Text of Plan #981
  WEEK 8  


The Secret Garden  by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Robin Who Showed the Way

S HE looked at the key quite a long time. She turned it over and over, and thought about it. As I have said before, she was not a child who had been trained to ask permission or consult her elders about things. All she thought about the key was that if it was the key to the closed garden, and she could find out where the door was, she could perhaps open it and see what was inside the walls, and what had happened to the old rose-trees. It was because it had been shut up so long that she wanted to see it. It seemed as if it must be different from other places and that something strange must have happened to it during ten years. Besides that, if she liked it she could go into it every day and shut the door behind her, and she could make up some play of her own and play it quite alone, because nobody would ever know where she was, but would think the door was still locked and the key buried in the earth. The thought of that pleased her very much.

Living as it were, all by herself in a house with a hundred mysteriously closed rooms and having nothing whatever to do to amuse herself, had set her inactive brain to working and was actually awakening her imagination. There is no doubt that the fresh, strong, pure air from the moor had a great deal to do with it. Just as it had given her an appetite, and fighting with the wind had stirred her blood, so the same things had stirred her mind. In India she had always been too hot and languid and weak to care much about anything, but in this place she was beginning to care and to want to do new things. Already she felt less "contrary," though she did not know why.

She put the key in her pocket and walked up and down her walk. No one but herself ever seemed to come there, so she could walk slowly and look at the wall, or, rather, at the ivy growing on it. The ivy was the baffling thing. Howsoever carefully she looked she could see nothing but thickly-growing, glossy, dark green leaves. She was very much disappointed. Something of her contrariness came back to her as she paced the walk and looked over it at the tree-tops inside. It seemed so silly, she said to herself, to be near it and not be able to get in. She took the key in her pocket when she went back to the house, and she made up her mind that she would always carry it with her when she went out, so that if she ever should find the hidden door she would be ready.

Mrs. Medlock had allowed Martha to sleep all night at the cottage, but she was back at her work in the morning with cheeks redder than ever and in the best of spirits.

"I got up at four o'clock," she said. "Eh! it was pretty on th' moor with th' birds gettin' up an' th' rabbits scamperin' about an' th' sun risin'. I didn't walk all th' way. A man gave me a ride in his cart an' I can tell you I did enjoy myself."

She was full of stories of the delights of her day out. Her mother had been glad to see her and they had got the baking and washing all out of the way. She had even made each of the children a dough-cake with a bit of brown sugar in it.

"I had 'em all pipin' hot when they came in from playin' on th' moor. An' th' cottage all smelt o' nice, clean hot bakin' an' there was a good fire, an' they just shouted for joy. Our Dickon he said our cottage was good enough for a king to live in."

In the evening they had all sat round the fire, and Martha and her mother had sewed patches on torn clothes and mended stockings and Martha had told them about the little girl who had come from India and who had been waited on all her life by what Martha called "blacks" until she didn't know how to put on her own stockings.

"Eh! they did like to hear about you," said Martha. "They wanted to know all about th' blacks an' about th' ship you came in. I couldn't tell 'em enough."

Mary reflected a little.

"I'll tell you a great deal more before your next day out," she said, "so that you will have more to talk about. I dare say they would like to hear about riding on elephants and camels, and about the officers going to hunt tigers."

"My word!" cried delighted Martha. "It would set 'em clean off their heads. Would tha' really do that, Miss? It would be same as a wild beast show like we heard they had in York once."

"India is quite different from Yorkshire," Mary said slowly, as she thought the matter over. "I never thought of that. Did Dickon and your mother like to hear you talk about me?"

"Why, our Dickon's eyes nearly started out o' his head, they got that round," answered Martha. "But mother, she was put out about your seemin' to be all by yourself like. She said, 'Hasn't Mr. Craven got no governess for her, nor no nurse?' and I said, 'No, he hasn't, though Mrs. Medlock says he will when he thinks of it, but she says he mayn't think of it for two or three years.' "

"I don't want a governess," said Mary sharply.

"But mother says you ought to be learnin' your book by this time an' you ought to have a woman to look after you, an' she says: 'Now, Martha, you just think how you'd feel yourself, in a big place like that, wanderin' about all alone, an' no mother. You do your best to cheer her up,' she says, an' I said I would."

Mary gave her a long, steady look.

"You do cheer me up," she said. "I like to hear you talk."

Presently Martha went out of the room and came back with something held in her hands under her apron.

"What does tha' think," she said, with a cheerful grin. "I've brought thee a present."

"A present!" exclaimed Mistress Mary. How could a cottage full of fourteen hungry people give any one a present!

"A man was drivin' across the moor peddlin'," Martha explained. "An' he stopped his cart at our door. He had pots an' pans an' odds an' ends, but mother had no money to buy anythin'. Just as he was goin' away our 'Lizabeth Ellen called out, 'Mother, he's got skippin'-ropes with red an' blue handles.' An' mother she calls out quite sudden, 'Here, stop, mister! How much are they?' An' he says 'Tuppence,' an' mother she began fumblin' in her pocket an' she says to me, 'Martha, tha's brought me thy wages like a good lass, an' I've got four places to put every penny, but I'm just goin' to take tuppence out of it to buy that child a skippin'-rope,' an' she bought one an' here it is."

She brought it out from under her apron and exhibited it quite proudly. It was a strong, slender rope with a striped red and blue handle at each end, but Mary Lennox had never seen a skipping-rope before. She gazed at it with a mystified expression.

"What is it for?" she asked curiously.

"For!" cried out Martha. "Does tha' mean that they've not got skippin'-ropes in India, for all they've got elephants and tigers and camels! No wonder most of 'em's black. This is what it's for; just watch me."

And she ran into the middle of the room and, taking a handle in each hand, began to skip, and skip, and skip, while Mary turned in her chair to stare at her, and the queer faces in the old portraits seemed to stare at her, too, and wonder what on earth this common little cottager had the impudence to be doing under their very noses. But Martha did not even see them. The interest and curiosity in Mistress Mary's face delighted her, and she went on skipping and counted as she skipped until she had reached a hundred.

"I could skip longer than that," she said when she stopped. "I've skipped as much as five hundred when I was twelve, but I wasn't as fat then as I am now, an' I was in practice."

Mary got up from her chair beginning to feel excited herself.

"It looks nice," she said. "Your mother is a kind woman. Do you think I could ever skip like that?"

"You just try it," urged Martha, handing her the skipping-rope. "You can't skip a hundred at first, but if you practise you'll mount up. That's what mother said. She says, 'Nothin' will do her more good than skippin' rope. It's th' sensiblest toy a child can have. Let her play out in th' fresh air skippin' an' it'll stretch her legs an' arms an' give her some strength in 'em.' "

It was plain that there was not a great deal of strength in Mistress Mary's arms and legs when she first began to skip. She was not very clever at it, but she liked it so much that she did not want to stop.

"Put on tha' things and run an' skip out o' doors," said Martha. "Mother said I must tell you to keep out o' doors as much as you could, even when it rains a bit, so as tha' wrap up warm."

Mary put on her coat and hat and took her skipping-rope over her arm. She opened the door to go out, and then suddenly thought of something and turned back rather slowly.

"Martha," she said, "they were your wages. It was your twopence really. Thank you." She said it stiffly because she was not used to thanking people or noticing that they did things for her. "Thank you," she said, and held out her hand because she did not know what else to do.

Martha gave her hand a clumsy little shake, as if she was not accustomed to this sort of thing either. Then she laughed.

"Eh! tha' art a queer, old-womanish thing," she said. "If tha'd been our 'Lizabeth Ellen tha'd have give me a kiss."

Mary looked stiffer than ever.

"Do you want me to kiss you?"

Martha laughed again.

"Nay, not me," she answered. "If tha' was different, p'raps tha'd want to thysel'. But tha' isn't. Run off outside an' play with thy rope."

Mistress Mary felt a little awkward as she went out of the room. Yorkshire people seemed strange, and Martha was always rather a puzzle to her. At first she had disliked her very much, but now she did not.

The skipping-rope was a wonderful thing. She counted and skipped, and skipped and counted, until her cheeks were quite red, and she was more interested than she had ever been since she was born. The sun was shining and a little wind was blowing—not a rough wind, but one which came in delightful little gusts and brought a fresh scent of newly turned earth with it. She skipped round the fountain garden, and up one walk and down another. She skipped at last into the kitchen-garden and saw Ben Weatherstaff digging and talking to his robin, which was hopping about him. She skipped down the walk toward him and he lifted his head and looked at her with a curious expression. She had wondered if he would notice her. She really wanted him to see her skip.

"Well!" he exclaimed. "Upon my word! P'raps tha' art a young 'un, after all, an' p'raps tha's got child's blood in thy veins instead of sour buttermilk. Tha's skipped red into thy cheeks as sure as my name's Ben Weatherstaff. I wouldn't have believed tha' could do it."

"I never skipped before," Mary said. "I'm just beginning. I can only go up to twenty."

"Tha' keep on," said Ben. "Tha' shapes well enough at it for a young 'un that's lived with heathen. Just see how he's watchin' thee," jerking his head toward the robin. "He followed after thee yesterday. He'll be at it again to-day. He'll be bound to find out what th' skippin'-rope is. He's never seen one. Eh!" shaking his head at the bird, "tha' curosity will be th' death of thee sometime if tha' doesn't look sharp."

Mary skipped round all the gardens and round the orchard, resting every few minutes. At length she went to her own special walk and made up her mind to try if she could skip the whole length of it. It was a good long skip and she began slowly, but before she had gone half-way down the path she was so hot and breathless that she was obliged to stop. She did not mind much, because she had already counted up to thirty. She stopped with a little laugh of pleasure, and there, lo and behold, was the robin swaying on a long branch of ivy. He had followed her and he greeted her with a chirp. As Mary had skipped toward him she felt something heavy in her pocket strike against her at each jump, and when she saw the robin she laughed again.

