WEEK 5 |
A T first each day which passed by for Mary Lennox was exactly like the others. Every morning she awoke in her tapestried room and found Martha kneeling upon the hearth building her fire; every morning she ate her breakfast in the nursery which had nothing amusing in it; and after each breakfast she gazed out of the window across to the huge moor which seemed to spread out on all sides and climb up to the sky, and after she had stared for a while she realized that if she did not go out she would have to stay in and do nothing—and so she went out. She did not know that this was the best thing she could have done, and she did not know that, when she began to walk quickly or even run along the paths and down the avenue, she was stirring her slow blood and making herself stronger by fighting with the wind which swept down from the moor. She ran only to make herself warm, and she hated the wind which rushed at her face and roared and held her back as if it were some giant she could not see. But the big breaths of rough fresh air blown over the heather filled her lungs with something which was good for her whole thin body and whipped some red color into her cheeks and brightened her dull eyes when she did not know anything about it.
But after a few days spent almost entirely out of doors she wakened one morning knowing what it was to be hungry, and when she sat down to her breakfast she did not glance disdainfully at her porridge and push it away, but took up her spoon and began to eat it and went on eating it until her bowl was empty.
"Tha' got on well enough with that this mornin', didn't tha'?" said Martha.
"It tastes nice to-day," said Mary, feeling a little surprised herself.
"It's th' air of th' moor that's givin' thee stomach for tha' victuals," answered Martha. "It's lucky for thee that tha's got victuals as well as appetite. There's been twelve in our cottage as had th' stomach an' nothin' to put in it. You go on playin' you out o' doors every day an' you'll get some flesh on your bones an' you won't be so yeller."
"I don't play," said Mary. "I have nothing to play with."
"Nothin' to play with!" exclaimed Martha. "Our children plays with sticks and stones. They just runs about an' shouts an' looks at things."
Mary did not shout, but she looked at things. There was nothing else to do. She walked round and round the gardens and wandered about the paths in the park. Sometimes she looked for Ben Weatherstaff, but though several times she saw him at work he was too busy to look at her or was too surly. Once when she was walking toward him he picked up his spade and turned away as if he did it on purpose.
One place she went to oftener than to any other. It was the long walk outside the gardens with the walls round them. There were bare flower-beds on either side of it and against the walls ivy grew thickly. There was one part of the wall where the creeping dark green leaves were more bushy than elsewhere. It seemed as if for a long time that part had been neglected. The rest of it had been clipped and made to look neat, but at this lower end of the walk it had not been trimmed at all.
A few days after she had talked to Ben Weatherstaff Mary stopped to notice this and wondered why it was so. She had just paused and was looking up at a long spray of ivy swinging in the wind when she saw a gleam of scarlet and heard a brilliant chirp, and there, on the top of the wall, perched Ben Weatherstaff's robin redbreast, tilting forward to look at her with his small head on one side.
"Oh!" she cried out, "is it you—is it you?" And it did not seem at all queer to her that she spoke to him as if she was sure that he would understand and answer her.
He did answer. He twittered and chirped and hopped along the wall as if he were telling her all sorts of things. It seemed to Mistress Mary as if she understood him, too, though he was not speaking in words. It was as if he said:
"Good morning! Isn't the wind nice? Isn't the sun nice? Isn't everything nice? Let us both chirp and hop and twitter. Come on! Come on!"
Mary began to laugh, and as he hopped and took little flights along the wall she ran after him. Poor little thin, sallow, ugly Mary—she actually looked almost pretty for a moment.
"I like you! I like you!" she cried out, pattering down the walk; and she chirped and tried to whistle, which last she did not know how to do in the least. But the robin seemed to be quite satisfied and chirped and whistled back at her. At last he spread his wings and made a darting flight to the top of a tree, where he perched and sang loudly.
That reminded Mary of the first time she had seen him. He had been swinging on a tree-top then and she had been standing in the orchard. Now she was on the other side of the orchard and standing in the path outside a wall—much lower down—and there was the same tree inside.
"It's in the garden no one can go into," she said to herself. "It's the garden without a door. He lives in there. How I wish I could see what it is like!"
She ran up the walk to the green door she had entered the first morning. Then she ran down the path through the other door and then into the orchard, and when she stood and looked up there was the tree on the other side of the wall, and there was the robin just finishing his song and beginning to preen his feathers with his beak.
"It is the garden," she said. "I am sure it is."
She walked round and looked closely at that side of the orchard wall, but she only found what she had found before—that there was no door in it. Then she ran through the kitchen-gardens again and out into the walk outside the long ivy-covered wall, and she walked to the end of it and looked at it, but there was no door; and then she walked to the other end, looking again, but there was no door.
"It's very queer," she said. "Ben Weatherstaff said there was no door and there is no door. But there must have been one ten years ago, because Mr. Craven buried the key."
This gave her so much to think of that she began to be quite interested and feel that she was not sorry that she had come to Misselthwaite Manor. In India she had always felt hot and too languid to care much about anything. The fact was that the fresh wind from the moor had begun to blow the cobwebs out of her young brain and to waken her up a little.
She stayed out of doors nearly all day, and when she sat down to her supper at night she felt hungry and drowsy and comfortable. She did not feel cross when Martha chattered away. She felt as if she rather liked to hear her, and at last she thought she would ask her a question. She asked it after she had finished her supper and had sat down on the hearth-rug before the fire.
"Why did Mr. Craven hate the garden?" she said.
She had made Martha stay with her and Martha had not objected at all. She was very young, and used to a crowded cottage full of brothers and sisters, and she found it dull in the great servants' hall down-stairs where the footman and upper-housemaids made fun of her Yorkshire speech and looked upon her as a common little thing, and sat and whispered among themselves. Martha liked to talk, and the strange child who had lived in India, and been waited upon by "blacks," was novelty enough to attract her.
She sat down on the hearth herself without waiting to be asked.
"Art tha' thinkin' about that garden yet?" she said. "I knew tha' would. That was just the way with me when I first heard about it."
"Why did he hate it?" Mary persisted.
Martha tucked her feet under her and made herself quite comfortable.
"Listen to th' wind wutherin' round the house," she said. "You could bare stand up on the moor if you was out on it to-night."
Mary did not know what
"But why did he hate it so?" she asked, after she had listened. She intended to know if Martha did.
Then Martha gave up her store of knowledge.
"Mind," she said, "Mrs. Medlock said it's not to be talked about. There's lots o' things in this place that's not to be talked over. That's Mr. Craven's orders. His troubles are none servants' business, he says. But for th' garden he wouldn't be like he is. It was Mrs. Craven's garden that she had made when first they were married an' she just loved it, an' they used to 'tend the flowers themselves. An' none o' th' gardeners was ever let to go in. Him an' her used to go in an' shut th' door an' stay there hours an' hours, readin' an' talkin'. An' she was just a bit of a girl an' there was an old tree with a branch bent like a seat on it. An' she made roses grow over it an' she used to sit there. But one day when she was sittin' there th' branch broke an' she fell on th' ground an' was hurt so bad that next day she died. Th' doctors thought he'd go out o' his mind an' die, too. That's why he hates it. No one's never gone in since, an' he won't let any one talk about it."
Mary did not ask any more questions. She looked at the red fire and
listened to the wind "wutherin'." It seemed to be
At that moment a very good thing was happening to her. Four good things had happened to her, in fact, since she came to Misselthwaite Manor. She had felt as if she had understood a robin and that he had understood her; she had run in the wind until her blood had grown warm; she had been healthily hungry for the first time in her life; and she had found out what it was to be sorry for some one. She was getting on.
But as she was listening to the wind she began to listen to something else. She did not know what it was, because at first she could scarcely distinguish it from the wind itself. It was a curious sound—it seemed almost as if a child were crying somewhere. Sometimes the wind sounded rather like a child crying, but presently Mistress Mary felt quite sure that this sound was inside the house, not outside it. It was far away, but it was inside. She turned round and looked at Martha.
"Do you hear any one crying?" she said.
Martha suddenly looked confused.
"No," she answered. "It's th' wind. Sometimes it sounds like as if some one was lost on th' moor an' wailin'. It's got all sorts o' sounds."
"But listen," said Mary. "It's in the house—down one of those long corridors."
And at that very moment a door must have been opened somewhere down-stairs; for a great rushing draft blew along the passage and the door of the room they sat in was blown open with a crash, and as they both jumped to their feet the light was blown out and the crying sound was swept down the far corridor so that it was to be heard more plainly than ever.
"There!" said Mary. "I told you so! It is some one crying—and it isn't a grown-up person."
Martha ran and shut the door and turned the key, but before she did it
they both heard the sound of a door in some far passage shutting with a
bang, and then everything was quiet, for even the wind ceased
"It was th' wind," said Martha stubbornly. "An' if it wasn't, it was little Betty Butterworth, th' scullery-maid. She's had th' toothache all day."
But something troubled and awkward in her manner made Mistress Mary stare very hard at her. She did not believe she was speaking the truth.
T WO hundred years ago there lived in Boston a little boy whose name was Benjamin Franklin.
On the day that he was seven years old, his mother gave him a few pennies.
He looked at the bright, yellow pieces and said, "What shall I do with these coppers, mother?"
It was the first money that he had ever had.
"You may buy something, if you wish," said his mother.
"And then will you give me more?" he asked.
His mother shook her head and said: "No, Benjamin. I cannot give you any more. So you must be careful not to spend these foolishly."
The little fellow ran into the street. He heard the pennies jingle in his pocket. How rich he was!
Boston is now a great city, but at that time it was only a little town. There were not many stores.
As Benjamin ran down the street, he wondered what he should buy. Should he buy candy? He hardly knew how it tasted. Should he buy a pretty toy?
If he had been the only child in the family, things might have been different. But there were fourteen boys and girls older than he, and two little sisters who were younger.
What a big family it was! And the father was a poor man. No wonder the lad had never owned a toy.
He had not gone far when he met a larger boy, who was blowing a whistle.
"I wish I had that whistle," he said.
The big boy looked at him and blew it again. Oh, what a pretty sound it made!
"I have some pennies," said Benjamin. He held them in his hand, and showed them to the boy. "You may have them, if you will give me the whistle."
