Text of Plan #990
  WEEK 3  


The Railway Children  by Edith Nesbit

The Old Gentleman

dropcap image FTER the adventure of Peter's coal-mine, it seemed well to the children to keep away from the station—but they did not, they could not, keep away from the railway. They had lived all their lives in a street where cabs and omnibuses rumbled by at all hours, and the carts of butchers and bakers and candlestick makers (I never saw a candlestick-maker's cart; did you?) might occur at any moment. Here in the deep silence of the sleeping country the only things that went by were the trains. They seemed to be all that was left to link the children to the old life that had once been theirs. Straight down the hill in front of Three Chimneys the daily passage of their six feet began to mark a path across the crisp, short turf. They began to know the hours when certain trains passed, and they gave names to them. The 9.15 up was called the Green Dragon. The 10.7 down was the Worm of Wantley. The midnight town express, whose shrieking rush they sometimes woke from their dreams to hear, was the Fearsome Fly-by-night. Peter got up once, in chill starshine, and, peeping at it through his curtains, named it on the spot.

It was by the Green Dragon that the old gentleman travelled. He was a very nice-looking old gentleman, and he looked as if he were nice, too, which is not at all the same thing. He had a fresh-coloured, clean-shaven face and white hair, and he wore rather odd-shaped collars and a top-hat that wasn't exactly the same kind as other people's. Of course the children didn't see all this at first. In fact the first thing they noticed about the old gentleman was his hand.

It was one morning as they sat on the fence waiting for the Green Dragon, which was three and a quarter minutes late by Peter's Waterbury watch that he had had given him on his last birthday.

"The Green Dragon's going where Father is," said Phyllis; "if it were a really real dragon, we could stop it and ask it to take our love to Father."

"Dragons don't carry people's love," said Peter; "they'd be above it."

"Yes, they do, if you tame them thoroughly first. They fetch and carry like pet spaniels," said Phyllis, "and feed out of your hand. I wonder why Father never writes to us."

"Mother says he's been too busy," said Bobbie; "but he'll write soon, she says."

"I say," Phyllis suggested, "let's all wave to the Green Dragon as it goes by. If it's a magic dragon, it'll understand and take our loves to Father. And if it isn't, three waves aren't much. We shall never miss them."

So when the Green Dragon tore shrieking out of the mouth of its dark lair, which was the tunnel, all three children stood on the railing and waved their pocket-handkerchiefs without stopping to think whether they were clean handkerchiefs or the reverse. They were, as a matter of fact, very much the reverse.

And out of a first-class carriage a hand waved back. A quite clean hand. It held a newspaper. It was the old gentleman's hand.

After this it became the custom for waves to be exchanged between the children and the 9.15.

And the children, especially the girls, liked to think that perhaps the old gentleman knew Father, and would meet him "in business," wherever that shady retreat might be, and tell him how his three children stood on a rail far away in the green country and waved their love to him every morning, wet or fine.

For they were now able to go out in all sorts of weather such as they would never have been allowed to go out in when they lived in their villa house. This was Aunt Emma's doing, and the children felt more and more that they had not been quite fair to this unattractive aunt, when they found how useful were the long gaiters and waterproof coats that they had laughed at her for buying for them.

Mother, all this time, was very busy with her writing. She used to send off a good many long blue envelopes with stories in them—and large envelopes of different sizes and colours used to come to her. Sometimes she would sigh when she opened them and say:

"Another story come home to roost. Oh, dear, Oh, dear!" and then the children would be very sorry.

But sometimes she would wave the envelope in the air and say:

"Hooray, hooray. Here's a sensible Editor. He's taken my story and this is the proof of it."

At first the children thought "the proof" meant the letter the sensible Editor had written, but they presently got to know that the proof was long slips of paper with the story printed on them.

Whenever an Editor was sensible there were buns for tea.

One day Peter was going down to the village to get buns to celebrate the sensibleness of the Editor of the Children's Globe, when he met the Station Master.

Peter felt very uncomfortable, for he had now had time to think over the affair of the coal-mine. He did not like to say "Good morning" to the Station Master, as you usually do to anyone you meet on a lonely road, because he had a hot feeling, which spread even to his ears, that the Station Master might not care to speak to a person who had stolen coals. "Stolen" is a nasty word, but Peter felt it was the right one. So he looked down, and said nothing.

It was the Station Master who said "Good morning" as he passed by. And Peter answered, "Good morning." Then he thought:

"Perhaps he doesn't know who I am by daylight, or he wouldn't be so polite."

And he did not like the feeling which thinking this gave him. And then before he knew what he was going to do he ran after the Station Master, who stopped when he heard Peter's hasty boots crunching the road, and coming up with him very breathless and with his ears now quite magenta-coloured, he said:

"I don't want you to be polite to me if you don't know me when you see me."

"Eh?" said the Station Master.


"I thought perhaps you didn't know it was me that took the coals," Peter went on, "when you said 'Good morning.' But it was, and I'm sorry. There."

"Why," said the Station Master, "I wasn't thinking anything at all about the precious coals. Let bygones be bygones. And where were you off to in such a hurry?"

"I'm going to buy buns for tea," said Peter.

"I thought you were all so poor," said the Station Master.

"So we are," said Peter, confidentially, "but we always have three pennyworth of halfpennies for tea whenever Mother sells a story or a poem or anything."

"Oh," said the Station Master, "so your Mother writes stories, does she?"

"The beautifulest you ever read," said Peter.

"You ought to be very proud to have such a clever Mother."

"Yes," said Peter, "but she used to play with us more before she had to be so clever."

"Well," said the Station Master, "I must be getting along. You give us a look in at the Station whenever you feel so inclined. And as to coals, it's a word that—well—oh, no, we never mention it, eh?"

"Thank you," said Peter. "I'm very glad it's all straightened out between us." And he went on across the canal bridge to the village to get the buns, feeling more comfortable in his mind than he had felt since the hand of the Station Master had fastened on his collar that night among the coals.

Next day when they had sent the threefold wave of greeting to Father by the Green Dragon, and the old gentleman had waved back as usual, Peter proudly led the way to the station.

"But ought we?" said Bobbie.

"After the coals, she means," Phyllis explained.

"I met the Station Master yesterday," said Peter, in an offhand way, and he pretended not to hear what Phyllis had said; "he expresspecially invited us to go down any time we liked."

"After the coals?" repeated Phyllis. "Stop a minute—my bootlace is undone again."

"It always is  undone again," said Peter, "and the Station Master was more of a gentleman than you'll ever be, Phil—throwing coal at a chap's head like that."

Phyllis did up her bootlace and went on in silence, but her shoulders shook, and presently a fat tear fell off her nose and splashed on the metal of the railway line. Bobbie saw it.

"Why, what's the matter, darling?" she said, stopping short and putting her arm round the heaving shoulders.

"He called me un-un-ungentlemanly," sobbed Phyllis. "I didn't never call him unladylike, not even when he tied my Clorinda to the firewood bundle and burned her at the stake for a martyr."

Peter had indeed perpetrated this outrage a year or two before.

"Well, you began, you know," said Bobbie, honestly, "about coals and all that. Don't you think you'd better both unsay everything since the wave, and let honour be satisfied?"

"I will if Peter will," said Phyllis, sniffling.

"All right," said Peter; "honour is satisfied. Here, use my hankie, Phil, for goodness' sake, if you've lost yours as usual. I wonder what you do with them."

"You had my last one," said Phyllis, indignantly, "to tie up the rabbit-hutch door with. But you're very ungrateful. It's quite right what it says in the poetry-book about sharper than a serpent it is to have a toothless child—but it means ungrateful when it says toothless. Miss Lowe told me so."

"All right," said Peter, impatiently, "I'm sorry. There!  Now will you come on?"

They reached the station and spent a joyous two hours with the Porter. He was a worthy man and seemed never tired of answering the questions that begin with "Why—" which many people in higher ranks of life often seem weary of.

He told them many things that they had not known before—as, for instance, that the things that hook carriages together are called couplings, and that the pipes like great serpents that hang over the couplings are meant to stop the train with.

"If you could get a holt of one o' them when the train is going and pull 'em apart," said he, "she'd stop dead off with a jerk."

"Who's she?" said Phyllis.

"The train, of course," said the Porter. After that the train was never again "It" to the children.

"And you know the thing in the carriages where it says on it, 'Five pounds' fine for improper use.' If you was to improperly use that, the train 'ud stop."

"And if you used it properly?" said Roberta.

"It 'ud stop just the same, I suppose," said he, "but it isn't proper use unless you're being murdered. There was an old lady once—someone kidded her on it was a refreshment-room bell, and she used it improper, not being in danger of her life, though hungry, and when the train stopped and the guard came along expecting to find someone weltering in their last moments, she says, 'Oh, please, Mister, I'll take a glass of stout and a bath bun,' she says. And the train was seven minutes behind her time as it was."

"What did the guard say to the old lady?"

"I  dunno," replied the Porter, "but I lay she didn't forget it in a hurry, whatever it was."

In such delightful conversation the time went by all too quickly.

The Station Master came out once or twice from that sacred inner temple behind the place where the hole is that they sell you tickets through, and was most jolly with them all.

