your land to be my companions and friends, and for each of these ladies and for myself a thousand maidens to wait upon us. Secondly, he must give me three years before the date of my marriage so that I and these noble ladies may have time to serve God by visiting the shrines of the saints in distant lands. And thirdly, I ask that the prince and all his court shall accept the true faith and be baptized Christians. For I cannot wed even so great and perfect a prince, if he be not as perfect a Christian."

Then Ursula stopped speaking, and the ambassadors bowed low before her beauty and wisdom and went to take her answer to their king.

Now Ursula did not make these conditions without a purpose, for in her heart she thought that surely the prince would not agree to such demands, and she would still be free. But even if he did all that she had asked, it would surely fulfil the purpose of her dream, and she would save these eleven thousand maidens and teach them to serve and honour God.

Ere long the ambassadors arrived safely in England, and went to report their mission to the king. They could not say enough about the perfections of this wonderful princess of Brittany. She was as fair and straight as a lily, her rippling hair was golden as the sunshine, and her eyes like shining stars. The pearls that decked her bodice were not as fair as the whiteness of her throat, and her walk and every gesture was so full of grace that it clearly showed she was born to be a queen. And if the outside was so fair, words failed them when they would describe her wisdom and learning, her good deeds and kind actions.

The king, as he listened to his nobles, felt that no conditions could be too hard that would secure such a princess for his son, and as for the prince himself his only desire was to have her wishes fulfilled as quickly as possible, so that he might set sail for Brittany and see with his own eyes this beautiful princess who had promised to be his bride.

So letters were sent north, south, east, and west, to France and Scotland and Cornwall, wherever there were vassals of England to be found, bidding all knights and nobles to send their daughters to court with their attendant maidens, the fairest and noblest of the land. All were to be arrayed in the finest and costliest raiment and most precious jewels, so that they might be deemed fit companions for the Princess Ursula, who was to wed Prince Conon, their liege lord.

Then the knights and nobles sent all their fairest maidens, and so eager were they to do as the king desired, that very soon ten of the noblest maidens, each with a thousand attendants, and another thousand for the Princess Ursula, were ready to start for the court of Brittany.

Never before was seen such a fair sight as when all these maidens went out to meet the Princess Ursula. But fairest of all was the princess herself as she stood to receive her guests. For the light of love shone in her eyes, and to each she gave a welcome as tender as if they had all been her own sisters. It seemed a glorious thing to think they were all to serve God together, and no longer to live the life of mere pleasure and vanity.

As may well be believed the fame of these fair maidens spread far and near, and all the nobles and barons crowded to the court to see the sight that all the world talked about. But Ursula and her maidens paid no heed to the gay courtiers, having other matters to think upon.

For when the soft spring weather was come, Ursula gathered all her companions together and led them to a green meadow outside the city, through which a clear stream flowed. The grass was starred with daisies and buttercups, and the sweet scent of the lime blossoms hung in the air, a fitting bower for those living flowers that gathered there that day.

In the midst of the meadow there was a throne, and there the princess sat, and with words of wonderful power she told her companions the story of God's love and of the coming of our Blessed Lord, and showed them what the beauty of a life lived for Him might be.

And the faces of the listening maidens shone with a glory that was more than earthly, as they with one accord promised to follow the Princess Ursula wherever she might lead, if only she would help them to live the blessed life so that they too might win the heavenly crown.

Then Ursula descended from her throne and talked with each of the maidens, and those who had not yet been baptized she led through the flowery meadow to the banks of the stream, and there a priest baptized them while the birds joined in the hymn of praise sung by the whole company.

 



The Wind in the Willows  by Kenneth Grahame

The Further Adventures of Toad

Part 3 of 3

Mr. Toad sang as he walked, and he walked as he sang, and got more inflated every minute. But his pride was shortly to have a severe fall.

After some miles of country lanes he reached the high road, and as he turned into it and glanced along its white length, he saw approaching him a speck that turned into a dot and then into a blob, and then into something very familiar; and a double note of warning, only too well known, fell on his delighted ear.

"This is something like!" said the excited Toad. "This is real life again, this is once more the great world from which I have been missed so long! I will hail them, my brothers of the wheel, and pitch them a yarn, of the sort that has been so successful hitherto; and they will give me a lift, of course, and then I will talk to them some more; and, perhaps, with luck, it may even end in my driving up to Toad Hall in a motor-car! That will be one in the eye for Badger!"

