Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 47  

  Monday  


Heidi  by Johanna Spyri

News from Distant Friends

I T was the month of May. From every height the full fresh streams of spring were flowing down into the valley. The clear warm sunshine lay upon the mountain, which had turned green again. The last snows had disappeared and the sun had already coaxed many of the flowers to show their bright heads above the grass. Up above the gay young wind of spring was singing through the fir trees, and shaking down the old dark needles to make room for the new bright green ones that were soon to deck out the trees in their spring finery. Higher up still the great bird went circling round in the blue ether as of old, while the golden sunshine lit up the grandfather's hut, and all the ground about it was warm and dry again so that one might sit out where one liked. Heidi was at home again on the mountain, running backwards and forwards in her accustomed way, not knowing which spot was most delightful. Now she stood still to listen to the deep, mysterious voice of the wind, as it blew down to her from the mountain summits, coming nearer and nearer and gathering strength as it came, till it broke with force against the fir trees, bending and shaking them, and seeming to shout for joy, so that she too, though blown about like a feather, felt she must join in the chorus of exulting sounds. Then she would run round again to the sunny space in front of the hut, and seating herself on the ground would peer closely into the short grass to see how many little flower cups were open or thinking of opening. She rejoiced with all the myriad little beetles and winged insects that jumped and crawled and danced in the sun, and drew in deep draughts of the spring scents that rose from the newly-awakened earth, and thought the mountain was more beautiful than ever. All the tiny living creatures must be as happy as she, for it seemed to her there were little voices all round her singing and humming in joyful tones, "On the mountain! on the mountain!"

From the shed at the back came the sound of sawing and chopping, and Heidi listened to it with pleasure, for it was the old familiar sound she had known from the beginning of her life up here. Suddenly she jumped up and ran round, for she must know what her grandfather was doing. In front of the shed door already stood a finished new chair, and a second was in course of construction under the grandfather's skilful hand.

"Oh, I know what these are for," exclaimed Heidi in great glee. "We shall want them when they all come from Frankfurt. This one is for Grandmamma, and the one you are now making is for Clara, and then—then, there will, I suppose, have to be another," continued Heidi with more hesitation in her voice, "or do you think, grandfather, that perhaps Fraülein Rottenmeier will not come with them?"

"Well, I cannot say just yet," replied her grandfather, "but it will be safer to make one so that we can offer her a seat if she does."

Heidi looked thoughtfully at the plain wooden chair without arms as if trying to imagine how Fraülein Rottenmeier and a chair of this sort would suit one another. After a few minutes' contemplation, "Grandfather," she said, shaking her head doubtfully, "I don't think she would be able to sit on that."

"Then we will invite her on the couch with the beautiful green turf feather-bed," was her grandfather's quiet rejoinder.

While Heidi was pausing to consider what this might be, there approached from above a whistling, calling, and other sounds which Heidi immediately recognized. She ran out and found herself surrounded by her four-footed friends. They were apparently as pleased as she was to be among the heights again, for they leaped about and bleated for joy, pushing Heidi this way and that, each anxious to express his delight with some sign of affection. But Peter sent them flying to right and left, for he had something to give to Heidi. When he at last got up to her he handed her a letter.

"There!" he exclaimed, leaving the further explanation of the matter to Heidi herself.

"Did some one give you this while you were out with the goats," she asked, in her surprise.

"No," was the answer.

"Where did you get it from then?

"I found it in the dinner bag."

Which was true to a certain extent. The letter to Heidi had been given him the evening before by the postman at Dörfli, and Peter had put it into his empty bag. That morning he had stuffed his bread and cheese on the top of it, and had forgotten it when he fetched Alm-Uncle's two goats; only when he had finished his bread and cheese at mid-day and was searching in the bag for any last crumbs did he remember the letter which lay at the bottom.

Heidi read the address carefully; then she ran back to the shed holding out her letter to her grandfather in high glee. "From Frankfurt! from Clara! Would you like to hear it?"

The grandfather was ready and pleased to do so, as also Peter, who had followed Heidi into the shed. He leant his back against the door post, as he felt he could follow Heidi's reading better if firmly supported from behind, and so stood prepared to listen.


"Dearest Heidi,— Everything is packed and we shall start now in two or three days, as soon as papa himself is ready to leave; he is not coming with us, as he has first to go to Paris. The doctor comes every day, and as soon as he is inside the door, he cries, 'Off now as quickly as you can, off to the mountain.' He is most impatient about our going. You cannot think how much he enjoyed himself when he was with you! He has called nearly every day this winter, and each time he has come in to my room and said he must tell me about everything again. And then he sits down and describes all he did with you and the grandfather, and talks of the mountains and the flowers and of the great silence up there far above all towns and the villages, and of the fresh delicious air, and often adds, 'No one can help getting well up there.' He himself is quite a different man since his visit, and looks quite young again and happy, which he had not been for a long time before. Oh, how I am looking forward to seeing everything and to being with you on the mountain, and to making the acquaintance of Peter and the goats.

"I shall have first to go through a six weeks' cure at Ragatz; this the doctor has ordered, and then we shall move up to Dörfli, and every fine day I shall be carried up the mountain in my chair and spend the day with you. Grandmamma is travelling with me and will remain with me; she also is delighted at the thought of paying you a visit. But just imagine, Fraülein Rottenmeier refuses to come with us. Almost every day grandmamma says to her, 'Well, how about this Swiss journey, my worthy Rottenmeier? Pray say if you really would like to come with us.' But she always thanks grandmamma very politely and says she has quite made up her mind. I think I know what has done it: Sebastian gave such a frightful description of the mountain, of how the rocks were so overhanging and dangerous that at any minute you might fall into a crevasse, and how it was such steep climbing that you feared at every step to go slipping to the bottom, and that goats alone could make their way up without fear of being killed. She shuddered when she heard him tell of all this, and since then she has not been so enthusiastic about Switzerland as she was before. Fear has also taken possession of Tinette, and she also refuses to come. So grandmamma and I will be alone; Sebastian will go with us as far as Ragatz and then return here.

"I can hardly bear waiting till I see you again. Good-bye, dearest Heidi; grandmamma sends you her best love and all good wishes.—Your affectionate friend,

Clara   


Peter, as soon as the conclusion of the letter had been reached, left his reclining position and rushed out, twirling his stick in the air in such a reckless fashion that the frightened goats fled down the mountain before him with higher and wider leaps than usual. Peter followed at full speed, his stick still raised in air in a menacing manner as if he was longing to vent his fury on some invisible foe. This foe was indeed the prospect of the arrival of the Frankfurt visitors, the thought of whom filled him with exasperation.

Heidi was so full of joyful anticipation that she determined to seize the first possible moment next day to go down and tell grandmother who was coming, and also particularly who was not coming. These details would be of great interest to her, for grandmother knew well all the persons named from Heidi's description, and had entered with deep sympathy into all that the child had told her of her life and surroundings in Frankfurt. Heidi paid her visit in the early afternoon, for she could now go alone again; the sun was bright in the heavens and the days were growing longer, and it was delightful to go racing down the mountain over the dry ground, with the brisk May wind blowing from behind, and speeding Heidi on her way a little more quickly than her legs alone would have carried her.

The grandmother was no longer confined to her bed. She was back in her corner at her spinning-wheel, but there was an expression on her face of mournful anxiety. Peter had come in the evening before brimful of anger and had told about the large party who were coming up from Frankfurt, and he did not know what other things might happen after that; and the old woman had not slept all night, pursued by the old thought of Heidi being taken from her. Heidi ran in, and taking her little stool, immediately sat down by grandmother and began eagerly pouring out all her news, growing more excited with her pleasure as she went on. But all of a sudden she stopped short and said anxiously, "What is the matter, grandmother, aren't you a bit pleased with what I am telling you?"

"Yes, yes, of course, child, since it gives you so much pleasure," she answered, trying to look more cheerful.

"But I can see all the same that something troubles you. Is it because you think after all that Fraülein Rottenmeier may come?" asked Heidi, beginning to feel anxious herself.

"No, no! it is nothing, child," said the grandmother, wishing to reassure her. "Just give me your hand that I may feel sure you are there. No doubt it would be the best thing for you, although I feel I could scarcely survive it."

"I do not want anything of the best if you could scarcely survive it," said Heidi, in such a determined tone of voice that the grandmother's fears increased as she felt sure the people from Frankfurt were coming to take Heidi back with them, since now she was well again they naturally wished to have her with them once more. But she was anxious to hide her trouble from Heidi if possible, as the latter was so sympathetic that she might refuse perhaps to go away, and that would not be right. She sought for help, but not for long, for she knew of only one.

"Heidi," she said, "there is something that would comfort me and calm my thoughts; read me the hymn beginning: 'All things will work for good.' "

Heidi found the place at once and read out in her clear young voice:—

All things will work for good

To those who trust in Me;

I come with healing on my wings,

To save and set thee free.

"Yes, yes, that is just what I wanted to hear," said the grandmother, and the deep expression of trouble passed from her face. Heidi looked at her thoughtfully for a minute or two and then said, "Healing means that which cures everything and makes everybody well, doesn't it, grandmother?"

"Yes, that is it," replied the old woman with a nod of assent, "and we may be sure everything will come to pass according to God's good purpose. Read the verse again, that we may remember it well and not forget it again."

And Heidi read the words over two or three times, for she also found pleasure in this assurance of all things being arranged for the best.

When the evening came, Heidi returned home up the mountain. The stars came out overhead one by one, so bright and sparkling that each seemed to send a fresh ray of joy into her heart; she was obliged to pause continually to look up, and as the whole sky at last grew spangled with them she spoke aloud, "Yes, I understand now why we feel so happy, and are not afraid about anything, because God knows what is good and beautiful for us." And the stars with their glistening eyes continued to nod to her till she reached home, where she found her grandfather also standing and looking up at them, for they had seldom been more glorious than they were this night.

Not only were the nights of this month of May so clear and bright, but the days as well; the sun rose every morning into the cloudless sky, as undimmed in its splendor as when it sank the evening before, and the grandfather would look out early and exclaim with astonishment, "This is indeed a wonderful year of sun; it will make all the shrubs and plants grow apace; you will have to see, general, that your army does not get out of hand from overfeeding." And Peter would swing his stick with an air of assurance and an expression on his face as much as to say, "I'll see to that."

So May passed, everything growing greener and greener, and then came the month of June, with a hotter sun and long light days, that brought the flowers out all over the mountain, so that every spot was bright with them and the air full of their sweet scents. This month too was drawing to its close when one day Heidi, having finished her domestic duties, ran out with the intention of paying first a visit to the fir trees, and then going up higher to see if the bush of rock roses was yet in bloom, for its flowers were so lovely when standing open in the sun. But just as she was turning the corner of the hut, she gave such a loud cry that her grandfather came running out of the shed to see what had happened.

"Grandfather, grandfather!" she cried, beside herself with excitement. "Come here! look! look!"

The old man was by her side by this time and looked in the direction of her outstretched hand.

A strange looking procession was making its way up the mountain; in front were two men carrying a sedan chair, in which sat a girl well wrapped up in shawls; then followed a horse, mounted by a stately looking lady, who was looking about her with great interest and talking to the guide who walked beside her; then a reclining chair, which was being pushed up by another man, it having evidently been thought safer to send the invalid to whom it belonged up the steep path in a sedan chair. The procession wound up with a porter, with such a bundle of cloaks, shawls, and furs on his back that it rose well above his head.

"Here they come! here they come!" shouted Heidi, jumping with joy. And sure enough it was the party from Frankfurt; the figures came nearer and nearer, and at last they had actually arrived. The men in front put down their burden, Heidi rushed forward and the two children embraced each other with mutual delight. Grandmamma having also reached the top, dismounted, and gave Heidi an affectionate greeting, before turning to the grandfather, who had meanwhile come up to welcome his guests. There was no constraint about the meeting, for they both knew each other perfectly well from hearsay and felt like old acquaintances.

After the first words of greeting had been exchanged grandmamma broke out into lively expressions of admiration. "What a magnificent residence you have, Uncle! I could hardly have believed it was so beautiful! A king might well envy you! And how well my little Heidi looks—like a wild rose!" she continued, drawing the child towards her and stroking her fresh pink cheeks. "I don't know which way to look first, it is all so lovely! What do you say to it, Clara, what do you say?"

Clara was gazing round entranced; she had never imagined, much less seen, anything so beautiful. She gave vent to her delight in cries of joy. "O grandmamma," she said, "I should like to remain here for ever."

The grandfather had meanwhile drawn up the invalid chair and spread some of the wraps over it; he now went up to Clara.

