Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 50  


Heidi  by Johanna Spyri

"Good-bye Till We Meet Again"

G RANDMAMMA wrote the day before her arrival to let the children know that they might expect her without fail. Peter brought up the letter early the following morning. Grandfather and the children were already outside and the goats were awaiting him, shaking their heads frolicsomely in the fresh morning air, while the children stroked them and wished them a pleasant journey up the mountain. Uncle stood near, looking now at the fresh faces of the children, now at his well-kept goats, with a smile on his face, evidently well pleased with the sight of both.

As Peter neared the group his steps slackened, and the instant he had handed the letter to Uncle he turned quickly away as if frightened, and as he went he gave a hasty glance behind him, as if the thing he feared was pursuing him, and then he gave a leap and ran off up the mountain.

"Grandfather," said Heidi, who had been watching him with astonished eyes, "why does Peter always behave now like the Great Turk when he thinks somebody is after him with a stick; he turns and shakes his head and goes off with a bound just like that?"

"Perhaps Peter fancies he sees the stick which he so well deserves coming after him," answered grandfather.

Peter ran up the first slope without a pause; when he was well out of sight, however, he stood still and looked suspiciously about him. Suddenly he gave a jump and looked behind him with a terrified expression, as if some one had caught hold of him by the nape of the neck; for Peter expected every minute that the police-constable from Frankfurt would leap out upon him from behind some bush or hedge. The longer his suspense lasted, the more frightened and miserable he became; he did not know a moment's peace.

Heidi now set about tidying the hut, as grandmamma must find everything clean and in good order when she arrived.

Clara looked on amused and interested to watch the busy Heidi at her work.

So the morning soon went by, and grandmamma might now be expected at any minute. The children dressed themselves and went and sat together outside on the seat ready to receive her.

Grandfather joined them, that they might see the splendid bunch of blue gentians which he had been up the mountain to gather, and the children exclaimed with delight at the beauty of the flowers as they shone in the morning sun. The grandfather then carried them indoors. Heidi jumped up from time to time to see if there was any sign of grandmamma's approach.

At last she saw the procession winding up the mountain just in the order she had expected. First there was the guide, then the white horse with grandmamma mounted upon it, and last of all the porter with a heavy bundle on his back, for grandmamma would not think of going up the mountain without a full supply of wraps and rugs.

Nearer and nearer wound the procession; at last it reached the top and grandmamma was there looking down on the children from her horse. She no sooner saw them, however, sitting side by side, than she began quickly dismounting, as she cried out in a shocked tone of voice, "Why is this? why are you not lying in your chair, Clara? What are you all thinking about?" But even before she had got close to them she threw up her hands in astonishment, exclaiming further, "Is it really you, dear child? Why, your cheeks have grown quite round and rosy! I should hardly have known you again!" And she was hastening forward to embrace her, when Heidi slipped down from the seat, and Clara leaning on her shoulder, the two children began walking along quite coolly and naturally. Then indeed grandmamma was surprised, or rather alarmed, for she thought at first that it must be some unheard-of proceeding of Heidi's devising.

But no—Clara was actually walking steadily and uprightly beside Heidi—and now the two children turned and came towards her with beaming faces and rosy cheeks. Laughing and crying she ran to them and embraced first Clara and then Heidi, and then Clara again, unable to speak for joy. All at once she caught sight of Uncle standing by the seat and looking on smiling at the meeting. She took Clara's arm in hers, and with continual expressions of delight at the fact that the child could now really walk about with her, she went up to the old man, and then letting go Clara's arm she seized his hands.

"My dear Uncle! my dear Uncle! how much we have to thank you for! It is all your doing! it is your caring and nursing——"

"And God's good sun and mountain air," he interrupted her, smiling.

"Yes, and don't forget the beautiful milk I have," put in Clara. "Grandmamma, you can't think what a quantity of goat's milk I drink, and how nice it is!"

"I can see that by your cheeks, child," answered grandmamma. "I really should not have known you; you have grown quite strong and plump, and taller too; I never hoped or expected to see you look like that. I cannot take my eyes off you, for I can hardly yet believe it. But now I must telegraph without delay to my son in Paris, and tell him he must come here at once. I shall not say why; it will be the greatest happiness he has ever known. My dear Uncle, how can I send a telegram; have you dismissed the men yet?"

"They have gone," he answered, "but if you are in a hurry I will fetch Peter, and he can take it for you."

Grandmamma thanked him, for she was anxious that the good news should not be kept from her son a day longer than was possible.

So Uncle went aside a little way and blew such a resounding whistle through his fingers that he awoke a responsive echo among the rocks far overhead. He had not to wait many minutes before Peter came running down in answer, for he knew the sound of Uncle's whistle. Peter arrived, looking as white as a ghost, for he quite thought Uncle was sending for him to give him up. But as it was he only had a written paper given him with instructions to take it down at once to the post-office at Dörfli; Uncle would settle for the payment later, as it was not safe to give Peter too much to look after.

Peter went off with the paper in his hand, feeling some relief of mind for the present, for as Uncle had not whistled for him in order to give him up it was evident that no policeman had yet arrived.

So now they could all sit down in peace to their dinner round the table in front of the hut, and grandmamma was given a detailed account of all that had taken place. How grandfather had made Clara try first to stand and then to move her feet a little every day, and how they had settled for the day's excursion up the mountain and the chair had been blown away. How Clara's desire to see the flowers had induced her to take the first walk, and so by degrees one thing had led to another. The recital took some time, for grandmamma continually interrupted it with fresh exclamations of surprise and thankfulness: "It hardly seems possible! I can scarcely believe it is not all a dream! Are we really awake, and are all sitting here by the mountain hut, and is that round-faced, healthy-looking child my poor little, white, sickly Clara?"

And Clara and Heidi could not get over their delight at the success of the surprise they had so carefully arranged for grandmamma and at the latter's continued astonishment.

Meanwhile Herr Sesemann, who had finished his business in Paris, had also been preparing a surprise. Without saying a word to his mother he got into the train one sunny morning and travelled that day to Basle; the next morning he continued his journey, for a great longing had seized him to see his little daughter from whom he had been separated the whole summer. He arrived at Ragatz a few hours after his mother had left. When he heard that she had that very day started for the mountain, he immediately hired a carriage and drove off to Mayenfeld; here he found that he could if he liked drive on as far as Dörfli, which he did, as he thought the walk up from that place would be as long as he cared for.

Herr Sesemann found he was right, for the climb up the mountain, as it was, proved long and fatiguing to him. He went on and on, but still no hut came in sight, and yet he knew there was one where Peter lived half way up, for the path had been described to him over and over again.

There were traces of climbers to be seen on all sides; the narrow footpaths seemed to run in every direction, and Herr Sesemann began to wonder if he was on the right one, and whether the hut lay perhaps on the other side of the mountain. He looked round to see if any one was in sight of whom he could ask the way; but far and wide there was not a soul to be seen or a sound to be heard. Only at moments the mountain wind whistled through the air, and the insects hummed in the sunshine or a happy bird sang out from the branches of a solitary larch tree. Herr Sesemann stood still for a while to let the cool Alpine wind blow on his hot face. But now some one came running down the mountain-side—it was Peter with the telegram in his hand. He ran straight down the steep slope, not following the path on which Herr Sesemann was standing. As soon as the latter caught sight of him he beckoned to him to come. Peter advanced towards him slowly and timidly, with a sort of sidelong movement, as if he could only move one leg properly and had to drag the other after him.

"Hurry up, lad," called Herr Sesemann, and when Peter was near enough, "Tell me," he said, "is this the way to the hut where the old man and the child Heidi live, and where the visitors from Frankfurt are staying?"

A low sound of fear was the only answer he received, as Peter turned to run away in such precipitous haste that he fell head over heels several times, and went rolling and bumping down the slope in involuntary bounds, just in the same way as the chair, only that Peter fortunately did not fall to pieces as that had done. Only the telegram came to grief, and that was torn into fragments and flew away.

"How extraordinarily timid these mountain dwellers are!" thought Herr Sesemann to himself, for he quite believed that it was the sight of a stranger that had made such an impression on this unsophisticated child of the mountains.

After watching Peter's violent descent towards the valley for a few minutes he continued his journey.

Peter, meanwhile, with all his efforts, could not stop himself, but went rolling on, and still tumbling head over heels at intervals in a most remarkable manner.

But this was not the most terrible part of his sufferings at the moment, for far worse was the fear and horror that possessed him, feeling sure, as he did now, that the policeman had really come over for him from Frankfurt. He had no doubt at all that the stranger who had asked him the way was the very man himself. Just as he had rolled to the edge of that last high slope above Dörfli he was caught in a bush, and at last able to keep himself from falling any farther. He lay still for a second or two to recover himself, and to think over matters.

"Well done! another of you come bumping along like this!" said a voice close to Peter, "and which of you to-morrow is the wind going to send rolling down like a badly-sewn sack of potatoes?" It was the baker, who stood there laughing. He had been strolling out to refresh himself after his hot day's work, and had watched with amusement as he saw Peter come rolling over and over in much the same way as the chair.

Peter was on his feet in a moment. He had received a fresh shock. Without once looking behind him he began hurrying up the slope again. He would have liked best to go home and creep into bed, so as to hide himself, for he felt safest when there. But he had left the goats up above, and Uncle had given him strict injunctions to make haste back so that they might not be left too long alone. And he stood more in awe of Uncle than any one, and would not have dared to disobey him on any account. There was no help for it, he had to go back, and Peter went on groaning and limping. He could run no more, for the anguish of mind he had been through, and the bumping and shaking he had received, were beginning to tell upon him. And so with lagging steps and groans he slowly made his way up the mountain.

Shortly after meeting Peter, Herr Sesemann passed the first hut, and so was satisfied that he was on the right path. He continued his climb with renewed courage, and at last, after a long and exhausting walk, he came in sight of his goal. There, only a little distance farther up, stood the grandfather's home, with the dark tops of the fir trees waving above its roof.

Herr Sesemann was delighted to have come to the last steep bit of his journey, in another minute or two he would be with his little daughter, and he pleased himself with the thought of her surprise. But the company above had seen his approaching figure and recognized who it was, and they were preparing something he little expected as a surprise on their part.

As he stepped on to the space in front of the hut two figures came towards him. One a tall girl with fair hair and pink cheeks, leaning on Heidi, whose dark eyes were dancing with joy. Herr Sesemann suddenly stopped, staring at the two children, and all at once the tears started to his eyes. What memories arose in his heart! Just so had Clara's mother looked, the fair-haired girl with the delicate pink-and-white complexion. Herr Sesemann did not know if he was awake or dreaming.

"Don't you know me, papa?" called Clara to him, her face beaming with happiness. "Am I so altered since you saw me?"

Then Herr Sesemann ran to his child and clasped her in his arms.

"Yes, you are indeed altered! How is it possible? Is it true what I see?" And the delighted father stepped back to look full at her again, and to make sure that the picture would not vanish before his eyes.

"Are you my little Clara, really my little Clara?" he kept on saying, then he clasped her in his arms again, and again put her away from him that he might look and make sure it was she who stood before him.

And now grandmamma came up, anxious for a sight of her son's happy face.

"Well, what do you say now, dear son?" she exclaimed. "You have given us a pleasant surprise, but it is nothing in comparison to what we have prepared for you, you must confess," and she gave her son an affectionate kiss as she spoke. "But now," she went on, "you must come and pay your respects to Uncle, who is our chief benefactor."

"Yes, indeed, and with the little inmate of our own house, our little Heidi, too," said Herr Sesemann, shaking Heidi by the hand. "Well? are you still well and happy in your mountain home? but I need not ask, no Alpine rose could look more blooming. I am glad, child, it is a pleasure to me to see you so."

And Heidi looked up with equal pleasure into Herr Sesemann's kind face. How good he had always been to her! And that he should find such happiness awaiting him up here on the mountain made her heart beat with gladness.

Grandmamma now led her son to introduce him to Uncle, and while the two men were shaking hands and Herr Sesemann was expressing his heartfelt thanks and boundless astonishment to the old man, grandmamma wandered round to the back to see the old fir trees again.

Here another unexpected sight met her gaze, for there, under the trees where the long branches had left a clear space on the ground, stood a great bush of the most wonderful dark blue gentians, as fresh and shining as if they were growing on the spot. She clasped her hands, enraptured with their beauty.

"How exquisite! what a lovely sight!" she exclaimed. "Heidi, dearest child, come here! Is it you who have prepared this pleasure for me? It is perfectly wonderful!"

The children ran up.

"No, no, I did not put them there," said Heidi, "but I know who did."

"They grow just like that on the mountain, grandmamma, only if anything they look more beautiful still," Clara put in; "but guess who brought those down to-day," and as she spoke she gave such a pleased smile that the grandmother thought for a moment the child herself must have gathered them. But that was hardly possible.

At this moment a slight rustling was heard behind the fir trees. It was Peter, who had just arrived. He had made a long round, having seen from the distance who it was standing beside Uncle in front of the hut, and he was trying to slip by unobserved. But grandmamma had seen and recognized him, and suddenly the thought struck her that it might be Peter who had brought the flowers and that he was now trying to get away unseen, feeling shy about it; but she could not let him go off like that, he must have some little reward.

"Come along, boy; come here, do not be afraid," she called to him.

Peter stood still, petrified with fear. After all he had gone through that day he felt he had no longer any power of resistance left. All he could think was, "It's all up with me now." Every hair of his head stood on end, and he stepped forth from behind the fir trees, his face pale and distorted with terror.

"Courage, boy," said grandmamma in her effort to dispel his shyness, "tell me now straight out without hesitation, was it you who did it?"

Peter did not lift his eyes and therefore did not see at what grandmamma was pointing. But he knew that Uncle was standing at the corner of the hut, fixing him with his gray eyes, while beside him stood the most terrible person that Peter could conceive—the police-constable from Frankfurt. Quaking in every limb, and with trembling lips he muttered a low, "Yes."

"Well, and what is there dreadful about that?" said grandmamma.

"Because—because—it is all broken to pieces and no one can put it together again." Peter brought out his words with difficulty, and his knees knocked together so that he could hardly stand.

Grandmamma went up to Uncle. "Is that poor boy a little out of his mind?" she asked sympathizingly.

"Not in the least," Uncle assured her, "it is only that he was the wind that sent the chair rolling down the slope, and he is expecting his well-deserved punishment."

Grandmamma found this hard to believe, for in her opinion Peter did not look an entirely bad boy, nor could he have any reason for destroying such a necessary thing as the chair. But Uncle had only given expression to the suspicion that he had from the moment the accident happened. The angry looks which Peter had from the beginning cast at Clara, and the other signs of his dislike to what had been taking place on the mountain, had not escaped Uncle's eye. Putting two and two together he had come to the right conclusion as to the cause of the disaster, and he therefore spoke without hesitation when he accused Peter. The lady broke into lively expostulations on hearing this.