"All of them?"
"Yes, all of them."
"Well, it's a bargain," said the boy; and he gave the whistle to Benjamin, and took the pennies.
Little Benjamin Franklin was very happy; for he was only seven years old. He ran home as fast as he could, blowing the whistle as he ran.
"See, mother," he said, "I have bought a whistle."
"How much did you pay for it?"
"All the pennies you gave me."
One of his brothers asked to see the whistle.
"Well, well!" he said. "You've paid a dear price for this thing. It's only a penny whistle, and a poor one at that."
"You might have bought half a dozen such whistles with the money I gave you," said his mother.
The little boy saw what a mistake he had made. The whistle did not please him any more. He threw it upon the floor and began to cry.
"Never mind, my child," said his mother, very kindly. "You are only
a very little boy, and you will learn a great deal as you grow bigger.
The lesson you have learned
Benjamin Franklin lived to be a very old man, but he never forgot that lesson.
Every boy and girl should remember the name of Benjamin Franklin. He was a great thinker and a great doer, and with Washington he helped to make our country free. His life was such that no man could ever say, "Ben Franklin has wronged me."
I saw them plunging through the foam,
I saw them prancing up the shore—
A thousand horses, row on row,
And then a thousand more!
In joy they leaped upon the land,
In joy they fled before the wind,
Prancing and plunging on they raced,
The huntsman raced behind.
When this old huntsman goes to sleep,
The horses live beneath the waves;
They live at peace, and rest in peace,
Deep in their sea green caves.
But when they hear the huntsman's shout
Urging his hounds across the sea,
Out from their caves in frenzied fear
The great white horses flee!
To-day they plunged right through the foam,
To-day they pranced right up the shore,
A thousand horses, row on row,
And then a thousand more.
WEEK 5 |
A LTHOUGH the Britons had lost their great general Caractacus, still they would not yield to the Roman tyrants.
Soon another brave leader arose. This leader was a woman. Her name was Boadicea, and she was a queen. She ruled over that part of the country which is now called Norfolk and Suffolk.
As I said before, the Romans were a very greedy people. They wanted to take away the freedom of Britain and make the island into a Roman province. They also wanted to get all the money and possessions which belonged to the Britons for themselves.
The husband of Boadicea knew how greedy the Romans were, and when he was about to die he became very sad. He was afraid that the Roman Emperor would rob his wife and daughters of all their money, when he was no longer there to take care of them. So, to prevent this, he made the Emperor a present of half of his money and lands, and gave the other half to his wife and children. Then he died happy, thinking that his dear ones would be left in peace.
But the greedy Romans were not pleased with only half of the dead king's wealth. They wanted the whole. So they came and took it by force. Boadicea was a very brave woman. She was not afraid of the Romans, and she tried to make them give back what they had stolen from her.
Then these cruel, wicked men laughed at her. And because she was a woman and had, they thought, no one to protect her, they beat her with rods and were rude to her daughters.
But although the Romans were clever, they sometimes did stupid things. They thought very little of their own women, and they did not understand that many of the women of Britain were as brave and as wise as the men, and quite as difficult to conquer.
After Boadicea had been so cruelly and unjustly treated, she burned with anger against the Romans. Her heart was full only of thoughts of revenge. She called her people together, and, standing on a mound of earth so that they could see and hear her, she made a speech to them. She told them first how shamefully the Romans had behaved to her, their Queen. Then, like Caractacus, she reminded them how their forefathers had fought against Julius Cæsar, and had driven the Romans away for a time at least. "Is it not better to be poor and free than to have great wealth and be slaves?" she asked. "And the Romans take not only our freedom but our wealth. They want to make us both slaves and beggars. Let us rise. O brothers and sisters, let us rise, and drive these robbers out of our land! Let us kill them every one! Let us teach them that they are no better than hares and foxes, and no match for greyhounds! We will fight, and if we cannot conquer, then let us die—yes, every one of us—die rather than submit."
Queen Boadicea looked so beautiful and fierce as she stood there, with her blue eyes flashing, and her golden hair blowing round her in the wind, that the hearts of her people were filled with love for her, and anger against the Romans. As she spoke, fierce desires for revenge grew in them. They had hated their Roman conquerors before, now the hatred became a madness.
So, when Boadicea had finished speaking, a cry of rage rose from the Britons. They beat upon their shields with their swords, and swore to avenge their Queen, to fight and die for her and for their country.
Then Boadicea, leaning with one hand upon her spear, and lifting the other to heaven—prayed. She prayed to the goddess of war, and her prayer was as fierce as her speech, for she had never heard of a God who taught men to forgive their enemies.
As she stood there praying, Boadicea looked more beautiful than ever. Her proud head was thrown back and the sun shone upon her lovely hair and upon the golden band which bound her forehead. Her dark cloak, slipping from her shoulders, showed the splendid robe she wore beneath, and the thick and heavy chain of gold round her neck. At her feet knelt her daughters, sobbing with hope and fear.
It was a grand and awful moment, and deep silence fell upon the warriors as they listened to the solemn words. Then, with wild cries, they marched forward to battle, forgetful of everything but revenge.
The battles which followed were terrible indeed. The words of Queen Boadicea had stirred the Britons until they were mad with thoughts of revenge, and hopes of freedom. They gave no mercy, and they asked none. They utterly destroyed the towns of London and of St. Albans, or Verulamium as it was then called, killing every one, man, woman and child.
Again and again the Romans were defeated, till it almost seemed as if the Britons really would succeed in driving them out of the country. Boadicea herself led the soldiers, encouraging them with her brave words. "It is better to die with honour than to live in slavery," she said. "I am a woman, but I would rather die than yield. Will you follow me, men?" and of course the men followed her gladly.
"Will you follow me, men?"
At last the Roman leader was so downcast with his many defeats that he went himself to the British camp, bearing in his hand a green branch as a sign of peace. When Boadicea was told that an ambassador from the Romans wished to speak to her, she replied proudly, "My sword alone shall speak to the Romans." And when the Roman leader asked for peace, she answered, "You shall have peace, peace, but no submission. A British heart will choose death rather than lose liberty. There can be peace only if you promise to leave the country."
Of course the Romans would not promise to go away from Britain, so the war continued, and for a time the Britons triumphed.
But their triumph did not last long. The Roman soldiers were better armed and better drilled than the British. There came a dark day when the Britons were utterly defeated and many thousands were slain.
When Boadicea saw that all hope was gone, she called her daughters to her. "My children," she said sadly, as she took them by the hand and drew them towards her, "my children, it has not pleased the gods of battle to deliver us from the power of the Romans. But there is yet one way of escape." Tears were in her blue eyes as she kissed her daughters. She was no longer a queen of fury but a loving mother.
Then taking a golden cup in her hands, "Drink," she said gently.
The eldest daughter obeyed proudly and gladly, but the younger one was afraid. "Must I, mother?" she asked timidly.
"Yes, dear one," said Boadicea gently. "I too will drink, and we shall meet again."
When the Roman soldiers burst in upon them, they found the great queen dead, with her daughters in her arms.
She had poisoned both herself and them, rather than that they should fall again into the hands of the Romans.
M ANY empty snail shells are washed up by the waves and lie on Holiday Shore. Some of them have long, sharp points. Others are blunt with ridges on them. There are still others that are nearly round and rather smooth. They are white or blue-gray or brownish and the largest are four inches long.
These large, smooth shells were built by moon snails. Moon snails never crawl on the rocks; but if you look closely on Holiday Beach you may see the tip of a shell sticking up through the sand. As you watch, it moves. The moon snail is able to crawl, even when it is buried in sand.
A Moon Snail
Would you like to see a moon snail crawl? Then dig one out of the sand with your spade and put him in a shady tide pool. At first he will lie quite still, with the mouth of his shell closed by a brown door. Soon that door will begin to open. If nothing scares him, the moon snail comes out ready to take a walk.
Did you ever suppose such a big body could come out of this pretty shell? It rolls out and begins to spread. Soon the shell almost disappears in this great mass of pearly flesh.
But not all of this huge body is flesh. A great deal of it is water that the snail pumped into his body while he was getting out of his shell. When you disturbed him a little while ago by digging him from the sand, he squeezed most of the water out and so could tuck his body away.
Taste guides him to some fish meat lying on the stones. Hermit crabs have been feasting there, tearing off bits with their claws; but they run away when the moon snail comes near. There is nothing to interfere with him, so he spreads his big body over the fish and settles down for a good meal.
The last time the moon snail had something to eat, he was buried in the sand of Holiday Shore. As he crawled through it he met a clam, which quickly closed its hard white shell.
Did that discourage the moon snail? Not at all. He wrapped his body around the clam and stuck out his horny, sharp tongue. As he moved it, his tongue bored a neat hole through the shell of the clam. Then the moon snail reached in with a pair of sharp jaws and began to eat the juicy clam meat. In an hour nothing was left but the shell, with the hole that the moon snail's tongue had bored.
If you look at the empty shells on Holiday Beach, you will find many that show just such holes. Some are the shells of the purple mussels that lived on the rocks near Holiday Point. Others are the shells of "hard-shell" or "soft-shell" clams that burrowed in the sand near the shore. Still others are the shells of partly grown moon snails.
Some day you may visit an ancient shore in Virginia or Maryland. Though once a pretty beach, it now is a bank of clay and sand. Look at the gullies where rain water has run down. You will find the fossil shells of oysters, clams, and snails that lived millions of years ago. Some of them will be moon-snail shells. Then look carefully at your fossil clams. You will find that many show neat, round holes like those drilled by the moon snails on Holiday Shore.
Moon snails have lived in the sea for almost two hundred million years. Through all that time they have crawled in the sand, hunting snails and clams. During all those years they have been boring shells with their rough tongues and getting the good food inside with their sharp jaws.
Perhaps, while playing on Holiday Shore, you have found broken, leathery rings whose surfaces were covered with sand. Though you may not have known it, each of those rings held eggs laid by a mother moon snail.
You can tell Mother Moon Snail from Father only because she is larger than he. Her shell is rounded and smooth like his. She crawls as he does. She eats with the same table manners.
