Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 51  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

The First Reindeer


M R. and Mrs. Caribou were the first of all the caribou to make their home in the Far North, and they loved it. Old Mother Nature had told them truly that they would find plenty of food. So they and their children and their children's children took possession of all the great land where the snow lay most of the year. They found the moss, which you like so well, my son," said his mother. "They found the moss, and they found that it was best in winter. It isn't true moss you know, but is called reindeer moss by everybody. In the summer they lived on grass and other plants, just as we do. So in time there became very many caribou, and they lived in peace, for it was long before others came to live in the Land of Snow.

"But there came a time when these two-legged creatures called men appeared. They were hunters, and they hunted the caribou. They needed the meat for food and the skins for clothing and to make their tents. So the caribou became necessary to men. Then one day the hunters surrounded a band of caribou and captured alive all the fawns and young caribou. These they kept watch over and protected from the wolves and the bears, which had by this time come to live in the Northland. And because there were no wise old deer to protect these young deer, the young deer did not try to run away. They were content to graze near the homes of the hunters. In time, they grew and had fawns of their own, and these grew, and the herd increased. And these, my son, were the first reindeer. They were necessary to man if he would live in the Far North, and they found that man was necessary to them.

"They furnished man with food and clothing. From their antlers he made tools. Man furnished them protection and found the best feeding grounds for them, so that they lived better and more contentedly than their cousins, the wild caribou, for the latter had always by day and night to be on the watch for enemies.

"Then one day a boy fastened a halter to a pet deer and fastened him so that he could not stray away. In time that deer became used to the halter and to being fastened. Then the boy built a sled. It wasn't such a nice sled as the sleds of to-day, because you know this was the first sled of its kind. Then he fastened the deer to the sled and, with a long line fastened to the halter on each side of the deer's head, so that he might guide him, the boy climbed on the sled. Of course, that deer was frightened and he ran. By and by the sled upset. But the boy still held the reins. That was the first reindeer to be driven by man. The boy's father had seen all that happened. He built a better sled, and he and the boy trained that deer and other deer. Then with these deer they made long journeys. So it was that the reindeer became of still more use to man."

"But I don't want to be harnessed and driven and have to drag a sled," said Little Spot.

"That shows your lack of wisdom, my son," replied his mother. "The deer who best draw the sleds are the deer that are cared for best, and will live longest. Other deer are killed for food and for their skins, but not the deer who draw the sleds. Those are the deer that are thought most of, and it is my hope that you will one day be the finest sled-deer in all the herd. Who knows? Perhaps you may be chosen in the Valley of the Good Spirit to be one of the eight deer who once in the early winter of each year carry the Good Spirit on a wonderful journey out into the Great World, that he may spread Love and Happiness. Do you remember, my son, how on the day we left the Valley of the Good Spirit, all we mother deer and all you youngsters stood while the finest bucks in all the herd milled around us? And how every once in a while they stopped?"

Little Spot bobbed his head. "I remember," said he.

"Each time they stopped," replied his mother, "the Good Spirit chose one of their number to be added to his team for that wonderful journey out into the Great World. They become magic deer just for a little while, at a time that men folk call Christmas. They become magic deer, and all the children of the Great World love them, though they never have seen them. So, my son, be wise in the wisdom of the deer folk. Be not unruly, should it be that you are chosen to draw the sled of a man, for it is only the best sled-deer that are chosen by the Good Spirit and become the Christmas deer for that magic journey into the Great World. Now, we must be getting back to the herd, or those wolves may get upon our trail."

Little Spot trotted beside his mother, Big Spot, over the snow-covered prairie, and as he trotted he thought deeply of all his mother had told him. And as he thought, his eyes were opened, so that by the time they reached the big herd, Little Spot was no longer a wilful young deer. He no longer thought that he knew all there was to know, but he did his very best to try to learn all there was for a wise deer to know. And you know when one tries to learn, it is surprisingly easy.

So, from being the most wilful and unruly of all the young deer, Little Spot became the most obedient and the best-mannered.


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

Christmas under the Snow

I T was just before Christmas, and Mr. Barnes was starting for the nearest village. The family were out at the door to see him start, and give him the last charges.

"Don't forget the Christmas dinner, Papa," said Willie.

" 'Specially the chickens for the pie!" put in Nora.

"An' the waisins," piped up little Tot, standing on tiptoe to give Papa a good-by kiss.

"I hate to have you go, George," said Mrs. Barnes anxiously. "It looks to me like a storm."

"Oh, I guess it won't be much," said Mr. Barnes lightly; "and the youngsters must have their Christmas dinner, you know."

"Well," said Mrs. Barnes, "remember this, George; if there is a bad storm don't try to come back. Stay in the village till it is over. We can get along alone a few days, can't we, Willie?" turning to the boy, who was giving the last touches to the harness of old Tim, the horse.

"Oh, yes! Papa, I can take care of Mamma," said Willie earnestly.

"And get up the Christmas dinner out of nothing?" asked Papa, smiling.

"I don't know," said Willie, hesitating, as he remembered the proposed dinner, in which he felt a deep interest.

"What could you do for the chicken pie?" went on Papa with a roguish look in his eye, "or the plum-pudding?"

"Or the waisins!" broke in Tot anxiously.

"Tot has set her heart on the raisins," said Papa, tossing the small maiden up higher than his head, and dropping her all laughing on the doorstep, "and Tot shall have them sure, if Papa can find them in S——. Now good-by, all! Willie, remember to take care of Mamma, and I depend on you to get up a Christmas dinner if I don't get back. Now, wife, don't worry!" were his last words as the faithful old horse started down the road.

Mrs. Barnes turned one more glance to the west, where a low, heavy bank of clouds was slowly rising, and went into the little house to attend to her morning duties.

"Willie," she said, when they were all in the snug little log cabin in which they lived, "I'm sure there's going to be a storm, and it may be snow. You had better prepare enough wood for two or three days; Nora will help bring it in."

"Me, too!" said grave little Tot.

"Yes, Tot may help too," said Mamma.

This simple little home was a busy place, and soon every one was hard at work. It was late in the afternoon before the pile of wood, which had been steadily growing all day, was high enough to satisfy Willie, for now there was no doubt about the coming storm, and it would probably bring snow; no one could guess how much, in that country of heavy storms.

"I wish the village was not so far off, so that Papa could get back to-night," said Willie, as he came in with his last load.

Mrs. Barnes glanced out of the window. Broad scattering snowflakes were silently falling, the advance guard, she felt them to be, of a numerous host.

"So do I," she replied anxiously, "or that he did not have to come over that dreadful prairie where it is so easy to get lost."

"But old Tim knows the way, even in the dark," said Willie proudly. "I believe Tim knows more 'n some folks."

"No doubt he does, about the way home," said Mamma, "and we won't worry about Papa, but have our supper and go to bed. That'll make the time seem short."

The meal was soon eaten and cleared away, the fire carefully covered up on the hearth, and the whole little family quietly in bed. Then the storm which had been making ready all day came down upon them in earnest. The bleak wind howled around the corners, the white flakes by millions and millions came with it, and hurled themselves upon that house. In fact, that poor little cabin alone on the wide prairie seemed to be the object of their sport. They sifted through the cracks in the walls, around the windows, and under the door, and made pretty little drifts on the floor. They piled up against it outside, covered the steps, and then the door, and then the windows, and then the roof, and at last buried it completely out of sight under the soft white mass.

And all the time the mother and her three children lay snugly covered up in their beds fast asleep, and knew nothing about it.

The night passed away and morning came, but no light broke through the windows of the cabin. Mrs. Barnes woke at the usual time, but finding it still dark and perfectly quiet outside, she concluded that the storm was over, and with a sigh of relief turned over to sleep again. About eight o'clock, however, she could sleep no more, and became wide-awake enough to think the darkness strange. At that moment the clock struck, and the truth flashed over her.

Being buried under snow is no uncommon thing on the wide prairies, and since they had wood and corn-meal in plenty, she would not have been much alarmed if her husband had been home. But snow deep enough to bury them must cover up all landmarks, and she knew her husband would not rest till he had found them. To get lost on the trackless prairie was fearfully easy, and to suffer and die almost in sight of home was no unusual thing, and was her one dread in living there.

A few moments she lay quiet in bed, to calm herself and get control of her own anxieties before she spoke to the children.

"Willie!" she said at last, "are you awake?"

"Yes, Mamma," said Willie, "I've been awake ever so long; isn't it most morning?"

"Willie," said the mother quietly, "we mustn't be frightened, but I think—I'm afraid—we are snowed in."

Willie bounded to his feet and ran to the door. "Don't open it!" said Mamma hastily, "the snow may fall in. Light a candle and look out the windows."

In a moment the flickering rays of the candle fell upon the windows. Willie drew back the curtain. Snow was tightly banked up against it to the top.

"Why, Mamma!" he exclaimed, "so we are! and how can Papa find us? and what shall we do?"

"We must do the best we can," said Mamma, in a voice which she tried to make steady, "and trust that it isn't very deep, and that Tim and Papa will find us, and dig us out."

By this time the little girls were awake and inclined to be very much frightened, but Mamma was calm now, and Willie was brave and hopeful. They all dressed, and Willie started the fire. The smoke refused to rise, but puffed out into the room, and Mrs. Barnes knew that if the chimney were closed they would probably suffocate, if they did not starve or freeze.

The smoke in a few moments choked them, and seeing that something must be done, she put the two girls, well wrapped in blankets, into the shed outside the back door, closed the door to keep out the smoke, and then went with Willie to the low attic where a scuttle door opened onto the roof.

"We must try," she said, "to get it open without letting in too much snow, and see if we can manage to clear the chimney."

"I can reach the chimney from the scuttle with a shovel," said Willie. "I often have with a stick."

After much labor, and several small avalanches of snow, the scuttle was opened far enough for Willie to stand on the top round of the short ladder, and beat a hole through to the light, which was only a foot above. He then shoveled off the top of the chimney, which was ornamented with a big round cushion of snow, and then by beating and shoveling he was able to clear the door, which he opened wide, and Mrs. Barnes came up on the ladder to look out. Dreary indeed was the scene! Nothing but snow as far as the eye could reach, and flakes still falling, though lightly. The storm was evidently almost over, but the sky was gray and overcast.

They closed the door, went down, and soon had a fire, hoping that the smoke would guide somebody to them. Breakfast was taken by candle-light, dinner—in time—in the same way, and supper passed with no sound from the outside world.

Many times Willie and Mamma went to the scuttle door to see if any one was in sight, but not a shadow broke the broad expanse of white over which toward night the sun shone. Of course there were no signs of the roads, for through so deep snow none could be broken, and until the sun and frost should form a crust on top there was little hope of their being reached.

The second morning broke, and Willie hurried up to his post of lookout the first thing. No person was in sight, but he found a light crust on the snow, and the first thing he noticed was a few half-starved birds trying in vain to pick up something to eat. They looked weak and almost exhausted, and a thought struck Willie.

It was hard to keep up the courage of the little household. Nora had openly lamented that to-night was Christmas eve, and no Christmas dinner to be had. Tot had grown very tearful about her "waisins," and Mrs. Barnes, though she tried to keep up heart, had become very pale and silent.

Willie, though he felt unbounded faith in Papa, and especially in Tim, found it hard to suppress his own complaints when he remembered that Christmas would probably be passed in the same dismal way, with fears for Papa added to their own misery.

The wood too was getting low, and Mamma dared not let the fire go out, as that was the only sign of their existence to anybody; and though she did not speak of it, Willie knew too that they had not many candles, and in two days at farthest, they would be left in the dark.

The thought that struck Willie pleased him greatly, and he was sure it would cheer up the rest. He made his plans, and went to work to carry them out without saying anything about it.

He brought out of a corner of the attic an old box-trap he had used in the summer to catch birds and small animals, set it carefully on the snow, and scattered crumbs of cornbread to attract the birds.

In half an hour he went up again, and found to his delight that he had caught bigger game—a poor rabbit which had come from no one knows where over the crust to find food.

This gave Willie a new idea: they could have their Christmas dinner after all; rabbits made very nice pies. Poor Bunny was quietly laid to rest, and the trap set again. This time another rabbit was caught, perhaps the mate of the first. This was the last of the rabbits, but the next catch was a couple of snow-birds. These Willie carefully placed in a corner of the attic, using the trap for a cage, and giving them plenty of food and water.

When the girls were fast asleep, with tears on their cheeks for the dreadful Christmas they were going to have, Willie told Mamma about his plans. Mamma was pale and weak with anxiety, and his news first made her laugh and then cry. But after a few moments given to her long pent-up tears, she felt much better, and entered into his plans heartily.

The two captives up in the attic were to be Christmas presents to the girls, and the rabbits were to make the long-anticipated pie. As for plum-pudding, of course that couldn't be thought of.

"But don't you think, Mamma," said Willie eagerly, "that you could make some sort of a cake out of meal, and wouldn't hickory-nuts be good in it? You know I have some left up in the attic, and I might crack them softly up there, and don't you think they would be good?" he concluded anxiously.

"Well, perhaps so," said Mamma, anxious to please him and help him in his generous plans. "I can try. If I only had some eggs!—but seems to me I have heard that snow beaten into cake would make it light—and there's snow enough, I'm sure," she added with a faint smile, the first Willie had seen for three days.

The smile alone he felt to be a great achievement, and he crept carefully up the ladder, cracked the nuts to the last one, brought them down, and Mamma picked the meats out while he dressed the two rabbits which had come so opportunely to be their Christmas dinner.