"You showed me where the key was yesterday," she said. "You ought to show me the door to-day; but I don't believe you know!"

The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off—and they are nearly always doing it.

Mary Lennox had heard a great deal about Magic in her Ayah's stories, and she always said that what happened almost at that moment was Magic.

One of the nice little gusts of wind rushed down the walk, and it was a stronger one than the rest. It was strong enough to wave the branches of the trees, and it was more than strong enough to sway the trailing sprays of untrimmed ivy hanging from the wall. Mary had stepped close to the robin, and suddenly the gust of wind swung aside some loose ivy trails, and more suddenly still she jumped toward it and caught it in her hand. This she did because she had seen something under it—a round knob which had been covered by the leaves hanging over it. It was the knob of a door.

She put her hands under the leaves and began to pull and push them aside. Thick as the ivy hung, it nearly all was a loose and swinging curtain, though some had crept over wood and iron. Mary's heart began to thump and her hands to shake a little in her delight and excitement. The robin kept singing and twittering away and tilting his head on one side, as if he were as excited as she was. What was this under her hands which was square and made of iron and which her fingers found a hole in?

It was the lock of the door which had been closed ten years and she put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key and found it fitted the keyhole. She put the key in and turned it. It took two hands to do it, but it did turn.


And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if any one was coming. No one was coming. No one ever did come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly—slowly.

Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight.

She was standing inside  the secret garden.


Fifty Famous People  by James Baldwin

"Becos! Becos! Becos!"

T HOUSANDS of years ago the greatest country, in the world was Egypt.

It was a beautiful land lying on both sides of the wonderful river Nile. In it were many great cities; and from one end of it to the other there were broad fields of grain and fine pastures for sheep and cattle.

The people of Egypt were very proud; for they believed that they were the first and oldest of all nations.

"It was in our country that the first men and women lived," they said. "All the people of the world were once Egyptians."

A king of Egypt, whose name was Psammeticus, wished to make sure whether this was true or not. How could he find out?

He tried first one plan and then another; but none of them proved anything at all. Then he called his wisest men together and asked them, "Is it really true that the first people in the world were Egyptians?"

They answered, "We cannot tell you, O King; for none of our histories go back so far."

Then Psammeticus tried still another plan.

He sent out among the poor people of the city and found two little babies who had never heard a word spoken. He gave these to a shepherd and ordered him to bring them up among his sheep, far from the homes of men.

"You must never speak a word to them," said the king; "and you must not permit any person to speak in their hearing."

The shepherd did as he was bidden. He took the children far away to a green valley where his flocks were feeding. There he cared for them with love and kindness; but no word did he speak in their hearing.

They grew up healthy and strong. They played with the lambs in the field and saw no human being but the shepherd.

Thus two or three years went by. Then, one evening when the shepherd came home from a visit to the city, he was delighted to see the children running out to meet him. They held up their hands, as though asking for something, and cried out, "Becos! becos! becos!"


The shepherd led them gently back to the hut and gave them their usual supper of bread and milk. He said nothing to them, but wondered where they had heard the strange word "becos," and what was its meaning.

After that, whenever the children were hungry, they cried out, "Becos! becos! becos!" till the shepherd gave them something to eat.

Some time later, the shepherd went to the city and told the king that the children had learned to speak one word, but how or from whom, he did not know.

"What is that word?" asked the king.


Then the king called one of the wisest scholars in Egypt and asked him what the word meant.

"Becos," said the wise man, "is a Phrygian word, and it means bread."

"Then what shall we understand by these children being able to speak a Phrygian word which they have never heard from other lips?" asked the king.

"We are to understand that the Phrygian language was the first of all languages," was the answer. "These children are learning it just as the first people who lived on the earth learned it in the beginning."

"Therefore," said the king, "must we conclude that the Phrygians were the first and oldest of all the nations?"

"Certainly," answered the wise man.

And from that time the Egyptians always spoke of the Phrygians as being of an older race than themselves.

This was an odd way of proving something, for, as every one can readily see, it proved nothing.


Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Snowdrop

Many, many welcomes,

February, fair maid,

Ever as of old time,

Solitary firstling,

Coming in the cold time,

Prophet of the gay time,

Prophet of the May time,

Prophet of the roses,

Many, many welcomes,

February, fair maid.


  WEEK 8  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Vortigern and King Constans

D URING nearly all the time that the Romans remained in Britain, the Britons fought with them and rebelled against them. But, strange to say, hardly had the Romans gone away than the Britons wanted them to come back.

While they remained in Britain the Romans took all the strongest and bravest of the Britons for soldiers. They made them go into the Roman army and taught them how to fight like the Romans. When they left Britain they took away all these British soldiers as well as their own. So the poor country was left with very few men who were able to fight. There were no great generals either like Cassivelaunus, Caractacus or Boadicea to lead them. And in those days, when people were almost always fighting and quarrelling, it was very necessary not only to have brave soldiers, but wise generals.

You will remember that the Romans built two walls across Britain, in order to keep back the wild people who lived in the north—that is, in the part of the island which we now call Scotland.

As long as the Romans remained in Britain they rebuilt and repaired these walls whenever it was necessary. Soldiers, too, lived in the forts, which were placed at short distances along the walls. These soldiers kept watch so that the Picts and Scots had not much chance of getting into the south part of the island.

But when the Romans went away, there was no one to guard and repair these walls. The Picts and Scots soon found this out. They broke down the walls and overran the whole south country, reaching even as far as London. Fierce and brave as the Britons were, they were no match for the Picts and Scots. Besides, they had very few soldiers left, and no great leader. So in despair they sent a letter to the Roman Emperor, asking for help. This letter was so sad, that it was called "The groans of the Britons."

"Come and help us," it said, "for the barbarians drive us into the sea, and the sea drives us back again to the barbarians. So those of us who are not killed in battle are drowned, and soon there will be none of us left at all."

The Romans, you remember, called the Britons barbarians, and now the Britons in their turn called the Picts and Scots barbarians.

But by this time the Romans had as much as they could do to fight their own battles. They could spare no soldiers to send to Britain, so the Britons had to help themselves as best they could.

It was a very sad and miserable time for Britain, till at last a wise king called Constantine began to reign, and he succeeded in driving the Picts and Scots back into their own country.

But one day a wicked Pict killed this wise king, and things became as bad as ever, if not worse. For the people, besides fighting with their enemies, began to quarrel among themselves as to who should be king next.

King Constantine had three sons. The eldest, Constans, was a monk. A monk is a man who takes a vow that he will not marry and have a home of his own. He lives in a big house with other monks, and spends his time in praying, in reading good books, and in helping people who are poor or ill.

Constantine's eldest son was a man like this; his two younger sons, who were called Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon, were little boys.

Now some people said, "We cannot have a monk for our king." Others said, "We cannot have little boys." So they quarrelled.

Among the nobles of Britain was a prince called Vortigern. He was very wise, but not very good. He now went to Constans and said to him, "Your father is dead. Your brothers are only little boys. You ought to be king. Be a monk no longer, but trust yourself to me and I will make you king. Only you must promise to take me for your chief adviser."

It is considered a very wicked thing for a man to break his vows and cease to be a monk, after he has promised to be one for all his life. But perhaps Constans was rather tired of that way of living, for he promised to do everything that Vortigern asked.

Vortigern took Constans away from the monastery, as the house in which monks live is called. They went to London together and Vortigern marched into the king's palace, took the crown, and put it on Constans's head. Then he told the people that Constans was their new king.

The people were not very pleased at having a king chosen for them in this way, but, as Vortigern was such a powerful prince, they were afraid to fight with him. So they let Constans be king.

Now Vortigern really wanted to get the whole of the power for himself. He knew that Constans, having lived all his life in a monastery, could not know much about ruling people. So, although Constans was called king, it was really Vortigern who ruled. First, Vortigern took charge of the king's money. Next, he got all the strong castles into his hands, and filled them with his own soldiers. Then he said to the King, "I hear that the Picts and Scots are coming to fight against us again. We ought to have more soldiers."

King Constans replied, "I leave everything to you. Get more soldiers if you think we need them."

Then Vortigern said, "I think the Picts would be the very best soldiers to get. They will come and fight for us, if we pay them well." In those days people did not always fight for their own country. There were many soldiers who would fight for any country and any cause, if only they were paid well.

So Vortigern sent to Scotland for a hundred Picts. When they came he treated them very kindly. He gave them more money and better food and clothes than any of the other soldiers. The Picts thought Vortigern was a very kind master. They soon saw that he really had all the power, and that Constans was only a pretence king.

Now Vortigern wanted these Picts to murder Constans. But he was too cunning to tell them this plainly, so one day he appeared with a sad face and told the Picts that Constans gave him so little money that he could not afford to live in Britain any more, and must go somewhere else.

This made the Picts very angry with Constans. They were so afraid of losing their kind master, that they resolved to kill Constans and make Vortigern king.

That night, while Constans was asleep, they rushed into his room, cut off his head, and carried it to Vortigern.

Vortigern was really delighted that his plan had succeeded so well. But he pretended to be very sad at the death of Constans, and very angry with those who had killed him. He ordered all the Picts to be put into prison, and then had their heads cut off. He did this because he was afraid they might say afterwards that he had told them to murder Constans.

When the two little boys, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon, heard what had happened to their brother, King Constans, they were afraid that Vortigern might kill them too. For although Vortigern tried hard to make believe that he had had nothing to do with the murder of Constans, the people felt quite sure that he was really to blame for it. So Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon fled away to that part of France called Brittany, where they remained in safety for many years.


Holiday Shore  by Edith M. Patch

Hermits and Other Crabs

H ERMIT was growing tired of his shell.