He stepped confidently out into the road to hail the motor-car, which came along at an easy pace, slowing down as it neared the lane; when suddenly he became very pale, his heart turned to water, his knees shook and yielded under him, and he doubled up and collapsed with a sickening pain in his interior. And well he might, the unhappy animal; for the approaching car was the very one he had stolen out of the yard of the Red Lion Hotel on that fatal day when all his troubles began! And the people in it were the very same people he had sat and watched at luncheon in the coffee-room!

He sank down in a shabby, miserable heap in the road, murmuring to himself in his despair, "It's all up! It's all over now! Chains and policemen again! Prison again! Dry bread and water again! O, what a fool I have been! What did I want to go strutting about the country for, singing conceited songs, and hailing people in broad day on the high road, instead of hiding till nightfall and slipping home quietly by back ways! O hapless Toad! O ill-fated animal!"

The terrible motor-car drew slowly nearer and nearer, till at last he heard it stop just short of him. Two gentlemen got out and walked round the trembling heap of crumpled misery lying in the road, and one of them said, "O dear! this is very sad! Here is a poor old thing—a washerwoman apparently—who has fainted in the road! Perhaps she is overcome by the heat, poor creature; or possibly she has not had any food to-day. Let us lift her into the car and take her to the nearest village, where doubtless she has friends."

They tenderly lifted Toad into the motor-car and propped him up with soft cushions, and proceeded on their way.

When Toad heard them talk in so kind and sympathetic a way, and knew that he was not recognised, his courage began to revive, and he cautiously opened first one eye and then the other.

"Look!" said one of the gentlemen, "she is better already. The fresh air is doing her good. How do you feel now, ma'am?"

"Thank you kindly, sir," said Toad in a feeble voice, "I'm feeling a great deal better!" "That's right," said the gentleman. "Now keep quite still, and, above all, don't try to talk."

"I won't," said Toad. "I was only thinking, if I might sit on the front seat there, beside the driver, where I could get the fresh air full in my face, I should soon be all right again."

"What a very sensible woman!" said the gentleman. "Of course you shall." So they carefully helped Toad into the front seat beside the driver, and on they went again.

Toad was almost himself again by now. He sat up, looked about him, and tried to beat down the tremors, the yearnings, the old cravings that rose up and beset him and took possession of him entirely.

"It is fate!" he said to himself. "Why strive? why struggle?" and he turned to the driver at his side.

"Please, Sir," he said, "I wish you would kindly let me try and drive the car for a little. I've been watching you carefully, and it looks so easy and so interesting, and I should like to be able to tell my friends that once I had driven a motor-car!"

The driver laughed at the proposal, so heartily that the gentleman inquired what the matter was. When he heard, he said, to Toad's delight, "Bravo, ma'am! I like your spirit. Let her have a try, and look after her. She won't do any harm."

Toad eagerly scrambled into the seat vacated by the driver, took the steering-wheel in his hands, listened with affected humility to the instructions given him, and set the car in motion, but very slowly and carefully at first, for he was determined to be prudent.

The gentlemen behind clapped their hands and applauded, and Toad heard them saying, "How well she does it! Fancy a washerwoman driving a car as well as that, the first time!"

Toad went a little faster; then faster still, and faster.

He heard the gentlemen call out warningly, "Be careful, washerwoman!" And this annoyed him, and he began to lose his head.

The driver tried to interfere, but he pinned him down in his seat with one elbow, and put on full speed. The rush of air in his face, the hum of the engines, and the light jump of the car beneath him intoxicated his weak brain. "Washerwoman, indeed!" he shouted recklessly. "Ho! ho! I am the Toad, the motor-car snatcher, the prison-breaker, the Toad who always escapes! Sit still, and you shall know what driving really is, for you are in the hands of the famous, the skilful, the entirely fearless Toad!"

With a cry of horror the whole party rose and flung themselves on him. "Seize him!" they cried, "seize the Toad, the wicked animal who stole our motor-car! Bind him, chain him, drag him to the nearest police-station! Down with the desperate and dangerous Toad!"

Alas! they should have thought, they ought to have been more prudent, they should have remembered to stop the motor-car somehow before playing any pranks of that sort. With a half-turn of the wheel the Toad sent the car crashing through the low hedge that ran along the roadside. One mighty bound, a violent shock, and the wheels of the car were churning up the thick mud of a horse-pond.