"Wish you Merry Christmas!" he called out to Nora and Tot when they waked. "See what Santa Claus has brought you!"

Before they had time to remember what a sorry Christmas it was to be they received their presents, a live bird for each, a bird that was never to be kept in a cage, but fly about the house till summer came, and then to go away if it wished.

Pets were scarce on the prairie, and the girls were delighted. Nothing Papa could have brought would have given them so much happiness.

They thought no more of the dinner, but hurried to dress themselves and feed the birds, which were quite tame from hunger and weakness. But after a while they saw preparations for dinner, too. Mamma made a crust and lined a deep dish—the chicken-pie dish; and then she brought a mysterious something out of the cupboard, all cut up so that it looked as if it might be chicken, and put it in the dish with other things, and then she tucked them all under a thick crust, and set it down in a tin oven before the fire to bake. And that was not all. She got out some more corn-meal, and made a batter, and put in some sugar and something else which she slipped in from a bowl, and which looked in the batter something like raisins; and at the last moment Willie brought her a cup of snow, and she hastily beat it into the cake or pudding, whichever you might call it, while the children laughed at the idea of making a cake out of snow. This went into the same oven, and pretty soon it rose up light and showed a beautiful brown crust, while the pie was steaming through little fork-holes on top, and sending out most delicious odors.

At the last minute, when the table was set and everything ready to come up, Willie ran up to look out of the scuttle, as he had every hour of daylight since they were buried. In a moment came a wild shout down the ladder.

"They're coming! Hurrah for old Tim!"

Mamma rushed up and looked out, and saw—to be sure—old Tim, slowly coming along over the crust, drawing after him a wood-sled on which were two men.

"It's Papa!" shouted Willie, waving his arms to attract their attention.

"Willie!" came back over the snow in tones of agony. "Is that you? Are all well?"

"All well!" shouted Willie, "and just going to have our Christmas dinner."

"Dinner?" echoed Papa, who was now nearer. "Where is the house, then?"

"Oh, down here!" said Willie, "under the snow; but we're all right, only we mustn't let the plum-pudding spoil."

Looking into the attic, Willie found that Mamma had fainted away, and this news brought to her aid Papa and the other man, who proved to be a good friend who had come to help.

Tim was tied to the chimney, whose thread of smoke had guided them home, and all went down into the dark room. Mrs. Barnes soon recovered, and while Willie dished up the smoking dinner, stories were told on both sides. Mr. Barnes had been trying to get through the snow and to find them all the time, but until the last night had made a stiff crust he had been unable to do so.

Then Mrs. Barnes told her story, winding up with the account of Willie's Christmas dinner. "And if it hadn't been for his keeping up our hearts I don't know what would have become of us," she said at last.

"Well, my son," said Papa, "you did take care of Mamma, and get up a dinner out of nothing, sure enough; and now we'll eat the dinner, which I'm sure is delicious."

So it proved to be; even the cake or pudding, which Tot christened snow-pudding, was voted very nice, and the hickory-nuts as good as raisins.

When they had finished Mr. Barnes brought in his packages, gave Tot and the rest some "sure-enough waisins," and added his Christmas presents to Willie's; but though all were overjoyed, nothing was quite so nice in their eyes as the two live birds.

After dinner the two men and Willie dug out passages from the doors, through the snow, which had wasted a good deal, uncovered the windows, and made a slanting way to his shed for old Tim. Then for two or three days Willie made tunnels and little rooms under the snow, and for two weeks, while the snow lasted, Nora and Tot had fine times in the little snow play-houses.

"Oh!" said Kristy with a sigh, after the clapping of hands that greeted the adventures of the Barnes family had ended, "how dreadful to be covered up with snow! That's worse than your Christmas snowstorm, Grandma; but I'm so glad they found them after all! and what a cute boy that Willie must be!"

"He is," said Cousin Harry; "and I'll tell you more about him some time. But now let us proceed with the programme."

"Oh, yes! it's your turn, Aunt Lill," said Kristy.

"I shall tell a story that I heard from a Danish friend of mine," said Aunt Lill. "She was in it herself, but I shall not tell you which of the characters she was; you may guess."



An Old Christmas Greeting

Sing Hey! Sing Hey!

For Christmas Day,

Twine mistletoe and holly;

For friendship grows

In winter snows,

And so let's all be jolly.


  WEEK 51  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Henry IV of Bolingbroke—Battle of Shrewsbury

H ENRY IV. knew quite well that he was not the real heir to the throne, although he tried to make people believe that he was. The real heir was Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.

Richard II. was the son of Edward the Black Prince, who was the eldest son of Edward III. Edmund Mortimer was descended from Lionel of Clarence, who was the third son of Edward III. Henry Bolingbroke was descended from John of Gaunt, who was the fourth son of Edward III. So, of course, Edmund Mortimer had a better right to the throne than Henry Bolingbroke had. But Edmund Mortimer was only a little boy, and, like so many other little princes, he was passed over and forgotten. The people chose rather to have a strong man who could really rule, than a little boy who could rule only in name. But Henry was afraid of Edmund, and kept him a prisoner in Windsor Castle, although he was not otherwise unkind to him.

Henry had seized the throne in an unlawful manner, and he found that it was no easy matter to keep it. No sooner was he crowned than plots thickened around him, and people who had hated Richard were now sorry that they had put Henry on the throne.

The Welsh, who had been conquered by Edward I., had never been content to live under the rule of English kings, and Owen Glendower, a Welsh nobleman, now rebelled against Henry. He called himself the Prince of Wales, claiming to be descended from Llewellyn, that Welsh prince whom Edward I. had defeated and killed.

Nearly all Wales joined Owen Glendower, and although Henry went against them with a large army, he was not able to subdue them. The Welsh took several of Henry's nobles prisoner, among them Sir Edmund Mortimer. This Sir Edmund was an uncle of the young Earl of March, whom Henry kept in prison at Windsor. Henry was quite pleased that Sir Edmund should be a captive, because he was afraid that he might at some time try to put his nephew on the throne.

The Scots had meanwhile also been fighting with the English, and had been defeated by the Earl of Northumberland and his young son, who was called Harry Hotspur. He was called Hotspur because he was so quick and brave in battle.

Harry Hotspur and his father had taken the Scottish leader, Douglas, prisoner. They expected to get a large ransom from the Scots for him. But Henry said the Douglas must be given up to him. This made the Percies, as Harry Hotspur and his father were called, very angry. They thought that, as they had taken the Douglas prisoner, they had a right to the money which would be paid for his release.

The Percies then asked Henry to send money to Owen Glendower to ransom Edmund Mortimer, for Edmund was Harry Hotspur's dear friend. But Henry refused. He did not wish Edmund to be free, because he was afraid of him. This refusal made the Percies still more angry.

The Percies had helped to put Henry on the throne, but now they became so angry with him that they were sorry that they had done so, and they turned against him.

Instead of giving up the Douglas to Henry, the Percies set him free, on condition that he should help them to fight against the King. They made friends with Owen Glendower, who set Edmund Mortimer free, and persuaded him also to join them against Henry.

When the King heard of this great rebellion, he marched with a large army to Shrewsbury, and there he defeated the Percies before Owen Glendower could come with his soldiers to their help.

King Henry had been told that some of the rebel nobles had sworn to kill him, so he went into battle in plain armour, while four or five knights went dressed like the King. These knights were all killed, Douglas himself killing three of them. "I marvel to see so many kings rise thus one after the other," he said. "I have this day slain three."

But the real king was not among them, although he was in the battle fighting bravely.

The Prince of Wales, or Prince Hal, as he was often called, was only a boy, but he did great deeds at this battle, and even when he had been badly wounded, he would not leave the field until victory for his father was sure.

Harry Hotspur was killed, the Douglas taken prisoner, and so with this one battle the rebellion was almost at an end.

Henry next marched against Owen Glendower, but still he could not subdue him. Owen fought against Henry all his life, and at last died among the lonely mountains of Wales, still free and still unconquered.

Henry IV. had a very unquiet reign; he was in constant fear of rebellion in England, and besides the Welsh, the Scots and the French were always fighting with him. But a great misfortune fell upon the Scottish king, which forced him to make peace with Henry.

The Scots and the French had always been good friends, and now King Robert III. sent his little son, James, to France to learn French. But while on his way there his ship was captured by the English, and Prince James, who was only nine years old, was taken a prisoner to London.

Henry was very glad to have Prince James in his power, for the Scots were now afraid to fight against him in case he should do some harm to their little Prince.

"If the Scots had been kind," said Henry, "they would have sent their Prince to me. I could teach him the French language as well as any Frenchman."

When the King of Scotland heard that his son had fallen into the hands of his enemy, he was so sad and afraid that he died of a broken heart.

The King's brother, the Duke of Albany, wanted to rule Scotland himself, so he was pleased that James was a prisoner, and did not try to make Henry set him free.

Although King Henry kept Prince James in prison, he allowed him to have books and teachers, who taught him many things which were afterwards useful to him, and helped him to become a good king. He also wrote some very beautiful poetry while he was in prison, so those years were not altogether lost.


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

Little Spot and Tuktu Dream

D O YOU ever have day-dreams? If you do, you know that they are made up partly of wishes, partly of plans and partly of the same sort of stuff that sleep dreams are made of. Tuktu was very busy these winter days. She was very busy indeed, as were all the Eskimo girls and their mothers. What do you think she was doing? You never would guess. She was chewing. Yes, sir, she was chewing. And it wasn't gum that she was chewing, either, although she dearly loved to chew gum when she got the chance. She was chewing skins.

What's that? You think I am fooling? I'm not. Tuktu was chewing skins. Tuktu was making boots for her brother and her father. They were made of skin, and Tuktu was chewing this in order to soften it and make it workable.

But as she chewed, and later as she sewed, making the skin clothing for herself and for her brother and father, she did a great deal of dreaming. Perhaps you can guess what she dreamed of. It was Santa Claus. She didn't call him Santa Claus even to herself. She still called him the Good Spirit. I think myself that is rather a beautiful name for Santa Claus.

And it wasn't of things that she wanted Santa Claus to bring her that Tuktu dreamed. It was of helping Santa Claus. It seemed to her that nothing in all the Great World would be so good, or make her so happy, as to help the Good Spirit spread the message of love and good cheer and happiness to all the little children less fortunate than she. Now, this is going to surprise you. Tuktu actually thought that she lived in the finest part of all the Great World, and she was sorry for little boys and girls who lived where there were no reindeer and where snow and ice were seldom found. She was sorry for boys and girls who had never ridden behind a fast-trotting deer. Yes, Tuktu thought that she lived in the very best part of all the Great World, and she loved it. And she wished somehow that she could help Santa—the Good Spirit—when he carried happiness and joy to all the Great World. Sometimes when she dreamed, she would forget to chew the skin that she was at work on, and her mother would gently remind her that the boots were needed.


Tuktu making boots with her mother

She wondered if she could make a pair of boots for the Good Spirit, and then her face grew warm with shame at her boldness. How could any one even think of doing anything for the Good Spirit? For could not the Good Spirit have all things he desired? And then she remembered something. She remembered that the Good Spirit had said that those chosen deer ought to be good sled-deer because of the time he spent training them. Supposing she and Aklak could get the deer trained so well beforehand that the Good Spirit would not have to spend time in training them. Perhaps then he could start earlier. Then she sighed, for how could she be sure the Good Spirit would choose the deer she and Aklak trained?

And while Tuktu dreamed her day-dreams as she worked, Little Spot, the finest young deer in all the herd, was dreaming day-dreams. And the strange part of it is, his dreams were very like the dreams of Tuktu. He dreamed of being a magic deer. He dreamed of being one of that team of magic deer with which the Good Spirit made his wonderful journey out into the Great World each Christmas. And because he remembered what his mother had said, he tried very hard to be what a young deer should be, for he hoped that in time he would be chosen for a sled-deer. Perchance if he were chosen for a sled-deer and became the best sled-deer in all the great herd, he might some day be chosen in the Valley of the Good Spirit. So he did his best to grow strong and handsome, and to be the swiftest-footed, for he had discovered that it was the strongest, handsomest and swiftest deer that were chosen to draw the sleds of the herders.

But there was one big difference in the dreaming of these two young dreamers. Tuktu had no thought of self, whereas Little Spot was thinking chiefly of his own glory. He had no thought of others, but only great ambition for himself. There are many people like Little Spot in this Great World.

Now, I don't want you to think that Tuktu spent all her time chewing and sewing skins. That was work which could be done when the great storms and the bitter cold kept her indoors. She had her play time, as well as her working time, and there were many happy hours spent with Aklak, helping him herd the deer, for she dearly loved the deer people and they loved her. Even the wildest of them and the most unruly would allow Tuktu to approach and even to pet them. Aklak was growing to be a very fine herder. His father, Kutok, said that Aklak would one day be the best herder in all the Northland. But not even Aklak understood the deer as did Tuktu.


Lizette Woodworth Reese

A Christmas Folk-Song

The little Jesus came to town;

The wind blew up, the wind blew down;

Out in the street the wind was bold;

Now who would house Him from the cold?

Then opened wide a stable door,

Fair were the rushes on the floor;

The Ox put forth a hornèd head;

"Come, little Lord, here make Thy bed."

Uprose the Sheep were folded near:

"Thou Lamb of God, come, enter here."

He entered there to rush and reed,

Who was the Lamb of God indeed.

The little Jesus came to town;

With ox and sheep He laid Him down;

Peace to the byre, peace to the fold,

For that they housed Him from the cold!