"No, no, dear Uncle, we will not punish the poor boy any further. One must be fair to him. Here are all these strangers from Frankfurt who come and carry away Heidi, his one sole possession, and a possession well worth having too, and he is left to sit alone day after day for weeks, with nothing to do but brood over his wrongs. No, no, let us be fair to him; his anger got the upper hand and drove him an act of revenge—a foolish one, I own, but then we all behave foolishly when we are angry." And saying this she went back to Peter, who still stood frightened and trembling. She sat down on the seat under the fir trees and called him to her kindly,—

"Come here, boy, and stand in front of me, for I have something to say to you. Leave off shaking and trembling, for I want you to listen to me. You sent the chair rolling down the mountain so that it was broken to pieces. That was a very wrong thing to do, as you yourself knew very well at the time, and you also knew that you deserved to be punished for it, and in order to escape this you have been doing all you can to hide the truth from everybody. But be sure of this, Peter: that those who do wrong make a mistake when they think no one knows anything about it. For God sees and hears everything, and when the wicked doer tries to hide what he has done, then God wakes up a little watchman that He places inside us all when we are born and who sleeps on quietly till we do something wrong. And the little watchman has a small goad in his hand, and when he wakes up he keeps on pricking us with it, so that we have not a moment's peace. And the watchman torments us still further, for he keeps on calling out, 'Now you will be found out! Now they will drag you off to punishment!' And so we pass our life in fear and trouble, and never know a moment's happiness or peace. Have you not felt something like that lately, Peter?"

Peter gave a contrite nod of the head, as one who knew all about it, for grandmamma had described his own feelings exactly.

"And you calculated wrongly also in another way," continued grandmamma, "for you see the harm you intended has turned out for the best for those you wished to hurt. As Clara had no chair to go in and yet wanted so much to see the flowers, she made the effort to walk, and every day since she has been walking better and better, and if she remains up here she will in time be able to go up the mountain every day, much oftener than she would have done in her chair. So you see, Peter, God is able to bring good out of evil for those whom you meant to injure, and you who did the evil were left to suffer the unhappy consequences of it. Do you thoroughly understand all I have said to you, Peter? If so, do not forget my words, and whenever you feel inclined to do anything wrong, think of the little watchman inside you with his goad and his disagreeable voice. Will you remember all this?"

"Yes, I will," answered Peter, still very subdued, for he did not yet know how the matter was going to end, as the police constable was still standing with the Uncle.

"That's right, and now the thing is over and done for," said grandmamma. "But I should like you to have something for a pleasant reminder of the visitors from Frankfurt. Can you tell me anything that you have wished very much to have? What would you like best as a present?"

Peter lifted his head at this, and stared open-eyed at grandmamma. Up to the last minute he had been expecting something dreadful to happen, and now he might have anything that he wanted. His mind seemed all of a whirl.

"I mean what I say," went on grandmamma. "You shall choose what you would like to have as a remembrance from the Frankfurt visitors, and as a token that they will not think any more of the wrong thing you did. Now do you understand me, boy?"

The fact began at last to dawn upon Peter's mind that he had no further punishment to fear, and that the kind lady sitting in front of him had delivered him from the police constable. He suddenly felt as if the weight of a mountain had fallen off him. He had also by this time awakened to the further conviction that it was better to make a full confession at once of anything he had done wrong or had left undone, and so he said, "And I lost the paper, too."

Grandmamma had to consider a moment what he meant, but soon recalled his connection with her telegram, and answered kindly,—

"You are a good boy to tell me! Never conceal anything you have done wrong, and then all will come right again. And now what would you like me to give you?"

Peter grew almost giddy with the thought that he could have anything in the world that he wished for. He had a vision of the yearly fair at Mayenfeld with the glittering stalls and all the lovely things that he had stood gazing at for hours, without a hope of ever possessing one of them, for Peter's purse never held more than a halfpenny, and all these fascinating objects cost double that amount. There were the pretty little red whistles that he could use to call his goats, and the splendid knives with rounded handles, known as toad-strikers, with which one could do such famous work among the hazel bushes.

Peter remained pondering; he was trying to think which of these two desirable objects he should best like to have, and he found it difficult to decide. Then a bright thought occurred to him; he would then be able to think over the matter between now and next year's fair.

"A penny," answered Peter, who was no longer in doubt.

Grandmamma could not help laughing. "That is not an extravagant request. Come here then!" and she pulled out her purse and put four bright round shillings in his hand and then laid some pennies on top of it. "We will settle our accounts at once," she continued, "and I will explain them to you. I have given you as many pennies as there are weeks in the year, and so every Sunday throughout the year you can take out a penny to spend."

"As long as I live?" said Peter quite innocently.

Grandmamma laughed more still at this, and the men hearing her, paused in their talk to listen to what was going on.

"Yes, boy, you shall have it all your life—I will put it down in my will. Do you hear, my son? and you are to put it down in yours as well: a penny a week to Peter as long as he lives."

Herr Sesemann nodded his assent and joined in the laughter.

Peter looked again at the present in his hand to make sure he was not dreaming, and then said, "Thank God!"

And he went off running and leaping with more even than his usual agility, and this time managed to keep his feet, for it was not fear, but joy such as he had never known before in his life, that now sent him flying up the mountain. All trouble and trembling had disappeared, and he was to have a penny every week for life.

As later, after dinner, the party were sitting together chatting, Clara drew her father a little aside, and said with an eagerness that had been unknown to the little tired invalid,

"O papa, if you only knew all that grandfather has done for me from day to day! I cannot reckon his kindnesses, but I shall never forget them as long as I live! And I keep on thinking what I could do for him, or what present I could make him that would give him half as much pleasure as he has given me."

"That is just what I wish most myself, Clara," replied her father, whose face grew happier each time he looked at his little daughter. "I have been also thinking how we can best show our gratitude to our good benefactor."

Herr Sesemann now went over to where Uncle and grandmamma were engaged in lively conversation. Uncle stood up as he approached, and Herr Sesemann, taking him by the hand said,

"Dear friend, let us exchange a few words with one another. You will believe me when I tell you that I have known no real happiness for years past. What worth to me were money and property when they were unable to make my poor child well and happy? With the help of God you have made her whole and strong, and you have given new life not only to her but to me. Tell me now, in what way can I show my gratitude to you? I can never repay all you have done, but whatever is in my power to do is at your service. Speak, friend, and tell me what I can do?"

Uncle had listened to him quietly, with a smile of pleasure on his face as he looked at the happy father.

"Herr Sesemann," he replied in his dignified way, "believe me that I too have my share in the joy of your daughter's recovery, and my trouble is well repaid by it. I thank you heartily for all you have said, but I have need of nothing; I have enough for myself and the child as long as I live. One wish alone I have, and if that could be satisfied I should have no further care in life."

"Speak, dear friend, and tell me what it is," said Herr Sesemann entreatingly.

"I am growing old," Uncle went on, "and shall not be here much longer. I have nothing to leave the child when I die, and she has no relations, except one person who will always like to make what profit out of her she can. If you could promise me that Heidi shall never have to go and earn her living among strangers, then you would richly reward me for all I have done for your child."

"There could never be any question of such a thing as that, my dear friend," said Herr Sesemann quickly. "I look upon the child as our own. Ask my mother, my daughter; you may be sure that they will never allow the child to be left in any one else's care! But if it will make you happier I give you here my hand upon it. I promise you: Heidi shall never have to go and earn her living among strangers; I will make provision against this both during my life and after. But now I have something else to say. Independent of her circumstances, the child is totally unfitted to live a life away from home; we found out that when she was with us. But she has made friends, and among them I know one who is at this moment in Frankfurt; he is winding up his affairs there, that he may be free to go where he likes and take his rest. I am speaking of my friend, the doctor, who came over here in the autumn and who, having well considered your advice, intends to settle in this neighborhood, for he has never felt so well and happy anywhere as in the company of you and Heidi. So you see the child will henceforth have two protectors near her—and may they both live long to share the task!"

"God grant it indeed may be so!" added grandmamma, shaking Uncle's hand warmly as she spoke, to show how sincerely she echoed her son's wish. Then putting her arm round Heidi, who was standing near, she drew the child to her.

"And I have a question to ask you too, dear Heidi. Tell me if there is anything you particularly wish for."

"Yes, there is," answered Heidi promptly, looking up delightedly at grandmamma.

"Then tell me at once, dear, what it is."

"I want to have the bed I slept in at Frankfurt with the high pillows and the thick coverlid, and then grandmother will not have to lie with her head down hill and hardly able to breathe, and she will be warm enough under the coverlid not to have to wear her shawl in bed to prevent her freezing to death."

In her eagerness to obtain what she had set her heart upon Heidi hardly gave herself time to get out all she had to say, and did not pause for breath till she reached the end of her sentence.

"Dearest child," answered grandmamma, moved by Heidi's speech, "what is this you tell me of grandmother! You are right to remind me. In the midst of our own happiness we forget too often that which we ought to remember before all things. When God has shown us some special mercy we should think at once of those who are denied so many things. I will telegraph to Frankfurt at once! Fraülein Rottenmeier shall pack up the bed this very day, and it will be here in two days' time. God willing, grandmother shall soon be sleeping comfortably upon it."

Heidi skipped round grandmamma in her glee, and then stopping all of a sudden, said quickly, "I must make haste down and tell grandmother, and she will be in trouble too at my not having been to see her for such a long time." For she felt she could not wait another moment before carrying the good news down to grandmother, and, moreover, the recollection came to her of the distress the old woman was in when she last saw her.

"No, no, Heidi, what can you be thinking of," said her grandfather reprovingly. "You can't be running backwards and forwards like that when you have visitors."

But grandmamma interfered on Heidi's behalf. "The child is not so far wrong, Uncle," she said, "and poor grandmother has too long been deprived of Heidi for our sakes. Let us all go down to her together. I believe my horse is waiting for me and I can ride down from there, and as soon as I get to Dörfli the message shall be sent off. What do you think of my plan, son?"

Herr Sesemann had not yet had time to speak of his travelling plans, so he begged his mother to wait a few moments that he might tell her what he proposed doing.

Herr Sesemann had been arranging that he and his mother should make a little tour in Switzerland, first ascertaining if Clara was in a fit state to go some part of the way with them. But now he would have the full enjoyment of his daughter's company, and that being so he did not want to miss any of these beautiful days of later summer, but to start at once on the journey that he now looked forward to with such additional pleasure. And so he proposed that they should spend the night in Dörfli and that next day he should come and fetch Clara, then they would all three go down to Ragatz and make that their starting point.

Clara was rather upset at first at the thought of saying good-bye like this to the mountain; she could not help being pleased, however, at the prospect of the journey, and no time was allowed her to give way to lamentation.

Grandmamma had already taken Heidi by the hand, preparatory to leading the way, when she suddenly turned. "But what is to become of Clara?" she asked, remembering all at once that the child could not yet take so long a walk. She gave a nod of satisfaction as she saw that Uncle had already taken Clara up in his arms and was following her with sturdy strides. Herr Sesemann brought up the rear, and so they all started down the mountain.

Heidi kept jumping for joy as she and grandmamma walked along side by side, and grandmamma asked all about grandmother, how she lived, and what she did, especially in the winter when it was so cold. And Heidi gave her a minute account of everything, for she knew all that went on at grandmother's, and told her how grandmother sat crouching in her corner and trembling with cold. She was able to give her exact particulars of what grandmother had and had not to eat. Grandmamma listened with interest and sympathy until they came to Grandmother's. Brigitta was just hanging out Peter's second shirt in the sun, so that he might have it ready to put on when he had worn the other long enough. As soon as she saw the company approaching she rushed indoors.

"The whole party of them are just going past, mother, evidently all returning home again," she informed the old woman. "Uncle is with them, carrying the sick child."

"Alas, is it really to be so then?" sighed the grandmother. "And you saw Heidi with them? Then they are taking her away. If only she could come and put her hand in mine again! If I could but hear her voice once more!"

At this moment the door flew open and Heidi sprang across to the corner and threw her arms round grandmother.

"Grandmother! grandmother! my bed is to be sent from Frankfurt with all the three pillows and the thick coverlid; grandmamma says it will be here in two days." Heidi could not get out her words quickly enough, for she was impatient to see grandmother's great joy at the news. The latter smiled, but said a little sadly,—

"She must indeed be a good kind lady, and I ought to be glad to think she is taking you with her, but I shall not outlive it long."

"What is this I hear? Who has been telling my good grandmother such tales?" exclaimed a kindly voice, and grandmother felt her hand taken and warmly pressed, for grandmamma had followed Heidi in and heard all that was said. "No, no, there is no thought of such a thing! Heidi is going to stay with you and make you happy. We want to see her again, but we shall come to her. We hope to pay a visit to the Alm every year, for we have good cause to offer up especial thanks to God upon this spot where so great a miracle has been wrought upon our child."

And now grandmother's face was lighted up with genuine happiness, and she pressed Frau Sesemann's hand over and over again, unable to speak her thanks, while two large tears of joy rolled down her aged cheeks. And Heidi saw the glad change come over grandmother's face, and she too now was entirely happy.

She clung to the old woman, saying, "Hasn't it all come about, grandmother, just like the hymn I read to you last time? Isn't the bed from Frankfurt sent to make you well?"

"Yes, Heidi, and many, many other good things too, which God has sent me," said the grandmother, deeply moved. "I did not think it possible that there were so many kind people, ready to trouble themselves about a poor old woman and to do so much for her. Nothing strengthens our belief in a kind heavenly Father who never forgets even the least of His creatures so much as to know that there are such people, full of goodness and pity for a poor useless creature such as I am."

"My good grandmother," said Frau Sesemann, interrupting her, "we are all equally poor and helpless in the eyes of God, and all have equal need that He should not forget us. But now we must say good-bye, but only till we meet again, for when we pay our next year's visit to the Alm you will be the first person we shall come and see; meanwhile we shall not forget you." And Frau Sesemann took grandmother's hand again and shook it in farewell.

But grandmother would not let her off even then without more words of gratitude, and without calling down on her benefactress and all belonging to her every blessing that God had to bestow.

At last Herr Sesemann and his mother were able to continue their journey downwards, while Uncle carried Clara back home, with Heidi beside him, so full of joy of what was coming for grandmother that every step was a jump.

But there were many tears shed the following morning by the departing Clara, who wept to say good-bye to the beautiful mountain home where she had been happier than ever in her life before. Heidi did her best to comfort her. "Summer will be here again in no time," she said, "and then you will come again, and it will be nicer still, for you will be able to walk about from the beginning. We can then go out every day with the goats up to where the flowers grow, and enjoy ourselves from the moment you arrive."

Herr Sesemann had come as arranged to fetch his little daughter away, and was just now standing and talking with Uncle, for they had much to say to one another. Clara felt somewhat consoled by Heidi's words, and wiped away her tears.

"Be sure you say good-bye for me to Peter and the goats, and especially to Little Swan. I wish I could give Little Swan a present, for she has helped so much to make me strong."

"Well, you can if you like," replied Heidi, "send her a little salt; you know how she likes to lick some out of grandfather's hand when she comes home at night."

Clara was delighted at this idea. "Oh, then I shall send a hundred pounds of salt from Frankfurt, for I want her to have something as a remembrance of me."

Herr Sesemann now beckoned to the children as it was time to be off. Grandmamma's white horse had been brought up for Clara, as she was no longer obliged to be carried in a chair.

Heidi ran to the far edge of the slope and continued to wave her hand to Clara until the last glimpse of horse and rider had disappeared.

And now the bed has arrived, and grandmother is sleeping so soundly all night that she is sure to grow stronger.

Grandmamma, moreover, has not forgotten how cold the winter is on the mountain. She has sent a large parcel of warm clothing of every description, so that grandmother can wrap herself round and round, and will certainly not tremble with cold now as she sits in her corner.