One warm summer day, Mother Moon Snail began to lay her eggs. Each time she laid a dozen or fifteen, she shut them up in a clear shiny capsule. She did this a great many times. Then she glued all the capsules into a ribbon that looked like crinkly celluloid. Next she covered one side of the ribbon with sand that she found near by. As she worked, she rolled the sheet around her body. In this way she shaped the sheet into a broad ring, like a broken bowl without any bottom.
After putting about half a million eggs into the capsules of that sandy ring, Mother Moon Snail left them lying on the sand and crawled off to hunt a mussel or a clam.
Mother Moon Snail left about half a million eggs in this sandy ring.
For a month the egg-ring was washed here and there by the water. At last, when the eggs were ready to hatch, the ring broke into tiny bits. A great many baby snails hatched from the eggs that were in each bit, and they all went out to float in Holiday Bay.
These infant snails were so small they could be seen only with a microscope. Like little starfish, they drifted where waves and currents carried them. Some got close to rocks and were eaten by hungry barnacles and little animals that look like plants. Hundreds were sucked into the mouths of clams. Thousands were devoured by the purple mussels that lived near Holiday Point.
It is, as you may see, a good thing that Mother Moon Snail laid as many as the half million eggs or there would not have been enough babies left to grow into strong, hungry snails.
There are other snails on Holiday Shore that eat by boring holes in shells. One of them is called Thais, though her English name is whelk.
The whelk does not crawl in the sand. She lives on rocks and on Holiday Cliff. Twice a day the tide goes down and leaves her high and dry. But she does not mind. She just sits down, shuts her shell, and waits for the water to come again.
Do you think that all whelk shells of the same kind should look alike? Perhaps they should—but they don't. Some are wrinkled and some are almost smooth; some are sharp and others are blunt; some are white and others are yellow or even brown. A few have orange stripes on coarse ruffles of shell.
The whelk puts her eggs in little vases which she glues tightly to the rock. She puts about four hundred eggs in each vase. Even before they leave their vase the baby whelks are hungry. There is nothing else for food in the vase so some of the tiny whelks eat the others. By the time they are ready to leave the vase, there may not be more than a dozen to come out. They hide in cracks for a while until they grow big and strong enough to go hunting. Then they feed on mussel or barnacle meat, which they get by boring through the shells of these creatures.
Whelks put their eggs in vases which they glue tightly to the rock.
Among the rocks and weeds where the whelks live there are thousands of snails called periwinkles. When the tide is high, they crawl here and there eating plants. When the tide is low, they hide in damp cracks or under the seaweeds if they can find such places.
Periwinkles are the commonest snails on Holiday Shore.
But what happens to them if they cannot hide?
Look at that big bare rock. The sun has dried it and made it warm, yet many periwinkles remain there. When the tide went out, each periwinkle fastened its shell to the rock with a bit of glue it made in its body. Then it tucked itself away in the shell and settled down for a nap until the next tide. If they really had to do so, they could sleep this way for days without touching water.
Three kinds of periwinkles live on Holiday Shore. One is yellow. Another is green. The third and largest has a gray shell with dark stripes.
When white people first visited this part of the coast, they did not find any of these gray periwinkles. It was not until about sixty years ago that these snails entered Holiday Bay.
How did they get here? They crawled and drifted from Canada, where they probably were carried by ships from Europe. Each year they came farther and farther south. Now they are the commonest of all snails that dwell on Holiday Shore.
These periwinkles thrive best on rocks where the waves wash over them twice every day. Those that stay in muddy bays never are so large and smooth as the periwinkles of Holiday Shore.
What are these queer shells? They are oval and come to a low, sharp point. They are mottled with green, brown, and white. They cling very tightly to the rocks—so tightly that you cannot pull them off. If you find one, however, that has not been alarmed, perhaps you can lift it off by slipping a broad knife gently under its shell. Then, by turning it over, you will see the big flat foot by means of which it clings to the stone.
You will see the limpet's big flat foot.
These are hat-shells, or limpets. They do not live below low-tide level. It does them no harm to get dry. When the tide is high they crawl slowly about, eating tiny plants. When the tide begins to lower, or ebb, each limpet crawls back to the place from which it started. Every limpet on Holiday Shore has its own special home.
There are different kinds of limpets. Some are small and rather smooth. Others have thick white shells that are rough. On the shore near Monterey, California, lives the largest limpet of all. It is three or four inches long, with a hole at its top instead of a peak. Its black body covers most of its shell, which is a very pretty light brown. People call it the keyhole limpet.
The keyhole limpet, the largest of all hat‑shells.
California's most famous sea-shells are those called abalones. You will often find washed up on the sandy shores empty shells that are a smooth greenish black outside and pearly inside.
The red abalone has a big rough shell. Its outer surface is a dark brick red. Old shells generally are covered with plants, moss animals, and tubes built by worms. From the number of things growing on their shells, you can tell that the red abalones live in deeper water than their smaller, black relatives do.
Moss animals, plants, and worms grow on the shell of the red abalone.
The peacock abalone is the largest of all. Outside it looks worn and weather-beaten; but its inside colors are brighter than those of any rainbow, as you can see when the body is taken from the shell. There shine blue, green, and red—like the colors on the feathers of a peacock's tail.
An abalone resembles one-half of a clam shell, yet it really belongs to the snail group. Look closely and you will see the coil in its shell. Like the limpet, the abalone crawls about eating plants, holding tightly to the rock if alarmed. Since its big muscles are good to eat, thousands of abalones are killed every year and sold in restaurants as "abalone steaks."
Do snails with clamlike shells seem queer? Then what do you think of snails that have no shells at all?
Two such creatures live on Holiday Shore. The larger of these is about an inch long. It looks much like a fat worm, mottled with white, yellow, and blue. You may not see it unless you hunt when the tide is very low, for it hides among the rocks.
Its smaller relative lives along rocks, seaweeds and eel-grass leaves. It is slender and pretty, with many waving plumes that are orange, purple, and blue. It lays eggs in long strings which it hangs from rocks and plants, or coils on flat stones.
Many relatives of these shell-less snails live on the Pacific coast. Some are small like those in the East, but others are large. One has very bright yellow colors, with rich brown spots. It hides among seaweeds and rocks and lays long ribbons filled with eggs. If you catch one at just the right time, it will lay a beautiful salmon-pink ribbon of eggs in your aquarium.
When you wade in Southern California bays, you will see many big brown snails whose shells are so small they do not show. Their common name is sea hares, though they never act like rabbits, or hares. Instead of hopping, they crawl on the sand, leaving trails of slime behind them. Sometimes they open big flaps of skin and drift away with the tide. When they have gone far enough, they catch hold of eel-grass leaves to keep from floating out to sea.
Sea Hares of California
Fields beneath a quilt of snow
From which the rocks and stubble sleep,
And in the west a shy white star
That shivers as it wakes from deep.
The restless rumble of the train,
The drowsy people in the car,
Steel blue twilight in the world,
And in my heart a timid star.
WEEK 5 |
P ETER RABBIT found Johnny Chuck sitting on his doorstep, sunning himself. Peter was quite out of breath because he had hurried so. "Do you know that you are a Squirrel, Johnny Chuck?" he panted.
Johnny slowly turned his head and looked at Peter as if he thought Peter had suddenly gone crazy. "What are you talking about, Peter Rabbit? I'm not a Squirrel; I'm a Woodchuck," he replied.
"Just the same, you are a Squirrel," retorted Peter. "The Woodchucks belong to the Squirrel family. Old Mother Nature says so, and if she says so, it is so. You'd better join our school, Johnny Chuck, and learn a little about your own relatives."
Johnny Chuck blinked his eyes and for a minute or two couldn't find a word to say. He knew that if Peter were telling the truth as to what Old Mother Nature had said, it must be true that he was a member of the Squirrel family. But it was hard to believe. "What is this school?" he finally asked.
Peter hastened to tell him. He told Johnny all about what he and Jumper the Hare had learned about their family, and all the surprising things Old Mother Nature had told them about the Squirrel family, and he ended by again urging Johnny Chuck to join the school and promised to call for Johnny the next morning.
But Johnny Chuck is lazy and does not like to go far from his own doorstep, so when Peter called the next morning Johnny refused to go, despite all Peter could say. Peter didn't waste much time arguing for he was afraid he would be late and miss something. When he reached the Green Forest he found his cousin, Jumper the Hare, and Chatterer the Red Squirrel, and Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel, already there. As soon as Peter arrived Old Mother Nature began the morning lesson.
"Happy Jack," said she, "you may tell us all you know about your cousin, Chatterer."
"To begin with, he is the smallest of the Tree Squirrels," said
The little rollicking mischief‑maker of the Green Forest.
At once Chatterer's quick temper flared up and he began to scold.
But Old Mother Nature silenced him and told
Chatterer started to scold again but was silenced once more by Old
Mother Nature. "I have to admit that Chatterer is thrifty,"
"You do the same thing to me when you have the chance, which isn't often," sputtered Chatterer.
Happy Jack turned his back to Chatterer and continued, "He doesn't seem to mind cold weather at all, as long as the sun shines. His noisy tongue is to be heard on the coldest days of winter. He is the sauciest, most impudent fellow of the Green Forest, and never so happy as when he is making trouble for others. He sauces and scolds everybody he meets, and every time he opens his mouth he jerks his tail. He's quarrelsome. Worse than that, in the spring when the birds are nesting, he turns robber. He goes hunting for nests and steals the eggs, and what is even more dreadful, he kills and eats the baby birds. All the birds hate him, and I don't blame them."
Chatterer could contain himself no longer. His tongue fairly flew
and he jerked his tail so hard and so fast that Peter Rabbit almost
expected to see him break it right off. He called
When at last he stopped from sheer lack of
breath, Old Mother
Nature spoke, and her voice was very severe. "I'm ashamed of you,
Chatterer," said she. "Unfortunately, what
For a few minutes Chatterer sulked, but he did not dare disobey Old Mother Nature. "I don't know much good about him," he mumbled.
"And you don't know much bad about me either," retorted
Old Mother Nature held up a warning hand. "That will do," said she. "Now, Chatterer, go on."