"Just as if coal had never been discovered," Phyllis whispered to her sister.

He gave them each an orange, and promised to take them up into the signal-box one of these days, when he wasn't so busy.

Several trains went through the station, and Peter noticed for the first time that engines have numbers on them, like cabs.

"Yes," said the Porter, "I knowed a young gent as used to take down the numbers of every single one he seed; in a green note-book with silver corners it was, owing to his father being very well-to-do in the wholesale stationery."

Peter felt that he could take down numbers, too, even if he was not the son of a wholesale stationer. As he did not happen to have a green leather note-book with silver corners, the Porter gave him a yellow envelope and on it he noted:



and felt that this was the beginning of what would be a most interesting collection.

That night at tea he asked Mother if she had a green leather note-book with silver corners. She had not; but when she heard what he wanted it for she gave him a little black one.

"It has a few pages torn out," said she; "but it will hold quite a lot of numbers, and when it's full I'll give you another. I'm so glad you like the railway. Only, please, you mustn't walk on the line."

"Not if we face the way the train's coming?" asked Peter, after a gloomy pause, in which glances of despair were exchanged.

"No—really not," said Mother.

Then Phyllis said, "Mother, didn't you  ever walk on the railway lines when you were little?"

Mother was an honest and honourable Mother, so she had to say, "Yes."

"Well, then," said Phyllis.

"But, darlings, you don't know how fond I am of you. What should I do if you got hurt?"

"Are you fonder of us than Granny was of you when you were little?" Phyllis asked. Bobbie made signs to her to stop, but Phyllis never did see signs, no matter how plain they might be.

Mother did not answer for a minute. She got up to put more water in the teapot.

"No one," she said at last, "ever loved anyone more than my mother loved me."

Then she was quiet again, and Bobbie kicked Phyllis hard under the table, because Bobbie understood a little bit the thoughts that were making Mother so quiet—the thoughts of the time when Mother was a little girl and was all the world to her  mother. It seems so easy and natural to run to Mother when one is in trouble. Bobbie understood a little how people do not leave off running to their mothers when they are in trouble even when they are grown up, and she thought she knew a little what it must be to be sad, and have no mother to run to any more.

So she kicked Phyllis, who said:

"What are you kicking me like that for, Bob?"

And then Mother laughed a little and sighed and said:

"Very well, then. Only let me be sure you do know which way the trains come—and don't walk on the line near the tunnel or near corners."

"Trains keep to the left like carriages," said Peter, "so if we keep to the right, we're bound to see them coming."

"Very well," said Mother, and I dare say you think that she ought not to have said it. But she remembered about when she was a little girl herself, and she did say it—and neither her own children nor you nor any other children in the world could ever understand exactly what it cost her to do it. Only some few of you, like Bobbie, may understand a very little bit.

It was the very next day that Mother had to stay in bed because her head ached so. Her hands were burning hot, and she would not eat anything, and her throat was very sore.

"If I was you, Mum," said Mrs. Viney, "I should take and send for the doctor. There's a lot of catchy complaints a-going about just now. My sister's eldest—she took a chill and it went to her inside, two years ago come Christmas, and she's never been the same gell since."

Mother wouldn't at first, but in the evening she felt so much worse that Peter was sent to the house in the village that had three laburnum trees by the gate, and on the gate a brass plate with W. W. Forrest, M.D., on it.

W. W. Forrest, M.D., came at once. He talked to Peter on the way back. He seemed a most charming and sensible man, interested in railways, and rabbits, and really important things.

When he had seen Mother, he said it was influenza.

"Now, Lady Grave-airs," he said in the hall to Bobbie, "I suppose you'll want to be head-nurse."

"Of course," said she.

"Well, then, I'll send down some medicine. Keep up a good fire. Have some strong beef tea made ready to give her as soon as the fever goes down. She can have grapes now, and beef essence—and soda-water and milk, and you'd better get in a bottle of brandy. The best brandy. Cheap brandy is worse than poison."

She asked him to write it all down, and he did.

When Bobbie showed Mother the list he had written, Mother laughed. It was  a laugh, Bobbie decided, though it was rather odd and feeble.

"Nonsense," said Mother, laying in bed with eyes as bright as beads. "I can't afford all that rubbish. Tell Mrs. Viney to boil two pounds of scrag-end of the neck for your dinners to-morrow, and I can have some of the broth. Yes, I should like some more water now, love. And will you get a basin and sponge my hands?"

Roberta obeyed. When she had done everything she could to make Mother less uncomfortable, she went down to the others. Her cheeks were very red, her lips set tight, and her eyes almost as bright as Mother's.

She told them what the Doctor had said, and what Mother had said.

"And now," said she, when she had told all, "there's no one but us to do anything, and we've got to do it. I've got the shilling for the mutton."

"We can do without the beastly mutton," said Peter; "bread and butter will support life. People have lived on less on desert islands many a time."

"Of course," said his sister. And Mrs. Viney was sent to the village to get as much brandy and soda-water and beef tea as she could buy for a shilling.

"But even if we never have anything to eat at all," said Phyllis, "you can't get all those other things with our dinner money."

"No," said Bobbie, frowning, "we must find out some other way. Now think,  everybody, just as hard as ever you can."

They did think. And presently they talked. And later, when Bobbie had gone up to sit with Mother in case she wanted anything, the other two were very busy with scissors and a white sheet, and a paint brush, and the pot of Brunswick black that Mrs. Viney used for grates and fenders. They did not manage to do what they wished, exactly, with the first sheet, so they took another out of the linen cupboard. It did not occur to them that they were spoiling good sheets which cost good money. They only knew that they were making a good—but what they were making comes later.

Bobbie's bed had been moved into Mother's room, and several times in the night she got up to mend the fire, and to give her mother milk and soda-water. Mother talked to herself a good deal, but it did not seem to mean anything. And once she woke up suddenly and called out: "Mamma, mamma!" and Bobbie knew she was calling for Granny, and that she had forgotten that it was no use calling, because Granny was dead.

In the early morning Bobbie heard her name and jumped out of bed and ran to Mother's bedside.

"Oh—ah, yes—I think I was asleep," said Mother. "My poor little duck, how tired you'll be—I do hate to give you all this trouble."

"Trouble!" said Bobbie.

"Ah, don't cry, sweet," Mother said; "I shall be all right in a day or two."

And Bobbie said, "Yes," and tried to smile.

When you are used to ten hours of solid sleep, to get up three or four times in your sleep-time makes you feel as though you had been up all night. Bobbie felt quite stupid and her eyes were sore and stiff, but she tidied the room, and arranged everything neatly before the Doctor came.

This was at half-past eight.

"Everything going on all right, little Nurse?" he said at the front door. "Did you get the brandy?"

"I've got the brandy," said Bobbie, "in a little flat bottle."

"I didn't see the grapes or the beef tea, though," said he.

"No," said Bobbie, firmly, "but you will to-morrow. And there's some beef stewing in the oven for beef tea."

"Who told you to do that?" he asked.

"I noticed what Mother did when Phil had mumps."

"Right," said the Doctor. "Now you get your old woman to sit with your mother, and then you eat a good breakfast, and go straight to bed and sleep till dinner-time. We can't afford to have the head-nurse ill."

He was really quite a nice doctor.

When the 9.15 came out of the tunnel that morning the old gentleman in the first-class carriage put down his newspaper, and got ready to wave his hand to the three children on the fence. But this morning there were not three. There was only one. And that was Peter.

Peter was not on the railings either, as usual. He was standing in front of them in an attitude like that of a show-man showing off the animals in a menagerie, or of the kind clergyman when he points with a wand at the "Scenes from Palestine," when there is a magic-lantern and he is explaining it.

Peter was pointing, too. And what he was pointing at was a large white sheet nailed against the fence. On the sheet there were thick black letters more than a foot long.

Some of them had run a little, because of Phyllis having put the Brunswick black on too eagerly, but the words were quite easy to read.

And this what the old gentleman and several other people in the train read in the large black letters on the white sheet:


A good many people did look out at the station and were disappointed, for they saw nothing unusual. The old gentleman looked out, too, and at first he too saw nothing more unusual than the gravelled platform and the sunshine and the wall-flowers and forget-me-nots in the station borders. It was only just as the train was beginning to puff and pull itself together to start again that he saw Phyllis. She was quite out of breath with running.

"Oh," she said, "I thought I'd missed you. My bootlaces would keep coming down and I fell over them twice. Here, take it."


She thrust a warm, dampish letter into his hand as the train moved.

He leaned back in his corner and opened the letter. This is what he read:

Dear Mr.   We do not know your name.

   Mother is ill and the doctor says to give her the things at the end of the letter, but she says she can't afford it, and to get mutton for us and she will have the broth. We do not know anybody here but you, because Father is away and we do not know the address. Father will pay you, or if he has lost all his money, or anything, Peter will pay you when he is a man. We promise it on our honer. I.O.U. for all the things Mother wants.

sined Peter.      

   Will you give the parsel to the Station Master, because of us not knowing what train you come down by? Say it is for Peter that was sorry about the coals and he will know all right.




Then came the list of things the Doctor had ordered.