He had lived in this one all of three weeks, carrying it everywhere he went. Though he never traveled very far, he spent much of his time walking here and there under water that was not very deep. If, as sometimes happened, he got left on the shore by the tide, he rambled around in the first pool he came to. It did very well for a while.

Perhaps his body was feeling a bit squeezed as your foot does if your shoe is rather tight. Perhaps his shell had been scraped thin in places by being dragged over so many pebbles. Perhaps Hermit merely wanted a change.

However that may be, Hermit became interested when he saw a pretty moon-snail shell lying empty near him. He crawled up to it cautiously. He touched it with his antennæ, or feelers. It was smooth and whole. Then he rolled it over and over with his claws until it rattled on the stones. Next he pushed his large claw into it, making sure that nothing already lived in the place he wanted to use as a home.

At last he began to move. Catching the shell with one claw, he pulled his body out of the old shell and stuck it tail-first into the new one. For a moment he vanished inside. Then he came to the door and threw out some sand that had drifted into the empty shell. He had to do that several times before the shell was perfectly clean. Then he settled the soft part of his body into the whorls of his new house, stretched his legs through the doorway, and began to walk.


Hermit tucked his body into the new, smooth shell and walked away.

Soon Hermit quickened his pace. He was actually running, bumping his shell on pebbles, and scrambling over bits of sea lettuce. He waved his antennæ to and fro and wriggled the tiny feet near his mouth. Hermit was excited. He sensed that there was good food near by. He could not see it. He could not smell as you can. But he could catch a taste of food even while he was some little distance away. So he hurried along on the four long, slender, jointed legs he used for traveling, in an attempt to reach the food in time.

At the very edge of Holiday Shore, Hermit found his picnic dinner. It was a clam served on a half-shell. A man, digging in the sand, had broken its shell with his sharp spade. He threw it into the shallow water so that animals might find it there and have a meal.

How they did rush to this feast! First some wriggling green worms arrived from a very near spot. They tore bits of meat from the clam with their sharp, hook-shaped jaws. They squirmed and pushed with their many legs, trying to keep their greedy neighbors away.

Next came half a dozen little, rough snails that had been crawling rather near. They crowded in among the worms to get their share of clam meat. Then came the hungry Hermit in his new, smooth shell.

His table manners were all right for a hermit crab but no one could call them polite. He pushed the snails and worms aside. With his largest claw he tore off a piece of meat that was much too large for his little mouth. Instead of getting out of the way of the other picnickers, he sat next the clam and tore his piece into strips small enough for his jaws to take care of.

He ate so very fast that his stomach was soon full. Yet he still held a piece of meat. It was quite too good to throw away. Holding it in the small legs near his mouth, he walked slowly into deeper water. Twice he stopped and tried to eat, but his mouth was so full that he could not cram in another crumb. Finally he let the meat drop and sat down in the shade of a stone.

Hermit was careful to keep himself clean. Now that he had had a good meal, he took time for his toilet.

For almost an hour Hermit sat by the stone, cleaning his hard, spiny skin. He used his large right claw and then his left. He scraped and pulled tiny plants from his back and legs. He polished his long, jointed antennæ and the two stalks that held his eyes.

Hermit was not wasting time when he worked so hard to get himself clean. If he had not pulled those tiny plants off, they would have grown into long streamers of seaweeds. Then they would have bothered him when he crawled, and would have prevented him from drawing back into his shell when something dangerous came near. It would have been hard for him to escape some creature that was hungry for crab meat.

When he was shiny and clean, Hermit felt ready for more vigorous exercise. A fight would do! He walked slowly about the bay until he met another hermit crab who was also eager to fight.

Hermit stopped and waved his claws. The other crab stopped and waved his. Then they ran toward each other, their shells rattling on the stones. They hit each other with their claws; pinched feelers and legs; pulled, rolled, and wrestled among the seaweeds. Once Hermit was on top, pulling at the other crab's legs. In a moment his opponent got a firm hold and threw him head-over-heels. Then Hermit pinched one of the other's eye stalks, and the crabs pulled apart to get new holds.

It was then that Hermit made his mistake. In backing off to get a new, fierce run, he rolled backward over a stone. The thump on his shell startled him so much that he did not guard against attack.

At once his opponent ran up, reached inside Hermit's shell house, caught one of his tender hind legs, and began to pull. After three or four jerks, Hermit let go his hold on his protecting shell and was thrown out among the seaweeds.

Hermit was now in real danger. If one of his legs had been pulled off that would not have mattered too much. He could have grown a new one when he next shed his skin. But now the whole delicate part of his body was bare. If his thin, tender skin were injured, he probably would die. That was why it had been important for him to brush all the gritty sand out of the shell before he moved into it. And now he had lost that shell!

However, you need not worry about Hermit. The other crab did not try to hurt him. Instead, he turned his attention at once to the empty shell. He looked it over and felt it with his claws and antennæ. Then he took a firm hold of it and with a few swift motions moved out of his own snail shell into Hermit's.

Why did he make this change? Nobody knows. His own shell was just as good as the one he took away from Hermit. In fact, it was a better fit for he was larger than Hermit, and he looked very crowded indeed as he squeezed himself into Hermit's shell.

Do you suppose that when he had made his change, the crab left his deserted shell for Hermit? Well, he did not. That would have been a fair trade but it would not have been a crablike thing to do. You may recall that Hermit earlier in the day had taken more meat than he could eat and greedily carried it away. Just now the victor crab did not lose interest in his old shell, although he no longer needed it. He guarded this empty shell, waving his big claws fiercely when Hermit tried to get near it.

Thus they sat for more than half an hour. Hermit hid his bare body in a crack between two rocks. Each time he reached for the empty shell, the other crab frightened him back.

While they were quarreling, a third crab came near, waving his claws in a signal to fight. Hermit's opponent ran to attack. Here was Hermit's chance. He came at once out of the crack and climbed into the empty shell for which he had waited so long.

What do you suppose he did then? Instead of slipping quietly away, he ran to the two quarreling crabs and began to take a hand in their fight!

During this combat, no one was pulled from his shell. The fighters wrestled and tumbled about until suddenly one of them ran away. Then the others stopped struggling and walked off as if not a thing had happened.

As a matter of fact nothing unusual had happened. Indeed, Hermit seemed to enjoy wrestling matches, and they were very common affairs. Perhaps fighting was his way of getting part of his daily exercise.

Little Green Crab and Rock Crab

Here comes another boxer—the little green crab that dwells among rocks. He does not need a snail shell to protect him, for his whole body is covered with hard, tough skin that makes a shell of his own. He has two pinching claws and eight other legs. He threatens you when you pick him up, and tries his best to nip your fingers the moment you put him down.

Watch him run sidewise to the nearest crack between two rocks. Drop him into a pool and he will find some place there to hide. Soon, however, he will be out again ready to meet another green crab. Both will wave their claws and scramble up to attack. Like Hermit, they will push and pinch until they are tired. Then they will sidle off to enjoy their dinners.


Two green crabs wave their claws at each other ready to start a fight.

What do they eat? Watch one of the green crabs as he crawls up to a frond of sea lettuce. He picks off little bits with his claws and puts them daintily into his mouth. Meanwhile his neighbor finds an old shell, covered with a filmy growth of plants. He turns it over slowly with one claw, picking off pieces which he eats in the same manner as the other crab nibbles sea lettuce.

In that tide pool over there is still another crab. His shell is yellowish spotted with brown. It is short and very wide, and his legs are fringed with hairs. He is twice as big as the little green crab and his pincer claws are twice as strong.

This is the rock crab. If you watch as you walk along Holiday Shore, you may find some of his brothers buried up to their eyes in sand, for they often rest in a sandy bed when they are not eating plants and soft animals in the tide pools.

A crab does not drag its tail behind the rest of its body where you can see it as the crab walks. It curls its tail under its body, making an armored pouch. In this pouch Mother Crab fastens her eggs. They hatch into little swimming animals less than one-tenth of an inch long. They have big dark eyes and long tails. They swim by jerking jointed affairs that some day will form parts of their mouths.

As a baby crab grows, its legs appear just in front of the tail. Each time the baby outgrows its tail, it crawls out of its cover with a new one. Then one day the little creature seems to have convulsions. It is not really ill, however. It is merely molting by crawling out of its skin in a more crablike shape. Its eyes still are very large, but its tail is now small and its first pair of legs have tiny pincers at their tips.

After a few days, the baby sheds its skin once more and begins to crawl instead of swim. After this it changes shells only twice a year until it becomes a full-grown crab. Then it must keep the same shell as long as it lives. If you hunt among the tide pools, you will find some very old crabs. You can tell which they are because plants and barnacles have grown on them since they got their last new coat.

Western Crabs

Does the shore where you like to go for holidays lie on the Pacific coast? If it does, you will not find rock crabs or their little, fighting, green relatives.

When you look in cracks and under bunches of seaweed, you will find many small purple crabs whose shells are spotted with green. You may wade in salt-water sloughs and find hundreds of little yellow crabs that run sidewise across the mud and try to pinch your fingers. If you attempt to pick them up, they will run away, just as the crabs do in New England.

You will also find many hermit crabs on a Western shore. Some of them that are very small live in little red or green shells that they find for their shelters. Others are bigger than most of the hermits living on the Atlantic coast. Some have their legs, claws, and even their heads covered with sharp hairs or spines. These hermits are striped with red, blue, and white, and are very pretty as they crawl about in brightly colored shells.


William Blake

Earth's Answer

Earth raised up her head

From the darkness dread and drear,

Her light fled,

Stony, dread,

And her locks covered with grey despair.

"Prisoned on watery shore,

Starry jealousy does keep my den

Cold and hoar;

Weeping o'er,

I hear the father of the ancient men.

"Selfish father of men!

Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!

Can delight,

Chained in night,

The virgins of youth and morning bear.

