WEEK 7 |
T WO days after this, when Mary opened her eyes she sat upright in bed immediately, and called to Martha.
"Look at the moor! Look at the moor!"
The rain-storm had ended and the gray mist and clouds had been swept away in the night by the wind. The wind itself had ceased and a brilliant, deep blue sky arched high over the moorland. Never, never had Mary dreamed of a sky so blue. In India skies were hot and blazing; this was of a deep cool blue which almost seemed to sparkle like the waters of some lovely bottomless lake, and here and there, high, high in the arched blueness floated small clouds of snow-white fleece. The far-reaching world of the moor itself looked softly blue instead of gloomy purple-black or awful dreary gray.
"Aye," said Martha with a cheerful grin. "Th' storm's over for a bit. It does like this at this time o' th' year. It goes off in a night like it was pretendin' it had never been here an' never meant to come again. That's because th' springtime's on its way. It's a long way off yet, but it's comin'."
"I thought perhaps it always rained or looked dark in England," Mary said.
"Eh! no!" said Martha, sitting up on her heels among her black lead brushes. "Nowt o' th' soart!"
"What does that mean?" asked Mary seriously. In India the natives spoke different dialects which only a few people understood, so she was not surprised when Martha used words she did not know.
Martha laughed as she had done the first morning.
"There now," she said. "I've talked broad Yorkshire again like Mrs. Medlock
said I mustn't. 'Nowt o' th' soart' means 'nothin'-of-the-
"Could I ever get there?" asked Mary wistfully, looking through her window at the far-off blue. It was so new and big and wonderful and such a heavenly color.
"I don't know," answered Martha. "Tha's never used tha' legs since tha' was born, it seems to me. Tha' couldn't walk five mile. It's five mile to our cottage."
"I should like to see your cottage."
Martha stared at her a moment curiously before she took up her polishing brush and began to rub the grate again. She was thinking that the small plain face did not look quite as sour at this moment as it had done the first morning she saw it. It looked just a trifle like little Susan Ann's when she wanted something very much.
"I'll ask my mother about it," she said. "She's one o' them that nearly always sees a way to do things. It's my day out to-day an' I'm goin' home. Eh! I am glad. Mrs. Medlock thinks a lot o' mother. Perhaps she could talk to her."
"I like your mother," said Mary.
"I should think tha' did," agreed Martha, polishing away.
"I've never seen her," said Mary.
"No, tha' hasn't," replied Martha.
She sat up on her heels again and rubbed the end of her nose with the back of her hand as if puzzled for a moment, but she ended quite positively.
"Well, she's that sensible an' hard workin' an' good-natured an' clean that no one could help likin' her whether they'd seen her or not. When I'm goin' home to her on my day out I just jump for joy when I'm crossin' th' moor."
"I like Dickon," added Mary. "And I've never seen him."
"Well," said Martha stoutly, "I've told thee that th' very birds likes him an' th' rabbits an' wild sheep an' ponies, an' th' foxes themselves. I wonder," staring at her reflectively, "what Dickon would think of thee?"
"He wouldn't like me," said Mary in her stiff, cold little way. "No one does."
Martha looked reflective again.
"How does tha' like thysel'?" she inquired, really quite as if she were curious to know.
Mary hesitated a moment and thought it over.
"Not at all—really," she answered. "But I never thought of that before."
Martha grinned a little as if at some homely recollection.
"Mother said that to me once," she said. "She was at her wash-tub an' I was in a bad temper an' talkin' ill of folk, an' she turns round on me an' says: 'Tha' young vixon, tha'! There tha' stands sayin' tha' doesn't like this one an' tha' doesn't like that one. How does tha' like thysel'?' It made me laugh an' it brought me to my senses in a minute."
She went away in high spirits as soon as she had given Mary her breakfast. She was going to walk five miles across the moor to the cottage, and she was going to help her mother with the washing and do the week's baking and enjoy herself thoroughly.
Mary felt lonelier than ever when she knew she was no longer in the house. She went out into the garden as quickly as possible, and the first thing she did was to run round and round the fountain flower garden ten times. She counted the times carefully and when she had finished she felt in better spirits. The sunshine made the whole place look different. The high, deep, blue sky arched over Misselthwaite as well as over the moor, and she kept lifting her face and looking up into it, trying to imagine what it would be like to lie down on one of the little snow-white clouds and float about. She went into the first kitchen-garden and found Ben Weatherstaff working there with two other gardeners. The change in the weather seemed to have done him good. He spoke to her of his own accord.
"Springtime's comin'," he said. "Cannot tha' smell it?"
Mary sniffed and thought she could.
"I smell something nice and fresh and damp," she said.
"That's th' good rich earth," he answered, digging away. "It's in a good humor makin' ready to grow things. It's glad when plantin' time comes. It's dull in th' winter when it's got nowt to do. In th' flower gardens out there things will be stirrin' down below in th' dark. Th' sun's warmin' 'em. You'll see bits o' green spikes stickin' out o' th' black earth after a bit."
"What will they be?" asked Mary.
"Crocuses an' snowdrops an' daffydowndillys. Has tha' never seen them?"
"No. Everything is hot, and wet, and green after the rains in India," said Mary. "And I think things grow up in a night."
"These won't grow up in a night," said Weatherstaff. "Tha'll have to wait for 'em. They'll poke up a bit higher here, an' push out a spike more there, an' uncurl a leaf this day an' another that. You watch 'em."
"I am going to," answered Mary.
Very soon she heard the soft rustling flight of wings again and she knew at once that the robin had come again. He was very pert and lively, and hopped about so close to her feet, and put his head on one side and looked at her so slyly that she asked Ben Weatherstaff a question.
"Do you think he remembers me?" she said.
"Remembers thee!" said Weatherstaff indignantly. "He knows every cabbage stump in th' gardens, let alone th' people. He's never seen a little wench here before, an' he's bent on findin' out all about thee. Tha's no need to try to hide anything from him."
"Are things stirring down below in the dark in that garden where he lives?" Mary inquired.
"What garden?" grunted Weatherstaff, becoming surly again.
"The one where the old rose-trees are." She could not help asking, because she wanted so much to know. "Are all the flowers dead, or do some of them come again in the summer? Are there ever any roses?"
"Ask him," said Ben Weatherstaff, hunching his shoulders toward the robin. "He's the only one as knows. No one else has seen inside it for ten year'."
Ten years was a long time, Mary thought. She had been born ten years ago.
She walked away, slowly thinking. She had begun to like the garden just as she had begun to like the robin and Dickon and Martha's mother. She was beginning to like Martha, too. That seemed a good many people to like—when you were not used to liking. She thought of the robin as one of the people. She went to her walk outside the long, ivy-covered wall over which she could see the tree-tops; and the second time she walked up and down the most interesting and exciting thing happened to her, and it was all through Ben Weatherstaff's robin.
She heard a chirp and a twitter, and when she looked at the bare flower-bed at her left side there he was hopping about and pretending to peck things out of the earth to persuade her that he had not followed her. But she knew he had followed her and the surprise so filled her with delight that she almost trembled a little.
"You do remember me!" she cried out. "You do! You are prettier than anything else in the world!"
She chirped, and talked, and coaxed and he hopped, and flirted his tail and twittered. It was as if he were talking. His red waistcoat was like satin and he puffed his tiny breast out and was so fine and so grand and so pretty that it was really as if he were showing her how important and like a human person a robin could be. Mistress Mary forgot that she had ever been contrary in her life when he allowed her to draw closer and closer to him, and bend down and talk and try to make something like robin sounds.
Oh! to think that he should actually let her come as near to him as that! He knew nothing in the world would make her put out her hand toward him or startle him in the least tiniest way. He knew it because he was a real person—only nicer than any other person in the world. She was so happy that she scarcely dared to breathe.
The flower-bed was not quite bare. It was bare of flowers because the perennial plants had been cut down for their winter rest, but there were tall shrubs and low ones which grew together at the back of the bed, and as the robin hopped about under them she saw him hop over a small pile of freshly turned up earth. He stopped on it to look for a worm. The earth had been turned up because a dog had been trying to dig up a mole and he had scratched quite a deep hole.
Mary looked at it, not really knowing why the hole was there, and as she looked she saw something almost buried in the newly-turned soil. It was something like a ring of rusty iron or brass and when the robin flew up into a tree nearby she put out her hand and picked the ring up. It was more than a ring, however; it was an old key which looked as if it had been buried a long time.
Mistress Mary stood up and looked at it with an almost frightened face as it hung from her finger.
"Perhaps it has been buried for ten years," she said in a whisper. "Perhaps it is the key to the garden!"
O NCE upon a time there was a famous Arab whose name was Al Mansur. He was the ruler of all the Arabs, and was therefore called the caliph.
Al Mansur loved poetry and was fond of hearing poets repeat their own verses. Sometimes, if a poem was very pleasing, he gave the poet a prize.
One day a poet whose name was Thalibi came to the caliph and recited a long poem. When he had finished, he bowed, and waited, hoping that he would be rewarded.
"Which would you rather have," asked the caliph, "three hundred pieces of gold, or three wise sayings from my lips?"
The poet wished very much to please the caliph. So he said, "Oh, my master, everybody should choose wisdom rather than wealth."
The caliph smiled, and said, "Very well, then, listen to my first wise saying: When your coat is worn out, don't sew on a new patch; it will look ugly."
"Oh, dear!" moaned the poet. "There go a hundred gold pieces all at once."
The caliph smiled again. Then he said, "Listen now to my second word of wisdom. It is this: When you oil your beard, don't oil it too much, lest it soil your clothing."
"Worse and worse!" groaned the poor poet. "There go the second hundred. What shall I do?"
"Wait, and I will tell you," said the caliph; and he smiled again. "My
third wise saying
"O caliph, have mercy!" cried the poet. "Keep the third piece of wisdom for your own use, and let me have the gold."
The caliph laughed outright, and so did every one that heard him. Then he ordered his treasurer to pay the poet five hundred pieces of gold; for, indeed, the poem which he had recited was wonderfully fine.
The caliph, Al Mansur, lived nearly twelve hundred years ago. He was the builder of a famous and beautiful city called Bagdad.
There are lions and roaring tigers, and enormous camels and things,
There are biffalo-buffalo-bisons, and a great big bear with wings,
There's a sort of a tiny potamus, and a tiny nosserus
But I gave buns to the elephant when I went down to the Zoo!
There are badgers and bidgers and bodgers, and a Superintendent's House,
There are masses of goats, and a Polar, and different kinds of mouse,
And I think there's a sort of a something which is called a
But I gave buns to the elephant when I went down to the Zoo!
If you try to talk to the bison, he never quite understands;
You can't shake hands with a mingo—he doesn't like shaking hands.
And lions and roaring tigers hate saying, "How do you
But I give buns to the elephant when I go down to the Zoo!