"Supposing we carry the little daughter now to her accustomed chair; I think she will be more comfortable—the travelling sedan is rather hard," he said, and without waiting for any one to help him he lifted the child in his strong arms and laid her gently down on her own couch. He then covered her over carefully and arranged her feet on the soft cushion, as if he had never done anything all his life but attend on cripples. The grandmamma looked on with surprise.

"My dear Uncle," she exclaimed, "if I knew where you had learned to nurse I would at once send all the nurses I know to the same place that they might handle their patients in like manner. How do you come to know so much?"

Uncle smiled. "I know more from experience than training," he answered, but as he spoke the smile died away and a look of sadness passed over his face. The vision rose before him of a face of suffering that he had known long years before, the face of a man lying crippled on his couch of pain, and unable to move a limb. The man had been his Captain during the fierce fighting in Sicily; he had found him lying wounded and had carried him away, and after that the captain would suffer no one else near him, and Uncle had stayed and nursed him till his sufferings ended in death. It all came back to Uncle now, and it seemed natural to him to attend on the sick Clara and to show her all those kindly attentions with which he had been once so familiar.

The sky spread blue and cloudless over the hut and the fir trees and far above over the high rocks, the gray summits of which glistened in the sun. Clara could not feast her eyes enough on all the beauty around her.

"O Heidi, if only I could walk about with you," she said longingly, "if I could but go and look at the fir trees and at everything I know so well from your description, although I have never been here before."

Heidi in response put out all her strength, and after a slight effort, managed to wheel Clara's chair quite easily round the hut to the fir trees. There they paused. Clara had never seen such trees before, with their tall, straight stems, and long thick branches growing thicker and thicker till they touched the ground. Even the grandmamma, who had followed the children, was astonished at the sight of them. She hardly knew what to admire most in these ancient trees: the lofty tops rising in their full green splendor towards the sky, or the pillar-like stems, with their straight and gigantic boughs, that spoke of such antiquity of age, of such long years during which they had looked down upon the valley below, where men came and went, and all things were continually changing, while they stood undisturbed and changeless.

Heidi had now wheeled Clara on to the goat shed, and had flung open the door, so that Clara might have a full view of all that was inside. There was not much to see just now as its indwellers were absent. Clara lamented to her grandmother that they would have to leave early before the goats came home. "I should so like to have seen Peter and his whole flock."

"Dear child, let us enjoy all the beautiful things that we can see, and not think about those that we cannot," grandmamma replied as she followed the chair which Heidi was pushing further on.

"Oh, the flowers!" exclaimed Clara. "Look at the bushes of red flowers, and all the nodding blue bells! Oh, if I could but get up and pick some!"

Heidi ran off at once and picked her a large nosegay of them.

"But these are nothing, Clara," she said, laying the flowers on her lap. "If you could come up higher to where the goats are feeding, then you would indeed see something! Bushes on bushes of the red centaury, and ever so many more of the blue bell-flowers; and then the bright yellow rock roses, that gleam like pure gold, and all crowding together in the one spot. And then there are others with the large leaves that grandfather calls Bright Eyes, and the brown ones with little round heads that smell so delicious. Oh, it is beautiful up there, and if you sit down among them you never want to get up again, everything looks and smells so lovely!"

Heidi's eyes sparkled with the remembrance of what she was describing; she was longing herself to see it all again, and Clara caught her enthusiasm and looked back at her with equal longing in her soft blue eyes.

"Grandmamma, do you think I could get up there? Is it possible for me to go?" she asked eagerly. "If only I could walk, climb about everywhere with you, Heidi!"

"I am sure I could push you up, the chair goes so easily," said Heidi, and in proof of her words, she sent the chair at such a pace round the corner that it nearly went flying down the mountain-side. Grandmamma being at hand, however, stopped it in time.

The grandfather, meantime, had not been idle. He had by this time put the table and extra chairs in front of the seat, so that they might all sit out here and eat the dinner that was preparing inside. The milk and the cheese were soon ready, and then the company sat down in high spirits to their mid-day meal.

Grandmamma was enchanted, as the doctor had been, with their dining-room, whence one could see far along the valley, and far over the mountains to the farthest stretch of blue sky. A light wind blew refreshingly over them as they sat at table, and the rustling of the fir trees made a festive accompaniment to the repast.

"I never enjoyed anything as much as this. It is really superb!" cried grandmamma two or three times over; and then suddenly in a tone of surprise, "Do I really see you taking a second piece of toasted cheese, Clara!"

There, sure enough, was a second golden-colored slice of cheese on Clara's plate.

"Oh, it does taste so nice, grandmamma—better than all the dishes we have at Ragatz," replied Clara, as she continued eating with appetite.

"That's right, eat what you can!" exclaimed Uncle. "It's the mountain air which makes up for the deficiencies of the kitchen."

And so the meal went on. Grandmamma and Alm-Uncle got on very well together, and their conversation became more and more lively. They were so thoroughly agreed in their opinions of men and things and the world in general that they might have been taken for old cronies. The time passed merrily, and then grandmamma looked towards the west and said,—

"We must soon get ready to go, Clara, the sun is a good way down; the men will be here directly with the horse and sedan."

Clara's face fell and she said beseechingly, "Oh, just another hour, grandmamma, or two hours. We haven't seen inside the hut yet, or Heidi's bed, or any of the other things. If only the day was ten hours long!"

"Well, that is not possible," said grandmamma, but she herself was anxious to see inside the hut, so they all rose from the table and Uncle wheeled Clara's chair to the door. But there they came to a standstill, for the chair was much too broad to pass through the door. Uncle, however, soon settled the difficulty by lifting Clara in his strong arms and carrying her inside.

Grandmamma went all round and examined the household arrangements, and was very much amused and pleased at their orderliness and the cozy appearance of everything. "And this is your bedroom up here, Heidi, is it not?" she asked, as without trepidation she mounted the ladder to the hay-loft. "Oh, it does smell sweet, what a healthy place to sleep in." She went up to the round window and looked out, and grandfather followed up with Clara in his arms, Heidi springing up after them. Then they all stood and examined Heidi's wonderful hay-bed, and grandmamma looked thoughtfully at it and drew in from time to time fragrant draughts of the hay-perfumed air, while Clara was charmed beyond words with Heidi's sleeping apartment.

"It is delightful for you up here, Heidi! You can look from your bed straight into the sky, and then such a delicious smell all round you! and outside the fir trees waving and rustling! I have never seen such a pleasant, cheerful bedroom before."

Uncle looked across at the grandmamma. "I have been thinking," he said to her, "that if you were willing to agree to it, your little granddaughter might remain up here, and I am sure she would grow stronger. You have brought up all kinds of shawls and covers with you, and we could make up a soft bed out of them, and as to the general looking after the child, you need have no fear, for I will see to that."

Clara and Heidi were as overjoyed at these words as if they were two birds let out of their cages, and grandmamma's face beamed with satisfaction.

"You are indeed kind, my dear Uncle," she exclaimed; "you give words to the thought that was in my own mind. I was only asking myself whether a stay up here might not be the very thing she wanted. But then the trouble, the inconvenience to yourself! And you speak of nursing and looking after her as if it was a mere nothing! I thank you sincerely, I thank you from my whole heart, Uncle." And she took his hand and gave it a long and grateful shake, which he returned with a pleased expression of countenance.

Uncle immediately set to work to get things ready. He carried Clara back to her chair outside, Heidi following, not knowing how to jump high enough into the air to express her contentment. Then he gathered up a whole pile of shawls and furs and said, smiling, "It is a good thing that grandmamma came up well provided for a winter's campaign; we shall be able to make good use of these."

"Foresight is a virtue," responded the lady, amused, "and prevents many misfortunes. If we have made the journey over your mountains without meeting with storms, winds and cloud-bursts, we can only be thankful, which we are, and my provision against these disasters now comes in usefully, as you say."

The two had meanwhile ascended to the hay-loft and begun to prepare a bed; there were so many articles piled one over the other that when finished it looked like a regular little fortress. Grandmamma passed her hand carefully over it to make sure there were no bits of hay sticking out. "If there's a bit that can come through it will," she said. The soft mattress, however, was so smooth and thick that nothing could penetrate it. Then they went down again, well satisfied, and found the children laughing and talking together and arranging all they were going to do from morning till evening as long as Clara stayed. The next question was how long she was to remain, and first grandmamma was asked, but she referred them to the grandfather, who gave it as his opinion that she ought to make the trial of the mountain air for at least a month. The children clapped their hands for joy, for they had not expected to be together for so long a time.

The bearers and the horse and guide were now seen approaching; the former were sent back at once, and grandmamma prepared to mount for her return journey.

"It's not saying good-bye, grandmamma," Clara called out, "for you will come up now and then and see how we are getting on, and we shall so look forward to your visits, shan't we, Heidi?"

Heidi, who felt that life this day had been crowded with pleasures, could only respond to Clara with another jump of joy.

Grandmamma being now seated on her sturdy animal, Uncle took the bridle to lead her down the steep mountain path; she begged him not to come far with her, but he insisted on seeing her safely as far as Dörfli, for the way was precipitous and not without danger for the rider, he said.

Grandmamma did not care to stay alone in Dörfli, and therefore decided to return to Ragatz, and thence to make excursions up the mountain from time to time.

Peter came down with his goats before Uncle had returned. As soon as the animals caught sight of Heidi they all came flocking towards her, and she, as well as Clara on her couch, were soon surrounded by the goats, pushing and poking their heads one over the other, while Heidi introduced each in turn by its name to her friend Clara.


[Illustration]

Heidi introduced each in turn by its name to her friend Clara.

It was not long before the latter had made the long-wished-for acquaintance of little Snowflake, the lively Greenfinch, and the well-behaved goats belonging to grandfather, as well as of the many others, including the Grand Turk. Peter meanwhile stood apart looking on, and casting somewhat unfriendly glances towards Clara.

When the two children called out, "Good-evening, Peter," he made no answer, but swung up his stick angrily, as if wanting to cut the air in two, and then ran off with his goats after him.

The climax to all the beautiful things that Clara had already seen upon the mountain came at the close of the day.

As she lay on the large soft bed in the hay loft, with Heidi near her, she looked out through the round open window right into the middle of the shining clusters of stars, and she exclaimed in delight,

"Heidi, it's just as if we were in a high carriage and were going to drive straight into heaven."

"Yes, and do you know why the stars are so happy and look down and nod to us like that?" asked Heidi.

"No, why is it?" Clara asked in return.

"Because they live up in heaven, and know how well God arranges everything for us, so that we need have no more fear or trouble and may be quite sure that all things will come right in the end. That's why they are so happy, and they nod to us because they want us to be happy too. But then we must never forget to pray, and to ask God to remember us when He is arranging things, so that we too may feel safe and have no anxiety about what is going to happen."

The two children now sat up and said their prayers, and then Heidi put her head down on her little round arm and fell off to sleep at once, but Clara lay awake some time, for she could not get over the wonder of this new experience of being in bed up here among the stars. She had indeed seldom seen a star, for she never went outside the house at night, and the curtains at home were always drawn before the stars came out. Each time she closed her eyes she felt she must open them again to see if the two very large stars were still looking in, and nodding to her as Heidi said they did. There they were, always in the same place, and Clara felt she could not look long enough into their bright sparkling faces, until at last her eyes closed of their own accord, and it was only in her dreams that she still saw the two large friendly stars shining down upon her.


[Illustration]

 



Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

The Charcoal Man and the King

T HERE once lived in Paris a poor charcoal man whose name was Jacquot. His house was small, with only one room in it; but it was large enough for Jacquot and his wife and their two little boys.

At one end of the room there was a big fireplace, where the mother did the cooking. At the other end were the beds. And in the middle was a rough table with benches around it instead of chairs.

Jacquot's business was to sell charcoal to the rich people in the city. He might be seen every day with a bag of charcoal on his back, carrying it to some of his customers. Sometimes he carried three or four bags to the palace where the little king of France lived with his mother.

One evening he was very late coming home. The table was spread and supper was ready. The children were hungry and could hardly wait for their father to come.

"The supper will get cold," said Charlot, the eldest.

"I wonder why he is so late," said his little brother, Blondel.

"There is to be a great feast at the queen's palace to-night," said the mother. "There will be music and dancing, and many fine people will be there. Perhaps your father is waiting to help in the kitchen."

The next minute they heard his voice at the door: "Be quick, boys, and stir the fire. Throw on some chips and make a blaze."

They did so, and as the flames lighted up the room, they saw their father enter with a child in his arms.

"What's the matter?" cried the mother. "Who is that child?"

Then she saw that the child's face was very pale and that he neither opened his eyes nor moved.

"Oh, what has happened? Where did you find him?"

"I'll tell you all about it," answered Jacquot. "But first get a blanket and warm it, quick. That on the children's bed is best."