"Does spring hide its joy,

When buds and blossoms grow?

Does the sower

Sow by night,

Or the ploughman in darkness plough?

"Break this heavy chain,

That does freeze my bones around!

Selfish, vain,

Eternal bane,

That free love with bondage bound."


  WEEK 8  


The Burgess Animal Book for Children  by Thornton Burgess

Whistler and Yap Yap

J OHNNY CHUCK was the first one on hand the next morning. The fact is, Johnny was quite excited over the discovery that he had some near relatives. He always had supposed that the Woodchucks were a family by themselves. Now that he knew that he had some close relatives, he was filled with quite as much curiosity as ever Peter Rabbit possessed. Just as soon as Old Mother Nature was ready to begin, Johnny Chuck was ready with a question. "If you please," said he, "who are my nearest relatives?"

"The Marmots of the Far West," replied Old Mother Nature. "You know, you are a Marmot, and these cousins of yours out there are a great deal like you in a general way. The biggest and handsomest of all is Whistler, who lives in the mountains of the Northwest. The fact is, he is the biggest of all the Marmot family."

"Is he much bigger than Johnny Chuck?" asked Peter Rabbit.

"Considerably bigger," replied Old Mother Nature, nodding her head. "Considerably bigger. I should think he would weigh twice as much as Johnny."

Johnny's eyes opened very wide. "My!" he exclaimed, "I should like to see him. Does he look like me?"

"In his shape he does," said Old Mother Nature, "but he has a very much handsomer coat. His coat is a mixture of dark brown and white hairs which give him a grayish color. The upper part of his head, his feet and nails are black, and so are his ears. A black band runs from behind each ear down to his neck. His chin is pure white and there is white on his nose. Underneath he is a light, rusty color. His fur is thicker and softer than yours, Johnny; this is because he lives where it is colder. His tail is larger, somewhat bushier, and is a blackish-brown."

"If you please, why is he called Whistler?" asked Johnny Chuck eagerly.

"Because he has a sharp, clear whistle which can be heard a very long distance," replied Old Mother Nature. "He sits up just as you do. If he sees danger approaching he whistles, as a warning to all his relatives within hearing."

"I suppose it is foolish to ask if he lives in a hole in the ground as Johnny Chuck does," spoke up Peter Rabbit.

"He does," replied Old Mother Nature. "All Marmots live in holes in the ground, but Whistler lives in entirely different country. He lives up on the sides of the mountains, often so high that no trees grow there and the ground is rocky. He digs his hole down in between the rocks."


The largest of the Marmots. He lives high up on the mountains of the West.

"It must be a nice, safe hole," said Peter. "I guess he doesn't have to worry about being dug out by Reddy Fox."

"You guessed quite right," laughed Old Mother Nature. "Nevertheless, he has reason to fear being dug out. You see, out where he lives, Grizzly, the big cousin of Buster Bear, also lives, and Grizzly is very fond of a Marmot dinner when he can get one. He is so big and strong and has such great claws that he can pull the rocks apart and dig Whistler out. By the way, I forgot to tell you that Whistler is also called the Gray Marmot and the Hoary Marmot. He lives on grass and other green things and, like Johnny Chuck, gets very fat in the fall and then sleeps all winter. There are one or two other Marmots in the Far West who live farther south than does Whistler, but their habits are much the same as those of Whistler and Johnny Chuck. None of them are social. I mean by that you never find two Marmot homes very close together. In this they differ from Johnny's smaller cousin, Yap Yap the Prairie Dog. Yap Yap wouldn't be happy if he didn't have close neighbors of his own kind. He has one of the most social natures of all my little people."

"Tell us about him," begged Happy Jack Squirrel before Johnny Chuck, who is naturally slow, could ask for the same thing.

"Yap Yap is the smallest of the Marmot family," said Old Mother Nature. "In a way he is about as closely related to the Ground Squirrels as he is to the Marmots. Johnny Chuck has only four claws on each front foot, but Yap Yap has five, just as the Ground Squirrels have. He looks very much like a small Chuck dressed in light yellow-brown. His tail for the most part is the same color as his coat, but the end is black, though there is one member of the family whose tail has a white tip. In each cheek is a small pouch, that is, a small pocket, and this is one of the things that shows how closely related to the Spermophiles he is.


A social little Marmot who lives on the prairies of the West.

"As I said before, Yap Yap is very social by nature. He lives on the great open plains of the West and Southwest, frequently where it is very dry and rain seldom falls. When you find his home you are sure to find the homes of many more Prairie Dogs very close at hand. Sometimes there are hundreds and hundreds of homes, making a regular town. This is because the Prairie Dogs dearly love the company of their own kind."

"Does Yap Yap dig the same kind of a hole that I do?" asked Johnny Chuck.

"In a way it is like yours," replied Old Mother Nature, "but at the same time it is different. In the first place, it goes almost straight down for a long distance. In the second place there is no mound of sand in front of Yap Yap's doorway. Instead of that the doorway is right in the very middle of the mound of sand. One reason for this is that when it does rain out where Yap Yap lives it rains very hard indeed, so that the water stands on the ground for a short time. The ground being flat, a lot of water would run down into Yap Yap's home and make him most uncomfortable if he did not do something to keep it out. So he brings the sand out and piles it all the way around his doorway and presses it down with his nose. In that way he builds up a firm mound which he uses for two purposes; one is to keep the water from running down the hole, and the other is as a sort of watch tower. He sits on the top of his mound to watch for his enemies. His cousin with the white tail digs a hole more like yours.

"Yap Yap loves to visit his neighbors and to have them visit him. They are lively little people and do a great deal of talking among themselves. The instant one of them sees an enemy he gives a signal. Then every Prairie Dog scampers for his own hole and dives in head first. Almost at once he pops his head out again to see what the danger may be."

"How can he do that without going clear to the bottom to turn around?" demanded Peter.

"I wondered if any of you would think of that question," chuckled Old Mother Nature. "Just a little way down from the entrance Yap Yap digs a little room at one side of his tunnel. All he has to do is to scramble into that, turn around and then pop his head out. As I said before, his tunnel goes down very deep; then it turns and goes almost equally far underground. Down there he has a nice little bedroom. Sometimes he has more than one."

"If it is so dry out where he lives, how does he get water to drink?" asked Happy Jack.

"He doesn't have to drink," replied Old Mother Nature. "Some folks think that he digs down until he finds water way down underneath, but this isn't so. He doesn't have to have water. He gets all the moisture he needs from the green things he eats."

"I suppose, like the rest of us, he has lots of enemies?" said Peter.

Old Mother Nature nodded. "Of course," said she. "Old Man Coyote and Reddy Fox are very fond of Prairie Dog. So are members of the Hawk family. Then in some places there is a cousin of Shadow the Weasel called the Black-footed Ferret. He is to be feared most of all because he can follow Yap Yap down into his hole. There is a cousin of Hooty the Owl called the Burrowing Owl because it builds its home in a hole in the ground. You are likely to find many Burrowing Owls living in Prairie Dog villages. Also you are apt to find Buzztail the Rattlesnake there.

"A lot of people believe that Yap Yap, Buzztail and the little Burrowing Owl are the best of friends and often live together in the same hole. This isn't so at all. Buzztail is very fond of young Prairie Dog and so is the Burrowing Owl. Rather than dig a hole for himself the Owl will sometimes take possession of one of Yap Yap's deserted holes. If he should make a mistake and enter a hole in which Yap Yap was at home, the chances are that Yap Yap would kill the Owl for he knows that the Owl is an enemy. Buzztail the Rattlesnake also makes use of Prairie Dog holes, but it is safe to say that if there are any Prairie Dog babies down there they never live to see what the outside world is like. So Buzztail and the Burrowing Owl are really enemies instead of friends of Yap Yap, the Prairie Dog."

"Why is he called a Dog?" asked Peter.

Old Mother Nature laughed right out. "Goodness knows," said she. "He doesn't look like a Dog and he doesn't act like a Dog, so why people should call him a Dog I don't know, unless it is because of his habit of barking, and even his bark isn't at all like a Dog's—not nearly so much so as the bark of Reddy Fox. Now I guess this will do for to-day. Haven't you little folks had enough of school?"

"No," cried Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare and Happy Jack and Chatterer the Red Squirrel and Striped Chipmunk and Johnny Chuck. "We want to know about the rest of the members of the order of Rodents or Gnawers," added Peter. "Of course in a way they are sort of related to us and we want to know about them."

Old Mother Nature laughed good-naturedly. "All right," said she, "come again to-morrow morning and we'll see what more we can learn."


A First Book in American History  by Edward Eggleston

Henry Hudson


Three hundred years ago England was rather poor in people and in money. Spain had become rich and important by her gold mines in the West Indies and the central parts of America. Portugal had been enriched by finding a way around Africa to India, where many things such as silks and spices were bought to be sold in Europe at high prices. Some thoughtful men in England had an idea that as the Portuguese had reached India by sailing round the Eastern Continent on the south, the English might find a way to sail to India around the northern part of Europe and Asia. By this means the English ships would also be able to get the precious things to be found in the East.

For this purpose some London merchants founded the Mus'-co-vy Company, with old Sebastian Cabot at its head. This Muscovy Company had not succeeded in finding a way to China round the north of Europe, but in trying to do this its ships had opened a valuable trade with Russia [rush'-ah], or Muscovy as it was then called, which was a country but little known before.

One of the founders of this Muscovy Company was a rich man named Henry Hudson. It is thought that he was the grandfather of Henry Hudson, the explorer. The merchants who made up this company were in the habit of sending out their sons, while they were boys, in the ships of the company, to learn to sail vessels and to gain a knowledge of the languages and habits of trade in distant countries. Henry was sent to sea while a lad, and was no doubt taught by the ship captains all about sailing vessels. When he grew to be a man, he wished to make himself famous by finding a northern way to China.