WEEK 7 |
T HE first Christian martyr in Britain was called Alban. He lived in the town called Verulamium. He was a Briton, but he was one of those who had learned many things from the Romans. When he was a boy he had even travelled to Rome, and had seen the beautiful city from which these conquerors took their name. And all that he had seen and learned had helped him to grow up a noble, generous man.
Alban had a great deal of money, and with it he used to help the poor people who lived around him. Every one loved and trusted him. Even the Christians loved and trusted him although he was a heathen. If any one was in trouble he would go for help to Alban the great, rich, kind man.
When the wicked Roman Emperor sent men to kill the Christians in Britain, a holy man called Amphibalus, who also lived in Verulamium, fled to the house of Alban for shelter.
"My lord," said this old man, "the soldiers of the emperor seek me to take my life. Hide me, and God will reward you."
"What evil have you done?" asked Alban.
"I have done no evil," replied Amphibalus. "I am a Christian, that is all."
"Then fear nothing," said Alban kindly. "I have heard much of the Christians, but nothing that is bad."
Then Alban took Amphibalus into his house and hid him. He seemed quite safe there, as the soldiers did not think of looking for him in the house of a man who was a heathen.
Alban talked every day with Amphibalus, who told him all the story of Christ. It seemed to Alban very beautiful and wonderful that any one should die to save others. He felt that this religion of love and gentleness was much better than the fierce teaching of the Druids.
For some days Amphibalus lived in peace. But one day while he sat talking with Alban, a frightened servant came to say that soldiers were at the gate. They had found out where Amphibalus was hiding.
"My son," said the old man trembling, "I must say farewell, for I am about to die."
"No," replied Alban, "I will save you yet. Give me your robe."
Then hastily taking off his own beautiful robe he threw it over the old man's shoulders, and thrust a purse of gold into his hand. "Go," he said, "go quickly; my servant will take you by secret ways. I will keep the soldiers from pursuing you. But bless me, father, before you go."
Alban knelt, and Amphibalus gently laid his hand upon the bowed head.
"May God the Father reward you, and may the Holy Spirit lead you in the true way of Christ. Farewell, my son." Then he made the sign of the cross over him, and was gone.
Alban wrapped himself in the robe which Amphibalus had taken off and, drawing the hood over his head, waited.
The soldiers, having at last forced a way into the house, rushed in upon him. Seeing a man in the robe of a priest, they seized and bound him, never doubting that it was Amphibalus the Christian.
Alban was then led before the Roman Governor. There his hands were unbound, and he threw off his long robe. Great was the astonishment of the soldiers when they discovered that their prisoner was not the Christian priest for whom they had been seeking, but the heathen lord, Alban.
The Governor happened to be offering up sacrifices to idols, when Alban was led before him. He was very angry with the soldiers for allowing Amphibalus to escape, and still more angry with Alban for helping him to do so.
"Who are you, and how dare you hide wicked and rebellious people in your house?" he asked. "You must tell me where this Christian is hiding, and offer sacrifices to the gods to show that you are sorry for what you have done."
"I can do neither of these things," replied Alban.
"Who are you, that you dare to defy me?" demanded the Governor.
"What does it matter to you who I am?" replied Alban.
"I asked for your name," repeated the Governor in furious anger. "Tell it to me at once."
"My parents called me Alban," he then replied.
"Then, Alban, if you would have the gods forgive you, you must offer sacrifices to them, and repent of your wicked words and deeds."
"I cannot," replied Alban. "I no longer believe in these old gods. They teach men to be cruel and wicked. I shall never sacrifice to them again. Amphibalus is a good and gentle old man. He has never hurt nor wronged any one, yet these gods tell you to torture and kill him. I will not believe in them any more. I would rather believe in the God of Amphibalus, who teaches people to love one another."
Then the Governor cried out, "This man is too wicked to live. Take him and put him to death."
The soldiers led Alban away, and it soon became known all over the town that Alban, who was good and kind and loved by every one, was to be put to death. So a great crowd followed him as he was led across the river and up the grassy slope to the top of a hill. Indeed so many people followed that no one was left in the town, except the wicked Governor. Perhaps when he was alone in the terrible silence of the empty streets, he felt sorry for what he had done. But it was too late. Alban had gone to death, and there was not one person remaining in the town whom the Governor could send after him to bring him back.
With tears and sobs the people followed and pressed round
Alban. Every one was eager to show his love for him, and to
say a last
When they came to the little bridge over the river, the crowd was so great that it was impossible for Alban to pass. So the soldiers, impatient and angry, said he must walk through the water. Then, we are told, a wonderful thing happened. The water of the river dried up, and Alban passed over on dry land.
On they went up the hillside. It was a beautiful green, grassy slope where the children used to play in the summer sunshine. Sweet-scented wild-flowers made it gay with their bright colors. Pretty butterflies fluttered about, and the air was full of the hum of bees and the song of birds.
On the top of the hill Alban knelt down, feeling tired and thirsty. Just at that moment there seemed to spring from the ground a clear stream of water which no one had noticed before. Alban bent down, drank from it and felt refreshed.
A tall soldier had been walking beside Alban, carrying a great sword with which to cut off his head. But when he saw how gentle and good Alban was and how the people loved him, he began to feel sorry for what he had to do.
As Alban knelt upon the grass the soldier threw down his sword, crying out, "This is a holy man. I cannot kill him."
The captain of the soldiers was very angry at this. "Take up your sword," he said, "and do your duty."
"I cannot," replied the man, "I would rather die."
"Then you shall die," replied the captain. And drawing his own sword, with one blow he cut off Alban's head and with a second the head of the soldier. At the same moment, we are told, the captain lost his sight and remained blind for the rest of his life.
This is the story of how the first martyr in Britain died. He was brave, and wise, and kind and, like Christ, he gave his life for others.
After his death Alban was called St. Alban, and the name of the town in which he had lived was changed from Verulamium to St. Albans. The sorrowing people built a church on the spot where he died and, when it became so old that it fell into ruins, a still more beautiful one was built. That church remains to this day, and people still worship God on the very spot where the first Christian martyr in Britain died.
Although we need not believe the wonderful stories of what happened at St. Alban's death, it is interesting to know that there is still a spring called Holywell at St. Albans, and that the hill up which the people followed the saint is still called Holywell Hill.
L IMULUS, the king crab, slept all winter on the quiet bottom of Holiday Bay, without moving a single claw. The water in the bay was very cold but that did not bother King Limulus.
When the autumn weather grew chilly, he did not need to look at a thermometer or worry about warming his home with a furnace fire. He made no attempt to keep warm. He just lay on the sand while his body grew numb with cold. By the time winter really came, he could not move or even feel.
During the fall, barnacles settled on his shell and little seaweeds began to grow. Before Christmas the King looked like a weedy rock lying on the bottom of the bay.
King Limulus stopped among the seaweed.
In time the spring sun warmed the dry earth. On land pussy willows bloomed. Robins came north again and began to build their nests. But the deep parts of Holiday Bay stayed cold, and the sleepy King did not awake.
The stiffness did not begin to come out of his joints until some time after May day. First he stretched one leg, and then another, and so on until he had stretched all twelve of them. He lifted his long spinelike tail. Being able to move his body, he began to crawl toward shore. He came to a place where worms burrowed in the sand, and paused to dig them out and eat his first spring breakfast.
King Limulus had a strange way of eating. His mouth was on the under side of his head, between his six pairs of legs. First he pulled the worms out of the sand. Then he worked his legs to and fro, chewing the worms with sharp, hard spines. By the time he put the worms into his mouth, all he had to do was to swallow.
After the King had finished his meal, he crawled, half buried in the sand, toward the warm shallows near Holiday Shore. When he found a place where the sand was packed hard, he dug into it with his long sharp tail and used it to push himself along.
It took King Limulus several days to reach the shallows near the shore, where he stopped among the seaweeds and eel grass to warm himself and eat his dinner. Sun, shining through the water, heated his sandy lunch counter. In it were hundreds of pink and green burrowing worms. These made a feast fit for king crabs, and Limulus was not the only one of his kind who came to enjoy the treat. Indeed, in that sunny, watery lunch room, many members of his family met for the first time that spring. Among them may have been his father and some of his sons, but, if so, Limulus did not know one from another.
One day the King had rather a bad jolt. He was hunting worms in the shallows, as usual, while waves rolled up on Holiday Shore. One of them picked him up and threw him high on the beach.
It dropped him, top-side-down, and there he lay with his legs waving in the air! You need not feel sorry for him, however, because he was not nearly so helpless as he looked. He bent his shelled body and reached down with his tail. As soon as he could bend back far enough to stick the tip of his tail into the sand, he turned himself over with a twist and a flop. Then he crawled back to the bay as fast as his legs could go.
Only ten of his twelve legs really helped him travel. Those of the first pair were so short that they only wiggled about near his mouth. The last ones were extra long and ended in strong, paddle-shaped joints. The King used them to push sand aside when he burrowed into it for worms.
Behind his legs, the King had five pairs of broad plates. Under three of these were the gills with which he breathed air mixed with the water where he lived. The oxygen in the air, as you doubtless know, is as necessary to sea creatures as it is to land animals.
The gills with which fishes breathe are near their heads. So are the gills which baby frogs and toads use while they are tadpoles. But Limulus carried his gills just in front of his tail. Water animals, of different groups, have gills of different sorts and in different places. There are the infant dragon flies, for instance, which wear their gills in the tips of their tails.
While the King was turning himself right-side-up, the children playing near by came to watch him. They saw that his head was a big, horseshoe-shaped thing covered with a shiny, brownish-green shell. At each side, under a sharp point, was a glowing green eye. Two other eyes were placed near the front of his head. It is easy to overlook these for they seem to be merely two dark spots.
Fastened to the head by a wide joint was the broad part of the body that covered the gills. On the edge of each side were six short sharp spines, and at the tip was the long spine that formed his useful tail.
Were the King's eyes of any use to him as he hurried back to the bay soon after he had righted himself?
No. He bumped into the stones that lay between him and the water and almost turned over on his back again. Even after he reached the water he swam thump into a rock and became tangled in some drifting seaweed. In spite of his two pairs of eyes, the King acted as if he were blind.
Queen Limulus meanwhile came to the bay and also began to hunt for worms. She looked like the King, except that she was bigger and broader and the legs of her second pair were shorter than his.
The King and the Queen seemed to pay no especial attention to each other, yet they did not go far apart. One morning, as the tide came in, they swam together as far up as they could and then crawled up on the beach.
There Queen Limulus dug a hole, while the King sat behind her and waited. In the hole she laid half a pint of eggs. Since each egg was very, very small it took about ten thousand of them to make that half pint. A great many eggs to leave in one nest!
Do you rather wish that the King and Queen had stayed beside the nest to guard it? They soon crawled away and never came back. But that was perfectly all right. There was not a thing they could have done if they had stayed. Those eggs were left where the sun could give them all the heat they needed. The warm sand that soon covered them was a satisfactory incubator.