"What a beautiful child!" said the mother, as she hurried to do his bidding. The two boys, Charlot and Blondel, with wondering eyes watched their father and mother undress the little stranger. His beautiful clothes were soaked with water, and his fine white collar and ruffles were soiled and dripping.

"He must have some dry clothes. Bring me your Sunday suit, Charlot."

"Here it is, mother." said Charlot.

Soon the little stranger was clad in the warm clothes; the dry soft blanket was wrapped around him; and he was laid on the children's bed.

Then, being very comfortable, he began to grow stronger. The color came back to his cheeks. He opened his eyes and looked around at the small, plain room and at the poor people standing near him.

"Where am I? Where am I?" he asked.

"In my house, my little friend," answered Jacquot.

"My little friend!"  said the child with a sneer.

He looked at the fire on the hearth, and at the rough table and benches. Then he said, "Your house is a very poor place, I think."

"I am sorry if you do not like it," said Jacquot. "But if I had not helped you, you would have been in a worse place."

"How did these clothes come on me?" cried the child. "They are not mine. You have stolen my clothes and have given me these ugly things."

"Stolen!" said the charcoal man, angrily. "What do you mean, you ungrateful little rascal?"

"Hush, Jacquot," said his wife, kindly. "He doesn't know what he says. Wait till he rests a while, and then he'll be in a better humor."

The child was indeed very tired. His eyes closed and he was soon fast asleep.

"Now tell us, father," whispered Charlot, "where did you find him?"

The charcoal man sat down by the fire. The two boys stood at his knees, and his wife sat at his side.

"I will tell you," he said. "I had carried some charcoal to the queen's kitchen and was just starting home. I took the shortest way through the little park behind the palace. You know where the fountain is?"

"Yes, yes!" said Blondel. "It is quite near the park gate."

"Well, as I was hurrying along, I heard a great splash, as though something had fallen into the pool by the fountain. I looked and saw this little fellow struggling in the water. I ran and pulled him out. He was almost drowned."

"Did he say anything, father?" asked Charlot.

"Oh, no! He was senseless; but I knew he wasn't drowned. I thought of the big fire in the queen's kitchen, and knew that the cook would never allow a half-drowned child to be carried into that fine place. Then I thought of our own warm little house, and how snug we could make him until he came to his senses again. So I took him in my arms and ran home as fast as I could."

"The poor, dear child!" said Mrs. Jacquot. "I wonder who he is."

"He shall be our little brother," said Blondel; and both the boys clapped their hands very softly.

In a little while the child awoke. He seemed to feel quite well and strong. He sat up in the bed and looked around.

"You want your mother, don't you?" said Mrs. Jacquot. "She must be very uneasy about you. Tell us who she is, and we will carry you to her."

"There is no hurry about that," said the child.

"But they will be looking for you."

"So much the better, let them look. My mother will not be worried. She has other things to do, and no time to attend to me."

"What! Your own mother, and no time to attend to her child?"

"Yes, madam. But she has servants to attend to me."

"Servants! Yes, I think so," said Jacquot. "They let you fall into the water, and you would have been drowned, if it hadn't been for me. But come, children, let us have our supper."

They sat down at the table. The mother gave each a tin plate and a wooden spoon, and then helped them all to boiled beans. The father cut slices from a loaf of brown bread.

The little stranger came and sat with them. But he would not eat anything.

"You must tell us who your mother is," said Mrs. Jacquot. "We must let her know that you are safe."

"Of course she will be glad to know that," said the boy; "but she has no time to bother about me to-night."

"Is she like our mother?" asked Charlot.

"She is handsomer."

"But ours is better. She is always doing something for us," said Blondel.

"Mine gives me fine clothes and plenty of money to spend," said the stranger.

"Ours gives us kisses," said Charlot.

"Ha! that's nothing. Mine makes the servants wait on me and do as I tell them."

"But our dear mother waits on us herself."

The charcoal man and his wife listened to this little dispute, and said nothing. They were just rising from the table when they heard a great noise in the street. Then there was a knock at the door.

Before Mrs. Jacquot could open it, some one called out, "Is this the house of Jacquot, the charcoal man?"

"That is my tutor," whispered the little stranger. "He has come after me."

Then he slipped quickly under the table and hid himself. "Don't tell him I am here," he said softly.

In a few minutes the room was filled with gentlemen. They were all dressed very finely, and some of them carried swords.

A tall man who wore a long red cloak seemed to be the leader of the company. He said to a soldier who stood at the door, "Tell your story again."

"Well," said the soldier, "about two hours ago I was on guard at the gate of the queen's park. This charcoal man, whom I know very well, ran past me with a child in his arms. I did not—"

"That will do, sir," said the man in red. "Now, you charcoal man, where is that child?"

"Here!" cried the child himself, darting out from his hiding place.


[Illustration]

"O your Majesty!" said the man in red. "All your court has been looking for you for the past two hours."

"I am glad to hear it, Cardinal Mazarin," said the boy.

"Your mother is very anxious."

"I am sorry if I have given her trouble. But really, I fell into the pool at the fountain, and this kind man brought me here to get me dry."

"Indeed!" said the cardinal. "But I hope you are now ready to come home with us."

"I shall go when I please."

"Your mother—"

"Oh, yes, I know she is anxious, and I will go. But first I must thank these poor people."

"Please do so, your Majesty."

The boy turned toward the charcoal man and said:—

"My friend, I am the king of France. My name is Louis the Fourteenth. I thank you for what you have done for me. You shall have money to buy a larger house and to send your boys to school. Here is my hand to kiss."

Then he turned to the cardinal and said, "Now, I am ready. Let us go."

"Not dressed in that way?" said the cardinal. He had just noticed that the king was wearing poor Charlot's Sunday suit instead of his own.

"Why not?" answered the little king.

"Think what your mother would say if she saw you in the clothes of a poor man's son." said the cardinal. "Think of what all the fine ladies would say."

"Let them say what they please, I am not going to change my clothes."

As the little king went out, he turned at the door and called to Charlot. "Come to the palace to-morrow," he said, "and you shall have your clothes. You may bring mine with you."


Louis the Fourteenth became king of France when he was only five years old. He was called "the Fourteenth" because there had been thirteen other kings before him who bore the name of Louis. In history he is often called the Grand Monarch.

 



Frank Dempster Sherman

Ghost Fairies

When the open fire is lit,

In the evening after tea,

Then I like to come and sit

Where the fire can talk to me.


Fairy stories it can tell,

Tales of a forgotten race,—

Of the fairy ghosts that dwell

In the ancient chimney place.


They are quite the strangest folk

Anybody ever knew,

Shapes of shadow and of smoke

Living in the chimney flue.


"Once," the fire said, "long ago,

With the wind they used to rove,

Gypsy fairies, to and fro,

Camping in the field and grove.


"Hither with the trees they came

Hidden in the logs; and here,

Hovering above the flame,

Often some of them appear."


So I watch, and, sure enough,

I can see the fairies! Then,

Suddenly there comes a puff—

Whish!—and they are gone again!

 


  WEEK 47  

  Tuesday  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Edward III of Windsor—The Siege of Calais

F IVE days after the battle of Crecy, Edward began to besiege the town of Calais. He did not fight, for the fortifications were so strong that he knew it would be useless. He made his men build a ring of wooden houses round Calais, in which they could live until the people of the town were starved into giving in.

When the Governor of Calais saw what Edward was doing, he gathered all the weak, poor, and old people, who were not able to fight, and sent them out of the town. He did this so that there would be fewer people to feed, and therefore the food they had in the town would last longer.

King Edward was surprised to see all these people leave the town, and he asked them what it meant. "We have no food nor money, and cannot fight," they replied, "so the Governor has sent us away."

Then Edward, instead of making them return into the town, gave them a good dinner and some money, and allowed them to go safely through his camp, to the country beyond.

For nearly a year Calais held out bravely. Day after day the people hoped that the King of France would come with his army to help them. But day after day passed and no one came. "We have eaten everything," wrote the Governor to Philip, "even the cats, and dogs, and horses, and there is nothing left for us but to die of hunger unless you come soon. You will get no more letters from me, but if you do not come, you will hear that the town is lost and all we who are in it also."

At last one morning, the watchman on the walls saw the gleam of spears, and heard the drums and trumpet-call of the French army.

When the good news was told, the joy in Calais was great. Pale and thin from want of food, hardly able to walk or stand, the people yet crowded to the walls. Oh, what joy! At last they would be free! The king had not forgotten them.

But the day passed. There was no movement in the French camp. No battle-cry was heard, no sounds of war. "To-morrow," said the men of Calais sadly, "to-morrow the king will fight. To-morrow we will open our gates to our victorious army."

But the next day and the next passed by, while the King of England strengthened his camp, and the King of France talked of peace.

Then one morning the sun shone upon the army of Philip of France, with its gay banners and glittering spears, as it turned and marched away, without having struck one blow for the town and its brave defenders.

Calais was left to misery and tears. All hope was lost. "Our king has forsaken us," said the people sadly.

When the Governor saw that there was indeed no hope, he mounted upon the walls, waving a white flag. King Edward saw the signal and sent two of his knights to talk with the Governor.

"Are you willing to give up the town?" they asked.

"Yes," replied the Governor, "we have kept the town well and truly for our king, but now we can hold out no longer. We have nothing more to eat, and we are all perishing of hunger. I will yield the town and castle, with all its riches and treasures, if King Edward will grant us our lives."

"Nay," replied the knights, "our noble King will not accept these terms. You and your people have been too stubborn in resisting him, and have cost him too much. You must give yourselves up, freely and entirely. Whom he pleases he will set free, whom he pleases he will put to death."

"These terms are too hard," replied the Governor, "we have only done our duty, we have fought for our King and master, as you have for yours. We know the King of England is noble and generous. It cannot be that he will deal so hardly with us. Go back, I entreat you, and beg him to have pity."

So the two knights rode back and told King Edward what the Governor had said.

But Edward was stern. "I will listen to no conditions," he said. "What! am I to wait twelve months, and then have the saucy rascals make conditions? No, let them yield themselves entirely into my hands."

But Edward's knights were so full of admiration for the noble men of Calais, and they begged their King so earnestly to be merciful, that at last he gave way.

"My lords," he said, "I cannot hold out against you all. Go back to the Governor; tell him to send to me six of the chief men of Calais. They must come dressed in their shirts, with bare heads and feet, with ropes round their necks, and with the keys of the castle and town in their hands. These six shall be mine to do with what I will. The rest shall go free."

One of the knights who had before spoken to the Governor, now returned and told him what the King had said.

"I beg of you," said the Governor, "to wait until I have spoken to the townspeople. It is they who must give the answer."

"I will wait," said the knight.

The Governor left the walls, and going to the market-place told the bellman to ring the great bell. At the sound of it all the people of Calais, both men and women, hurried to the town hall. They were full of wonder and hope. They knew something great must have happened. "What is it?" they asked, "what is it?"

When the people were all gathered together the Governor stood up among them and spoke. He told them of all that he had said and done, and what a hard answer the King of England had returned.

When he had finished speaking, the men groaned and the women wept. They were all worn with suffering and hunger. For weeks and weeks they had not had enough to eat, and they could no longer bear the pain of it. But, where would six men be found brave enough to give their lives for the others? Even the Governor who, all through the terrible year, had encouraged and cheered the people, now lost heart. Hiding his face in his hands he, too, burst into tears.

For a few minutes there was dreadful silence, broken only by low sobs. Then a brave man called Eustace de St. Pierre stood up. He was one of the richest and most important men of the town.

"Friends," he said, "it would be a great wrong to allow so many people to die if in any way it could be prevented. I have such faith and trust in God that I pray He will not forget me if I die to save my fellow townsmen. I offer myself as the first of the six."

When Eustace had finished speaking, the people crowded round him. They fell at his feet, they kissed his hands, they thanked and blessed him. Then, amidst the sobs and cries of the people, another and another man rose, till six of the richest merchants of Calais stood together, ready to die for their friends.

With ropes round their necks, with bare feet and heads, and carrying the keys of the town in their hands, these six brave men walked through the streets, followed by the townspeople, who wept and sobbed and blessed them as they went.

The Governor, who was hardly able to walk, rode before them, mounted upon a poor, little thin pony. When they came to the gates of the town, he commanded them to be opened, and the gates, which for a whole year had opened neither to friend nor foe, now swung wide. The Governor passed out and, with bent heads, the six men followed, feeling that they were saying farewell for ever to their beloved town. Then the heavy gates were closed again behind them.

The Governor led the way to the outer wall where the English knight still waited. There he stopped.

"As Governor of Calais," he said, "I deliver up to you these six citizens. I swear to you that they are no mean men, but the richest and greatest of our town. I beg of you, gentle sir, out of the goodness of your heart, to pray the King that he will not put them to death."