The old gentleman read it through once, and his eyebrows went up. He read it twice and smiled a little. When he had read it thrice, he put it in his pocket and went on reading The Times.

At about six that evening there was a knock at the back door. The three children rushed to open it, and there stood the friendly Porter, who had told them so many interesting things about railways. He dumped down a big hamper on the kitchen flags.

"Old gent," he said; "he asked me to fetch it up straight away."

"Thank you very much," said Peter, and then, as the Porter lingered, he added:

"I'm most awfully sorry I haven't got twopence to give you like Father does, but—"

"You drop it if you please," said the Porter, indignantly. "I wasn't thinking about no tuppences. I only wanted to say I was sorry your Mamma wasn't so well, and to ask how she finds herself this evening—and I've fetched her along a bit of sweetbrier, very sweet to smell it is. Twopence indeed," said he, and produced a bunch of sweetbrier from his hat, "just like a conjurer," as Phyllis remarked afterwards.

"Thank you very much," said Peter, "and I beg your pardon about the twopence."

"No offence," said the Porter, untruly but politely, and went.

Then the children undid the hamper. First there was straw, and then there were fine shavings, and then came all the things they had asked for, and plenty of them, and then a good many things they had not asked for; among others peaches and port wine and two chickens, a cardboard box of big red roses with long stalks, and a tall thin green bottle of lavender water, and three smaller fatter bottles of eau-de-Cologne. There was a letter, too.

"Dear Roberta and Phyllis and Peter," it said; "here are the things you want. Your mother will want to know where they came from. Tell her they were sent by a friend who heard she was ill. When she is well again you must tell her all about it, of course. And if she says you ought not to have asked for the things, tell her that I say you were quite right, and that I hope she will forgive me for taking the liberty of allowing myself a very great pleasure."

The letter was signed G. P. something that the children couldn't read.

"I think we were  right," said Phyllis.

"Right? Of course we were right," said Bobbie.

"All the same," said Peter, with his hands in his pockets, "I don't exactly look forward to telling Mother the whole truth about it."

"We're not to do it till she's well," said Bobbie, "and when she's well we shall be so happy we shan't mind a little fuss like that. Oh, just look at the roses! I must take them up to her."

"And the sweetbrier," said Phyllis, sniffing it loudly; "don't forget the sweetbrier."

"As if I should!" said Roberta. "Mother told me the other day there was a thick hedge of it at her mother's house when she was a little girl."


Heroes of the Middle Ages  by Eva March Tappan

Genseric the Vandal

A FEW years after the death of Attila, Rome was once more in the hands of an invader, Genseric the Vandal. The Vandals were great wanderers. They slowly made their way from the shores of the Baltic Sea to the Danube, passed through what is now France, and went south into Spain. Only eight or nine miles from Spain, just across what is now the Strait of Gibraltar, lay Africa.

Northern Africa belonged to Rome. It was one of her most valued provinces because, while Italy could not raise enough grain to feed her people, Africa could supply all that was needed. Genseric longed to add Africa to his domain, and he was more fortunate than most men who wish to invade a country, for after a little while he received a cordial invitation to come to Africa and bring his soldiers with him. The invitation was given by no less a man than the brave general Boniface, who had been appointed governor of the province. This is the way it came about. Aëtius was jealous of the success of Boniface, and he persuaded the mother of the child emperor to send the governor a letter recalling him. Then he himself wrote a letter to his "friend" Boniface with the warning that the empress was angry with him, and he would lose his head if he risked it in Rome. Boniface was in a hard position. He concluded that the safest thing for him to do was to remain where he was, and ask Genseric to help him to hold Africa.

Genseric did not wait to be urged. He hurried across the Strait of Gibraltar and began his career of violence. A Vandal conquest was more severe than that of any other tribe, for the Vandals seemed to delight in ruining everything that came into their power. They killed men, women, and children; they burned houses and churches; and they destroyed whatever treasures they could not carry away with them. Some said that whenever they conquered a country, they cut down every fruit tree within its limits. This is why people who seem to enjoy spoiling things are sometimes called vandals.

After a while Boniface discovered how he had been tricked by Aëtius, and he begged Genseric to leave the country; but the barbarian refused, and Boniface could not drive him away. Genseric and his followers settled in Africa, making the city of Carthage the capital of their kingdom, and they became a nation of pirates. They built light swift vessels and ravaged the shore of any country where they expected to find plunder.

All this time Genseric had his eyes fixed upon Italy, and again he was fortunate enough to be invited to a land which he was longing to invade. This time the widow of a murdered emperor begged him to come and avenge her wrongs. He wasted no time but crossed the narrow sea and marched up to the walls of Rome. Behold, the gates were flung open, and once more Leo, now a hoary-headed man, came forth with his clergy, all in their priestly robes, to beg the Vandals to have mercy. Generic made some promises, but they were soon broken. For fourteen days the Vandals did what they would. They were in no hurry; they had plenty of ships to carry away whatever they chose; and after they had chosen, there was little but the walls remaining. They snatched at gold and silver and jewels, of course, but they took also brass, copper, and bronze, silken robes, and even furniture. Works of art were nothing to them unless they were of precious metal and could be melted; and what they did not care to take with them, they broke or burned. The widowed empress had expected to be treated with the greatest honour, but the Vandals stripped off her jewels and threw her and her two daughters on board their ships to be carried to Africa as prisoners.

Genseric kept his nation together as long as he lived; and indeed, though the Romans made many expeditions against the Vandals, it was nearly eighty years before the pirates were conquered.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge

He Prayeth Best

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell

To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!

He prayeth well who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best who loveth best

All things, both great and small:

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.


  WEEK 3  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Henry VI of Windsor—Red Rose and White

Y OU remember that Henry IV., who took the crown from Richard II., was descended from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the fourth  son of Edward III. But there was some one who had a better right to the throne. That was Edmund Mortimer, who was descended from the third  son of Edward III. Now in the time of Henry VI. there was still living a descendant of Edmund Mortimer. He was called Richard, Duke of York.

The Wars of the Roses began because Richard claimed to be the rightful heir to the throne. At first Richard said he only wanted to be made protector of the kingdom because he saw how weak and easily led the King was. It seemed indeed as if the King needed a protector, for he was not only weak and foolish, but at times he was quite mad and unable even to speak for days. The Duke of York hoped that if he was protector during Henry's life, the people would make him King after Henry died.

The people would very likely have agreed to this had not a little son been born to Henry. This little son was called Edward, and many of the nobles turned from the Duke of York for his sake. Although Henry was quite unfit to rule, they hoped that his little son would grow up wise and good and more like his grandfather, Henry V.

So some of the nobles sided with the Duke of York and others with the King, and the quarrelling between them became very bad. Many at first were afraid to speak out and say openly on which side they were, but soon the quarrel grew to be so bitter that not only the nobles but the whole nation took sides.

One day while walking in the Temple gardens in London with some other nobles, Richard, Duke of York tried to persuade them to join his cause. "Ah," he said at last, "I see you are afraid to speak out. Well, then, give me a sign to show on whose side you are."

Let him that is a true-born gentleman,

And stands upon the honour of his birth,

If he supposes that I have pleaded truth,

From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.

Saying that he pulled a white rose which grew on a bush near and stuck it in his cap.

Then the Duke of Somerset sprang forward and, tearing a red rose from another bush, said:—

Let him that is no coward, nor no flatterer,

But dare maintain the party of the truth

Pluck a red rose from off the thorn with me.

Then one after another all the nobles who were there plucked red or white roses. Those who were for Lancaster, that is the King, because he was descended from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, wore red roses in their caps; those who were for the Duke of York wore white roses in theirs. And ever after, during all the years that the wars lasted, red and white roses were the sign or badge of the two parties, and the wars were called the Wars of the Roses.


One after another all the nobles plucked red or white roses and put them in their caps.

The first battle was fought at St. Albans in 1455 A.D. The White Rose won this battle and King Henry was taken prisoner. The Duke of York treated Henry very kindly, and, as he became quite mad for a time, the duke ruled the country.

The next year, however, the King recovered from his madness. He sent the duke away, and once more ruled the kingdom himself, or rather it was the Queen who ruled, for she was very fond of power, but did not care in the least to do what was best for the people. So she was greatly hated, and it was not long before war again broke out.

This time, too, the White Rose was successful. Queen Margaret fled to Scotland with her little son, and Henry was again taken prisoner.

The Duke of York now claimed the throne in earnest. He entered London in great state. Trumpets were sounded, the sword of office was carried before him, and he was followed and surrounded by a train of soldiers and servants. He rode straight to Westminster, where Parliament was sitting, and did not pause until he reached the House of Lords. There he marched up to the throne and laid his hand upon the cloth of state with which it was covered, as if he meant to show that he had taken possession of it. But he did not sit on the throne.

He stood for some time in silence looking at the empty seat, keeping his hand still upon the cloth. Then turning he looked at the nobles, as they crowded before him. Still silent he stood wondering and as if asking himself, "Are they glad or sorry to see me?"

Then in the silence the Archbishop of Canterbury stepped forward. "My lord duke," he said, "will you come to see the King?"

The Duke of York drew himself up proudly. "I cannot remember, my lord archbishop," he said, "that there is any one in this kingdom who should not rather come to me than I go to him." Then he turned and boldly sat upon the throne.