In the spring of 1607, almost four months after Captain Smith had left London with the colony bound for Jamestown, his friend Hudson was sent out by the Muscovy Company to try once more for a passage to China. He had only a little ship, which was named Hopewell, and he had but ten men, including his own son John Hudson. He found that there was no way to India by the north pole. But he went farther north than any other man had gone.

Hudson made an important discovery on this voyage. He found whales in the Arctic Seas, and the Muscovy Company now fitted out whaling ships to catch them. The next year the brave Hudson tried to pass between Spitz-berg'-en and Nova Zembla [no'-vah zem'-blah], but he was again turned back by the walls of ice that fence in the frozen pole.


By this time the Muscovy Company was discouraged, and gave up trying to get to India by going round the north of Europe. They thought it better to make money out of the whale fishery that Hudson had found. But in Holland there was the Dutch East India Company, which sent ships round Africa to India. They had heard of the voyages of Hudson, who had got the name of "the bold Englishman." The Dutch Company was afraid that the English, with Hudson's help, might find a nearer way by the north, and so get the trade away from them. So they sent for "the bold Englishman," and hired him to find this new route for them.

Hudson left Amsterdam in 1609 in a yacht called "The Half Moon." He sailed round Norway and found his old enemy the ice as bad as ever about Nova Zembla. Just before leaving home Hudson had received a letter from his friend Captain John Smith, in Virginia, telling him that there was a strait leading into the Pacific Ocean, to the north of Virginia. Hudson persuaded his men to turn about and sail with him to America to look for the way to India that Smith had written about.


This map shows the way to India and China by the south, and how Hudson tried to reach those lands by sailing around by the north.

So they turned to the westward and sailed to Newfoundland, and thence down the coast until they were opposite James River. Then Hudson turned north again, and began to look for a gateway through this wild and unknown coast. He sailed into Delaware Bay, as ships do now on their way to Philadelphia. Then he sailed out again and followed the shore till he came to the opening by which thousands of ships nowadays go into New York.


The Half Moon Visited by Indians

He passed into New York Bay, where no vessel had ever been before. He said it was "a very good land to fall in with, and a pleasant land to see." The New Jersey Indians swarmed about the ship dressed in fur robes and feather mantles, and wearing copper necklaces. Hudson thought some of the waterways about New York harbor must lead into the Pacific.

He sent men out in a boat to examine the bays and rivers. They declared that the land was "as pleasant with grass and flowers as ever they had seen, and very sweet smells." But before they got back, some Indians attacked the boat and killed one man by shooting him with an arrow.


When the Indians came round the ship again, Hudson made two of them prisoners, and dressed them up in red coats. The rest he drove away. As he sailed farther up from the sea, twenty-eight dugout canoes filled with men, women, and children, paddled about the ship. The white men traded with them, giving them trinkets for oysters and beans, but none were allowed to come aboard. As the ship sailed on up the river that we now call the Hudson, the two Indian prisoners saw themselves carried farther and farther from their home. One morning they jumped out of a porthole and swam ashore, without even stopping to say good-by. They stood on the bank and mocked the men on the Half Moon as she sailed away up the river.

Hudson's ship anchored again opposite the Catskill Mountains, and here he found some very friendly Indians, who brought corn, pumpkins, and tobacco to sell to the crew. Still farther up the river Hudson visited a tribe on shore, and wondered at their great heaps of corn and beans. The chief lived in a round bark house. Captain Hudson was made to sit on a mat and eat from a red wooden bowl. The Indians wished him to stay all night; they broke their arrows and threw them into the fire, to show their friendliness.


Hudson found the river growing shallower. When he got near where Albany now stands he sent a rowboat yet higher up. Then he concluded that this was not the way to the Pacific. He turned round and sailed down the river, and then across the ocean to England. The Half Moon returned to Holland, and the Dutch sent out other ships to trade in the river which Hudson had found. In the course of time they planted a colony where New York now stands.

Captain Hudson did not try to go round the north of Europe any more. But the next spring he sailed in an English ship to look for a way round the north side of the American Continent. On this voyage he discovered the great bay that is now called Hudson Bay.

In this bay he spent the winter. His men suffered from hunger and sickness. In the summer of 1611, after he had, with tears in his eyes, divided his last bread with his men, these wicked fellows put him into a boat with some sick sailors and cast them all adrift in the great bay.

The men on the ship shot some birds for food, but in a fight with the Indians some of the leaders in the plot against Hudson were killed. The seamen, as they sailed homeward, grew so weak from hunger that they had to sit down to steer the vessel. When at last Juet, the mate, who had put Hudson overboard, had himself died of hunger, and all the rest had lain down in despair to die, they were saved by meeting another ship.


Eugene Field

Norse Lullaby

The sky is dark and the hills are white

As the storm-king speeds from the north to-night;

And this is the song the storm-king sings,

As over the world his cloak he flings:

"Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep";

He rustles his wings and gruffly sings:

"Sleep, little one, sleep."

On yonder mountain-side a vine

Clings at the foot of a mother pine;

The tree bends over the trembling thing,

And only the vine can hear her sing:

"Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep—

What shall you fear when I am here?

Sleep, little one, sleep."

The king may sing in his bitter flight,

The tree may croon to the vine to-night,

But the little snowflake at my breast

Liketh the song I  sing the best—

Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;

Weary thou art, a-next my heart,

Sleep, little one, sleep.


  WEEK 8  


Stories of Siegfried Told to the Children  by Mary Macgregor

Siegfried Sees Kriemhild

Queen Uté, the mother of Kriemhild, heard that a great festival was to be held, and she made up her mind that she and her daughter should grace it with their presence.

Then was there great glee among the handmaidens of the Queen, and they scarce slept at night for thinking of bright ribands and gay raiment.

But to Kriemhild more joyous than any hope of costly garments was the hope that at the great festival she would see, nay even speak with, her knight, Sir Siegfried.

Folded away in large chests Queen Uté had a store of rich raiment. Robes of white embroidered in gold, and sparkling with gems, she now brought forth, robes of purple and blue and many another colour she laid before the eyes of her bewildered maidens. These the Queen herself had worked through the glad days of summer, and through the dark winter evenings.

The festival was to be held at Whitsuntide, and as the time drew near, noble guests were seen daily riding into Worms. Kings came from afar, thirty-two princes also had journeyed thither, and when Whitsun morning dawned, five thousand men and more had come to Rhineland, where free from care dwelt King Gunther.

When the knights had entered the lists, the King sent a hundred of his liegemen that they might bring Queen Uté and her gentle daughter to the great hall.

Clad in their rich robes of state, the Queen and her many maidens came, and among them all was none to compare with the peerless maiden Kriemhild.

When Siegfried saw the Princess he knew that she was indeed more radiant in her beauty than he had even dreamed, and the hero's heart grew heavy.

How could it ever be that he should wed so fair, so kind a maiden. He could see the kindness shining in her bright eyes. Yet surely he had but dreamed a foolish dream, and thinking thus the knight grew pale and troubled.

Then King Gernot, whose eyes saw what other eyes were ofttimes too dull to heed, then King Gernot, seeing Siegfried's cheeks grow pale, said to his brother Gunther, "Bid the hero who hath served thee right nobly, bid him go greet our sister. For though she hath scorned full many a knight, him will she welcome with right good cheer."

King Gernot's words pleased his royal brother, and a messenger was sent to Siegfried, bidding him greet the Princess.

Swift then leaped the roses to Sir Siegfried's cheeks, as he hastened to where Kriemhild sat among her maidens.

"Be welcome here, Sir Siegfried, for thou art a good and noble knight," said the maiden softly. Then, as in reverence he bent low before his lady, she rose and took his right hand graciously in her own.

As they stood thus together the great bells of the Minster pealed, and lords and ladies wended their way to the church of God to hear a Mass sung, and to give thanks for the great victory the Burgundian heroes had won. At the Minster door Siegfried must needs leave the Princess that she might sit among her maidens. But when the service was ended they walked together to the castle.

"Now God reward thee, Siegfried," said the maiden, "for right well hast thou served my royal brother."

"Thee I will serve for ever," cried the happy hero, "thee will I serve for ever, and thy wishes shall ever be my will!"

Then for twelve glad days were Siegfried and Kriemhild ofttimes side by side. And when he tilted in the tournament, he felt that the bright eyes of his lady were shining upon him, and his skill was greater even than it had used to be.

At length the merry Maytide games were over. Gifts of gold and silks did King Gunther bestow on all his guests ere they set out for their own lands. Queen Uté also and the Princess wished them Godspeed as they filed slowly past the royal throne.

The festival was over, and it might be he would see the fair maiden Kriemhild no more, so thought the hero. Well, he would away, away to his own home in the Netherlands once more.

But Giselher, Kriemhild's youngest brother, heard that Siegfried was making ready to leave the royal city, and he begged him to stay.

"Tarry here a little longer," he said, "and each day, when toil or sport is over, thou shalt see my fair sister, Kriemhild."

"Bid my steed be taken back to its stall," then cried the happy knight, "and hang my shield upon the wall."

Thus in the gladsome summer days Siegfried and Kriemhild walked and talked together, and ever did the knight love the gentle maiden more.


The Aesop for Children  by Milo Winter

The Lion and the Ass

A Lion and an Ass agreed to go hunting together. In their search for game the hunters saw a number of Wild Goats run into a cave, and laid plans to catch them. The Ass was to go into the cave and drive the Goats out, while the Lion would stand at the entrance to strike them down.

The plan worked beautifully. The Ass made such a frightful din in the cave, kicking and braying with all his might, that the Goats came running out in a panic of fear, only to fall victim to the Lion.

The Ass came proudly out of the cave.

"Did you see how I made them run?" he said.


