Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 6  

  Monday  


The Secret Garden  by Frances Hodgson Burnett

"There Was Some One Crying—There Was!"

T HE next day the rain poured down in torrents again, and when Mary looked out of her window the moor was almost hidden by gray mist and cloud. There could be no going out to-day.

"What do you do in your cottage when it rains like this?" she asked Martha.

"Try to keep from under each other's feet mostly," Martha answered. "Eh! there does seem a lot of us then. Mother's a good-tempered woman but she gets fair moithered. The biggest ones goes out in th' cow-shed and plays there. Dickon he doesn't mind th' wet. He goes out just th' same as if th' sun was shinin'. He says he sees things on rainy days as doesn't show when it's fair weather. He once found a little fox cub half drowned in its hole and he brought it home in th' bosom of his shirt to keep it warm. Its mother had been killed nearby an' th' hole was swum out an' th' rest o' th' litter was dead. He's got it at home now. He found a half-drowned young crow another time an' he brought it home, too, an' tamed it. It's named Soot because it's so black, an' it hops an' flies about with him everywhere."

The time had come when Mary had forgotten to resent Martha's familiar talk. She had even begun to find it interesting and to be sorry when she stopped or went away. The stories she had been told by her Ayah when she lived in India had been quite unlike those Martha had to tell about the moorland cottage which held fourteen people who lived in four little rooms and never had quite enough to eat. The children seemed to tumble about and amuse themselves like a litter of rough, good-natured collie puppies. Mary was most attracted by the mother and Dickon. When Martha told stories of what "mother" said or did they always sounded comfortable.

"If I had a raven or a fox cub I could play with it," said Mary. "But I have nothing."

Martha looked perplexed.

"Can tha' knit?" she asked.

"No," answered Mary.

"Can tha' sew?"

"No."

"Can tha' read?"

"Yes."

"Then why doesn't tha' read somethin', or learn a bit o' spellin'? Tha'st old enough to be learnin' thy book a good bit now."

"I haven't any books," said Mary. "Those I had were left in India."

"That's a pity," said Martha. "If Mrs. Medlock'd let thee go into th' library, there's thousands o' books there."

Mary did not ask where the library was, because she was suddenly inspired by a new idea. She made up her mind to go and find it herself. She was not troubled about Mrs. Medlock. Mrs. Medlock seemed always to be in her comfortable housekeeper's sitting-room down-stairs. In this queer place one scarcely ever saw any one at all. In fact, there was no one to see but the servants, and when their master was away they lived a luxurious life below stairs, where there was a huge kitchen hung about with shining brass and pewter, and a large servants' hall where there were four or five abundant meals eaten every day, and where a great deal of lively romping went on when Mrs. Medlock was out of the way.

Mary's meals were served regularly, and Martha waited on her, but no one troubled themselves about her in the least. Mrs. Medlock came and looked at her every day or two, but no one inquired what she did or told her what to do. She supposed that perhaps this was the English way of treating children. In India she had always been attended by her Ayah, who had followed her about and waited on her, hand and foot. She had often been tired of her company. Now she was followed by nobody and was learning to dress herself because Martha looked as though she thought she was silly and stupid when she wanted to have things handed to her and put on.

"Hasn't tha' got good sense?" she said once, when Mary had stood waiting for her to put on her gloves for her. "Our Susan Ann is twice as sharp as thee an' she's only four year' old. Sometimes tha' looks fair soft in th' head."

Mary had worn her contrary scowl for an hour after that, but it made her think several entirely new things.

She stood at the window for about ten minutes this morning after Martha had swept up the hearth for the last time and gone down-stairs. She was thinking over the new idea which had come to her when she heard of the library. She did not care very much about the library itself, because she had read very few books; but to hear of it brought back to her mind the hundred rooms with closed doors. She wondered if they were all really locked and what she would find if she could get into any of them. Were there a hundred really? Why shouldn't she go and see how many doors she could count? It would be something to do on this morning when she could not go out. She had never been taught to ask permission to do things, and she knew nothing at all about authority, so she would not have thought it necessary to ask Mrs. Medlock if she might walk about the house, even if she had seen her.

She opened the door of the room and went into the corridor, and then she began her wanderings. It was a long corridor and it branched into other corridors and it led her up short flights of steps which mounted to others again. There were doors and doors, and there were pictures on the walls. Sometimes they were pictures of dark, curious landscapes, but oftenest they were portraits of men and women in queer, grand costumes made of satin and velvet. She found herself in one long gallery whose walls were covered with these portraits. She had never thought there could be so many in any house. She walked slowly down this place and stared at the faces which also seemed to stare at her. She felt as if they were wondering what a little girl from India was doing in their house. Some were pictures of children—little girls in thick satin frocks which reached to their feet and stood out about them, and boys with puffed sleeves and lace collars and long hair, or with big ruffs around their necks. She always stopped to look at the children, and wonder what their names were, and where they had gone, and why they wore such odd clothes. There was a stiff, plain little girl rather like herself. She wore a green brocade dress and held a green parrot on her finger. Her eyes had a sharp, curious look.

"Where do you live now?" said Mary aloud to her. "I wish you were here."

Surely no other little girl ever spent such a queer morning. It seemed as if there was no one in all the huge rambling house but her own small self, wandering about up-stairs and down, through narrow passages and wide ones, where it seemed to her that no one but herself had ever walked. Since so many rooms had been built, people must have lived in them, but it all seemed so empty that she could not quite believe it true.

It was not until she climbed to the second floor that she thought of turning the handle of a door. All the doors were shut, as Mrs. Medlock had said they were, but at last she put her hand on the handle of one of them and turned it. She was almost frightened for a moment when she felt that it turned without difficulty and that when she pushed upon the door itself it slowly and heavily opened. It was a massive door and opened into a big bedroom. There were embroidered hangings on the wall, and inlaid furniture such as she had seen in India stood about the room. A broad window with leaded panes looked out upon the moor; and over the mantel was another portrait of the stiff, plain little girl who seemed to stare at her more curiously than ever.

"Perhaps she slept here once," said Mary. "She stares at me so that she makes me feel queer."

After that she opened more doors and more. She saw so many rooms that she became quite tired and began to think that there must be a hundred, though she had not counted them. In all of them there were old pictures or old tapestries with strange scenes worked on them. There were curious pieces of furniture and curious ornaments in nearly all of them.

In one room, which looked like a lady's sitting-room, the hangings were all embroidered velvet, and in a cabinet were about a hundred little elephants made of ivory. They were of different sizes, and some had their mahouts or palanquins on their backs. Some were much bigger than the others and some were so tiny that they seemed only babies. Mary had seen carved ivory in India and she knew all about elephants. She opened the door of the cabinet and stood on a footstool and played with these for quite a long time. When she got tired she set the elephants in order and shut the door of the cabinet.

In all her wanderings through the long corridors and the empty rooms, she had seen nothing alive; but in this room she saw something. Just after she had closed the cabinet door she heard a tiny rustling sound. It made her jump and look around at the sofa by the fireplace, from which it seemed to come. In the corner of the sofa there was a cushion, and in the velvet which covered it there was a hole, and out of the hole peeped a tiny head with a pair of frightened eyes in it.

Mary crept softly across the room to look. The bright eyes belonged to a little gray mouse, and the mouse had eaten a hole into the cushion and made a comfortable nest there. Six baby mice were cuddled up asleep near her. If there was no one else alive in the hundred rooms there were seven mice who did not look lonely at all.

"If they wouldn't be so frightened I would take them back with me," said Mary.

She had wandered about long enough to feel too tired to wander any farther, and she turned back. Two or three times she lost her way by turning down the wrong corridor and was obliged to ramble up and down until she found the right one; but at last she reached her own floor again, though she was some distance from her own room and did not know exactly where she was.

"I believe I have taken a wrong turning again," she said, standing still at what seemed the end of a short passage with tapestry on the wall. "I don't know which way to go. How still everything is!"

It was while she was standing here and just after she had said this that the stillness was broken by a sound. It was another cry, but not quite like the one she had heard last night; it was only a short one, a fretful, childish whine muffled by passing through walls.

"It's nearer than it was," said Mary, her heart beating rather faster. "And it is  crying."

She put her hand accidentally upon the tapestry near her, and then sprang back, feeling quite startled. The tapestry was the covering of a door which fell open and showed her that there was another part of the corridor behind it, and Mrs. Medlock was coming up it with her bunch of keys in her hand and a very cross look on her face.

"What are you doing here?" she said, and she took Mary by the arm and pulled her away. "What did I tell you?"

"I turned round the wrong corner," explained Mary. "I didn't know which way to go and I heard some one crying."

She quite hated Mrs. Medlock at the moment, but she hated her more the next.

"You didn't hear anything of the sort," said the housekeeper. "You come along back to your own nursery or I'll box your ears."

And she took her by the arm and half pushed, half pulled her up one passage and down another until she pushed her in at the door of her own room.

"Now," she said, "you stay where you're told to stay or you'll find yourself locked up. The master had better get you a governess, same as he said he would. You're one that needs some one to look sharp after you. I've got enough to do."

She went out of the room and slammed the door after her, and Mary went and sat on the hearth-rug, pale with rage. She did not cry, but ground her teeth.

"There was  some one crying—there was—there was!"  she said to herself.

She had heard it twice now, and sometime she would find out. She had found out a great deal this morning. She felt as if she had been on a long journey, and at any rate she had had something to amuse her all the time, and she had played with the ivory elephants and had seen the gray mouse and its babies in their nest in the velvet cushion.

 



Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

The Ettrick Shepherd

I

I N Scotland there once lived a poor shepherd whose name was James Hogg. His father and grandfather and great-grandfather had all been shepherds.

It was his business to take care of the sheep which belonged to a rich landholder by the Ettrick Water. Sometimes he had several hundreds of lambs to look after. He drove these to the pastures on the hills and watched them day after day while they fed on the short green grass.

He had a dog which he called Sirrah. This dog helped him watch the sheep. He would drive them from place to place as his master wished. Sometimes he would take care of the whole flock while the shepherd was resting or eating his dinner.

One dark night James Hogg was on the hilltop with a flock of seven hundred lambs. Sirrah was with him. Suddenly a storm came up. There was thunder and lightning; the wind blew hard; the rain poured.

The poor lambs were frightened. The shepherd and his dog could not keep them together. Some of them ran towards the east, some towards the west, and some towards the south.

The shepherd soon lost sight of them in the darkness. With his lighted lantern in his hand, he went up and down the rough hills calling for his lambs.

Two or three other shepherds joined him in the search. All night long they sought for the lambs.

Morning came and still they sought. They looked, as they thought, in every place where the lambs might have taken shelter.

At last James Hogg said, "It's of no use; all we can do is to go home and tell the master that we have lost his whole flock."