Sitting there, the duke made a long speech to the lords. He reminded them that Henry IV. had taken the crown by force, and tried to show that he, the Duke of York, had a better right to the throne than Henry VI.

"Therefore," he said, "according to my just and free title I have and do take possession of this royal throne and, with God's help, I shall keep it for His glory, my own honour, and the good of all my people."

When the duke had finished there was a deep silence. The lords sat as if struck dumb. In their astonishment they seemed afraid even to whisper or utter one word.

"It is good," said the duke at last, "that you should think well of what I have said," and rising he went away, not very pleased at their silence, yet not quite displeased either.

He went to the royal palace, took possession of Henry's own rooms, and lived there more like a king than a duke.

Left to themselves, the lords and the commons, after a great deal of talking, decided that while Henry lived he should still be called King, but that the Duke of York should be protector, and that when Henry died the duke should be the next King.

Henry, who was weak and idle, was quite satisfied with this. So was the duke, for he was a wise man who really loved his country. He meant to rule well, and hoped in this way to become King without further fighting. But Queen Margaret was very angry. She loved to rule and she hated the Duke of York, and she would not be ruled by him nor have her son set aside for him. She came from Scotland, where she had been hiding with her little boy and gathering an army, fought another battle with the Duke of York and his followers.

It was a terrible battle. This time the Red Rose won, and the Duke of York himself was taken prisoner.

After the battle was over the Red Rose soldiers set the duke on a little mound. They crowned him with bulrushes and then knelt before him crying, "Hail king without rule! Hail king without heritage! Hail duke and prince without people or possessions!" and after this cruel mocking of a helpless prisoner they cut off his head.

The wicked Queen Margaret laughed with joy when she saw it and, to mock the dead man still further, she placed a paper crown upon the head and stuck it upon the walls of York.

One of the duke's sons, a pretty boy of only twelve, was killed too. He was trying to run away with his tutor when he was caught by one of the Red Rose soldiers.

"Oh please, please do not kill me," sobbed the boy, the tears running down his cheeks, "I do not want to die." But the soldier had a cruel heart and would not listen. Dumb with fear, the poor little boy fell upon his knees, holding up his hands to beg for mercy. But the soldier had no mercy. "Your father killed mine," he cried, "I will kill you." So the poor little boy died.

Queen Margaret had no mercy either. She seemed mad with revenge. She killed as many of the White Rose nobles as she could, and the White Rose cause seemed lost.

But although Richard, Duke of York, was dead, he had a son called Edward, who now became duke and the head of the White Rose party, and more terrible battles were fought.

The people hated the Queen for her cruelty and her wickedness. She had no money with which to pay her soldiers, so she allowed them to plunder, and they too were hated and feared wherever they went. The gates of London were closed against them, the people refusing to give them even the plainest food.

But Edward of York was young, brave, and handsome, and, when he came to London with his army, the people threw open the gates to him welcoming him as their King.

Then the Bishop of Exeter, standing up among the great crowds who had gathered to meet him, reminded the people of all the cruel wrongs which they had suffered during Henry's reign. "Will you have him still to rule over you?" he asked.

"No! no!" shouted the people. "No! no!"

"If you will not have Henry, whom will you have?" asked the bishop. "Will you serve, love, honour, and obey Edward, Earl of March and Duke of York, as your only King and sovereign lord?"

"Yes, yes," shouted the people. "King Edward, King Edward, long live King Edward!"

So with shouting and cheering and clapping of hands the people chose Edward of York to be their King.


Winter  by Dallas Lore Sharp


T HE December rain was falling down, down, down, as if the drops were lead instead of water. The December sky, if you could call it sky, had settled down, down, down, as if it too were of lead, and were being propped up only by the tops of the stiff bare trees.

A green stick in the fireplace behind me sizzled and sputtered and blew its small steam whistles to warn me away from the window,—from the sight of the naked trees, and the cold, thick fog upon the meadow, and the blur of the pine woods beyond, and the rain falling down, down, down.

A dreary world out of doors surely, with not a sign of life! The pine tree, rising up above the hillside in front of the window, was green, but only a few lifeless leaves rattled among the middle branches of the oaks, while up in the stark top of a hickory sapling was wedged a robin's nest, deserted and wet and going to pieces.

I shivered, in spite of the hearth-fire behind me, for the face of the gray gloom pressed close up against the window outside. And the empty robin's nest, already a ruin! its mud walls broken, its tiny timbers hanging loose in the rain!

But what a large nest for a robin, I thought; and how strangely peaked and pointed it is, like a little haycock! Then all at once, inside of me, and all over me, I felt a warm, delightful feeling.

"It isn't possible," said I aloud, but all to myself; "it isn't possible that little White-Foot has moved into that old robin's nest and fitted it up with a peaked roof for the winter?"

And the thought of it started the warm, delightful feeling again inside of me and all over me; and snatching up the tongs by the fireplace I ran out into the December rain and tapped a few times on the slender hickory sapling.

And what do you think happened?

It stopped raining?


You broke your tongs?


The nest fell out and hit you on the head?


You ran back into the house again out of the rain?

Yes, I did, and I went straight to the window and looked out again at the robin's nest,—my deserted, ruined robin's nest, with its thick thatch of waterproof cedar bark, with its little round door-hole in the side, with its soft furry bed, all toasty warm, out of which with my tapping tongs I had just roused White-Foot and brought him sleepy-eyed to look down at me from his door.

The rain continued to fall down; but my spirits went up, and up, at the thought of that little mouse all safe and warm for the winter in Robin's deserted nest.

And so, if "there are no birds in last year's nest," as mourns a doleful poem, you need not be sad on that account, for if you look closely, you may find, now and then, a mouse in last year's nest—and who will say that finding a mouse in a bird's nest is not almost as interesting as finding a bird there?

A robin's nest in the winter-time would be the wettest, muddiest, coldest place in the world for a robin; but a mouse can take that old robin's nest and turn it into a snuggery (if you know what a "snuggery" is) so cozy and warm that neither the tip of Mr. Mouse's sharp nose, nor the tip of his thin ears, nor the tippy-tip of his long bare tail ever feels one sharp nip of the cold outside.

So, if there are no birds in last year's nest (as surely there ought not to be), take your tongs and tap, or, better, climb up, and reach gently into the nest with your finger, for a mouse may be waiting inside to bite you,—and that would be interesting.

For a mouse is interesting—just as interesting in his mousy ways as a whale in his whalish ways, or a robin in his ways. Can you name anything that does not grow interesting as soon as you begin to watch and study it? Large things, small things, Bengal tigers or earthworms—all things will surprise and interest you if you will study them for a season.

I have a friend, for instance, who has shot more tigers, in more lands, than any other living man; who knows more about tiger habits and the tempers of the dangerous beasts than any other man; and who, as I am writing this, is himself writing a book which is to be called "Tiger Lands." That will be an exciting book, no doubt, for he has had adventures that made my hair stand up on my head, just to hear about. Yet I very much doubt if that book, with all its man-eaters, will be any more interesting or any more valuable to us than Darwin's book on earthworms.

So am I going to sigh because there are no birds in last year's nests? Had the poem said, "there are no mice  in last year's nests," that might have made me sad, perhaps; though I am sure that I could go into the woods almost any winter day and find plenty of old stumps  with mice in them. And I am equally sure that there will be plenty of birds in next summer's nests; so, until the robins come back and build new nests, I am going to look out of the window these dark December days, and think of White-Foot in Robin's old nest, high up there in the slender sapling, where no cat can climb to him, and where no crow will dare come to tear his house to pieces.


There he will swing in the winter gales with the snow swirling around and beneath him; there he will dream through the rain and the slanting sleet when his high sapling stairway is coated with ice and impossible for him to climb; there he will live, and whenever I thump with the tongs at his outer gate, up there in the little round doorway will appear his head—his eyes, I should say, for he looks all eyes up there, so large, so black, so innocent, so inquiring are they, so near to rolling off down the tip of his nose with sheer surprise.

I shall have many a cheering glimpse of White-Foot, many a comforting thought of him, out there, his thatch snow-covered, his thick-walled nest in the slender hickory riding the winter seas that sweep the hilltop, as safe as the ships anchored yonder in the landlocked harbor; and he will be much more comforting to me out there than here in the house with me; for, strangely enough, while White-Foot never seems to join the common mice in the barn, never a winter goes by without one or more of his kind coming into the house for the cold weather.

This would be very pleasant if they could keep out of the pop-corn and the nuts and the apples and the linen-drawers. But only recently one got into the linen in the china-closet, and chewed together  the loveliest damask nest that any being ever slept in.

There was nothing for such conduct, then, of course, except to kill her. But I did not kill her, though I take no credit to myself, for I tried to kill her, as any one would have been tempted to do.

I got her out of that linen-drawer in a hurry and chased her from cupboard to couch, to radiator and bookcase, and lost her. The next day I resumed the chase, and upset most of the furniture before she finally gave me the slip. The next day she appeared, and once more we turned things upside down, and once more from some safe corner she watched me put the chairs back on their legs and pick up the pieces of things.