  WEEK 51  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

Tuktu and Aklak Have a Secret

I T WAS while Tuktu was watching Aklak training a young deer to the sled, the great idea came to her. It just happened that the young deer was none other than Little Spot. And because he wanted to be a sled-deer, and because he was very proud over having been chosen, Little Spot was making no trouble at all. He was not yet old enough to be a real sled-deer, and Aklak had started to train him just for fun. He was looking forward to the day when Little Spot should be fully grown. He wanted to see if he would be a better sled-deer for having begun his training early.

"Aklak," cried, Tuktu. "I know you don't really believe that I saw the Good Spirit, but you know that the deer visit the Valley of the Good Spirit every year; and you know that every year some are chosen and do not return with the herd; but are found the next year."

Aklak nodded. "Yes," said he, "I know all that."

"Then listen to me, Aklak," said Tuktu. "Those deer are chosen because they are the finest in all the great herd. They are chosen to be the sled-deer of the Good Spirit when he makes his great journey to carry the message of love and happiness to the children of the Great World. Why couldn't we train those deer for the Good Spirit, that he may not have to do it himself?"

Boylike, Aklak laughed. "How," he demanded, "can we train the deer when we do not know which deer the Good Spirit will choose? You say that this year he has chosen one from our own herd, but it is the first time it has happened even if it be true. The other deer were chosen from other herds. So how can we know what deer the Good Spirit may choose?"

"We cannot know," replied Tuktu. "That is, we cannot know for a certainty. But we can do this, Aklak: we can pick out the finest and the handsomest, the swiftest and the strongest of the deer in our herd, and we can train them—I mean, you can train them, Aklak, and perhaps I can help a little. Then, perhaps, when the herd visits the Valley of the Good Spirit next summer, he will discover that these deer are already trained. I just know that he will know. Just think, Aklak, how wonderful it would be to help Santa, the Good Spirit."

Now, Tuktu's thought was all of helping the Good Spirit, but Aklak, though he thought of this, was more selfish in his thoughts, though he said nothing to Tuktu. To himself he thought, "If Tuktu should be right and the Good Spirit should choose the deer I have trained, it would be the first time that all the magic deer have been chosen from one herd. If the owner of one or two chosen by the Good Spirit is blessed, how much greater would the blessing be if the eight deer should be chosen from one herd."

The more Aklak thought over Tuktu's plan, the better it seemed to him. So, a few days later when they were out together, he promised to try it.


Tuktu watching Aklak train a young deer

"But we must keep the secret," said he. "No one must know what we are doing, for the herders would laugh at us and make fun of us. They will see me training the deer, but they will not suspect that they are being trained for a special purpose. Let us go out now and pick out those to be trained."

Now, Aklak was a splendid judge of deer. He knew all the fine points, for he had been well taught by his father. So it was that often when Tuktu would point out what seemed to her a particularly fine animal, Aklak would shake his head and would point out to her that it was not as fine as it seemed. There would be some little blemish. Now and then he would find a deer that suited him. Sometimes the deer would be wild and difficult to approach. Then Tuktu would help. Sometimes the deer would struggle after it had been roped, and every time that Aklak came near would strike with its forefeet, as only a reindeer can. Then Tuktu would pet it and soothe it, until in a few days it would be gentle and easy to handle.

At first, Aklak would look only among his father's deer. He wanted those eight deer to be from his father's herd. And so he would not look at some of the finest deer of the great herd, which his father did not own, but of which he had charge. That was the selfishness in Aklak. But when Tuktu refused to have anything to do with these deer, because there were finer ones in the great herd, he admitted after a while that she was right. He didn't want to admit it, but he was honest. He knew that Tuktu was right. He knew that the Good Spirit would not choose less than the best.

All that winter Aklak worked with his eight deer. Every day he drove one or another of them. The other herders began to take notice, and some of them became envious. But he was the son of Kutok, the chief herder, and there was nothing they could do about it. As for Kutok, he became very proud. "Said I not that Aklak would one day become a great herder?" he would demand, as he watched the boy driving a deer as none of the other herders could drive it.

And all that winter Tuktu and Aklak kept their secret.


Christmas in Legend and Story: A Book for Boys and Girls  by Elva S. Smith

The Christmas at Greccio: A Story of St. Francis

Sophie Jewett

"The beautiful Mother is bending

Low where her Baby lies

Helpless and frail, for her tending;

But she knows the glorious eyes.

"The Mother smiles and rejoices

While the Baby laughs in the hay;

She listens to heavenly voices:

'The child shall be King, one day.'

"O dear little Christ in the manger,

Let me make merry with Thee.

O King, in my hour of danger,

Wilt Thou be strong for me?"

—Adapted from the Latin of Jacopone da Todi. Thirteenth Century.

One night in December . . . Brother Francis, with one companion, was walking through the beautiful valley of the Velino River, toward Rieti, a little city where he came often on his way from Assisi to Rome. To-night he had turned somewhat aside from the main road, for he wished to spend Christmas with his friend, Sir John of Greccio. Greccio is a tiny village, lying where the foothills begin, on the western side of the valley. The very feet of Brother Francis knew the road so well that he could have walked safely in the darkness, but it was not dark. The full moon floated over the valley, making the narrow river and the sharp outlines of the snow-covered mountains shine like silver. The plain and the lower hills were pasture land, and, not far from the road, on a grassy slope, the Brothers saw the red glow of an almost spent shepherds' fire. "Let us stop and visit our brothers, the shepherds," said Francis, and they turned toward the fading fire.

There was no sense of winter in the air, scarcely a touch of frost, and the only snow was that on the silver peaks against the sky. The shepherds, three men and one boy, lay sleeping soundly on the bare ground, with their sheepskin coats drawn closely around them. All about them the sheep were sleeping, too, but the solemn white sheep dogs were wide awake. If a stranger's foot had trod the grass never so softly, every dog would have barked, and every shepherd would have been on his feet in an instant. But the dogs trotted silently up to the Grey Brothers and rubbed against them, as if they said, "We are glad to see you again," for they knew the friendly feet of the Little Poor Man, and they had more than once helped him to eat the bread that was his only dinner. Followed by the dogs, Francis walked about among the shepherds, but they slept on, as only men who live out of doors can sleep, and Francis could not find it in his heart to waken them. The sheep lay huddled together in groups for more warmth. Around one small square of grass a net was stretched, and, inside it, were the mother sheep who had little lambs. There was no sound except the faint cry, now and then, of a baby lamb. The coals over which the shepherds had cooked their supper paled from dull red to grey, and there was only a thin column of smoke, white in the moonlight. Francis sat down on a stone, and the largest of the white dogs pressed up against his knee. Another went dutifully back to his post beside the fold where the mothers and babies slept. The Italian hillside seemed to Francis to change to that of Bethlehem, which he had seen, perhaps, on his Eastern journey; the clear December night seemed like that of the first Christmas Eve. "How these shepherds sleep!" he thought; "how they would awaken if they heard the 'Peace on earth' of the angels' song!" Then he remembered sadly how the armies that called themselves Christian had, year after year, battled with the Saracens over the cradle and the tomb of the Prince of Peace. The moonlight grew misty about him, the silver heights of the mountains and the silver line of the river faded, for the eyes of Brother Francis were full of tears.


St. Francis

As the two Brothers went on their way, Francis grew light of heart again. The sight of the shepherds sleeping on the grass had given him a new idea, and he was planning a surprise for his friends at Greccio. For at Greccio all were his friends, from Sir John, his host, down to the babies in the street. In the valley of Rieti he was almost as well known and as dearly loved as in his own valley of Assisi. The children of Greccio had never heard of Christmas trees, nor, perhaps, of Christmas presents. I am not sure that, in the thirteenth century, Italians had the beautiful custom which they now have of giving presents at Twelfth Night, in memory of the coming of the three kings with their gifts to the Christ Child; but in the thirteenth century, even as now, Christmas was the happiest festival of the year. This year all the folk of Greccio, big and little, were happier than usual because their beloved Brother Francis was to help them keep their Christmas-tide. Next day Francis confided his plan to his friend, Sir John, who promised that all should be ready on Christmas Eve.

On the day before Christmas, the people came from all the country around to see and hear Brother Francis. Men, women and children, dressed in their holiday clothes, walking, riding on donkeys, crowding into little carts drawn by great white oxen, from everywhere and in every fashion, the country folk came toward Greccio. Many came from far away, and the early winter darkness fell long before they could reach the town. The light of their torches might be seen on the open road, and the sound of their singing reached the gates of Greccio before them. That night the little town was almost as crowded as was Bethlehem on the eve of the first Christmas. The crowds were poor folk, for the most part, peasants from the fields, charcoal burners from the mountains, shepherds in their sheepskin coats and trousers, made with the wool outside, so that the wearers looked like strange, two-legged animals. The four shepherds who had slept so soundly a few nights before were of the company, but they knew nothing of their midnight visitors. The white dogs knew, but they could keep a secret. The shepherds were almost as quiet as their dogs. They always talked and sang less than other people, having grown used to long silences among their sheep.

Gathered at last into the square before the church, by the light of flaring torches, for the moon would rise late, the people saw with wonder and delight the surprise which Brother Francis and Sir John had prepared for them. They looked into a real stable. There was the manger full of hay, there were a live ox and a live ass. Even by torchlight their breath showed in the frosty air. And there, on the hay, lay a real baby, wrapped from the cold, asleep and smiling. It looked as sweet and innocent as the Christ Child Himself. The people shouted with delight. They clapped their hands and waved their torches.

Then there was silence, for Brother Francis stood before them, and the voice they loved so well, and had come so far to hear, began to read the old story of the birth of the Child Jesus, of the shepherds in the fields, and of the angels' song. When the reading was ended, Brother Francis talked to them as a father might speak to his children. He told of the love that is gentle as a little child, that is willing to be poor and humble as the Baby who was laid in a manger among the cattle. He begged his listeners to put anger and hatred and envy out of their hearts this Christmas Eve, and to think only thoughts of peace and good will. All listened eagerly while Brother Francis spoke, but the moment he finished the great crowd broke into singing. From the church tower the bells rang loud; the torches waved wildly, while voices here and there shouted for Brother Francis and for the Blessed Little Christ. Never before had such glorious hymns nor such joyous shouting been heard in the town of Greccio. Only the mothers, with babies in their arms, and the shepherds, in their woolly coats, looked on silently and thought: "We are in Bethlehem."


Martin Luther

Cradle Hymn

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay—

The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,

But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.

I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,

And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.


  WEEK 51  


The Beautiful Story of Joan of Arc  by Viola Ruth Lowe

The Capture of the Maid

L IVING a quiet life at Bourges, Joan often slipped into a nearby church to pray and receive comfort from the holy atmosphere of her beloved Saints. She gave whatever she had freely to the poor and needy.

When a new baby was born in any of the neighboring villages, the mother would often come to Joan, begging her to hold the child over the baptismal font; they named the boys, Charles, after their King; the girls they often named Joan, for the pure young maiden, who stood before them and who was beloved by everyone.


Joan of Arc and the Children

Finally King Charles decided to entrust to Joan the command of several troops with which to conquer the region of the Loire river, known as La Charité, where the Burgundians still held sway.

Before she set out, the people of the neighboring villages presented Joan with a new sword and two battle-axes in token of their love and admiration for their brave, plucky leader. However, due to many obstacles and difficulties which beset her path, Joan was not able to storm the walls of La Charité. The weather was bitter cold, food and ammunition were lacking, and the King offered no aid. Instead he eased his conscience by elevating Joan's family to the rank of nobles.

Word soon came to Joan's ears of the misery of the humble folk in pillaged villages, and she felt that her vital presence was still needed. Gathering to her side a troop of men, she set out again, about the middle of April, 1430, without waiting for the consent of the King, intending to reach the Ile de France.

She arrived first at a town called Lagny, and while there, Joan learned that a tiny baby just three days old was not baptized because it had not shown any sign of life. The infant had been placed in the church before the altar. Many young maidens remained there kneeling in prayer. Joan entered the church and joined them. Her ardent prayers mounted to Heaven with those of the other maidens. And behold! the infant stirred, gasped three times; there was just time to baptize it hastily, for, one moment later, death had seized it again.


The Resurrection of the Infant at Lagny

Joan remained to pray awhile, and then set out for battle. Near the town of Compiegne, a furious battle was fought. The Soldier-Maid appeared everywhere at once, encouraging, pressing on, advancing at the head of her troops. Her men were forced to retreat before the great number of the Burgundian foes, and Joan herself remaining until the last, was brutally dragged from her horse by the folds of her gaily colored mantle and thrown upon the trampled ground.

The French, weeping and grief-stricken at her capture, gathered together in groups, and made public processions of mourning, chanting hymns, while priests sombrely dressed in black, led the processions with flaming torches.


A grief-stricken procession mourned the capture of Joan of Arc.

Joan was held a prisoner under a warrior, Jean de Luxembourg. He sent her to his Castle of Beaurevior, where she was held in charge of three kind and gentle ladies, one of them the wife of Jean de Luxembourg. Joan found the society of these ladies pleasant as they chatted with her.


With Her Kindly Keepers in the Castle of Beaurevior

The Maid expected momentarily to be given into the hands of the English, and to avoid this, she attempted to escape, hurling herself down from the tower of the Castle. She was found stunned and nearly lifeless on the ground, and was again imprisoned in a strong castle at Rouen.


She tried to escape by flinging herself from the tower.