Suppose we watch a single egg among the ten thousand Queen Limulus laid. Soon changes began to take place inside the clear, tough shell of the egg. In a week, traces of legs might be seen. Soon a head and body began to grow. In three weeks the baby could roll around inside the shell, but it made no attempt to get out.
Baby Limulus just before hatching.
It was not until a month and a half after it was laid that the egg hatched. Then Baby Limulus went for a swim in Holiday Bay.
Baby Limulus just after hatching. He has not yet started to grow the long, sharp spine that will serve as his tail.
For about three weeks he swam here and there, dodging the mouths of hungry little hunters among the eel grass and rocks. Many of his brothers and sisters were caught and eaten by fish and sea anemones; but even so there seemed to be a good supply of infant king crabs in the bay.
Baby Limulus was rather a good hunter and caught and ate swimmers smaller than himself. As he grew, his tiny shell became too tight a fit for him; and one day he split it and appeared in a new and larger coat that had formed inside his first one. About that time he stopped his steady swimming and settled down in a sandy pool where the water stayed even when the tide was out.
This was his home for some time. He ate and grew and shed his shell each time he needed a bigger one. By the time winter came, he was fast asleep in the sand. There he lay until the warm spring sun wakened him and made him feel spry enough to hunt for worms.
Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who present, past, and future, sees
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees;
Calling the lapsed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew:
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!
"O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass!
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.
"Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day."
WEEK 7 |
P ETER RABBIT delivered Mother Nature's message to Johnny Chuck. Johnny didn't seem at all pleased. He grumbled and growled to himself. He didn't want to go to school. He didn't want to learn anything about his relatives. He was perfectly satisfied with things as they were. The truth is, Johnny Chuck was already beginning to get fat with good living and he is naturally lazy. As a rule he can find plenty to eat very near his home, so he seldom goes far from his own doorstep. Peter left him grumbling and growling, and chuckled to himself all the way back to the dear Old Briar-patch. He knew that Johnny Chuck would not dare disobey Old Mother Nature.
Sure enough, the next morning Johnny Chuck came waddling through the Green Forest just as Old Mother Nature was about to open school. He didn't look at all happy, and he didn't reply at all to the greetings of the others. But when Old Mother Nature spoke to him he was very polite.
"Good morning, Johnny Chuck," said she.
Johnny bobbed his head and said, "Good morning."
"I understand," continued Old Mother Nature, "that you are not at all interested in learning about your relatives. I am sorry for any one who doesn't want to learn. The more one knows the better fitted he is to take care of himself and do his part in the work of the Great World. However, it wasn't for your benefit that I sent word for you to be here this morning. It was for the benefit of your friends and neighbors. Now sit up so that all can get a good look at you."
Johnny Chuck obediently sat up, and of course all the others stared at him. It made him feel quite uncomfortable. "You remember," said Old Mother Nature, "how surprised you little folks were when I told you that Johnny Chuck is a member of the Squirrel family. Happy Jack, you go sit beside Johnny Chuck, and the rest of you look hard at Happy Jack and Johnny and see if you do not see a family resemblance."
Seeing Happy Jack and Johnny Chuck sitting up side by side, Peter
Rabbit caught the resemblance at once. There was a sort of family
look about them. "Why!
"Of course he looks like a Squirrel, because he is one," said Old Mother Nature. "Johnny Chuck is very much bigger and so stout in the body that he has none of the gracefulness of the true Squirrels. But you will notice that the shape of his head is much the same as that of Happy Jack. He has a Squirrel face when you come to look at him closely. The Woodchucks, sometimes called Ground Hogs, though why any one should call them this is more than I can understand, belong to the Marmot branch of the Squirrel family, and wherever found they look much alike.
"As you will notice, Johnny Chuck's coat is brownish-yellow, his feet are very dark brown, almost black. His head is dark brown with light gray on his cheeks. Beneath he is reddish-orange, including his throat. His tail is short for a member of the Squirrel family, and although it is bushy, it is not very big. He has a number of whiskers and they are black. Some Woodchucks are quite gray, and occasionally there is one who is almost, or wholly black, just as there are black Gray Squirrels.
The familiar Woodchuck is a true Marmot.
"Johnny, here, is not fond of the Green Forest, but loves the Old Orchard and the Green Meadows. In some parts of the country there are members of his family who prefer to live just on the edge of the Green Forest. You will notice that Johnny has stout claws. Those are to help him dig, for all the Marmot family are great diggers. What other use do you have for those claws, Johnny?"
"They help me to climb," replied Johnny promptly.
"Climb!" exclaimed Peter Rabbit. "Who ever heard of a Woodchuck climbing?"
"I can climb if I have to," retorted Johnny Chuck indignantly. "I've climbed up bushes and low trees lots of times, and if I can get a good run first, I can climb up the straight trunk of a tree with rough bark to the first branches—if they are not too far above ground. You ask Reddy Fox if I can't; he knows."
"That's quite true, Johnny," said Old Mother Nature. "You can climb a little, but as a real climber you are not much of a success. You are better as a digger."
"He certainly is all right as a digger," exclaimed Peter Rabbit. "My, how he can make the sand fly! Johnny Chuck certainly is right at home when it comes to digging."
"You ought to be thankful that he is," said Old Mother Nature, "for the holes he has dug have saved your life more than once. By the way, Peter, since you are so well acquainted with those holes, suppose you tell us what kind of a home Johnny Chuck has."
Peter was delighted to air his knowledge. "The last one I was in," said he, "was a long tunnel slanting down for quite a distance and then straightening out. The entrance was quite large with a big heap of sand out in front of it. Down a little way the tunnel grew smaller and then remained the same size all the rest of the way. Way down at the farther end was a nice little bedroom with some grass in it. There were one or two other little rooms, and there were two branch tunnels leading up to the surface of the ground, making side or back doorways. There was no sand around either of these, and they were quite hidden by the long grass hanging over them. I don't understand how Johnny made those doorways without leaving any sand on the doorsteps."
"Huh!" interrupted Johnny Chuck. "That was easy enough. I pushed all the sand out of the main doorway so that there would be nothing to attract the attention of any one passing near those back doorways. Those back doorways are very handy in time of danger."
"Do you always have three doorways?" asked Happy Jack.
"No," replied Johnny Chuck. "Sometimes I have only two and once in a while only one. But that isn't really safe, and I mean always to have at least two."
"Do you use the same house year after year?" piped up Striped Chipmunk.
Johnny shook his head. "No," said he. "I dig a new hole each spring. Mrs. Chuck and I like a change of scene. Usually my new home isn't very far from my old one, because I am not fond of traveling. Sometimes, however, if we cannot find a place that just suits us, we go quite a distance."
"Are your babies born down in that little bedroom in the ground?" asked Jumper the Hare.
"Of course," replied Johnny Chuck. "Where else would they be born?"
"I didn't know but Mrs. Chuck might make a nest on the ground the way Mrs. Peter and Mrs. Jumper do," replied Jumper meekly.
"No, siree!" replied Johnny. "Our babies are born in that little underground bedroom, and they stay down in the ground until they are big enough to hunt for food for themselves."
"How many do you usually have?" inquired Chatterer the Red Squirrel.
"Six or eight," replied Johnny Chuck. "Mrs. Chuck and I believe in large families."
"Do you eat nuts like the rest of our family?" inquired Striped Chipmunk.
"No," replied Johnny Chuck. "Give me green food every time. There is nothing so good as tender sweet clover and young grass, unless it be some of those fine vegetables Farmer Brown grows in his garden."
Peter Rabbit nodded his head very emphatically as if he quite agreed.
"I suppose you are what is called a vegetarian, then," said Happy Jack, to which Johnny Chuck replied that he supposed he was. "And I suppose that is why you sleep all winter," added Happy Jack.
"If I didn't I would starve," responded Johnny Chuck promptly. "When it gets near time for Jack Frost to arrive, I stuff and stuff and stuff on the last of the good green things until I'm so fat I can hardly waddle. Then I go down to my bedroom, curl up and go to sleep. Cold weather, snow and ice don't worry me a bit."
"I know," spoke up Striped Chipmunk. "I sleep most of the winter myself. Of course I have a lot of food stored away down in my house, and once in a while I wake up and eat a little. Do you ever wake up in the winter, Johnny Chuck?"
"No," replied Johnny. "I sleep right through, thank goodness. Sometimes I wake up very early in the spring before the snow is all gone, earlier than I wish I did. That is where my fat comes in handy. It keeps me warm and keeps me alive until I can find the first green plants. Perhaps you have noticed that early in the spring I am as thin as I was fat in the fall. This is because I have used up the fat, waiting for the first green things to appear."
"Do you have many enemies?" asked Peter Rabbit, who has so many himself that he is constantly thinking of them.
"Not many, but enough," growled Johnny Chuck. "Reddy Fox, Old Man Coyote, men and Dogs are the worst. Of course, when I was small I always had to be watching out for Hawks, and of course, like all the rest of us little folks, I am afraid of Shadow the Weasel. Reddy Fox has tried to dig me out more than once, but I can dig faster than he can. If he ever gets me cornered, he'll find that I can fight. A small Dog surprised me once before I could get to my hole and I guess that Dog never will tackle another Woodchuck."
"Time is up," interrupted Old Mother Nature. "Johnny Chuck has a
big cousin out in the mountains of the Great West named Whistler,
and on the prairies of the Great West he has a smaller cousin named
Yap Yap. They are quite important members of the Marmot family, and
Johnny Chuck hung his head, for he was a little ashamed that he had been so unwilling to come that morning.
"If you please, Mother Nature," said he, "I think I'll come. I didn't know I had any close relatives, and I want to know about them."
So it was agreed that all would be on hand at
While Captain John Smith was a prisoner among the Indians of Powhatan's tribe, he made the acquaintance of that chief's daughter, Pocahontas [po-ka-hon'-tas], a little girl of ten or twelve years of age, with whom he was very much pleased. Years afterwards, he said that Powhatan had at one time determined to put him to death; but when Captain Smith's head was laid upon some stones, and Indians stood ready to beat out his brains, Pocahontas laid her head on his, so that they could not kill Captain Smith without striking her; seeing which, Powhatan let him live. Captain Smith said nothing about this occurrence in the first accounts of his captivity, and many people think that it never happened.
But it is certain that, whether Pocahontas saved his life at this time or not, he was much attached to her, and she became very fond of going to Jamestown, where she played with the boys in the street. When the settlers were in danger of starving, she brought them food. When a messenger was sent from Jamestown to carry an important message to Captain Smith, then in Powhatan's country, she hid the man, and got him through in spite of Powhatan's desire to kill him. When the Indians intended to kill Captain Smith, she went to his tent at night and gave him warning. Captain Smith offered her trinkets as a reward, but she refused them, with tears in her eyes, saying that Powhatan would kill her if he knew of her coming there. These are the stories told of her in Captain Smith's history. And when a number of white men then in the Indian country were put to death, she saved the life of a white boy named Henry Spelman by sending him away.