They had walked a mile or two towards home, when they came to the edge of a narrow and deep ravine. They looked down, and at the bottom they saw some lambs huddled together among the rocks. And there was Sirrah standing guard over them and looking all around for help.


[Illustration]

"These must be the lambs that rushed off towards the south," said James Hogg.

The men hurried down and soon saw that the flock was a large one.

"I really believe they are all here," said one.

They counted them and were surprised to find that not one lamb of the great flock of seven hundred was missing.

How had Sirrah managed to get the three scattered divisions together? How had he managed to drive all the frightened little animals into this place of safety?

Nobody could answer these questions. But there was no shepherd in Scotland that could have done better than Sirrah did that night.

Long afterward James Hogg said, "I never felt so grateful to any creature below the sun as I did to Sirrah that morning."


II

W HEN James Hogg was a boy, his parents were too poor to send him to school. By some means, however, he learned to read; and after that he loved nothing so much as a good book.

There were no libraries near him, and it was hard for him to get books. But he was anxious to learn. Whenever he could buy or borrow a volume of prose or verse he carried it with him until he had read it through. While watching his flocks, he spent much of his time in reading.

He loved poetry and soon began to write poems of his own. These poems were read and admired by many people.

The name of James Hogg became known all over Scotland. He was often called the Ettrick Shepherd, because he was the keeper of sheep near the Ettrick Water.

Many of his poems are still read and loved by children as well as by grown up men and women. Here is one:—

A Boy's Song


Where the pools are bright and deep,

Where the gray trout lies asleep,

Up the river and o'er the lea,

That's the way for Billy and me.


Where the blackbird sings the latest,

Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest,

Where the nestlings chirp and flee,

That's the way for Billy and me.


Where the mowers mow the cleanest,

Where the hay lies thick and greenest,

There to trace the homeward bee,

That's the way for Billy and me.


Where the hazel bank is steepest,

Where the shadow falls the deepest,

Where the clustering nuts fall free,

That's the way for Billy and me.


Why the boys should drive away,

Little maidens from their play,

Or love to banter and fight so well,

That's the thing I never could tell.


But this I know, I love to play

In the meadow, among the hay—

Up the water, and o'er the lea,

That's the way for Billy and me.

 



George MacDonald

Out in the Cold

Out in the cold,

With a thin-worn fold

Of withered gold

Around her rolled,

Hangs in the air the weary moon.

She is old, old, old;

And her bones all cold,

And her tales all told,

And her things all sold,

She has no breath to croon.


Like a castaway,

She is quite shut out!

She might call and shout

But no one about

Would ever call back, "Who's there!"

There is never a hut

Not a door to shut,

Not a footpath or rut

Long road or short cut,

Leading to anywhere!


She is all alone

Like a dog-picked bone,

The poor old crone

She fain would groan,

But she cannot find the breath.

She once had a fire;

But she built it no higher,

And only sat nigher

Till she saw it expire;

And now she is cold as death.


She never will smile

All the lonesome while.

Oh, the mile after mile,

And never a stile!

And never a tree or a stone!

She has not a tear:

Afar and anear

It is all so drear,

But she does not care,

Her heart is as dry as a bone.


None to come near her!

No one to cheer her!

No one to jeer her!

No one to hear her!

Not a thing to lift and hold!

She is always awake

But her heart will not break:

She can only quake,

Shiver, and shake:

The old woman is very cold.

 


  WEEK 6  

  Tuesday  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

The Last of the Romans

C ARACTACUS was dead, Boadicea was dead, many other brave British leaders were dead, but the Britons still continued to give the Romans a great deal of trouble.

At last Vespasian, who was then Emperor of the Romans, sent a general called Julius Agricola to see if he could subdue the people and govern the island of Britain.

Julius Agricola was a very clever soldier and a wise man. When he had gained one or two victories over the Britons, he tried what kindness would do. This was something the Romans had never done before.

Julius Agricola tried to understand the people. He was just and fair. He not only took away many of the heavy taxes which the Romans had made the British pay, but he built schools and had the people taught to read and write. For up to this time the Britons had had no teachers and no schools. None of them could read or write, and perhaps there was not a single book in the whole island.

Of course, books in those days were quite different from what they are now. There was no paper, and printing was unknown, so when people wanted to make a book they wrote upon strips of parchment, which was made from the skins of animals. These strips were then rolled up, and looked very much like the maps we hang upon the wall, only they were smaller.

Besides building schools, Agricola built public halls and courts where the people might come and ask for justice, whenever they had been wronged. He taught the Britons what obedience, law and order meant, and in every way tried to make them live good lives.

Soon the Britons began to understand that the Romans could give them some things which were worth having. So there was much more peace in the land.

Julius Agricola also built a line of forts across the island from the Forth to the Clyde. He did this to keep back the wild Picts and Scots, or people of the north. For as they could not be brought under Roman rule nor tamed in any way, he thought it was better to try to shut them into their own country. Later on an emperor, called Antonine, built a great wall along the line of Agricola's forts for the same purpose.

But while Julius Agricola was doing all this good work in Britain, the emperor who had sent him died, and another ruled instead.

This emperor was jealous of Agricola because he managed the people of Britain so well. He was so jealous that he told Agricola to come back to Rome, and sent another man to govern Britain instead of him.

It was very foolish of a great emperor to be angry with his general because he did his work well. He ought rather to have been glad.

The people of Britain soon showed him how foolish he had been, for they once more rebelled against Roman rule.

Later on another great emperor who was called Hadrian reigned, and he himself came to Britain. He found the wild people of the north very troublesome, so he built a wall across Britain from the Tyne to the Solway. He did not try to drive these wild people so far north as Agricola had done. The wall which Hadrian built is still called by his name, and is still to be seen to this day; so you can imagine what a very strong wall it was and what a fierce people they were who lived beyond it.

Hadrian was wise as Agricola had been. He taught the Britons many things which were good and useful to know. But very soon after he left the island, the people rebelled again.

And so it went on until, at last, nearly five hundred years after the first coming of Julius Cæsar, the Romans gave up and left Britain altogether. That was about the year 410 A.D. The wonder is that they had stayed so long, for the Britons had certainly given them a great deal of trouble.

But after all, although the Britons always fought against the Romans, they had learned many things from them.

Before the Romans came, the Britons had been very ignorant and wild. In many parts of the country they wore no clothes at all. Instead, they stained their bodies blue with a dye called woad. Their houses were only little round huts, with a hole in the middle of the roof which let some light in and the smoke of the fire out. There were no schools, and little boys and girls were taught nothing except how to fish and hunt, and how to fight and kill people in battle.

There were hardly any roads and there were no churches.

The ancient Britons were heathen. They worshipped the oak-tree and the mistletoe.

The British priests were called Druids. It is said that they received their name from Druis, who was a very wise king of Albion in far-off times.

The Druids were the wisest people in the land. When any one was in doubt or difficulty he would go to them for advice. They were very solemn and grand old men with long white beards and beautiful robes. There were no churches, as I said, but the people worshipped in dark hollows in the woods and in open spaces surrounded by great oak-trees. Some of the teaching of the Druids was very beautiful, but some of it was very dreadful, and they even killed human beings in their sacrifices.

But the Romans taught the Britons many things. They taught them how to build better houses and how to make good roads, how to read and write, and much more that was good and useful. And presently priests came from Rome, bringing tidings of a new and beautiful religion.

They came to tell the people of Britain how the Son of God came to earth to teach men not to hate and kill each other, but to love each other, and above all to love their enemies.

It is difficult to understand what a wonderful story this must have seemed to the wild island people. For they were a people who were born and who lived and died among wars and hatred. Yet many of them believed and followed this new religion. Gradually the Druids disappeared, and the priests of Christ took their place.

Although the religion of Christ came from Rome, the Romans themselves were nearly all pagans. And one of the last Roman emperors who tried to rule Britain hated the Christians very much. He forbade the worship of God and Christ, and killed and tortured those who disobeyed his orders.

But the people who had once become Christian would not again become heathen. They chose rather to die. A person who dies for his religion is called a martyr.

In the next chapter is the story of the first Christian martyr in Britain.

 



Holiday Shore  by Edith M. Patch

Loligo's Tricks

L OLIGO and others like him often swim in the bay near Holiday Shore. If you go out in a boat, you can see them among the seaweeds.

Loligo is about eight inches long. He is shaped much like a tiny submarine and is pinkish, spotted with red and brown. Two big kite-shaped fins spread sidewise near his tail. His head is short, with round bright eyes. In front of his eyes are ten pointed arms. On each arm are many round suckers.

Surrounded by the arms, where you cannot see it, is a mouth with two sharp black beaks, and a tongue that is even rougher than the moon snail's tongue.

Loligo, who swims among the waving seaweeds, is a squid. Squids belong to a group of animals called mollusks, a name which means that their bodies are soft. So do clams, oysters, snails, and some others. If you like, you may call these soft-bodied animals cousins—but they really are not such close relatives as cousins. The group to which the squids belong are the only mollusks that swim. Most of the time they swim backward. How do you suppose they do that?

Under Loligo's chin is a slit. It connects with a big chamber in his body. When he fills the chamber with water, he shuts the slit. Then he squirts the water out through a tube that also lies under his chin. The force of the water as he squirts it out sends him backward through the bay.


[Illustration]

Loligo swam backward among the kelp and other seaweeds.

That is, it does when the tube points forward. If Loligo wants to turn, he twists the tube one way or another. He even can turn it so that it points toward his tail. Then he swims forward for a while.

Watch Loligo and those other two squids near him as some fish swim near. They all begin to twist their arms about. Their color fades to a pale whitish pink. Suddenly they begin to move, darting backward among the fish and turning from one side to the other. As they turn, they reach out with two long arms and try to catch the fish with their suckers.

The fish, which are mackerel, do their best to get away. Loligo misses the first and the second, but he catches the third with his two long arms. Then he bites pieces from it with his beak and tears these pieces with his rough tongue, before he finally swallows his food.

That second squid is a good hunter, but he does not take time to eat. Swimming about among the fish, he kills two or three by biting chunks out of their backs. Then he lets the dead fish drop to the bottom as he swims off to continue his hunt.

None of this meat is wasted. Crabs, snails, and jointed worms soon find it and enjoy the feast that the squid provided.

Meanwhile the mackerel that the squid was chasing have gone into shallow water—so shallow, indeed, that the squid does not venture to follow them. So after all his efforts, this greedy hunter has to go hungry.

The third squid was awkward or unlucky. He tried his best to catch a fish, but every one swam away. At last he gave up the chase and settled down on the bottom of the bay. There his color is rapidly changing. He is being covered with buff and brown spots that look like sand. You must look carefully to see the waiting squid at all.

How do squids change color as they swim, hunt, or wait on the sand?