Meanwhile a learned body of men, presided over by Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, were preparing a series of questions with which they intended to entrap the innocent girl. They planned to bring her to trial before a court and condemn her for being a witch and for her supposed sins against the Church. They were jealous of her success and anxious to destroy her.


The captive maid was turned over to the English soldiers.

For five weary months, Joan endured the hardships of her life in prison. Finally, on a cold dreary morning in February, the Maid was told to prepare herself for trial. She was brought into the chapel of Rouen Castle, and appeared before the large assemblage of judges, dressed in black like a page and looking boyish with her hair clipped short.


Before the Tribunal at Rouen

The Maid did not realize that for her this trial was a matter of life and death. Calmly she gazed at the great crowd of spectators, knights, nobles and soldiers, all her enemies, who pressed about her, clamoring loudly so that at times her words were lost in the noise.

It was Bishop Cauchon's intention to force Joan to admit that her Voices were false and that she had really been aided by evil spirits.

But Joan would not lose faith in her Visions and her Voices. She knew they had come from God and she would not allow herself to become entrapped or confused by the difficult questions the judges purposely put to her to puzzle her. The judges asked her if she did not consider it improper to wear the clothes of a man. Joan answered that she did only what God had ordered her to do.

Thus the long weary days went by, with the Maid winning the sympathy of all by her simple replies. One of the judges said, "Speak, Joan; do you know yourself to be in the grace of God?"

Bravely she replied: "If I am not, God bring me to it! If I am, God keep me in it! I should be of all women most miserable if I knew myself to be out of the love and favor of God."

She appeared so noble and righteous to the people that they had great pity for the helpless girl who wrung tears from their eyes, and the Bishop of Beauvais decided to conduct a private trial in a dark dungeon, with no sympathizing public present.


Bishop Cauchon visited Joan in prison.

The weary questions continued and poor Joan, accustomed to the sunshine and flowers, the clear air and freedom, now pined away in her dungeon prison. She became ill and weak in body but her spirit remained strong.

"If I must be put to death," she said, "I beg of you, my lords of the Church, that you will have the charity to allow me a woman's long dress, and a cap for my head."

"Why do you ask for a woman's dress if you wear man's clothes by command of God?" asked a judge.

Pitifully the worn and weakened little Maid replied, "It is enough that it should be long."

The helpless maiden, mindful of her modesty even in this terrible moment when she knew that death was near, must surely have wrung a little pity from the hardened hearts of her judges.


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

Carol's Good Will

T HE story begins on Christmas morning when Carol Cameron flung herself into a chair and impatiently muttered:

"I wish that thing wouldn't run in my head, 'Peace on earth; good will to men.' Humph! Precious little peace there is for me, with all these young ones to take care of; and as for good will,"—hesitating,—"as for good will," she went on defiantly, "I suppose my will's as good as anybody's."

The words would seem to settle the matter, but it evidently did not stay settled; the thoughts went on, "Peace on earth; good will to men," still ringing through her head in the music of the old Christmas chant.

"I don't see how I can be expected to feel much good will, anyway," she mused, looking out of her window across miles and miles of snow-covered prairie. "This year hasn't held much good for me. First it took away my dear Mother, and then it brought me to this dreadful, dreadful prairie, with four children to care for. Oh! how could Father bring us here!" and her revery ended in a passionate burst of tears.

It was a dismal picture, looked at from that side alone, and the tears fell fast and hot. But the glorious words went chanting through her brain, with soothing effect, and when the tea hour arrived she was able to take her place opposite her father, looking only a little more sad than usual in those unhappy days.

The younger children glanced at her anxiously, for since Carol had been in Mother's place she had been a little exacting, as an elder sister sometimes will. It was plain that there was some great but suppressed excitement among them, and at last the father noticed it, and a question brought out the breathless announcement that "There is going to be a Christmas tree at the schoolhouse; the Sunday School teachers got it up; it is going to be splendid; and everybody is invited; and every scholar will get something; and oh, Papa! mayn't we go?" ended the eager chorus.

"Why, yes; I have no objection," answered grave Papa, "if Carol will go and take care of you."

All eyes turned to Carol, sitting, alas! so hopeless, at the tea-tray.

"No, indeed, I'll not!" came instantly to her lips; but the old chant, still ringing in her head, stopped it there. She hesitated. "Good will to men," went on the silent monitor.

"Please, Sissy!" whispered baby Grace, while the others, grown wise by the year's experience of Carol's "Don't tease," dared not open their lips.

Carol could not help a glance around that circle of eager faces, and with a sudden pang thought how little she had done to make them happy; how poorly she filled the "mother" place in their lives. But they waited, breathless, for her reply.

"I—I don't think it will be pleasant," she began.

"Oh, yes, it will!" burst out the chorus. "It'll be lovely! and everybody's going to get something."

"Everybody dit somesing!" echoed Grace.

"Good will to men," went on the silent chant, and "Dear me! how that does bother me!" in her thoughts was followed on her lips by a reluctant "Well, I suppose I'll have to go, if you're all so wild about it."

The happy chorus of "Goody! goody!" and the merry laughs and glad faces, as they hurried about getting ready, were so many separate pangs in Carol's heart; but she had promised, and Carol was a lady, and never broke her word.

An hour later saw them on their way, dancing and skipping with delight, while sad thoughts of last Christmas filled Carol's mind as she plodded through the snow, holding fast to Gracie's little hand.

Last year Mother had planned the tree, and though she had lain for weeks on her bed, her own patient fingers had made the pretty decorations and the lovely presents. Carol's hands had dressed the tree, but Mother, on her lounge, had told her what to do. Mother, too, had taught her and the rest the good old chant, "Peace on earth; good will to men."

Just here, in her recollections of the past, they reached the door of the schoolhouse, which in that small, far-western town served for school all the week and for church on Sunday.

Leaving their wraps in the hall, they quickly joined the lively crowd within. The room had been cleared of desks and benches, brilliantly lighted with many candles around the walls, and in the middle, admired of all, stood the tree.

You will fancy a pretty evergreen tree, loaded with gifts and ornaments, twinkling with tiny lights, like a bit of fairyland to all children. Far other was the scene that met Carol's wide-open eyes; very different was this Christmas tree of the prairies.

It was a dead, leafless tree of the woods, hung with small round scalloped cakes of maple sugar, festooned with strings of popped corn, and lighted with a ring of tallow candles set around it in the tub in which it stood. That was all. Such and so bare did it look to Carol, though the lively imagination of the children magnified it into something beautiful and rare, and the grown-ups who had worked hard to prepare it saw no fault in it.

"You poor things!" was the thought that rushed into Carol's head. "You think that a Christmas tree!" And a sudden feeling of pity came over her for people whose lives were so bare and hard that they knew no better Christmas tree than that.

It was her first kind feeling toward the plain, hard-working villagers, whom she had simply despised. It must have been the magic work of the old chant, for a thought sprang up in her mind on the instant, and grew with gourd-like speed. She had leisure to think her plan out, even there, for the people were somewhat shy of the still, proud girl, who had walked among them as a stranger for several months, showing her unhappy face only at church and in the street. From one motherly old lady, however, she learned that no one in the village had ever seen a Christmas tree, but, reading about them, the teachers had thought one would be pleasant for the children, and so had imitated it, as they supposed. "And sure enough," thought Carol, in trying to account for the leafless object, "I don't know that the stories ever do speak of its being an evergreen tree."

At an early hour the merry company went home, each child happy with a cake of maple sugar and a string of popped corn, and soon all the Cameron children were dreaming of the delightful festival that we all know "comes but once a year."

Not so Carol. Having seen the last sleepy head on its pillow, she went to her own room, locked the door, and sat down before her trunk. Article after article she threw out, till she reached a large pasteboard box in the bottom, and this she opened.

What a glitter in that dull little room! How the dim candle-light flickered and flashed back from gilt and silver, from tiny mirrors and colored glass balls! Carol's heart was full as she pondered over these relics of last Christmas, remembering the delightful evening, the beautiful tree, and above all, the dear, pale mother on her lounge, so interested and so happy as she directed the dressing of the tree.

"I must teach you, Carol," she had said that day, "for when I'm gone you'll have to be mother to the little ones." And Carol felt a sharp pang as she remembered once more this evening how far short she had come of filling their mother's place.

"Little did I think," poor Carol murmured, as one by one she took the treasures from the box, and looked fondly through her tears at each, "little did I think, when I packed them away, where they would next be used, on these terrible prairies, to amuse a pack of savages who never saw a tree; and I almost think," she went on, after a moment, "I don't believe, after all—"

She hesitated; for, strong and clear, almost as if sung by human lips, went that troublesome chant through her head, "Peace on earth; good will to men."

Once more she changed her mind. "Yes, I will too," she said bravely. "I'm ashamed of myself to have such selfish thoughts."

That night she lay awake and matured her plans, which were, as you have guessed, to show the children a real Christmas tree.

She had the decorations, to be sure, but she had no presents; worse, she had no candles; and, worst of all, no tree.

After much pondering, she remembered that she had a long-unused talent for making paper dolls and their dresses and belongings; also, she knew how to fashion funny little Quaker dolls, with hickory-nuts for heads. Pretty shell cushions came within her powers, and she thought, with pleasure that was half pain, of a box of scallop shells she had brought from the seashore two years before. This reminded her of a dainty shell picture-frame she once saw; and instantly came the memory of several photographs laid away in her desk that would be just the things to fill them.

"Lots of little things I can make for girls," she thought. "But what can I do for boys?"

Then she remembered the tops she had made for her brothers out of half a spool with a stick run through. "They used to spin nicely," she thought; and if I paint them they'll look pretty."

Then balls occurred to her. She knew well how to make them—her mother taught her—of woolen yarn wound over a cork, and covered with crochet-work or with bits of colored leather.

"Then I can make splendid molasses candy," she added triumphantly, "and cunning little cakes that I used to cut out with a thimble for my dolls' parties."

For the candles, she suddenly remembered that Sarah, the faithful woman they had brought from their old home with them, made their candles by dipping, and the brilliant thought flashed over her that at one period of their growth they were very thin, no thicker than Christmas candles, and why couldn't they be cut into short ones? They could, she was sure—and Sarah was good nature itself. "And I'm sure," thought Carol, "that she'll do it if I ask her."

Now about the tree. That seemed almost hopeless in this treeless prairie; but she knew that the northern horizon had a fringe of trees, several miles away, and she resolved to hope, at least, that among them were evergreens. Cautious inquiry, the next day, of a man who came to saw wood, drew out the fact that there were a few evergreens about ten miles off. Carol relied on her father to help her to that, and at once began her preparations.

She secured the help of her next younger sister, Jessie, by confiding a very little of her plan, and making her promise to keep it secret, and by the same means she interested her brother Harry, aged thirteen. A much greater part of her intentions—yet not all—she confided to faithful Sarah, who, pleased to see her so bright and interested, readily agreed to make the candles.

For one week that was a very busy household. Carol's fingers fairly flew, and balls and tops and dolls and other little gifts accumulated very fast. Meanwhile, Harry whittled spools to a point, and made pegs to fit them, and Jessie made balls and other things, and both were devoured with curiosity to know what sister could possibly want of such queer things. For a list of the village children, with names and ages, Carol depended on Sarah, who knew everybody and visited everywhere. There were not many, only twenty-five; but to get up a tree and a present for even twenty-five is something of an undertaking for one pair of hands, far from the region of shops of any sort. But Carol was resolved to have everything ready for New Year's day, and she worked as never before, hardly able to eat or sleep.

Two evenings before the day, she hurried the children off to bed, and then went down to her father in his own room. He—absorbed as he was in his own thoughts and work—had noticed with pleasure the difference in Carol's manner. No longer the unhappy, sad face was seen, but cheerful smiles and even a gay laugh had once or twice rung upon his ear.

He was very willing to listen as she told him some of her arrangements, and her great desire to have an evergreen tree. He readily lent himself to her plan, already worked out, that he should get a certain wood-sled and horse, take Harry, and go and get her a tree, timing his return so as to enter the village after dark, that no one might see their load, for Carol wanted it to be a complete surprise.

The next morning, December 31, Mr. Cameron and Harry started off on the wood-sled, greatly to the amazement of the curious villagers, and an hour later Jessie and Sarah went around through the village and invited every child to a "Christmas tree," though it did come on New Year's evening.

After dark the tree arrived safely, and proved to be a very pretty one. Papa himself set it up in a tub in the parlor, and wedged it firmly with sticks of wood, while Harry brought in great armfuls of moss, which he had gathered by Carol's directions.

The younger children were already asleep, and Harry and Jessie were allowed to help Carol build a sloping mound around the tub, and to cover it nicely with the moss, and then they were sent to bed.

Sarah had that day made the candles, which were now to be cut into four-inch lengths; and then Carol made her molasses candy. A pretty show it was when at last all was done, and spread out on a table to harden, in sticks and twists and rings and figure 8's and other shapes, all white and delicious.

Then several journeys were made to her room, and all the little gifts brought down; and when everything was safely in the parlor,—and it was very late at night,—the door was locked, and Carol, with the key in her pocket, went to bed.

Everybody in the house knew now that there was to be a Christmas tree. So no one was surprised that Carol spent nearly the whole day locked into the parlor, while Sarah baked cakes and made ice cream, which Harry froze by shaking it an hour or more in a tin pail.

Meanwhile Carol had not forgotten the blessed chant which had wrought all these wonders. Several of the larger girls had met at her house and learned the chant, though they did not know what for; and now they were quite ready to do their part in leading it.