"I cannot answer for what the King will do," replied the knight, "but this I swear to you, I will do all that is in my power to save them."

Then the barriers were opened, the six brave men passed out, and the Governor slowly and sadly returned to the town.

The knight at once brought the six men of Calais to the King's tent. There they fell upon their knees, presenting the keys of the city to him. "We are yours to do with what you will," they said, "but, noble King, pity our misery and spare us."

The King looked at them darkly. He hated the people of Calais, not only because they had held out against him for so long, but because they often fought with his ships at sea and did them much damage. So, instead of listening to the prayers of the brave men, he ordered their heads to be cut off.

All the lords and knights round him begged him to have mercy, but he would not hear. The knight who had brought the men from Calais, begged hardest. "All the world will say that you have acted cruelly, if you put these men to death," he said. "They come of their own free will, and give themselves into your hands in order to save their fellows. Such a noble deed should be rewarded, not punished."

But the King only waved his hand, as if to say that he did not care what all the world said, and ordered the headsman to be sent for.

Then Queen Philippa fell upon her knees beside him, weeping. "Ah, my dear lord," she said, "I have never before asked a favour from you, but now I beg you, by the love you have to me, let these men go."

The King looked at her in silence, and tried to raise her from her knees, but still she knelt, and still she begged for the lives of these brave men.

"Ah, lady," said Edward at last, "I would you were anywhere but here, for I can refuse you nothing. Take the men. They are yours. Do with them as you please."

Then there was rejoicing indeed. The Queen led the men away to her own rooms. She ordered clothes to be given to them, and made a great feast for them. They had not had such a dinner for many months. When they were clothed and fed Queen Philippa sent them away, each with a large sum of money.

So ended the siege of Calais.

 



Holiday Hill  by Edith M. Patch

Junco

J UNCO'S feather coat and hood were the color of slate, and his feather vest was white. There was nothing really showy about this neat dark gray and white bird unless it was his tail. His central tail-feathers were dark slate or sooty-colored, nearly black, and his outer tail-feathers were white. When he flew, he showed the white margins of his tail in rather a flashy way.

Junco spent most of the year on Holiday Hill near a clump of evergreen trees. These stood on a part of the hill where no fires had burned for many years and they had had a good chance to grow tall and spread their broad branches.

Not far from these trees was a bubbling spring. The water that flowed from it was so cold that the ground near it was cool even on the hottest summer days.


[Illustration]

Junco

It was, perhaps, because of the trees and the spring that Junco stayed on Holiday Hill, for he liked cool places. If he had not found a comfortable spot on that hill he probably would have gone elsewhere. He might have traveled to the edge of some forest far to the north. Or, after he had flown about a hundred miles away, he might have found a hill high enough to be called a mountain. And there, near the snow that capped the mountain even in summer, he might have chosen to stay.

However, as it was, Junco was quite happy on Holiday Hill. It was easy for him to find plenty of food there, and good things to eat helped to keep him contented. He liked blueberries; and for about eight weeks, he could pick all he wished of these round juicy fruits.

Junco needed meat, too, and he hunted for it himself. He went here and there on his hunting trips so that he led rather an active life.

There were some little queer-shaped, long-snouted beetles, called weevils, that had a very good flavor; and Junco flew to the tops of some pine trees when he was hungry for them.

These weevils laid their eggs in the growing tips of pine trees. The young that hatched from their eggs were small grubs that ate the inside parts of the top, or leading, pine shoots. Of course such grubs were not good for the pines. So the more of the beetles Junco could catch before they laid their eggs, the better for these lovely trees.

It was Junco who helped take care of the pine that grew in a crack in the top of a great boulder. On many a morning, while the day was still cool, he hunted among the branches at the top of that tree and often found a weevil there for a part of his breakfast.

Junco did a great deal for the blueberries, too. There were several sorts of beetles and many kinds of caterpillars and various other insects that fed on the leaves or the fruit of these bushes. Junco captured hundreds of these and so earned his fruit while he hunted for his meat.

Of course the little gray and white bird did not reason about his food. He simply swallowed whatever tasted good to him. He did not know that there would be more berries if he ate the insects he found on the bushes. But Uncle David understood what Junco and the other birds were doing, and welcomed them in his fields.

He often said to whichever niece or nephew happened to be visiting Holiday Farm: "The birds help take care of the berry crop. So it is only fair that they should have part of the berries to eat. They are working for their board."

Plenty of food and a comfortable climate were good for Junco's health. But they would not have been enough, just in themselves, to keep him as happy as he was. He needed companionship, too, for he was a sociable, affectionate little chap; and it really would have been a pity if he had had a lonely life.

So you will be glad to learn that another bird was often with Junco on his hillside picnics and hunting trips. She wore a feather suit very much like his, though the gray parts were not so dark. Since she was his mate, we may call her Mrs. Junco.


[Illustration]

Mrs. Junco

Just what Junco called her, I cannot tell you, for he did not use words when he spoke to her. At least he did not use any words that human beings can understand. But each bird made queer little chirps and clinking sounds which must have meant something to the other.

Perhaps, when he chirped one way, he was asking, "Where are you?" It may be that her answering notes were to say, "I'm over here, now."

It seems likely enough that another sort of chatter may have been Junco's manner of calling: "Oh, I'm having the most delightful luck with my hunting! Come and see what I'm finding and catch some, too."

And I think her cheerful reply may have meant something like "I'm on my way," because she flew over to join Junco at once, displaying her white tail-feathers as she went.

Then there were Junco's warbles which were so soft and gentle that they seemed like sweet whispered bits of songs. What did they mean? Perhaps, nothing at all; except that he was so very happy that he simply could not keep still!

In May, the two Juncos hunted for something besides food. They looked for the best place on the hill for a nest. The spot they chose was a bit of ground not far from the cold spring and the clump of evergreens.

The birds were quite busy for several mornings building the nest. They made the outer frame of shreds of bark and little roots and old grass. For a lining they gathered softer pieces of the same sort which they used with some hair they were fortunate enough to find.

The slanting side of a rock leaned over their little house lot and sheltered the nest. In this pleasant nook Mrs. Junco spent most of her time for a while.

Soon after the nest was finished she laid an egg in it. The eggshell was bluish white, prettily marked with different shades of purple and brown. Some of the dark blotches formed a little wreath about the larger end of the egg.

Mrs. Junco laid one egg each day until there were five of the dainty things in the nest. Then she began keeping them warm by sitting on them so that they were covered by her soft under feathers. She stayed there most of the time, herself, though now and then Mr. Junco guarded the nest while she went away for a little change. At such times she took a drink at the spring and found some food; but she did not leave her eggs very long.

After nearly twelve days the baby birds that had been growing all the time inside of the lovely shells were large and strong enough to hatch. They were queer-looking little things until their feathers grew.

These five young Juncos were so hungry that their father and mother did not have much time for rest, except at night, until the babies were old enough to leave the nest and hunt for themselves. A diet of insects was better than any other food for the growing youngsters; and you may be sure that Mr. and Mrs. Junco had many lively hours finding enough to put into those gaping mouths.

Of course the Juncos were as quiet and careful as possible when they were flying to and from their nest. But one day two girls happened to find the secret place. These cousins came to the spring for a drink—and there on a near‑by branch was Mrs. Junco with her bill full of insects.

However, these children knew what to do. They slipped out of sight among some bushes to hide. They were so still that after a few minutes Mrs. Junco felt that it was safe to visit her nest and feed her young.

It was a bit surprising to see how the young birds differed from the old Juncos. Even after their feathers were grown and they were leaving their nest, they did not look the same. For where the old birds were slate-colored, the youngsters were grayish brown and pale buff. And they were spotted and streaked with dark or blackish marks above and below.

However, before winter the young birds shed their baby feathers. In their second suits they looked much like their father and mother. They had lost their dark spots and streaks, though they were still rather brown.

During the fall days when bright leaves were dropping from the trees, juncos that had nested in far northern places traveled southward. Some stopped in southern New England and some went much farther.

The Juncos of Holiday Hill, however, did not spend their winter in the South. They did not, indeed, go more than a short flight from their summer home.

In the hedge that bordered the meadow, at the foot of the hill, were some evergreen trees in a more sheltered place than those on the slope. Here the Junco family often spent the night. They found seeds for breakfast and some for other meals on the plants near the meadow.

One morning when they woke they looked upon a strange world. The hill was a great white mound. The field, too, had become white in the night. Piles of fluffy white stuff lay on the pine boughs about them.

The young birds had never seen snow before. They did not seem to mind the cold weather; but it was hard for them to find seeds when there was so much snow in the way.

But Mr. and Mrs. Junco had both seen the snows of more than one winter. They flew here and there and called cheerfully when they came to some weedy tips which held their seeds above the snow. Then, suddenly, they seemed to remember something pleasant. Perhaps the snow reminded them. For on many a snowy morning, the winter before, they had found plenty of seeds quite easily.

They flew to the barns of Holiday Farm, and the young birds went with them. There on the floor of an open shed they found a lot of soft bits that had been swept from the hayloft and scattered in the shed. In the midst of this dry stuff was a handful of clover seeds. A little to one side lay a heap of sand and fine gravel.

Junco and his family did not know how their winter breakfast happened to be spread in this convenient place. They ate what they needed and flew away. Then they came again when they wished another meal, just as they had been going to the seedy outdoor places before the snow fell. They were very cheerful when they visited the shed and chattered cozily over their food.

No, the hungry birds did not know who swept the broken bits from the hayloft and brought fresh seeds and fine gravel so that there was always enough each day. But four young people who were spending the winter with Uncle David knew all about it.

And, perhaps, it would be hard to tell whether the birds had a happier time eating their treats than the children of Holiday Farm had while they scattered the seeds or watched their cheery feathered guests.

 



Sara Teasdale

Stars

Alone in the night

On a dark hill

With pines around me

Spicy and still,


And a heaven full of stars

Over my head,

White and topaz

And a misty red;


Myriads with beating

Hearts of fire

That aeons

Cannot vex or tire;


Up the dome of heaven

Like a great hill,

I watch them marching

Stately and still,


And I know that I

Am honored to be

Witness

Of so much majesty.

 


  WEEK 47  

  Wednesday  


Secrets of the Woods  by William J. Long

Following the Deer

Part 5 of 6


[Illustration]

The snow had come, and with it a Christmas holiday. For weeks I had looked longingly out of college windows as the first tracking-snows came sifting down, my thoughts turning from books and the problems of human wisdom to the winter woods, with their wide white pages written all over by the feet of wild things. Then the sun would shine again, and I knew that the records were washed clean, and the hard-packed leaves as innocent of footmarks as the beach where plover feed when a great wave has chased them away. On the twentieth a change came. Outside the snow fell heavily, two days and a night; inside, books were packed away, professors said Merry Christmas, and students were scattering, like a bevy of flushed quail, to all points of the compass for the holidays. The afternoon of the twenty-first found me again in my room under the eaves of the old farmhouse.

Before dark I had taken a wide run over the hills and through the woods to the place of my summer camp. How wonderful it all was! The great woods were covered deep with their pure white mantle; not a fleck, not a track soiled its even whiteness; for the last soft flakes were lingering in the air, and fox and grouse and hare and lucivee were still keeping the storm truce, hidden deep in their coverts. Every fir and spruce and hemlock had gone to building fairy grottoes as the snow packed their lower branches, under which all sorts of wonders and beauties might be hidden, to say nothing of the wild things for whom Nature had been building innumerable tents of white and green as they slept. The silence was absolute, the forest's unconscious tribute to the Wonder Worker. Even the trout brook, running black as night among its white-capped boulders and delicate arches of frost and fern work, between massive banks of feathery white and green, had stopped its idle chatter and tinkled a low bell under the ice, as if only the Angelus could express the wonder of the world.

As I came back softly in the twilight a movement in an evergreen ahead caught my eye, and I stopped for one of the rare sights of the woods,—a partridge going to sleep in a warm room of his own making. He looked all about among the trees most carefully, listened, kwit-kwitted  in a low voice to himself, then, with a sudden plunge, swooped downward head-first into the snow. I stole to the spot where he had disappeared, noted the direction of his tunnel, and fell forward with arms outstretched, thinking perhaps to catch him under me and examine his feet to see how his natural snowshoes (Nature's winter gift to every grouse) were developing, before letting him go again. But the grouse was an old bird, not to be caught napping, who had thought on the possibilities of being followed ere he made his plunge. He had ploughed under the snow for a couple of feet, then swerved sharply to the left and made a little chamber for himself just under some snow-packed spruce tips, with a foot of snow for a blanket over him. When I fell forward, disturbing his rest most rudely ere he had time to wink the snow out of his eyes, he burst out with a great whirr and sputter between my left hand and my head, scattering snow all over me, and thundered off through the startled woods, flicking a branch here and there with his wings, and shaking down a great white shower as he rushed away for deeper solitudes. There, no doubt, he went to sleep in the evergreens, congratulating himself on his escape and preferring to take his chances with the owl, rather than with some other ground-prowler that might come nosing into his hole before the light snow had time to fill it up effectually behind him.