If you could put Loligo under a microscope, you would see that his skin contains hundreds of little cells called "color bodies." When these are open, the dark color in them spreads out and shows as spots. When they are closed the dark color does not show and the squid looks pinkish white. By closing and opening his color bodies, or cells, Loligo becomes pale pink or grows darker until he is purplish brown. He is sometimes so pale that you can hardly see him in clear water; and when he is hiding among seaweeds or waiting on the pebbles, he is so mottled that you may easily fail to see him there.

Loligo has another trick that he plays only when attacked. If a big, hungry fish tries to catch him, Loligo squirts out a cloud of ink and swims backward as fast as he can. By the time the fish gets his eyes out of the inky cloud, Loligo is far away, or hidden among seaweeds or rocks.

Soon he fills his ink bag again with black fluid he makes in his body. It is well to be prepared to escape from the next hunter that would like to eat the delicate flesh of the squid. Dangers make Loligo cautious, but they do not make him unhappy or drive him from Holiday Bay. He even finds it such a pleasant place that he comes there with Mrs. Loligo when she is ready to lay her eggs.

One day in early summer, Mrs. Loligo squeezes a sticky ball out of the tube under her chin. First, she catches it with her arms. Then she swims backward for two or three minutes, rolling the ball between her arms until she has an object about four inches long shaped rather like a cigar.

Suddenly she stops swimming and stands on her head. She walks about on the tips of her arms till she finds a satisfactory seaweed or stone. There she presses the sticky object firmly into place and gets ready to make another one.


[Illustration]

Mother Loligo walked on her arms to the stone where she laid her eggs.

That cigar-shaped roll holds several hundreds of Mrs. Loligo's eggs. Since she has several thousand eggs to lay she needs many such rolls to hold them all. So she forms one jellylike roll after another and fastens them in clumps which fishermen often call "sea mops."

Each egg is small, round, and white. In a few weeks a baby squid hatches from it. His head is more than half as large as the rest of his body. His eyes are big and his arms are short.


[Illustration]

The baby squid has big eyes and short arms.

His fins are two tiny flaps that stick backward near his tail. This youngster is less than a quarter of an inch long at first, but when he is a year old he will be as big as Mother or Father Loligo.


Sepia, the Cuttlefish

In the deepest tide pools we sometimes find one of Loligo's relatives. He is only five or six inches long, but his body is thicker than Loligo's. He has two narrow fins, one on each side, that run from his head to his tail. Eight of his arms, with suckers, are short and he uses them like feet. Two other arms are very long when they are stretched out, but he often carries them folded inside his head.

This is Sepia, the cuttlefish. Snails and clams carry their shells outside their bodies, but Sepia's shell is buried in his flesh, not far from his stubby tail. There it helps protect the soft inner parts of his body from being hurt by the bumps that he gets when swimming backward among the rocks.


[Illustration]

Sepia, the cuttlefish, among the rocks of a deep tide pool.

Sepia also has a bag of ink that he squirts out to stop sea creatures from chasing him. Fishermen of ancient China and Rome caught cuttlefish and sold these bags to men who made the fluid into writing ink. Even now there is a dark "sepia" brown made from cuttlefish ink. Perhaps you have some of it among your water-color paints.

Mother Sepia has her own way of laying eggs. She covers each one with a black coat, making it look like a little pointed grape. Then she fastens it to a frond of seaweed on a stalk that seems to be made of rubber. On this stalk the egg bobs to and fro until it is ready to hatch.


An Octopus

Have you read stories about the octopus, or devilfish, another of Loligo's relatives? Most of these stories speak of the octopus as if he were very fierce, but they are imaginary and do not give the facts. You need not be afraid if you are lucky enough to see an octopus along the rocks off Holiday Shore.

The octopus has a soft, roundish body that is six or eight inches long. His head is short and his eyes are big. They seem to glare at you in a very savage manner, but the octopus will not hurt you. He is really a timid creature.

Instead of having ten arms, like the squid, the octopus has only eight. Watch this creature twist his long arms among the rocks, showing their big round suckers. Like the rest of his body, the arms are mottled with pink. But the octopus, like Loligo, can change his colors and become brownish or purple or nearly white. Even when he is not disturbed, the octopus twists and stretches his arms. He uses them when he crawls, pulling himself from rock to rock.


[Illustration]

The octopus stretches and twists his arms.

Do you see that crab among the rocks? The octopus sees it, too. He is crawling along until he gets above it. Suddenly he drops on the crab, holding it with his sucking arms while he bites through its hard shell. He is so hungry he does not even mind when the crab pinches one of his arms.

As soon as the octopus has finished his dinner of crab meat, take a stick and poke him a little—just to see what happens. At once he squirts out a cloud of ink, pulls his long arms from the rocks and swims backward through the water. Soon he hides himself among other rocks. If you should attempt to get him out, you would find that he hangs on tightly with his suckers. He will not try to bite you, but he holds firmly to the protecting rock. You may tug, if you like, but the octopus does not budge.

 



William Blake

On Another's Sorrow

Can I see another's woe,

And not be in sorrow too?

Can I see another's grief,

And not seek for kind relief?


Can I see a falling tear,

And not feel my sorrow's share?

Can a father see his child

Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?


Can a mother sit and hear

An infant groan, an infant fear?

No, no! never can it be!

Never, never can it be!


And can He who smiles on all

Hear the wren with sorrows small,

Hear the small bird's grief and care,

Hear the woes that infants bear—


And not sit beside the nest,

Pouring pity in their breast,

And not sit the cradle near,

Weeping tear on infant's tear?


And not sit both night and day,

Wiping all our tears away?

O no! never can it be!

Never, never can it be!


He doth give His joy to all:

He becomes an infant small,

He becomes a man of woe,

He doth feel the sorrow too.


Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,

And thy Maker is not by:

Think not thou canst weep a tear,

And thy Maker is not near.


O He gives to us His joy,

That our grief He may destroy:

Till our grief is fled and gone

He doth sit by us and moan.

 


  WEEK 6  

  Wednesday  


The Burgess Animal Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

Striped Chipmunk and His Cousins

O F course there couldn't be a school in the Green Forest without news of it spreading very fast. News travels quickly through the Green Forest and over the Green Meadows, for the little people who live there are great gossips. So it was not surprising that Striped Chipmunk heard all about Old Mother Nature's school. The next morning, just as the daily lesson was beginning, Striped Chipmunk came hurrying up, quite our of breath.


[Illustration]

He has pockets in his cheeks for carrying his food.

"Well, well! See who's here!" exclaimed Old Mother Nature. "What have you come for, Striped Chipmunk?"

"I've come to try to learn. Will you let me stay, Mother Nature?" replied Striped Chipmunk.

"Of course I'll let you stay," cried Old Mother Nature heartily. "I am glad you have come, especially glad you have come today, because to-day's lesson is to be about you and your cousins. Now, Peter Rabbit, what are the differences between Striped Chipmunk and his cousins, the Tree Squirrels?"

Peter looked very hard at Striped Chipmunk as if he had never really seen him before. "He is smaller than they are," began Peter. "In fact, he is the smallest Squirrel I know." Peter paused.

Old Mother Nature nodded encouragingly. "Go on," said she.

"He wears a striped coat," continued Peter. "The stripes are black and yellowish-white and run along his sides, a black stripe running down the middle of his back. The rest of his coat is reddish-brown above and light underneath. His tail is rather thin and flat. I never see him in the trees, so I guess he can't climb."

"Oh, yes, I can," interrupted Striped Chipmunk. "I can climb if I want to, and I do sometimes, but prefer the ground."

"Go on, Peter," said Old Mother Nature.

"He seems to like old stone walls and rock piles," continued Peter, "and he is one of the brightest, liveliest, merriest and the most lovable of all my friends."

"Thank you, Peter," said Striped Chipmunk softly.

"I never have been able to find his home," continued Peter. "That is one of his secrets. But I know it is in the ground. I guess this is all I know about him. I should say the chief difference between Striped Chipmunk and the Tree Squirrels is that he spends all his time on the ground while the others live largely in the trees."

"Very good, Peter," said Old Mother Nature. "But there are two very important differences which you have not mentioned. Striped Chipmunk has a big pocket on the inside of each cheek, while his cousins of the trees have no pockets at all."

"Of course," cried Peter. "I don't see how I came to forget that. I've laughed many times at Striped Chipmunk with those pockets stuffed with nuts or seeds until his head looked three times bigger than it does now. Those pockets must be very handy."

"They are," replied Striped Chipmunk. "I couldn't get along without them. They save me a lot of running back and forth, I can tell you."

"And the other great difference," said Old Mother Nature, "is that Striped Chipmunk sleeps nearly all winter, just waking up occasionally to pop his head out on a bright day to see how the weather is. A great many folks call Striped Chipmunk a Ground Squirrel, but more properly he is a Rock Squirrel because he likes stony places best. Supposing, Striped Chipmunk, you tell us where and how you make your home."

"I make my home down in the ground," replied Striped Chipmunk. "I dig a tunnel just big enough to run along comfortably. Down deep enough to be out of reach of Jack Frost I make a nice little bedroom with a bed of grass and leaves, and I make another little room for a storeroom in which to keep my supply of seeds and nuts. Sometimes I have more than one storeroom. Also I have some little side tunnels."

"But why is it I never have been able to find the entrance to your tunnel?" asked Peter, as full of curiosity as ever.

"Because I have it hidden underneath the stone wall on the edge of the Old Orchard," replied Striped Chipmunk.

"But even then, I should think that all the sand you must have taken out would give your secret away," cried Peter.

Striped Chipmunk chuckled happily. It was a throaty little chuckle, pleasant to hear. "I looked out for that," said he. "There isn't a grain of that sand around my doorway. I took it all out through another hole some distance away, a sort of back door, and then closed it up solidly. If you please, Mother Nature, if I am not a Ground Squirrel, who is?"

"Your cousin, Seek Seek the Spermophile, sometimes called Gopher Squirrel, who lives on the open plains of the West where there are no rocks or stones. He likes best the flat, open country. He is called Spermophile because that means seed-eater, and he lives largely on seeds, especially on grain. Because of this he does a great deal of damage and is much disliked by farmers.

"Seek Seek's family are the true Ground Squirrels. Please remember that they never should be called Gophers, for they are not Gophers. One of the smallest members of the family is just about your size, Striped Chipmunk, and he also wears stripes, only he has more of them than you have, and they are broken up into little dots. He is called the Thirteen-lined Spermophile. He has pockets in his cheeks just as you have, and he makes a home down in the ground very similar to yours. All the family do this, and all of them sleep through the winter. While they are great seed-eaters they also eat a great many insects and worms, and some of them even are guilty of killing and eating the babies of birds that nest on the ground, and also young mice.


[Illustration]

The Thirteen-lined Spermophile, a true Ground Squirrel and not a Gopher.