There is a great deal of building going on at Dörfli. The doctor has arrived, and, for the present, is occupying his old quarters. His friends have advised him to buy the old house that Uncle and Heidi live in during the winter, which had evidently, judging from the height of the rooms and the magnificent stove with its artistically-painted tiles, been a fine gentleman's place at one time. The doctor is having this part of the old house rebuilt for himself, the other part being repaired for Uncle and Heidi, for the doctor is aware that Uncle is a man of independent spirit, who likes to have a house to himself. Quite at the back a warm and well-walled stall is being put up for the two goats, and there they will pass their winter in comfort.

The doctor and Uncle are becoming better friends every day, and as they walk about the new buildings to see how they are getting on, their thoughts continually turn to Heidi, for the chief pleasure to each in connection with the house is that they will have the light-hearted little child with them there.

"Dear friend," said the doctor on one of these occasions as they were standing together, "you will see this matter in the same light as I do, I am sure. I share your happiness in the child as if, next to you, I was the one to whom she most closely belonged, but I wish also to share all responsibilities, concerning her and to do my best for the child. I shall then feel I have my rights in her, and shall look forward to her being with me and caring for me in my old age, which is the one great wish of my heart. She will have the same claims upon me as if she were my own child, and I shall provide for her as such, and so we shall be able to leave her without anxiety when the day comes that you and I must go."

Uncle did not speak, but he clasped the doctor's hand in his, and his good friend could read in the old man's eyes how greatly moved he was and how glad and grateful he felt.

Heidi and Peter were at this moment sitting with grandmother, and the one had so much to relate, and the others to listen to, that they all three got closer and closer to one another, hardly able to breathe in their eagerness not to miss a word.

And how much there was to tell of all the events that had taken place that last summer, for they had not had many opportunities of meeting since then.

And it was difficult to say which of the three looked the happiest at being together again, and at the recollection of all the wonderful things that had happened. Mother Brigitta's face was perhaps the happiest of all, as now, with the help of explanation she was able to understand for the first time the history of Peter's weekly penny for life.

Then at last the grandmother spoke, "Heidi, read me one of the hymns! I can feel I can do nothing for the remainder of my life but thank the Father in Heaven for all the mercies he has shown us!"



The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

The Chosen Deer

T UKTU still sat on the back of Whitefoot. As Santa Claus talked, he came over to Whitefoot and gently stroked his face. Whitefoot stood without motion. It was the more surprising, because Whitefoot had always been rather unruly. He never had been one to willingly acknowledge a master. Only Tuktu had been able to handle him without trouble. Santa looked up straight into the eyes of Tuktu. "Tell me, my dear," said he, "how you came to venture into this valley. Did you not know that only the deer folk come here?"

"Yes, I knew," replied Tuktu in a low voice. "I knew, Good Santa, and I would not have thought of coming myself. It was Whitefoot who brought me here. He brought me here, and I didn't know where he was bringing me."

Then she told how she had been lost in the fog, and how when she had awakened from her nap in the midst of the great herd, she had discovered where she was. She told how she would have left, even then, but could not. And her lips trembled a little as she talked, for she was fearful that the Good Spirit might think that she had done wrong.

"And why do you think that the deer folk come here every year?" inquired Santa Claus.

"That the blessed eight may be chosen," said Tuktu.

"And what, my dear, do you mean by the blessed eight?" Santa Claus inquired.

Then Tuktu told him of the tales she had heard around the winter firepots, and how it had been long known that every year eight deer were chosen from the great herd in the Valley of the Good Spirit; and how the following year these deer always returned to their owners, and were the finest sled-deer in all the North, so that the owner of one of these was considered blessed above his fellows.

Santa Claus sighed. "They ought to be good sled-deer," said he. "I spend enough time in training them. For what purpose, my dear, do you think these deer are chosen each year?"

Tuktu shook her head. "That," said she, "no one knows. All that is known is that each year the eight deer are chosen, and the following year they are returned to bless their owners. That is enough. The Good Spirit has some wise purpose, or the deer would not be taken and returned."

"Do you know," said Santa, "that the reindeer are among the oldest of all the peoples of the earth? It is so. It has been said that man was created to look after the reindeer, and the reindeer were created to look after man. Almost since man was, the reindeer have furnished him with food and clothing, and have carried him or drawn him wherever he wished to go. Have you driven deer to the sled? Have you ever sat behind a running reindeer and felt the rush of the cutting wind? And felt now and then the sting of the snow thrown from his flying feet?"

Tuktu's eyes shone and she clapped her hands softly. "Don't you love it?" she cried.

Santa Claus nodded, and he chuckled. "That is why the eight deer are chosen each year," said he. "When I made my first Christmas journey, it was a reindeer who drew my sled. My pack was small and my journey was short, and a single deer was all I needed. But as the Christmas spirit swept farther and farther throughout the Great World, and more and more children looked for my coming, my pack became larger and I had to travel much faster. So then I used two deer; and then three, four, five, until now eight are needed. Eight of the finest deer to be found in all the herds.

They must have speed and strength, for they must take me fast and carry me far. They must have beauty, with antlers of many points. They must be stout of heart and full of courage. They must be gentle. So it is that each year I must get a new team, and so each year the reindeer, the finest in all the great Northland, feed for a while in Kringle Valley. Then when the time comes, as it came to-day, they pass before me at their best, that I may choose those for my next Christmas journey into the Great World. Those you saw vanish in the colored mist are the eight who will take me next Christmas to carry joy to little folk. In all that great herd you saw, there is none other the equal of those chosen. And all the deer folk know it. Just once will they make that wonderful journey, for only for that one time will they be at their very best. At the next Christmas there will be eight others to take their places. But always the eight bear the same names. Would you like to hear them, Tuktu?"

Shyly Tuktu nodded. "If you please," she said.

My, how the eyes of old Santa Claus twinkled! "They are Donder and Blitzen, Dancer and Prancer, Dasher and Vixen, Comet and Cupid," said he. "I couldn't drive deer by any other names. They are magic names. And those deer will become magic deer when they start on their Christmas journey. Now, my dear, Whitefoot will take you straight back to the place from which he brought you. You have seen that which you may never see again—the choosing of the deer. But always you will remember that in the Valley of the Good Spirit, love dwells, and that love may be carried throughout the world, the blessed reindeer are chosen each year."


Eugene Field

Christmas Song

Why do bells for Christmas ring?

Why do little children sing?

Once a lovely, shining star,

Seen by shepherds from afar,

Gently moved until its light

Made a manger's cradle bright.

There a darling baby lay,

Pillowed soft upon the hay;

And its mother sang and smiled,

"This is Christ, the holy Child."

Therefore bells for Christmas ring,

Therefore little children sing.


  WEEK 50  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

How King Richard Lost His Throne

R ICHARD was only a boy of fifteen when he faced the rioters at Smithfield so bravely, and afterward broke his promises so basely. It would have been better for England if he had always been brave as he was the day he faced the rioters, and never base as he was afterward.

It was not until Richard was twenty-one that he really ruled. Until then his uncles ruled for him.

"How old do you think I am, uncle?" he said suddenly to one of them at a feast.

"Your highness is in his twenty-second year," replied he.

"Then I am surely old enough to rule. I thank you for your past help, uncle. I require it no longer." And before his uncle could recover from his surprise, Richard had asked for the great seal and keys of office, and had proclaimed to the people that in the future he himself should rule. And for a time Richard ruled well. He made peace with France, and the taxes on the poor were made lighter. But this was not for long. It was soon seen that he intended to do exactly as he liked, and would take advice from no one. He banished and outlawed those who tried to keep him in check. As he was always in need of money, he seized the lands and money of these banished people, and did many other wicked and dishonest things. At last the King, who had been placed upon the throne amid so much rejoicing, came to be hated and despised.

One of the people whom Richard had banished was his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke, the son of his uncle, John of Gaunt. Soon after Henry had been banished John of Gaunt died, and Richard, in spite of having promised not to do so, seized his land and money.

When Henry heard of this he came back to England to take possession of his own inheritance, he said, but really to try to win the crown of England. The people had always loved Henry, and had been very sorry when he was banished, and now they welcomed him back with joy, hoping that he would free them from their hated King. Henry came with only fifteen knights, but as soon as he landed, many people flocked to him.

Richard, at this time, was in Ireland, trying to put down a rebellion there. As soon as he heard that Henry was in England he hurried home. But he was too late. Henry was already master of the country.

Richard brought a large army with him from Ireland, but many of the soldiers deserted almost as soon as they landed and joined the standard of Henry.

At last, forsaken by all, in utter despair, without food or clothes, or even a bed upon which to sleep, Richard was forced to submit to his cousin.

They met at the castle of Flint in Wales. Henry knelt to Richard as to his king and kissed his hand.

"Fair cousin of Lancaster," said Richard, looking down upon him, "you are right welcome."

"My lord," replied Henry, "I am come somewhat before my time." By which he meant that he had a right to the throne after the death of Richard, but that he had not waited until then. "But," he went on, "I will tell you the reason. Your people complain that you have ruled them badly these twenty years. Please God, I will now help you to rule them better." And the poor, broken, spiritless king replied, "Fair cousin, if it pleaseth you, it pleaseth me right well."

But when Richard was left alone he burst out in furious rage, "Would to Heaven that I had killed when I might this false cousin, this Henry of Bolingbroke."

Amid the curses of his people, forsaken even by his favourite dog which left him for Henry, Richard II. was led a prisoner to the Tower of London. There he solemnly gave up his right to the crown, and Henry of Bolingbroke was made king. This was in 1399 A.D.

Richard was afterwards sent to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, where, it is believed, he was cruelly murdered.


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

Tuktu's Happy Thought

"D ONDER and Blitzen, Dasher and Vixen, Dancer and Prancer, Comet and Cupid," repeated Tuktu to herself, and her eyes were like stars. "Do the children out in the Great World love them?"

You should have seen Santa's eyes twinkle then. And you should have seen all the laugh wrinkles around his eyes. "I suspect they do," said he. "I suspect they do, for they love me and they must love the ones who bring me to them each year. But they have never seen my reindeer, so I really don't know."

And then you should have seen Tuktu's eyes open. "Do you mean," she asked, "that they never, never have seen your deer?"

Santa Claus nodded. "That's what I mean," said he. "You see, the night before Christmas when I make that magic trip, I must go so far and I must go so fast that there is no time, not even one wee minute, to waste. And so, no one sees me then. Sometimes little boys and girls hide and watch for me and for my deer. But they never see us. And those little boys and girls do not always find all the things they hoped I would bring them."

A dreamy look had come into Tuktu's eyes, a very far-away look. "Do they have as fine deer out there in the Great World as we have here?" she asked.

The laugh wrinkles wrinkled up more than ever, and Santa Claus laughed right out. "They have no deer at all, Little One," said he. "That is, they have no reindeer. Most of them would not know a reindeer if they saw one."

"No reindeer!" cried Tuktu, and such a look of astonishment as spread over her face. "How can they live without the wonderful deer? Oh, I am so sorry for those children. I wish—" Tuktu paused.

"What do you wish, Child?" Santa Claus asked in his kindly voice. "Tell me what you wish, for you know it is my business to make the wishes of children come true."

Tuktu hesitated. She dropped her eyes shyly. "I wish," she said very softly, "that I could send them some reindeer."

Santa Claus looked at her sharply. He could read her thoughts and there was not one single little thought of self there. She was thinking of the children who had never seen the reindeer and how wonderful it would be if only they could see the blessed eight. When she looked up and saw Santa's kindly eyes studying her, she spoke impulsively.

"Kind Santa Claus," said she, speaking hurriedly, so hurriedly that the words tripped over each other, "couldn't you go down early some year with your blessed deer so that the children of the Great World might see them? I know they would love them, just as I do."

Santa Claus sighed. "I am afraid," said he, "there isn't time. You know it takes time to train deer, and there are no deer in all the Great Northland so well trained as those which take me out into the Great World every Christmas. You saw the eight chosen to-day. It will take me most of my time from now until Christmas to get them properly trained for that magic journey. If the deer were better trained when I got them, I might be able to do it. You know I do not even have to have reins, they are so perfectly trained. That is why when I am through with them, they are the finest sled-deer in all the world. They are no longer magic deer, but they are wonderful sled-deer. So you think the children of the Great World would like to see the deer? Perhaps they would! Perhaps they would! I shall have to think it over, my dear. I certainly shall have to think it over."

"Oh, if you only would!" cried Tuktu, her dark eyes shining with excitement. "I-I-I wish I could help. I am so sorry for children who have never seen the beautiful deer."

Down somewhere in the midst of the wonderful mist a silver bell rang. It was so clear, so sweet, that Tuktu turned her head to listen. When she looked back—Santa Claus had disappeared. The bell rang again and from out the curtain of mist came Santa's voice once more.

"Good-bye, little girl," said he. "The great herd moves, and you must leave the valley. But remember this, my dear, that whenever you think of others, others will think of you. And to those who love is love given in return. That is why Christmas is. Remember that, my dear, and always your Christmas will be merry. Better than that, it will be happy."

Abruptly, Whitefoot turned and begaon to move away.


Frances Chesterton

How Far Is It to Bethlehem?

How far is it to Bethlehem?

Not very far.

Shall we find the stable-room

Lit by a star?

Can we see the little Child?

Is He within?

If we lift the wooden latch,

May we go in?

May we stroke the creatures there—

Ox, ass, or sheep?

May we peep like them and see

Jesus asleep?

If we touch His tiny hand,

Will He awake?

Will He know we've come so far

Just for His sake?

Great kings have precious gifts,

And we have naught;

Little smiles and little tears

Are all we brought.

For all weary children

Mary must weep;

Here, on His bed of straw,

Sleep, children, sleep.

God, in His mother's arms,

Babes in the byre,

Sleep, as they sleep who find

Their heart's desire.


  WEEK 50  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

Tuktu Tells Her Story

W ITH his long, swinging trot, Whitefoot rapidly made his way out of the Valley of the Good Spirit. Once only did Tuktu look back at the cloud of shimmering, many-colored mist. At one point it glowed a rich deep red, and as she looked, this turned to rose and finally to a faint pink and then vanished. Nowhere was the Good Spirit to be seen.

Out of the valley, over the hill, climbed Whitefoot, and Tuktu turned him in the direction of the camp. There presently she fastened him where Aklak had put him to graze. Her father and brother had not returned. As in a dream, she looked back to the hills around the Valley of the Good Spirit. Could it be that she had been there? Was it not all a dream? But if it were a dream, it had been a wonderful dream—the most beautiful of all dreams. She knew that Kutok and Aklak would not believe the story she had to tell. They would say that she had been asleep and the dream spirits had visited her. She looked across to the distant hills above the valley, and with a suddenness that startled her, she realized that not a deer was to be seen. Of course not. Had she not seen them move out of the upper end of the valley? There was the proof.

With the realization of this, all thought of anything else was driven from the mind of Tuktu—even the wonderful experience she had been through. The great herd was moving and there were no herders! She must get word back to the herders on the coast. She would take the other pack deer, for Whitefoot must be tired. Perhaps she would meet her father and brother on the way. She had just prepared to start when in the distance she saw Kutok and Aklak approaching. When they reached her, they were in high spirits. They had had good hunting and they brought with them plenty to eat.

"They have moved!" cried Tuktu. "The deer have left the Valley of the Good Spirit." Kutok threw down his load and hurried to the rise of ground from which he had been accustomed to watch the deer on the distant hills. Long he looked, searching every bit of ground within range of his eyes. Not a deer was to be seen.