Next morning I was early afield, heading for a ridge where I thought the deer of the neighborhood might congregate with the intention of yarding for the winter. At the foot of a wild little natural meadow, made centuries ago by the beavers, I found the trail of two deer which had been helping themselves to some hay that had been cut and stacked there the previous summer. My big buck was not with them; so I left the trail in peace to push through a belt of woods and across a pond to an old road that led for a mile or two towards the ridge I was seeking.

Early as I was, the wood folk were ahead of me. Their tracks were everywhere, eager, hungry tracks, that poked their noses into every possible hiding place of food or game, showing how the two-days' fast had whetted their appetites and set them to running keenly the moment the last flakes were down and the storm truce ended.

A suspicious-looking clump of evergreens, where something had brushed the snow rudely from the feathery tips, stopped me as I hurried down the old road. Under the evergreens was a hole in the snow, and at the bottom of the hole hard inverted cups made by deer's feet. I followed on to another hole in the snow (it could scarcely be called a trail) and then to another, and another, some twelve or fifteen feet apart, leading in swift bounds to some big timber. There the curious track separated into three deer trails, one of which might well be that of a ten-point buck. Here was luck,—luck to find my quarry so early on the first day out, and better luck that, during my long absence, the cunning animal had kept himself and his consort clear of Old Wally and his devices.

When I ran to examine the back trail more carefully, I found that the deer had passed the night in a dense thicket of evergreen, on a hilltop overlooking the road. They had come down the hill, picking their way among the stumps of a burned clearing, stepping carefully in each other's tracks so as to make but a single trail. At the road they had leaped clear across from one thicket to another, leaving never a trace on the bare even whiteness. One might have passed along the road a score of times without noticing that game had crossed. There was no doubt now that these were deer that had been often hunted, and that had learned their cunning from long experience.

I followed them rapidly till they began feeding in a little valley, then with much caution, stealing from tree to thicket, giving scant attention to the trail, but searching the woods ahead; for the last "sign" showed that I was now but a few minutes behind the deer. There they were at last, two graceful forms gliding like gray shadows among the snow-laden branches. But in vain I searched for a lordly head with wide rough antlers sweeping proudly over the brow; my buck was not there. Scarcely had I made the discovery when there was a whistle and a plunge up on the hill on my left, and I had one swift glimpse of him, a splendid creature, as he bounded away.

By way of general precaution, or else led by some strange sixth sense of danger, he had left his companions feeding and mounted the hill, where he could look back on his own track. There he had been watching me for half an hour, till I approached too near, when he sounded the alarm and was off. I read it all from the trail a few moments later.

It was of no use to follow him, for he ran straight down wind. The two others had gone quartering off at right angles to his course, obeying his signal promptly, but having as yet no idea of what danger followed them. When alarmed in this way, deer never run far before halting to sniff and listen. Then, if not disturbed, they run off again, circling back and down wind so as to catch from a distance the scent of anything that follows on their trail.

I sat still where I was for a good hour, watching the chickadees and red squirrels that found me speedily, and refusing to move for all the peekings and whistlings of a jay that would fain satisfy his curiosity as to whether I meant harm to the deer, or were just benumbed by the cold and incapable of further mischief. When I went on I left some scattered bits of meat from my lunch to keep him busy in case the deer were near; but there was no need of the precaution. The two had learned the leader's lesson of caution well, and ran for a mile, with many haltings and circlings, before they began to feed again. Even then they moved along at a good pace as they fed, till a mile farther on, when, as I had forelayed, the buck came down from a hill to join them, and all three moved off toward the big ridge, feeding as they went.

Then began a long chase, a chase which for the deer meant a straightaway game, and for me a series of wide circles—never following the trail directly, but approaching it at intervals from leeward, hoping to circle ahead of the deer and stalk them at last from an unexpected quarter.

Once, when I looked down from a bare hilltop into a valley where the trail ran, I had a most interesting glimpse of the big buck doing the same thing from a hill farther on—too far away for a shot, but near enough to see plainly through my field glass. The deer were farther ahead than I supposed. They had made a run for it, intending to rest after first putting a good space between them and anything that might follow. Now they were undoubtedly lying down in some far-away thicket, their minds at rest, but their four feet doubled under them for a jump at short notice. Trust your nose, but keep your feet under you—that is deer wisdom on going to sleep. Meanwhile, to take no chances, the wary old leader had circled back, to wind the trail and watch it awhile from a distance before joining them in their rest.

He stood stock-still in his hiding, so still that one might have passed close by without noticing him. But his head was above the low evergreens; eyes, ears, and nose were busy giving him perfect report of everything that passed in the woods.

I started to stalk him promptly, creeping up the hill behind him, chuckling to myself at the rare sport of catching a wild thing at his own game. But before I sighted him again he grew uneasy (the snow tells everything), trotted down hill to the trail, and put his nose into it here and there to be sure it was not polluted. Then—another of his endless devices to make the noonday siesta  full of contentment—he followed the back track a little way, stepping carefully in his own footprints; branched off on the other side of the trail, and so circled swiftly back to join his little flock, leaving behind him a sad puzzle of disputing tracks for any novice that might follow him.

So the interesting chase went on all day, skill against keener cunning, instinct against finer instinct, through the white wonder of the winter woods, till, late in the afternoon, it swung back towards the starting point. The deer had undoubtedly intended to begin their yard that day on the ridge I had selected; for at noon I crossed the trail of the two from the haystack, heading as if by mutual understanding in that direction. But the big buck, feeling that he was followed, cunningly led his charge away from the spot, so as to give no hint of the proposed winter quarters to the enemy that was after him. Just as the long shadows were stretching across all the valleys from hill to hill, and the sun vanished into the last gray bank of clouds on the horizon, my deer recrossed the old road, leaping it, as in the morning, so as to leave no telltale track, and climbed the hill to the dense thicket where they had passed the previous night.

Here was my last chance, and I studied it deliberately. The deer were there, safe within the evergreens, I had no doubt, using their eyes for the open hillside in front and their noses for the woods behind. It was useless to attempt stalking from any direction, for the cover was so thick that a fox could hardly creep through without alarming ears far less sensitive than a deer's. Skill had failed; their cunning was too much for me. I must now try an appeal to curiosity.

I crept up the hill flat on my face, keeping stump or scrub spruce always between me and the thicket on the hilltop. The wind was in my favor; I had only their eyes to consider. Somewhere, just within the shadow, at least one pair were sweeping the back track keenly; so I kept well away from it, creeping slowly up till I rested behind a great burned stump within forty yards of my game. There I fastened a red bandanna handkerchief to a stick and waved it slowly above the stump.

Almost instantly there was a snort and a rustle of bushes in the thicket above me. Peeking out I saw the evergreens moving nervously; a doe's head appeared, her ears set forward, her eyes glistening. I waved the handkerchief more erratically. My rifle lay across the stump's roots, pointing straight at her; but she was not the game I was hunting. Some more waving and dancing of the bright color, some more nervous twitchings and rustlings in the evergreens, then a whistle and a rush; the doe disappeared; the movement ceased; the thicket was silent as the winter woods behind me.

"They are just inside," I thought, "pawing the snow to get their courage up to come and see." So the handkerchief danced on—one, two, five minutes passed in silence; then something made me turn round. There in plain sight behind me, just this side the fringe of evergreen that lined the old road, stood my three deer in a row—the big buck on the right—like three beautiful statues, their ears all forward, their eyes fixed with intensest curiosity on the man lying at full length in the snow with the queer red flag above his head.

My first motion broke up the pretty tableau. Before I could reach for my rifle the deer whirled and vanished like three winks, leaving the heavy evergreen tips nodding and blinking behind them in a shower of snow.

Tired as I was, I took a last run to see from the trail how it all happened. The deer had been standing just within the thicket as I approached. All three had seen the handkerchief; the tracks showed that they had pawed the snow and moved about nervously. When the leader whistled they had bounded straightaway down the steep on the other side. But the farms lay in that direction, so they had skirted the base of the hill, keeping within the fringe of woods and heading back for their morning trail, till the red flag caught their eye again, and strong curiosity had halted them for another look.

Thus the long hunt ended at twilight within sight of the spot where it began in the gray morning stillness. With marvelous cunning the deer circled into their old tracks and followed them till night turned them aside into a thicket. This I discovered at daylight next morning.

That day a change came; first a south wind, then in succession a thaw, a mist, a rain turning to snow, a cold wind and a bitter frost. Next day when I entered the woods a brittle crust made silent traveling impossible, and over the rocks and bare places was a sheet of ice covered thinly with snow.

I was out all day, less in hope of finding deer than of watching the wild things; but at noon, as I sat eating my lunch, I heard a rapid running, crunch, crunch, crunch, on the ridge above me. I stole up, quietly as I could, to find the fresh trails of my three deer. They were running from fright evidently, and were very tired, as the short irregular jumps showed. Once, where the two leaders cleared a fallen log, the third deer had fallen heavily; and all three trails showed blood stains where the crust had cut into their legs.

I waited there on the trail to see what was following—to give right of way to any hunter, but with a good stout stick handy, for dealing with dogs, which sometimes ran wild in the woods and harried the deer. For a long quarter-hour the woods were all still; then the jays, which had come whistling up on the trail, flew back screaming and scolding, and a huge yellow mongrel, showing hound's blood in his ears and nose, came slipping, limping, whining over the crust. I waited behind a tree till he was up with me, when I jumped out and caught him a resounding thump on the ribs. As he ran yelping away I fired my rifle over his head, and sent the good club with a vengeance to knock his heels from under him. A fresh outburst of howls inspired me with hope. Perhaps he would remember now to let deer alone for the winter.

Above the noise of canine lamentation I caught the faint click of snowshoes, and hid again to catch the cur's owner at his contemptible work. But the sound stopped far back on the trail at the sudden uproar. Through the trees I caught glimpses of a fur cap and a long gun and the hawk face of Old Wally, peeking, listening, creeping on the trail, and stepping gingerly at last down the valley, ashamed or afraid of being caught at his unlawful hunting. "An ill wind, but it blows me good," I thought, as I took up the trail of the deer, half ashamed myself to take advantage of them when tired by the dog's chasing.

There was no need of commiseration, however; now that the dog was out of the way they could take care of themselves very well. I found them resting only a short distance ahead; but when I attempted to stalk them from leeward the noise of my approach on the crust sent them off with a rush before I caught even a glimpse of them in their thicket.

I gave up caution then and there. I was fresh and the deer were tired,—why not run them down and get a fair shot before the sun went down and left the woods too dark to see a rifle sight? I had heard that the Indians used sometimes to try running a deer down afoot in the old days; here was the chance to try a new experience. It was fearfully hard traveling without snowshoes, to be sure; but that seemed only to even-up chances fairly with the deer. At the thought I ran on, giving no heed when the quarry jumped again just ahead of me, but pushing them steadily, mile after mile, till I realized with a thrill that I was gaining rapidly, that their pauses grew more and more frequent, and I had constant glimpses of deer ahead among the trees—never of the big buck, but of the two does, who were struggling desperately to follow their leader as he kept well ahead of them breaking the way. Then realizing, I think, that he was followed by strength rather than by skill or cunning, the noble old fellow tried a last trick, which came near being the end of my hunting altogether.

The trail turned suddenly to a high open ridge with scattered thickets here and there. As they labored up the slope I had the does in plain sight. On top the snow was light, and they bounded ahead with fresh strength. The trail led straight along the edge of a cliff, beyond which the deer had vanished. They had stopped running here; I noticed with amazement that they had walked with quick short steps across the open. Eager for a sight of the buck I saw only the thin powdering of snow; I forgot the glare ice that covered the rock beneath. The deer's sharp hoofs had clung to the very edge securely. My heedless feet had barely struck the rock when they slipped and I shot over the cliff, thirty feet to the rocks below. Even as I fell and the rifle flew from my grasp, I heard the buck's loud whistle from the thicket where he was watching me, and then the heavy plunge of the deer as they jumped away.

A great drift at the foot of the cliff saved me. I picked myself up, fearfully bruised but with nothing broken, found my rifle and limped away four miles through the woods to the road, thinking as I went that I was well served for having delivered the deer "from the power of the dog," only to take advantage of their long run to secure a head that my skill had failed to win. I wondered, with an extra twinge in my limp, whether I had saved Old Wally by taking the chase out of his hands unceremoniously. Above all, I wondered—and here I would gladly follow another trail over the same ground—whether the noble beast, grown weary with running, his splendid strength failing for the first time, and his little, long-tended flock ready to give in and have the tragedy over, knew just what he was doing in mincing along the cliff's edge with his heedless enemy close behind. What did he think and feel, looking back from his hiding, and what did his loud whistle mean? But that is always the despair of studying the wild things. When your problem is almost solved, night comes and the trail ends.