Seven o'clock was the countrified hour at which the children were invited to appear, and seven o'clock found every youngster of the village within the door. Then, to Carol's dismay, the parents began to arrive, with the universal apology, "We know we're not invited, but we do want so much to see your tree, and we will only look on."

Who could refuse them? Not Carol, although dismayed to think of entertaining the whole town, and appalled to think how short would fall the cakes and cream. However, a happier party never assembled; and finally, when the last taper was lighted, and the door into the parlor was thrown open, the surprise and delight of every one was ample pay for her work.

The room was prettily decorated with evergreen, and the tree was to them like a glimpse of fairyland. Not only had they never seen, but they had never imagined so lovely a thing. As for the children, they were simply spellbound, till Carol arranged them in a circle around the tree, bade them join hands, and herself led them in their dance around, singing the dear old chant her mother had taught her.

Tears were in many eyes; and as for Mr. Cameron, Carol found him a half hour later, when he was wanted to distribute the little gifts, shut up in his room, actually weeping with mingled joy and pain.

"Now, Papa," she began; but he seized her in his arms.

"My dear daughter, you look and appear to-night so much like your blessed mother that I—that I am thus overcome."

Ah! don't you think that moment paid her, and completed the change the chant had begun?

When the marvelous tree had been sufficiently admired from every side, and all the candles were burnt out, and everybody had eaten a piece of cake and a small dish of cream,—which did go around, though not so generously as Carol had intended for the children alone,—Papa had recovered himself, and gradually dismantled the tree.

The surprise and wild delight of the children when they found that the pretty toys were for them, that not one was forgotten, and the gratitude and joy with which they hugged their paper dolls and spool tops, and daubed themselves with delicious molasses candy, would be a lesson to those who have dozens of presents every year, and then sometimes grumble, and it all made for Carol the very happiest Christmas she had ever known, though she received not one present, and had worked for a week harder than ever in her life before.

"Oh dear!" said Kristy, "what lovely things people do—in the story books."

"But this was in real life, as I told you, Kristy," said Aunt Lill. "It's all true except the name."

"Then her name wasn't Carol Cameron at all," said Kristy.

"No; of course her name was Danish."

"Ah! now we've caught you!" cried Kristy. "Your Danish friend was the heroine!"

Everybody laughed, and Aunt Lill said, "You're getting well, Miss Kristy; you're too sharp for me."

"You're too sharp for me, too," said Mr. Coles, the new minister, whose seat was next; "to invite me to a party and entrap me into telling a story."

"But it's easy for you," said Kristy. "I've heard you tell lots of stories—in the pulpit, you know," she added, as he seemed surprised. Then everybody laughed, and Mr. Coles flushed a little, but in a moment he said:

"Well, I shall punish you for that, Miss Kristy, by telling a story of the most unpleasant place I ever saw, a rag-man's home in New York City."

"Oh! oh!" exclaimed Kristy in dismay. "Can't you think of a pleasanter one?"

"No," said Mr. Coles firmly, but with a twinkle in his eye, "it's that or nothing. Shall I tell you about the ash-barrel girl, or will you let me off?"

"I can't let you off, you know," hesitated Kristy, "but—what is an ash-barrel girl, anyway?"


Clement Clarke Moore

A Visit from St. Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Dasher!  now, Dancer!  now, Prancer  and Vixen!

On, Comet!  on, Cupid!  on, Donder  and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down on a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."


  WEEK 51  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

The Round-Up

S PRING came, and before the snow was gone, the fawns were born. It was a cold, cold world that those baby deer came into, but they did not seem to mind it. Those were busy days for Tuktu and Aklak, for they spent much time looking up the mother deer to see that their babies were properly taken care of. Now and then they would find a fawn that had lost its mother and then would begin a search for the mother. Little by little the snow disappeared and the big herd began to move toward the sea. It was heading toward the summer range.

Tuktu and Aklak looked forward eagerly to the summer visit to the coast—Aklak for the hunting and fishing, and Tuktu for the delight of watching the sea fowl and hunting for their eggs. Then there was the great round-up. That was always exciting. Tuktu took no part in it, but Aklak was big enough now to help. The round-up would occur soon after the herd reached the coast. Some of the herders had already gone ahead to prepare the great corral. This was simply a huge pen of brush and sticks with wings to it, so that as the grazing herd came on, it got between these wings without knowing it at first, and then kept on going until the whole herd was in the great pen, called the corral. The herders would follow and shut them in.


The families of the herders who had gone ahead were taken with them, so that the camp was made and everything ready before the arrival of the deer. The latter had not been driven, but had been allowed to take their own time, grazing as they went. But they too were eager to get to the shore, and so they had moved forward quite rapidly.

One morning Aklak came hurrying in with word that the great herd was approaching. Everybody went out to see the round-up and to help by seeing that none of the deer were allowed to get outside of the wings of the corral. The leaders of the big herd unsuspiciously came up over the brow of a little hill. It was beyond this hill that the great corral had been built, so that the deer would not see it until they were over the hill. At first, the herd was widely spread, but as they came within the wings of the great corral, the fences forced them nearer together, until as they entered the corral they were closely packed. Once inside, they began to mill, which is, as you know, to go around and around. It was a wonderful sight. It would have been still more wonderful had they had their antlers, but these had been shed and the new ones had but just started. On the farther side of the corral was a gateway opening into a very narrow passage, which grew narrower and narrower until it was just wide enough for one deer to pass through. Into this the herders turned the milling animals as fast as they could be handled. As the deer came through this narrow passage, they were counted and the ear-marks were noted. Of course, there were the ear-marks of several owners in that great herd and each kept a record of the deer bearing his ear-mark, as they came through this narrow passage called the "chute." The fawns going through with their mothers were roped as they came out of the chute and ear-marked, each one being given the ear-mark of its mother. It was very exciting.

Now, could you have sat on the corral fence and seen that great herd of animals milling within the corral, I am sure you would have held tight to your seat. You would have been quite sure that no one could go down inside without being trampled to death. But the deer people are a gentle people. More than once Tuktu or Aklak, wishing to be on the other side of the corral, walked right through the herd, the deer making way for them as they walked.

Perhaps you can guess how eagerly Tuktu watched to see if Speedfoot, that deer of her father's, which she was sure the Good Spirit had chosen, would appear in the herd. She was sure he wouldn't, but there would be no convincing Aklak until the last deer had passed through the chute. Aklak was so busy helping in the marking of the unmarked deer, that he could not watch all the deer that passed through, but you may be sure he kept as good a watch as he could.

At last, the round-up was over. All the fawns had been ear-marked. Each owner had counted his deer and knew just how much his herd had increased. As soon as there was a chance, Tuktu whispered in Aklak's ear, "I told you that Speedfoot was not in the herd. Wait now until the herd moves up to the Valley of the Good Spirit, and you will find him there."

Of course Kutok had been watching for that particular deer. It had been the pride of his heart the year before, and its disappearance had worried him. He had thought that somehow it might have been overlooked on the winter grazing grounds, but when the round-up was over, he knew that the animal was not in the herd. Then he was torn between fear and hope. His fear was that the animal had strayed from the herd and been killed by wolves. His hope was—I do not have to tell you what his hope was. It was that this summer they would find Speedfoot bearing the ear-marks of the Good Spirit. To Kutok and to Aklak it was merely a hope, but to Tuktu it was a certainty. She hadn't the least shadow of doubt, and her heart sang for joy.


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

Out of an Ash-Barrel

I T was ash-barrel day in Barclay Street one pleasant morning in May, and every shop on the street had decorated the walk in front of its door with a barrel or box of rubbish ready for the "ashmen" to empty and carry away.

Long before the expected carts came lumbering around the corner there appeared on the scene a young girl. She was not very attractive: barefooted, ragged, and dirty; a shawl tied over her tangled black hair, and a hard, saucy look in her face. In her hand she carried a long iron, hooked at the end, and over her shoulder a coarse bag; the former she thrust into each barrel as she came to it, and anything she dragged up that could be sold she stuffed into the bag to carry away. In this way she had already collected half a bushel of old paper, rags, bones, bottles, and other stuff you would not consider of the least value.

She was well known on the street, for many a spruce clerk standing in the door spoke jeeringly to her, and none failed to get a sharp reply, with generally an ugly grimace, which always caused a coarse laugh and more talk. Bad-tempered, ready to "talk back," even to scratch and bite if interfered with, Val, the ash-barrel girl, seems a strange character for a story. But this isn't the end, you know, it's only the beginning.

The first poke of her hook in a barrel before a large china store uncovered a very unusual object—a doll's head. A look of surprise came into her large black eyes, next a quick glance around to see if any one was looking, and then a sudden disappearance of the treasure into her pocket.

She hurried through the rest of the barrels in the row, and passed down the street toward the river, thinking of a hiding-place she knew. It was a corner formed by a pile of lumber on the end of a pier in the North River,—so small and so hard to reach that few knew of it, where she often spent a quiet half hour, sure of not being ordered away by policeman or workman, looking at the river and the boats, thinking hard thoughts of her hated life, and dreaming of plans to run away. For she could remember when things were very different—a sweet-faced mother who talked another language, and called her Violetta; clean clothes, enough to eat, and a decent home. That was two or three years ago, before her mother was carried to a hospital and never came back, and she had to poke over ash-barrels to keep from starving.

This morning, as I said, she finished her task, and hastened to her private nook. Safely she slipped through the entrance and past the policeman, quickly ran across the narrow plank over the water, seized the end of a projecting board, swung herself around the corner of the pile, at the great risk of falling into the river, and then sat down in her retreat.

The moment she was safe she drew from her pocket the treasure she had found, and examined it at her leisure. It was a very pretty head of bisque, with a sweet face, blue eyes, and head covered with short real curls of blond color. It was not soiled, being protected by the straw it had been packed in, and was not injured in the least, except—it was broken short off at the neck.

This, of course, unfitted it to be sold; but this had given it to Val, and she did not consider it. She was lost in the beauty of the face, and her feeling of unexpected wealth. This was her very own! You who have dolls and friends in plenty cannot imagine the joy this poor doll's head gave the lonely little ash-barrel girl.

No one should ever see this treasure. It should have a body and a dress. Val couldn't yet think how, but she was sure she could contrive it. It should have a name too—hers—the prettiest she knew. It should be Violetta. "Val's good enough for me!" she said, scorning her own shabby clothes and soiled hands.

Some time passed in dreaming and planning before Val remembered that she must go back, or the master for whom she worked would wonder where she had been, and perhaps suspect she had found something; he always did suspect that, and was very severe. Slowly, and after a long, lingering look, she hid her treasure away in her pocket, took up her bag, and retraced her steps.

She passed through several streets, and at last turned into a narrow alley between two tall, tumble-down houses. The alley ended, in the middle of the block, in a small court, paved over, and half filled with rubbish of all sorts. Into this court opened several wretched buildings, and every building had dozens of inhabitants. Even on this fresh May day, so clear and breezy outside, the air was heavy with bad odors, and noisy with voices of children.

Val hurried across the court, and entered the door of what she called her home. It was a rather large room, the greater part occupied with the contents of the bags brought in by the dozen or more boys and girls who worked for the owner. The bags had to be emptied, and the contents sorted into piles, each kind by itself, ready to be taken out and sold.

This was all that Val had of home and comfort. Was it any wonder that, as soon as the day's tasks were over and she had devoured her share of the poor food, she should go back into the street to wander about, to steal if she had a chance, to sit on sunny doorsteps, hang around shop windows, and try in every way desperation could suggest to add some pleasure to life?

One side of an old pile of rags in a corner of the room Val called hers, and had established her claim by many fights and hard words. Under this was her only hiding-place, and here was carefully concealed the doll's head.

As she had chance, when no one was in the room, Val arranged a body by making a hard roll of a tolerably clean piece of muslin she had found, and stuffing one end into the open neck of her treasure. No arms or legs, even no shoulders, had this queer doll, yet Val was delighted when she had accomplished so much as that.

The next thing was a dress. Now Val had one piece of finery, found in an ash-barrel before a grand house up-town. It was a lady's silk apron, soiled and worn, having probably descended from the parlor to the kitchen, and at last to the ash-barrel. It was soiled, to be sure, but it was soft in texture and rich in color, and it was lavishly trimmed with ruffles. Often at night, when all were asleep, and the moon or the street-lamp made a little light in the room, Val had drawn this treasure from its hiding-place, stroked it and admired it, tried it on, and dreamed of the day she longed for, when she should dare to wear anything so elegant. Now, however, that she had her dear Violetta to dress, she remembered the apron, and decided that the doll, and not she, should wear it.

She waited impatiently for Sunday, when, work being stopped because of the city laws and the police, all went out and spent the day where it pleased them—on the docks or on the streets, mission schools not having yet penetrated the court. Val had been used to spend much of her Sunday, when the weather was fine, in the nook behind the lumber, but this day she stayed at home and dressed her precious doll. She had no needles or thread, or scissors with which to cut and fashion her dress, even if she had known how to do so, but she had plenty of pins which she had picked up. With these she arranged the little apron into a dress, finishing the whole by tying the ribbon-strings around the waist to form a sash.

No French doll of the most elegant sort, with dresses and jewels by the trunkful, ever gave so much pleasure, I am sure, as this one poor little head, dressed in an old silk apron.

Val was in ecstasies. She could not take her eyes off the beautiful creature, and she felt as happy as if she had found a friend. She set her upon a broken chair before her, called her Violetta, and talked to her in the language her mother had talked—Italian.