But the next morning, as I opened the grate of the kitchen stove to light the fire, there in the ash-pan huddled that little mouse; and under her in a bed of ashes, as if to reproach me forever, were five wee mice, just born, blind and naked in the choking dust, babes that should have been sleeping covered in a bed of downy damask in the linen-drawer.


I said I did not kill her. No, I reached in slowly, lifted her and her babes out softly in my hand, carried them into a safe, warm place and left them, devoutly hoping that they might all grow up to help themselves, if need be, to an ear of pop-corn, or even to a cozy corner and a sip of honey in the beehives.

No, I don't believe I hoped all of that, for White-Foot is exceedingly fond of honey, and no roof in all the out-of-doors is so much to his liking as a beehive, warm with the heat of the clustered swarm; and nowhere can he make such a nuisance of himself as inside the hive.

A robin's nest, a beehive, a linen-drawer, a woodpecker's hole—almost any place will do for the winter home, so thick and warm can the mice build their walls, so many bins of acorns and grain do they lay up, and so bold are they to forage when their winter stores run low.

I had a curious experience with a white-footed mouse in the cellar one winter. The small boys had carried into the cellar (to hide them from me, I imagine) about four quarts of chestnuts which they had gathered. A little later, when they went to get their nuts, the box was empty. Not a chestnut left!

"Have you eaten all our chestnuts, father?"

"No, I haven't—not a nut," I answered.

"Well, they are all gone!" was the wail.

And so they were, but how, and where, we did not know. House mice had not eaten them, for no shells were left behind; there were no rats or squirrels in the cellar that fall; and as for one of the small boys—that was past thought. The fact is, more suspicion was attached to me in the case than anything in my previous conduct called for; and, though altogether guiltless, I continued to be uncomfortably quizzed from time to time about those chestnuts, until I began to wonder if I had  got up in my sleep and devoured the four quarts, shells and all.

Then one day, while we were putting things shipshape in the vegetable cellar, what did we come upon but a nice little pile of chestnuts hidden away in a dark corner; then we discovered another pile, laid up carefully, neatly, in a secret spot, where no human eye—except the human house-cleaning eye, that misses nothing—would ever have seen them, and where no big human hand would ever have put them.

I was allowed to go then and there scot-free; and a trap was set for the wood mouse. It was White-Foot, we knew. But we never caught her. And I am glad of it, for after we took away what chestnuts we could find, she evidently felt it necessary to make a new hoard, and began with a handful of old hickory-nuts, shagbarks, that had been left in the vegetable cellar beside the box of chestnuts.

Now, however, she felt the insecurity of the inner cellar, or else she had found a fine big bin out in the furnace cellar, for out there by the furnace she took those nuts and tucked them compactly away into the toe of one of my tall hunting-boots.

There were double doors and a brick partition wall between the two cellars. No matter. Here were the nuts she had not yet stored; and out yonder was the hole, smooth and deep and dark, to store them in. She found a way past the partition wall.

Every morning I shook those nuts out of my boot and sent them rattling over the cellar floor. Every night the mouse gathered them up and put them snugly back into the toe of the boot. She could not have carried more than one nut at a time—up the tall boot-leg and down the oily, slippery inside.


I should have liked to see her scurrying about the cellar, looking after her curiously difficult harvest. Apparently, they were new nuts to her every evening. Once I came down to find them lying untouched. The mouse, perhaps, was away over night on other business. But the following morning they were all gathered and nicely packed in the boot as before. And as before I sent them sixty ways among the barrels and boxes of the furnace room.

But I did it once too often, for it dawned upon the mouse one night that these were the same old nuts that she had gathered now a dozen times. That night they disappeared. Where? I wondered.

Weeks passed, and I had entirely forgotten about the nuts, when I came upon them, the identical nuts of my boot, tiered carefully up in a corner of the deep, empty water-tank away off in the attic!


Robert Graves


"Are you awake, Gemelli,

This frosty night?"

"We'll be awake till reveillé,

Which is Sunrise," say the Gemelli,

"It's no good trying to go to sleep:

If there's wine to be got we'll drink it deep,

But sleep is gone for to-night

But sleep is gone for to-night."

"Are you cold, too, poor Pleiads,

This frosty night?"

"Yes, and so are the Hyads:

See us cuddle and hug," say the Pleiads,

"All six in a ring: it keeps us warm:

We huddle together like birds in a storm:

It's bitter weather to-night,

It's bitter weather to-night."

"What do you hunt, Orion,

This starry night?"

"The Ram, the Bull and the Lion,

And the Great Bear," says Orion,

"With my starry quiver and beautiful belt

I am trying to find a good thick pelt

To warm my shoulders to-night,

To warm my shoulders to-night."

"Did you hear that, Great She-bear,

This frosty night?"

"Yes, he's talking of stripping me bare

Of my own big fur," says the She-bear,

"I'm afraid of the man and his terrible arrow:

The thought of it chills my bones to the marrow,

And the frost so cruel to-night!

And the frost so cruel to-night!"

"How is your trade, Aquarius,

This frosty night?"

"Complaints is many and various

And my feet are cold," says Aquarius,

"There's Venus objects to Dolphin-scales,

And Mars to Crab-spawn found in my pails,

And the pump has frozen to-night,

And the pump has frozen to-night."


  WEEK 3  


The Story Book of Science  by Jean Henri Fabre

The Building of the City

"T HEY are noble workers," began Uncle Paul, "Many a time, when the morning sun begins to warm up, I have taken pleasure in observing the activity that reigns around their little mounds of earth, each with its summit pierced by a hole for exit and entrance.

"There are some that come from the bottom of this hole. Others follow them, and still more, on and on. They carry between their teeth a tiny grain of earth, an enormous weight for them. Arrived at the top of the mound, they let their burden fall, and it rolls over the slope, and they immediately descend again into their well. They do not play on the way, or stop with their companions to rest a while. Oh! no: the work is urgent, and they have so much to do! Each one arrives, serious, with its grain of earth, deposits it, and descends in search of another. What are they so busy about?

"They are building a subterranean town, with streets, squares, dormitories, storehouses; they are hollowing out a dwelling-place for themselves and their family. At a depth where rain cannot penetrate they dig the earth and pierce it with galleries, which lengthen into long communicating streets, subdivided into short ones, crossing one another here and there, sometimes ascending, sometimes descending, and opening into large halls. These immense works are executed grain by grain, drawn by strength of the jaws. If any one could see that black army of miners at work under the ground, he would be filled with astonishment.

"They are there by the thousands, scratching, biting, drawing, pulling, in the deepest darkness. What patience! What efforts! And when the grain of sand has at last given way, how they go off, head held high and proud, carrying it triumphantly above! I have seen ants, whose heads tottered under the tremendous load, exhaust themselves in getting to the top of the mound. In jostling their companions, they seemed to say: See how I work! And nobody could blame them, for the pride of work is a noble pride. Little by little, at the gate of the town, that is to say at the edge of the hole, this little mound of earth is piled up, formed by excavated material from the city that is being built. The larger the mound, the larger the subterranean dwelling, it is plain.

"Hollowing out these galleries in the ground is not all; they must also prevent landslides, fortify weak places, uphold the vaults with pillars, make partitions. These miners are then seconded by carpenters. The first carry the earth out of the ant-hill, the second bring the building materials. What are these materials? They are pieces of timber-work, beams, and small joists, suitable for the edifice. A tiny little bit of straw is a solid beam for a ceiling, the stem of a dry leaf can become a strong column. The carpenters explore the neighboring forests, that is to say, the tufts of grass, to choose their pieces.

"Good! see this covering of an oat-grain. It is very thin, dry, and solid. It will make an excellent plank for the partition they are constructing below. But it is heavy, enormously heavy. The ant that has made the discovery draws backward and makes itself rigid on its six feet. No success: the heavy mass does not move. It tries again, all its little body trembling with energy. The oat-husk just moves a tiny bit. The ant recognizes its powerlessness. It goes off. Will it abandon the piece? Oh! no. When one is an ant, one has the perseverance that commands success. Here it is coming back with two helpers. One seizes the oat in front, the others hitch themselves to the side, and behold! it rolls, it advances; it will get there. There are difficult steps, but the ants they meet along the route will give them a shoulder.

"They have succeeded, not without trouble. The oat is at the entrance to the underground city. Now things become complicated; the piece gets awry; leaning against the edge of the hole, it cannot enter. Helpers hasten up. Ten, twenty unite their efforts without success. Two or three of them, engineers perhaps, detach themselves from the band, and seek the cause of this insurmountable resistance. The difficulty is soon solved: they must put the piece with the point at the bottom. The oat is drawn back a little, so that one end overhangs the hole. One ant seizes this end while the others lift the end that is on the ground, and the piece, turning a somersault, falls into the well, but is prudently held on to by the carpenters clinging to the sides. You may perhaps think, my children, that the miners mounting with their grain of earth would stop from curiosity before this mechanical prodigy? Not at all, they have not time. They pass with their loads of excavated material, without a glance at the carpenters' work. In their ardor they are even bold enough to slide under the moving beams, at the risk of being crippled. Let them look out! That is their affair.