Pocahontas Carries Venison to Jamestown
When Captain Smith had been in the colony two years, ships came from London with many hundreds of people. The ships that brought this company to Jamestown in 1609 were under the command of men that were enemies of Captain Smith, who had come to be governor of the colony. These men resolved to depose John Smith, so as to get the government of Jamestown into their own hands. Smith, having been injured by an explosion of gunpowder, consented to go back to England. His enemies sent charges against him. One of these charges was that he wished to marry Pocahontas, who was now growing up, and thus to get possession of the colony by claiming it for the daughter of Powhatan, whom the English regarded as a kind of king.
The colony had every reason to be sorry that Captain Smith was sent away. The men left in charge managed badly, Powhatan ceased to be friendly, and his little daughter did not come to see the English people any more. The people of Jamestown were now so afraid of the Indians that they dared not venture outside the town. Soon all of their food was gone, and they had eaten up their horses. Some of the people were killed by the Indians; some fled in one of the ships and became pirates; and great numbers of them died of hunger.
Ships arrived at last, bringing help to the colony. Under one governor and another Jamestown suffered many troubles from sickness and from the Indians. There was in the colony a sea captain named Argall, who thought that, if he could get Pocahontas into his power, her father, the great chief Powhatan, might be persuaded to be peaceable.
Pocahontas was by this time a young woman of about eighteen. She was visiting an old chief named Japazaws, who lived on the Potomac River. Argall was trading with the Indians at Japazaws's town. He told Japazaws that, if he would bring Pocahontas on board his ship, he would give him a copper kettle. Every Indian wanted to have a copper kettle, of all things. Japazaws and his wife, pretending that they wished to see the vessel, coaxed Pocahontas to go with them. Argall refused to let her go ashore again, and carried her to Jamestown a prisoner.
Pocahontas Taken Prisoner
Here she stayed a year. The English people in Jamestown refused to give her up unless Powhatan would return some guns which the Indians had taken. There was an Englishman living at Jamestown, named John Rolfe, who fell in love with Pocahontas, and proposed to marry her. When word was sent to Powhatan of this, he readily agreed to the marriage, and an old uncle and two brothers of Pocahontas went down to Jamestown to attend the wedding. Pocahontas, having been instructed in the Christian religion, was baptized in the little church, and married to Rolfe in 1614. Her real name was Matoax, but her father called her Pocahontas. When she was baptized, she took the name of Rebecca.
The Wedding of Pocahontas
The marriage of Pocahontas brought peace with the Indians. In 1616, with her little baby boy, Pocahontas was taken to England. Here she was called "the Lady Rebecca," and treated with great respect as the daughter of a king.
The people at Jamestown had told Pocahontas that John Smith was dead. When she saw him alive in England, she was very much offended. She fell into such a pout that for some time she would not speak to anybody. Then she announced her intention of calling Captain Smith her father, after the Indian plan of adoption.
She was greatly petted by the king and queen and all the great people. The change from a smoky bark hut to high life in England must have been very great, but she surprised everybody by the quickness with which she learned to behave rightly in any company. She was much pleased with England, and was sorry to go back. When she was ready to sail, she was attacked by smallpox, and died.
Her little boy was now left in England. Captain Argall, who had made Pocahontas prisoner, was now made Governor of Virginia. He was a very dishonest man, and he and some partners of his appear to have had a scheme to get possession of the colony by claiming it for the child of Pocahontas as the grandson of "King Powhatan." Argall sent word to England that the Indians had resolved to sell no more land, but to keep it all for this child. This was, no doubt, a falsehood. Argall was a bad governor, and he was soon recalled, and a better man took his place. The son of Pocahontas returned to Virginia when he was grown.
But when Pocahontas was dead, and Powhatan also, there was nothing to keep the Indians quiet, and in 1622 they suddenly fell upon the settlement and killed more than three hundred people in one day. Long and bloody wars followed, but the colony of Virginia lived through them all.
Indian Massacre in Virginia
Every valley drinks,
Every dell and hollow;
Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,
Green of spring will follow.
Yet a lapse of weeks,
Buds will burst their edges,
Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks,
In the woods and hedges.
But for fattening rain
We should have no flowers;
Never a bud or leaf again
But for soaking showers
Never a mated bird
In the rocking tree-tops;
Never indeed a flock or herd
To graze upon the lea-crops;
We should find no moss
In the shadiest places;
Find no waving meadow-grass
Pied with broad-eyed daisies;
But miles of barren sand,
With never a son or daughter,
Not a lily on the land,
Or lily on the water.
WEEK 7 |
A T the court of Worms high festival was held to do honour to Siegfried and his eleven brave warriors. It is true that his boldness when he entered the city had made the Kings and their liegemen wish to serve the dauntless hero, yet now it was not of his boldness that they thought, but of his happy, winsome ways. Indeed it was but a short time until he was the most favoured Prince in all the gallant throng of courtiers that gathered round King Gunther in his royal city.
Only one in all the country hated the gallant Prince of the Netherlands, and that one was the stern and fierce-eyed Hagen; but of the counsellor's ill-will the light-hearted hero knew nought.
Merry were the frolics, gay the pastimes at the court of Worms, and in every game and sport Siegfried was the most skilful.
Did the warriors hurl the stone? None could hurl it as far as could Siegfried. Did they leap? No one ever leaped as far as did the Prince. Did they go a-hunting? No one brought down the prey as often as did the hero. Did they tilt in the tournament? Siegfried it was who ever gained the prize. Yet none was envious of the Prince, so glad he was, so light of heart.
When games were held in the great castle hall, ladies clad in garments of richest hue, and sparkling with gems of ruddy gold, would come into the galleries. And ever as they watched the gallant knights their eyes would follow the most gallant of them all, the hero Siegfried. But among these fair counts and ladies the Princess Kriemhild was never to be seen, and Siegfried had no thought to spare for any other damsel. In his heart was ever the image of the maiden whom he had come hither to win.
The Princess might not go down to the great hall to see the tournament, yet as she sat in her tower she would ofttimes think of the mighty strength of this hero, of his heart of gold. And almost before she was aware Kriemhild had found the Prince whom she would gladly call her lord.
When she heard the knights running and leaping in the courtyard, Kriemhild would lay her seam aside, and Princess though she was, she would run to her lattice window, and peeping through, she would watch her hero with glad eyes, victor in every pastime. Nor would she turn away until the sports were ended and the courtyard once again grew silent and deserted.
Siegfried did not know that Kriemhild's glad eyes were peeping through her lattice window, and had he known he would scarce have dared to dream that her glance was fixed on no other save on him alone.
Indeed sometimes the hero's heart misgave him. When would he see the maiden whom he loved? Had she no pleasure in his knightly games, no smile to give him for his skill? Nay, she was as great a stranger to him now as when he had ridden into the royal city of Worms in hope to gain her favour.
Thus for one whole year Siegfried dwelt with the three Kings of Burgundy, and during all that time he never once saw the wonder-lady of his dreams, the Princess Kriemhild.
At the end of the year King Gunther's fair realm of Burgundy was threatened with invasion and with mighty wars. No longer did the castle hall at Worms ring with the merry pastimes of the courtiers. All was grave, silent, for King Gunther and his brothers and his counsellors were in sore distress.
That day heralds had ridden into the land and demanded audience of King Gunther.
"Now who hath sent you hither?" said the King in angry mood.
"Our masters," cried the heralds. "King Ludegast and King Ludeger have sent us to warn thee that they hate thee and will invade thy land. With great armies will they come to thy realm of Burgundy. Within twelve weeks will they be here, unless thou dost offer a ransom for thy kingdom."
"Tarry a little," said Gunther, "until I have spoken with my counsellors, then shall ye carry my answer back to thy masters."
King Gernot had heard the challenge of the heralds, and dauntless he cried, "Our good swords shall defend us. What fear we from the foreign host!"
But Hagen cried, "Ludegast and Ludeger are fierce, and evil will overtake us, for scarce have we time in which to gather our liegemen together ere the foe will be in our land. Speak thou, O King, unto the hero Siegfried. It may be that his powers can help us now."
Meanwhile King Gunther commanded that the heralds should be lodged with all due courtesy, and this he did for the sake of his fair fame.
Now as Gunther sat brooding over the evil which seemed as though it would overtake his land, Siegfried came to his side. He knew no reason for the King's distress.
"What hath come to pass," said the hero, "that all our merry pastimes are ended? For since ever I came into the fair land of Burgundy hath the castle hall of thy royal city echoed with the ring of knightly deeds, and tilts and jousts have long held sway. Why, therefore, are the merry pastimes ended, and wherefore dost thou sit here thus sad and downcast?"
"Not to every one," said King Gunther, "would I tell my sorrow, nay, to none save a steadfast friend dare I declare it."
When Siegfried heard the King's words, his fair face flushed, then paled again.
"Already," cried the hero, "have I followed thee in time of need." For indeed during the year which he had spent at Worms, Siegfried had gone with Gunther on more than one foray into the neighbouring kingdoms.
"Now," he continued, "now if trouble hath come to thee my arm is strong to bring thee aid. I will be thy friend if thou art willing while life is mine."
"God reward thee, Sir Siegfried!" cried King Gunther, and right glad of heart was he. "It may be I shall not need thy strength to aid me in my battles, yet do I rejoice that thou art my friend. Never while my life lasts shalt thou be sorry for thy words."
Then King Gunther told to the brave knight the insolent message which the heralds had brought from their masters, Ludegast and Ludeger.
"Thou needst not be troubled at these tidings," said the young knight. "If thy foes were as many as thirty thousand, yet with one thousand warriors would I destroy them. Therefore leave the battle in my hands."
King Gunther, for he was not very brave, rejoiced at Siegfried's words, and scattered his fears to the four winds.
Then he sent for the heralds, and bade them return to their masters to say that King Gunther defied their threats, and in proof thereof would ere long send an army to punish them for their insolence.
Now when the heralds reached their own country with these tidings, King Ludegast of Denmark, and King Ludeger the Saxon, who was his brother, were filled with dread. Moreover the heralds told them that the famous hero Siegfried would fight for Burgundy, and when they heard that the hearts of the rude kings failed for fear.
In great haste they gathered together their warriors, and soon Ludegast had twenty thousand men ready to defend his land. Ludeger the Saxon, too, had called together even more than forty thousand men, and the two armies formed a mighty host.
King Gunther meanwhile had assembled his men, and the chief command was given to Hagen with the grim face and the piercing eyes.
When Siegfried saw that Gunther was buckling on his armour he drew near to him, and said, "Sir King, stay thou at home in the royal city and guard the women. Neither dost thou have any fear, for in good sooth, I can protect both thine honour and thy men."
And King Gunther stayed in the royal city while his warriors went forth to battle.
From the Rhine river Gunther's vast army marched toward the Saxon country, and all along the borders they smote those who were in favour of their foes, until fear fell upon those lands.