"It is so, Little Tuktu," said he on his return. "The herd has started for the winter grazing grounds. It is time that we also should move. Aklak shall go back to carry word to the herders, while you and I will follow the deer. They will move slowly, so there is no hurry. But it is well that we should catch up with them soon, lest the wolves attack, finding them unguarded."

So Aklak started back to the summer camp to send up the herders and to help break the camp and move toward the winter home. Tuktu and her father, with a small skin iglu or tent wherein to sleep, and food enough for their immediate needs, started at once to catch up with the great herd. Through years of experience, Kutok knew in what direction the deer would travel and the shortest way to reach them.

They traveled too fast for much talking. Tuktu longed to tell her father what she had seen in the Valley of the Good Spirit, but somehow she couldn't. "He will laugh at me," she thought. "He will not believe, and he will laugh at me; and I do not want to be laughed at." So she said nothing. But all the time there was a song in her heart.

It was not until Aklak had rejoined them that she told of her adventure in the Valley of the Good Spirit. At first Aklak laughed, as she had known he would. "It was a dream, Tuktu," he cried. "It was a dream. You must have slept through that fog while Father and I were hunting, and the dream spirits took you with them. No one ever has seen the Good Spirit, and no one ever will."

But Tuktu stubbornly insisted that it was not a dream, until at last even Aklak began to believe that it might be so. You would have laughed to hear him ply her with questions, all the time pretending that he didn't believe a word of it. But Tuktu caught him looking at her with a respect in his black eyes which was new in her experience. And she noticed, too, that he no longer teased her, and that now he was never selfish. The biggest share of anything was always hers. Never had he been so gentle and thoughtful. Yet never once could she get him to say that he believed her story of the Valley of the Good Spirit.

Now there was one thing that Tuktu did not tell Aklak. It was that the last deer chosen was from their father's own herd. Never had Kutok had a deer chosen by the Good Spirit from his herd until now. Tuktu had known that it was her father's deer, because she had been near enough to see the ear-mark. Besides, there was no other deer in the herd to compare with it. Sometimes when Aklak insisted that it was all a dream, she would be almost persuaded that he was right. Then she would remember that it was her father's finest deer Speedfoot, which had been chosen.

"If," she would say to herself, "we cannot find Speedfoot in the round up, I shall know for a certainty that I did not dream. It will be the proof."

Thereafter she spent many hours wandering in and out through the great herd looking for this particular deer and rejoicing that she could not find it.


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

How It Happened

T HE way Kristy came to have an odd Christmas at all, was this: she had been very ill at her grandmother's, and though she tried her best, and the good doctor tried his best, she could not get well enough to go home for Christmas.

This was a great grief, of course, for all the girls were having fine times in town, Christmas trees and all sorts of festive doings, and Kristy thought so much about it all and felt so bad about it that the doctor began to shake his head again.

So Mamma told Kristy that she might plan anything she liked, to celebrate the day, and if it were possible, she should have her way. This was a capital idea of Mamma's, for it gave Kristy something to think of for several days before she hit upon just such a programme as she should like best. Christmas trees she was tired of, and besides, a tree would be stupid where she was the only young person. At last a happy thought came to her, which almost made her dance with delight. She would have a party, a new kind of a party, and give everybody a surprise. How her guests would like it she did not know, but that she should enjoy it she was sure. She told Mamma her plan, first making her promise to keep it secret, at least the surprise part of it, and Mamma approved.

It was to be in Grandma's big, old-fashioned kitchen, with its shining oak ceiling and polished floor. The stove that was used for cooking in these days was to be taken away; the great fireplace nearly across the whole end of the room was to be uncovered. The tall brass "fire-dogs" with their queer heads were to be put in place, and a royal fire of logs built up. There was to be no other light in the room, and here on Christmas eve her party was to assemble to be surprised. After that was over they would be treated to doughnuts, apples, and cider—not another thing.

Mamma consulted with Grandma, and the whole thing was arranged just as Kristy wished. Invitations were sent out, mostly to uncles and aunts and kind neighbors, and hardly a person under twenty years of age.

When Grandma saw this odd list of guests she was surprised, and suggested that quite a nice party could be brought together, even here in the country, of young people. But Kristy laughed and said she didn't want a single girl to giggle and disturb, and added that Grandma would understand when she heard the surprise. The day before Christmas there were great doings in the big kitchen. The stove was carried into the laundry and a big pan of doughnuts, or nut-cakes as they called them, were cooked, while the fire-board was taken away and the fireplace filled with big sticks on a foundation of solid log.

Then Aunt Jeanie came over from her house and hung the room with evergreen and bittersweet, and laid down a big rug before the fire, on one side of which was placed like a throne the great "sick-chair" out of the attic, covered with a gay chintz comfortable, and furnished with pillows and everything to make it as nice as a bed.

As soon as it grew dark on Christmas eve and Kristy had taken her supper, the company began to arrive, and two uncles came up to Kristy's room to carry down the "Queen of the Evening," as they called her.

She was already dressed in a soft new double-wrapper of light blue merino which Mamma had made for her, and Uncle John brought her a lovely bouquet of rosebuds that had come in a box from the city, and Uncle Will put on her head a delicate wreath of fresh violets from the same box. Then they crossed hands and "made a chair," which they gravely and with great ceremony offered to the "Queen" to ride down on.

Kristy was delighted; this was somebody's surprise to her. So she laughingly seated herself on the four crossed hands, put one arm around each dear uncle's neck, and away they went down the stairs.

The kitchen looked charming, and no one regretted the stately parlor left alone in the cold. The guests were assembled and already seated as Mamma had arranged, in a large half-circle around the fire, Grandma in her usual rocking-chair at one end, and Kristy on her throne at the other.

"Now, Mamma," said Kristy, after greetings were over, "will you please tell the surprise?"

"Ladies and gentlemen," said Mamma, standing by Kristy's chair, "you know this is to be a surprise party, differing from the common kind because you—the guests—are to be surprised instead of your young hostess here. Not to keep you in suspense I will announce that the ruling love of the 'Queen of the Evening' is stories; and she requests—nay, demands—of every one present that he or she shall each in turn tell her a story."

A chorus of "Oh's" in tones of dismay came from the circle, followed by such remarks as "That's too bad of the little witch!" and "I never could tell a story in my life!" But Mamma rapped on the fire-dogs for silence and spoke again.

"I hear murmurs; let me explain; the terms are not hard. Each one shall tell of the oddest, most miserable or most agreeable Christmas he ever knew about. I'm sure every one of you can remember some story, long or short, connected with that pleasant time, and as good 'subjects' I'm sure you will be glad to gratify our little story-lover."

That silenced every one, for all were fond of Kristy and glad to make her Christmas as bright as possible. Grandma spoke next. "I think that's a very cunning plan on the part of my granddaughter, and while you are all collecting your wits, and brushing up your memories of old times, I'll tell the first story myself. As it is about myself, I have no trouble in recalling it."

"That's lovely of you, Grandma," said Kristy warmly. Grandma smiled across the fireplace, and while Uncle Will stirred up the fire to make a brighter blaze, she brought her knitting out of her pocket and began.


John Farrar


A bundle is a funny thing,

It always sets me wondering;

For whether it is thin or wide

You never know just what's inside.

Especially on Christmas week,

Temptation is so great to peek!

Now wouldn't it be much more fun

If shoppers carried things undone?


  WEEK 50  


The Beautiful Story of Joan of Arc  by Viola Ruth Lowe

The Siege of Paris

H ARDLY had the excitement of the King's coronation died away when Joan demanded that the march to Paris should begin, and ought not be put off even for a single day. But the king delayed from day to day hoping to make a treaty with the Burgundians.

Meanwhile, on August 17, the keys of the town of Compiegne were handed over to King Charles, and shortly after its surrender, many other towns in the district followed suit. This would have made a good location from which to begin the attack upon the English, but still the King would not give his consent. Joan decided to take matters into her own hands with the help of the Duke d'Alençon. And on August 23, in spite of the King and his councillors, these two, followed by their troops, set out in high spirits, with hope in their hearts and words of cheer on their lips, and soon they reached St. Denys, a little town where stood the cathedral that contained the tombs of all the bygone kings and queens of France. Here they impatiently waited until the King arrived two weeks later.

The attack upon Paris was made at two o'clock in the afternoon. Joan rode at the head of her troops holding her banner in her hand. She showed great bravery, but it was a hopeless task from the first. Without any support from the King, it was impossible to capture the city.


The Maid led her men on with words of new hope.

Still, however, the Maid remained, calling out words of encouragement to her men, and standing alone in the front with only her standard-bearer nearby. As dusk grew and shadows began to fall, an English archer aimed his bow at the Maid and his arrow pierced her leg. She fell wounded, and at the same moment her standard-bearer was struck and fell dead at her side. They carried her a little distance from the field, and from there she still shouted words of encouragement to her soldiers until nightfall.

They were near the walls of Paris the next morning when suddenly a band of horsemen appeared upon the horizon. They stopped the troops and delivered their message from the King. They said that the siege must be stopped at once. And to the sorrowful Joan they next turned and said, "The Maid must return to St. Denys immediately."

Before leaving St. Denys, Joan, her heart heavy with anguish, quietly entered the Cathedral, and with great simplicity laid her suit of white armor, now sadly bent and stained by warfare, and her sword which could serve her no longer, at the foot of the statue of the Virgin Mary.


On the altar, Joan laid her armor and her sword.


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

Christmas on the Prairie

I T was all my own fault, the way we spent our Christmas. I'll say that to begin with. I was a willful girl in those days, and well was I punished for insisting upon having my own way, that strange Christmas day so long ago.

We were all going to my grandmother's to a family gathering, and I teased my father to take us in the big sleigh. The ride was only forty miles, and I thought it would be fine and grand to show off our stylish city vehicle, with prancing horses and plenty of bells.

Yes, I'll confess the whole. I'm afraid I was mean enough to think of the sensation we should make in the little village, and of how our country cousins would stare.

Well, after some demurring, father and mother consented and everything was arranged. A big square basket of good things—which we always carried when we all went together to grandmother's—was packed and fitted under the back seat in a sort of box; Willie's and my presents to our cousins, as well as mother's; mine carefully stowed away in a safe corner, and everything was ready to start the night before we were to go.

On that morning, however, the sky was cloudy and it looked like snow. Father came in and said he believed we had better go by rail after all; we could telegraph Uncle James to meet us at the station, for if it should snow we might have trouble with a sleigh.

Mother agreed that it would be best; but I took it upon myself to be so disappointed, and made such a commotion, that at last, in order that I might have a pleasant Christmas, they consented—as it was not certain that it would snow after all—to gratify me.

Great was my pride and delight when we drove off; horses prancing and bells jingling. Mother and I packed into the back seat, with plenty of cloaks and wraps and fur robes to keep us warm, with hot bricks for our feet, and everything snug and nice; and father and Willie in front, just as comfortable; father driving, in his warm fur gloves.

The first ten miles were very pleasant, but as we went on snow began to come down in earnest. I noticed that father grew silent and hurried the horses, and mother looked anxiously at the fast falling flakes.

After an hour or so, it settled into a steady, thick storm. The track was soon covered and we could not hear our horses' feet; in fact, after a while we could not see the horses' ears, much less the road.

Mother grew more worried, but father spoke cheerfully and said the horses would follow the track, and he let them take their own way. The horses hurried on, and we should have been at grandmother's. The short day was nearly over, it began to grow dark, and now even I was no longer held up by my pride. I began to be dreadfully frightened, especially as the road was so uneven, and we constantly ran against things and over things that nearly upset us, so that we knew we were out of the road and of course lost.

Perhaps you don't know what that word means to people traveling on the wide western prairie, where the road is on a level with the rest of the country, and one can go for miles and not see a house or even a fence. The very thought struck terror to all of us. Lost on the terrible prairies, with snow so thick we could not see! I began to cry, but mother consoled me by reminding me that at most we should not starve, for we could eat the contents of the Christmas basket, and the storm could not last forever. But I felt the pangs of remorse, and remembered that it was I alone who had brought the family into this disagreeable if not dangerous position.

By this time it was dark, and we were stealing cautiously along, the horses almost tired out dragging the heavy load through unbroken snow. We kept watch on all sides for a light—any light that would lead us to shelter. It was eight o'clock in the evening before we caught sight of a faint gleam on the right, and father at once turned the horses towards it. A few minutes' floundering and plunging of the poor beasts through drifts almost up to their necks brought us near that welcome light. There seemed to be a house of some sort,—very small,—and father jumped out and stumbled about till he found a door, on which he knocked.

In a moment it opened and a frightened-looking face appeared, holding a candle above the head. It was a poor-looking woman's face, but she seemed like an angel to us. Father told her our trouble, and asked her to let us come in and stay all night.

She said she could not turn away a dog on such a night and to what she had we were welcome, but she had little to offer us, and she feared we would not be very comfortable.

"At least," said mother, "you have fire and a roof over you, and we shall be glad of them to-night."

Well, of course we hurried out, and thankful enough I was to leave the sleigh I had entered with such pride. The poor tired horses had to go into a sort of shed where the woman kept her wood, and for a long time father was busy making them as comfortable as he could, rubbing them down and putting on their blankets, while we took off our wraps and looked around the one room of the log cottage in which we were to pass the night, and—though we didn't suspect it then—the next day as well.

The family consisted of a mother and two children, a boy and girl, about Willie's and my age. They were evidently very poor, for there was hardly anything in the house, except a bed with little skimpy pillows, a table, and a few hard chairs. The fire was in a big fireplace, and the one candle stood on the shelf above it. A cupboard on one side held a few dishes, and that was about all.

And this was Christmas eve! and at my grandmother's now the aunts and uncles and cousins were having a merry time, a delicious supper, which made my mouth water to think of, so hungry was I, a roaring big fire, plenty of lights, and lots of fun.

"And but for you,  willful girl," something within me kept suggesting, "but for you, you would all be in the midst of it at this moment."

Nobody spoke of that, however.

Father asked if he could get anything to feed the horses, and the woman brought out a basket of corn. So Billy and Jack had to do without their usual oats, and eat corn out of a pail. They didn't seem to mind, but crunched away as though it were sugar-plums.

It was different with us. We were half-starved, and when we asked about something to eat we found that the terrible little house had nothing but corn-meal and a little salt pork.

How dreadful! I could not bear corn-meal, and I loathed pork, but mother asked her cheerfully to cook a supper for us. So she bustled about and cut some very thin slices and broiled them over the coals, and mixed up some of the meal with water and things, and brushed clean a place on the hearth and baked it there on the hot stones, and by that time I was so ravenous I could eat shoestrings, I thought. So I did make a hearty supper on corn bread. Father ate, too, and so did Willie, but I noticed that mother only nibbled at hers.

Then we began to think of sleeping. The woman (Mrs. Burns was her name) insisted upon giving mother and me her own bed, but I saw an odd look go over mother's face as she glanced at it, and she utterly refused. She said we had carriage robes and cushions and shawls, and could make ourselves very comfortable on the floor before the fire. So father and Willie brought the things in, and mother spread up two beds side by side, cushions and robes on the floor, and shawls for covering.