"One must eat when one works so hard. Nothing creates an appetite like violent exercise. Milkmaid ants go through the ranks; they have just milked the cows and are now distributing the milk to the workers."

Here Emile burst out laughing. "But that is not really and truly so?" said he to his uncle. "Milkmaid ants, cows, milk! It is a fairy tale like Mother Ambroisine's."

Emile was not the only one to be surprised at the peculiar expressions Uncle Paul had used. Mother Ambroisine no longer turned her spindle, Jacques did not plait his wickers, Jules and Claire stared with wide-open eyes. All thought it a jest.

"No, my dears," said Uncle Paul. "I am not jesting; no. I have not exchanged the truth for a fairy tale. It is true there are milkmaid ants and cows. But as that demands some explanation, we will put off the continuation of the story until to-morrow."

Emile drew Jules off into a corner, and said to him in confidence: "Uncle's true stories are very amusing, much more so than Mother Ambroisine's tales. To hear the rest about those wonderful cows I would willingly leave my Noah's Ark."


Builders of Our Country: Book I  by Gertrude van Duyn Southworth

Christopher Columbus

His Plan

FROM the days of Marco Polo commerce between the East and the Italian cities grew and flourished. The republics of Genoa and Venice were among the most important of the trade centers.

Genoa sent her cargoes of copper, iron, hides, and wool to India by way of Constantinople and the Black and Caspian seas. Venice sent her vessels by way of Alexandria and the Red Sea.

Neither of these routes was without serious drawbacks. The Venetian ships could go only as far as Alexandria, for the Suez Canal had not yet been made. Then the merchants had to unload, transport their wares across the isthmus, and reship them on the Red Sea. The Genoese had the same trouble in traveling by way of Constantinople. At some point on the Black Sea their goods were taken from the ships and loaded on caravans; then, after braving all the dangers of the sea, the merchants had to face the greater dangers of overland travel. One never knew when a caravan might be overhauled by bandits and all the valuable wares stolen. The merchants were lucky who escaped with their lives from such attacks.

Nor did the strain of these voyages end with reaching India. There the ships and caravans were loaded for the home trip with the riches of that land. And surely the costly diamonds, pearls, ivory, silks and spices of the East could not fail to tempt robbers and pirates as much as did the Italian products.

So it was no easy matter at best for Genoa to trade with India. Still, encouraged by those who succeeded, and trying to forget those who came to grief, the Genoese merchants went back and forth until the middle of the fifteenth century.

Then suddenly their trade route was cut off. Constantinople was captured by the Turks, and the Turks would not allow ships from Genoa to sail into the Black Sea. It was a dreadful blow to the prosperity of the republic. Some new course must be found. But where and by whom?

When this disaster befell Genoa the same questions were continually being asked in other lands than Italy. Portugal was among the most eager of the seekers for a new route to the East. Her hope was to find a passage around the southern part of Africa; and year after year she sent her ships farther and farther down the western coast of that continent searching for a southern passage.

From time to time on such voyages there was to be seen among the Portuguese sailors a tall, handsome, ruddy young seaman with long flowing hair and commanding blue-gray eyes. Christopher Columbus he was called.

Columbus was born in Genoa, probably about the year 1436. He was the son of a wool comber. Until his tenth year Christopher helped his father in his trade. Then he spent four years in the University of Pavia, learning mathematics, reading, writing, and the laws of navigation.

On leaving Pavia he was sent by his father to sea. For some time he sailed up and down the Mediterranean in merchant vessels. But later he went to Portugal, and from there sailed, not only far south along the shores of Africa, but also north even as far as Iceland.

You must remember, however, that a sailor's lot was very different then from what it is now. The Europeans of the fifteenth century had only sailing vessels, and not very large or very strongly built ones at that. As their speed depended entirely upon the strength of the wind, no one could foretell how long any voyage might take.

To be sure, by the time Columbus sailed the seas the compass had come into use. This compass consisted of a magnetized steel bar or needle resting on a pivot. North of the equator the head of a magnetic needle always turns to the north. So no matter how far out on the ocean sailors might be, they could tell at any time which way to turn to get home.

Then, too, the explorers had maps of the world. But many of the maps at that time were very queer and had pictures of dreadful sea serpents and horrible monsters drawn between the countless little islands.

This was due to the stories told by sailors, who were very superstitious. In the dark nights when they were out upon the sea, they would imagine all sorts of creatures moving in the darkness beyond. The spray thrown up by the ship would look like mermaids with great glistening eyes who beckoned them to come to their home in the deep. These stories were fully believed, and wherever a sailor had seen such sights they were put down on the map.

The great trouble was that very few people knew the real facts. Most of them still thought that the earth was a flat surface, surrounded on all sides by a large ocean.

A very few learned men thought differently. These few said that the earth was round, as we know it to be. But even they made mistakes. They believed the world to be much smaller than it really is. They knew nothing about America, and thought that only one ocean—the Atlantic—separated Europe from India and China.

Columbus, after paying close attention to all he could see or hear of such matters on his many trips, came to think the same as the wise men; and this belief opened big possibilities to him. Born in Genoa and sailing under the flag of Portugal, is it any wonder that he was easily fired with the desire to find a route to India as yet untried by anyone? Plans began to form in his mind and fairly to take possession of him.

Once when he was visiting the Azores the inhabitants showed him some bits of curiously carved wood and branches of unknown trees that had been driven ashore by the Western seas. They also told him of two drowned men the waves had washed up, whose appearance was altogether different from any European's. Such things could have come only from a country to the west, reasoned Columbus. And the stories confirmed him still further in his growing belief that to sail west was the way to reach India.

Finally he wrote to a noted astronomer of Florence, named Toscanelli, and asked his advice. Marco Polo's stories of the wealth of China and Japan, and above all what Marco Polo had written about a sea to the east of these lands, had so influenced this Toscanelli that he too had tried to plan some way of reaching them. His plans and those of Columbus proved to be the same. When he answered Columbus's letter he sent with his reply a map of the world made by himself and showing the course that he believed would lead to China.

But like the maps of the other learned men, Toscanelli's map showed only three continents—Europe, Asia, and Africa. Where America lies he drew China and Japan. And he too made the distance much too short.

As a rule, of course, mistakes do much harm. However these mistakes of Toscanelli's turned out to be an exception. Bent as he was on reaching China, do you suppose that Columbus would ever have sailed west if he had suspected for a moment that a great continent lay between him and that country?

Some people think that when Columbus visited Iceland he must have heard of the discovery of Vinland. But if he did hear of such a land he could never have understood where it was. He accepted Toscanelli's map as accurate and longed to test this plan of sailing directly west to China.

But Columbus was poor and had not the money to carry out his enterprise. Where could he turn for help? First he tried Genoa and Venice. The people only laughed at his wild plans. They thought he must be mad.

Then he went to Portugal. But neither would the Portuguese listen to him. Instead they ridiculed him and asked whether he really believed that the earth was round and that people on the other side walked with their heads down.

In spite of all this opposition Columbus was not discouraged. He now went to Spain where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella reigned. For seven long years Columbus stayed there trying to persuade the King and Queen to give him ships to cross the ocean. At last Queen Isabella consented to furnish the necessary money and promised to pawn her own jewels if Spain could not give him enough.

The First Voyage

ON the 3d of August, 1492, Columbus left the port of Palos with three vessels, the Pinta,  the Niña  and the Santa Maria.  This last was the flagship, and was the only one with an entire deck. Although the largest of the fleet, the Santa Maria  was not over ninety feet long and twenty feet wide.

It had been no easy task to find men to man these ships. When the most learned men were unwilling to aid Columbus, what could be expected of poor ignorant sailors? In order to get men to manage the ships, convicts were taken out of jail and promised their liberty if they would go with Columbus. Others were forced to go by the King.

The vessels arrived at the Canary Islands the 12th of August and stayed there three weeks, as the Pinta  needed repairs.

When they were again out upon the sea and could see no land, the fears of the sailors rose. What horrible monsters would they meet? What if they should fall off the edge of the earth! What if this wind that carried them on so swiftly should prevent their going home!

As the weeks passed and no land appeared, a mutiny threatened to break out. But Columbus, noticing this restlessness and growing fear among the men, encouraged them from day to day with new hope.

After a few weeks they came into a region where the air was soft and balmy. Queer objects were floating out to meet them—sticks carved with strange figures, and once a branch of berries. Now the men were very happy, and all kept a diligent lookout for land.

One evening a sailor spied something dark against the horizon. "Land!" he shouted. When morning came, there, stretched before them, was the New World. Red-skinned natives were running excitedly up and down the shores wondering who these strange white people were.

This was the 12th of October, 1492. The crew went ashore and, falling on their knees, kissed the ground in their great joy. With much ceremony Columbus unfurled the banner he had brought with him and took possession of the country in the name of Spain. He gave the island the name of San Salvador.

"This island must be a little north of Japan," thought Columbus. It was a beautiful spot; but there were certainly no traces of the great palace with the golden roof, of the courtiers of the king laden down with silk and precious jewels, or of the busy wharves crowded with vessels, which Columbus had expected to see when he touched the shores of Japan. Evidently he must sail a little farther before he could see these wonders or deliver the letter he carried from Ferdinand and Isabella to the Khan of China.