"Yes, indeed," answered the Lion, "and if I had not known you and your kind I should certainly have run, too."

The loud-mouthed boaster does not impress nor frighten those who know him.


Joy Allison

I Love You, Mother

"I love you, mother," said little John.

Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on,

And he was off to the garden swing,

And left her the water and wood to bring.

"I love you, mother," said rosy Nell—

"I love you more than tongue can tell."

But she teased and pouted full half the day

Till her mother was glad when she went to play.

"I love you, mother," said little Fan;

"To-day I'll help you all I can;

How glad I am that school doesn't keep."

So she rocked the baby till it fell asleep.

Then slipping softly she took the broom

And swept the floor and dusted the room.

Busy and happy all the day was she,

Helpful and cheerful as a child should be.

"I love you, mother," again they said,

Three little children going to bed.

How do you think that mother guessed

Which of them really loved her best?


  WEEK 8  


The Discovery of New Worlds  by M. B. Synge

A Great Awakening

"And the voices of the day

Are heard across the voices of the dark."


L ET us now gather up the threads of our story of the Middle Ages, and see how men's eyes were opened to all the beauty and the glory of the world around them.

The Dark Ages had passed away for ever, the gloom of the fourteenth century would never return. The tide of barbarianism had swept over the smiling fields of Europe like a torrent of mud, quenching all life and joy.

But the seeds were still there; and as time passed on they were to spring up again through the mud, to become yet more beautiful, yet more glorious than they were before.

The world had been asleep, and now its time for awakening had come. Partly it came with Christianity. The Crusades showed the spirit that was spreading through Europe, as Christ became more and more a world power, and the eyes of men were turned to the Holy City away in distant Syria. The great empire of Rome had fallen, but a far grander empire of the world had arisen from its ashes.

As Dante began to sing, the world was "turning in its sleep." Its long slumber was disturbed by broken fragments of dream, by gleams of light, by voices in the night, bidding it throw off its world-fetters and venture forth into the radiance of the morning light.

One of the first to awake had been Prince Henry of Portugal. Over the Sea of Darkness he had shed a light, until the whole ocean was slowly revealed in the brightness of the day.

The awakening was slow. Gradually men ventured forth, until the Portuguese sailors had doubled the Cape of Good Hope and anchored their merchant fleets in the harbours of India, Columbus added a new world to the old, Magellan proved beyond dispute that the world was round.

Meanwhile Copernicus had discovered new wonders in the heavens, and the invention of printing had placed the new wonders in the hands of all. So this sudden contact with new wonders, new lands, and new creeds opened men's eyes to new and glorious possibilities.

But there was something else which helped Europe to awake and claim her manhood again. Constantinople—the old capital of the East—had fallen into the hands of the Turks. This important city, away on the Golden Horn, had been the centre of learning for centuries, and there had been stored the masterpieces and art treasures of the old world. Now a general flight of her scholars, her artists, her poets, her philosophers, had to take place. And whither should they flee save to the shores of Italy, to the little city under the Tuscan hills, to the old home of Dante—Florence?

And so the poetry of Homer and the philosophy of Plato woke to life again in that little city by the river Arno, which was ever the home of learning and art. Here the great thoughts and writings of the Greeks were translated into other languages. The long silence of centuries was broken at last. The ships from Venice brought back manuscripts from the East as the most precious part of their cargo.

Scholars from Germany, England, France, flocked over the snowy Alps to learn Greek, so that they might carry back the new learning to their own countries.

"Greece has crossed the Alps," cried one, on hearing a Greek translation of one of the old masters read in Germany.

"I have given up my whole soul to Greek learning," said Erasmus with enthusiasm; "and as soon as I get any money I shall buy Greek books, and then I shall buy some clothes."

So a new and joyous life took hold of Europe. Men had been bound and now they were free. "For the first time they opened their eyes and saw." And what they now saw was the beauty of the world, the glory of learning for learning's sake, the love of all that was good and noble on earth. Each man longed to write more beautiful poems, to paint more beautiful pictures, to build more beautiful houses; and this slow awakening of Europe is one of the most wonderful things in the world's history.


Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon

The Critic; or, The Second Story of Midas

O NCE upon a time the god Pan fell in love with a Naiad, or water-nymph, named Syrinx. She was very beautiful, as all the nymphs were; but Pan, as you know, was very ugly—so ugly that she hated him, and was afraid of him, and would have nothing to do with him. At last, to escape from him, she turned herself into a reed.

But even then Pan did not lose his love for her. He gathered the reed, and made it into a musical instrument, which he called a Syrinx. We call it a Pan-pipe, after the name of its inventor, and because upon this pipe Pan turned into music all his sorrow for the loss of Syrinx, making her sing of the love to which she would not listen while she was alive.

I suppose that King Midas still kept up his friendship for Silenus and the satyrs, for one day he was by when Pan was playing on his pipe of reeds, and he was so delighted with the music that he cried out, "How beautiful!" Apollo himself is not so great a musician as Pan!"

You remember the story of Marsyas, and how angry Apollo was when anybody's music was put before his own? I suppose that some ill-natured satyr must have told him what King Midas had said about him and Pan. Anyway, he was very angry indeed. And Midas, the next time he looked at himself in his mirror, saw that his ears had been changed into those of an Ass.

This was to show him what sort of ears those people must have who like the common music of earth better than the music which the gods send down to us from the sky. But, as you may suppose, it made Midas very miserable and ashamed. "All my people will think their king an Ass," he thought to himself, "and that would never do."

So he made a very large cap to cover his ears, and never took it off, so that nobody might see what had happened to him. But one of his servants, who was very prying and curious, wondered why the king should always wear that large cap, and what it was that he could want to hide. He watched and watched for a long time in vain. But as last he hid himself in the king's bedroom; and when Midas undressed to go to bed, he saw to his amazement that his master had Ass's ears.

He was very frightened too, as well as amazed. He could not bear to keep such a curious and surprising secret about the king all to himself, for he was a great gossip, like most people who pry into other people's affairs. But he thought to himself, "If I tell about the king's ears he will most certainly cut off my own! But I must  tell somebody. Whom shall I tell?"

So, when he could bear the secret no longer, he dug a hole into the ground, and whispered into it, "King Midas has the Ears of an Ass!" Then, having thus eased his mind, he filled up the hole again, so that the secret might be buried in the earth forever.

But all the same, before a month had passed, the secret about the king's ears was known to all the land. How could that be? The king still wore his cap, and the servant had never dared to speak about it to man, woman, or child. You will never be able to guess how the secret got abroad without bring told.

It was in this way. Some reeds grew up out of the place where the servant had made the hole, and of course the reeds had heard what had been whispered into the ground where their roots were. And they were no more able to keep such a wonderful secret to themselves than the servant had been. Whenever the wind blew through them they rustled, and their rustle said, "King Midas has the Ears of an Ass!" The wind heard the words of the reeds, and carried the news through all the land, wherever it blew, "King Midas has the Ears of an Ass!" And all the people heard the voice of the wind, and said to one another, "What a wonderful thing—King Midas has the ears of an Ass!"


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

  WEEK 8  


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

The Golden Bird


A CERTAIN king had a beautiful garden; and in the garden stood a tree which bore golden apples. These apples were always counted, and about the time when they began to grow ripe it was found that every night one of them was gone. The king became very angry at this, and ordered the gardener to keep watch all night under the tree. The gardener set his eldest son to watch; but about twelve o'clock he fell asleep, and in the morning another of the apples was missing. Then the second son was ordered to watch; and at midnight he too fell asleep, and in the morning another apple was gone. Then the third son offered to keep watch; but the gardener at first would not let him, for fear some harm should come to him: however, at last he consented, and the young man laid himself under the tree to watch. As the clock struck twelve he heard a rustling noise in the air, and a bird came flying that was of pure gold; and as it was snapping at one of the apples with its beak, the gardener's son jumped up and shot an arrow at it.


But the arrow did the bird no harm; only it dropped a golden feather from its tail, and then flew away. The golden feather was brought to the king in the morning, and all the council was called together. Every one agreed that it was worth more than all the wealth of the kingdom: but the king said, "One feather is of no use to me, I must have the whole bird."

Then the gardener's eldest son set out and thought to find the golden bird very easily; and when he had gone but a little way, he came to a wood, and by the side of the wood he saw a fox sitting; so he took his bow and made ready to shoot at it. Then the fox said, "Do not shoot me, for I will give you good counsel; I know what your business is, and that you want to find the golden bird. You will reach a village in the evening; and when you get there, you will see two inns opposite to each other, one of which is very pleasant and beautiful to look at: go not in there, but rest for the night in the other, though it may appear to you to be very poor and mean." But the son thought to himself, "What can such a beast as this know about the matter?" So he shot his arrow at the fox; but he missed it, and it set up its tail above its back and ran into the wood. Then he went his way, and in the evening came to the village where the two inns were; and in one of these were people singing, and dancing, and feasting; but the other looked very dirty and poor. "I should be very silly," said he, "if I went to that shabby house, and left this charming place;" so he went into the smart house, and ate and drank at his ease, and forgot the bird and his country too.

Time passed on; and as the eldest son did not come back, and no tidings were heard of him, the second son set out, and the same thing happened to him. He met the fox, who gave him the same good advice: but when he came to the two inns, his eldest brother was standing at the window where the merrymaking was, and called to him to come in; and he could not withstand the temptation, but went in, and forgot the golden bird and his country in the same manner.

Time passed on again, and the youngest son too wished to set out into the wide world to seek for the golden bird; but his father would not listen to it for a long while, for he was very fond of his son, and was afraid that some ill luck might happen to him also, and prevent his coming back. However, at last it was agreed he should go, for he would not rest at home; and as he came to the wood, he met the fox, and heard the same good counsel. But he was thankful to the fox, and did not attempt his life as his brothers had done; so the fox said, "Sit upon my tail, and you will travel faster." So he sat down, and the fox began to run, and away they went over stock and stone so quick that their hair whistled in the wind.