"Some members of the family are almost as big as Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel and have gray coats. They are called Gray Ground Squirrels and sometimes Gray Gophers. One of the largest of these is the California Ground Squirrel. He has a big, bushy tail, very like Happy Jack's. He gets into so much mischief in the grain fields and in the orchards that he is quite as much disliked as is Jack Rabbit. This particular member of the family is quite as much at home among rocks and tree roots as in open ground. He climbs low trees for fruit and nuts, but prefers to stay on the ground. Now just remember that the Chipmunks are Rock Squirrels and their cousins the Spermophiles are Ground Squirrels. Now who of you has seen Timmy the Flying Squirrel lately?"


[Illustration]

He looks much like the Gray Squirrel but is a true Spermophile.

"I haven't," said Peter Rabbit.

"I haven't," said Striped Chipmunk.

"I haven't," said Happy Jack.

"I haven't," said Chatterer.

"I have," spoke up Jumper the Hare. "I saw him last evening just after jolly, round, red Mr. Sun went to bed behind the Purple Hills and the Black Shadows came creeping through the Green Forest. My, I wish I could fly the way he can!"

Old Mother Nature shook her head disapprovingly. "Jumper," said she, "what is wrong with your eyes? When did you ever see Timmy fly?"

"Last night," insisted Jumper stubbornly.

"Oh, no, you didn't," retorted Old Mother Nature. "You didn't see him fly, for the very good reason that he cannot fly any more than you can. You saw him simply jump. Just remember that the only animals in this great land who can fly are the Bats. Timmy the Flying Squirrel simply jumps from the top of a tree and slides down on the air to the foot of another tree. If you had used your eyes you would have noticed that when he is in the air he never moves his legs or arms, and he is always coming down, never going up, excepting for a little at the end of his jump, as would be the case if he could really fly. He hasn't any wings."


[Illustration]

He does not actually fly for he has no wings.

"When he's flying, I mean jumping, he looks as if he had wings," insisted Jumper stubbornly.

"That is simply because I have given him a fold of skin between the front and hind leg on each side," explained Old Mother Nature. "When he jumps he stretches his legs out flat, and that stretches out those two folds of skin until they look almost like wings. This is the reason he can sail so far when he jumps from a high place. You've seen a bird, after flapping its wings to get going, sail along with them outstretched and motionless. Timmy does the same thing, only he gets going by jumping. You may have noticed that he usually goes to the top of a tree before jumping; then he can sail down a wonderfully long distance. His tail helps him to keep his balance. If there is anything in the way, he can steer himself around it. When he reaches the tree he is jumping for he shoots up a little way and lands on the trunk not far above the ground. Then he scampers up that tree to do it all over again."

"But why don't we ever see him?" inquired Striped Chipmunk.

"Because, when the rest of you squirrels are out and about, he is curled up in a little ball in his nest, fast asleep. Timmy likes the night, especially the early evening, and doesn't like the light of day."

"How big is he?" asked Happy Jack, and looked a little sheepish as if he were a wee bit ashamed of not being acquainted with one of his own cousins.

"He is, if anything, a little smaller than Striped Chipmunk," replied Old Mother Nature. "Way out in the Far West he grows a little bigger. His coat is a soft yellowish-brown above; beneath he is all white. His fur is wonderfully soft. He has very large, dark, soft eyes, especially suited for seeing at night. Then, he is very lively and dearly loves to play. By nature he is gentle and lovable."

"Does he eat nuts like his cousins?" asked Peter Rabbit.

"He certainly does," replied Old Mother Nature. "Also he eats grubs and insects. He dearly loves a fat beetle. He likes meat when he can get it."

"Where does he make his home?" Peter inquired.

"Usually in a hole in a tree," said Old Mother Nature. "He is very fond of an old home of a Woodpecker. He makes a comfortable nest of bark lining, grass, and moss, or any other soft material he can find. Occasionally he builds an outside nest high up in a fork in the branches of a tree. He likes to get into old buildings."

"Does he have many enemies?" asked Happy Jack.

"The same enemies the rest of you have," replied Old Mother Nature. "But the one he has most reason to fear is Hooty the Owl, and that is the one you have least reason to fear, because Hooty seldom hunts by day."

"Does he sleep all winter?" piped up Striped Chipmunk.

"Not as you do," said Old Mother Nature. "In very cold weather he sleeps, but if he happens to be living where the weather does not get very cold, he is active all the year around. Now I guess this is enough about the Squirrel family."

"You've forgotten Johnny Chuck," cried Peter.

Old Mother Nature laughed. "So I have," said she. "That will never do, never in the world. Johnny and his relatives, the Marmots, certainly cannot be overlooked. We will take them for our lesson to-morrow. Peter, you tell Johnny Chuck to come over here to-morrow morning."

 



A First Book in American History  by Edward Eggleston

More about Captain John Smith

The two best things about Captain John Smith were, that he was never idle and he never gave up. He was a good man to have in a colony, for he was always trying to find out something new or to accomplish some great thing. He had not found a way to China in the swamps on the Chickahominy River; he had only found a mudhole, and got himself captured by the Indians. But he thought he might find the Pacific Ocean by sailing up the Chesapeake [ches'-a-peak] Bay. So he went twice up this bay, exploring at last to the very head of it. Of course, he did not find a way into the Pacific Ocean. We know well enough nowadays that China is not anywhere in the neighborhood of Baltimore. But Smith made a good map of the great bay, and he bought corn from the Indians, and so kept the colony alive. This was better than finding a way to China, if he had only known it.


[Illustration]

In living in an open boat and sailing among Indians that were very suspicious and unfriendly, Smith and his men had to suffer many hardships. They were sometimes nearly wrecked by storms, and once when their sail had been torn to pieces they patched it with the shirts off their backs. Their bread was spoiled by the splashing of the salt water, and they suffered to much from thirst that at one time they would have been willing to give a barrel of gold, if they had only had it, for a drink of puddle water. Sometimes, when sleeping on the ground, they got so cold that they were forced to get up in the night and move their fire, so that they could like down on the warm earth where the fire had been.


[Illustration]

At one place the Indians shot arrows at them from the trees. Then they tried to get the Englishmen to come on

shore by dancing with baskets in their hands. Captain Smith says that he felt sure they had nothing in their baskets but villainy. So he had his men fire off their guns. The noise of the guns so frightened the savages that they all dropped to the ground and then fled into the woods. Smith and his men now ventured ashore and left presents of beads, little bells, and looking-glasses in their wigwams. Pleased with these things, the Indians became friendly and fell to trading.


[Illustration]

Smith and his Men in Camp

Once, when many of Captain Smith's men were ill, the Indians attacked him. Smith put his sick men under a tarpaulin, and mounted their hats on sticks among his well men, so that the boat appeared to have its full force. Having procured Indian shields of wickerwork, Captain Smith put them along the side of his boat, so as to fight from behind them. But he generally made friends with the Indian tribes, and he came back to Jamestown with plenty of corn and furs.

Powhatan, the greatest of the Indian chiefs, wanted to get the arms of the white men. Muskets, swords, and pistols

were now and then stolen by the Indians, and Captain Smith tried to put a stop to this thievery. Two Indians who were brothers stole a pistol. They were captured, and one of them was put into prison, while the other was sent to get the pistol. The one in the prison was allowed a fire of charcoal, to keep him from freezing. When his brother came back the prison was found smothered by the gas from the charcoal fire. The other poor fellow was heartbroken; but Captain Smith succeeded in reviving the one that had been smothered. From this the Indians concluded that he was not only a great brave, but a great medicine man as well, who could bring dead people to life.

At another time an Indian stole a bag of gunpowder, which was a thing of wonder to the savages. He also stole a piece of armor at the same time. He had seen white men dry their powder when wet by putting it into a piece of armor and holding it over the fire. He tried to do the same thing; but the fire was too hot for the powder, and the Indian was treated to a very great surprise. This terrified the savages for a time.


[Illustration]

In 1609 there were many newcomers, and Captain Smith's enemies got control of the colony. They sent Smith home, and he never saw Virginia again.

Captain Smith afterwards sailed on a voyage to New England in 1614. While his men caught and salted fish to pay for the expense of the voyage, Smith sailed in an open boat along the New England coast. He traded with the Indians, giving them beads and other trinkets for furs. He also made the first good map of the coast. After he had returned to England with furs, Hunt, who was captain of his second ship, coaxed twenty-four Indians on board and then sailed away with them to Spain. Here he made sale of his shipload of salted fish, and began to sell the poor Indians for slaves. Some good monks, finding out what he was doing, stopped him and took the Indians into their convent to make Christians of them. One of these Indians, named Squanto [squon'-to], afterwards found his way to England, and from there was taken back to America.

Captain Smith tried very hard to persuade English people to plant a colony in New England. He finally set out with only sixteen men to begin a settlement there. He had made friends with the New England Indians, and he was sure that with a few men he could still succeed in planting a colony. But he had very bad luck. He first lost the masts of his vessels in a storm. He returned to England again and set sail in a smaller ship. He was then chased by a pirate vessel. Smith found, on hailing this ship, that some of the men on board had been soldiers under him in the Turkish wars. They proposed to him to be their captain, but he did not want to command such rogues.

Smith's little vessel had no sooner got away from these villains, than he was chased by a French ship. He had to threaten to blow up his ship to get his men to fight. He escaped again, but the next time he was met by a fleet of French privateers. They made Smith come aboard one of their vessels to show his papers. After they had got him out of his ship they held him prisoner and took possession of his cargo. They afterwards agreed to let him have his vessel again, as he was still determined to sail to New England; but his men wanted to turn back; so, while Smith was on the French ship, his own men ray away with his vessel and got back to England. Thus his plan for a colony failed.

Smith spent his summer in the French fleet. When the French privateers were fighting with an English vessel they made Smith a prisoner in the cabin; but when they fought with Spanish ships they would put Smith at the guns and make him fight with them. Smith reached England at last, and had the satisfaction of having some of his runaway sailors put into prison. He never tried to plant another colony, though he was very much pleased with the success of the Plymouth colony which settled in New England a few years later than this. This brave, roving, fighting, boasting captain died in 1631, when he was fifty-two years old.

 



Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Snowdrop

Many, many welcomes,

February, fair maid,

Ever as of old time,

Solitary firstling,

Coming in the cold time,

Prophet of the gay time,

Prophet of the May time,

Prophet of the roses,

Many, many welcomes,

February, fair maid.

 


  WEEK 6  

  Thursday  


Stories of Siegfried Told to the Children  by Mary Macgregor

Siegfried's Welcome to Worms

As the heroes entered the streets of Worms the people came out of their houses all agape with wonder. Who could the bold strangers be? See how their horses' trappings shone as burnished gold and how their white armour glittered in the sunlight.


[Illustration]

The heroes entered the streets of Worms

Then down from the castle rode Gunther's warriors to welcome the strangers. Right courteously did they greet Siegfried and his eleven brave knights. As the custom was, they sent their minions to lead away the strangers' chargers to the stalls, and to bear their shields to a place of safety.