That hour the poor ash-barrel girl was more happy than any queen, for she forgot her dismal surroundings, her hard life, her cruel master, her always yearning hunger, while her eyes grew soft and her heart warm with real love for her treasure.

Now, "Old Rags"—as her master was called in the court—was very well-to-do for a resident in that place; and though hard in general, he had one soft spot in his heart. That was for his daughter Mina, who was a cripple and a great sufferer: it was said on account of her father's brutal treatment when young.

However that may be, he was very gentle to her now, and had another room than the one Val lived in, on purpose for her. This room, furnished decently, though very poorly, was to Val a picture of comfort. It had chairs that could be used, a real bed with pillows and cover, a table with whole dishes to eat from. Into this room Val had often looked with envy of the poor girl lying there. She envied her pleasant room, her decent clothes, enough to eat, her easy life because she did not have to poke over ash-barrels.

A day or two after she had completed the dressing of Violetta, and while her heart was still full of happiness, Val had occasion to pass the door of Mina's room. It was a little open, and looking in, as she always did, she caught sight of the child on her bed, her face white and drawn with pain. This was nothing new, but Val's eyes fell upon a doll which was evidently carefully cherished by the little invalid. It was of rags rolled into a bundle, and dressed in a piece of faded calico simply pinned around it like a shawl.

In an instant Val thought of Violetta, so much more beautiful, and this thought softening her heart, she was seized with the first feeling of pity she had ever felt for Mina. "How she would love Violetta!" came like a flash into her mind, instantly followed by the thought, "But I won't give her away."

She went back to the other room, but somehow she could not get that suffering child out of her mind; nor could she put away the thought of the happiness Violetta would bring to her. For the first time she realized what it must be to be shut up all the time; suffering, too,—with no fresh, sweet air as Val could get when she went down to the water; no cool sea breeze; no warm sunshine; no pretty shop-windows to look into and think what you would have if you could choose; not one of the pleasant things that even an ash-barrel girl could have.

"But she doesn't have to carry an old bag, and poke in the dirt," Val said to herself, angry that she should pity one so much better off than she. "Though I'd rather do that than never go out," she couldn't help thinking. "And then she has good dresses to wear and enough to eat," came to her from the other side. "But she is in pain all the time, and often can't eat a bit," was the answering thought.

So the battle went on in Val's heart: the pity she could not drive away, against the hard envy she had always felt. Then, too, when the pity would get the advantage it always suggested that Val should give her the doll. That was the point to which the struggle always came around.

Several days passed, and the next Sunday came before Val had fought the battle out for herself; but at last pity conquered, and she resolved to give her only treasure to one who needed it more than she. On this day, therefore, after everybody had gone out, Val, taking a passionate leave of Violetta, hid her in a fold of her dress, and went to Mina's door.

The poor child lay, as usual, on her little bed. Val walked in, and, without a word, held up Violetta.

"See my doll!" she said, in a moment, shortly.

Mina's eyes opened wide with surprise and admiration. "Oh, how sweet! Where did you get her?" she gasped.

"Found her head; dressed her myself," said Val briefly.

"I never saw one so pretty," said Mina. "May I take her a minute? I'll be just as careful."

"You may have her to keep!" shouted out Val, handing her over.

Mina's amazement almost struck her dumb. That any one should give away such a treasure was beyond her understanding.

"To keep?"

"F'rever 'n ever," said Val bravely, though the words seemed to choke her.

"Oh!" was all the poor girl could say in her emotion, and Val bolted out of the room, rushed down-stairs, and threw herself on the pile of rags, feeling more desolate than ever.

Not that she wished to take back the gift, but it was a wrench to her very heart-strings. It was as if you were giving up everything nice and pretty you have in the world.

"Never mind!" she said to herself, "I can go out, and she can't. Maybe I'll find another head—and another apron," she added, more slowly; "though I most know I shan't."

In spite of her pain at the loss of Violetta, Val was surprised to find a strange new feeling about her heart, a sort of warmth unusual to her. She began to feel an interest in Mina, a constant wish to do something for her. She began to hang around her door, partly to see the doll, which was cherished to her heart's content, and partly to try to do something for Mina. Now she began to notice Mina's neatness, and her own dirty hands.

"It's no use," she said desperately, the first time she thought of this; yet, all the same, the next day she joined the throng of girls who went to the free bath-houses—a crowd she had often laughed at. Now, however, she heartily enjoyed a good scrubbing, and came out greatly improved in looks as well as feeling.

I do not mean to go on, step by step, and tell you how, very gradually, Val, the ash-barrel girl, changed from the day she made the great sacrifice. She stayed more with Mina, and grew ashamed of rough talk and rude ways. To her surprise, although her work was as dirty and unpleasant as before, although she had no better food, and no more attractive surroundings, she somehow found the bitterness and hardness taken out of her thoughts. She acquired the habit of saving for Mina every nice thing she found, which heretofore she had hastily eaten herself—a good half of a discarded banana, a fair cherry or two in a lot thrown away, a sound "bite" in a decayed apple. Everything found its way to the sick girl, and while, strangely enough (as it seemed to her), making Val herself happier, gave new pleasures to the last few months of Mina's life, for before cold weather came again the little sufferer was released from all pain.

If you have ever visited a spot where the graves of the poor, among foreigners, are made, you have doubtless seen the small glass cases or houses erected over the resting-places of children, containing their playthings and precious possessions—a broken doll, a battered cup, a tin horse, etc. In like manner, over the lowly bed of Mina, her father placed a small house of glass, and in it—Violetta!

No one asked Val to go to the small funeral of the child, but she heard something said about "Calvary Cemetery," and the first Sunday she could inquire the way there she walked out—several miles—and, to her own surprise, found the last resting-place of her only friend, by help of Violetta, who sat like a queen in her house of glass.

And now the doll from the ash-barrel did her one more good turn—the last; for the hopeless, friendless look of the girl attracted the notice of a lady interested in the charitable schools of the city.

Inquiring about her, and learning her friendless condition and her desire to improve, the lady placed her in an industrial school, where she was taught to read and write, decent ways of life, and a work that would take care of her.

The last time I saw Val she was dressed in a pretty calico dress, with a long white apron, and a tiny cap on her head, wheeling a baby carriage: a most trusty looking nurse-girl, well-fed and happy.

"That wasn't so bad, after all," said Kristy. "I shall not be afraid of you again, Mr. Coles; but it's dreadful to think of those poor girls in the city. I wish I could give every one a doll."

"The only story I know about Christmas," said Mrs. Carnes, whose turn came next, "is something that happened in a little village in Maine, near enough to Canada to have caught the fashion of using toboggans."

"Toboggans are lovely," said Kristy with a sigh.

"Yes, we all know about these curious sleds now, but at the time of my story they were never seen out of Canada and its borders."



Bethlehem of Judea

A little child,

A shining star.

A stable rude,

A door ajar.

Yet in that place,

So crude, forlorn.

The Hope of all

The world was born.


  WEEK 51  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

The Christmas Story

T HAT was a never to be forgotten summer to Tuktu and Aklak. A ship came in the harbor near which they were camped, and they had a chance to see how the white men lived on the ship and all the wonders that the ship contained. One of the white men spent much time at their camp asking through one of the herders, who could speak his language, all sorts of questions, questions that made Tuktu and Aklak think that he knew very little. But then when they in their turn began asking questions, he told them such wonderful things that they began to think that they knew very little.

One day as he sat watching Tuktu and her mother, Navaluk, making a coat—with a hood attached, trimmed with a fringe of wolverine fur around the edge—he told them stories, and the story that he told of Christmas was the story that Tuktu liked best of all. She told it to Aklak.

"What do you think, Aklak?" she said. "The children outside of our beautiful Northland have no reindeer. Most of them have never seen a reindeer."

"What drags their sleds then, dogs?" demanded the practical Aklak.

"No," replied Tuktu, "they have other animals called horses. But they cannot be beautiful like our deer, for they have no antlers. But all those children have heard of our reindeer, Aklak, and there is a certain time in the winter called Christmas when in the night after every one is asleep, there comes the children's saint and visits each home. And, Aklak, he comes with reindeer!"

Aklak looked up quickly. "The Good Spirit?" he cried.

Tuktu's eyes were shining as she nodded. "It must be," she said, "for who else would have reindeer? And, listen, Aklak: he is short and round and shakes when he laughs; and he has a white beard and a fur-trimmed coat and a fur-trimmed hat; and his reindeer take him right up on the roofs of the houses; and then he takes a pack on his back and goes right down the chimney; and he leaves gifts for little children while they are asleep. And if any little boy or little girl lies awake and peeps and tries to see him, he doesn't leave any presents for that little girl or that little boy and they never do see him. When he has made his visit, he goes right up the chimney again and jumps in his sleigh and calls to his reindeer and away he goes to the next stopping place. And he makes all those visits in one night. No wonder he wants reindeer. No wonder he wants the very best reindeer."

"But if no one ever sees him, how do they know what he looks like?" demanded practical Aklak.

"Oh," replied Tuktu, "it is only on the night before Christmas that he never is seen. I mean he is never seen coming down the chimney and putting the gifts for the children where they will find them. But he is seen often going about before Christmas, for he has to find out who have been good, that they may receive presents. And the children give him letters and tell him what they want, and if they have been good, he tries to give them what they want. So he leaves the Northland early, some time before Christmas, and goes out into the Great World. Then he returns for the gifts and the night before Christmas makes that wonderful flying trip with the deer. He loves reindeer."

"Of course he loves the reindeer!" Aklak interrupted. "How could he help loving the reindeer? Aren't they the most important animals in all the Great World?"

"That is what I said, but the man said that horses are more important down there. I asked him if they ate the meat of the horses and he said no. And I asked him if they made clothing from the skins of the horses and he said no. He said they were important because they worked for men."

Aklak shrugged his shoulders. "The reindeer work for men also. They carry us where we want to go. We do not have to carry food for them, for they find it for themselves. They furnish us with food and clothing and our tents. I would not for the world live down there where there are no reindeer. Did the man tell you anything else?"

Tuktu's eyes were like stars. "Yes," said she. "He said that all over that land at Christmas time they have beautiful green trees covered with lights at night and many shining things. And sometimes these trees are hung with presents for the boys and girls; and sometimes the Good Saint appears at one of these trees and with his own hands gives the gifts to the children. But the very day after Christmas he disappears and he is seen no more until the Christmas season comes again; and no one knows where he is. All the children wonder and wonder where he is all through the year, but they have never been able to find out."

"Did you tell the man that we know?" Aklak asked.

Tuktu shook her head. "He wouldn't believe," said she. "But we do know, Aklak, for that children's saint is the Good Spirit who lives in the Valley of the Good Spirit. Oh, Aklak, wouldn't it be too wonderful if he would choose our deer for that marvelous Christmas journey?"


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

How a Toboggan Brought Fortune

T HE story begins with a cold Christmas morning when a certain Mr. Clark was starting to go to the village, and turning in the doorway, said: "You children might go out and play with the toboggan a little, while I'm gone, if you like. It's a fine sunny morning, and you haven't been out lately."

"Oh, yes! let's," shouted Willy, dancing about. "Will you, Essey?"

A pale, thin girl of perhaps ten years looked up from the stocking she was trying to darn.

"Yes, if you want to," she said quietly, though it was plain she cared nothing for it herself.

"Have you clothes enough left to wrap up warmly?" asked their father, looking anxiously at Esther.

"Yes, Father, I think so; and we can come in if we get cold," she answered.

Mr. Clark closed the door, and brought from the woodshed the article he had named, set it before the door, and started for town.

Esther put away her work and brought out a curious pile of wraps to put around them, and they were soon out on the hill.

Willy was carefully placed in front, and then the old-fashioned little woman took her seat with the ropes in hand for the ride. The snow was just right, the toboggan flew down the hill, and Willy shouted with delight. Esther dragged it up again and again, and again they rode down.

In her enjoyment of Willy's pleasure Esther almost forgot her thin clothes and her worn shoes, but when they started down on the last slide, she was almost numb with cold. No doubt it was that which made her lose control of the toboggan, and let it shoot out one side, as it did. It ran plump against a half-covered log, took a flying leap through the air, burst open a door, and landed them square in the middle of Miss Harper's prim kitchen, terrified half out of their wits, and the toboggan a wreck.

Now I must tell you about Miss Harper. She was a tall, elderly woman with thin gray hair, and eyes so sharp they seemed to fairly look through one. Her cottage at the foot of the hill was as neat as wax inside and out, and always looked as though it had just been washed. In the summer she had a nice old-fashioned garden, with hollyhocks, larkspur, and sweet, fragrant pinks, where never a weed showed its head, or at least not an instant after Miss Harper's eyes spied it.

When the Clark children came to live in the tumble-down house at the top of the hill it was summer, and the garden was blooming. They had always lived in the city, and to their eyes it was a bit of fairyland, and they never tired of looking through the fence and admiring, though not for an instant did they dream of touching, a flower.

But, unfortunately, Miss Harper had been much annoyed by her young neighbors, who delighted—as bad boys will—in tormenting her by throwing open the gate, pulling off the flowers they could reach, and doing other equally rude and ill-bred tricks.

So, as the years went on, she had grown cross and bitter, not only against the boys themselves, but the dreadful disease spread,—as it will if one lets it,—till she grew cross and bitter against everybody. One after another her friends were driven away from her, and now, at last, in her old age, she lived alone, no one loving her, or caring how she fared. The boys called her "Old-witch Harper," and not a friend entered her door from one year's end to another.

This was a dreadful life, and she might have lived and died so, if it hadn't been for the toboggan and Esther's cold fingers.