When they came to the village, the son followed the fox's counsel, and without looking about him went to the shabby inn and rested there all night at his ease. In the morning came the fox again and met him as he was beginning his journey, and said, "Go straight forward, till you come to a castle, before which lie a whole troop of soldiers fast asleep and snoring: take no notice of them, but go into the castle and pass on and on till you come to a room, where the golden bird sits in a wooden cage; close by it stands a beautiful golden cage; but do not try to take the bird out of the shabby cage and put it into the handsome one, otherwise you will repent it." Then the fox stretched out his tail again, and the young man sat himself down, and away they went over stock and stone till their hair whistled in the wind.

Before the castle gate all was as the fox had said: so the son went in and found the chamber where the golden bird hung in a wooden cage, and below stood a golden cage, and the three golden apples that had been lost were lying close by it. Then thought he to himself, "It will be a very droll thing to bring away such a fine bird in this shabby cage;" so he opened the door and took hold of it and put it into the golden cage. But the bird set up such a loud scream that all the soldiers awoke, and they took him prisoner and carried him before the king. The next morning the court sat to judge him; and when all was heard, it sentenced him to die, unless he should bring the king the golden horse which could run as swiftly as the wind; and if he did this, he was to have the golden bird given him for his own.

So he set out once more on his journey, sighing, and in great despair, when on a sudden his good friend the fox met him, and said, "You see now what has happened on account of your not listening to my counsel. I will still, however, tell you how to find the golden horse, if you will do as I bid you. You must go straight on till you come to the castle where the horse stands in his stall: by his side will lie the groom fast asleep and snoring: take away the horse quietly, but be sure to put the old leathern saddle upon him, and not the golden one that is close by it." Then the son sat down on the fox's tail, and away they went over stock and stone till their hair whistled in the wind.

All went right, and the groom lay snoring with his hand upon the golden saddle. But when the son looked at the horse, he thought it a great pity to put the leathern saddle upon it. "I will give him the good one," said he; "I am sure he deserves it." As he took up the golden saddle the groom awoke and cried out so loud, that all the guards ran in and took him prisoner, and in the morning he was again brought before the court to be judged, and was sentenced to die. But it was agreed, that, if he could bring thither the beautiful princess, he should live, and have the bird and the horse given him for his own.

Then he went his way again very sorrowful; but the old fox came and said, "Why did not you listen to me? If you had, you would have carried away both the bird and the horse; yet will I once more give you counsel. Go straight on, and in the evening you will arrive at a castle. At twelve o'clock at night the princess goes to the bathing-house: go up to her and give her a kiss, and she will let you lead her away; but take care you do not suffer her to go and take leave of her father and mother." Then the fox stretched out his tail, and so away they went over stock and stone till their hair whistled again.

As they came to the castle, all was as the fox had said, and at twelve o'clock the young man met the princess going to the bath and gave her a kiss, and she agreed to run away with him, but begged with many tears that he would let her take leave of her father. At first he refused, but she wept still more and more, and fell at his feet, till at last he consented; but the moment she came to her father's house, the guards awoke and he was taken prisoner again.

Then he was brought before the king, and the king said, "You shall never have my daughter unless in eight days you dig away the hill that stops the view from my window." Now this hill was so big that the whole world could not take it away: and when he had worked for seven days, and had done very little, the fox came and said, "Lie down and go to sleep; I will work for you." And in the morning he awoke and the hill was gone; so he went merrily to the king, and told him that now that it was removed he must give him the princess.

Then the king was obliged to keep his word, and away went the young man and the princess; and the fox came and said to him, "We will have all three, the princess, the horse, and the bird."  "Ah!" said the young man, "that would be a great thing, but how can you contrive it?"

"If you will only listen," said the fox, "it can soon be done. When you come to the king, and he asks for the beautiful princess, you must say, 'Here she is!' Then he will be very joyful; and you will mount the golden horse that they are to give you, and put out your hand to take leave of them; but shake hands with the princess last. Then lift her quickly on to the horse behind you; clap your spurs to his side, and gallop away as fast as you can."

All went right: then the fox said, "When you come to the castle where the bird is, I will stay with the princess at the door, and you will ride in and speak to the king; and when he sees that it is the right horse, he will bring out the bird; but you must sit still, and say that you want to look at it, to see whether it is the true golden bird; and when you get it into your hand, ride away."

This, too, happened as the fox said; they carried off the bird, the princess mounted again, and they rode on to a great wood. Then the fox came, and said, "Pray kill me, and cut off my head and my feet." But the young man refused to do it: so the fox said, "I will at any rate give you good counsel: beware of two things; ransom no one from the gallows, and sit down by the side of no river." Then away he went. "Well," thought the young man, "it is no hard matter to keep that advice."

He rode on with the princess, till at last he came to the village where he had left his two brothers. And there he heard a great noise and uproar; and when he asked what was the matter, the people said, "Two men are going to be hanged." As he came nearer, he saw that the two men were his brothers, who had turned robbers; so he said, "Cannot they in any way be saved?" But the people said "No," unless he would bestow all his money upon the rascals and buy their liberty. Then he did not stay to think about the matter, but paid what was asked, and his brothers were given up, and went on with him towards their home.

And as they came to the wood where the fox first met them, it was so cool and pleasant that the two brothers said, "Let us sit down by the side of the river, and rest awhile, to eat and drink." So he said, "Yes," and forgot the fox's counsel, and sat down on the side of the river; and while he suspected nothing, they came behind, and threw him down the bank, and took the princess, the horse, and the bird, and went home to the king their master, and said, "All this have we won by our labour." Then there was great rejoicing made; but the horse would not eat, the bird would not sing, and the princess wept.

The youngest son fell to the bottom of the river's bed: luckily it was nearly dry, but his bones were almost broken, and the bank was so steep that he could find no way to get out. Then the old fox came once more, and scolded him for not following his advice; otherwise no evil would have befallen him: "Yet," said he, "I cannot leave you here, so lay hold of my tail and hold fast." Then he pulled him out of the river, and said to him, as he got upon the bank, "Your brothers have set watch to kill you, if they find you in the kingdom." So he dressed himself as a poor man, and came secretly to the king's court, and was scarcely within the doors when the horse began to eat, and the bird to sing, and the princess left off weeping. Then he went to the king, and told him all his brothers' roguery; and they were seized and punished, and he had the princess given to him again; and after the king's death he was heir to his kingdom.

A long while after, he went to walk one day in the wood, and the old fox met him, and besought him with tears in his eyes to kill him, and cut off his head and feet. And at last he did so, and in a moment the fox was changed into a man, and turned out to be the brother of the princess, who had been lost a great many many years.


Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

The Bee at Home

L ET us look at a work bee. There are two kinds of work bees. Nurse bees take care of the baby bees. The wax bees build the house.

Let us look well at the wax bee. See its body. Here are the rings, and here are the scales of wax on each ring. The wax is made in the bee from the honey or sweet food that the bee eats.

In the bee's body are two bags. Into one bag it puts the honey that it gets from flowers. It takes this home and puts it into the cells. What goes into the other bag feeds the bee and makes wax.

Look at this bee's legs. On each leg is a basket, a brush, and a tool with which to pinch and press the wax into the cells.

When the bee goes into a flower, it gets covered with pollen-dust. The brush on its legs takes off this dust from the bee's coat and puts it into the basket. That dust is to feed the young bees.


Sweets to the Sweet

With the tool it strips the scales of wax from the rings on its body. Then it takes the wax in its mouth and lays it to build the wall of the cells.

Did you ever see a man lay brick on a wall? The bee builds her walls very much as the man builds his.

When the work bees make cells, they first lay down a thick sheet of wax. Then they build upon this little wax boxes, each with six sides, set close to each other. When the boxes are as deep as they should be, the bees fill them. These boxes are called cells.

Some of the cells are for the dust, or food, called bee-bread. Some cells are for the baby bees to lie in. Some cells are for honey.

The queen puts eggs in all the cells that are for bees. The nurse bees put in flower dust for the baby bees to eat.

The wax bees build the cells and get honey. The wax bees have pockets for wax. The nurse bees have only small pockets or baskets. The queen bee and the drones have no pockets.


Hannah More

A Riddle

I'm a strange contradiction; I'm new and I'm old,

I'm often in tatters, and oft decked with gold.

Though I never could read, yet lettered I'm found;

Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound.

I'm always black, and I'm always in white;

I'm grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and light—

In form, too, I differ,—I'm thick and I'm thin,

I've no flesh and no bones, yet I'm covered with skin;

I've more points than the compass, more stops than the flute;

I sing without voice, without speaking confute.

I'm English, I'm German, I'm French, and I'm Dutch;

Some love me too fondly, some slight me too much;

I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages,

And no monarch alive has so many pages.


  WEEK 8  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount

I Kings xix: 1 to 21.

dropcap image HEN King Ahab told his wife, Queen Jezebel, of all that Elijah had done; how the fire had fallen from heaven upon his altar, and how he had slain all the prophets of Baal with the sword, Queen Jezebel was very angry. She sent a messenger to Elijah with these words:

"May the gods do to me as you have done to the prophets of Baal, if I do not by to-morrow kill you, as you have killed them!"