"Happy Jack is more than twice as big as I, but at that, I'm not
afraid of him," said Chatterer and glared at
It was Happy Jack's turn to become indignant. "I may have taken a few eggs when I accidentally ran across them," said he, "but I never go looking for them, and I don't take them unless I am very hungry and can't find anything else. I don't make a business of robbing birds the way you do, and you know it. If I find one of your storehouses and help myself, I am only getting back what you have stolen from me. Everybody loves me and that is more than you can say."
"That's enough," declared Old Mother Nature, and her voice was very
sharp. "You two cousins never have agreed and I am afraid never will.
As long as you are neighbors, I suspect you will quarrel. Have you
told us all you know about
Chatterer nodded. He was still mumbling to himself angrily and
wasn't polite enough to make a reply. Old Mother Nature took no
notice of this. "What you have told us is good as far as it goes,"
said she. "You said that
Peter Rabbit's ears stood straight up with astonishment. "How can a Gray Squirrel be black?" he demanded.
Old Mother Nature smiled. "That is a fair question, Peter," said
she. "Gray Squirrel is simply the name of
Seeing how surprised everybody looked, Mother Nature explained.
"Both Happy Jack and Rusty bury a great many more nuts than they
ever need," said she, "and those they do not dig up sprout in the
spring and grow. In that way they plant ever so many trees without
knowing it. Just remember that, Chatterer, the next time you are
tempted to quarrel with your cousin,
By the expression of Happy Jack's face it was quite clear that he didn't know it. "Certainly I can swim," said Chatterer. I don't mind the water at all. I can swim a long distance if I have to."
This was quite as much news to Peter Rabbit as had been the fact that a cousin of his own was a good swimmer, and he began to feel something very like respect for Chatterer.
"Are there any other Tree Squirrels?" asked Jumper the Hare.
"Yes," replied Old Mother Nature, "there are two—the handsomest
of all the family. They live out in the Southwest, in one of the
most wonderful places in all this great land, a place called the
With this, Old Mother Nature dismissed school for the day.
On the estate of Lord Willoughby, in the eastern part of England, there was a family of poor tenants named Smith, who had a son born in 1579. The named him John. John Smith is the most common of names, but this was the most uncommon of all the John Smiths. He was apprenticed to learn a trade, but he ran away from his master and became, for a while, a servant to Lord Willoughby, who was going to Holland.
Like most runaway boys, he found the world a hard place, and had to lead a very rough-and-tumble life. He enlisted as a soldier; he was shipwrecked; he was robbed and reduced to beggary; and, if we may believe his own story, he was once pitched into the sea by a company of pilgrims, who thought that he had caused the storm, like Jonah in the Bible. This must have happened not far from shore, for he reached land without the aid of a whale, and went into the war against the Turks. There he killed three Turks in single combat, and cut off their heads, but Captain John Smith came near losing his own head in the fight with the last one.
The Turks captured Smith afterwards and made him a slave. His Turkish master was very cruel, and put an iron collar on his neck. While Smith was thrashing wheat one day with his dog collar on, the Turk began to thrash him. Smith grew angry, and, leaving the wheat, hit his master with the flail, killing him on the spot. Then he took a bag of wheat for food, mounted his master's horse and escaped to the wilderness, and got out of Turkey.
When, at last, Captain Smith got back to England with his wonderful budget of stories about narrow escapes and bloody fights, he probably found it hard to settle down to a peaceful life. The English people were just then talking a great deal about settling a colony in North America, which was quite wild and almost wholly unexplored. Nothing suited the wandering and daring Captain Smith better. He joined the company which set sail for America, in three little ships, in 1606. The largest of these was called the Susan Constant.
I am sorry to say the people sent out in this first company were what we should call nowadays a hard set. They were most of them men who knew nothing about work. They had heard how the Spaniards grew rich from the gold and silver in South America, and they expected to pick up gold without trouble.
The colony was settled at a place called Jamestown. Soon after the settlers landed the Indians attacked them while they were unarmed, and the settlers might all have been put to death with the bows and arrows and war clubs of the savages, if the people on one of the ships had not fired a cross-bar shot—such as you see in the picture. This cross-bar shot happened to cut down a limb of a tree over the heads of the Indians. When they heard the noise of the cannon, like thunder, and saw the tree tops come tumbling on their heads, the savages thought it was time to make good use of their heels.
Cross-Bar Shot, Closed as Put into a Gun and Open After Firing
The people of that day did not know how to plant colonies, and the lack of good food and shelter caused the death of more than half of the Jamestown settlers. The Indians who lived near them had fields of Indian corn, whose streaming blades and waving tassels were a strange sight to Englishmen. When at last the corn was ripe, Captain John Smith set sail in a small boat and traded a lot of trinkets to the Indians for corn, and so saved the lives of many of the people.
The English thought America was only a narrow strip of land. They were still looking for a way to India, as Columbus had looked for one more than a hundred years before. The King of England had told them to explore any river coming from the northwest. Smith therefore set out to sail up the little Chickahom'iny River to find the Pacific Ocean, not knowing that this ocean was nearly three thousand miles away.
The daring captain left his two men in charge of the boat while he went on farther. The Indians killed the men and then pursued Smith. Smith had taken an Indian prisoner, and he saved himself by putting this prisoner between him and his enemies. But the Indians caught Smith after he had fled into a swamp, where he sank up to his waist in the mud, so that he could neither fight nor run. He made friends with the head Indian of the party by giving him a pocket compass and trying to explain its use.
Smith Fights the Indians
As all the Indians had a great curiosity to see a white man, Smith was marched from one Indian village to another; but he was treated with a great deal of respect. Perhaps the Indians thought that men who sailed in big canoes and discharged guns that blazed and smoked and made a noise like thunder and knocked the trees down, must have some mysterious power. But they also thought that if they could persuade the white people to give them some big guns they could easily conquer all the Indian tribes with which they were at war.
The Indians surrounded Smith with curious charms by way of finding out whether he was friendly to them or not. They fed him very well; but Smith, who was as ignorant of Indians as they were of white people, thought that they were fattening him to eat him, so he did not have much appetite.
Powhatan [pow-ha-tan'] was the name of the great chief of these Indians. This chief set Smith free. He sent some men along with him on his return to Jamestown to bring back two cannons and a grindstone in exchange for the prisoner; but the Indians found these things rather too heavy to carry, and they were forced to return with nothing but trinkets.
Captain Smith seems to have been the best man to control the unruly settlers and manage the Indians. The people in England who had sent out this colony thought they could make the chief, Powhatan, friendly by sending him presents. They sent him a crown, a wash basin, and a bedstead, also a red robe, and other things quite unnecessary to a wild Indian. But when Powhatan for the first time in his life had a bedstead and a wash basin and a red gown, he thought himself so important that he would not sell corn to the settlers, who were in danger of starving. Captain Smith, however, showed him some blue glass beads, pretending that he could not sell them because they were made of some substance like the sky, and were to be worn only by the greatest princes. Powhatan became half crazy to get these precious jewels, and Smith brought a large boat-load of corn for a pound or two of beads.
At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.
Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.
There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.
These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.
I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.
So when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-Books.
WEEK 5 |
To the Netherlands, as to many another land, came rumours of the beauty and the gentleness of the Princess Kriemhild. Siegfried at first paid little heed to what he heard of a wonder-maid who dwelt in the famous court of Worms. Yet by and by he began to think she was strangely like the unknown maid whose image he carried in his heart.
When he heard that many knights had ridden far that they might see this fair Princess, he made up his mind that he also would go thither to the court at Worms.
Siegmund and Sieglinde had often begged the Prince to wed some great princess. He thought, therefore, that they would be well pleased that he was going into Burgundy to see the beautiful maiden Kriemhild.
But the King and Queen were grieved when they knew that Siegfried must leave them. Kriemhild, it was true, was as good as she was beautiful, but two of her brothers were proud and haughty men of Burgundy, moreover their uncle Hagen had a grim and cruel temper, and it was he who really ruled the land. It might be that their son would not be welcomed to the court at Worms, and ill might betide him in a strange country.
Yet Siegfried would have his way. He must certainly go to Burgundy to woo the gentle maiden who had already sent many knights away, unmoved by all their vows of courtesy and love. For, indeed, no knight yet had the lady seen whom she would call her lord.
Then Siegmund, seeing that Siegfried had determined to go to Worms, warned him that King Gunther was too weak to be trusted, while Hagen his chief counsellor was so powerful at court that he might work ill on whom he would.
As of old, the hero laughed aloud.
"Should Hagen deny what I shall ask in courtesy, he shall learn that strong is my right hand!" cried the Prince. "His country and his kings I will surely wrest from him if he treat me with disdain."
"Speak not thus foolishly," said King Siegmund. "Should thy wild words be carried to Hagen's ears, thou wouldst never be allowed to cross the borders of his country. If go thou must to Burgundy, take with thee an armed force. See, I will summon my warriors to follow thee lest danger befall."
"Nay, but an army will I not take with me, lest Gunther dream I have come to invade his land. I, with eleven brave knights to follow me, will ride to Burgundy. Your help do I crave, good father. Give me, I pray thee, eleven stalwart warriors."
Then Siegmund called for eleven of his bravest knights, and bade them prepare to follow their Prince.
Meanwhile Queen Sieglinde had been weeping bitterly for fear lest her dear son should fall into danger in King Gunther's country.
But Siegfried stole to her side, and taking her frail, white hands in his strong ones, he said tenderly, "Lady mother, I pray thee weep not, neither fear for me." Then, knowing well what would please the Queen best, he pleaded with her to aid him in his adventure.
"Provide me and my eleven knights with beautiful garments," thus he coaxed his lady mother, "that we may go to Burgundy clad as proud heroes should."
Swiftly the Queen dried her tears. "If go thou must, dear son," she said, "thou shalt go clothed in the best apparel ever warrior wore, thou and also thy brave comrades."
Thus day by day, while the eleven warriors polished their armour until it shone as the noontide sun, Sieglinde and her maidens sat stitching, stitching. Gladly they stitched, nor ever did their fingers loiter at their seams until Prince Siegfried's garments were complete.