When I could walk again easily vacation was over, the law was on, and the deer were safe.

 

 


Phœbe Cary

Don't Give Up

If you've tried and have not won,

Never stop for crying;

All that's great and good is done

Just by patient trying.


Though young birds, in flying, fall,

Still their wings grow stronger;

And the next time they can keep

Up a little longer.


Though the sturdy oak has known

Many a blast that bowed her,

She has risen again, and grown

Loftier and prouder.


If by easy work you beat,

Who the more will prize you?

Gaining victory from defeat,

That's the test that tries you!

 


  WEEK 47  

  Thursday  


The Beautiful Story of Joan of Arc  by Viola Ruth Lowe

The Journey to Chinon

I N the town of Vaucouleurs lived an honest wheelwright named Henri Royer and his kindly wife, Katherine. They were friendly to Joan and she dwelt with them during her stay there.

In the second week of February, the first ray of hope came to Joan in the person of a brave young soldier, aged twenty-seven, whose name was Jean de Metz.

One day Jean de Metz, who knew Joan's parents well, approached the threshold of the house where Joan was dwelling, and said to her teasingly, "My pet, what are you doing here? Must the King be turned out of his kingdom and are we all to be made into Englishmen?"

"I have come here," replied Joan with spirit, "because this is a royal town, and I have asked Robert de Baudricourt to lead me to the King. But Baudricourt cares nothing for me nor for what I say; none the less I must be with the King by Mid-Lent if I wear my legs down to the knees by walking there. No man in the world, neither Kings nor Dukes, can recover the kingdom of France, nor has our King any hope of aid but from myself though I would far rather be sewing by the side of my poor mother, for this deed does not suit my station. Yet go I must, for my Lord so wills it."

"And who is your Lord?" asked the youth.

"My Lord is God," said the Maid very simply.

The young soldier was convinced, and seized her hands with great emotion as he answered: "Then I, Jean de Metz, swear to you, Maid Joan, that God helping me, I will lead you to the King, and I only ask when are you ready to go."

"It is better to leave today than tomorrow," she answered smiling, "and better tomorrow than later."

The Duke of Lorraine had heard reports of this wonderful Maid, and he sent for her to come to his home at Nancy, a town some sixty miles away. Jean de Metz and Uncle Durand Laxart travelled with her.

The old Duke was unable to help Joan in her mission, she returned to Vaucouleurs where she talked again with Baudricourt. This time he listened to her but would not equip her for the journey. The good people of Vaucouleurs, now full of faith in the little Maid and her mission, were very enthusiastic and helped with her equipment. Most of her expenses, however, were met by the faithful Jean de Metz and also Bertrand de Poulengy, a young officer who admired Joan's bravery.

She set out for Chinon with her little band, consisting of Jean de Metz, Bertrand de Poulengy, Richard the Archer, the King's messenger, Colet de Vienne, and four servants. Joan had changed her little red wool dress and was now comfortably attired for horseback in the tunic, vest, high boots and leggings, spurs, and black cap of a page.

Straight-backed and sturdy, Joan sat upon her spirited horse, tossing back her black hair which was cut short like a soldier's. They rode through hostile country, and, after eleven days, reached Chinon, the town on the Loire river where the Dauphin had taken refuge.

After two days, Joan, often called the Pucelle, which is the French word for maiden, was granted an audience with the young Prince. When she entered the Castle of Chinon, its vast hall was filled with three hundred knights arrayed in velvet costumes of brightly colored crimson and azure, and cloth of gold, and there were fifty flaming torches lighting the brilliant scene.

Joan remained calm in her attitude as she stepped forward with great modesty and simplicity. She directly approached the Prince and as she knelt before him, she said, "Most noble Dauphin, I have come at the call of God to help you and your kingdom." Her sweet clear voice and her rustic beauty spoke in her favor. Prince Charles rejoiced at her speech, and drawing her aside, held an earnest conversation with her.


[Illustration]

Joan told Charles of her mission to lead him to the throne.

The young Duke d'Alençon, just returned from the war and weary with suffering, took heart when he saw the Maid. She completely won his heart when he saw her skill and pluck in throwing a lance while on horseback.

Still Joan's troubles were not over, for she was sent before an assemblage of priests to tell her mission. After six long weary weeks of questions, during which Joan daily appeared before the men of the church, she finally won them to her cause by her sincerity and ardor. These men were stirred deeply and Joan's first moral victory was won.


[Illustration]

Before the priests, the maid revealed her high purpose.

One evening as Joan stood at her window, the figure of St. Michael appeared before her. In his arms he bore a golden crown. He followed her as she led him to the prince. "Sire, here is your sign," Joan said. Everyone saw the crown but only the maid and the prince saw the vision. From then on, his faith in Joan grew stronger.

Thus, the little peasant girl, who, a few short months before, had spent her days in tending sheep, was now the dignified companion of princes and nobles. Her tale might well have leaped forth from the pages of the Arabian Nights. But to Joan there was nothing unusual in the task which lay before her. There was only one thought uppermost in her mind, and that was to set forth to battle. At last the time drew near. An expedition was appointed to travel to Orleans and Joan was placed at its head to take command.

 



The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

A certain Wolf could not get enough to eat because of the watchfulness of the Shepherds. But one night he found a sheep skin that had been cast aside and forgotten. The next day, dressed in the skin, the Wolf strolled into the pasture with the Sheep. Soon a little Lamb was following him about and was quickly led away to slaughter.


[Illustration]

That evening the Wolf entered the fold with the flock. But it happened that the Shepherd took a fancy for mutton broth that very evening, and, picking up a knife, went to the fold. There the first he laid hands on and killed was the Wolf.

The evil doer often comes to harm through his own deceit.

 



Margaret Vandegrift

The Sandman

The rosy clouds float overhead,

The sun is going down;

And now the sandman's gentle tread,

Comes stealing through the town.

"White sand, white sand," he softly cries,

And, as he shakes his hand,

Straightway there lies on baby's eyes

His gift of shining sand.

Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes and brown,

As shuts the rose, they softly close,

When he goes through the town.


From sunny beaches far away—

Yes, in another land—

He gathers up at break of day

His store of shining sand.

No tempests beat that shore remote,

No ships may sail that way;

His little boat alone may float

Within that lovely bay.

Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes and brown,

As shuts the rose, they softly close,

When he goes through the town.


He smiles to see the eyelids close

Above the happy eyes,

And every child right well he knows,—

Oh! he is very wise!

But if, as he goes through the land,

A naughty baby cries,

His other hand takes dull gray sand

To close the wakeful eyes.

Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes and brown,

As shuts the rose, they softly close,

When he goes through the town.


So when you hear the sandman's song

Sound through the twilight sweet,

Be sure you do not keep him long

A-waiting on the street.

Lie softly down, dear little head,

Rest quiet, busy hands,

Till by your bed, his good-night said,

He strews the shining sands.

Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes and brown,

As shuts the rose, they softly close,

When he goes through the town.


 


  WEEK 47  

  Friday  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

The Pilgrim's Progress

"So I awoke, and behold it was a dream."

—Bunyan.

I N the very same year that Penn left England to found the colony of Pennsylvania, a book was finding its way into all parts of Europe, and was filling men with wonder and delight. The 'Pilgrim's Progress' was written in English, and was soon translated into Dutch and sent over the seas to the Dutch and English colonies in America. Soon after it was translated into no less than eighty-four different languages, and is to-day one of "the most popular and most widely read of all English books."

It was written in prison by John Bunyan, a poor man, the son of a tinker. For his religious opinions he was thrown into prison at Bedford, where he was kept for twelve years. The Bible was his constant companion, and the very language of his book is the language of the Bible itself. The story is the journey of a man called Christian from his home, the City of Destruction, to the Heavenly City, and the whole beautiful story has a deep meaning running through it.

"I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed in rags," begins Bunyan, "standing with his face from his home, with a book in his hand and a great burden upon his back."

This man was Christian, the hero of the story, and the burden was his sins.

"What shall I do?" he cried pitifully to his friends, for he was feeling the weight of his sins.

"Do you see yonder wicket-gate and yonder shining light?" said one, Evangelist, to him. "Keep that light in your eye and go up directly thereto; so shalt thou see the gate, at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do."

So Christian started off, as Evangelist had suggested, with his burden on his back, to reach the Heavenly City. But soon he found himself struggling in a bog. The name of the bog was the Slough of Despond, and by reason of his load Christian began to sink in the mire. Then came a man called Help, who stretched forth his hand and drew him out. So Christian went on again. And now he met a man known as Mr. Worldly Wiseman, who advised him to turn elsewhere to get rid of his burden. Christian was following his advice when Evangelist again met him.

"What dost thou here, Christian? Did I not direct thee to the little wicket-gate?" he said sorrowfully.

Ashamed of his weakness, Christian took the narrow path once more. At last he reached the wicket-gate. "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you," was written above. Christian knocked and passed through. He will know the road, for it is strait and narrow and the wrong road is wide. Then a wonderful thing happened. He came to a cross, and as he stood before it his burden rolled off his back. Three shining ones appeared, who stripped him of his rags, clothed him with a change of raiment, set a mark on his forehead, and gave him a sealed roll to give up at the gates of heaven.

He now passed on, meeting various friends on the way. Then they came to the Hill Difficulty. There were two roads at the foot, one marked Danger, the other Destruction. Though his friends took these roads and were never heard of again, Christian went straight up over the hill and reached the Palace Beautiful, built by the Lord of the Hill for strangers. Two lions guarded the way, and Christian paused.

"Is thy strength so small?" cried the watchman. "Fear not the lions, for they are chained. Keep in the midst of the path and no hurt shall come unto thee."

At the Palace Beautiful he was armed from head to foot by the ladies Prudence, Piety, and Charity, for he had yet to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Two men appeared to him on the borders of it, warning him to go back, for it was dark and full of horrors. But Christian went through with it, to find the sun shining on the other side. Faithful, a pilgrim like himself, now joined him, and they went forward together. Together they came to Vanity Fair, which had been going on for five thousand years, and through which they must pass to reach the Heavenly City.

"What will you buy?" cried the noisy rough men who were selling there.

"We buy the truth," answered Christian and Faithful. A great hubbub broke forth, which ended in the death of Faithful, and Christian went on alone.

A man called Hopeful now joined him, and together they crossed the River of Life. But here they strayed into By-path Meadow, lost themselves in Doubting Castle, and were seized by Giant Despair. With a key called Promise Christian opened the door of their dungeon, and they went forward once more. And now they reached the Enchanted Ground, Doubting Castle could be seen no more, and between them and their last rest there only remained the deep river of Death, over which was no bridge. On the hill beyond glittered the towers and domes of the Heavenly City. The sun shone on the city, which was of pure gold. Through the deep waters of the river went Christian and Hopeful. On the farther bank two Shining Men were waiting to lead them up the last hill to the city. There they were received with "ten thousand welcomes, with shouts which made the very heavens echo, and with trumpets."

"These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place," said the Shining Men.

So Christian and Hopeful were taken into the presence of the King, and as they entered their raiments shone like gold, crowns were placed on their heads, harps were put in their hands, and the bells in the city rang again for joy.

"So I awoke," says Bunyan, "and, behold, it was a dream."

 

----- Seasonal Story -----

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


  WEEK 47  

  Saturday  


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

Little Freddy with His Fiddle

O NCE there was a farmer who had an only son. The lad had had very poor health so he could not go out to work in the field.

His name was Freddy, but, since he remained such a wee bit of a fellow, they called him Little Freddy. At home there was but little to eat and nothing at all to burn, so his father went about the country trying to get the boy a place as cowherd or errand boy; but there was no one who would take the weakly little lad till they came to the sheriff. He was ready to take him, for he had just sent off his errand boy, and there was no one who would fill his place, for everybody knew the sheriff was a great miser.

But the farmer thought it was better there than nowhere; he would get his food, for all the pay he was to get was his board—there was nothing said about wages or clothes. When the lad had served three years he wanted to leave, and the sheriff gave him all his wages at one time. He was to have a penny a year. "It couldn't well be less," said the sheriff. And so he got three pence in all.

As for Little Freddy, he thought it was a great sum, for he had never owned so much; but, for all that, he asked if he wasn't to have anything for clothes, for those he had on were worn to rags. He had not had any new ones since he came to the sheriff's three years ago.

"You have what we agreed on," said the sheriff, "and three whole pennies besides. I have nothing more to do with you. Be off!"