Cruising about, still looking for Japan or the coast of China, Columbus discovered the islands of Cuba and Haiti. To the whole group he gave the name West Indies, and so naturally he called the natives Indians.

Early Christmas morning, before it was light, a cry went up from the deck of the Santa Maria.  The flagship had struck on a sand bar just off the coast of Haiti. All efforts to set her free were useless. Soon the waves had broken to pieces the best and largest of Columbus's little fleet.

What if another such accident should happen, and there should be no way to send word back to Spain that he had at least reached the islands near Japan and China! Frightened by this thought, Columbus determined to sail for home. With the largest ship gone, all the sailors could not now be carried. So forty men were left in Haiti, when their commander sailed for Spain.

On the 15th of March Columbus arrived in Palos. As soon as he landed he sent to the Royal Treasurer of Spain a letter in which he told all about his discoveries.

News of Columbus's good fortune soon spread all over Spain and Portugal. Everybody was eager to welcome the great man. They forgot all the mean things they had said about him and were ready to praise him for what he had done.

You can imagine how the King and Queen felt when Columbus presented himself at their court. He told them all about the New World and what he had seen there. He showed them all the curious things he had brought—the wonderful birds, unknown fruits, and, above all, several natives from the new country. Columbus was recognized as a hero. The King gave him the title of "Don" and treated him almost as an equal.

But the great honors lavished upon the successful admiral soon made enemies for him among the jealous courtiers. One day at a dinner given in his honor Columbus was telling about his voyage. Another guest remarked that he did not think there was anything so very wonderful about discovering the West Indies. With quiet dignity Columbus took an egg and, turning to the man, asked, "Can you stand this egg on end?"

Why, no, he couldn't; and neither could any other guest at the table, although they all tried.

When the egg was handed back to Columbus he struck it lightly on the table, cracking the shell just enough to make it stand upright. Then everyone laughed to see how easily it could be done.

"Just so easily anyone could have discovered the West Indies after I had shown the way," said Columbus.

Other Voyages

WHEN in September, 1493, Columbus sailed upon his second voyage, he had no difficulty in getting sailors. Everybody was eager to see the new land and share in its riches. The fleet consisted of seventeen vessels and fifteen hundred men.

This time Columbus landed on the island of Porto Rico. But when the people found no gold lying around, they began to murmur and criticise their leader. Columbus, as always, told them to hope and wait.

When he went back to Spain after nearly three years, most of the men who had come with him stayed on the islands. Columbus still believed he was near the coast of Japan or China, and never during his lifetime did he know that he was the discoverer of America.

But now no royal welcome was given the returning explorer. You see that even from his second trip he had brought back no gold and none of the wealth of the East; and that is what the Spanish people wanted. He was an upstart and a fraud.

However, as Queen Isabella still believed in him and encouraged him, Columbus fitted out six vessels and in 1498 started on his third voyage. This time he sailed farther south and discovered the Orinoco River.

Leaving the Orinoco River, Columbus cruised to the West Indies. There the colonists had turned against him, and when he came among them they put him in chains and sent him back to Spain. Columbus wore his chains with dignity and patience. But when he reached Spain the Queen was so indignant at his treatment that he was immediately released.

In 1502 Columbus made one more voyage. Again he returned without having reached the Chinese Empire and with no gold. Isabella soon died, and the King took no more notice of the great man.

Columbus was now an old man, his health was broken, and he was very poor. In 1506 he died. He had discovered a new world, and all the thanks he received was to be ignored.

Through his efforts, Spain became one of the wealthiest and strongest countries in Europe. She founded great colonies across the ocean, which carried on a wonderful trade with the Old World.

And not Spain alone, but all Europe, profited indirectly by the discoveries of Columbus. Even before his death different nations began sending out explorers to plant their banners on any lands they might find and thus to extend their power in the New World to the west.

You would suppose that our continent would have been named after Columbus. Instead it was called America after a certain Florentine adventurer, Americus Vespucius, who crossed the ocean after Columbus, and who wrote a book about his travels.


Emily Dickinson


Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.


  WEEK 3  


Otto of the Silver Hand  by Howard Pyle

How the Baron Came Home Shorn


B UT Baron Conrad was not dead. For days he lay upon his hard bed, now muttering incoherent words beneath his red beard, now raving fiercely with the fever of his wound. But one day he woke again to the things about him.

He turned his head first to the one side and then to the other; there sat Schwartz Carl and the one-eyed Hans. Two or three other retainers stood by a great window that looked out into the courtyard beneath, jesting and laughing together in low tones, and one lay upon the heavy oaken bench that stood along by the wall snoring in his sleep.

"Where is your lady?" said the Baron, presently; "and why is she not with me at this time?"

The man that lay upon the bench started up at the sound of his voice, and those at the window came hurrying to his bedside. But Schwartz Carl and the one-eyed Hans looked at one another, and neither of them spoke. The Baron saw the look and in it read a certain meaning that brought him to his elbow, though only to sink back upon his pillow again with a groan.

"Why do you not answer me?" said he at last, in a hollow voice; then to the one-eyed Hans, "Hast no tongue, fool, that thou standest gaping there like a fish? Answer me, where is thy mistress?"

"I—I do not know," stammered poor Hans.

For a while the Baron lay silently looking from one face to the other, then he spoke again. "How long have I been lying here?" said he.

"A sennight, my lord," said Master Rudolph, the steward, who had come into the room and who now stood among the others at the bedside.

"A sennight," repeated the Baron, in a low voice, and then to Master Rudolph, "And has the Baroness been often beside me in that time?" Master Rudolph hesitated. "Answer me," said the Baron, harshly.

"Not—not often," said Master Rudolph, hesitatingly.

The Baron lay silent for a long time. At last he passed his hands over his face and held them there for a minute, then of a sudden, before anyone knew what he was about to do, he rose upon his elbow and then sat upright upon the bed. The green wound broke out afresh and a dark red spot grew and spread upon the linen wrappings; his face was drawn and haggard with the pain of his moving, and his eyes wild and bloodshot. Great drops of sweat gathered and stood upon his forehead as he sat there swaying slightly from side to side.

"My shoes," said he, hoarsely.

Master Rudolph stepped forward. "But, my Lord Baron," he began and then stopped short, for the Baron shot him such a look that his tongue stood still in his head.

Hans saw that look out of his one eye. Down he dropped upon his knees and, fumbling under the bed, brought forth a pair of soft leathern shoes, which he slipped upon the Baron's feet and then laced the thongs above the instep.

"Your shoulder," said the Baron. He rose slowly to his feet, gripping Hans in the stress of his agony until the fellow winced again. For a moment he stood as though gathering strength, then doggedly started forth upon that quest which he had set upon himself.

At the door he stopped for a moment as though overcome by his weakness, and there Master Nicholas, his cousin, met him; for the steward had sent one of the retainers to tell the old man what the Baron was about to do.


No one was within but old Ursela, who sat crooning over a fire.

"Thou must go back again, Conrad," said Master Nicholas; "thou art not fit to be abroad."

The Baron answered him never a word, but he glared at him from out of his bloodshot eyes and ground his teeth together. Then he started forth again upon his way.

Down the long hall he went, slowly and laboriously, the others following silently behind him, then up the steep winding stairs, step by step, now and then stopping to lean against the wall. So he reached a long and gloomy passageway lit only by the light of a little window at the further end.

He stopped at the door of one of the rooms that opened into this passage-way, stood for a moment, then he pushed it open.

No one was within but old Ursela, who sat crooning over a fire with a bundle upon her knees. She did not see the Baron or know that he was there.

"Where is your lady?" said he, in a hollow voice.

Then the old nurse looked up with a start. "Jesu bless us," cried she, and crossed herself.

"Where is your lady?" said the Baron again, in the same hoarse voice; and then, not waiting for an answer, "Is she dead?"

The old woman looked at him for a minute blinking her watery eyes, and then suddenly broke into a shrill, long-drawn wail. The Baron needed to hear no more.

As though in answer to the old woman's cry, a thin piping complaint came from the bundle in her lap.

At the sound the red blood flashed up into the Baron's face. "What is that you have there?" said he, pointing to the bundle upon the old woman's knees.

She drew back the coverings and there lay a poor, weak, little baby, that once again raised its faint reedy pipe.

"It is your son," said Ursela, "that the dear Baroness left behind her when the holy angels took her to Paradise. She blessed him and called him Otto before she left us."



Jataka Tales  by Ellen C. Babbitt

The Merchant of Seri

T HERE was once a merchant of Seri who sold brass and tinware. He went from town to town, in company with another man, who also sold brass and tinware. This second man was greedy, getting all he could for nothing, and giving as little as he could for what he bought.

When they went into a town, they divided the streets between them. Each man went up and down the streets he had chosen, calling, "Tinware for sale. Brass for sale." People came out to their door-steps, and bought, or traded, with them.

In one house there lived a poor old woman and her granddaughter. The family had once been rich, but now the only thing they had left of all their riches was a golden bowl. The grandmother did not know it was a golden bowl, but she had kept this because her husband used to eat out of it in the old days. It stood on a shelf among the other pots and pans, and was not often used.


He threw the bowl on the ground.