Then leaving Hagen with the main army, Siegfried rode forward alone to seek the foe. Nor was it long ere on a plain before him he saw a great host encamped.
In advance of the great army of more than forty thousand men stood a single warrior, as though he were a sentinel guarding the plain. A shining shield of gold was in his hand, and when Siegfried saw that, he knew that the sentinel was none other than Ludegast himself.
Even as Siegfried knew his enemy and spurred forward his steed, Ludegast saw the hero. Digging his spurs into the sides of his horse he also sprang forward, and, with lances poised, the two mighty men met and charged with all their strength.
On dashed the noble steeds as though driven by a tempest, until the King and the Prince drew rein, and turning faced each other once again, their swords now in their hands.
With such great strokes did Siegfried ply his foe, that fiery sparks flamed all around the helmet of the King, while the noise of his mighty blows filled the space around as with peals of thunder.
King Ludegast was a worthy foe and many an ugly thrust did Siegfried parry with his shield. But at length with his good sword Balmung, the hero pierced through the steel harness of Ludegast the King. Three times he struck, until his enemy lay helpless at his feet.
With piteous moan then did Ludegast beg the Prince to spare his life, and this Siegfried did.
Then, as the hero was going to sheathe his sword, up rode thirty of the King's warriors, who had watched the fray from afar. Fiercely they beset the hero who had vanquished their King and stealthily did they seek to rescue his prisoner. But Siegfried brandished his good sword Balmung, and with his own strong right hand slaughtered the thirty warriors, all save one. Him the Prince spared that he might carry the dire tidings of the capture of King Ludegast to the army on the plain.
Then Siegfried, left alone with his royal prisoner, lifted him on to his own charger, and brought him to Hagen.
But the Prince did not linger with the army. Without delay he set out for the forefront of the fray, and close behind him rode his own eleven knights, while Gernot followed with a thousand men. And soon the great plain was a grim battlefield.
Loud and fierce was the conflict. Many a clanging blow fell upon uplifted shields, many an eager sword-thrust struck through helmet and through mail, and ever in the thickest of the fight rode Siegfried, the valiant Prince of the Netherlands.
The hero was seeking for King Ludeger, the leader of the Saxon host. Three times did he cleave his way through the mighty host until at length he stood before the King.
Now Ludeger had seen how Siegfried swung his good sword Balmung, and how he cleft in twain the helmet of many of the toughest warriors in the Saxon army, and his heart was filled with rage. He knew also that his brother Ludegast had been taken captive by this same bold Prince.
Thus it was that when Siegfried stood before his royal foe, the onslaught of the King was more violent than the hero had expected. So violent was it that the Prince's war-horse staggered and well-nigh fell. With a mighty effort, the steed recovered from the shock, but the rage of the hero was terrible. In his eagerness to reach the fierce King Ludeger he dismounted, as also did his foe, and thus they fought, while all around them flew the splinters of broken swords and spears.
At length with a great blow Siegfried struck the shield from Ludeger's hold; a moment more and he had him at his mercy. For the second time that day the Prince was victor over a King.
As Siegfried stooped to bind his prisoner, Ludeger's eyes fell upon the crown which was emblazoned on his victor's shield. Then he knew that the rumour which had reached him was true. This mighty hero was none other than Siegfried, the son of Siegmund, King of the Netherlands.
Vain was it to fight longer with such a hero among their foes, and Ludeger raised his voice loud above the tumult, and cried to his brave Saxon warriors, "My warriors, my lieges, cease to give battle. Lay down your arms, lower your standards, for none may conquer where Prince Siegfried wars."
At Ludeger's words all that was left of the great armies of Danes and Saxons laid down their arms, lowered their standards, while their King humbly sued for peace.
By Hagen's command peace was granted, but Ludeger, along with Ludegast and five hundred warriors who had been taken prisoner, were forced to go with the Burgundians to the royal city of Worms.
The victorious army was soon upon its homeward way, the wounded being carried in litters by the command of King Gernot.
Tidings were sent to King Gunther, telling him to rejoice, for his warriors had won the day. Yet to all it was well known that the victory was due to the prowess of the mighty Prince Siegfried.
Nor did the heralds who were sent to the city with the glad news of victory forget to tell of the marvellous deeds of the hero.
In Worms there had been grief lest their warriors should be vanquished, but now the city was full of triumph, and noble dames and happy maidens gathered round the squires who had brought the good news.
Then Kriemhild sent secretly for one of the squires, for she wished to hear without delay all that had befallen her gallant knight. Had she not mourned his absence and scarce slept the long nights through lest danger should come nigh so fearless a warrior? Had she not vowed to herself that she would own no other knight as lord, save only this great hero? For unawares love had stolen into the tender heart of the Lady Kriemhild.
When the squire was led to the bower of the Princess, he stood quiet, modest before the beauteous lady.
"Tell me the dear tidings," she said, "stint not thy words, and gold will I give to thee in plenty."
Yet at first the Princess had no courage to ask of Siegfried's prowess.
"How fared my brother Gernot, and how have my other kinsmen fought? Are many wounded left upon the field?"
Then to her lips sprang the words she would fain have the squire answer before all others.
"And who did best of any?" said the Princess, and her voice broke, and her tears fell as she spoke.
But the young squire knew what the maiden wished to hear, and he told her of the mighty deeds done on the battlefield, and how ever in the forefront, where the danger was the greatest, was to be seen the gallant Prince of the Netherlands, his good sword Balmung in his hand. Of his two royal captives, too, the young squire told, and as Kriemhild listened to the exploits of her knight, her lovely face became rosy red with delight.
Well rewarded indeed was the squire for his joyous tidings, for the Princess gave him costly raiment and ten gold coins as well.
Ere many more days had passed away there came the tramp of armed men along the banks of the great Rhine river. The troops were coming home.
Then to the windows of the castle rushed the maidens, and among them was the beautiful Princess, and together they watched as the warriors rode through the streets of the royal city.
King Gunther himself went forth to welcome his troops, and to thank the young hero who had so gallantly saved the realm of Burgundy from invasion.
Of all those who had gone forth to battle but sixty men were left behind, stricken by the foe.
The royal prisoners Ludegast and Ludeger the King treated with honour. He indeed promised to set them free if their liegemen, who had been taken prisoners, would stay as hostages in his land. And this the prisoners were well pleased to do, that their Kings might return without ransom to their own lands.
Siegfried the hero now began to think that it was fitting that he should go back to his old father Siegmund, and his dear mother Sieglinde.
But King Gunther, to whom he told his wish, entreated him to stay yet a little longer in the royal city.
"For now," said the King, "will we hold a merry festival and kings and princes will we summon to our court. Stay, then, Sir Siegfried, that thou mayest show thy skill in the great tournament."
Yet it was neither the wishes of the King nor the thought of the tournament which made Siegfried willing to linger on still in the fair Burgundian town. It was the image of a gentle maiden, whom yet he had never seen, which kept him from speeding home to his own country.
Perchance if he waited he would see her soon, the wonder-maiden, whose image even on the battlefield was safe hidden in his heart.
A very young Fox, who had never before seen a Lion, happened to meet one in the forest. A single look was enough to send the Fox off at top speed for the nearest hiding place.
The second time the Fox saw the Lion he stopped behind a tree to look at him a moment before slinking away. But the third time, the Fox went boldly up to the Lion and, without turning a hair, said, "Hello, there, old top."
Familiarity breeds contempt.
Acquaintance with evil blinds us to its dangers.
The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht
Wi' muckle faucht an' din;
O, try an' sleep, ye waukrife rogues,
Your father's comin' in.
They never heed a word I speak;
I try to gi'e a froon,
But aye I hap them up, an' cry,
"O, bairnies, cuddle doon."
Wee Jamie wi' the curly heid—
He aye sleeps neist the wa',
Bangs up an' cries, "I want a piece";
The rascal starts them a'.
I rin an' fetch them pieces, drinks,
They stop awee the soun';
Then draw the blankets up, an' cry,
"Noo, weanies, cuddle doon."
But ere five minutes gang, wee Rab
Cries oot frae 'neath the claes,
"Mither, mak' Tam gie ower at ance—
He's kittlin' wi' his taes."
The mischief's in that Tam for tricks,
He'd bother half the toon;
But aye I hap them up, an' cry,
"O, bairnies, cuddle doon."
At length they hear their father's fit,
And as he steeks the door,
They turn their faces to the wa',
While Tam pretends to snore.
"Hae a' the weans been gud?" he asks,
As he pits aff his shoon;
"The bairnies, John, are in their beds,
An' long since cuddled doon."
An' just afore we bed oorsel's,
We look at oor wee lambs;
Tam has his airm roun' wee Rab's neck,
An' Rab his airm roun' Tam's.
I lift wee Jamie up the bed,
An', as I straik each croon,
I whisper, till my heart fills up,
"O, bairnies, cuddle doon."
The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht,
Wi' mirth that's dear to me;
But sune the big warl's cark an' care
Will quaten doon their glee.
Yet, come what will to ilka ane,
May He who sits aboon
Aye whisper, though their pows be bauld,
"O, bairnies, cuddle doon."
WEEK 7 |
"Not to be wearied, not to be deterred,
Not to be overcome."
—Southey (on Pizarro).
T HE dazzling conquest of Mexico gave a new impulse to American discovery.
"If gold is what you prize so much, that you are willing to leave your distant homes and even risk life itself," the Indian prince had said to Balboa, "I can tell you of a land where they drink out of golden vessels, and gold is as cheap as iron in your own country."
He spoke of Peru, on the western coast of South America, washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Among those who heard him was one Pizarro, who as a young man had climbed the steep mountain with Balboa, and looked his fill on the hitherto unknown waters of the Pacific Ocean.
But it was not till three years after Magellan had sailed across the Pacific Ocean, and five since Cortes had conquered Mexico, that Pizarro got his chance and started off from the little port of Panama in search of the golden kingdom of Peru.
This first expedition was a dismal failure; and after untold hardships Pizarro returned to Panama in a sorry state. Still undaunted in spirit, he again started forth. The land of gold was farther away than he had imagined, the coast was stormy and inhospitable, the natives unfriendly.
At last, however, an expedition was fitted out, and guided by the clever pilot Ruiz, who was well experienced in the navigation of the Pacific, they reached the island of Gallo, near the equator. Here they determined to wait, and send back for more troops from Panama, as there was clearly fighting to be done on the coast of Peru. But this proposal caused a great outcry.
"What," faltered the faint-hearted, "are we to be left in this obscure spot to die of hunger?"
What did they care for lands of gold: they only wanted to go home. But the ships sailed away for help, and
Pizarro was left alone on the far-off island with his discontented crew. They survived on crabs and shell-fish,
picked up on the shore, till the two welcome ships returned well laden with food and men. By this time
Pizarro's men had made up their minds to return to Panama at all costs. Pizarro was determined to go on.