But Siegfried cried gaily, "Nay, from our steeds and our armour will we not part, for ere long I and my gallant warriors will ride away again to our own country. I pray thee now tell me where I shall find thy King, for to speak with him came I thither."

"King Gunther," cried his warriors, "is even now seated in yonder hall, and around him are gathered many gallant heroes, many brave knights."

Now in the hall tidings had reached King Gunther of the band of strangers who had so boldly entered into the royal city.

When he heard of their gorgeous raiment and their shining armour, much did he desire to know from whence they came.

Then one of his lords said to the King, "We know not who these strangers be, yet if thou wilt send for Hagen, it may be he can tell thee. For to Hagen strange lands are well known, as also the kings and princes who dwell therein."

Therefore Hagen was summoned in all haste to the presence of King Gunther.

"Tell me now," said the King, as his counsellor bowed low before him, "tell me, if in truth thou knowest, who be these strangers that ride so boldly towards the castle?"

Strong and stern Hagen stood up before the King. No winsome hero was this man, but a warrior fierce and grim, with eyes to pierce all on whom he gazed, so keen, so quick they were.

"The truth, sire, will I tell to thee," answered Hagen, and he walked over to the castle window, flung it wide and cast his searching glance on Siegfried and his noble knights, who were now drawing near to the castle.

Well was the grim counsellor pleased with the splendour of these strangers with their shining helmets, their dazzling white armour, their noble chargers, yet from whence they came he could not tell.

Hagen turned from the window to where the King stood awaiting his answer.

"Whence come these knights I know not," he said. "Yet so noble is their bearing that they must needs be princes or ambassadors from some great monarch. One knight, the fairest and the boldest, is, methinks, the wondrous hero Siegfried, though never have I seen that mighty Prince."

Then, his fierce eyes gleaming, Hagen told the King of the great treasure Siegfried had won from the Nibelungs. His eyes gleamed with a greed he could not hide as he told King Gunther of the gold that had been strewed upon the mountain-side, of the jewels that had sparkled there, for Hagen was envious of the riches of the great hero.

He told the King, too, how Siegfried had seized the good sword Balmung, and with it had killed the two little princely dwarfs, their twelve giants and seven hundred great champions of the neighbouring country. Of Alberich, too, Hagen told his master, of Alberich from whom Siegfried had taken the Cloak of Darkness and the Magic Wand, and who now guarded the hoard for the mighty hero alone.

Never was such a warrior as Siegfried, thought King Gunther, who was himself neither strong nor brave.

But yet more had Hagen to tell, even how Siegfried had slain a great dragon and bathed in its blood until his skin grew tough and horny, so that no sword-thrust could do him any hurt.

But of the linden leaf and of the tiny spot between the hero's shoulders where he could be smitten as easily as any other knight, of these things Hagen, knowing nothing, did not speak.

"Let us hasten to receive this young Prince," said the counsellor, "as befits his fame. Let us hasten to gain his good-will lest our country suffer from his prowess."

The King was well pleased with the counsel of his uncle Hagen, for as he gazed at the young hero from the castle window King Gunther loved him for his strength of limb, for his fair young face, and would fain welcome him to the land of Burgundy.

"If in truth the knight be Siegfried," said the King, "right glad am I. More bold and peerless a prince have I never seen."

"Siegfried, if so he be, is the son of a wealthy king," said Hagen. "Well pleased would I be to know for what purpose he and his knights have journeyed to our land."

"Let us go down and welcome the strangers," said Gunther. "If their errand be peaceful they shall tarry at our court and see how merry the knights of Burgundy can be."

With Hagen by his side and followed by his courtiers, Gunther then walked toward the gates of the castle, which he reached as Siegfried and his knights rode through them.

Graciously then did the King welcome the noble knight, and Siegfried, bowing low, thanked him for his kindly greeting.

"I beseech thee, noble knight," said the King, "tell me why thou hast journeyed to this our royal city, for thy purpose is yet unknown."

Now Siegfried was not ready to speak of the fair Princess of whom he had heard in his own country, so he answered the King thus:

"Tidings reached me in my fatherland of the splendour of thy court, O King. Never monarch was more bold, more brave than thou, never ruler had more valiant warriors. Such tales were told to me by the people of my land and I have come to see if they be true. I also, King Gunther, am a warrior, and I, too, shall one day wear a crown, for I am Siegfried, Prince of the Netherlands. Nor shall I be content until I have done great deeds to make the whole world marvel. For then in truth will people cry aloud that I am worthy to reign."

At that moment Siegfried caught sight of Hagen's grim, stern face, and something he saw in it provoked the gay prince to say right hardily, "Therefore to do great deeds have I come to Worms, even to wrest from thee, King Gunther, thy broad realm of Burgundy and likewise all thy castles. They shall be mine ere many suns have set."

Then indeed did the King and all his warriors marvel at the bold young knight. "Was ever heard so monstrous a plan?" murmured the warriors each to the other. "The stripling from a foreign land, with but eleven bold knights to aid him, would seize Burgundy and banish the King from his realm. It is a monstrous plan."

"Thou dost repay my welcome but coldly," said Gunther to the valorous knight. "My fathers ruled over these lands; with honour did they rule. Wherefore then shall they be taken from their son?"

But Siegfried cried, "Thyself must fight and win peace for thy fatherland. For unless thou dost conquer me I shall rule in my great might in this realm, and when I die it shall be my heir who shall become king."

Then Gunther's brother, King Gernot, spoke, and peaceful were his words.

"We rule over a fair country, bold knight, and our liegemen serve us in all good faith. No need have we to fight for this our fatherland. Therefore do thou go and leave us in peace."

But King Gunther's warriors listened sullenly to the words of Gernot, and they muttered, "Such words shall scarce save the braggart stranger, for hath he not challenged our King to fight," and the hands of the stout warriors crept to their sword-hilts. "We will master his haughty Prince," they cried aloud then in their anger.

Hot was Siegfried's temper as he heard their words, and proudly did he answer, "Ye are all but vassals and would ye measure swords with me, a king's son? Nor, should ye fall on me altogether, could ye hope to overcome me," and Siegfried swung aloft his good sword Balmung. Then one of the stout warriors whom Siegfried thus defied called lustily for his armour and his shield.

But again King Gernot spoke. "Not yet hath Siegfried done us any hurt, let us not provoke him to fierce deeds, rather let us seek to gain his good-will."

King Gunther looked at Hagen. He was not content that his chief counsellor should keep silence. And indeed at that very moment Hagen's stern voice was heard.

"We do well to be wrathful at the words of this bold stripling," he said, his keen eyes glancing fiercely meanwhile at Gernot. "We do well to be wrathful, for why should Siegfried thus mock at us who have never done him aught of ill?"

"Dost think I but mock thee with my words," cried the rash knight. "Ere long thou shalt see the deeds which my strong right hand shall do in this fair land of Burgundy."

Again amid the angry tumult Gernot's voice was raised, forbidding his warriors to answer the stranger with harsh words.

As Gernot's peaceful voice fell upon Siegfried's ear for the third time, he began to think of Kriemhild, the wonder-lady of his dreams. He grew ashamed of his anger. He would curb it lest he should never win the Princess for his bride.

Then Gernot, seeing the fierceness die out of the stranger's face, spoke yet again. "Thou shalt be welcome, thou and thy comrades, to Worms, and right glad will we be to serve thee," and Gernot ordered goblets of the King's wine to be brought to the strange guests.

Siegfried and his knights took the goblets, and having drained them they were ready to forget their warlike words.

King Gunther, seeing that his guests were no longer angry, led them to the banqueting hall, and Siegfried was soon laughing his own glad, gay laugh. When at length the feast was ended the stranger knights were lodged each as befitted his rank.

Then throughout the fair land of Burgundy there stole the story of the King's bold hero guest, Sir Siegfried.

 



The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Wolf and the Lean Dog

A Wolf prowling near a village one evening met a Dog. It happened to be a very lean and bony Dog, and Master Wolf would have turned up his nose at such meager fare had he not been more hungry than usual. So. he began to edge toward the Dog, while the Dog backed away.

"Let me remind your lordship," said the Dog, his words interrupted now and then as he dodged a snap of the Wolf's teeth, "how unpleasant it would be to eat me now. Look at my ribs. I am nothing but skin and bone. But let me tell you something in private. In a few days my master will give a wedding feast for his only daughter. You can guess how fine and fat I will grow on the scraps from the table. Then is the time to eat me."

The Wolf could not help thinking how nice it would be to have a fine fat Dog to eat instead of the scrawny object before him. So he went away pulling in his belt and promising to return.

Some days later the Wolf came back for the promised feast. He found the Dog in his master's yard, and asked him to come out and be eaten.

"Sir," said the Dog, with a grin, "I shall be delighted to have you eat me. I'll be out as soon as the porter opens the door."

But the "porter" was a huge Dog whom the Wolf knew by painful experience to be very unkind toward wolves. So he decided not to wait and made off as fast as his legs could carry him.

Do not depend on the promises of those whose interest it is to deceive you.

Take what you can get when you can get it.

 

----- ---FEBRUARY--- -----


  WEEK 6  

  Friday  


The Discovery of New Worlds  by M. B. Synge

Siege and Fall of Mexico

"So shall inferior eyes,

That borrow their behaviour from the great,

Grow great by your example, and put on

The dauntless spirit of resolution."

—Shakspere.

N OT for one moment, however, did the brave Cortes flinch in his purpose of taking Mexico. The "melancholy night," as it has since been called in history, had wrought sad havoc with his troops; but such was the determination of the man that, ten months later, he was ready to besiege the city of Mexico. It was April 28, 1521, the day after Magellan had died in the Philippine Islands, though Cortes knew it not, for news travelled very slowly in those days.

The story of the siege of Mexico is one of the most striking in the world's history. The dauntless heroism of the Mexicans in their wonderful defence was equalled only by the determination of the Spaniards to suffer no defeat at their hands.

With extra supplies of men and ships from Spain, Cortes marched to the great city on the waters. Before long, on the great lake surrounding the city, sailed the Spanish ships, with music sounding and the royal flag of Spain proudly floating in the air. The ships, like snowy sea-birds, bounded over the waters, until a shout of admiration broke from the Mexicans. Then guns roared from the shore, and the stern Spaniards felt that success was at last going to crown their efforts.

Once more Cortes roused them to enthusiasm.

"I have taken the last step," he cried; "I have brought you to the goal for which you have so long panted, the capital from which you were driven with so much disgrace. We are fighting the battles of the Faith—fighting for our honour, for riches, for revenge. I have brought you face to face with your foe: it is for you to do the rest."

A thundering chorus of voices declared that every man would do his duty under such a leader as Ferdinand Cortes.