Such a strange night as that was! I lay awake a long time, watching the dancing shadows which the fire threw on the rafters of the little house, holding fast to mother's hand all the while, for I was half-scared out of my wits to be on the floor. I thought of rats and mice and many horrible things I had heard of, and I was sure I should not sleep a wink, especially as that troublesome monitor inside kept suggesting to me that it was my own doing, my own willfulness that had brought this upon the whole family.

I tried to put away the thought—to think of something else; to make excuses for myself; but somehow everything looked different here, and I could not bring back my own satisfaction with myself. Moreover, it seemed as if that little ray of light, that was showing me my real self, was determined to reveal more things. I remembered that I had always wanted to have my own way, and the dreadful monitor reminded me that I didn't much care if I did put other people out of their way, or oblige them to do what they didn't like, to please me, and—and—I couldn't blink the fact that I was apt to be very ugly and cross when I had to give up my own plans; and at last came the word which all this meant: it was selfishness.

It seemed as if that word suddenly burst on me, and I saw it as in letters of fire. It was a disagreeable word. I hated selfish people, and I had often given up friendship for a girl because of this ugly trait; and was it my own, too?

I was startled, but I could not get away from that stern monitor within, which seemed to have taken this dismal occasion to show me my true self.

Hours I lay awake thinking, about myself to be sure, but not in a cheering way. Even now, I remember how, in this wretched plight, brought on by my own selfishness, I had not thought of any one else; nothing of my mother's discomfort, unable to sleep on the floor, unable to eat coarse food, anxious about grandmother's anxiety about us; nothing of father's cares, worry about our comfort, about his horses, about how we could get on tomorrow; nothing about Willie, the gay evening he had expected, the evident disappointment; nothing of the family we were putting to so great inconvenience; nothing of the worry of grandmother and all our relatives at our absence. Nothing—nothing—with shame I confess it—nothing but the sole, individual disappointment of one small, selfish girl. I saw myself, and I didn't like the picture, and with tears of shame I said to myself: "I'll begin to do better to-morrow. I will! I will!" I slept at last, and awoke full of my good resolve. The sun was not shining; that I noticed the first thing, and next I saw the flakes begin to fall. Father went out to look at the weather, and reported—alas for our hopes!—a steady fall of snow, fences all covered, no road to be seen, not a chance of our getting away till the people got out and broke the roads with heavy teams,—and it was Christmas morning! I saw mother's quick clasp of the hands, and heard her murmur, "Oh! if I could only let her know where we are!" and I knew she was thinking of grandmother's anxiety. I saw father's face as he came in from attending the horses, and asked Mrs. Burns if she had any more corn, and I was just resigning myself to a great burst of tears, when I remembered the thoughts of last night. "Now, here is a good chance to begin to think of some one else," said the monitor. There was no comfort in thinking of any of us, so I turned to the family of the log house.

The mother looked thin and ill, and was hurrying about to get breakfast, which I could see was a repetition of the supper of last night. I turned to the girl. Her name was Elsie, and she was near my own age. I went over to where she stood near the small window, in awe of her guests.

When I reached her I didn't know what to say, for with the best of intentions I was new at the business. At last I began timidly:

"Elsie, what do you do here on Christmas?"

"I d' know what you mean," said Elsie shyly. "What is Christmas?"

"You don't know that!" I cried in amazement. "I thought everybody in the world knew about Christmas! Why, why—"I stopped. What could I say? How could I begin? "Mother," as a thought struck me, "please tell Elsie what Christmas is; she doesn't know."

Mother turned. "Well, dear, come here and let me tell you, though my daughter is so astonished that I must first tell her that there are hundreds of thousands of children who never heard of Christmas."

Then calling the boy John, who was standing stupidly by the door of the shed, as though about to run away, mother told them the whole story: why we keep it, and what we do to celebrate it. John got interested and forgot to shut his mouth, and Elsie's eyes got bigger and bigger and brighter and brighter; and when mother stopped, she drew a long breath and said: "Oh, how beautiful! how I should like to see Christmas! But I don't suppose I ever shall out here on the prairie," she added in a moment, the light fading out of her face.

At that instant a thought came like a flash to me—I believe it came from the same monitor which had shown me myself in the night; anyway, it came the same way, and I must say I didn't like it a bit. I just hated it. What do you suppose it was?

"You have things enough packed into the sleigh to make this poor family perfectly happy for a long time; things intended for people who already have more than they need. Presents you have prepared for your girl cousins will do nicely for Elsie, those for the boys will just suit John. The mittens you knit for grandmother's old servant will keep Mrs. Burns's hands warm, and the New Testament in big print, that you bought with your own money for grandmother, will be just the thing for this dreary little house in long winter evenings. Then, there is the basket; why carry lots of nice things to eat into a house already too full, when these poor souls have nothing—yes, truly nothing—meal and pork."

I took this new suggestion and went to the window to fight it out with myself. Selfishness said, "What are these to you? and how your cousins will feel!" But, on the other hand—

Well, in a few minutes I went to mother and whispered my thought. Her face brightened. "I am so glad you thought of it, my daughter. It had occurred to me, but I dreaded to propose it, lest you should be disappointed. Now we'll do it, and our Christmas will not be so very gloomy after all, I'm sure."

Once settled, we entered into the plan with enthusiasm, we even—if you'll believe me—planned a Christmas tree, for father (whom, of course, we told at once) said we were close on the edge of an evergreen wood. He took John and Willie, who was delighted with the plan, borrowed Mrs. Burns's axe, and waded through, I don't know how deep snow to the grove. Very soon he cut down a nice tree, and the two boys dragged it in, prancing through the snow like a pair of horses, and scattering it on every side. I even heard a laugh from John, at the door.

The tree was quickly set up, and after we had eaten breakfast we went to work on it. Mrs. Burns was interested: said she'd heard of those things, but never saw one; and the children were just wild; I never saw folks so delighted.

There wasn't much to trim it with; only, luckily, one of the things in the sleigh was a great big box of bon-bons. They are pretty to look at, you know, and we used them to decorate our tree. Do you suppose a Christmas tree was ever before trimmed with bonbons, hearts, and Jacob's ladders, and rings of dancers (you know how to cut them), and all sorts of droll figures which mother cut out of paper, white and pink, which came around the packages?

You'd hardly believe it, but that tree looked really pretty when it came dark, and the firelight fell on it. But before that time we had our Christmas dinner. The table was set out and covered with newspapers that we had (Mrs. Burns hadn't even a tablecloth) and then hidden with sprigs of evergreen that came off in trimming the tree. The things out of the basket made a funny dinner, but wasn't it good! A splendid roast turkey, a big chicken pie, a lovely frosted cake, a plum pudding, and beautiful jelly. Not a bit of bread or potato, not a vegetable nor a piece of butter. Mrs. Burns baked some corn bread, and it looked very strange beside the other things. I tell you the dinner was a wonder in that log house. The children were so surprised and happy they could hardly eat, and I hope they enjoyed what was left after we went away, for it was not half eaten.

Then after dinner was cleared away, father and Willie brought in the box which held our presents. Mother's were really useful. She had a nice merino dress which she was taking to grandmother's Netty, an old servant who lived there when mother was a little girl. It was all made, and just fitted Mrs. Burns. Father had a shawl for her, too. I gave the mittens I had knit to Johnnie, and the Testament to Mrs. Burns, and she was delighted with it. I gave Elsie a book I had for Cousin Addie, and mother gave her a cunning little work-box with all the sewing things in it. Willie gave Johnnie a little set of tools he was carrying to Cousin Harry, and I never saw a boy so pleased.

Then we had some boxes of games, and we showed them how to play afterwards.

Everything that was not too big was hung on the tree, and those two children just stood and stared. They couldn't take their eyes off, and Elsie every few minutes drew a long breath, as if she could not contain herself for joy.

I never enjoyed a tree so much in my life, those two children were so perfectly overwhelmed with happiness. Then we sat by the fire and told stories and taught them the games, and ate some of the bon-bons from the tree, though we left most of them till we should be gone, and we gave them the bon-bon boxes, which they thought were too fine to use, and the evening fairly flew. Before we thought of it, it was time to go to bed, and I went right to sleep that night.

The next morning the sun was shining, and before long came a great noise, shouting and yelling, and we saw lots of country people with oxen and heavy sleds breaking the road. Father went out to see them, and he found that we were about three miles from grandmother's, but off the regular road. Then we packed into the sleigh again and went off, and mother left Elsie my old cloak and Johnnie Willie's ulster, that he used only for country drives—we had so many extra wraps for our long ride. Father gave Mrs. Burns some money, too, and when we drove off she stood by the door crying (if you'll believe me), while Elsie and Johnnie shouted "Good-by," and Willie and I waved our handkerchiefs and called back.

Before noon we got to grandmother's and found them very much alarmed about us. Mother told our story and promised to send a fresh Christmas box from home, but nobody would hear of it. Everybody seemed delighted that we had given away their presents, and brought heaps of things that Santa Claus had left for us.

It may seem strange, but I believe that Christmas in the little log house was the very happiest I ever spent, and Willie and mother always said so, too.

"And that's why you've been so nice and generous ever since!" cried Kristy as the story ended.

Everybody laughed, and Grandma even blushed a little, but Kristy added indignantly, "You needn't laugh! You all know it's true!"

"So we do, little girl," said Uncle Will warmly; "the most generous, the nicest, the—"

"There, there!" interrupted Grandma, "that'll do. It's your turn now, Mr. Tom."

Now Uncle Tom pretended to be greatly distressed because he could not tell half so good a story, and Kristy laughed at him and told him he needn't pretend, for everybody knew he could make up stories so good that they were printed in the newspapers.

This made Uncle Tom blush, and he said:

"Very well then, Miss Queeny! If I must tell a story, I shall do it in newspaper style. For I can't talk stories; I can only write them."

"Do it any way you please," said Kristy, "only begin! Begin! Sh—! Listen, everybody."

"Well," said Uncle Tom, slowly drawing a fresh newspaper from his pocket, "the oddest Christmas I ever heard of was in a negro cabin out in the woods of Ohio, and I'll read you that."

"Oh! oh!" came in a chorus from the listeners. "You must tell your story!"

"This is my story," Uncle Tom admitted at last, "and it's new, and nobody here has seen it," and he turned to Kristy.

"Yes, read it, Uncle Tom," she said. "I know it'll be nice."

Uncle Tom turned his back to the fire so that he could see to read, and then began.



The Friendly Beasts

Jesus our brother, kind and good,

Was humbly born in a stable rude,

And the friendly beasts around Him stood,

Jesus our brother, kind and good.

"I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown,

"I carried His mother up hill and down,

I carried her safely to Bethlehem town;

I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

"I," said the cow all white and red,

"I gave Him my manger for His bed,

I gave Him my hay to pillow His head.

I," said the cow all white and red.

"I," said the sheep with curly horn,

"I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm;

He wore my coat on Christmas morn;

I," said the sheep with curly horn.

"I," said the dove, from the rafters high,

"I cooed Him to sleep so He would not cry;

We cooed him to sleep, my mate and I;

I," said the dove from the rafters high.

Thus every beast by some good spell,

In the stable dark was glad to tell,

Of the gift he gave Immanuel,

The gift he gave Immanuel.


  WEEK 50  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

The Deer People

W INTER had come. The deer were on their winter feeding grounds. Could you have been there, you would, until you had watched them awhile, have wondered where they could find anything to eat. As far as could be seen, and far, far beyond that, there was nothing but snow.

But the deer people minded this not at all. They knew that the snow was but a blanket to protect and keep in splendid condition the food they loved best, the reindeer moss as it is called, which carpeted the ground, the lichens which nature had provided specially for the reindeer and caribou.

Tuktu liked to go out and watch them paw down through the snow. "See, Aklak," she cried, "they know just where they will find the best food. Do you suppose they never make mistakes?"

"The deer are wise with a wisdom not given us," replied Aklak. "Perhaps they make mistakes sometimes, but it is not often. I heard such an odd thing the other day. It makes me laugh every time I think of it."

"Tell me, for I want to laugh too," cried Tuktu. "What was it, Aklak?"

Aklak chuckled. "You remember the visitors that came in great ships last summer," said he. Tuktu nodded. "Well, one of them who never had seen reindeer before, asked if the deer used their horns to shovel away the snow in winter. He said that he had been told this, and that many people believed it to be so. It is a lucky thing it isn't so, or those big, old bucks would go hungry now that they have dropped their horns. But just look at the way they are pawing up that moss over there. I guess it is a good thing they haven't their horns, or they would be so greedy and selfish that they would get all the best of the food. See, Tuktu! See that young spikehorn over there driving away the old buck from that moss he has uncovered!"

Sure enough, a youngster with only two sharp spikes for horns was butting a big old buck who had just pawed away the snow from a bed of reindeer moss. Those spikes were sharp and they made the old buck grunt. Having no horns himself, he could not fight back except by striking with his forefeet, and these the youngster took care to avoid. So finally the old fellow gave up and went to look for a new supply of food while the youngster ate undisturbed.

"I have wondered a great many times," said Tuktu, "why it is that the old bucks drop their wonderful antlers so long before the mother deer and the young spikehorns do. But I guess I know now. It is because they are the strongest, and so they are made to look after the weaker ones, whether they want to or not."


Aklak nodded. "That's it I guess," said he. "By and by those little spikes will drop. Then the only ones to have horns will be the mothers. Theirs will not drop until after the fawns are born. Do you know why the reindeer always face the wind when they are feeding?"

"So that the wind may bring them the scent of any enemies that may be ahead of them," replied Tuktu promptly.

Aklak nodded. "That is one reason, but it isn't the only reason," said he. The wind keeps their eyes clear of drifting snow. So they always face the wind, no matter how bitter it may be. They are a wise people, the deer people. They know how to take care of themselves. They cannot see as well as some other animals, but they can smell and hear better than most. Their wild cousins, the caribou, are the same way. When we are hunting them we have to take the greatest care that they neither hear nor smell us."

The children were standing on the outer edge of the herd. As always, Tuktu was watching for a glimpse of Speedfoot, the splendid deer she felt sure the Good Spirit had chosen. Now, for the first time she mentioned it to Aklak. He knew the deer she meant. He had hoped that some day he might have it for his own. So now when Tuktu told him that she was sure it had been chosen by the Good Spirit, and that she had been unable to find it anywhere in the herd, he straightway began keeping watch himself.

Together they passed back and forth through the grazing herd. They are a gentle people, these reindeer folk. The children could quite safely go about among them as freely as they pleased. There was nothing to fear.

Long they searched, but in the end Aklak had to admit that Speedfoot was missing. "It may be that Amarok, the wolf, has gotten him," said he. "Or it may be that he has strayed into one of the other herds. We cannot know until the deer are driven into the corrals and counted."

Tuktu merely smiled. "I know," said she. "Amarok has never set tooth in him, and he has not strayed to another herd. He is one of the chosen of the Good Spirit. You shall see, Aklak, that I am right when the count comes."

"But not even the count will tell us if Amarok has killed him," said he.

There was a faraway look in Tuktu's eyes and a half-smile hovering around her lips. "You will find him next summer when we move over near the Valley of the Good Spirit," said she. "Then will you know that I speak truly. He is of the chosen eight, the blessed deer of the Good Spirit."



Legends and Stories of Italy  by Amy Steedman

The Legend of the Christmas Rose

It was the night on which our Blessed Lord was born, and the angels had brought their message of peace and goodwill to the shepherds upon the lonely hillside.