Drawing his sword one day, he traced a line on the sand from east to west. Then turning to the south, he
"Friends and comrades, on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and death; on this side ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches: here Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Spaniard. For my part, I go south."
Saying this, he stepped across the line. The brave pilot and twelve others followed him, while the rest turned their faces homewards.
The old historian speaks with enthusiasm of this little band of men, who in the face of difficulties unequalled in history, with death rather than riches for their reward, never deserted their leader in the hour of his greatest need—an example of loyalty for all future ages.
It was the crisis of Pizarro's life. The little band now sailed southwards, 600 miles south of the equator, touching at various points along the coast. After a year and a half's absence they found themselves once more in the port of Panama, telling their eager listeners that they had indeed found the land of gold, and they had only come back to fit out a new expedition to go and conquer it.
Pizarro now returned to Spain, where he obtained leave from the king to attempt the conquest of Peru, of which he was named Governor, on a promise to pay the king one-fifth part of all the treasure he might get. In February 1531 he landed in Peru with two hundred men and fifty horses. He at once marched south along the coast, built a town, which he called San Miguel, as head-quarters, and learned more of the country he meant to conquer.
Pizarro then started off on his inland journey, to find the monarch, or Inca as he was called, of these parts. It was September 1532 when he began his great march for the Peruvian city of Caxamalca, where the king was to be found. It was a daring enterprise, for between the Spaniards and the old city of Peru rose a great mountain-range, which numbered some of the highest peaks in the whole world. This range was known as the Andes. After a few days' march they saw the stupendous range rising before them, their crests of everlasting snow glittering amid the clouds.
It needed some courage to plunge across those lonely mountain ways to the capital of the Incas.
"Let each man take heart and go forward like a good soldier," cried Pizarro.
"Lead on, wherever thou thinkest best," shouted his devoted followers; "we will follow."
Scrambling up rocks, winding along narrow ledges with yawning chasms below, always leading their horses by the bridle, the brave Spaniards struggled through the very heart of the mountains. At the top they looked down on the little old city of Caxamalea glittering in the sunshine.
Meanwhile the news had reached the Inca that white bearded strangers had come up from the sea, clad in shining array, riding upon "unearthly monsters" and wielding deadly thunderbolts. The ruler of Peru at once sent messengers, laden with presents, to make friends with these strangers.
As the conquerors neared the city, the Inca was carried on his golden litter to meet them.
A solitary white man came forth. It was the Spanish priest, who proceeded to give him a long account of Bible history from the Creation to the call of St Peter, begging him at the same time to accept a Spanish Bible, and thus acknowledge the power of Spain. As the Inca hurled the Bible from him, a number of armed Spaniards rushed out of the houses surrounding the market-place, where they had been in hiding, seized the terrified Inca, and slew his followers. Pizarro had the Inca shut up in a room till his fate should be decided. Making a mark on the wall, as high as his hand would reach, the poor deposed ruler offered the Spaniards as ransom for his life gold enough to fill the room up to the height he had marked. Pizarro accepted the offer, but afterwards he easily put the Inca to death.
A year later Pizarro entered the city of Cuzco, the capital of Peru. The city was full of treasure, as he had expected. There were figures of pure gold and planks of solid silver. The women wore sandals of gold, and their dresses glittered with beads of gold.
So the "Children of the Sun" entered into possession of the old town of Cuzco, and the conquest of golden Peru was practically complete.
When the loads of gold from this rich country and the wonderful tales of adventure reached Spain, there was such excitement as had hardly been felt since Columbus had returned from his first voyage across the Sea of Darkness. Again Spaniards flocked across the seas to the New World, and ships plied between Spain and Peru. Pizarro himself was made a Marquis, and his name was on every lip, for had he not surmounted every obstacle to win this great country for Spain?
T HERE were other beings besides men upon the earth in those days. You ought to know something about them now, because Apollo, while he was banished from the sky, had a great deal to do with them. These beings were called Nymphs, Fauns, and Satyrs.
The Nymphs were a kind of beautiful she-fairies.
Dryads were nymphs who lived in forests.
Hamadryads were nymphs who lived in trees. Every tree has a Hamadryad, who lives in it, who is born when it first grows, and who dies when it dies. So that a Hamadryad is killed whenever a tree is cut down.
Naiads were nymphs belonging to brooks and rivers. Every stream has its Naiad.
Ŏreads were nymphs who lived upon hills and mountains. They used to attend upon Apollo's sister Diana, who went hunting every moonlight night among the hills.
The Fauns and Satyrs were he-creatures, like men, with the hind-legs of goats, short horns on their foreheads, and long pointed ears. But there was a difference between the Fauns and Satyrs. The Fauns were handsome, gentle, innocent, and rather foolish. The Satyrs were hideous, clumsy, hairy monsters, with flat faces, little eyes, and huge mouths, great gluttons, often drunk, and sometimes mischievous: most of them were dull and stupid, but many of them had plenty of sense and knowledge. The Fauns and Satyrs lived among the woods and hills like the Dryads and Oreads.
The king of all these Nymphs, Fauns, and Satyrs was a god named Pan, who was himself a very hideous satyr. He had nothing to do with the gods of Olympus, but lived on the earth, chiefly in a part of Greece called Arcādia. "Pan" is the Greek for "all"—you remember the same word in the name of "Pan-dora." He was called "Pan" because he was the god of "all" nature—all the hills and mountains, all the woods and forests, all the fields, rivers, and streams.
The ugliest, fattest, greediest, tipsiest, cleverest, and wisest of all the satyrs was named Silēnus. He was hardly ever sober, but he knew so much and understood the world so well, that one of the gods, named Bacchus, made Silenus his chief adviser and counselor. You will hear more of Bacchus later on. I will only tell you now that he was not one of the great gods of Olympus, but lived on the earth, like Pan. Only, while Pan was the god of all wild, savage nature, Bacchus was the god of nature as men make it: Bacchus taught men to turn Pan's wild woods into corn-fields and gardens, to put bees into hives, and to make wine. I think Silenus had an especially great deal to do with the wine-making. You will often hear Bacchus called the god of wine, and so he was; but he was a great deal more and better.
This has been a long beginning to my story; but if you will get it well into your head, you will find it easy to remember, and will make a great step in understanding mythology.
Now once upon a time Silenus got very drunk indeed—more drunk even than usual. He was traveling about with Bacchus, but had strayed away by himself, and, when night came on, could not find his way back into the road. He could do nothing but blunder and stagger about in the middle of the thick, dark forest, stumbling and sprawling over the roots of the trees, and knocking his head against the branches. At last he gave a tremendous tumble into a bush, and lay there, too drunk and too fat to pick himself up again. So he went to sleep and snored terribly.
Presently some huntsmen passed by, and thought they heard some wild beast roaring. You may guess their surprise when they found this hideous old satyr helplessly drunk and unable to move. But they did not catch a satyr every day: so they took him by the head and shoulders, and brought him as a prize to the king.
This king was King Midas of Phrygia, which is a country in Asia Minor. As soon as King Midas saw the satyr, he guessed him to be Silenus, the friend of Bacchus: so he did everything to make him comfortable till his drunkenness should pass away. It passed away at last; and then King Midas sent all round about to find where Bacchus was, so that Silenus might go back to him. While the search was being made, the king and the satyr became great friends, and Silenus, keeping fairly sober, gave Midas a great deal of good advice, and taught him science and philosophy.
At last Bacchus was found; and Midas himself brought Silenus back to him. Bacchus was exceedingly glad to see Silenus again, for he was beginning to be afraid that he had lost him forever. "Ask any gift you please," he said to King Midas, "and it shall be yours."
"Grant me," said Midas, "that everything I touch shall turn into gold."
Bacchus looked vexed and disappointed. But he was bound by his promise, and said:—
"It is a fool's wish. But so be it. Everything you touch shall turn to gold."
Midas thanked Bacchus, said good-bye to Silenus and went home. How rich he was going to be—the richest king in the whole world! He opened his palace door, and lo! the door became pure, solid gold. He went from room to room, touching all the furniture, till everything, bedsteads, tables, chairs, all became gold. He got a ladder (which turned into gold in his hands) and touched every brick and stone in his palace, till his whole palace was gold. His horses had golden saddles and golden bridles. His cooks boiled water in golden kettles: his servants swept away golden dust with golden brooms.
When he sat down to dinner, his plate turned to gold. He had become the richest man in the world, thought he with joy and pride, as he helped himself from the golden dish before him. But suddenly his teeth jarred against something hard—harder than bone. Had the cook put a flint into the dish? Alas! it was nothing of the kind. His very food, as soon as it touched his lips, turned to solid gold!
His heart sank within him, while the meat before him mocked his hunger. Was the richest man in the world to starve? A horrible fear came upon him. He poured out wine into a golden cup, and tried to drink, and the wine turned into gold! He sat in despair.
What was he to do? What was the use of all this gold if he could not buy with it a crust of bread or a draught of water? The poorest ploughman was now a richer man than the king. He could only wander about his golden palace till his hunger became starvation, and his thirst a fever. At last, in his despair, he set out and followed after Bacchus again, to implore the god to take back the gift of gold.
At last, when nearly starved to death, he found him. "What!" said Bacchus, "are you not content yet? Do you want more gold still?"
"Gold!" cried Midas, "I hate the horrible word! I am starving. Make me the poorest man in the whole world. Silenus taught me much; but I have learned for myself that a mountain of gold is not the worth of a single drop of dew."
"I will take back my gift, then," said Bacchus. "But I will not give you another instead of it, because all the gods of Olympus could not give you anything better than this lesson. You may wash away your folly in the first river you come to. Good-bye—and only don't think that gold is not a good thing because too much of it is a bad one."
Midas ran to the banks of the river Pactōlus, which ran hard by. He threw off his golden clothes, and hurried barefoot over the sands of the river—and the sand, wherever his naked feet touched it, turned to gold. He plunged into the water, and swam through to the other side. The Curse of the Golden Touch left him, and he ate and drank, and never hungered after gold again. He had learned that the best thing one can do with too much gold is to give it away as fast as one can.
The sand of the river Pactolus is said to have gold in it to this day.
WEEK 7 |
T HERE were once upon a time a King and a Queen who lived happily together, and they had twelve children, all of whom were boys. One day the King said to his wife:
"If our thirteenth child is a girl, all her twelve brothers must die, so that she may be very rich and the kingdom hers alone."
Then he ordered twelve coffins to be made, and filled them with shavings, and placed a little pillow in each. These he put away in an empty room, and, giving the key to his wife, he bade her tell no one of it.
The Queen grieved over the sad fate of her sons and refused to be comforted, so much so that the youngest boy, who was always with her, and whom she had christened Benjamin, said to her one day:
"Dear mother, why are you so sad?"
"My child," she answered, "I may not tell you the reason."
But he left her no peace, till she went and unlocked the room and showed him the twelve coffins filled with shavings, and with the little pillow laid in each.