So by water and land they attacked the beautiful city and assaulted the brave defenders. It was a time of unceasing toil, almost beyond the strength of the stubborn Spaniards. Through long, wet, cold nights, and scorched by the tropical sun by day, they had to stand at their posts. Their sufferings were great indeed, but their firm resolve to take the city was greater.

Meanwhile famine was striding through the heart of Mexico. The stores of the Mexicans were exhausted. They had eaten all the Spaniards they could take, as well as rats, lizards, and other reptiles; but their hatred of the enemy was undying, and, animated by despair, they fought on. Cortes sent message after message to urge surrender. The game was up, the fair city was crumbling into ruins.

"Spain shall take your city under her protection," ended the proposal.

The eye of the young king—Montezuma's nephew—kindled. His dark cheek flushed with sudden anger as he listened to such a message. He called his wise men together.

"Peace is good," they said, "but not with these white men. Better, if need be, give up our lives at once for our country than drag on in slavery and suffering among strangers."

"Then," cried the young king, "let no man henceforth talk of surrender. We can at least die like warriors."

But their strength was not equal to their spirit. Their very streets were full of dead and dying men.

"A man could not set his foot down," said Cortes afterwards, "except on the corpse of an Indian."

Death was everywhere. Calm and courageous in the midst of dead and dying, his fair capital in ruins before his very eyes, the young king stood firm. In vain Cortes sought an interview to persuade him that his noblest path was now to surrender. Messengers came and went, but the young king refused to see Cortes.

"Go, then," cried Cortes at last, impatiently, "and prepare your countrymen for death: their hour is come."

So the ruler of Mexico was captured.

"Better despatch me with this and rid me of life at once," he cried desperately, drawing his sword as Cortes came forward to receive him with studied courtesy. The proud bearing of the young Mexican was worthy the spirit of an ancient Roman.

"Fear not," replied Cortes, "you shall be treated with all honour. You have defended your capital like a brave warrior: a Spaniard knows how to respect valour even in an enemy."

So the Spaniards conquered Mexico at last. Soon a new city rose on the ruins of the last, still more beautiful and still more important, until the old writers cried in their ecstasy: "Europe cannot boast a single city as fair and rich as Mexico."

 



Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon

The Flayed Piper; or, The Story of Marsyas

T HE men who filled the earth after the Great Flood were a great deal cleverer than people are now. A king's son named Cadmus invented the alphabet—which is, perhaps, the most wonderful thing in the world. And when he wanted to build the city of Thebes, he got a great musician, named Amphion, to play to the stones and trees, so that they, by dancing to his tunes, built themselves into walls and houses without the help of any masons or carpenters. At last men became so wonderfully clever in everything, that a physician named Æsculapius, who was a son of Apollo, found out how to bring back dead people to life again.

But when Jupiter heard that Æsculapius had really made a dead man live, he was angry, and rather frightened too. For he thought, "If men know how to live forever, they will become as great and as wise as the gods, and who knows what will happen then?" So he ordered the Cyclopes to make him a thunderbolt, and he threw it down from heaven upon Æsculapius and killed him. No other man knew the secret of Æsculapius, and it died with him.

But Apollo was very fond and proud of his son, and was in a great rage with Jupiter for having killed him. He could not punish Jupiter, but he took his bow and arrows and shot all the Cyclopes who had made the thunderbolt.

Then it was Jupiter's turn to be angry with Apollo for killing his servants, who had only done what they were told to do. He sentenced him to be banished from the sky for nine years.

So Apollo left the sky and came down to the earth, bringing with him nothing but his lyre. You know that Mount Olympus, where the gods live, is in Thessaly, so that Thessaly was the country in which Apollo found himself when he came down from the sky. He did not know what to do with himself for the nine years, so he went to a king of Thessaly named Admētus, who received him very kindly, and made him his shepherd. I don't think Admetus could have known who Apollo was, or he would hardly have set the great god of the Sun to look after his sheep for him.

So Apollo spent his time pleasantly enough in watching the king's sheep and in playing on his lyre.

Now there was a very clever but very conceited musician named Marsyas, who had invented the flute, and who played on it better than anybody in the world. One day Marsyas happened to be passing through Thessaly, when he saw a shepherd sitting by a brook watching his sheep, and playing to them very beautifully on a lyre. He went up to the shepherd, and said:—

"You play very nicely, my man. But nobody can do much with those harps and fiddles and trumpery stringed things. You should learn the flute; then you'd know what music means!"

"Indeed?" said Apollo. "I'm sorry, for your sake, that your ears are so hard to please. As for me, I don't care for whistles and squeaking machines."

"Ah!" said Marsyas, "that's because you never heard Me!"

"And you dare to tell me," said Apollo, "that you put a wretched squeaking flute before the lyre, which makes music for the gods in the sky?"

"And you dare to say," said Marsyas, "that a miserable twanging, tinkling lyre is better than a flute? What an ignorant blockhead you must be!"

At last their wrangling about their instruments grew to quarreling; and then Apollo said:—

"We shall never settle the question in this way. We will go to the next village and give a concert. You shall play your flute and I will play my lyre, and the people shall say which is the best—yours or mine."

"With all my heart," said Marsyas. "I know what they will say. But we must have a wager on it. What shall it be?"

"We will bet our skins," said Apollo. "If I lose, you shall skin me; and if you lose, I will skin you."

"Agreed," said Marsyas.

So they went to the next village, and called the people together to judge between the flute and the lyre.

Marsyas played first. He played a little simple tune on his flute so beautifully that everybody was charmed. But Apollo then played the same tune on his lyre, even more beautifully still.

Then Marsyas took his flute again and played all sorts of difficult things—flourishes, runs, shakes, everything you can think of—in the most amazing manner, till the people thought they had never heard anything so wonderful. And indeed never had such flute-playing been heard.

But Apollo, instead of following him in the same fashion, only played another simple tune—but this time he sang while he played.

You can imagine how gloriously the god of Music sang! You can fancy how much chance Marsyas had of winning when Apollo's voice was carrying the hearts of the people away. . . . "There," said Apollo, when he had finished, "beat that if you can—and give me your skin!"

"It is not fair," said Marsyas. "This is not a singing match: the question is, Which is the best instrument—the flute or the lyre?"

"It is  fair," said Apollo. "If you can sing while you are playing the flute, then I have nothing to say. But you can't sing, you see, because you have to use your lips and your breath in blowing into those holes. Is not that instrument best which makes you sing best—Yes or No? And if I mustn't use my breath, you mustn't use yours."

You must judge for yourself which was right. But the people decided for Apollo. And so Apollo, having won the wager, took Marsyas and skinned him, and hung his body on a tree.

 

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


  WEEK 6  

  Saturday  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Beside the Sea  by Lisa M. Ripperton

The Tinder-Box

[Illustration]

T HERE came a Soldier marching along the highroad—one, two! one, two!  He had his knapsack on his back and a saber by his side, for he had been in the wars and now wanted to go home. And on the way he met with an old Witch; she was very hideous, and her underlip hung down upon her breast. She said: "Good evening, Soldier. What a fine sword you have, and what a big knapsack! You're a proper soldier! Now you shall have as much money as you like to have."

"I thank you, you old Witch!" said the Soldier.

"Do you see that great tree?" quoth the Witch; and she pointed to a tree which stood beside them. "It's quite hollow inside. You must climb to the top, and then you'll see a hole through which you can let yourself down and get deep into the tree. I'll tie a rope round your body so that I can pull you up again when you call me."

"What am I to do down in the tree?" asked the Soldier.

"Get money," replied the Witch. "Listen to me. When you come down to the earth under the tree you will find yourself in a great hall; it is quite light, for above three hundred lamps are burning there. Then you will see three doors; these you can open, for the keys are hanging there. If you go into the first chamber you'll see a great chest in the middle of the floor; on this chest sits a dog, and he's got a pair of eyes as big as two teacups. But you need not care for that. I'll give you my blue-checked apron, and you can spread it out upon the floor; then go up quickly and take the dog and set him on my apron; then open the chest and take as many shillings as you like. They are of copper; if you prefer silver you must go into the second chamber. But there sits a dog with a pair of eyes as big as mill-wheels. But do not care for that. Set him upon my apron and take some of the money. And if you want gold you can have that, too—in fact, as much as you can carry—if you go into the third chamber. But the dog that sits on the money-chest there has two eyes as big as round towers. He is a fierce dog, you may be sure, but you needn't be afraid, for all that. Only set him on my apron and he won't hurt you; and take out of the chest as much gold as you like."

"That's not so bad," said the Soldier. "But what am I to give you, you old Witch, for you will not do it for nothing, I fancy?"

"No," replied the Witch, "not a single shilling will I have. You shall only bring me an old Tinder-box which my grandmother forgot when she was down there last."

"Then tie the rope round my body," cried the Soldier.

"Here it is," said the Witch, "and here's my blue-checked apron."

Then the Soldier climbed up into the tree, let himself slip down into the hole, and stood, as the Witch had said, in the great hall where the three hundred lamps were burning.


[Illustration]

Now he opened the first door. Ugh! there sat the dog with eyes as big as teacups staring at him. "You're a nice fellow!" exclaimed the Soldier; and he set him on the Witch's apron and took as many copper shillings as his pockets would hold, and then locked the chest, set the dog on it again, and went into the second chamber. Aha! there sat the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels.

"You should not stare so hard at me," said the Soldier; "you might strain your eyes." And he set the dog upon the Witch's apron. And when he saw the silver money in the chest he threw away all the copper money he had and filled his pockets and his knapsack with the silver only. Then he went into the third chamber. Oh, but that was horrid! The dog there really had eyes as big as towers, and they turned round and round in his head like wheels.


[Illustration]

"Good evening!" said the Soldier; and he touched his cap, for he had never seen such a dog as that before. When he had looked at him a little more closely he thought, "That will do," and lifted him down to the floor and opened the chest. Mercy! what a quantity of gold was there! He could buy with it the whole town, and the sugar sucking-pigs of the cake-woman, and all the tin soldiers, whips, and rocking-horses in the whole world. Yes, that was a quantity of money! Now the Soldier threw away all the silver coin with which he had filled his pockets and his knapsack and took gold instead; yes, all his pockets, his knapsack, his boots, and his cap were filled so that he could scarcely walk. Now indeed he had plenty of money. He put the dog on the chest, shut the door, and then called up through the tree, "Now pull me up, you old Witch."

"Have you the Tinder-box?" asked the Witch.

"Plague on it!" exclaimed the Soldier. "I had clean forgotten that." And he went and brought it.

The Witch drew him up, and he stood on the highroad again with pockets, boots, knapsack, and cap full of gold.

"What are you going to do with the Tinder-box?" asked the Soldier.

"That's nothing to you," retorted the Witch. "You have your money; just give me the Tinder-box."

"Nonsense!" said the Soldier. "Tell me directly what you're going to do with it, or I'll draw my sword and cut off your head."

"No!" cried the Witch.