Miss Harper's usual seat was by a window looking into the garden, and the first time Esther and Willy stopped to admire the flowers the door suddenly burst open and the old woman hobbled out, shaking a stick and shouting harshly, "Go 'way! go 'way! No boys allowed here!" Willy screamed, and Esther seized his hand and ran home as fast as her feet could carry her.

When the father came home the story was repeated, and he told them that poor Miss Harper was a lonely, sad old woman, and would not touch them if they did not meddle with her. So they learned to only glance at the lovely flowers, and never to linger, and though they often saw her great silver-rimmed spectacles turned towards them, she did not speak to them again. But none the less she was the great bugbear and dread of their lives.

What, then, was their horror, on the day my story begins, to find themselves, not only in the dreaded woman's own house, but with a terrible litter of snow and a wrecked toboggan and a broken door! Willy lay white and still where he had fallen, but Esther gave a shriek of terror.

Miss Harper had jumped up full of rage, but the look of deadly fright on Esther's face changed it to something almost like pity.

"Hush up!" she said bluntly, "I shan't eat ye!"

"Oh, please, Miss Harper!" Esther faltered, "we didn't mean to! I don't know how it happened!"

"I do," interrupted Miss Harper grimly, beginning to gather up the bits of broken wood. "I do—you ran into the old log that John Wilson ought to 've carted away years ago, an' left there just to spite me. I'll have the law on him, too," she muttered, bustling about for a broom to brush out the snow before it began to melt.

"Here's a pretty to do! door broken, house all littered up, an' a child—why don't ye pick the boy up?" she interrupted herself to say.

Esther stared like one dazed, and, in fact, she was so stiff with cold that she could hardly move, but now she turned to Willy, who had not stirred.

"Willy! Willy!" she whispered, trying to lift him up, "get up! We must go home! Are you hurt?"

Willy did not open his eyes nor move, and a great fear seized her.

"Oh, I'm afraid he's killed! Willy! Willy!" she cried desperately.

Miss Harper dropped her broom and came to him.

"He's in a faint," she said, a little less harshly. "We must get him on to the lounge, and he'll get over it in a minute."

They took hold of him to lift him, but a groan showed that movement hurt him and they left him on the floor. Even Miss Harper was alarmed now, and as for Esther, she turned as white as Willy himself.

"Don't ye go to faint, girl!" said Miss Harper. "I don't want two on my hands. Go up home and call your father."

"Oh, he's gone to town!" wailed Esther.

"An' left you two babies alone?" said Miss Harper crossly.

"Oh, I'm not a baby—I'm quite a woman, Papa says," sobbed Esther. "I do everything most—and he has to go away or we wouldn't have anything to eat," she went on, letting out the sad story of their needs, in her anxiety to prove that her father was not unkind.

"Humph! I thought as much!" said Miss Harper, relenting a little; "but we must have some one here. Do you know where the doctor lives?"

"Oh, yes," said Esther eagerly; "he used to come and see Mamma before we moved up here."

"Well, then, you run for him, and tell him to come right off."

"But if Willy should wake up?" Esther hesitated.

"He won't; an' I shouldn't eat him if he did. No words, child! go on," and Miss Harper fairly pushed her out of the door.

"The boy'll die before they get here, I'm afraid," she muttered to herself. "It's just my luck to have such a hurly-burly in my house."

She had hardly got her room into its usual order when the door opened and Esther came in with good Dr. S., whom she had found on the street, just ready to start out. He well remembered her mother, who had died while the family were strangers in the country, and he knew of the misfortunes which had brought them to sudden poverty. He hastened to help the child.

He found that Willy was very badly hurt, and perhaps would never be able to walk again; but at any rate it was not safe to move him now. Yet what could be done? Miss Harper, who was looking at him closely, saw that he was puzzled, and asked in her blunt way, "What is it, Dr. S.?"

The doctor glanced around and saw that Esther had run home, hoping to find that her father had returned, before he answered her as plainly, "It will be sure death to move the boy."

Miss Harper's mouth opened to speak, but he went on boldly, for he had known her when she was a young girl, and he knew there was a heart under the crust:

"Mary Harper, you are well able to befriend these unfortunate babies, who are fairly thrown into your house, and you dare not refuse the trust as you hope for mercy in your sorest need."

"I'm not a wild beast," she retorted angrily; "of course I expect to have the young one stay here till he's able to be moved."

So that was settled.

"Where shall he be put?" asked Dr. S., who knew her too well to express any thanks.

She hesitated an instant. Opening out of her kitchen, which was also a sitting-room, and next to her own chamber, was a pleasant airy room which she kept in the most exquisite order, and called her guest chamber, though not for many years had a guest slept there. One pang she suffered at thought of a boy within its sacred walls, but a glance at the wide blue eyes of the sufferer decided her.

"In here," she answered shortly, throwing open the door.

The bed was prepared, the blinds thrown open to let in the sunlight, and in half an hour Willy lay in a faint again on the snowy pillows, almost as white as they.

The doctor had given his last directions, and turned to go. At the door he met Esther and the father with a face of agony.

"Mr. Clark," said the doctor kindly, "Willy is badly hurt, but I hope not permanently. Miss Harper is going to nurse him, and I shall take him into my care till he is well again."

Mr. Clark could not speak, and the doctor went on. "Esther, you'll be a little woman now, I know—as you always are. You can be a great help to Miss Harper."

"O doctor! can't I take care of Willy?" sobbed Esther. "You know I can be careful."

"Yes, I know," said the doctor, "but he needs an experienced nurse, and there is none better, or kinder"—he added, seeing her fear and dread—"than Miss Harper. So you must be brave, and do just what she tells you."

"Oh, I will!" answered Esther, choking back her tears.

Miss Harper was not cross all the way through. Under the crust she had a kind heart, and now she was really almost glad of a change in her lonely life. She did not know it; she thought it was a great trial, and a terrible bother, but she bustled about, making a bowl of gruel, preparing the medicine, and putting her precious "spare room" into sick-room order, more briskly than she had done anything for months.

Now a new life began in the cottage. The doctor came every day, and for some time they thought Willy would die. But he slowly grew better, and before spring he was out of danger of that, but still had to lie on the bed or lounge all the time, suffering much, and would probably have to lie a year or more before he could hope to put his once active little feet to the ground.

From the first moment Esther had made herself the most devoted slave to Miss Harper. Before she asked for anything, almost before she thought of it, it was ready to her hand. The fire was made, the rooms dusted, the table set, almost like magic before her eyes. Esther, in the years that her father had been troubled and ill, had been house-mother, and a very deft and nice one she was.

At first Miss Harper demurred; she could not bear to have any one touch her particular duster, her special broom, her precious china. But she soon saw that though little and young, Esther was careful and old beyond her years. So gradually she came to sit in the rocking-chair and be waited on.

For weeks Esther had gone home at every meal-time, prepared her father's food, cleared it away, and then run back; but before Willy could sit up their father had gone to join the mother in the Happy Land, and they were left a legacy to the world—or to Miss Harper.

The world looked on with interest and doubt, to see what "old Miss Harper" would do with the burden so strangely thrown upon her. But there was no doubt or hesitation in her mind. Long before this she had resolved to adopt Esther, and the patient, sweet temper of Willy had won him the very warmest corner of her lonely heart. Lonely now no more, she thought, with a flush of happiness.

"I haven't a relation in the world, child," she said to Esther, when she began to worry about their future, "and you've been such a comfort to me that you shall have your home with me as long as I live. Willy, too,—he's a good boy,—and, in fact, you shall both be mine now, and take what I have to leave when I'm gone. That's settled now, and we'll say no more about it."

No more was said, but much was done. Esther was sent to school and Willy supplied with books and help at home, and in a few years the changes were so great that one would not have known the place.

The house was as neat as ever, but the blinds were opened now in every room. The flower garden was prim and old-fashioned as ever, but there was always a blossom for every passing child. Miss Harper was whiter haired, and older of course, though she looked younger, and had really become quite plump.

She usually sat in her rocking-chair, at the same old window, while bustling around the house was a smiling, happy-faced young girl with a song always on her lips. Bending over a book was often seen Willy, a hard student, somewhat lame, but growing stronger, and preparing for college, where Miss Harper insisted on sending him.

In time fine houses were built above, on the hill, and the road straightened and graded, but the old log that turned the toboggan from its course on its last ride was never allowed to be moved.

"It shall stand while I live," said Miss Harper firmly. "It brought me the best fortune of my life."

"That was a very nice story indeed!" said Kristy. "What a lovely plan this was, Mamma! I never had such a delightful Christmas!"

"Unfortunately," said Aunt Lu, "my story is about another maiden lady, though she was not so terrible as Miss Harper; in fact, she was very nice."



As I Sat Under a Sycamore Tree

As I sat under a sycamore tree, a sycamore tree, a sycamore tree,

I, looked me out upon the sea,

A Christmas day in the morning.

I saw three ships a-sailing there, a-sailing there, a-sailing there,

The Virgin Mary and Christ they bare,

A Christmas day in the morning.

He did whistle and she did sing, she did sing, she did sing,

And all the bells on earth did ring

A Christmas day in the morning.

And now we hope to taste your cheer, taste your cheer, taste your cheer,

And wish you all a happy New Year,

A Christmas day in the morning.


  WEEK 51  


The Christmas Reindeer  by Thornton W. Burgess

The Great Temptation

T UKTU and Aklak loved the summer by the shore. Yet both were impatient for the coming of the time when the herds would move up to the Valley of the Good Spirit. The eight deer Aklak had so carefully trained had been grazing with the herd all summer. The two children had kept their secret well, but, oh, how eager they were to see if the Good Spirit would choose any of their deer!

At last the big herd moved and as before Kutok took the two children with him to watch that the deer should not leave the valley without knowledge of the herders. When they got there, they found grazing near the camp Speedfoot, the missing deer, which Tuktu had seen chosen in the Valley of the Good Spirit. Looking at the ears, they found Kutok's mark, but also a new mark, the mark of the Good Spirit, for it was unlike any other mark in all that region. This splendid deer and seven others were grazing near the hut, and Kutok and Aklak promptly fastened them, that they might not go back with the herd. For were not these the blessed deer?

But the herd moved on. Looking over toward the hills around the valley, the children could see the grazing deer in the distance, but they were too far away to tell one deer from another.

This year Aklak spent less time hunting than he had the previous year. He could think of nothing but those eight deer. "If the Good Spirit chooses all of them, how wonderful it would be! I do hope he will," said he.

Tuktu hoped so, too, but she didn't say so. She merely reminded Aklak that only one of his father's deer had been chosen the year before.

As the days slipped by, Aklak was less and less certain that his deer would be chosen. Finally, he confessed to Tuktu that if the Good Spirit would just take one, he would be satisfied.

"He will. I know he will," replied Tuktu.

One morning when their father was off hunting, Aklak proposed that they take the two pack-deer and go over to the edge of the Valley of the Good Spirit, where they could look down into it. Tuktu shook her head and there was a startled look in her big eyes. "Oh, no, Aklak," she cried, "we mustn't do that!"

"Why not?" demanded Aklak. "You went down into the valley last year. Why should you be afraid to do it again?"

"But I didn't go of my own will," cried Tuktu. "I was taken there without knowing I was going, and that is very different. I think the Good Spirit knew, and meant for me to come."

"Well, anyway," said Aklak, "let's go up on the hills where we can look down on the curtain of beautiful mist. That will do no harm. Besides, I want to see if those deer I trained are all right."

But Tuktu would not be moved. "Do you remember the story the white man told, and that I told you?" she demanded.

Aklak nodded. "What of it?" said he.

"Do you not remember that the children who peek, not only never see the good saint when he visits them at Christmas, but get no gifts?"

Aklak hung his head. "Yes," he admitted, "I remember. But this is different."

"No," said Tuktu, "it is not different. Have we not always been told that the deer people only may visit the Valley of the Good Spirit? If we should anger the Good Spirit, our deer would not be chosen."

"Perhaps they won't be anyway," declared Aklak.

"Perhaps they won't," agreed Tuktu, "but I know the Good Spirit will know that we trained them for him. And even if he does not choose them for his Christmas journey, I think he will be pleased. Aklak, we mustn't do anything so dreadful as even to seem to be spying on the Good Spirit. If he wants us to visit him, I am sure he will let us know in some way."

Aklak looked over toward the specks dotting the distant hillside, the deer feeding above Kringle Valley. He sighed. "Of course you are right, Tuktu," said he, "but, oh dear, I should so like to look down in that valley." His face brightened suddenly. "Perhaps we will have a fog," he exclaimed. "If we have a fog, we will just get on the two pack-deer and perhaps they'll take us in there. I'll ride Whitefoot, because he has been there before."

"We won't do anything of the kind," replied Tuktu decidedly. "That would be just as bad as going right up in there ourselves. Aklak, I feel it in my bones that the Good Spirit is going to choose some of our deer. So, let's forget all about wanting to see into that valley."


Kristy's Christmas Surprise  by Olive Thorne Miller

The Telltale Tile

I T begins with a bit of gossip of a neighbor who had come in to see Miss Bennett, and was telling her about a family who had lately moved into the place and were in serious trouble. "And they do say she'll have to go to the poorhouse," she ended.

"To the poorhouse! how dreadful! And the children too?" and Miss Bennett shuddered.

"Yes; unless somebody'll adopt them, and that's not very likely.—Well, I must go," the visitor went on, rising. "I wish I could do something for her, but, with my houseful of children, I've got use for every penny I can rake and scrape."