So Little Freddy went into the kitchen and got a little food in his knapsack, and after that he set off on the road to buy himself more clothes. He was both merry and glad, for he had never seen a penny before, and every now and then he felt in his pockets as he went along to see if he had them all three. So, when he had gone far and farther than far, he got up on top of the mountains. He was not strong on his legs, and had to rest every now and then, and then he counted and counted how many pennies he had. And now he came to a great plain overgrown with moss. There he sat down and began to see if his money was all right. Suddenly a beggarman appeared before him, so tall and big that when he got a good look at him and saw his height and length, the lad began to scream and screech.

"Don't you be afraid," said the beggarman, "I'll do you no harm, I came only to beg you for a penny."

"Dear me!" said the lad, "I have only three pennies, and with them I was going to town to buy clothes."

"It is worse for me than for you," said the beggarman, "I have not one penny, and I am still more ragged than you."

"Well, that is so; you shall have it," said the lad.

When he had walked on a while, he grew weary again, and sat down to rest. Suddenly another beggarman stood before him, and this one was still taller and uglier than the first. When the lad saw how very tall and ugly and long he was, he began to scream again.

"Now, don't you be afraid of me," said the beggar, "I'll do you no harm. I came only to beg for a penny."

"Oh dear, oh dear!" said the lad. "I have only two pennies, and with them I was going to the town to buy clothes. If I had only met you sooner, then—"

"It's worse for me than for you," said the beggarman. "I have no penny, and a bigger body and less clothing."

"Well, you may have it," said the lad. So he went away farther, till he got weary, and then he sat down to rest; but he had scarcely sat down when a third beggarman came to him. This one was so tall and ugly and long that the lad had to look up and up, right up to the sky. And when he took him all in with his eyes, and saw how very, very tall and ugly and ragged he was, he fell a‑screeching and screaming again.


[Illustration]

The lad had to look up right up into the sky.


"Now, don't you be afraid of me, my lad," said the beggarman, "I'll do you no harm, for I am only a beggarman, who begs you for a penny."

"Oh dear, oh dear!" said the lad. "I have only one penny left, and with it I was going to the town to buy clothes. If I had only met you sooner, then—"

"As for that," said the beggarman, "I have no penny at all, that I haven't, and a bigger body and less clothes, so it is worse for me than for you."

"Yes," said Little Freddy, "he must have the penny then—there was no help for it; for so each beggarman would have one penny, and he would have nothing."

"Well," said the beggarman, "since you have such a good heart that you gave away all that you had in the world, I will give you a wish for each penny." For you must know it was the same beggarman who had got them all three; he had only changed his shape each time, that the lad might not know him again.

"I have always had such a longing to hear a fiddle go, and see folk so merry and glad that they couldn't help dancing," said the lad; "and so if I may wish what I choose, I will wish myself such a fiddle, that everything that has life must dance to its tune."

"That you may have," said the beggarman, "but it is a sorry wish. You must wish something better for the other two pennies."

"I have always had such a love for hunting and shooting," said Little Freddy; "so if I may wish what I choose, I will wish myself such a gun that I shall hit everything I aim at, were it ever so far off."

"That you may have," said the beggarman, "but it is a sorry wish too. You must wish better for the last penny."

"I have always had a longing to be in company with folks who were kind and good," said Little Freddy; "and so, if I could get what I wish, I would wish it to be so that no one can say 'Nay' to the first thing I ask."

"That wish is not so sorry," said the beggarman; and off he strode between the hills, and Freddy saw him no more.

So the lad lay down to sleep, and the next day he came down from the mountain with his fiddle and his gun. First he went to the storekeeper and asked for clothes. Next at a farm he asked for a horse, and at a second for a sleigh; and at another place he asked for a fur coat. No one said him "Nay"—even the stingiest folk were all forced to give him what he asked for. At last he went through the country as a fine gentleman, and had his horse and his sleigh. When he had gone a bit he met the sheriff whose servant he had been.

"Good day, master," said Little Freddy, as he pulled up and took off his hat.

"Good day," said the sheriff, "but when was I ever your master?"

"Oh yes," said Little Freddy, "don't you remember how I served you three years for three pence?"

"My goodness, now!" said the sheriff, "you have grown rich in a hurry, and pray, how was it that you got to be such a fine gentleman?"

"Oh, that is a long story," said Little Freddy.

"And are you so full of fun that you carry a fiddle about with you?" asked the sheriff.

"Yes, yes," said Freddy. "I have always had such a longing to get folk to dance. But the funniest thing of all is this gun, for it brings down almost anything that I aim at, however far it may be off. Do you see that magpie yonder, sitting in the spruce fir? What will you give me if I hit it as we stand here?"

"Well," said the sheriff, and he laughed when he said it, "I'll give you all the money I have in my pocket, and I'll go and fetch it when it falls," for he never thought it possible for any gun to carry so far.

But as the gun went off down fell the magpie, and into a great bramble thicket; and away went the sheriff up into the bramble after it, and he picked it up and held it up high for the lad to see. But just then Little Freddy began to play his fiddle, and the sheriff began to dance, and the thorns to tear him; but still the lad played on, and the sheriff danced, and cried, and begged, till his clothes flew to tatters, and he scarce had a thread to his back.

"Yes," said Little Freddy, "now I think you're about as ragged as I was when I left your service; so now you may get off with what you have."

But first the sheriff had to pay him all the money that he had in his pocket.

So when the lad came to town he turned into an inn, and there he began to play, and all who came danced and laughed and were merry, and so the lad lived without any care, for all the folks liked him and no one would say "Nay" to anything he asked.

But one evening just as they were all in the midst of their fun, up came the watchmen to drag the lad off to the town hall; for the sheriff had laid a charge against him, and said he had waylaid him and robbed him and nearly taken his life. And now he was to be hanged. The people would hear of nothing else. But Little Freddy had a cure for all trouble, and that was his fiddle. He began to play on it, and the watchmen fell a‑dancing and they danced and they laughed till they gasped for breath.

So soldiers and the guard were sent to take him, but it was no better with them than with the watchmen. When Little Freddy played his fiddle, they were all bound to dance; and dance as long as he could lift a finger to play a tune; but they were half dead long before he was tired.

At last they stole a march on him, and took him while he lay asleep by night. Now that they had caught him they could condemn him to be hanged on the spot, and away they hurried him to the gallows tree.

There a great crowd of people flocked together to see this wonder, and the sheriff too was there. He was glad to get even at last for the money and the clothes he had lost, and to see the lad hanged with his own eyes.

And here came Little Freddy, carrying his fiddle and his gun. Slowly he mounted the steps of the gallows,—and when he got to the top he sat down, and asked if they could deny him a wish, and if he might have leave to do one thing? He had such a longing, he said, to scrape a tune and play a bar on his fiddle before they hanged him.

"No, no," they said; "it were sin and shame to deny him that." For you know, no one could say "Nay" to what he asked.

But the sheriff begged them not to let him have leave to touch a string, else it would be all over with them altogether. If the lad got leave, he begged them to bind him to the birch that stood there.

Little Freddy was not slow in getting his fiddle to speak, and all that were there fell a‑dancing at once, those who went on two legs, and those who went on four. Both the dean and the parson, the lawyer and the sheriff, masters and men, dogs and pigs—they all danced and laughed and barked and squealed at one another. Some danced till they lay down and gasped, some danced till they fell in a swoon. It went badly with all of them, but worst of all with the sheriff; for there he stood bound to the birch, and he danced till he scraped the clothes off his back. I dare say it was a sorry looking sight and a sore back.

But there was not one of them who thought of doing anything to Little Freddy, and away he went with his fiddle and his gun, whither he chose, and he lived merrily and happily all his days, for there was no one who could say "Nay" to the first thing he asked for.

 



Seaside and Wayside, Book Two  by Julia McNair Wright

Of What Use Are Flies

H OW often people cry out, "Oh, I wish there were no flies! What is the use of a fly?"

But all things that God has made have their uses. And all God's works are worthy of study.

You have learned that worms are of great use. Let us see if Mrs. Fly does any good in the world.

Mrs. Fly is of great use to man. She helps keep him in health. Do you think that very strange?

People say, "Oh, these dirty  flies!" And yet these "dirty flies" help to keep the world clean!

Now you know that over all the world, great numbers of animals die each minute, and many of their bodies lie on the ground and decay.

Such bodies in decay cause disease and death to men. In winter, and in cold places, such things do not decay so fast, and so do not make these bad odors.

But in hot days, if such dead things lie about, they will poison the air. Soon we should all be ill.

The work of Mrs. Fly is to lay many eggs in these dead bodies. In a few hours these eggs turn to grubs, and these grubs to little live worms, which begin to eat as fast as they can.

Soon they leave only dry bones, which can do no harm. They change the dead stuff into their own fat, live bodies.

You know that the crabs are among the street-cleaners of the sea. So the flies are among the street-cleaners of the air and land.

Did you ever watch flies dart about, here and there, with a flight like hawks? They are eating up small, evil things, too small for us to see. But these are yet big enough to hurt us if we should get them into our lungs.

Ask your teacher to tell you a little about your lungs.

In and about our homes many bits of things drop, and might decay and mould. This would make the air foul. But the busy and greedy fly drinks up all the soft part of these things.

So we see that what we call the dirty flies help to clean away much dirt. It is true too, that flies carry poison on their feet and trunks from place to place. In this way they do great harm.

The fly serves for food for many birds, and fish and frogs, and some insects. Some of these things we use for our food. Others are full of beauty, or are of use to us, each in its own way.

Thus, though the fly is often a trouble to us, we find it is not without its uses. Look at one of these little creatures through a glass that will magnify it. You will see that the poor insect has really much beauty.

From what you have read in this lesson you must not think that all foul smells kill, nor that things that have no bad smell are always safe. There are some gases that have no odor at all, which yet are very deadly.

 



Robert Southey

The Inchcape Rock

No stir in the air, no stir in the sea,

The ship was as still as she could be,

Her sails from heaven received no motion,

Her keel was steady in the ocean.


Without either sign or sound of their shock,

The waves flow'd over the Inchcape Rock;

So little they rose, so little they fell,

They did not move the Inchcape Bell.


The good old Abbot of Aberbrothok

Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock;

On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung,

And over the waves its warning rung.


When the Rock was hid by the surge's swell,

The mariners heard the warning bell;

And then they knew the perilous Rock,

And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok.


The sun in heaven was shining gay,

All things were joyful on that day;

The sea-birds scream'd as they wheel'd round,

And there was joyance in their sound.


The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen

A darker speck on the ocean green:

Sir Ralph the Rover walk'd his deck,

And he fix'd his eyes on the darker speck.


He felt the cheering power of Spring,

It made him whistle, it made him sing;

His heart was mirthful to excess,

But the Rover's mirth was wickedness.


His eye was on the Inchcape float;

Quoth he, "My men, put out the boat,

And row me to the Inchcape Rock,

And I'll plague the priest of Aberbrothok."


The boat is lower'd, the boatmen row,

And to the Inchcape Rock they go;

Sir Ralph bent over from the boat,

And he cut the bell from the Inchcape float.


Down sunk the bell, with a gurgling sound,

The bubbles rose and burst around;

Quoth Sir Ralph, "The next who comes to the Rock

Won't bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok."


Sir Ralph the Rover sail'd away,

He scour'd the seas for many a day;

And now grown rich with plunder'd store,

He steers his course for Scotland's shore.


So thick a haze o'erspreads the sky

They cannot see the sun on high;

The wind hath blown a gale all day,

At evening it hath died away.


On the deck the Rover takes his stand,

So dark it is they see no land,

Quoth Sir Ralph, "It will be lighter soon,

For there is the dawn of the rising moon."


"Canst hear," said one, "the breakers roar?

For methinks we should be near the shore;

Now where we are I cannot tell,

But I wish I could hear the Inchcape Bell."


They hear no sound, the swell is strong;

Though the wind hath fallen, they drift along,

Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock;

"Oh, Christ! It is the Inchcape Rock!"


Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,

He curst himself in his despair;

The waves rush in on every side,

The ship is sinking beneath the tide.


But even in his dying fear

One dreadful sound could the Rover hear,

A sound as if, with the Inchcape Bell,

The fiends below were ringing his knell.

 


  WEEK 47  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament

Ezra vii: 1, to x: 44.

dropcap image ROM the court of the great king at Shushan we turn once more to the Jews at Jerusalem and in Judea. For a long time after the first company came to the land under Zerubbabel (see Story 104) very few Jews from other countries joined them. The Jews in Judea were poor, and discouraged. Many of them had borrowed money which they could not pay, and had been sold as slaves to richer Jews. Around them on every side were their enemies, the idol-worshipping people in the land, and the Samaritans on the north. These enemies robbed them of their crops in the field, and they also constantly sent evil and false reports of them to the Persian governors. Many of the men of Israel had married women of the land not of the Israelite race, and their children were growing up half heathen and half Jewish, unable to talk in the language of their fathers, and knowing nothing of the true God.