So the Soldier cut off her head. There she lay! But he tied up all his money in her apron, took it on his back like a bundle, put the Tinder-box in his pocket, and went straight off toward the town.

That was a splendid town! And he put up at the very best inn, and asked for the finest rooms, and ordered his favorite dishes, for now he was rich, as he had so much money. The servant who had to clean his boots certainly thought them a remarkably old pair for such a rich gentleman; but he had not bought any new ones yet. The next day he procured proper boots and handsome clothes. Now our Soldier had become a fine gentleman; and the people told him of all the splendid things which were in their city, and about the King, and what a pretty Princess the King's daughter was.

"Where can one get to see her?" asked the Soldier.

"She is not to be seen at all," said they all together; "she lives in a great copper castle with a great many walls and towers round about it; no one but the King may go in and out there, for it has been prophesied that she shall marry a common soldier, and the King can't bear that."

"I should like to see her," thought the Soldier; but he could not get leave to do so. Now he lived merrily, went to the theater, drove in the King's garden, and gave much money to the poor; and this was very kind of him, for he knew from old times how hard it is when one has not one shilling. Now he was rich, had fine clothes, and gained many friends who all said he was a rare one, a true cavalier; and that pleased the Soldier well. But as he spent money every day and never earned any, he had at last only two shillings left; and he was obliged to turn out of the fine rooms in which he had dwelt, and had to live in a little garret under the roof and clean his boots for himself and mend them with a darning-needle. None of his friends came to see him, for there were too many stairs to climb.

It was quite dark one evening, and he could not even buy himself a candle, when it occurred to him that there was a candle-end in the Tinder-box which he had taken out of the hollow tree into which the Witch had helped him. He brought out the Tinder-box and the candle-end; but as soon as he struck fire and the sparks rose up from the flint the door flew open, and the dog who had eyes as big as a couple of teacups and whom he had seen in the tree stood before him and said:

"What are my lord's commands?"

"What is this?" said the Soldier. "That's a famous Tinder-box if I can get everything with it that I want! Bring me some money," said he to the dog; and, whisk!  the dog was gone, and, whisk!  he was back again with a great bag full of shillings in his mouth.

Now the Soldier knew what a capital Tinder-box this was. If he struck it once the dog came who sat upon the chest of copper money; if he struck it twice the dog came who had the silver; and if he struck it three times then appeared the dog who had the gold. Now the Soldier moved back into the fine rooms and appeared again in handsome clothes; and all his friends knew him again and cared very much for him indeed.

Once he thought to himself: "It is a very strange thing that one cannot get to see the Princess. They all say she is very beautiful; but what is the use of that if she has always to sit in the great copper castle with the many towers? Can I not get to see her at all? Where is my Tinder-box?" And so he struck a light, and, whisk!  came the dog with the eyes as big as teacups.

"It is midnight, certainly," said the Soldier, "but I should very much like to see the Princess only for one little moment."

And the dog was outside the door directly, and, before the Soldier thought it, came back with the Princess. She sat upon the dog's back and slept; and every one could see she was a real princess, for she was so lovely. The Soldier could not refrain from kissing her, for he was a thorough soldier. Then the dog ran back with the Princess. But when morning came and the King and Queen were drinking tea, the Princess said she had had a strange dream the night before about a dog and a soldier—that she had ridden upon the dog and the soldier had kissed her.

"That would be a fine history!" said the Queen.

So one of the old court ladies had to watch the next night by the Princess's bed to see if this was really a dream or what it might be.

The Soldier had a great longing to see the lovely Princess again; so the dog came in the night, took her away, and ran as fast as he could. But the old lady put on water-boots, and ran just as fast after him. When she saw that they both entered a great house she thought, "Now I know where it is"; and with a bit of chalk she drew a great cross on the door.


[Illustration]

Then she went home and lay down, and the dog came up with the Princess; but when he saw that there was a cross drawn on the door where the Soldier lived, he took a piece of chalk, too, and drew crosses on all the doors in town. And that was cleverly done, for now the lady could not find the right door, because all the doors had crosses upon them.

In the morning early came the King and Queen, the old court lady, and all the officers, to see where it was the Princess had been. "Here it is!" said the King, when he saw the first door with a cross upon it. "No, my dear husband, it is there!" said the Queen, who descried another door which also showed a cross. "But there is one, and there is one!" said all, for wherever they looked there were crosses on the doors. So they saw that it would avail them nothing if they searched on.

But the Queen was an exceedingly clever woman, who could do more than ride in a coach. She took her great gold scissors, cut a piece of silk into pieces, and made a neat little bag; this bag she filled with fine wheat flour and tied it on the Princess's back; and when that was done she cut a little hole in the bag, so that the flour would be scattered along all the way which the Princess should take.

In the night the dog came again, took the Princess on his back, and ran with her to the Soldier, who loved her very much and would gladly have been a prince so that he might have her for his wife. The dog did not notice at all how the flour ran out in a stream from the castle to the windows of the Soldier's house, where he ran up the wall with the Princess. In the morning the King and the Queen saw well enough where their daughter had been, and they took the Soldier and put him in prison.

There he sat. Oh, but it was dark and disagreeable there! And they said to him, "To-morrow you shall be hanged." That was not amusing to hear, and he had left his Tinder-box at the inn. In the morning he could see through the iron grating of the little window how the people were hurrying out of the town to see him hanged. He heard the drums beat and saw the soldiers marching. All the people were running out, and among them was a shoemaker's boy with leather apron and slippers, and he galloped so fast that one of his slippers flew off and came right against the wall where the Soldier sat looking through the iron grating.


[Illustration]

"Halloo, you shoemaker's boy! You needn't be in such a hurry!" cried the Soldier to him. "It will not begin till I come. But if you will run to where I lived and bring me my Tinder-box, you shall have four shillings; but you must put your best leg foremost."

The shoemaker's boy wanted to get the four shillings, so he went and brought the Tinder-box, and—well, we shall hear now what happened.

Outside the town a great gallows had been built, and round it stood the soldiers and many hundred thousand people. The King and Queen sat on a splendid throne opposite to the judges and the whole council. The Soldier already stood upon the ladder; but as they were about to put the rope round his neck he said that before a poor criminal suffered his punishment an innocent request was always granted to him. He wanted very much to smoke a pipe of tobacco, and it would be the last pipe he would smoke in the world. The King would not say "No" to this; so the Soldier took his Tinder-box and struck fire. One—two—three!—and there suddenly stood all the dogs—the one with eyes as big as teacups, the one with eyes as large as mill-wheels, and the one whose eyes were as big as round towers.

"Help me now, so that I may not be hanged," said the Soldier.

And the dogs fell upon the judges and all the council, seized one by the leg and another by the nose, and tossed them all many feet into the air, so that they fell down and were all broken to pieces.

"I won't!" cried the King; but the biggest dog took him and the Queen and threw them after the others. Then the soldiers were afraid, and the people cried, "Little Soldier, you shall be our king and marry the beautiful Princess!"

So they put the Soldier into the King's coach, and all the three dogs darted on in front and cried "Hurrah!" and the boys whistled through their fingers, and the soldiers presented arms. The Princess came out of the copper castle and became Queen, and she liked that well enough. The wedding lasted a week, and the three dogs sat at the table, too, and opened their eyes wider than ever at all they saw.

 



Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

The Bee and the Man

D ID you ever see a hive of bees? Are you afraid of bees? Do not be afraid of them. They do not often sting those who let them alone. There are some people whom bees never sting.

Do you see how small the bees are? Do they not move very quickly? Are not their cells very small?

Now I will tell you a strange thing. The man who knew most about bees was a blind man! His name was Huber. He lost his sight when he was a boy. He liked to study. Most of all, he liked to study bees.

When he was a boy, he had a friend. She was a kind girl. She, too, loved to study. When she grew up, she became Huber's wife.

Huber was not poor. He had a happy home of his own. He had a man to live with him and wait on him. Huber, and his wife, and the man, would go and sit by the bee-hive. The wife read to Huber all the books that had then been made about bees. Then they would watch the bees, to see if they did the things that were told in books.

When they saw the bees do other things, not noted in books, they told Huber. Then they caught bees, and studied the parts of their bodies. Ask your teacher what kind of a glass they used to see the bee with.

The wife and the man told Huber all that they saw done by the bees. He thought it all over. They watched the bees, year after year.

Huber worked fifteen years. Then he made a great book on bees. He told his wife what to write.

He lived to be very old.

It is both from books, and by your own eyes and thought, that you may learn these things. You must watch if you would know. Give time and work to this study.

 



George Cooper

The Wonderful Weaver

There's a wonderful weaver

High up in the air,

And he weaves a white mantle

For cold earth to wear,

With the wind for his shuttle,

The cloud for his loom,

How he weaves! how he weaves!

In the light, in the gloom.


Oh! with finest of laces

He decks bush and tree,

On the bare flinty meadows

A cover lays he.

Then a quaint cap he places

On pillar and post,

And he changes the pump

To a grim, silent ghost.


But this wonderful weaver

Grows weary at last,

And the shuttle lies idle

That once flew so fast;

Then the sun peeps abroad

On the work that is done;

And he smiles: "I'll unravel

It all just for fun!"

 


  WEEK 6  

  Sunday  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life

I Kings xv: 33, to xvii: 24.

dropcap image FTER Jeroboam and Nadab, his son Baasha reigned as king of Israel. But he did as Jeroboam had done before him, disobeying the word of the Lord and worshipping idols. Therefore the Lord sent a prophet to Baasha, saying, "Thus saith the Lord to Baasha, king of Israel, I lifted you up from the dust and made you the prince over my people Israel. But you have walked in the way of Jeroboam, and have made Israel sin. Therefore your family shall be destroyed, like the family of Jeroboam."

When Baasha died, his son Elah became king; but while he was drinking wine and making himself drunk, his servant, Zimri, came in and killed him, and killed also all his family, and all the house of Baasha, so that not one was left.

Zimri tried to make himself king, but his reign was short, only seven days. Omri, the general of the Israelite army, made war upon him, and shut him up in his palace. When Zimri found that he could not escape, he set his palace on fire and was burned up with it. After this there was war in Israel between Omri and another man, named Tibni, each trying to win the kingdom. But at last Tibni was slain, and Omri became king.

Omri was not a good man, for he worshipped idols, like the kings before him. But he was a strong king, and made his kingdom great. He made peace with the kingdom of Judah, for there had been war between Judah and Israel ever since Jeroboam had founded the kingdom. Omri bought a hill in the middle of the land, from a man named Shemer; and on the hill he built a city which he named Samaria, after the name of the man from whom he had bought the hill. The city of Samaria became in Israel what Jerusalem was in Judah, the chief city and capital. Before the time of Omri the kings of Israel had lived in different cities, sometimes in Shechem, and sometimes in Tirzah; but after Omri all the kings lived in Samaria; so that the kingdom itself was often called "the kingdom of Samaria."