At length all was ready and Siegfried and his eleven brave warriors took farewell of their native land. Gently the bold hero kissed his lady mother as once again her sad tears fell. "Fear not, dear mother," he said, "fear not; ere long I will return and bring with me the beauteous maiden Kriemhild." Yet the Queen and her maidens wept, and over the little band of knights a sudden gloom fell, they knew not why.
But ere long as they journeyed along, gay thoughts cheered the warriors, laughter and merry jests filled the air, for were they not going forward to fame and fair adventure.
For six days Siegfried and his knights journeyed, and on the seventh they reached the sandbank by the Rhine which led them into Worms. Boldly, and clad in their most costly garments, the Prince and his companions entered the royal city.
The Weasels and the Mice were always up in arms against each other. In every battle the Weasels carried off the victory, as well as a large number of the Mice, which they ate for dinner next day. In despair the Mice called a council, and there it was decided that the Mouse army was always beaten because it had no leaders. So a large number of generals and commanders were appointed from among the most eminent Mice.
To distinguish themselves from the soldiers in the ranks, the new leaders proudly bound on their heads lofty crests and ornaments of feathers or straw. Then after long preparation of the Mouse army in all the arts of war, they sent a challenge to the Weasels.
The Weasels accepted the challenge with eagerness, for they were always ready for a fight when a meal was in sight. They immediately attacked the Mouse army in large numbers. Soon the Mouse line gave way before the attack and the whole army fled for cover. The privates easily slipped into their holes, but the Mouse leaders could not squeeze through the narrow openings because of their head-dresses. Not one escaped the teeth of the hungry Weasels.
Greatness has its penalties.
They say that God lives very high!
But if you look above the pines
You cannot see our God. And why?
And if you dig down in the mines
You never see Him in the gold,
Though from Him all that's glory shines.
God is so good, He wears a fold
Of heaven and earth across His face—
Like secrets kept, for love, untold.
But still I feel that His embrace
Slides down by thrills, through all things made,
Through sight and sound of every place:
As if my tender mother laid
On my shut lids, her kisses' pressure,
Half waking me at night; and said
"Who kissed you through the dark, dear guesser?"
WEEK 5 |
"The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread."
T HE natives went back to Montezuma at Mexico. They showed him the pictures of the Spaniards, and he was sore troubled. He had reigned over his country for sixteen years. A sad, severe, somewhat melancholy man, he had a great idea of his own importance. He never set foot on the ground in public, but was carried on the shoulders of noblemen. Whenever he alighted, they laid down rich tapestry for him to walk on. No man, under the rank of a knight, might look on his face. He never put on the same garment twice, he never ate or drank out of the same dish more than once. The people looked on him as a god.
Cortes now resolved to pay him a visit in his capital, and he began quietly to prepare for the journey. First he built the little town of Vera Cruz—the True Cross—on the sea-shore as a basis of future operations. It was dawning on him, too, that there were timid souls in the camp; he did not feel sure they would wait for his return from Mexico, so he made up his mind to do a desperate thing. He destroyed the ships in the harbour of Vera Cruz, all save one. The news created a panic among the Spaniards, now cut off from home and friends. They were on a hostile shore, a mere handful of men against a powerful kingdom. Murmurs grew louder and louder. Mutiny threatened. Cortes spoke: "If there be any so cowardly as to shrink from sharing the dangers of this glorious enterprise, let them go home. There is one ship left. Let them take it and return to Cuba. They can tell how they deserted their commander and their comrades, and wait till we return laden with spoils from Mexico."
They had put their hands to the plough, there must be no turning back. Enthusiasm for their leader revived, his banner should lead them to victory. Not a man stirred away as the air rang with shouts, "To Mexico! To Mexico!"
The march was long and tedious, and it was three months before Cortes and his army reached the capital. With the first faint streak of dawn on the 8th of November, Montezuma's beautiful city of Mexico came into sight. "Forward, soldiers, the Holy Cross is our banner, and under that sign we shall conquer," cried the commander.
With beating hearts and trumpets sounding, the Spaniards strained their eyes over the gorgeous sight before them. The sacred flames on the altars, dimly seen through the mists of the early morning, showed the site of temples and towers. The palace itself was soon seen in the glorious morning sunshine as it rose and poured over the wondrous valley.
Mexico was one of the most beautiful cities of the world.
"Who shall describe Mexico!" cries the enthusiastic historian; "only one who has seen all the wonders of the world."
No wonder the Spaniards looked with envy on the fair city; no wonder they longed for the wealth, the boundless wealth, of this wondrous land. At the walls of the city Cortes heard that, after all, Montezuma was coming out to meet him; and true enough the Spaniards soon saw, amid a crowd of nobles, the royal chair, blazing with gold. It was borne on the shoulders of barefooted knights, who walked with downcast eyes. Over the king was a canopy of feather-work, powdered with jewels and fringed with silver. As the king alighted, the Spaniards could see his cloak was sprinkled with precious stones and pearls; on his feet were golden sandals, on his head were plumes of royal green.
Cortes explained his mission. He spoke to the king of his mission—to teach the heathen of Christ. He begged Montezuma to give up his idols and strange gods and to abstain from human sacrifices. The king refused. Cortes saw that as long as Montezuma sat on the throne of Mexico no conversion of the people could take place. They must dethrone the king. In vain to argue with him: he was resolute.
"Why do we waste time on this barbarian?" he cried. "Let us seize him, and if he resists, plunge our swords into his body."
The fierce tone of the Spaniards alarmed the king. If death were the alternative, then he must go. He looked at the stern faces and iron forms of these strange Spaniards, and he felt that his hour was come.
One day the Mexicans held a great festival. Montezuma was not allowed to take part in it, but six hundred of his people, decked out in mantles of feather-work and collars of gold, were dancing their sacred dance, when a party of Spaniards rushed on them with drawn swords, and without mercy or pity slew them to a man.
Then the long-pent-up fury of the people burst forth in a great cry for revenge, and they rushed upon the Spaniards. A frantic fight took place, until the Spaniards begged Montezuma to intercede. Dressing himself for the last time in his royal robes, the king mounted one of the battlements of his palace. His mantle of blue and white flowed from his shoulders, held together by a rich clasp of green. Emeralds set in gold shone on his dress. His feet were shod in golden sandals, on his head shone the crown of Mexico. As he appeared, the clang of war and fierce cries were hushed, and a death-like silence reigned. All eyes were cast down. Montezuma the king was among them again.
"Why do I see my people here in arms?" he cried to the crowds below; "is it to release your king? Your king is not a prisoner: these strangers are my guests. Return to your homes, then, and lay down your arms."
Murmurs ran through the crowd. Was Montezuma, then, the friend of these hated Spaniards? Did he not mind all the insults and injuries that had been heaped on their unhappy nation? Their fierce Mexican blood boiled.
"Base! Woman! Coward!" Such words they flung at the unhappy king. Then a cloud of stones and arrows were aimed at the solitary figure standing aloft on the turret of his palace, and Montezuma fell senseless to the ground. He was borne away by his faithful knights; but he had nothing more to live for. He had tasted the last drop in his bitter cup,—his own people had turned against him. A few days later he died.
Mexico was no longer a safe place for the Spaniards, and Cortes left the city the following night, hoping to escape under cover of darkness. But the Mexicans were not asleep. They fell upon the Spaniards as they crept noiselessly forth, killed numbers, and took the gold they were carrying away with them. When morning dawned and Cortes gazed at this shattered army, and missed the familiar faces of those who had braved so much for him, he sat down upon a rock, buried his face in his hands, and wept.
J UPITER once fell in love with a beautiful Titaness named Latona. This made Juno terribly angry: so she sent a huge and horrible snake, called Python, to hunt Latona all over the world. And she went to Terra, and made her swear not to give Latona a resting-place or a hiding-place anywhere.
So poor Latona was hunted and driven about by Python night and day. She also went to our Grandmother Earth, and begged for a corner to rest in or a cave to hide in. But old Terra said, "No. I have sworn to Juno that you shall have no rest in me."
At last, in her despair, she went to Neptune, and prayed him to hide her in his waters, since Earth had refused her. Neptune said, "I wish I could, with all my heart; but what place is there, in the sea or on the land, where you can hide from the Queen of the Sky? But wait—there's one thing that nobody knows of but me. There is an island under the sea; and this island is always moving and wandering about, so that nobody can see it, or tell where it may chance to be, for it is never in the same place two minutes together. It isn't sea, because it's land; but it doesn't belong to Terra, because it's under the sea, and has no bottom. I'll tell you what I'll do for you. I'll fix it where nobody can find it, and you'll be safe there, because it's neither earth nor sea."
So Neptune anchored the floating island in a part of the Ægean Sea. The island is called Delos; and it is there still, just where it was fixed by Neptune for Latona.
Latona went and lived there, safe from Juno and Python. After a time she had two children, a son and a daughter. The son was named Apollo, and the daughter Diana.
Both were beautiful, but Apollo was the most beautiful boy ever born. He was a wonderful child in every way. The very instant he was born he made a bow and arrow, and went across the sea, and found Python, and killed him. When he was four years old, he built one of the wonders of the world—a great altar to the gods, made of the horns of the goats that his sister Diana used to hunt and shoot in the mountains. With two such children to help her, Latona no longer felt afraid of Juno. So she left Delos, and came, with her two children, into a country of Asia Minor, called Lydia.
Now there was a princess in Thebes named Niobe, who had fourteen beautiful children—seven daughters and seven sons. She was very fond and proud of them, and she did not like to hear people talking about Latona's wonderful children. "What signifies a miserable couple of children, when I have fourteen?" she used to say. "I don't think much of Latona"; and, in her jealousy, she never lost a chance of insulting the mother of Apollo and Diana.
Of course these insults came to Latona's ears. Apollo and Diana heard of them too; and they resolved to punish the proud princess who insulted and scorned their mother. I scarcely like to tell you of how they punished Niobe, for I cannot think of anything more cruel.
Each of them took a bow and seven arrows. Apollo shot with his arrows all the seven sons of Niobe. Diana shot six of Niobe's seven daughters, leaving only one alive. "There!" said they; "what signifies a miserable one child, when our mother has two?"
When poor Niobe saw her children killed before her she wept bitterly, and she could not stop her tears. They flowed on and on, until she cried herself into stone.