Ninety years after the Jews had come back to the land Jerusalem was a small town, with many of its old houses still in ruins, and no wall around it. In those times no city could be safe from its enemies without a wall; so that Jerusalem lay helpless against bands of robbers who came up from the desert and carried away nearly all that the people could earn.

Just at the time when the land was in the deepest need God raised up two men to help his people. These two men were Ezra and Nehemiah. Through Ezra the people of Judah were led back to their God, to worship him, to serve him, and especially to love God's book as they never had loved it before. And about the same time Nehemiah gave new hope, and courage, and strength to the people by helping them to build a wall around Jerusalem. The work of these two men brought to Judea peace and plenty, and led many Jews from other lands to their own country.

Ezra was a priest, living in the city of Babylon, though he had sprung from the family of Aaron, the first priest. He was also a prophet, through whom God spoke to his people. But above all, Ezra was a lover of God's book in a time when the book of the Lord was almost forgotten. Nearly all the books of what we call the Old Testament had been written for a long time; but in those days there were no printed books; each copy was written separately with a pen; and as the labor was great, there were very few copies of the different books of the Bible. And these copies were in different places; one book of the Bible was in one place, another book was in another place. No one man in those times before Ezra had ever owned or had ever seen the whole of the Old Testament in one book or set of books.

Ezra began to seek everywhere among the Jews for copies of these different books. Whenever he found one he wrote it out, and kept the copy, and also led other men to copy the books as they found them. At last Ezra had copies written of all the books in the Old Testament except the very latest books. They were written very nearly as we have them now, except that his copies were all in Hebrew, the language spoken by the men who wrote most of the Old Testament.

Ezra put all these different books together, making one book out of many books. This great book was written on parchment, or sheepskin, in long rolls, as in old time all books were written. When the book was finished it was called "The Book of the Law," because it contained God's law for his people, as given through Moses, and Samuel, and David, and Isaiah, and all the other prophets.

When Ezra had finished writing this book of the law, he went on a long journey through Babylon to Judea, taking with him the rolls of the book. With Ezra went a company of men whom he had taught to love the law, to write copies of it, to read it, and to teach it to others. These men, who gave their lives to studying, and copying, and teaching the law, were called "scribes," a word which means "writers."

Ezra was the first and the greatest of these scribes; but from his time there were many scribes among the Jews, both in Judea and in all other lands. For wherever the Jews lived they began to read the Bible and to love it. The time came, soon after Ezra's day, when in every place where the Jews met to worship at least one copy of all the books in the Old Testament was kept; so that there was no more danger that the Bible, or any part of it, would be lost.

You remember that there was only one Temple for all the Jews in the world, and only one altar. Upon this one altar, and there alone, was offered the sacrifice every day. But the Jews in distant places needed to meet together for worship, and there grew up among the Jews everywhere what was called "the Synagogue," a word which means "coming together." At first they met in a room, but afterward they built houses for the synagogues much like our churches. Some of these synagogues were large and beautiful, and in them the people met every week to worship God, to sing the psalms, to hear the law and the prophets read, and to talk together about what they had heard. It was something like a prayer-meeting; for any Jew who wished to speak in the meeting could do so. The men sat on mats laid on the floor; the rulers of the synagogue were on seats raised up above the rest; the women were in a gallery on one side, covered with a lattice-work, so that they could see and hear, but could not be seen. And on the end of the room nearest to Jerusalem there was a large box or chest, called "the ark," within which were kept the copies of the books of the Old Testament. Thus through the synagogue all the Jews in the world listened to the reading of the Old Testament until very many of them knew every word of it by heart. All this came to pass from Ezra's work in copying and teaching the word of the Lord.

And Ezra wrought another work almost as great as that of giving the Bible to the world. He taught the Jewish people, first in Israel, and then in other lands, that they were the people of God, and that they must live apart from other nations. If they had gone on marrying women of other races, who worshipped other gods, after a time there would have been no Jews, and no worshippers of God. Ezra made some of them give up their wives of other nations, and he taught the Jews to be a people by themselves, keeping away from those who worshipped idols, even though they lived among them. Thus Ezra led the Jews to look upon themselves as a holy people, given up to the service of God; and he taught them to live apart from other nations, with their own customs and ways of living, and very exact in obeying the law of God in the books given by Moses, even in some things that would seem small and not important. They were to be trained age after age in the service and worship of God. It was God's will that the Jews should be separate from other peoples, and very strict in keeping their law, until the time should come for them to go out and preach the gospel to all the world.

The Jews even now in our time continue to keep many of the rules that were given to their fathers long ago by Ezra; so next to Moses, Ezra had greater power over the Jews than any other prophet or teacher.

 



The Wind in the Willows  by Kenneth Grahame

The Return of Ulysses

Part 2 of 3

Toad felt rather hurt that the Badger didn't say pleasant things to him, as he had to the Mole, and tell him what a fine fellow he was, and how splendidly he had fought; for he was rather particularly pleased with himself and the way he had gone for the Chief Weasel and sent him flying across the table with one blow of his stick. But he bustled about, and so did the Rat, and soon they found some guava jelly in a glass dish, and a cold chicken, a tongue that had hardly been touched, some trifle, and quite a lot of lobster salad; and in the pantry they came upon a basketful of French rolls and any quantity of cheese, butter, and celery. They were just about to sit down when the Mole clambered in through the window, chuckling, with an armful of rifles.

"It's all over," he reported. "From what I can make out, as soon as the stoats, who were very nervous and jumpy already, heard the shrieks and the yells and the uproar inside the hall, some of them threw down their rifles and fled. The others stood fast for a bit, but when the weasels came rushing out upon them they thought they were betrayed; and the stoats grappled with the weasels, and the weasels fought to get away, and they wrestled and wriggled and punched each other, and rolled over and over, till most of 'em rolled into the river! They've all disappeared by now, one way or another; and I've got their rifles. So that's  all right!"

"Excellent and deserving animal!" said the Badger, his mouth full of chicken and trifle. "Now, there's just one more thing I want you to do, Mole, before you sit down to your supper along of us; and I wouldn't trouble you only I know I can trust you to see a thing done, and I wish I could say the same of every one I know. I'd send Rat, if he wasn't a poet. I want you to take those fellows on the floor there upstairs with you, and have some bedrooms cleaned out and tidied up and made really comfortable. See that they sweep under  the beds, and put clean sheets and pillow-cases on, and turn down one corner of the bed-clothes, just as you know it ought to be done; and have a can of hot water, and clean towels, and fresh cakes of soap, put in each room. And then you can give them a licking a-piece, if it's any satisfaction to you, and put them out by the back-door, and we shan't see any more of them,  I fancy. And then come along and have some of this cold tongue. It's first rate. I'm very pleased with you, Mole!"

The good-natured Mole picked up a stick, formed his prisoners up in a line on the floor, gave them the order "Quick march!" and led his squad off to the upper floor. After a time, he appeared again, smiling, and said that every room was ready, and as clean as a new pin. "And I didn't have to lick them, either," he added. "I thought, on the whole, they had had licking enough for one night, and the weasels, when I put the point to them, quite agreed with me, and said they wouldn't think of troubling me. They were very penitent, and said they were extremely sorry for what they had done, but it was all the fault of the Chief Weasel and the stoats, and if ever they could do anything for us at any time to make up, we had only got to mention it. So I gave them a roll a-piece, and let them out at the back, and off they ran, as hard as they could!"

Then the Mole pulled his chair up to the table, and pitched into the cold tongue; and Toad, like the gentleman he was, put all his jealousy from him, and said heartily, "Thank you kindly, dear Mole, for all your pains and trouble tonight, and especially for your cleverness this morning!" The Badger was pleased at that, and said, "There spoke my brave Toad!" So they finished their supper in great joy and contentment, and presently retired to rest between clean sheets, safe in Toad's ancestral home, won back by matchless valour, consummate strategy, and a proper handling of sticks.

The following morning, Toad, who had overslept himself as usual, came down to breakfast disgracefully late, and found on the table a certain quantity of egg-shells, some fragments of cold and leathery toast, a coffee-pot three-fourths empty, and really very little else; which did not tend to improve his temper, considering that, after all, it was his own house. Through the French windows of the breakfast-room he could see the Mole and the Water Rat sitting in wicker chairs out on the lawn, evidently telling each other stories; roaring with laughter and kicking their short legs up in the air. The Badger, who was in an arm-chair and deep in the morning paper, merely looked up and nodded when Toad entered the room. But Toad knew his man, so he sat down and made the best breakfast he could, merely observing to himself that he would get square with the others sooner or later. When he had nearly finished, the Badger looked up and remarked rather shortly: "I'm sorry, Toad, but I'm afraid there's a heavy morning's work in front of you. You see, we really ought to have a Banquet at once, to celebrate this affair. It's expected of you—in fact, it's the rule."

"O, all right!" said the Toad, readily. "Anything to oblige. Though why on earth you should want to have a Banquet in the morning I cannot understand. But you know I do not live to please myself, but merely to find out what my friends want, and then try and arrange it for 'em, you dear old Badger!"

"Don't pretend to be stupider than you really are," replied the Badger, crossly; "and don't chuckle and splutter in your coffee while you're talking; it's not manners. What I mean is, the Banquet will be at night, of course, but the invitations will have to be written and got off at once, and you've got to write 'em. Now, sit down at that table—there's stacks of letter-paper on it, with 'Toad Hall' at the top in blue and gold—and write invitations to all our friends, and if you stick to it we shall get them out before luncheon. And I'll  bear a hand, too; and take my share of the burden. I'll  order the Banquet."

"What!" cried Toad, dismayed. "Me stop indoors and write a lot of rotten letters on a jolly morning like this, when I want to go around my property, and set everything and everybody to rights, and swagger about and enjoy myself! Certainly not! I'll be—I'll see you—Stop a minute, though! Why, of course, dear Badger! What is my pleasure or convenience compared with that of others! You wish it done, and it shall be done. Go, Badger, order the Banquet, order what you like; then join our young friends outside in their innocent mirth, oblivious of me and my cares and toils. I sacrifice this fair morning on the altar of duty and friendship!"

The Badger looked at him very suspiciously, but Toad's frank, open countenance made it difficult to suggest any unworthy motive in this change of attitude. He quitted the room, accordingly, in the direction of the kitchen, and as soon as the door had closed behind him, Toad hurried to the writing-table. A fine idea had occurred to him while he was talking. He would  write the invitations; and he would take care to mention the leading part he had taken in the fight, and how he had laid the Chief Weasel flat; and he would hint at his adventures, and what a career of triumph he had to tell about; and on the fly-leaf he would set out a sort of a programme of entertainment for the evening—something like this, as he sketched it out in his head:—


  Speech . . . . . . . . By Toad.  
 
    (There will be other speeches by Toad during the evening.)    
  Address . . . . . . . . By Toad.  
 
    Synopsis —Our Prison System—the Waterways of Old England—Horse-dealing, and how to deal—Property, its rights and its duties—Back to the Land—A Typical English Squire.    
 
  Song . . . . . . . . By Toad.  
    (Composed by himself.)    
 
  Other Compositions . . . . . By Toad.  
    will be sung in the course of the evening by the . . . Composer.    

The idea pleased him mightily, and he worked very hard and got all the letters finished by noon, at which hour it was reported to him that there was a small and rather bedraggled weasel at the door, inquiring timidly whether he could be of any service to the gentlemen. Toad swaggered out and found it was one of the prisoners of the previous evening, very respectful and anxious to please. He patted him on the head, shoved the bundle of invitations into his paw, and told him to cut along quick and deliver them as fast as he could, and if he liked to come back again in the evening, perhaps there might be a shilling for him, or, again, perhaps there mightn't; and the poor weasel seemed really quite grateful, and hurried off eagerly to do his mission.

 



Lydia Maria Child

Thanksgiving Day

Over the river and through the wood,

To grandfather's house we go;

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh

Through the white and drifted snow.


Over the river and through the wood,—

Oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes,

And bites the nose

As over the ground we go.


Over the river and through the wood,

To have a first-rate play,—

Hear the bells ring,

"Ting-a-ling-ding!"

Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!


Over the river, and through the wood,

Trot fast, my dapple-gray!

Spring over the ground,

Like a hunting-hound!

For this is Thanksgiving Day.


Over the river and through the wood,

And straight through the barnyard gate,

We seem to go

Extremely slow,—

It is so hard to wait!


Over the river and through the wood,—

Now grandmother's cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun!

Is the pudding done?

Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!