The glory of that heavenly vision had left the men awed and silent as they gathered round their fire. The news of the birth of the long looked for Infant King filled their hearts so full of wonder and of joy that for a while they could not speak. But ere long they roused themselves and in low tones began to talk of what they had seen and of all that the message of the angels meant. There was surely but one thing to be done—they must set out at once to seek the new-born King. So they began to plan how they might safely leave their sheep, and to pile the fire high with dry branches that the blaze might keep away all evil beasts.

So intent were they on their preparations, and so filled with the wonder of that night, that none of them gave a thought to the little child who lay in the warm shelter of a rock close to the fire. She had been helping her father tend the sheep all day, and had crept into the bed of dry leaves to rest, for she was very tired. The shepherds never noticed her as she lay in the shadow of the rock, and even if they had, they would have deemed her far too young to understand the glorious vision of that starry night.

But the little maid had seen the opening of heaven's gates and heard the angels' message. With wondering eyes she had gazed upon those white-robed messengers of peace and listened to their words. There was much that she did not understand, but this at least she knew, that a little Baby had been born that night in the village close by, that He was the King of Heaven and had brought God's love and forgiveness to all the poor people upon earth.

Now as she lay in her warm corner watching the bright flames as they rose and fell, a little lamb nestling close at her feet for warmth, she had but one thought in her heart, How could she see this Bambino, this new-born King. Very anxiously she watched the shepherds and tried to hear what they were saying. She saw one lift a lamb in his arms, another take a home-made cheese from their little store, another a loaf of barley-bread. Then there was a movement away from the fire, and she saw they were preparing to set out down the hill. They were going to seek the King, and if she followed she would see Him too.

In an instant she had left her warm corner and was speeding after the men. Quickly and silently she crept along behind them, trying always to keep out of sight lest one of them should turn his head and bid her go home. But the shepherds were all too eager to think of aught but the wonderful quest which lay before them, and they never thought of looking back, nor did they hear the patter of small bare feet upon the frozen ground.

It was a bitterly cold night. The moon shone down on ice-bound streams and fields white with hoar-frost. Not a sound was to be heard but the soft sighing of the wind passing gently through the bare branches of the trees. Not a light was to be seen in any of the huts they passed, for every one was fast asleep. But overhead there shone a wonderful star like a silver globe of light going before them as they went. So the little company passed on, and the child kept bravely up behind, although the ground was rough and hard and sorely hurt her bare feet. It was not easy to keep pace with the men's swift stride, but she never stopped to rest until she had entered the village street of Bethlehem, and the shepherds paused before a little shed over which the silver star was shining down.

Here they halted and talked together in low tones, while the child drew aside into the shadow of the house to watch what they would do.

She saw them take out from their wallets the things which they had brought, and realised for the first time that they were presents for the Infant King. There was the loaf of barley-bread, the home-made cheese, a handful of dried fruit and the fleece of a lamb, white and soft, fit to wrap around a baby's limbs this cold wintry night. There were other things besides, but all were poor simple gifts, and the shepherds looked at the array half sadly.

"They make but a poor show," said one with shame.

"They are indeed but simple offerings," said another; "but He will understand that it is our best we give with the true love of our hearts."

"Ay, surely," said a third, "and poor though they be, they are better than nothing. It would be a sin indeed to come empty-handed to greet our King this night."

Those words fell on the listening ears of the child, and when she heard them, all hope and joy died out of her heart. She had no gift to offer. She looked down at her little empty sun-browned hands and a great sob rose in her throat. If it were a sin to go in without a gift, then she must stay outside. She had come so far and longed so greatly to see the Infant King, and now it was all no use, the sight was not for her. Perhaps if she crept near the door she might peep in when it was opened and catch if it were only a glimpse, while she herself remained unseen.

The shepherds knocked at the door and reverently bared their heads. A low sweet voice bade them enter, and the door was opened. Pressing forward, the child tried to look in. There in the soft light she saw a fair young mother with head bent low, and behind her an ox and an ass feeding from a low manger. She tried to see the Bambino, but the forms of the kneeling shepherds came between, and even as she looked, the door was shut and she was left outside.

Then it seemed as if her heart would break. She was so weary and so footsore, and all her trouble had been for nought. The King was so near, only a wall between Him and her, and yet she was not to see Him. She threw herself down on the hard gravel and buried her head in her arms, while the sobs came thick and fast and her tears made the very ground wet.

Presently the door opened and the shepherds came out with slow and reverent steps. They did not see her, for she had crept close to the wall, and when they started on their homeward way she did not move to follow them. She was too tired and sorrowful to care what became of her now.

But presently as she lay there, with the tears still dropping one by one, she started and looked closely at the ground. What were those pale-green shoots that were bursting up between the cracks of the stones? Now they were growing into glossy leaves. She held her breath with wonder, but true it was that wherever a tear had fallen and thawed the frozen earth, a bud had begun to swell. The pale-green shoots grew taller and taller, the glossy leaves unfolded and showed pink-tipped buds hanging between, which, as she gazed, opened into blossoms with petals as silver white as moonbeams upon the glistening snow.

A glad thought came into the child's sorrowful heart. Why, here was the very gift she was seeking, and she yet might see the King. Eagerly she stretched out her hands and gathered the open blossoms and pink flushed buds, with one or two glossy leaves to place around them. Then she went close to the door and timidly ventured on a very little knock. She waited, scarcely daring to breathe, but no one answered, and so putting both hands against the door she pushed it a little way open.


The Madonna was sitting in the poor stable by the little bed of hay on which the Gesu Bambino slept. She was bending over Him and softly singing a lullaby, her eyes still shining with quiet joy over the thought of the wondrous tale told her by the simple shepherds. Suddenly a draught of cold air came sweeping in, and she turned her head to see who had opened the door. A little child stood there with flushed cheeks on which the tears were scarcely dry. Wistful eyes were raised to hers, and two small hands held out a bunch of snowy blossoms.

The Madonna needed no words to tell her what it meant. Her mother-heart understood at once what the little one wanted. Very gently she drew her in and led her to the little manger-bed and bade her lay her flowers there in the little, helpless hands of the new-born King. The child knelt and gazed at the sleeping Bambino. She forgot her tiredness and weary feet, she forgot her tears and disappointment, and she dimly felt that the happiness that filled her heart would live on and on for ever.

And now when winter-time comes and the days are dark and the nights are long, when the snow covers up all the sleeping flowers and the Christmas bells ring out, the white blossoms of the child's flowers appear above the cold, dark earth. We call them the Christmas roses now, in memory of the little one who had no other gift to offer that first Christmas morning, but the gift of her sorrowful tears.



A Catch by the Hearth

Sing we all merrily

Christmas is here,

The day that we love best

Of days in the year.

Bring forth the holly,

The box, and the bay,

Deck out our cottage

For glad Christmas-day.

Sing we all merrily,

Draw round the fire,

Sister and brother,

Grandsire, and sire.


  WEEK 50  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

The Wilful Young Deer

O F ALL the young deer in the great herd,—and there were many,—Little Spot was the most wilful. He was called Little Spot because he was marked exactly like his mother, who was known as Big Spot. Each had a white spot between the eyes. Now, Big Spot was one of the wisest leaders among all the reindeer people. She was wise in the ways of the wolf and the bear, and she was wise in the ways of men. Under her leadership the herd thrived and increased and was seldom troubled.

But with all her wisdom, Big Spot was a poor mother. You see, she was just like a great many other mothers—she spoiled her children. So Little Spot, who was so like his mother, had never been taught to mind. Almost from the day of his birth, which had been in the spring before the snow had melted, he had been headstrong and wilful. He had been a handsome baby, as reindeer babies go, and his mother had been very proud of him. Perhaps that is why she spoiled him. Anyway, he went where he pleased and did what he pleased and was forever in trouble of some sort. When he got his first horns, two sharp spikes, he made such a nuisance of himself that he soon became known as the worst young deer in the whole herd. Other young deer would have nothing to do with him, because he was so overbearing. He was a little bigger and a little stronger than any others of his own age, and this, together with the fact that he had been allowed to have his own way, had quite spoiled him.

"My son," said his mother, when she found him with a small band of caribou which he had run away to join, "follow me to the top of yonder hill. I want to talk to you."

"I don't want to be talked to," said Little Spot, with an angry toss of his head. "I know what you want. You want me to go back with the herd. I'm not going. I'm going to stay with my wild cousins, the caribou. I don't want to go back to the herd. I won't go back to the herd." He stamped his feet in the naughtiest way.

"Very well," said his mother. "You may stay with your cousins, the caribou. But remember that if you need me, you will find me on the top of that hill over there."

Little Spot tossed his head. He sniffed. You see, he didn't like it at all that his mother should think that he had any need of her. Had he not horns already? He felt quite equal to taking care of himself. So he tossed his head and sniffed, then went over to join some of the young caribou about his own age.

His mother said nothing more, but slowly walked away in the direction of the hill. When she reached the top, she stood motionless for a long time. Looking up, Little Spot could see her against the sky and, he, being a foolish young deer, became very angry. He felt that she was keeping watch over him. So he pretended not to see her, and, when presently the small band of caribou started to move away briskly, he trotted along with them. They were glad to have him; at least they made no objections. The farther he got from that hill where his mother still stood, the bigger and more important he felt. He was out in the Great World now. He was master of his own movements. There was no one to make him do this or do that. He held his head high and he stepped high. You see, he was trying to look as important as he felt.


Without warning, four great gray wolves swept out from behind some willow trees to cut off the young caribou from the remainder of the band. Such terror as there was then! Each young caribou started in a different direction. It was well for Little Spot that he was swifter of foot than any of the others. At the first glimpse of the dreaded wolves, he had whirled about and started back for that hill where his mother was. They were the first wolves he had ever seen, but he knew what they were. Not once did he look behind to see what was happening to the young caribou. Forgotten was all his pride. He wanted his mother, and he wanted her as he had never wanted her before. Was she not the wisest of all the mothers of the big herd? She would know what to do. She would know how to care for him.


He looked over to the top of that little hill. For a moment it seemed as if his heart stopped beating. He could not see Big Spot anywhere. Had she left him after all? Had she started off on that long swift trot of hers to get back to the herd? The mere thought that he might never see her again gave added speed to Little Spot. Never had he run as he was running now. But it was not good running. It was unwise running, for it was taking his wind and his strength. He was panting hard when he came over the top of the hill. There, in a little hollow just beyond, stood his mother.

"What is it, my son?" said she, as little Spot crowded against her, panting as if he could never get his breath again. "What is it, my son? I thought you wanted to go out into the Great World."

"Wolves!" panted Little Spot, "Wolves! We must run!"

His mother merely walked up to the brow of the hill and looked back. "Truly, my son, they are wolves," said she, and returned to him as if wolves were the most commonplace things in the world.


"They are wolves."


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

A Droll Santa Claus

"B ERTIE," whispered seven-year-old Lily mysteriously, "I know where to find Santa Claus. Barbara told me."

"Where?" cried Bertie, dropping the block he was about adding to his house.

"Out on the hill," Lily went on eagerly. "Barbara says that Christmas eve the Christ Child comes down on the hill, with oh! lots and lots of presents, and picks them over and gives them to Santa Claus to take to the children."

"What hill?" asked Bertie, jumping up from the floor. "The one the moon comes over, Barbara says," answered Lily. "And I guess it's that one,"—pointing to the peak of a mountain miles and miles away. "Christmas eve's this very night," she went on earnestly. "Let's you and I go up there and see him and pick out our presents."

"Well," said Bertie, always ready to do what Lily suggested.

"We mustn't let Barbara see us, or she won't let us go," said Lily. "But I guess she'll be glad when we come back with lots of things."

"I'll bring her a horse," said Bertie, " 'at she can ride."

"And I'll bring her a be-au-ti-ful long dress that'll drag on the ground," said Lily, starting down-stairs. Bertie followed. Barbara had gone to the kitchen for a few moments; Mamma was busy in the parlor with company; and nobody saw the two children creep downstairs, open the front door, and slip out.

"I wonder which way it is!" said Lily, when they had reached the walk. "Oh! I guess that way, 'cause there's the hill," and she turned the way that led from the village toward the woods.

The sun was just down, and away the eager children tramped, too much excited to feel cold, though they had nothing over them, and too much afraid of being overtaken by the nurse to linger. When they reached the woods it looked rather dark, and Bertie was afraid to go in. But Lily said they'd soon be there, she guessed; and the Christ Child would take care of them, 'cause he loved little children.

So hand in hand they entered the dreary wood. It looked much darker inside, and, in fact, the short winter day was about over and night was falling fast. Anxiously the two little wanderers hurried along, not saying much, now running when the ground was smooth, and stumbling along over roots and sticks when it was rough.

"I'm cold, 'n I want my Mamma," burst out Bertie at last.

"So am I cold," said Lily, "and I guess we must be most there; and then think how nice it'll be!"

"Will it be warm?" asked the anxious little voice.

"Oh! of course, and light," said Lily cheerfully, "and plenty of nice things to eat."

"I want something now," wailed Bertie, the tears rolling down his face.

"Well, don't cry," said Lily, in a soothing, motherly way. "We'll soon be there now." And on they trudged, through swamps half up to their knees, falling over logs, scratching their faces on bushes, hungry, cold, wet, and at last frightened when the snow began to come down thick and fast.

"I want to go home," sobbed Bertie.

"Well," said Lily, "we'll go," and they turned around and began to retrace their steps. But alas! they had not come straight, and they only went farther and farther from home.

The prospect of going home quieted Bertie for a while; but when some time had gone by, and it was almost totally dark, and they could see nothing, and ran against trees and hurt themselves, even Lily's courage began to fail, and the tears ran down her face, though she tried to choke them back. But still they stumbled on.

"Don't cry, Bertie," the brave little creature said after a while. "If we die out here in the woods, maybe the robin redbreasts'll come and cover us up with leaves, as they did the children in the woods in my book."

"I don't want to be covered up with leaves," sobbed Bertie, who couldn't see any consolation in that.

Just at that moment they came out from behind a rock, and they saw a light. Lily was ablaze in a minute.

"There it is! There they are!" she cried. "Look, Bertie! That must be the place!" And they hurried on, losing the light now and then, as a tree came in the way, and finding it again in a minute. When they drew near the light they saw that it came from a window, and when they got close to it there was a small house with a door beside the window. Lily knocked. In a moment it was opened by a negro,—old and bent and white-haired,—who gazed at the two weary children as though they were ghosts.

"Please, sir, are you Santa Claus?" asked Lily, with trembling lips and tears on her cheeks.

"Santa Claus!" said the bewildered negro. "Bless yo' heart, who's that? But come in out o' the storm. Yo' must be nigh froze to death. Who's come with yo'?" and he peered out into the darkness.

"No one," said Lily timidly, half afraid of his looks, yet reassured by his good-natured voice. "We came alone, to see Santa Claus. But I'm afraid we missed the way."

"Come alone, this yere cold night, from the village?" he ejaculated in amazement. "Did yo' Ma know?"

"No," said Lily, casting down her eyes. "We didn't tell her."

"Well, come in by the fire," said he, drawing them in and closing the door. "What yo' s'pose yer Ma'll say when she finds yo' done runned away?"

Bertie burst into loud crying, and Lily sobbed: "Oh! please won't you show us the way back? I didn't think of that."