As for Apollo, he kept on growing handsomer and stronger until he became a god—the most glorious of all the gods in the sky. Jupiter made him the god of the Sun, and made his sister, Diana, goddess of the Moon. He was also the god of all beautiful and useful things: of music, painting, poetry, medicine. Several names were given to him. One of his names is "Phœbus," which means bright and splendid like the sun. "Apollo" means "the Destroyer": people must guess for themselves why he was called "the Destroyer."
In pictures and statues he is always made graceful, beautiful, and young. He has no hair on his face, but wears long waving hair. Sometimes he carries a lyre—a sort of small harp—and sometimes a bow. Very often he wears a wreath of laurel. You must take a great deal of notice of Apollo, or Phœbus, because he is the most famous of all the gods next to Jupiter. It will help you to know him if you think of him as always beautiful, wise, and bright, but rather cruel and hard.
WEEK 5 |
O NCE upon a time there was a man who had a meadow which lay on the side of a mountain, and in the meadow there was a barn in which he stored hay. But there had not been much hay in the barn for the last two years, for every St. John's eve, when the grass was in the height of its vigour, it was all eaten clean up, just as if a whole flock of sheep had gnawed it down to the ground during the night. This happened once, and it happened twice, but then the man got tired of losing his crop, and said to his sons—he had three of them, and the third was called Cinderlad—that one of them must go and sleep in the barn on St. John's night, for it was absurd to let the grass be eaten up again, blade and stalk, as it had been the last two years, and the one who went to watch must keep a sharp look-out, the man said.
The eldest was quite willing to go to the meadow; he would watch the grass, he said, and he would do it so well that neither man, nor beast, nor even the devil himself should have any of it. So when evening came he went to the barn, and lay down to sleep, but when night was drawing near there was such a rumbling and such an earthquake that the walls and roof shook again, and the lad jumped up and took to his heels as fast as he could, and never even looked back, and the barn remained empty that year just as it had been for the last two.
Next St. John's eve the man again said that he could not go on in this way, losing all the grass in the outlying field year after year, and that one of his sons must just go there and watch it, and watch well too. So the next oldest son was willing to show what he could do. He went to the barn and lay down to sleep, as his brother had done; but when night was drawing near there was a great rumbling, and then an earthquake, which was even worse than that on the former St. John's night, and when the youth heard it he was terrified, and went off, running as if for a wager.
The year after, it was Cinderlad's turn, but when he made ready to go the others laughed at him, and mocked him. "Well, you are just the right one to watch the hay, you who have never learnt anything but how to sit among the ashes and bake yourself!" said they. Cinderlad, however, did not trouble himself about what they said, but when evening drew near rambled away to the outlying field. When he got there he went into the barn and lay down, but in about an hour's time the rumbling and creaking began, and it was frightful to hear it. "Well, if it gets no worse than that, I can manage to stand it," thought Cinderlad. In a little time the creaking began again, and the earth quaked so that all the hay flew about the boy. "Oh! if it gets no worse than that I can manage to stand it," thought Cinderlad. But then came a third rumbling, and a third earthquake, so violent that the boy thought the walls and roof had fallen down, but when that was over everything suddenly grew as still as death around him. "I am pretty sure that it will come again," thought Cinderlad; but no, it did not. Everything was quiet, and everything stayed quiet, and when he had lain still a short time he heard something that sounded as if a horse were standing chewing just outside the barn door. He stole away to the door, which was ajar, to see what was there, and a horse was standing eating.
It was so big, and fat, and fine a horse that Cinderlad had never seen one like it before, and a saddle and bridle lay upon it, and a complete suit of armour for a knight, and everything was of copper, and so bright that it shone again. "Ha, ha! it is thou who eatest up our hay then," thought the boy; "but I will stop that." So he made haste, and took out his steel for striking fire, and threw it over the horse, and then it had no power to stir from the spot, and became so tame that the boy could do what he liked with it. So he mounted it and rode away to a place which no one knew of but himself, and there he tied it up. When he went home again his brothers laughed and asked how he had got on.
"You didn't lie long in the barn, if even you have been so far as the field!" said they.
"I lay in the barn till the sun rose, but I saw nothing and heard nothing, not I," said the boy. "God knows what there was to make you two so frightened."
"Well, we shall soon see whether you have watched the meadow or not," answered the brothers, but when they got there the grass was all standing just as long and as thick as it had been the night before.
The next St. John's eve it was the same thing, once again: neither of the two brothers dared to go to the outlying field to watch the crop, but Cinderlad went, and everything happened exactly the same as on the previous St. John's eve: first there was a rumbling and an earthquake, and then there was another, and then a third; but all three earthquakes were much, very much more violent than they had been the year before. Then everything became still as death again, and the boy heard something chewing outside the barn door, so he stole as softly as he could to the door, which was slightly ajar, and again there was a horse standing close by the wall of the house, eating and chewing, and it was far larger and fatter than the first horse, and it had a saddle on its back, and a bridle was on it too, and a full suit of armour for a knight, all of bright silver, and as beautiful as anyone could wish to see. "Ho, ho!" thought the boy, "is it thou who eatest up our hay in the night? but I will put a stop to that." So he took out his steel for striking fire, and threw it over the horse's mane, and the beast stood there as quiet as a lamb. Then the boy rode this horse, too, away to the place where he kept the other, and then went home again.
"I suppose you will tell us that you have watched well again this time," said the brothers.
"Well, so I have," said Cinderlad. So they went there again, and there the grass was, standing as high and as thick as it had been before, but that did not make them any kinder to Cinderlad.
When the third St. John's night came neither of the two elder brothers dared to lie in the outlying barn to watch the grass, for they had been so heartily frightened the night that they had slept there that they could not get over it, but Cinderlad dared to go, and everything happened just the same as on the two former nights. There were three earthquakes, each worse than the other, and the last flung the boy from one wall of the barn to the other, but then everything suddenly became still as death. When he had lain quietly a short time, he heard something chewing outside the barn door; then he once more stole to the door, which was slightly ajar, and behold, a horse was standing just outside it, which was much larger and fatter than the two others he had caught. "Ho, ho! it is thou, then, who art eating up our hay this time," thought the boy; "but I will put a stop to that." So he pulled out his steel for striking fire, and threw it over the horse, and it stood as still as if it had been nailed to the field, and the boy could do just what he liked with it. Then he mounted it and rode away to the place where he had the two others, and then he went home again. Then the two brothers mocked him just as they had done before, and told him that they could see that he must have watched the grass very carefully that night, for he looked just as if he were walking in his sleep; but Cinderlad did not trouble himself about that, but just bade them go to the field and see. They did go, and this time too the grass was standing, looking as fine and as thick as ever.
The King of the country in which Cinderlad's father dwelt had a daughter whom he would give to no one who could not ride up to the top of the glass hill, for there was a high, high hill of glass, slippery as ice, and it was close to the King's palace. Upon the very top of this the King's daughter was to sit with three gold apples in her lap, and the man who could ride up and take the three golden apples should marry her, and have half the kingdom. The King had this proclaimed in every church in the whole kingdom, and in many other kingdoms too. The Princess was very beautiful, and all who saw her fell violently in love with her, even in spite of themselves. So it is needless to say that all the princes and knights were eager to win her, and half the kingdom besides, and that for this cause they came riding thither from the very end of the world, dressed so splendidly that their raiments gleamed in the sunshine, and riding on horses which seemed to dance as they went, and there was not one of these princes who did not think that he was sure to win the Princess.
When the day appointed by the King had come, there was such a host of knights and princes under the glass hill that they seemed to swarm, and everyone who could walk or even creep was there too, to see who won the King's daughter. Cinderlad's two brothers were there too, but they would not hear of letting him go with them, for he was so dirty and black with sleeping and grubbing among the ashes that they said everyone would laugh at them if they were seen in the company of such an oaf.
"Well, then, I will go all alone by myself," said Cinderlad.
When the two brothers got to the glass hill, all the princes and knights were trying to ride up it, and their horses were in a foam; but it was all in vain, for no sooner did the horses set foot upon the hill than down they slipped, and there was not one which could get even so much as a couple of yards up. Nor was that strange, for the hill was as smooth as a glass window-pane, and as steep as the side of a house. But they were all eager to win the King's daughter and half the kingdom, so they rode and they slipped, and thus it went on. At length all the horses were so tired that they could do no more, and so hot that the foam dropped from them and the riders were forced to give up the attempt. The King was just thinking that he would cause it to be proclaimed that the riding should begin afresh on the following day, when perhaps it might go better, when suddenly a knight came riding up on so fine a horse that no one had ever seen the like of it before, and the knight had armour of copper, and his bridle was of copper too, and all his accoutrements were so bright that they shone again. The other knights all called out to him that he might just as well spare himself the trouble of trying to ride up the glass hill, for it was of no use to try; but he did not heed them, and rode straight off to it, and went up as if it were nothing at all. Thus he rode for a long way—it may have been a third part of the way up—but when he had got so far he turned his horse round and rode down again. But the Princess thought that she had never yet seen so handsome a knight, and while he was riding up she was sitting thinking, "Oh! how I hope he may be able to come up to the top!" And when she saw that he was turning his horse back she threw one of the golden apples down after him, and it rolled into his shoe. But when he had come down from off the hill he rode away, and that so fast that no one knew what had become of him.
So all the princes and knights were bidden to present themselves before the King that night, so that he who had ridden so far up the glass hill might show the golden apple which the King's daughter had thrown down. But no one had anything to show. One knight presented himself after the other, and none could show the apple.
At night, too, Cinderlad's brothers came home again and had a long story to tell about the riding up the glass hill. At first, they said, there was not one who was able to get even so much as one step up, but then came a knight who had armour of copper, and a bridle of copper, and his armour and trappings were so bright that they shone to a great distance, and it was something like a sight to see him riding. He rode one-third of the way up the glass hill, and he could easily have ridden the whole of it if he had liked; but he had turned back, for he had made up his mind that that was enough for once. "Oh! I should have liked to see him too, that I should," said Cinderlad, who was as usual sitting by the chimney among the cinders. "You indeed!" said the brothers, "you look as if you were fit to be among such great lords, nasty beast that you are to sit there!"