Then she said: "My dearest Benjamin, your father has had these coffins made for you and your eleven brothers, because if I bring a girl into the world you are all to be killed and buried in them."
She wept bitterly as she spoke, but her son comforted her and said:
"Don't cry, dear mother; we'll manage to escape somehow, and will fly for our lives."
"Yes," replied his mother, "that is what you must do—go with your eleven brothers out into the wood, and let one of you always sit on the highest tree you can find, keeping watch on the tower of the castle. If I give birth to a little son I will wave a white flag, and then you may safely return; but if I give birth to a little daughter I will wave a red flag, which will warn you to fly away as quickly as you can, and may the kind Heaven have pity on you. Every night I will get up and pray for you, in winter that you may always have a fire to warm yourselves by, and in summer that you may not languish in the heat."
Then she blessed her sons and they set out into the wood. They found a very high oak tree, and there they sat, turn about, keeping their eyes always fixed on the castle tower. On the twelfth day, when the turn came to Benjamin, he noticed a flag waving in the air, but alas! it was not white, but blood red, the sign which told them they must all die. When the brothers heard this they were very angry, and said:
"Shall we forsooth suffer death for the sake of a wretched girl? Let us swear vengeance, and vow that wherever and whenever we shall meet one of her sex, she shall die at our hands."
Then they went their way deeper into the wood, and in the middle of it, where it was thickest and darkest, they came upon a little enchanted house which stood empty.
"Here," they said, "let us take up our abode, and you, Benjamin, you are the youngest and weakest, you shall stay at home and keep house for us; we others will go out and fetch food." So they went forth into the wood, and shot hares and roe-deer, birds and wood-pigeons, and any other game they came across. They always brought their spoils home to Benjamin, who soon learnt to make them into dainty dishes. So they lived for ten years in this little house, and the time slipped merrily away.
In the meantime their little sister at home was growing up quickly. She was kind-hearted and of a fair countenance, and she had a gold star right in the middle of her forehead. One day a big washing was going on at the palace, and the girl looking down from her window saw twelve men's shirts hanging up to dry, and asked her mother:
"Who in the world do these shirts belong to? Surely they are far too small for my father?"
And the Queen answered sadly: "Dear child, they belong to your twelve brothers."
"But where are my twelve brothers?" said the girl. "I have never even heard of them."
"Heaven alone knows in what part of the wide world they are wandering," replied her mother.
Then she took the girl and opened the locked-up room; she showed her the twelve coffins filled with shavings, and with the little pillow laid in each.
"These coffins," she said, "were intended for your brothers, but they stole secretly away before you were born."
Then she proceeded to tell her all that had happened, and when she had finished her daughter said:
"Do not cry, dearest mother; I will go and seek my brothers till I find them."
So she took the twelve shirts and went on straight into the middle of the big wood. She walked all day long, and came in the evening to the little enchanted house.
She stepped in and found a youth who, marvelling at her beauty, at the royal robes she wore, and at the golden star on her forehead, asked her where she came from and whither she was going.
"I am a Princess," she answered, "and am seeking for my twelve brothers. I mean to wander as far as the blue sky stretches over the earth till I find them."
Then she showed him the twelve shirts which she had taken with her, and Benjamin saw that it must be his sister, and said:
"I am Benjamin, your youngest brother."
So they wept for joy, and kissed and hugged each other again and again. After a time Benjamin said:
"Dear sister, there is still a little difficulty, for we had all agreed that any girl we met should die at our hands, because it was for the sake of a girl that we had to leave our kingdom."
"But," she replied, "I will gladly die if by that means I can restore my twelve brothers to their own."
"No," he answered, "there is no need for that; only go and hide under that tub till our eleven brothers come in, and I'll soon make matters right with them."
She did as she was bid, and soon the others came home from the chase and sat down to supper.
"Well, Benjamin, what's the news?" they asked.
But he replied, "I like that; have you nothing to tell me?"
"No," they answered.
Then he said: "Well, now, you've been out in the wood all the day and I've stayed quietly at home, and all the same I know more than you do."
"Then tell us," they cried.
But he answered: "Only on condition that you promise faithfully that the first girl we meet shall not be killed."
"She shall be spared," they promised, "only tell us the news."
Then Benjamin said: "Our sister is here!" and he lifted up the tub and the Princess stepped forward, with her royal robes and with the golden star on her forehead, looking so lovely and sweet and charming that they all fell in love with her on the spot.
They arranged that she should stay at home with Benjamin and help him in the house work, while the rest of the brothers went out into the wood and shot hares and roe-deer, birds and wood-pigeons. And Benjamin and his sister cooked their meals for them. She gathered herbs to cook the vegetables in, fetched the wood, and watched the pots on the fire, and always when her eleven brothers returned she had their supper ready for them. Besides this, she kept the house in order, tidied all the rooms, and made herself so generally useful that her brothers were delighted, and they all lived happily together.
One day the two at home prepared a fine feast, and when they were all assembled they sat down and ate and drank and made merry.
Now there was a little garden round the enchanted house, in which grew twelve tall lilies. The girl, wishing to please her brothers, plucked the twelve flowers, meaning to present one to each of them as they sat at supper. But hardly had she plucked the flowers when her brothers were turned into twelve ravens, who flew croaking over the wood, and the house and garden vanished also.
So the poor girl found herself left all alone in the wood, and as she looked round her she noticed an old woman standing close beside her, who said:
"My child, what have you done? Why didn't you leave the flowers alone? They were your twelve brothers. Now they are changed for ever into ravens."
The girl asked, sobbing: "Is there no means of setting them free?"
"No," said the old woman, "there is only one way in the whole world, and that is so difficult that you won't free them by it, for you would have to be dumb and not laugh for seven years, and if you spoke a single word, though but an hour were wanting to the time, your silence would all have been in vain, and that one word would slay your brothers."
Then the girl said to herself: "If that is all I am quite sure I can free my brothers." So she searched for a high tree, and when she had found one she climbed up it and spun all day long, never laughing or speaking one word.
Now it happened one day that a King who was hunting in the wood had a large greyhound, who ran sniffing to the tree on which the girl sat, and jumped round it, yelping and barking furiously. The King's attention was attracted, and when he looked up and beheld the beautiful Princess with the golden star on her forehead, he was so enchanted by her beauty that he asked her on the spot to be his wife. She gave no answer, but nodded slightly with her head. Then he climbed up the tree himself, lifted her down, put her on his horse and bore her home to his palace.
The marriage was celebrated with much pomp and ceremony, but the bride neither spoke nor laughed.
When they had lived a few years happily together, the King's mother, who was a wicked old woman, began to slander the young Queen, and said to the King:
"She is only a low-born beggar maid that you have married; who knows what mischief she is up to? If she is deaf and can't speak, she might at least laugh; depend upon it, those who don't laugh have a bad conscience." At first the King paid no heed to her words, but the old woman harped so long on the subject, and accused the young Queen of so many bad things, that at last he let himself be talked over, and condemned his beautiful wife to death.
So a great fire was lit in the courtyard of the palace, where she was to be burnt, and the King watched the proceedings from an upper window, crying bitterly the while, for he still loved his wife dearly. But just as she had been bound to the stake, and the flames were licking her garments with their red tongues, the very last moment of the seven years had come. Then a sudden rushing sound was heard in the air, and twelve ravens were seen flying overhead.
They swooped downwards, and as soon as they touched the ground they turned into her twelve brothers, and she knew that she had freed them.
They quenched the flames and put out the fire, and, unbinding their dear sister from the stake, they kissed and hugged her again and again. And now that she was able to open her mouth and speak, she told the King why she had been dumb and not able to laugh.
The King rejoiced greatly when he heard she was innocent, and they all lived happily ever afterwards.
T HERE are many kinds of bees. The chief of them all is the hive bee. What does the hive bee make for you to eat?
In each hive there are three kinds of bees. The queen bee is the first. She rules all, and she is the mother of all.
The queen bee does no work. She lays eggs in the cells. The father bee is called the drone. He does no work.
Who, then, builds so many fine cells? Who lays up so much honey? Who feeds the baby bees? The small, quiet, brown work bees do all that.
In each hive there is one queen bee to lay eggs. Also there are the drone bees, who hum and walk about. Then there are more than you can count, of work bees, to do all that is done.
How does a bee grow? Like the wasp, the bee is first an egg. Then it is a grub, or a worm. Then, shut in a cell, it gets legs and wings, and grows into a full-grown bee.
The bee is formed of three parts, as a wasp is; but the body is not so slim. The parts are put close to each other. The bee has six legs, and four wings, and many eyes set close like one.
The bee has many hairs on its legs and body. These fine hairs are its velvet coat.
The body of the bee is made of rings of different sizes and shapes; all insects are ring made.
Part of the mouth is a long tongue. It can roll this up: it uses it to get honey from flowers.
The drone bee has a thick body, a round head, and no sting. The queen bee has a long, slim body. Her wings are small. She can sting: so can the work bee.
The work bee is not so large as the other two, but it has large wings. The work bee must fly far for food or wax. The queen bee stays at home.
Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray;
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.
No mate, no comrade, Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide moor,
—The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!
You yet may spy the fawn at play,
The hare upon the green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.
"To-night will be a stormy night—
You to the town must go:
And take a lantern, child, to light
Your mother through the snow."
"That, father, will I gladly do:
'Tis scarcely afternoon—
The minster-clock has just struck two;
And yonder is the moon."
At this the father raised his hook,
And snapped a fagot-band;
He plied his work;—and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.
Not blither is the mountain roe:
With many a wanton stroke
Her feet disperse the powdery snow,
That rises up like smoke.
The storm came on before its time,
She wandered up and down;
And many a hill did Lucy climb,
But never reached the town.
The wretched parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide;
But there was neither sound nor sight
To serve them for a guide.
At daybreak on a hill they stood
That overlooked the moor;
And thence they saw the bridge of wood,
A furlong from their door.
They wept—and, turning homeward, cried,
"In heaven we all shall meet!"
—When in the snow the mother spied
The print of Lucy's feet.
Then downwards from the steep hill's edge
They tracked the footmarks small;
And through the broken hawthorn hedge,
And by the low stone wall:
And then an open field they crossed;
The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost;
And to the bridge they came.
They follow from the snowy bank
Those footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank;
And further there were none!
—Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living child;
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
Upon the lonesome wild.
O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song
That whistles in the wind.
WEEK 7 |
I Kings xviii: 1 to 46.
HREE years passed after Elijah gave the message of the Lord to King Ahab, and in all that time no rain fell upon the land of Israel. Everywhere the brooks ceased to flow, the springs became dry, the ground was parched, and the fields gave no harvest. There was no grass for the cattle and the flocks, and there was scarcely any food for the people.