After Omri came his son, Ahab, as king of Israel, reigning in Samaria. He was worse than any of the kings before him. Ahab took for his wife Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Zidon, on the coast of the Great Sea; and Jezebel brought into Israel the worship of Baal and of the Asherah (see Story 43), which was far more wicked than even the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. And Jezebel was so bitter against the worship of the Lord God of Israel that she sought out the prophets of the Lord everywhere, and slew them; so that to save their lives the prophets hid in caves among the mountains.

You remember that when Joshua destroyed and burned the city of Jericho, he spoke a curse, in the name of the Lord, upon any man who should ever build again the walls of Jericho (See Story 37). In the days of Ahab, king of Israel, five hundred years after Joshua, the walls of Jericho were built by a man named Hiel, who came from Bethel, the place of the idol-temple. When he laid the foundation of the wall his oldest son, Abiram, died; and when he set up the gates of the city his youngest son, Segub, died. Thus came to pass the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua.

In the reign of King Ahab a great prophet suddenly rose up, named Elijah. He came from the land of Gilead, beyond the river Jordan, and he lived alone out in the wilderness. His clothing was a mantle of skin, and his hair and beard were long and rough. Without any warning, Elijah came into the presence of King Ahab, and said, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not fall upon the ground any dew or rain until I call for it."

And then he went away as suddenly as he had come. At the Lord's command he hid himself in a wild place by the brook Cherith, which flows down from the mountains into the river Jordan. There he drank of the water in the brook, and every day the wild birds, the ravens, brought him food.


[Illustration]

Elijah was fed by the birds.

It came to pass as Elijah had said, that no rain fell upon the land, and there was not even any dew upon the grass. Every day the brook from which Elijah drank grew smaller, until at last it was dry, and there was no water. Then the Lord spoke to Elijah again, and said, "Rise up, and go to Zarephath, which is near to Zidon, by the Great Sea, on the north of the land of Israel. I have commanded a widow woman there to care for you."

So Elijah left the brook Cherith and walked northward through the land until he came near to the city of Zarephath. There, beside the gate of the city, he saw a woman dressed as a widow picking up sticks. Elijah said to her, "Will you bring to me some water, that I may drink?"

She went to bring him the water, and Elijah said again, "Bring me also, I pray you, a little piece of bread to eat."

And the woman said to Elijah, "As sure as the Lord your God lives, I have not in the house even a loaf of bread; but only one handful of meal in the barrel, and a little oil in a bottle; and now I am gathering a few sticks to make a fire, that I may bake it for me and my son; and when we have eaten it, there is nothing left for us but to die."

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, and he said to the woman, "Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake, and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son. For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, 'The barrel of meal shall not waste nor the bottle of oil fail, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.' "

And the widow woman believed Elijah's word. She took from her barrel the meal and from her bottle the oil, and made a little cake for the prophet, and then found enough left for herself and for her son. And the barrel always had meal in it, and the bottle held oil every day. And the prophet, and the woman, and her son had food as long as they needed it.

After this, one day the son of the widow was taken very ill, and his illness was so great that there was no breath left in him. The boy's mother said to Elijah, "O man of God! Have you come here to cause my son to die?"

And Elijah said to her, "Give me your son."

And Elijah carried the boy up to his own room, and laid him on the bed. Then he cried to the Lord, and said, "O Lord God, hast thou brought trouble upon this woman, by taking away the life of her son?"

Then he stretched himself upon the child's body three times, and cried to the Lord again, "O Lord God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again!"

And the Lord heard Elijah's prayer, and the child became living once more. Then Elijah carried the living boy back to his mother; and she said, "Now I am sure that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord which you speak is the truth."


[Illustration]

Elijah brings the boy to his mother.

 



Winnie-the-Pooh  by A. A. Milne

Piglet Meets a Heffalump

Part 1 of 2

O NE day, when Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet were all talking together, Christopher Robin finished the mouthful he was eating and said carelessly: "I saw a Heffalump to-day, Piglet."

"What was it doing?" asked Piglet.

"Just lumping along," said Christopher Robin. "I don't think it saw me."

"I saw one once," said Piglet. "At least, I think I did," he said. "Only perhaps it wasn't."

"So did I," said Pooh, wondering what a Heffalump was like.

"You don't often see them," said Christopher Robin carelessly.

"Not now," said Piglet.

"Not at this time of year," said Pooh.


[Illustration]

Then they all talked about something else, until it was time for Pooh and Piglet to go home together. At first as they stumped along the path which edged the Hundred Acre Wood, they didn't say much to each other; but when they came to the stream and had helped each other across the stepping stones, and were able to walk side by side again over the heather, they began to talk in a friendly way about this and that, and Piglet said, "If you see what I mean, Pooh," and Pooh said, "It's just what I think myself, Piglet," and Piglet said, "But, on the other hand, Pooh, we must remember," and Pooh said, "Quite true, Piglet, although I had forgotten it for the moment." And then, just as they came to the Six Pine Trees, Pooh looked round to see that nobody else was listening, and said in a very solemn voice:

"Piglet, I have decided something."

"What have you decided, Pooh?"

"I have decided to catch a Heffalump."

Pooh nodded his head several times as he said this, and waited for Piglet to say "How?" or "Pooh, you couldn't!" or something helpful of that sort, but Piglet said nothing. The fact was Piglet was wishing that he  had thought about it first.

"I shall do it," said Pooh, after waiting a little longer, "by means of a trap. And it must be a Cunning Trap, so you will have to help me, Piglet."

"Pooh," said Piglet, feeling quite happy again now, "I will." And then he said, "How shall we do it?" and Pooh said, "That's just it. How?" And then they sat down together to think it out.

Pooh's first idea was that they should dig a Very Deep Pit, and then the Heffalump would come along and fall into the Pit, and—

"Why?" said Piglet.

"Why what?" said Pooh.

"Why would he fall in?"

Pooh rubbed his nose with his paw, and said that the Heffalump might be walking along, humming a little song, and looking up at the sky, wondering if it would rain, and so he wouldn't see the Very Deep Pit until he was half-way down, when it would be too late.

Piglet said that this was a very good Trap, but supposing it were raining already?

Pooh rubbed his nose again, and said that he hadn't thought of that. And then he brightened up, and said that, if it were raining already, the Heffalump would be looking at the sky wondering if it would clear up,  and so he wouldn't see the Very Deep Pit until he was half-way down. . . . When it would be too late.

Piglet said that, now that this point had been explained, he thought it was a Cunning Trap.

Pooh was very proud when he heard this, and he felt that the Heffalump was as good as caught already, but there was just one other thing which had to be thought about, and it was this. Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?

Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.

"But then he would see us digging it," said Pooh.

"Not if he was looking at the sky."

"He would Suspect," said Pooh, "if he happened to look down." He thought for a long time and then added sadly, "It isn't as easy as I thought. I suppose that's why Heffalumps hardly ever  get caught."

"That must be it," said Piglet.

They sighed and got up; and when they had taken a few gorse prickles out of themselves they sat down again; and all the time Pooh was saying to himself, "If only I could think  of something!" For he felt sure that a Very Clever Brain could catch a Heffalump if only he knew the right way to go about it.

"Suppose," he said to Piglet, "you  wanted to catch me,  how would you do it?"

"Well," said Piglet, "I should do it like this. I should make a Trap, and I should put a Jar of Honey in the Trap, and you would smell it, and you would go in after it, and—"

"And I would go in after it," said Pooh excitedly, "only very carefully so as not to hurt myself, and I would get to the Jar of Honey, and I should lick round the edges first of all, pretending that there wasn't any more, you know, and then I should walk away and think about it a little, and then I should come back and start licking in the middle of the jar, and then—"

"Yes, well never mind about that. There you would be, and there I should catch you. Now the first thing to think of is, What do Heffalumps like? I should think acorns, shouldn't you? We'll get a lot of—I say, wake up, Pooh!"

Pooh, who had gone into a happy dream, woke up with a start, and said that Honey was a much more trappy thing than Haycorns. Piglet didn't think so; and they were just going to argue about it, when Piglet remembered that, if they put acorns in the Trap, he  would have to find the acorns, but if they put honey, then Pooh would have to give up some of his own honey, so he said, "All right, honey then," just as Pooh remembered it too, and was going to say, "All right, haycorns."

"Honey," said Piglet to himself in a thoughtful way, as if it were now settled. "I'll  dig the pit, while you  go and get the honey."

"Very well," said Pooh, and he stumped off.


[Illustration]

As soon as he got home, he went to the larder; and he stood on a chair, and took down a very large jar of honey from the top shelf. It had HUNNY written on it, but, just to make sure, he took off the paper cover and looked at it, and it looked  just like honey. "But you never can tell," said Pooh. "I remember my uncle saying once that he had seen cheese just this colour." So he put his tongue in, and took a large lick. "Yes," he said, "it is. No doubt about that. And honey, I should say, right down to the bottom of the jar. Unless, of course," he said, "somebody put cheese in at the bottom just for a joke. Perhaps I had better go a little  further . . . just in case . . . in case Heffalumps don't  like cheese . . . same as me. . . . Ah!" And he gave a deep sigh. "I was  right. It is  honey, right the way down."


[Illustration]

Having made certain of this, he took the jar back to Piglet, and Piglet looked up from the bottom of his Very Deep Pit, and said, "Got it?" and Pooh said, "Yes, but it isn't quite a full jar," and he threw it down to Piglet, and Piglet said, "No, it isn't! Is that all you've got left?" and Pooh said "Yes." Because it was. So Piglet put the jar at the bottom of the Pit, and climbed out, and they went off home together.


[Illustration]

"Well, good night, Pooh," said Piglet, when they had got to Pooh's house. "And we meet at six o'clock tomorrow morning by the Pine Trees, and see how many Heffalumps we've got in our Trap."

"Six o'clock, Piglet. And have you got any string?"

"No. Why do you want string?"

"To lead them home with."

"Oh! . . . I think  Heffalumps come if you whistle."

"Some do and some don't. You never can tell with Heffalumps. Well, good night!"

"Good night!"

And off Piglet trotted to his house TRESPASSERS W, while Pooh made his preparations for bed.

 



Elizabeth Prentiss

Long Time Ago

Once there was a little Kitty,

White as the snow;

In a barn she used to frolic,

Long time ago.


In the barn a little mousie

Ran to and fro,

For she heard the little Kitty,

Long time ago.


Two black eyes had little Kitty,

Black as a sloe;

And they spied the little mousie,

Long time ago.


Four soft paws had little Kitty,

Paws soft as snow;

And they caught the little mousie,

Long time ago.


Nine pearl teeth had little Kitty,

All in a row;

And they bit the little mousie,

Long time ago.


When the teeth bit little mousie,

Mousie cried out, "Oh!"

But she slipped away from Kitty,

Long time ago.