Next day the brothers were for setting out again, and this time too Cinderlad begged them to let him go with them and see who rode; but no, they said he was not fit to do that, for he was much too ugly and dirty. "Well, well, then I will go all alone by myself," said Cinderlad. So the brothers went to the glass hill, and all the princes and knights began to ride again, and this time they had taken care to rough the shoes of their horses; but that did not help them: they rode and they slipped as they had done the day before, and not one of them could even get so far as a yard up the hill. When they had tired out their horses, so that they could do no more, they again had to stop altogether. But just as the King was thinking that it would be well to proclaim that the riding should take place next day for the last time, so that they might have one more chance, he suddenly bethought himself that it would be well to wait a little longer to see if the knight in copper armour would come on this day too. But nothing was to be seen of him. Just as they were still looking for him, however, came a knight riding on a steed that was much, much finer than that which the knight in copper armour had ridden, and this knight had silver armour and a silver saddle and bridle, and all were so bright that they shone and glistened when he was a long way off. Again the other knights called to him, and said that he might just as well give up the attempt to ride up the glass hill, for it was useless to try; but the knight paid no heed to that, but rode straight away to the glass hill, and went still farther up than the knight in copper armour had gone; but when he had ridden two-thirds of the way up he turned his horse round, and rode down again.
The Princess liked this knight still better than she had liked the other, and sat longing that he might be able to get up above, and when she saw him turning back she threw the second apple after him, and it rolled into his shoe, and as soon as he had got down the glass hill he rode away so fast that no one could see what had become of him.
In the evening, when everyone was to appear before the King and Princess, in order that he who had the golden apple might show it, one knight went in after the other, but none of them had a golden apple to show.
At night the two brothers went home as they had done the night before, and told how things had gone, and how everyone had ridden, but no one had been able to get up the hill. "But last of all," they said, "came one in silver armour, and he had a silver bridle on his horse, and a silver saddle, and oh, but he could ride!" He took his horse two-thirds of the way up the hill, but then he turned back. He was a fine fellow," said the brothers, "and the Princess threw the second golden apple to him!"
"Oh, how I should have liked to see him too!" said Cinderlad.
"Oh, indeed! He was a little brighter than the ashes that you sit grubbing among, you dirty black creature!" said the brothers.
On the third day everything went just as on the former days. Cinderlad wanted to go with them to look at the riding, but the two brothers would not have him in their company, and when they got to the glass hill there was no one who could ride even so far as a yard up it, and everyone waited for the knight in silver armour, but he was neither to be seen nor heard of. At last, after a long time, came a knight riding upon a horse that was such a fine one, its equal had never yet been seen. The knight had golden armour, and the horse a golden saddle and bridle, and these were all so bright that they shone and dazzled everyone, even while the knight was still at a great distance. The other princes and knights were not able even to call to tell him how useless it was to try to ascend the hill, so amazed were they at the sight of his magnificence. He rode straight away to the glass hill, and galloped up it as if it were no hill at all, so that the Princess had not even time to wish that he might get up the whole way. As soon as he had ridden to the top, he took the third golden apple from the lap of the Princess and then turned his horse about and rode down again, and vanished from their sight before anyone was able to say a word to him.
When the two brothers came home again at night, they had much to tell of how the riding had gone off that day, and at last they told about the knight in the golden armour too. "He was a fine fellow, that was! Such another splendid knight is not to be found on earth!" said the brothers.
"Oh, how I should have liked to see him too!" said Cinderlad.
"Well, he shone nearly as brightly as the coal-heaps that thou art always lying raking amongst, dirty black creature that thou art!" said the brothers.
Next day all the knights and princes were to appear before the King and the Princess—it had been too late for them to do it the night before—in order that he who had the golden apple might produce it. They all went in turn, first princes, and then knights, but none of them had a golden apple.
"But somebody must have it," said the King, "for with our own eyes we all saw a man ride up and take it." So he commanded that everyone in the kingdom should come to the palace, and see if he could show the apple. And one after the other they all came, but no one had the golden apple, and after a long, long time Cinderlad's two brothers came likewise. They were the last of all, so the King inquired of them if there was no one else in the kingdom left to come.
"Oh! yes, we have a brother," said the two, "but he never got the golden apple! He never left the cinder-heap on any of the three days."
"Never mind that," said the King; "as everyone else has come to the palace, let him come too."
So Cinderlad was forced to go to the King's palace.
"Hast thou the golden apple?" asked the King.
"Yes, here is the first, and here is the second, and here is the third, too," said Cinderlad, and he took all three apples out of his pocket, and with that drew off his sooty rags, and appeared there before them in his bright golden armour, which gleamed as he stood.
"Thou shalt have my daughter, and the half of my kingdom, and thou hast well earned both!" said the King. So there was a wedding, and Cinderlad got the King's daughter, and everyone made merry at the wedding, for all of them could make merry, though they could not ride up the glass hill, and if they have not left off their merry-making they must be at it still.
T HERE are many kinds of wasps. There are mud wasps, which make mud houses.
Lonely wasps build alone in the ground, and dig holes in the sand. They throw the sand back between their hind legs.
Did you ever see your dog dig a hole? The wasp digs in the same way as the dog does.
Sand wasps make tiny earth houses on walls and fences. Tree wasps hang great paper houses upon the branches or twigs of trees.
Rust-red wasps do not build houses for their cells. They make fine paper cells, and hang them with the open part down, in some safe place.
They varnish the cells to keep them dry. In a cold land, the wasps build in barns, attics, hollow trees, or in the ground.
In warm lands, they hang a bunch of cells out in the open air, on trees or vines.
One day I found a wasp's nest in an old can. There had been paint in the can. The wasp had made a stem of paint.
She used her feet to twist it into a stiff rope. Upon that, for a stem, she built a nest like a white flower.
She put a cell upon the stem, and six cells around that one. In each cell was a wee, white egg.
The eggs grew to fat grubs. They had black heads.
Then Mrs. Wasp fed them. She went from one cell to the other, and fed her grubs, just as a bird feeds its young.
Mrs. Wasp also makes a pap of bugs and fruit, and gives it to her young.
Wasps are very neat. They keep their nests clean. They use cells more than once. But they make new nests each year.
One kind of wasp is called the White Face; its face is white.
Every wasp has a clean, shining coat, and a fierce look; but the White Face is the fiercest looking of all.
Wasps do not bite or chew food; they suck out the juices of fruit and insects. They also eat honey.
A Cosy Nest
Speak gently; it is better far
To rule by love than fear;
Speak gently; let no harsh word mar
The good that we do here.
Speak gently to the little child;
Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild;
It may not long remain.
Speak gently to the young, for they
Will have enough to bear;
Pass through this life as best they may,
'Tis full of anxious care.
Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the care-worn heart,
Whose sands of life are nearly run;
Let such in peace depart.
Speak gently to the erring; know
They must have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
Oh, win them back again.
Speak gently; 'tis a little thing
Dropped in the heart's deep well;
The good, the joy, that it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.
WEEK 5 |
I Kings xii: 25, to xiv: 20; xv: 25 to 32.
HE Lord had told Jeroboam that he should become king over the Ten Tribes, as we read in Story 73; and the Lord has promised Jeroboam that if he would serve the Lord, and do his will, then his kingdom would become great, and his descendants, those who should come after him, should sit long on the throne. But Jeroboam, though wise in worldly matters, was not faithful to the Lord God of Israel.
He saw that his people, though separated from the rule of King Rehoboam, still went up to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple, because there was the only altar in all the land. Jeroboam said to himself:
"If my people go up to worship at Jerusalem, then after a time they will become the friends of Rehoboam and his people; and then they will leave me, or perhaps kill me, and let Rehoboam rule again over all the land. I will build places for worship and altars in my own kingdom; and then my people will not need to go abroad to worship."
Jeroboam forgot that the Lord, who had given him the kingdom, could care for him and keep him, if he should be faithful to the Lord. But because he would not trust the Lord, he did that which was very evil. He chose two places, Bethel in the south, on the road to Jerusalem, and Dan far in the north; and made these places of worship for his people. And for each place he made a calf of god, and set it up; and he said to the people of Israel:
"It is too far for you to go up to Jerusalem to worship. Here are gods for you, at Bethel and at Dan. These are the gods which brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Come and worship these gods."
And as the priests of the tribe of Levi would not serve in Jeroboam's idol-temples, he took men out of all the tribes, some of them common and low men, and made them his priests. And all through the land, upon hills and high places, Jeroboam caused images to be set up, to lead the people in worshipping idols.
In the fall of the year there was held a feast to the Lord in Jerusalem, to which the people went from all the land. Jeroboam made a great feast at Bethel, a few weeks later than the feast at Jerusalem, in order to draw people to his idol-temple at Bethel, and to keep them away from the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem. At this feast King Jeroboam went up to the idol-altar at Bethel, and burned incense, which was a sweet-smelling smoke, made by burning certain gums. Thus Jeroboam led his people away from the Lord to idols; and ever after this, when his name is mentioned in the Bible, he is spoken of as "Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin."
On a day when Jeroboam was offering incense at the altar, a man of God, a prophet, came from Judah; and he cried out against the altar, saying:
"O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord, Behold, in the time to come there shall rise up a man of the house of David, Josiah by name. And Josiah shall burn upon this altar the bones of the priests that have offered sacrifices to idols in this place. And this altar and this temple shall be destroyed."
The prophet from Judah also said to Jeroboam, "I will prove to you that I am speaking in the power of the Lord; and this shall be the sign. This altar shall fall apart, and the ashes upon it shall be poured out."
When King Jeroboam heard this, he was very angry. He stretched out his arm toward the prophet, and called to his guards, saying, "Take hold of that man!"
And instantly the hand which Jeroboam held out toward the prophet, dried up and became helpless And as if by an earthquake the altar before which the king stood was torn apart, and the ashes fell out upon the ground. Then the king saw that this was the work of the Lord. He said to the prophet, "Pray to the Lord your God for me, that he may make my hand well again."
Then the prophet prayed to the Lord, and the Lord heard his prayer, and made the king's hand well once more. Then King Jeroboam said to the prophet, "Come home with me, and dine, and rest; and I will give you a reward."