Toad found himself flying through the air with the strong upward rush and delicate curve of a swallow. He liked the motion, and was just beginning to wonder whether it would go on until he developed wings and turned into a Toad-bird, when he landed on his back with a thump, in the soft rich grass of a meadow. Sitting up, he could just see the motor-car in the pond, nearly submerged; the gentlemen and the driver, encumbered by their long coats, were floundering helplessly in the water.

He picked himself up rapidly, and set off running across country as hard as he could, scrambling through hedges, jumping ditches, pounding across fields, till he was breathless and weary, and had to settle down into an easy walk. When he had recovered his breath somewhat, and was able to think calmly, he began to giggle, and from giggling he took to laughing, and he laughed till he had to sit down under a hedge. "Ho, ho!" he cried, in ecstasies of self-admiration, "Toad again! Toad, as usual, comes out on the top! Who was it got them to give him a lift? Who managed to get on the front seat for the sake of fresh air? Who persuaded them into letting him see if he could drive? Who landed them all in a horse-pond? Who escaped, flying gaily and unscathed through the air, leaving the narrow-minded, grudging, timid excursionists in the mud where they should rightly be? Why, Toad, of course; clever Toad, great Toad, good  Toad!"

Then he burst into song again, and chanted with uplifted voice—

"The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop,

As it raced along the road.

Who was it steered it into a pond?

Ingenious Mr. Toad!

O, how clever I am! How clever, how clever, how very clev—"

A slight noise at a distance behind him made him turn his head and look. O horror! O misery! O despair!

About two fields off, a chauffeur in his leather gaiters and two large rural policemen were visible, running towards him as hard as they could go!

Poor Toad sprang to his feet and pelted away again, his heart in his mouth. O, my!" he gasped, as he panted along, "what an ass  I am! What a conceited  and heedless ass! Swaggering again! Shouting and singing songs again! Sitting still and gassing again! O my! O my! O my!"

He glanced back, and saw to his dismay that they were gaining on him. On he ran desperately, but kept looking back, and saw that they still gained steadily. He did his best, but he was a fat animal, and his legs were short, and still they gained. He could hear them close behind him now. Ceasing to heed where he was going, he struggled on blindly and wildly, looking back over his shoulder at the now triumphant enemy, when suddenly the earth failed under his feet, he grasped at the air, and, splash! he found himself head over ears in deep water, rapid water, water that bore him along with a force he could not contend with; and he knew that in his blind panic he had run straight into the river!

He rose to the surface and tried to grasp the reeds and the rushes that grew along the water's edge close under the bank, but the stream was so strong that it tore them out of his hands. "O my!" gasped poor Toad, "if ever I steal a motor-car again! If ever I sing another conceited song"—then down he went, and came up breathless and spluttering. Presently he saw that he was approaching a big dark hole in the bank, just above his head, and as the stream bore him past he reached up with a paw and caught hold of the edge and held on. Then slowly and with difficulty he drew himself up out of the water, till at last he was able to rest his elbows on the edge of the hole. There he remained for some minutes, puffing and panting, for he was quite exhausted.

As he sighed and blew and stared before him into the dark hole, some bright small thing shone and twinkled in its depths, moving towards him. As it approached, a face grew up gradually around it, and it was a familiar face!

Brown and small, with whiskers.

Grave and round, with neat ears and silky hair.

It was the Water Rat!

 



William Allingham

Robin Redbreast

Good-by, good-by to Summer!

For Summer's nearly done;

The garden smiling faintly,

Cool breezes in the sun:

Our Thrushes now are silent,

Our Swallows flown away,—

But Robin's here, in coat of brown,

With ruddy breast-knot gay.

Robin, Robin Redbreast,

O Robin dear!

Robin singing sweetly

In the falling of the year.


Bright yellow, red, and orange,

The leaves come down in hosts;

The trees are Indian Princes,

But soon they'll turn to Ghosts;

The scanty pears and apples

Hang russet on the bough,

It's Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late,

'Twill soon be Winter now.

Robin, Robin Redbreast,

O Robin dear!

And welaway! my Robin,

For pinching times are near.


The fireside for the Cricket,

The wheatstack for the Mouse,

When trembling night-winds whistle

And moan all round the house;

The frosty ways like iron,

The branches plumed with snow,

Alas! in Winter, dead and dark,

Where can poor Robin go?

Robin, Robin Redbreast,

O Robin dear!

And a crumb of bread for Robin,

His little heart to cheer.