"Well, well, don't cry," said he. "Yo' must get warm and have a bite to eat, and then I'll see about getting on yo' home. I ain't so young as I was once, and it's no fool of a tramp through these yere woods after night, I kin tell ye."

It was a droll little place that the children had come into. The whole house consisted of one room, roughly built, evidently by old Philip himself. On one side was a rude lounge-frame, holding some sort of a coarse bed and a blanket or two; on the other a table, made by turning a packing-box on one end. The third side was given up to the rickety old stove, the pipe of which went out through a hole in the side of the shanty, and a rough shelf behind it, on which were a plate or two, as many cups, a package or two of corn-meal, tobacco, and other necessaries, with a lighted tallow candle, stuck into a hollowed-out potato. There were no chairs, but a soap-box by the stove looked as though it was used for that purpose. A saw and sawbuck in the corner by the door and an old coat and hat hanging up completed the furniture of the dwelling.

But, if the house was odd, it was warm, and the two half-frozen children eagerly crowded up to the stove.

"Pore chillen!" said their tender-hearted host. "It's a miracle yo' didn't freeze to death out in them woods."

"We did most," said Lily, with quivering lip. "And oh, dear! how can we get home again?"

"Don't you fret yo'r heart, my little lady," said old Philip kindly. "I see about that 'ar. 'Pears to me yo'd 'mazin'ly like a hot 'tater, now, wouldn't yo', my little man?"

"Yes," said Bertie, who was more than half afraid of him.

Philip opened the door of his stove, raked away the ashes, and there were two nice potatoes, baked to a lovely brown. He took them out, carefully brushed off the ashes, laid them on the table, brought out a cracked teacup with salt in it, and an old knife, and told the children to come up and eat.

"If I'd a know'd I was gwine to have company to tea," he said, laughing, "I'd a got up a supper in style. But eat the 'taters and I'll bake yo' a oncommon nice hoecake. Yo' like hoecake?"

"I don't know," said Lily, who stood irresolute before the table, not knowing just how to begin such a meal. "How do you eat these? They're hot."

"Sure 'nuff," said Philip. "I done forgot yo' wasn't used to my sort o' eatin'. I jest cut off the end, drop a pinch o' salt in, and dig out the inside."

"Oh!" said Lily, hastening to follow his directions for herself. As for Bertie, he had already half eaten his potato without salt.

Philip now brought out a bowl and mixed up some corn-meal in it; then brushing off the hot griddle of his stove, he poured the mixture on. In a few minutes he turned it over with a knife, and in a short time he handed it in the same way onto a plate and put it on the table. It was brown and smelt good, and the hungry children eagerly devoured it, while Philip made another.

When they had eaten as much as they could, and drank some water out of teacups, Philip gave Lily a seat on the soap-box, while he turned a big stick of wood up on end and sat down on that himself. He then took Bertie, who had got over his fright, onto his lap and proceeded to take off the soaked shoes and stockings and warm the little cold red feet. Lily meantime did the same for hers, which ached with the cold.

"Now tell me how yo' comed to run away," said Philip, when they were more comfortable.

"We came out to find the Christ Child," said Lily. "Barbara says he comes on Christmas eve down on a hill and gives the presents to Santa Claus; and we wanted to pick ours out."

"Yes, I want a horse 't I can ride," said Bertie, who had recovered his spirits, now that he was warm and fed.

"Pore little things!" said Philip compassionately. "Yo' mus' have had a dreffle tramp! I'll see how the weather is."

So he sat Bertie on the lounge-bed and went to the door. A fierce blast came in as he opened it, with a putting out the light. He shut it quickly, and stood a few moments with a look of perplexity on his face.

"I'll tell you what," he said at length, in answer to Lily's anxious look, "it's teetotally umpossible to go through the woods to-night. I wouldn't 'tempt it in this yere storm myself, let alone toting two chillen. I'll fix yo' up as comf'able as I can hyere to-night, an' soon as it's light I'll go to the village an' tell y'r folks, an' they'll come with a sleigh. There's a wood-road round a little piece down here."

Bertie's lip went up for a cry; but Lily took him in her arms in a motherly way, and said: "Never mind, Bertie, dear; it'll soon be morning, and we'll go home in a sleigh, maybe. And then it'll be Christmas, you know."

They talked a little more, and then Philip fixed a place for them to sleep. He shook up the bed till it was high and round, laid one blanket over it, put the now half-asleep children in it, and covered them up as snug as he could with the other blanket.

" 'T ain't much of a cover to them, I reckon," said he to himself, "but I kin keep a fire all night, an' I don't suspicion they'll get cold."

Having fixed them as nicely as he could, shaded his light so it would not shine in their eyes, and replenished his stove, old Philip sat down on his soap-box, and fell to talking to himself, as he often did out there in the woods, for want of other company.

"Pore creeturs!" he said, looking at the sleeping children. "What a marcy that they got sight o' my light. They'd be done dead by this time. An' to think the little innocents come out this-a-way to find Santa Claus. Pore things! Little 'nuff Christmas they'll have, I 'se a thinkin'. I wonder what they 'r a-doing down to their house. Tearin' round fit to kill, I reckon. They 'r somebody's darlin's I see plain 'nuff. Won't they be powerful glad to see this nigga in the mornin'? Yah! yah!" he laughed softly to himself. "I reckon they never so glad to see this chile afore. Pore things!" he went on after a little, "come out yere to see Santa Claus an' get some presents. Golly!" he exclaimed, as a new thought struck him. "I wonder if I couldn't hunt up somethin' 'r other to make a Christmas mornin' bright. They'll be powerful forlorn when they wakes up."

He was silent some time, scratched his head, whistled a little; and after a while he got up softly and hung their stockings up to dry. "I know what Ize gwine to do," he said. "I'll give 'em some nuts and pop-corn, anyway."

He drew a box from under the foot of the bed, opened it, and took out some beechnuts—delicious little three-cornered things that he had gathered in the woods. From the same box he took two or three ears of small popping-corn. As he attempted to push it back it hit something, and he put in his hand and drew out a stick.

"Golly!" said he again, "if there ain't the very stick fur a hoss fur that boy, that he wants so bad. I didn't 'spect, when I done shoved it in under there fur a walking-stick, what I'd want it fur."

It was a piece of a branch of a tree, and on one end it was bent over so as to make a natural sort of a handle. It would do very well for a horse's head, too. So Philip got out his old jack-knife, cut a sort of a mouth for the horse, dug holes in the bark to represent the eyes, made a sort of a bridle of string, whittled the end off smooth, and there was as fine a riding-horse as any boy of five could ask for.

"There," said Philip, "that'll do fur the boy; now what kin I find fur the gal?" A long time he puzzled over this, till he remembered some birds' eggs that had been in his shanty for months. He took down the old coat that hung on the wall, and there they were, very dusty now, but not broken. Carefully he took them down and washed them clean, breaking one or two, but on the whole succeeding very well. Then he strung them on a clean string, and they looked very pretty indeed.

"Little curly head'll like that 'ar, I know," said he, with a grin of pleasure on his black face; "an I'll learn her the name of every kind."

Next the droll old Santa Claus proceeded to prepare his pop-corn. He took out from some dark corner a sort of iron saucepan, and put it on the stove while he shelled the corn. When it was hot he dropped in the corn, covered it up, and began to shake it about, first slowly, and then faster and faster as the corn popped off in little explosions inside, every few seconds looking at the sleepers to see that they didn't wake up. They were far too tired to wake, and when he had poured the beautiful white shower out on the table they had not stirred once.

Then he went on to hang a stocking of each child on the wall near the bed; and then, tiptoeing around as though he were stepping on eggs, he went back and forth filling them. First down in the toe came beechnuts, filling all the foot; then popped corn stuffed the leg into a funny bunchy shape. Then over Lily's he hung the string of birds' eggs, and over Bertie's the comical horse.

All this work, varied by replenishing the fire, kept old Philip busy till nearly morning, and then he began to prepare breakfast. His potatoes were baked and his hoecakes mixed in the highest style of the art when Lily opened her eyes.

At first sight of Philip a look of fright came into her face, and then she remembered. "Oh!" said she, "I thought it was all a dream, and I was in my bed at home."

"But you isn't, honey. Yo's my guest this blessed Christmas mornin'. Wish yo' Merry Christmas. How do yo' feel?"

"I feel well enough," said Lily, sitting up. "Is this Christmas, really?"

"Yes," said old Philip. "See your stocking hanging up thar?"

Lily looked around quickly. "Oh! what a lovely string of eggs. Oh! where did you get it? Is it for me?" burst out of her eager lips.

"Course it's for yo'," said Philip, showing all his teeth. "Santa Claus mus' a know'd whar yo' was, an' done come down the chimbly an' leff it hyer fur yo'."

"Oh! Bertie, wake up!" cried Lily, shaking the sleepy boy. "It's Merry Christmas, and Santa Claus has been here."

Bertie was wide awake in a minute. "There's my horse," he shouted, as soon as he saw it. "Let me have a ride." And he snatched it down, got astride, and rode around the small room, perfectly happy.

"Let's see what else is in the stockings," said Lily, taking them down.

"Oh! pop-corn! Isn't it nice?" and they began to eat it at once.

"And what are these?" she asked, as she emptied the corn into her lap, and the nuts came down in a little brown shower.

"Le's see," said Philip, looking at them curiously, as though he had never seen them. "Why, them's beechnuts! Didn't you never see beechnuts afore? There's heaps in the woods."

"No, I never saw any," said Lily. "How do you open them?"

Philip showed her how to take out the delicate nut, and she declared it the most delicious nut in the world. "Santa Claus made them purpose for us, I guess," she said.

It was some time before Philip could get them to have their stockings and shoes on and eat their breakfast. But he hurried them by reminding them how anxious their mother would be; and as soon as he had seen them fed he got ready for his journey.

It did not look very promising outside. The snow was a foot deep, though it had stopped falling, and he resolved to start.

"Now mind yo' don't set the house afire," he said, as he put on his buckskin mittens and buttoned his one coat up tight to his chin. "Don't let the fire go out, nuther, or you'll freeze."

"I'll tend to it," said Lily.

"Good-by. I'll hurry fast as ever I kin," said Philip, and went out and shut the door, leaving them alone. But not sad. Far from it; they were as merry over their rude Christmas presents as though they had a room full of toys.

And how do you suppose the night had passed in the home of Lily and Bertie? Not so quietly as in the shanty in the woods. When their absence was discovered there was great excitement, deepening as the village was searched and no trace of them revealed, turning to horror as the storm came up and the hours went by and no children to be found, and settling into despair when the various parties who were out hunting returned with no trace. There was excitement all through the village; but in their home it was agony. The father spent the night in scouring the country, the mother in going from one fainting fit to another, till the doctor despaired of her life.

It was a welcome sound when old Philip's voice rang out at the door. "Done loss any chillen hyer?"

Mr. Deane, who had just returned, rushed out. "Yes. Do you bring any news?"

"Well, 'spects I does. Two chillen done spent the night in my cabin."

"Come in," cried the father, hastily drawing him in. "Where are they now? How did you find them? Where is your house? Bless you, I'll never forget this!" he poured out in a stream.

"One at a time, Massa," said old Philip, going up to the stove in the hall and spreading out his black hands to the pleasant warmth. "My shanty is over in the woods a piece—nigh on to two miles from here, I reckon. An' them two chillen sot out, nigh's I kin make out, about sundown, to find Santa Claus. They see my light, an' come to my do' bout eight o'clock, I reckon, nigh about froze an' starved; the boy cryin', but the little gal brave an' peart to the last."

By the time the story was finished all the household had gathered around, and the father had Philip's rough hands in both of his. "Bless you, my man, I'll pay you for this."

"No, you won't," said Philip. "I don't want no pay. But them young ones is alone in the shanty, an' they mowt set it afire, though I charged the little gal to look out."

"Is there a road? Can I get there with a sleigh?" asked Mr. Deane.

"You kin go purty nigh," said Philip.

"Well, you get warm and have some breakfast. Cook," turning to her, "give him the best you can in five minutes, while I see about the horses. You, Barbara, get cloaks and things."

Seated by the kitchen table, Philip disposed of a cup or two of hot coffee and some cold meat and bread in a few minutes, and when the sleigh came up to the door he came out.

"Have you no overcoat for this weather?" asked Mr. Deane, as he put on his own in the hall.

"No, sir," said Philip. "The wood-sawin' business isn't over 'n above good since so many burns coal. I hasn't had an obercoat fur many a year."

Mr. Deane turned to the rack from which he had taken his. "Here's one for you," he said, handing him a heavy overcoat.

Philip was overcome. Something choked him so that he couldn't speak, but he speedily got into it and followed Mr. Deane out to the sleigh. He was already in, and he bade Philip get in by him, and they started off.

Of course, it did not take very long to reach the point nearest the shanty, though the road was not broken and it was rather hard pulling for the stout pair of horses.

When the father opened the door he found Bertie prancing around on his horse and Lily perfectly happy, studying out her birds' eggs.

"Oh! Papa," she exclaimed when she saw him, "Santa Claus came here and left us such beautiful things!"

"See my horse! "shouted Bertie. "Santa Claus bringed him!"

Mr. Deane looked around the room and understood the poverty of its owner, and a happy idea occurred to him.

"Philip," he said, "in the chamber of my barn is a comfortable room, built for a man, but my man don't occupy it. I'm going to have you move down there this very day and live in it. There's furniture enough about the house to make it comfortable, and I can find work enough for you to do all the year round. We burn lots of wood and have a garden in the summer; and, in fact, I take you into my employment from this hour, at the best wages going, to last your life. You needn't say anything," as Philip struggled to speak. "I can never repay you for what you have done for me; but I'll do what I can. Now, if you'll help me carry these little ones over to the sleigh, you shall have a team to come for your things."

Well, the children were soon in their mother's arms; and Mr. Deane, with the help of the whole household, spent the morning in furnishing up old Philip's room. A very cosy place it was when all was ready: a carpet; a new little cooking-stove; a nice bed, made up with white sheets and things; a table, a chair or two, including one rocking-chair; a cupboard, containing dishes, tin, and ironware enough to set up a family; jars of sugar and tea and coffee and meal; and, in fact, everything the combined household could think of to add to the old man's comfort—not forgetting a goodly array of half-worn garments from the family storeroom.

And Philip! Well, he stood and looked at it in silence, taking it in item by item, till he reached a picture which Lily had insisted on giving, hanging it up with her own hands, and then he just turned his face to the wall and covered it up with his hands.

And they all stole away and left him alone.

When Uncle Tom ended his story it was very still in the room for a minute; nobody seemed inclined to speak. At last Kristy cleared her throat and said:

"I knew you'd tell a tip-top story, Uncle Tom. It's lovely, and you must put it in a book for me."

"Humph!" said Uncle Tom. "We shall see, Miss Queeny! Your reign is over tonight. Now, Aunt Joe, it's your chance," said he, turning mockingly upon his neighbor.

"Well," said Aunt Joe quietly, "the strangest Christmas doings I know of happened a good many years ago."


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Unbroken Song

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men!


  WEEK 50  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

When the World Was Young

L ITTLE Spot, the wilful young reindeer, trembled as he crowded up to his mother. He couldn't get close enough to her. He no longer wanted to be out in the Great World by himself. He wondered that his mother did not run. Every moment or two he looked back to see if those wolves were coming up over the hill. But Big Spot seemed in no hurry at all. You see, she was wise with the wisdom of experience. She didn't want Little Spot to get over his fright so soon that he would forget the lesson he had learned. Then, too, she wanted him to get rested a little and get his wind back.