And the man of God said to the king:
"If you would give me half of your house, I will not go
to your home, nor eat bread, nor drink water in this
place. For the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
'Eat no bread, and drink no water in this place; and go
to your home in the land of Judah by another
So the man of God left Bethel by a road different from that by which he came, and went toward his own home in the land of Judah.
There was living in Bethel at that time another prophet, and old man. His sons told him of the coming of the man of God from Judah, what he said, and what the Lord had wrought. The old man learned from his sons which road the prophet had taken, and followed after him, and found him resting under an oak tree. He said to him:
"Are you the man of God that came from Judah?"
And he said, "I am." Then said the old prophet of Bethel to him, "come home with me, and have supper with me."
But the man of God said to him, "The Lord has commanded me not to eat bread or drink water in this place; and I must therefore go back to my own home in the land of Judah."
Then the old man said:
"I am a prophet of the Lord as you are; and an angel
spoke to me from the Lord, saying, 'Bring the prophet
from Judah back to your house, and let him eat and
Now this was not true. It was a wicked lie. Then the prophet from Judah went home with him, and took a meal at his house. This also was not right, for he should have obeyed what the Lord had said to him, even though another man claimed to have heard a different message from the Lord.
And even while they were sitting at the table, a word came from the Lord to the old prophet who had told the lie; and he cried out to the prophet from Judah, saying:
"Thus saith the Lord, 'Because you have disobeyed my
command, have come back to this place, and have eaten
bread and drunk water here, therefore you shall die and
your body shall not be buried in the tomb with your
After dinner the prophet started again to ride upon his ass back to his own home. And on the way a lion came out, and killed him. But the lion did not eat the man's body. He stood beside it, and the ass stood by it also. And this was told to the old prophet whose lies had led him to disobey the Lord. Then the old prophet came, and took up his body, and laid it in his own tomb, and mourned over him. And he said to his sons:
"When I am dead, bury me beside the body of the prophet from the land of Judah. For I know that what he spoke as the message of God against the altar at Bethel shall surely come to pass."
A lion came out and killed the prophet.
At one time the child of King Jeroboam was taken very ill; and his mother, the queen, went to the prophet Ahijah, the one who had promised the kingdom to Jeroboam, who was now an old man and blind, if the child would be well again. But Ahijah said to her: "Tell King Jeroboam that thus saith the Lord to him:
"You have done evil worse than any before you; and have made graven images, and have cast the Lord behind your back. Therefore the Lord will bring evil upon you and upon your house. Your sick child shall die, and every other child of yours shall be slain; and your family shall be swept away. The dogs shall eat the bodies of your children in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat those that die in the field. And in times to come God shall smite Israel, and shall carry them into a land far away, because of the idols which they have worshipped."
The wife of jeroboam and the blind prophet.
And after this Jeroboam died, and his son Nadab began to reign in his place. But after two years Baasha, one of his servants, rose up against Nadab, and killed him, and made himself king over Israel. And Baasha killed every child of Jeroboam, and left not one son or daughter of Jeroboam alive, as Ahijah the prophet had said.
So, although Jeroboam was made king, as God had promised him, it came to pass that the kingdom was taken away from his family, because he did not obey the world of the Lord, but led his people into sin.
T HE Old Grey Donkey, Eeyore, stood by himself in a thistly corner of the forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?"—and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.
So when Winnie-the-Pooh came stumping along, Eeyore was very glad to be able to stop thinking for a little, in order to say "How do you do?" in a gloomy manner to him.
"And how are you?" said Winnie-the-Pooh.
Eeyore shook his head from side to side.
"Not very how," he said. "I don't seem to have felt at all how for a long time."
"Dear, dear," said Pooh, "I'm sorry about that. Let's have a look at you."
So Eeyore stood there, gazing sadly at the ground, and Winnie-the-Pooh walked all round him once.
"Why, what's happened to your tail?" he said in surprise.
"What has happened to it?" said Eeyore. "It isn't there!"
"Are you sure?"
"Well, either a tail is there or it isn't there. You can't make a mistake about it. And yours isn't there!"
"Then what is?"
"Let's have a look," said Eeyore, and he turned slowly round to the place where his tail had been a little while ago, and then, finding that he couldn't catch it up, he turned round the other way, until he came back to where he was at first, and then he put his head down and looked between his front legs, and at last he said, with a long, sad sigh, "I believe you're right."
"Of course I'm right," said Pooh.
"That Accounts for a Good Deal," said Eeyore gloomily. "It Explains Everything. No Wonder."
"You must have left it somewhere," said Winnie-the-Pooh.
"Somebody must have taken it," said Eeyore. "How Like Them," he added, after a long silence.
Pooh felt that he ought to say something helpful about it, but didn't quite know what. So he decided to do something helpful instead.
"Eeyore," he said solemnly, "I, Winnie-the-Pooh, will find your tail for you."
"Thank you, Pooh," answered Eeyore. "You're a real friend," said he. "Not like Some," he said.
So Winnie-the-Pooh went off to find Eeyore's tail.
It was a fine spring morning in the forest as he started out. Little soft clouds played happily in a blue sky, skipping from time to time in front of the sun as if they had come to put it out, and then sliding away suddenly so that the next might have his turn. Through them and between them the sun shone bravely; and a copse which had worn its firs all the year round seemed old and dowdy now beside the new green lace which the beeches had put on so prettily. Through copse and spinney marched Bear; down open slopes of gorse and heather, over rocky beds of streams, up steep banks of sandstone into the heather again; and so at last, tired and hungry, to the Hundred Acre Wood. For it was in the Hundred Acre Wood that Owl lived.
"And if anyone knows anything about anything," said Bear to himself, "it's Owl who knows something about something," he said, "or my name's not Winnie-the-Pooh," he said. "Which it is," he added. "So there you are."
Owl lived at The Chestnuts, an old-world residence of great charm, which was grander than anybody else's, or seemed so to Bear, because it had both a knocker and a bell-pull. Underneath the knocker there was a notice which said:
PLES RING IF AN RNSER IS REQIRD.
Underneath the bell-pull there was a notice which said:
PLEZ CNOKE IF AN RNSR IS NOT REQID.
These notices had been written by Christopher Robin, who was the only one in the forest who could spell; for Owl, wise though he was in many ways, able to read and write and spell his own name WOL, yet somehow went all to pieces over delicate words like MEASLES and BUTTEREDTOAST.
Winnie-the-Pooh read the two notices very carefully, first from left to right, and afterwards, in case he had missed some of it, from right to left. Then, to make quite sure, he knocked and pulled the knocker, and he pulled and knocked the bell-rope, and he called out in a very loud voice, "Owl! I require an answer! It's Bear speaking." And the door opened, and Owl looked out.
"Hallo, Pooh," he said. "How's things?"
"Terrible and Sad," said Pooh, "because Eeyore, who is a friend of mine, has lost his tail. And he's Moping about it. So could you very kindly tell me how to find it for him?"
"Well," said Owl, "the customary procedure in such cases is as follows."
"What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?" said Pooh. "For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me."
"It means the Thing to Do."
"As long as it means that, I don't mind," said Pooh humbly.
"The thing to do is as follows. First, Issue a
"Just a moment," said Pooh, holding up his paw. "What do we do to this—what you were saying? You sneezed just as you were going to tell me."
"I didn't sneeze."
"Yes, you did, Owl."
"Excuse me, Pooh, I didn't. You can't sneeze without knowing it."
"Well, you can't know it without something having been sneezed."
"What I said was, 'First Issue a Reward'." "You're doing it again," said Pooh sadly.
"A Reward!" said Owl very loudly. "We write a notice to say that we will give a large something to anybody who finds Eeyore's tail."
"I see, I see," said Pooh, nodding his head. "Talking about
large somethings," he went on dreamily, "I
generally have a small something about now—about this
time in the morning," and he looked wistfully at the
cupboard in the corner of
Owl's parlour; "just a mouthful of condensed milk or
whatnot, with perhaps a lick of
"Well, then," said Owl, "we write out this notice, and we put it up all over the forest."
"A lick of honey," murmured Bear to himself, "or—or not, as the case may be." And he gave a deep sigh, and tried very hard to listen to what Owl was saying.
But Owl went on and on, using longer and longer words, until at last he came back to where he started, and he explained that the person to write out this notice was Christopher Robin.
"It was he who wrote the ones on my front door for me. Did you see them, Pooh?"
For some time now Pooh had been saying "Yes" and "No" in turn, with his eyes shut, to all that Owl was saying, and having said, "Yes, yes," last time, he said "No, not at all," now, without really knowing what Owl was talking about.
"Didn't you see them?" said Owl, a little surprised. "Come and look at them now."
So they went outside. And Pooh looked at the knocker and the notice below it, and he looked at the bell-rope and the notice below it, and the more he looked at the bell-rope, the more he felt that he had seen something like it, somewhere else, sometime before.
"Handsome bell-rope, isn't it?" said Owl.
"It reminds me of something," he said, "but I can't think what. Where did you get it?"
"I just came across it in the Forest. It was hanging over a
bush, and I thought at first somebody lived there,
so I rang it, and nothing happened, and then I rang it again
very loudly, and it came off in my hand, and as
nobody seemed to want it, I took it home,
"Owl," said Pooh solemnly, "you made a mistake. Somebody did want it."
"Eeyore. My dear friend Eeyore. He was—he was fond of it."
"Fond of it?"
"Attached to it," said Winnie-the-Pooh sadly.
So with these words he unhooked it, and carried it back to Eeyore; and when Christopher Robin had nailed it on in its right place again, Eeyore frisked about the forest, waving his tail so happily that Winnie-the-Pooh came over all funny, and had to hurry home for a little snack of something to sustain him.
And, wiping his mouth half an hour afterwards, he sang to himself proudly:
Who found the Tail?
"I," said Pooh,
"At a quarter to two
(Only it was quarter to eleven really),
I found the Tail!"
The Man in the Moon as he sails the sky
Is a very remarkable skipper,
But he made a mistake when he tried to take
A drink of milk from the Dipper.
He dipped right out of the Milky Way,
And slowly and carefully filled it,
The Big Bear growled, and the Little Bear howled
And frightened him so that he spilled it!