King Ahab was in great trouble. He knew that Elijah had the power to call down rain; but Elijah was nowhere to be found. He sent men to search for him everywhere in the land, and he asked the kings of the nations around to look for him in their countries; for he hoped to persuade the prophet to set the land free from the long drought by calling for rain.
When the land was at its worst, in the third year, Ahab called the chief of his servants, the man who stood next to the king. His name was Obadiah, and, unlike Ahab, he was a good man, worshipping the Lord, and trying to do right. Once, when Queen Jezebel sought to kill all the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah hid a hundred of them in two caves, fifty in each cave, and gave them food, and kept them in safety.
Ahab said to Obadiah, "Let us go through all the land, you in one part, and I in another, and look for running streams and fountains of water. Perhaps we can find some water, enough to save a part of the horses and mules, so that we may not lose them all."
And as Obadiah was going through his part of the country, looking for water, suddenly Elijah met him. Obadiah knew Elijah at once. He fell on his face before him, and said, "Is this my lord Elijah?"
And Elijah answered him, "Yes, it is I, Elijah. Go and tell your master that Elijah is here."
And Obadiah said, "Oh, my Lord, what wrong have I done,
that you would cause King Ahab to kill me? For there
is not a land where Ahab has not sent for you; and now
when I go to tell him that you are here, the Spirit of
the Lord will send you away to some other place, and
then if Ahab cannot find you he will be angry at me,
and kill me. Do you not know that I fear the Lord, and
serve him?" And Elijah said, "As the Lord God lives, I
will surely show myself to King Ahab
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him of Elijah's coming; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, "Are you here, you that have brought all this trouble upon Israel?"
And Elijah answered the king, "I am not the one that has brought trouble upon Israel. It is you, and your house; for you have turned away from the commands of the Lord, and have worshipped the images of Baal. Now send and bring all the people to Mount Carmel, and with them the four hundred prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of the Asherah, who ate at Jezebel's table."
So Ahab did as Elijah commanded, and brought all the people to Mount Carmel, which stands by the Great Sea. And Elijah stood before all the multitude, and he said to them. "How long will you go halting and limping back and forth between two sides, not choosing either? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, then follow him."
And the people had not a word to say. Then Elijah
spoke again, and said, "I am alone, the only prophet of
the Lord here
And the people said, "What you have spoken is right. We will do as you say, and will see who is the true God."
Then the two oxen were brought, and one was cut in pieces and laid on the altar of Baal The prophets of Baal stood around the altar, and cried aloud, "O Baal, hear us!" But there was no answer, nor any voice. After a time the worshippers of Baal became furious. They leaped and danced around the altar, and they cut themselves with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them And Elijah laughed at them, and mocked them, calling out, "Call out louder, for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is sitting still and thinking, or he has gone on a journey; or perhaps he is asleep, and must be awaked!"
But it was all in vain. The middles of the afternoon came, and there was no answer. The altar stood with its offering, but no fire came upon it. Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me."
And they came near He found an old altar to the Lord that had been thrown down, and he took twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes, and piled them up to from the altar anew. Around the altar he dug a trench, to carry away water. Then he cut wood, and laid it on the altar, and on the wood he placed the young ox, cut into pieces for a sacrifice. Then he said, "Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the offering."
Elijah's sacrifice on Mount Carmel.
The Great Sea was near at hand, in sight of all the people; and from it they brought four barrels of water, and poured it on the altar. He called upon them to do it again, and a third time, until the offering, and the wood, and the altar were soaked through and through, and the trench was filled with water.
Then, in the sight of all the people, Elijah, the prophet, drew near, and stood all alone before the altar, and prayed in these words, "O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Lord, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back again to thyself."
Then the fire fell from the Lord, and burned up the offering, and the wood, and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they cried, "The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!" And Elijah said to the people, "Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape!"
They took them all, four hundred and fifty men; and by Elijah's command they brought them down to the dry bed of the brook Kishon, at the foot of the mountain; and there Elijah caused them to be put death, because they had led Israel into sin.
Ahab, the king, was present upon Mount Carmel, and saw all that had been done. Elijah now said to Ahab, "Rise up; eat and drink; for there is a sound of a great rain."
While Ahab was eating and drinking, Elijah was praying upon Mount Carmel. He bowed down, with his face between his knees, and prayed to the Lord to send rain. After a time he sent his servant up to the top of the mountain, saying, "Go up and look toward the sea."
The servant went up, and came back, saying, "I can see nothing."
Elijah sent him up seven times; and at the seventh time his servant said, "I see a cloud rising out of the sea as small as a man's hand."
Then Elijah sent to Ahab, saying, "Hasten; make ready your chariot before the rain stops you."
In a little while the sky was covered with black clouds, and there came a great rain. And Ahab rode in his chariot to his palace at Jezreel, on the eastern side of the great plain. And the power of the Lord was on Elijah, and he ran before Ahab's chariot to the gate of the city.
Thus in one day a great victory was wrought for the Lord God, and the power of Baal was thrown down.
Some hours later, just as the night was beginning to steal away, Pooh woke up suddenly with a sinking feeling. He had had that sinking feeling before, and he knew what it meant. He was hungry. So he went to the larder, and he stood on a chair and reached up to the top shelf, and found—nothing.
"That's funny," he thought. "I know I had a jar of honey there. A full jar, full of honey right up to the top, and it had HUNNY written on it, so that I should know it was honey. That's very funny." And then he began to wander up and down, wondering where it was and murmuring a murmur to himself. Like this:
It's very, very funny,
'Cos I know I had some honey;
'Cos it had a label on,
A goloptious full-up pot too,
And I don't know where it's got to,
No, I don't know where it's
Well, it's tunny.
He had murmured this to himself three times in a singing sort of way, when suddenly he remembered. He had put it into the Cunning Trap to catch the Heffalump.
"Bother!" said Pooh. "It all comes of trying to be kind to Heffalumps." And he got back into bed.
But he couldn't sleep. The more he tried to sleep, the more he couldn't. He tried Counting Sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps. And that was worse. Because every Heffalump that he counted was making straight for a pot of Pooh's honey, and eating it all.
For some minutes he lay there miserably, but when the five hundred and eighty-seventh Heffalump was licking its jaws, and saying to itself, "Very good honey this, I don't know when I've tasted better," Pooh could bear it no longer. He jumped out of bed, he ran out of the house, and he ran straight to the Six Pine Trees.
The Sun was still in bed, but there was a lightness in the sky over the Hundred Acre Wood which seemed to show that it was waking up and would soon be kicking off the clothes. In the half-light the Pine Trees looked cold and lonely, and the Very Deep Pit seemed deeper than it was, and Pooh's jar of honey at the bottom was something mysterious, a shape and no more. But as he got nearer to it his nose told him that it was indeed honey, and his tongue came out and began to polish up his mouth, ready for it.
"Bother!" said Pooh, as he got his nose inside the jar. "A Heffalump has been eating it!" And then he thought a little and said, "Oh, no, I did. I forgot."
Indeed, he had eaten most of it. But there was a little left at the very bottom of the jar, and he pushed his head right in, and began to lick. . . .
By and by Piglet woke up. As soon as he woke he said to himself, "Oh!" Then he said bravely, "Yes," and then, still more bravely, "Quite so." But he didn't feel very brave, for the word which was really jiggeting about in his brain was "Heffalumps."
What was a Heffalump like?
Was it Fierce?
Did it come when you whistled? And how did it come?
Was it Fond of Pigs at all?
If it was Fond of Pigs, did it make any difference what sort of Pig?
Supposing it was Fierce with Pigs, would it make any difference if the Pig had a grandfather called TRESPASSERS WILLIAM?
He didn't know the answer to any of these questions . . . and he was going to see his first Heffalump in about an hour from now!
Of course Pooh would be with him, and it was much more Friendly with two. But suppose Heffalumps were Very Fierce with Pigs and Bears? Wouldn't it be better to pretend that he had a headache, and couldn't go up to the Six Pine Trees this morning? But then suppose that it was a very fine day, and there was no Heffalump in the trap, here he would be, in bed all the morning, simply wasting his time for nothing. What should he do?
And then he had a Clever Idea. He would go up very quietly to the Six Pine Trees now, peep very cautiously into the Trap, and see if there was a Heffalump there. And if there was, he would go back to bed, and if there wasn't, he wouldn't.
So off he went. At first he thought that there wouldn't be a Heffalump in the Trap, and then he thought that there would, and as he got nearer he was sure that there would, because he could hear it heffalumping about it like anything.
"Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear!" said Piglet to himself. And he wanted to run away. But somehow, having got so near, he felt that he must just see what a Heffalump was like. So he crept to the side of the Trap and looked in. . .
And all the time Winnie-the-Pooh had been trying to get the honey-jar off his head. The more he shook it, the more tightly it stuck. "Bother!" he said, inside the jar, and "Oh, help!" and, mostly, "Ow!" And he tried bumping it against things, but as he couldn't see what he was bumping it against, it didn't help him; and he tried to climb out of the Trap, but as he could see nothing but jar, and not much of that, he couldn't find his way. So at last he lifted up his head, jar and all, and made a loud, roaring noise of Sadness and Despair . . . and it was at that moment that Piglet looked down.
"Help, help!" cried Piglet, "a Heffalump, a Horrible Heffalump!" and he scampered off as hard as he could, still crying out, "Help, help, a Herrible Hoffalump! Hoff, Hoff, a Hellible Horralump! Holl, Holl, a Hoffable Hellerump!" And he didn't stop crying and scampering until he got to Christopher Robin's house.
"Whatever's the matter, Piglet?" said Christopher Robin, who was just getting up.
"Heff," said Piglet, breathing so hard that he could hardly speak, "a Heff—a Heff—a Heffalump."
"Up there," said Piglet, waving his paw.
"What did it look like?"
"Like—like— It had the biggest head you ever saw, Christopher Robin. A great enormous thing, like—like nothing. A huge big—well, like a—I don't know—like an enormous big nothing. Like a jar."
"Well," said Christopher Robin, putting on his shoes, "I shall go and look at it. Come on."
Piglet wasn't afraid if he had Christopher. Robin with him, so off they went. . . .
"I can hear it, can't you?" said Piglet anxiously, as they got near.
"I can hear something," said Robin.
It was Pooh bumping his head against a tree-root he had found.
"There!" said Piglet. "Isn't it awful?" And he held on tight to Christopher Robin's hand.
Suddenly Christopher Robin began to laugh . . . and he laughed . . . and he laughed . . . and he laughed. And while he was still laughing—Crash went the Heffalump's head against the tree-root, Smash went the jar, and out came Pooh's head again. . . .
Then Piglet saw what a Foolish Piglet he had been, and he was so ashamed of himself that he ran straight off home and went to bed with a headache. But Christopher Robin and Pooh went home to breakfast together.
"Oh, Bear!" said Christopher Robin. "How I do love you!"
"So do I," said Pooh.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star;
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!
When the blazing sun is set,
And the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky.
Then if I were in the dark,
I would thank you for your spark;
I could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.