Elijah saw that his life was in danger, and he found that not one man in all the kingdom dared to stand by him against the hate of Queen Jezebel. He rose up, and ran away to save his life. He went southward to the land of Judah, but did not feel safe even there. He hastened across Judah southward to Beersheba, which is on the edge of the desert, eighty miles away from Samaria. But not even here did Elijah dare to stay, for he still feared the wrath of Queen Jezebel. He left his servant at Beersheba, and went out alone into the desert, over which the children of Israel had wandered five hundred years before. After he had walked all day under the sun, and over the burning sand, he sat down to rest under a juniper-tree. He was tired, and hungry, and discouraged. He felt that his work had all been in vain, that in heart the people were still worshippers of Baal; and he felt, too, that he had shown weakness in running away from his place of duty in fear of Queen Jezebel. Elijah cried out to the Lord, and said, "O Lord, I have lived long enough!" Take away my life, O Lord, for I am no better than my people!" Then, tired out, he lay down to sleep under the tree. But the Lord was very kind to Elijah. While he was sleeping an angel touched him, and said, "Arise, and eat."


An angel touched Elijah.

He opened his eyes, and saw beside him a little fire, with a loaf of bread baking upon it, and near it a bottle of water. He ate and drank, and then lay down to sleep again. A second time he felt the angel touch him, and he heard a voice say, "Arise, and eat; because the journey is too long for you."

He arose, and ate once more. Then he went on his way, and in the strength given him by that food he walked forty days through the desert. He came at last to Mount Horeb, the mountain where Moses saw the burning bush, and where God spoke forth the words of the Ten Commandments. (See Story 25). Elijah found a cave in the side of the mountain, and went into it to rest. While he was in the cave he heard God's voice speaking to him, and saying, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

And Elijah said to the Lord, "O Lord God, I have been very earnest for thee; for the people of Israel have turned away from their promise to serve thee; they have thrown down thine altars, and have slain thy prophets with the sword; and now I, even I only am left; and they are seeking my life, to take it away."

Then the Lord said to Elijah, "Go out and stand upon the mountain before the Lord."

Then, while Elijah was standing upon the mountain, a great and strong wind swept by and tore the mountains apart, and broke the rocks in pieces; but the Lord was not in the wind. Then came an earthquake, shaking the mountains; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire passed by; but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was silence and stillness, and Elijah heard a low, quiet voice which he knew was the voice of the Lord.

Then Elijah wrapped his face in his mantle, for he feared to look upon the form of God, and he stood at the opening of the cave. The voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

And Elijah said, as he had said before, "O Lord, I have been very earnest for thee; for the people of Israel have turned away from their promise to serve thee; they have thrown down thine altars, and have slain thy prophets with the sword; and now I, even I only, am left; and they are seeking my life, to take it away."

Then the Lord said to Elijah, "Go back to the land from which you have come, and then go to the wilderness of Damascus, and anoint Hazael to be king over Syria; and Jehu, the son of Nimshi, you shall anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha, the son of Shaphat, of the village of Abel-meholah, in the land of Manasseh, west of Jordan, you shall anoint to take your place as prophet. And it shall come to pass that those who escape from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall slay, and those that escape from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. But there will be found some, even seven thousand men in Israel, who have not bowed the knee to Baal or kissed his image with their lips."

Here were tasks that would take all the rest of Elijah's life; for, as we shall see, some of them were not completed until after Elijah had passed away, though Elijah prepared the way for them. But they gave to Elijah what he needed most, work to do; a friend to stand beside him, so that he would no longer be alone; one also who could carry on his work after him; and the knowledge that he had not lived in vain, since there were still in the land seven thousand men faithful to the Lord God of Israel.

One of these commands Elijah obeyed at once. He left Mount Horeb, journeyed northward through the wilderness, across the kingdom of Judah, and into the land of Israel. He found Abel-meholah, in the tribe-land of Manasseh on the west of Jordan, and there he saw Elisha, the son of Shaphat. Elisha was plowing in the field, with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him; for Elisha was a rich man's son, and cared for a large farm.

Elijah came to the field where Elisha was at work, and without a word, took off his own mantle of skin, and threw it upon Elisha's shoulders, and walked away. Elisha knew well who this strange, rough, hair-covered man was; and he knew, too, what it meant when Elijah cast his mantle upon him. It was a call for him to leave his home, to go out into the wilderness with Elijah, to take up the life of a prophet, to face the danger of the queen's hate, and perhaps to be slain, as many prophets had been slain before. But Elisha was a man of God, and he did not hesitate to obey God's call. He left his oxen standing in the field; he ran after Elijah, and said to him, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will go with you."


Elijah places his mantle on Elisha.

Elijah said to him, "Go back, if you wish; for what have I done to you?"

Then Elisha went back to the field, killed the oxen, made a fire with the yokes and the wooden plow, roasted the flesh of the oxen on the fire, and gave them to be eaten by the people on the farm. This he did to show that he had left his farm forever. Then he kissed his father and mother, and left them, and went forth to live with Elijah and to be Elijah's helper.


Winnie-the-Pooh  by A. A. Milne

Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents

Part 1 of 2

E EYORE, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.

"Pathetic," he said. "That's what it is. Pathetic."

He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.


"As I thought," he said. "No better from this  side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is."

There was a crackling noise in the bracken behind him, and out came Pooh.

"Good morning, Eeyore," said Pooh.

"Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is  a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he.

"Why, what's the matter?"

"Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."

"Can't all what?"  said Pooh, rubbing his nose. "Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."

"Oh!" said Pooh. He thought for a long time, and then asked, "What mulberry bush is that?"

"Bon-hommy," went on Eeyore gloomily. "French word meaning bonhommy," he explained. "I'm not complaining, but There It Is."


Pooh sat down on a large stone, and tried to think this out. It sounded to him like a riddle, and he was never much good at riddles, being a Bear of Very Little Brain. So he sang Cottleston Pie  instead:

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,

A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.

Ask me a riddle and I reply:

"Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie."

That was the first verse. When he had finished it, Eeyore didn't actually say that he didn't like it, so Pooh very kindly sang the second verse to him:

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,

A fish can't whistle and neither can I.

Ask me a riddle and I reply:

"Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie."

Eeyore still said nothing at all, so Pooh hummed the third verse quietly to himself:

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,

Why does a chicken, I don't know why.

Ask me a riddle and I reply:

"Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie."

"That's right," said Eeyore. "Sing. Umty-tiddly, umty-too. Here we go gathering Nuts and May. Enjoy yourself."


"I am," said Pooh.

"Some can," said Eeyore. "Why, what's the matter?" "Is  anything the matter?" "You seem so sad, Eeyore."

"Sad? Why should I be sad? It's my birthday. The happiest day of the year."

"Your birthday?" said Pooh in great surprise.

"Of course it is. Can't you see? Look at all the presents I have had." He waved a foot from side to side. "Look at the birthday cake. Candles and pink sugar."

Pooh looked—first to the right and then to the left.

"Presents?" said Pooh. "Birthday cake?" said Pooh. "Where?"

"Can't you see them?"

"No," said Pooh.

"Neither can I," said Eeyore. "Joke," he explained. "Ha ha!"

Pooh scratched his head, being a little puzzled by all this.

"But is it really your birthday?" he asked.

"It is."

"Oh! Well, Many happy returns of the day, Eeyore."

"And many happy returns to you, Pooh Bear."

"But it isn't my  birthday."

"No, it's mine."

"But you said 'Many happy returns'—"

"Well, why not? You don't always want to be miserable on my birthday, do you?"

"Oh, I see," said Pooh.

"It's bad enough," said Eeyore, almost breaking down, "being miserable myself, what with no presents and no cake and no candles, and no proper notice taken of me at all, but if everybody else is going to be miserable too—"

This was too much for Pooh. "Stay there!" he called to Eeyore, as he turned and hurried back home as quick as he could; for he felt that he must get poor Eeyore a present of some  sort at once, and he could always think of a proper one afterwards.


Outside his house he found Piglet, jumping up and down trying to reach the knocker.

"Hallo, Piglet," he said.

"Hallo, Pooh," said Piglet.

"What are you  trying to do?"

"I was trying to reach the knocker," said Piglet. "I just came round—"

"Let me do it for you," said Pooh kindly. So he reached up and knocked at the door. "I have just seen Eeyore," he began, "and poor Eeyore is in a Very Sad Condition, because it's his birthday, and nobody has taken any notice of it, and he's very Gloomy—you know what Eeyore is—and there he was, and— What a long time whoever lives here is answering this door." And he knocked again.

"But Pooh," said Piglet, "it's your own house!"

"Oh!" said Pooh. "So it is," he said. "Well, let's go in."

So in they went. The first thing Pooh did was to go to the cupboard to see if he had quite a small jar of honey left; and he had, so he took it down.


"I'm giving this to Eeyore," he explained, "as a present. What are you  going to give?"

"Couldn't I give it too?" said Piglet. "From both of us?"

"No," said Pooh. "That would not  be a good plan."

"All right, then, I'll give him a balloon. I've got one left from my party. I'll go and get it now, shall I?"

"That, Piglet, is a very  good idea. It is just what Eeyore wants to cheer him up. Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon."

So off Piglet trotted; and in the other direction went Pooh, with his jar of honey.

It was a warm day, and he had a long way to go. He hadn't gone more than half-way when a sort of funny feeling began to creep all over him.


It began at the tip of his nose and trickled all through him and out at the soles of his feet. It was just as if somebody inside him were saying, "Now then, Pooh, time for a little something."


"Dear, dear," said Pooh, "I didn't know it was as late as that." So he sat down and took the top off his jar of honey. "Lucky I brought this with me," he thought. "Many a bear going out on a warm day like this would never have thought of bringing a little something with him." And he began to eat.

"Now let me see," he thought, as he took his last lick of the inside of the jar, "where was I going? Ah, yes, Eeyore." He got up slowly.

And then, suddenly, he remembered. He had eaten Eeyore's birthday present!





Monday's child is fair of face,

Tuesday's child is full of grace;

Wednesday's child is full of woe,

Thursday's child has far to go;

Friday's child is loving and giving,

Saturday's child works hard for its living;

But the child that is born on the Sabbath day

Is blithe and merry and good and gay.