At last, she quieted Little Spot's fears. "Those wolves did not chase you, my son," said she. "They chased the young caribou, and it is very fortunate for you that they did."

"I'm sure I could run faster than those wolves," said Little Spot boastfully.

"Yes, you could," replied his mother. "You could run faster than they could for a while, but you do not know the patience of wolves, my dear. You would have run so hard and so fast that presently you would have tired yourself out so that the wolves would have had no trouble in catching you. Ever since you were a little fawn I have told you about the wolves, and that they are our worst enemies; but I don't think you ever have believed it. Now you have seen them and you know what they are like. The wolves are very smart people. They watch for a deer to stray away. Then they get between the herd and that deer. When this happens, that deer will not live long."

"Have the deer always been afraid of the wolves?" asked Little Spot.

"Ever since the days when the world was young," replied his mother.

"Tell me about the days when the world was young," begged Little Spot.

For a few moments his mother said nothing. Gradually, into her big, dark eyes there crept a far-away look. "Once upon a time," she began at last, "the world was mostly water, like the salt water that you saw in the summer."

"But where did the deer live then?" interrupted Little Spot.

"There were no deer then," said his mother. "There were no deer and there were no wolves and there were none of those two-legged creatures called men. You see, Old Mother Nature had not made them yet, for there was no land for them to live on. But by and by there was land and then for a very long time Old Mother Nature was very, very busy making the different kinds of people to live on the land. Some of these people she made to live where it was summer all the year round."

You should have seen Little Spot's big ears prick up at that. "Is there such a place?" he cried.

His mother nodded. "Yes," said she, "I am told there is a land where it is summer all the time. How do you think you would like that?"

Little Spot thought it over for a moment. "I shouldn't like it," he decided. "Why, if it is summer all the time, there can be no snow! What a strange land it must be without the beautiful snow. I shouldn't like it."

His mother again nodded her head approvingly. "Neither should I, my son," said she. "But it seems that in those days when the world was young, all the people, big and little, wanted to live where it was summer. So after awhile it became difficult for all the people to get food enough. It was then that the hard times began, and some of the big people began to hunt the little people for food.

"Now, it happened that Mr. and Mrs. Caribou, the first of all the caribou, had wandered beyond the land where it was summer all the time. They had come to the land where it was summer for half the year and winter for the other half. When the winter came, they moved back, because you see they were not fitted to make their living when snow covered the ground, and they were not clothed warmly enough to stand the bitter winds. But they always stayed as long as they could before moving south, for they loved the Northland. Then, too, they felt safer there, for there were fewer to hunt them.

"It was on the edge of the Northland that Old Mother Nature found Mr. and Mrs. Caribou looking longingly at the land they must leave because of the coming of the snow and ice. 'How would you like to live in the Northland all of the time?' asked Old Mother Nature.

"Mr. Caribou looked at Mrs. Caribou, and Mrs. Caribou looked at Mr. Caribou, and then both looked at Old Mother Nature. Mr. Caribou spoke rather hesitatingly. 'We could not eat when all the ground is covered with snow,' said he.

" 'There is always plenty of food beneath the snow,' replied Old Mother Nature. 'You could dig away the snow with your feet and find plenty.'

" 'But we should freeze,' protested Mrs. Caribou, and shivered; for in those days the coats of the caribou were thin."

" 'But supposing I gave you warm coats and fitted you to live in the Northland; would you do it?' Old Mother Nature asked.

"Again Mr. Caribou looked at Mrs. Caribou and Mrs. Caribou looked at Mr. Caribou, then both nodded.

"So Mother Nature gave them warm coats. She gave them each a thick mantle of long hair on the neck, so that it hung down and the wind could not get through it. She fashioned their feet so that they were different from the feet of any other of the deer family, and they could walk in snow and on soft ground, where others could not go. Then she sent them into the Northland, and there the caribou have been ever since."

"But what about the reindeer?" cried Little Spot.

"I am coming to that," replied his mother.


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

How a Bear Brought Christmas

I T'S an odd story, but if it had not been for a big black bear there would not have been any Christmas at all in that poor little log hut in the woods—I mean any Christmas doings, of course. You see the father had gone off to the village to get a bag of meal. He had been away three days, and there were no signs of his coming. It was Christmas eve, and the very last spoonful of meal was boiling in the kettle for supper. Every minute the children were looking out of the one little window to see if Father were coming, and Mother was getting the bowls ready, and the mush was nearly done, when suddenly a shout came from the window.

"O Mother! there's a big black bear!" Mrs. Carson glanced out of the window. Bears were not so rare as to be startling in the woods; but with her husband away she felt nervous about everything.

Sure enough, there was a big bear, and what was worse he was plainly as much interested in them as they were in him. He was headed for the cabin, and shuffling along in a sort of trot, as if he had been invited to supper. Mrs. Carson turned pale.

"He looks hungry," she said, "and he's coming straight here, as if he knew we were alone. Children! hurry up into the loft, while I fasten the door!"

The little ones, Carry and Jack, needed no further orders; they hastily scrambled up the ladder to where a few boards had been laid across the beams and formed a loft used for storing things when they had any to store.

Frank, however, demurred. "Mother! let me take Father's gun and shoot him out of the window?" he cried.

"No, indeed!" said his mother, as she barred up the door; "you're not a good shot like your father, and a wounded bear is a terrible creature."

"He's coming right here!" shouted Frank; "straight for the window! Run! run!"

Up the ladder he went, his mother after him, and when they turned and looked down, the bear was staring in at the window in a most neighborly way. He saw, or perhaps he smelled, the boiling mush, for he sniffed as if it pleased him, and made up his mind to come in.

Now, of course, he didn't understand glass, and thought that where he could look in he could go in; and, in fact, he could; for one thrust of his enormous paw smashed every pane of glass and the sash besides, and in he scrambled.

"O Mother!" whispered Frank, "bears can climb."

"Sh!" his mother replied in the same tone; "we mustn't let him suspect we're here."

The little ones were already speechless with terror.

But the bear paid no attention to whispering, if he heard it; he looked neither at the ladder nor at the gun in the corner; he had eyes for only one thing—the kettle of boiling mush. He sniffed again, as if the odor were agreeable and mush his favorite food; and he shuffled straight across the room to the open fireplace where it hung. "He surely won't touch it so hot!" thought Mrs. Carson; but she did not know him. What could a bear out of the woods know about heat? He snatched the kettle, dragged it off the hook, held it in his arms, and thrust his nose into it.

A pang, and a low groan from above as the party in the loft saw their last chance of supper gone; but a howl of pain rose from the bear as his nose touched the boiling mass. He held on tighter; that was his way when anything hurt, to squeeze the life out of it. He clasped the kettle closer and closer to his breast, and louder and wilder grew his cries; but he never thought of giving up. He rolled on the floor with pain; still he held on to the kettle, and the mush poured out into his face and eyes, and in about two minutes there was nothing but a black mass rolling around, knocking over the chairs, wild and blinded. Now was Mrs. Carson's chance. The gun stood in a corner; she could use it. With white lips she bade the children keep still while she stole down the ladder, but Frank held her tightly.

"Mother! Mother!" he cried eagerly, "let me! I'm quicker 'n you! I'll bring the gun!"

She pushed him back. "Never!—if I—"

But Frank was quick and light; he slipped between the bars and dropped to the floor. Then a shriek came from his mother; but in an instant he had seized the gun and was halfway up the ladder again. How he got up he never knew, but in a moment he was safe in the loft, again looking down on that roaring and tumbling mass below.

"Oh, if your father were here!" came tremblingly from Mrs. Carson's white lips.

"I can shoot, Mother!" cried Frank, and shoot he did. He could not take much aim, of course, but he shot at random. I spare you the particulars; it is enough that two or three shots put an end to the distress of the poor fellow on the floor, and when all was quiet the pale, trembling little group crept down the ladder. Frank, of course, was wild; he danced around the fallen foe.

"My first bear, Mother! and such a big one! won't Father be pleased! and now we can have a splendid supper! bear's meat's tip-top! And, Mother," as a new thought struck him, "now we can have a Christmas! now, youngsters,"—he turned to the little ones who sat on the lower rounds of the ladder ready to scamper up on the slightest movement of the big beast,—"now Santa Claus'll come here sure."

"You said he didn't know the way out here," began Carry.

"Yes, I know I did; but this splendid fellow'll show him the way—you'll see!"

"But, Frank," said his mother, "I can't see myself what you can do; the skin is worth something, but out here in the woods there's no one to buy it, and to-morrow's Christmas, you know."

"Yes; and to-morrow morning I'll cut this fellow up. I'll take off his coat to-night,—I know how, for Father taught me,—and I'll pack him, or what we don't want ourselves, on to my big sled, and—"

"And drag it five miles to the village?" said his mother, with a faint smile.

"Yes, Mother; why not? And then I can hunt up Father, too."

"I don't believe you can do it, with such a load."

"Well, I know I can; and I'll sell that skin and the meat,—Mr. Brown buys them, I know,—and I'll—" and he nodded his head in a mysterious way toward the children.

"Now, Mother!" as he saw her lips open to reply, "please, please, let me have my way this time! I know I can do it, and besides," he said hesitatingly, "what did you say about 'trusting the Lord'? Can't you trust him to get me safe to the village?"

This was a home thrust, and Mrs. Carson closed her mouth. Sure enough, she had talked about "trusting;" it was now time to trust.

Moreover, she was getting very anxious about her husband, who she knew would not have left them so long alone unless something had happened. So she went to work to patch up the window with a piece of white cloth tacked over it, the best she could do, and to make up the fire and restore the room to order, while Frank proceeded to his part of the work, taking off Master Bruin's warm thick overcoat, which he would not need any more.

Before long, too, a delicious fragrance filled the little log house, and if a bear had come along just then, he'd have smelled something more savory than mush. It was quite late that night before Mrs. Carson and Frank were in bed, for it was a pretty big piece of work for a boy of twelve; but boys of that age can do a good many things when they happen to live in the woods and have a father to teach them.

With the first light the family were astir. Frank packed his long sled which was made to drag wood to the house, and after an early breakfast wrapped himself up and started.

"Mind," said his mother, as she bade him good-by, "get Mr. Brown to bring you back if Father isn't ready to come, or if anything's the matter. I shall be worried to death if you're not home before dark."

"Don't you worry, Mother. It's Christmas day and I'm bound to be home. Carry and Jack, hang up your stockings before you go to bed, if I'm not here! I'm sure old Santa'll be around," and off he went. Mrs. Carson watched him out of sight, and then turned with a sigh to her work in the house, for children must eat and work must go on, you know, whatever happens.

Frank started off bravely, though the load was heavy and the way was long, but how he would have got on, and whether he would ever have reached the village all by himself, nobody can tell; for when he got up onto the main road, and just as he was trying to persuade himself that his arms didn't ache the least bit, a man came along with a yoke of oxen and an empty wood-sled. As soon as Frank saw him he knew him; he lived in the village, and no doubt was going right home, and, to tell you the truth, it took Frank about one minute to make a bargain with him to drag his load and him, and take part of the bear's meat in payment. When everything was arranged and Frank climbed up under the buffalo-robe beside the driver, he had to admit to himself that his arms were a little tired, and "How I wish Mother knew," he thought all the way.

Just before noon Frank and his sled were dropped before the door of Mr. Brown's store, and having paid for his passage, and feeling at least a foot taller than he did yesterday, he walked in.

"Mr. Brown," he said, trying to make his voice steady,—it did shake so,—"do you want to buy a bear skin, and some meat?"

"Why, bless me! it's Frank Carson!" said the good-natured storekeeper. "Where's your bear, sonny?"

"Out here," said Frank, trying very hard not to look proud.

Half a dozen men of the kind that always hang around a country store started up and rushed to the door.

"Well! the boy wasn't lying," said one, surprised.

"Humph!" said Mr. Brown, "I knew that. He doesn't come of that sort of stock. How's your mother, boy?"

"Well," said Frank, "but can you tell me about Father?"

"Your father," said Mr. Brown, undoing the fastenings preparatory to spreading out the skin, "your father calculated to go home this very afternoon: he's had a spell of sickness; hasn't set up since the day he come. He's been most wild about you all, and he's upstairs in my store this identical minute. Why, what a big fellow!" he interrupted himself, "how did you get him?"

Then Frank had to tell the story of his capture while his audience laughed and thought it was the first time a bear had been caught in a mush-kettle trap. In an hour more a very happy load set off behind Mr. Brown's mule for the little log house. Mr. Carson, wrapped and bolstered up in a big chair, so that he would not get too tired, and Frank, with more money than he ever had in his life, and a big bundle besides—a very mysterious package that even his father didn't know about, and that Mr. Brown had helped him hide under the straw of the sleigh. Not least of all, there was a new sash for the window, and a board out of which to make a strong shutter, so that the next hungry bear that chose to come smelling around after their mush might not find it quite so easy to get in.

"Though I'm mighty glad he did get in, Father," said Frank.

"Yes, since it ended well," said his father. "But suppose it had been night." And he shuddered at the thought of what might have been.

It was after dark when the little light of the log house was seen, and the children were fast asleep. After having some supper and much talk on both sides, Frank begged his father and mother to go to bed and let him play Santa Claus. They were very willing, and thus it was done.

The next morning there was almost as much noise in the house as when that bear was hugging the mush-kettle. Two wilder or happier children could not be found anywhere. Their stockings were full and running over, and besides there was a nice warm dress for Mother and a subscription to a weekly paper for Father; and all the rest of the money handed to Mrs. Carson with, "There, Mother! I've had all the fun I want out of that bear. You may have the rest. But aren't you glad he came to see us, anyway?"

"But where is your present?" said Mother. "What did you get for yourself?"

"Oh, Mother! I didn't think anything about it," said Frank.

"But I thought of it," said his father; and then he brought out of the folds of Mr. Brown's big cloak that he had been wrapped up in to take his long ride the day before, the prettiest, neatest, brightest, best little gun you ever saw.

What did Frank say?

Well, his eyes grew big; he stared and gasped, but all he said was,—

"Oh, Father!"

"Now, Auntie," said Kristy with shining eyes, when the story ended, "you always told me you couldn't tell stories."

"No more I can," said Aunt Joe.

"Well, we'll see!" said Kristy threateningly. "I shall not forget this one, and you may as well rack your brains for more."

Aunt Joe laughed, and everybody turned to Cousin Harry, who sat next.

"My story," said he at once, "is about a great snowstorm. It happened away out on the prairies to a family I knew. Perhaps you remember them, Grandma. George Barnes was the man's name; they used to live near here."

"To be sure I do," said Grandma with interest; "what about them?"


Nahum Tate

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,

All seated on the ground,

The angel of the Lord came down,

And glory shone around.

"Fear not," said he, for mighty dread

Had seized their troubled mind;

"Glad tidings of great joy I bring

To you and all mankind.

"To you, in David's town, this day

Is born, of David's line,

The Savior, who is Christ the Lord,

And this shall be the sign:

"The heavenly babe you there shall find

To human view displayed,

All meanly wrapped in swaddling bands,

And in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith

Appeared a shining throng

Of angels, praising God, who thus

Addressed their joyful song:

"All glory be to God on high,

And to the earth be peace;

Good will henceforth from Heaven to men

Begin and never cease."