"I'm sure I have, with only myself," said Miss Bennett, as she closed the door. "I'm sure I have," she repeated to herself as she resumed her knitting; "it's as much as I can do to make ends meet, scrimping as I do, not to speak of laying up a cent for sickness and old age."

"But the poorhouse!" she said again. "I wish I could help her!" and the needles flew in and out, in and out, faster than ever, as she turned this over in her mind. "I might give up something," she said at last, "though I don't know what, unless—unless," she said slowly, thinking of her one luxury, "unless I give up my tea, and it don't seem as if I could  do that."

Some time the thought worked in her mind, and finally she resolved to make the sacrifice of her only indulgence for six months, and send the money to her suffering neighbor, Mrs. Stanley, though she had never seen her, and had only heard she was in want.

How much of a sacrifice that was you can hardly guess, you, Kristy, who have so many luxuries. That evening Mrs. Stanley was surprised by a small gift of money "from a friend," as was said on the envelope containing it.

"Who sent it?" she asked, from the bed where she was lying.

"Miss Bennett told me not to tell," said the boy, unconscious that he had already told.

The next day Miss Bennett sat at the window knitting, as usual,—for her constant contribution to the poor fund of the church was a certain number of stockings and mittens,—when she saw a young girl coming up to the door of the cottage.

"Who can that be?" she said to herself. "I never saw her before. Come in!" she called, in answer to a knock. The girl entered, and walked up to Miss Bennett.

"Are you Miss Bennett?" she asked.

"Yes," said Miss Bennett, with an amused smile.

"Well, I'm Hetty Stanley."

Miss Bennett started, and her color grew a little brighter.

"I'm glad to see you, Hetty," she said; "won't you sit down?"

"Yes, if you please," said Hetty, taking a chair near her.

"I came to tell you," she began simply, "how much we love you for—"

"Oh, don't! don't say any more!" interrupted Miss Bennett; "never mind that! Tell me about your mother and your baby brother."

This was an interesting subject, and Hetty talked earnestly about it. The time passed so quickly that, before she knew it, she had been in the house an hour. When she went away Miss Bennett asked her to come again, a thing she had never been known to do before, for she was not fond of young people in general.

"But then, Hetty's different," she said to herself, when wondering at her own interest.

"Did you thank kind Miss Bennett?" was her mother's question as Hetty opened the door.

Hetty stopped as if struck. "Why, no! I don't believe I did."

"And stayed so long, too? Whatever did you do? I've heard she isn't fond of people generally."

"We talked; and I think she's ever so nice. She asked me to come again; may I?"

"Of course you may, if she cares to have you. I should be glad to do something to please her."

That visit of Hetty's was the first of a long series. Almost every day she found her way to the lonely cottage, where a visitor rarely came, and a strange intimacy grew up between the old and the young. Hetty learned of her friend to knit, and many an hour they spent knitting while Miss Bennett ransacked her memory for stories to tell. And then, one day, she brought down from a big chest in the garret two of the books she used to have when she was young, and let Hetty look at them.

One was "Thaddeus of Warsaw," and the other "Scottish Chiefs." Poor Hetty had not the dozens of books you have, and these were treasures indeed. She read them to herself, and she read them aloud to Miss Bennett, who, much to her own surprise, found her interest almost as eager as Hetty's.

All this time Christmas was drawing near, and strange, unusual feelings began to stir in Miss Bennett's heart, though generally she did not think much about that happy time. She wanted to make Hetty a happy day. Money she had none, so she went into the garret, where her youthful treasures had long been hidden. From the chest from which she had taken the books she now took a small box of light-colored wood, with a transferred engraving on the cover. With a sigh,—for the sight of it brought up old memories,—Miss Bennett lifted the cover by its loop of ribbon, took out a package of old letters, and went down-stairs with the box, taking also a few bits of bright silk from a bundle in the chest.

"I can fit it up for a work-box," she said, "and I'm sure Hetty will like it."

For many days after this Miss Bennett had her secret work, which she carefully hid when she saw Hetty coming. Slowly, in this way, she made a pretty needle-book, a tiny pincushion, and an emery bag like a big strawberry. Then from her own scanty stock she added needles, pins, thread, and her only pair of small scissors, scoured to the last extreme of brightness. One thing only she had to buy—a thimble, and that she bought for a penny, of brass so bright it was quite as handsome as gold.

Very pretty the little box looked when full; in the bottom lay a quilted lining, which had always been there, and upon this the fittings she had made. Besides this, Miss Bennett knit a pair of mittens for each of Hetty's brothers and sisters.

The happiest girl in town on Christmas morning was Hetty Stanley. To begin with, she had the delight of giving the mittens to the children, and when she ran over to tell Miss Bennett how pleased they were, she was surprised by the present of the odd little workbox and its pretty contents.

Christmas was over all too soon, and New Year's, and it was about the middle of January that the time came which, all her life, Miss Bennett had dreaded—the time when she should be helpless. She had not money enough to hire a girl, and so the only thing she could imagine when that day should come was her special horror—the poorhouse.

But that good deed of hers had already borne fruit, and was still bearing. When Hetty came over one day, and found her dear friend lying on the floor as if dead, she was dreadfully frightened, of course, but she ran after the neighbors and the doctor, and bustled about the house as if she belonged to it.

Miss Bennett was not dead—she had a slight stroke of paralysis; and though she was soon better, and would be able to talk, and probably to knit, and possibly to get about the house, she would never be able to live alone and do everything for herself, as she had done.

So the doctor told the neighbors who came in to help, and so Hetty heard, as she listened eagerly for news.

"Of course she can't live here any longer; she'll have to go to a hospital," said one woman.

"Or to the poorhouse, more likely," said another.

"She'll hate that," said the first speaker. "I've heard her shudder over the poorhouse."

"She shall never go there!" declared Hetty, with blazing eyes.

"Hoity-toity! who's to prevent?" asked the second speaker, turning a look of disdain on Hetty.

"I am," was the fearless answer. "I know all Miss Bennett's ways, and I can take care of her, and I will," went on Hetty indignantly; and turning suddenly, she was surprised to see Miss Bennett's eyes fixed on her with an eager, questioning look.

"There! she understands! she's better!" cried Hetty. "Mayn't I stay and take care of you, dear Miss Bennett?" she asked, running up to the bed.

"Yes, you may," interrupted the doctor, seeing the look in his patient's face; "but you mustn't agitate her now. And now, my good women,"—turning to the others,—"I think she can get along with her young friend here, whom I happen to know is a womanly young girl, and will be attentive and careful."

They took the hint and went away, and the doctor gave directions to Hetty what to do, telling her she must not leave Miss Bennett. So she was now regularly installed as nurse and housekeeper.

Days and weeks rolled by. Miss Bennett was able to be up in her chair, to talk and knit, and to walk about the house, but was not able to be left alone. Indeed, she had a horror of being left alone; she could not bear Hetty out of her sight, and Hetty's mother was very willing to spare her, for she had many mouths to fill.

To provide food for two out of what had been scrimping for one was a problem; but Miss Bennett ate very little, and she did not resume her tea, so they managed to get along and not really suffer.

One day Hetty sat by the fire with her precious box on her knee, which she was putting to rights for the twentieth time. The box was empty, and her sharp young eyes noticed a little dust on the silk lining.

"I think I'll take this out and dust it," she said to Miss Bennett, "if you don't mind."

"Do as you like with it," answered Miss Bennett; "it is yours."

So she carefully lifted the silk, which stuck a little. "Why, here's something under it," she said,—"an old paper, and it has writing on."

"Bring it to me," said Miss Bennett; "perhaps it's a letter I have forgotten."

Hetty brought it.

"Why, it's father's writing!" said Miss Bennett, looking closely at the faded paper; "and what can it mean? I never saw it before. It says, 'Look, and ye shall find'—that's a Bible text. And what is this under it? 'A word to the wise is sufficient.' I don't understand—he must have put it there himself, for I never took that lining out—I thought it was fastened. What can it mean?" and she pondered over it long, and all day seemed absent-minded.

After tea, when they sat before the kitchen fire, as they always did, with only the firelight flickering and dancing on the walls while they knitted, or told stories, or talked, she told Hetty about her father; that they had lived comfortably in this house, which he built, and that everybody supposed that he had plenty of money, and would leave enough to take care of his only child, but that when he died suddenly nothing had been found, and nothing ever had been, from that day to this.

"Part of the place I let to John Thompson, Hetty, and that rent is all I have to live on. I don't know what makes me think of old times so to-night."

"I know," said Hetty; "it's that paper, and I know what it reminds me of," she suddenly shouted, in a way very unusual with her. "It's that tile over there," and she jumped up and ran to the side of the fireplace, and put her hand on the tile she meant.

On each side of the fireplace was a row of tiles. They were Bible subjects, and Miss Bennett had often told Hetty the story of each one, and also the stories she used to make up about them, when she was young. The one Hetty had her hand on now bore the picture of a woman standing before a closed door, and below her the words of the yellow bit of paper: "Look, and ye shall find."

"I always felt there was something different about that," said Hetty eagerly, "and you know you told me your father talked to you about it—about what to seek in the world when he was gone away, and other things."

"Yes, so he did," said Miss Bennett thoughtfully; "come to think of it, he said a great deal about it, and in a meaning way. I don't understand it," she said slowly, turning it over in her mind.

"I do!" cried Hetty enthusiastically. "I believe you are to seek here! I believe it's loose!" and she tried to shake it. "It is loose!" she cried excitedly. "Oh, Miss Bennett, may I take it out?"

Miss Bennett had turned deadly pale. "Yes," she gasped, hardly knowing what she expected, or dared to hope. A sudden push from Hetty's strong fingers, and the tile slipped out at one side and fell to the floor. Behind it was an opening into the brickwork. Hetty thrust in her hand.

"There's something in there!" she said in an awed tone.

"A light!" said Miss Bennett hoarsely.

There was not a candle in the house, but Hetty seized a brand from the fire, and held it up and looked in.

"It looks like bags—tied up," she cried. "Oh, come here yourself!"

The old woman hobbled over and thrust her hand into the hole, bringing out what was once a bag, but which crumbled to pieces in her hands, and with it—oh, wonder!—a handful of gold pieces, which fell with a jingle on the hearth, and rolled every way.

"My father's money! Oh, Hetty!" was all she could say, and she seized a chair to keep from falling, while Hetty was nearly wild, and talked like a crazy person.

"Oh, goody! goody! now you can have things to eat! and we can have a candle! and you won't have to go to the poorhouse!"

"No, indeed, you dear child!" cried Miss Bennett, who had found her voice. "Thanks to you—you blessing!—I shall be comfortable now the rest of my days. And you! oh! I shall never forget you! Through you has everything good come to me."

"Oh, but you have been so good to me, dear Miss Bennett!"

"I should never have guessed it, you precious child! If it had not been for your quickness I should have died and never found it."

"And if you hadn't given me the box, it might have rusted away in that chest."

"Thank God for everything, child! Take money out of my purse and go buy a candle. We need not save it for bread now. Oh, child!" she interrupted herself, "do you know, we shall have everything we want tomorrow! Go! go! I want to see how much there is."

The candle bought, the gold was taken out and counted, and proved to be more than enough to give Miss Bennett a comfortable income without touching the principal. It was put back, and the tile replaced, as the safest place to keep it till morning, when Miss Bennett intended to put it into a bank.

But though they went to bed, there was not a wink of sleep for Miss Bennett, for planning what she would do. There were a thousand things she wanted to do first. To get clothes for Hetty, to brighten up the old house, to hire a girl to relieve Hetty, so that the dear child should go to school, to train her into a noble woman—all her old ambitions and wishes for herself sprang into life for Hetty. For not a thought of her future life was separate from Hetty.

In a very short time everything was changed in Miss Bennett's cottage. She had publicly adopted Hetty, and announced her as her heir. A girl had been installed in the kitchen, and Hetty, in pretty new clothes, had begun school. Fresh paint inside and out, with many new comforts, made the old house charming and bright. But nothing could change the pleasant and happy relations between the two friends, and a more contented and cheerful household could not be found anywhere.

Happiness is a wonderful doctor, and Miss Bennett grew so much better that she could travel, and when Hetty had finished school days, they saw a little of the world before they settled down to a quiet, useful life.

"Every comfort on earth I owe to you," said Hetty, one day, when Miss Bennett had proposed some new thing to add to her enjoyment.

"Ah, dear Hetty! how much more do I owe to you! But for you I should, no doubt, be at this moment a shivering pauper in that terrible poorhouse, while some one else would be living in this dear old house. And it all comes," she added softly, "of that one unselfish thought, of that one self-denial for others."

"Now, Mrs. Anthony, please," said Kristy.

"I'm not much of a story-teller," said Mrs. Anthony, "but I am willing to do my share, and I do know of a curious Christmas tree out on a lawn. It was at the house of a friend, and it happened this way."



As Joseph Was A-Walking

As Joseph was a-walking,

He heard an angel sing,

"This Night shall be the birth-time

Of Christ, the Heavenly King.

He neither shall be born

In house nor in hall,

Nor in a place of paradise,

But in an ox's stall.

He shall not be clothèd

In purple nor in pall;

But in the fair white linen,

That usen babies all.

He neither shall be rockèd

In silver nor in gold,

But in a wooden manger

That resteth on the mold."

As Joseph was a-walking

There did an angel sing,

And Mary's child at midnight

Was born to be our King.

Then be ye glad, good people,

This night of all the year,

And light ye up your candles,

For His star it shineth clear.