The greedy merchant passed this house, calling, "Buy my water-jars! Buy my pans!" The granddaughter said: "Oh, Grandmother, do buy something for me!"

"My dear," said the old woman, "we are too poor to buy anything. I have not anything to trade, even."

"Grandmother, see what the merchant will give for the old bowl. We do not use that, and perhaps he will take it and give us something we want for it."

The old woman called the merchant and showed him the bowl, saying, "Will you take this, sir, and give the little girl here something for it?"

The greedy man took the bowl and scratched its side with a needle. Thus he found that it was a golden bowl. He hoped he could get it for nothing, so he said: "What is this worth? Not even a halfpenny." He threw the bowl on the ground, and went away.

By and by the other merchant passed the house. For it was agreed that either merchant might go through any street which the other had left. He called: "Buy my water-jars! Buy my tinware! Buy my brass!"

The little girl heard him, and begged her grandmother to see what he would give for the bowl.

"My child," said the grandmother, "the merchant who was just here threw the bowl on the ground and went away. I have nothing else to offer in trade."

"But, Grandmother," said the girl, "that was a cross man. This one looks pleasant. Ask him. Perhaps he'll give some little tin dish."

"Call him, then, and show it to him," said the old woman.

As soon as the merchant took the bowl in his hands, he knew it was of gold. He said: "All that I have here is not worth so much as this bowl. It is a golden bowl. I am not rich enough to buy it."

"But, sir, a merchant who passed here a few moments ago, threw it on the ground, saying it was not worth a halfpenny, and he went away," said the grandmother. "It was worth nothing to him. If you value it, take it, giving the little girl some dish she likes for it."

But the merchant would not have it so. He gave the woman all the money he had, and all his wares. "Give me but eight pennies," he said.

So he took the pennies, and left. Going quickly to the river, he paid the boatman the eight pennies to take him across the river.

Soon the greedy merchant went back to the house where he had seen the golden bowl, and said: "Bring that bowl to me, and I will give you something for it."

"No," said the grandmother. "You said the bowl was worthless, but another merchant has paid a great price for it, and taken it away."


"It is a golden bowl."

Then the greedy merchant was angry, crying out, "Through this other man I have lost a small fortune. That bowl was of gold."

He ran down to the riverside, and, seeing the other merchant in the boat out in the river, he called: "Hallo, Boatman! Stop your boat!"

But the man in the boat said: "Don't stop!" So he reached the city on the other side of the river, and lived well for a time on the money the bowl brought him.


John Bunyan

The Pilgrim

From "The Pilgrim's Progress"

Who would true valor see,

Let him come hither!

One here will constant be,

Come wind, come weather;

There's no discouragement

Shall make him once relent

His first-avowed intent

To be a Pilgrim.

Whoso beset him round

With dismal stories,

Do but themselves confound

His strength the more is.

No lion can him fright;

He'll with a giant fight;

But he will have a right

To be a Pilgrim.

Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend,

Can daunt his spirit;

He knows he at the end

Shall Life inherit:—

Then, fancies, fly away;

He'll not fear what men say;

He'll labor night and day,

To be a Pilgrim.


  WEEK 3  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

The Siege of Vienna by the Turks

"Think with what passionate delight

The tale was told in Christian halls

How Sobieski turned to flight

The Moslem from Vienna's walls."

—Lord Houghton.

A MONG the great names that fill the stage of Europe in the last quarter of the seventeenth century—William III., King of England and Holland; Louis XIV., King of France; Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia; and Charles XII. of Sweden—the name of John Sobieski, King of Poland, must not be forgotten. Sobieski was a national hero rather than a great king. He might well have belonged to the old crusading days, for his head, even now, was full of crusading ideas. With other Christian rulers he watched the growth of Mohammedanism over Western Europe with increasing anxiety.

For the last two hundred years the Ottoman empire had stood high among the Powers of Europe. Greece was subject to Turkey; parts of Hungary, Austria, and Russia owned her sway. Now in the year 1683 the Turks were marching on Austria's capital, Vienna, and Vienna was totally unprepared for a siege. The Emperor of Austria was no soldier, so he removed his court to a place some fifteen miles away and calmly awaited events. The Viennese now turned to Sobieski, the King of Poland, a well-known champion of the Christians, a well-known hater of the Turks. The fate of Austria hung on his reply. To Sobieski the appeal had all the old romance of the Crusades.

"Yes," he answered in haste, "I will come and help you."

And "flinging his powerful frame into the saddle and his great soul into the cause," the King of Poland began eagerly to recruit his scattered army. Meanwhile the defence of the city was intrusted to Count Stahremberg. He instantly set all hands to work.

"Set fire to the suburbs," he ordered. "They shall not serve as cover to the enemy."

The flames rose high around the city, a wind sprang up, and Vienna herself had a narrow escape of being burned to the ground. Presently the main force of the enemy appeared on the plain in front of Vienna. In a short time thousands of Turkish tents had sprung up, and the camp was alive with bustle and excitement. The tents of the Grand Vizier, or Prime Minister, were conspicuous with their green silk worked in gold and silver, their pearls and precious stones, their gorgeous Eastern carpets. Around them were arranged baths, fountains, flower-gardens, and even a menagerie of animals. From time to time the Grand Vizier, in gorgeously embroidered robes, was carried out in a litter to inspect the works.

The siege had begun in real earnest. Assault followed assault. Day by day Stahremberg climbed up the lofty fretted spire of the cathedral church in the heart of Vienna; he looked gloomily over the busy Turkish camp and owned sadly to himself that the Turks were gaining ground inch by inch. Sickness and famine followed, and still Sobieski did not come.

Sobieski had left Poland a few days after the siege had begun in July, but the way was long; he himself was stout and heavy. It was the end of August before he reached the outskirts of Vienna. Here he found a little crowd of German princes awaiting him, together with Duke Charles of Lorraine, ancestor of the Imperial House of Austria. Here was the Hanoverian prince, afterwards George I. of England; here was Eugene of Savoy, the colleague of Marlborough at Blenheim; here were men who had fought in the battle of the Boyne, veterans of the Thirty Years' War,—all united in a common cause.

"We have not come to save a single city, but the whole of Christendom," said John Sobieski, as preparations for an attack on the Turks went forward.

Marching to within four miles of Vienna, the Christian army occupied the heights of the Kahlenberg.

The sun was just setting on the evening of September 11 when Sobieski and his generals stood on the crest of the hill. They could hear the Turkish cannonade raging vigorously, they could hear the feeble reply from the despairing garrison within the town. But Sobieski's rockets from the Kahlenberg brought new hope to the brave defenders, and Stahremberg despatched a messenger with a few urgent words: "No time to be lost!—no time indeed to be lost!"

Morning dawned misty and hot. The fate of Vienna depended on the events of the day. The army of the Christians began with a solemn service in the little chapel on the heights of the Kahlenberg. Then a standard with a white cross on a red ground was unfurled amid shouts of enthusiasm, and the leaders of the great army moved forward. The sky-blue doublet of John Sobieski marked him out above his fellows, as the descent of the wooded slopes towards Vienna began.

The Grand Vizier's preparations for the battle were somewhat different. He slaughtered thirty thousand captives in cold blood and then ordered the advance.

Down the slopes poured the Christian army like a whirlwind, while the shout, "Long live Sobieski!" rolled along the lines. With all their faults the Turks did not know cowardice; they fought as brave men, but they could not withstand the rush of the Christian army.

"Can you not help me?" cried the Vizier in despair to one of his pashas.

"No," was the answer. "I know the King of Poland. It is impossible to resist him. Think only of flight."

Panic-stricken, the Turks fled, away through the wasted suburbs of Vienna, towards the frontier of Hungary. The Grand Vizier, weeping and cursing by turns, was hurried along with the stream.

By evening communication with Vienna was established, and Stahremberg led forth his starving garrison to greet his deliverers. Amid the shouts of the people John Sobieski entered Vienna, the city which he had saved from the Turks.

"How will the Emperor receive him?" the people asked in their joy; "for he has saved the empire."

They might well question. The Emperor received the deliverer of his people with a few cold words in Latin, for he was jealous of Sobieski's success. The King of Poland saw how matters stood. With a courteous chivalry that might have belonged to the middle ages, he saluted the Austrian emperor.

"I am happy, sire, to have been able to render you this slight service," he said simply.

A general chorus of admiration and thanksgiving arose from Europe. John Sobieski had not only saved Austria's capital, but he had destroyed the growing power of Turkey and forced the Mohammedans back to their own dominions.


The Children of Odin: A Book of Northern Myths  by Padraic Colum

Iduna and Her Apples: How Loki Put the Gods in Danger


dropcap image N Asgard there was a garden, and in that garden there grew a tree, and on that tree there grew shining apples. Thou knowst, O well-loved one, that every day that passes makes us older and brings us to that day when we will be bent and feeble, gray-headed and weak-eyed. But those shining apples that grew in Asgard—they who ate of them every day grew never a day older, for the eating of the apples kept old age away.

Iduna, the Goddess, tended the tree on which the shining apples grew. None would grow on the tree unless she was there to tend it. No one but Iduna might pluck the shining apples. Each morning she plucked them and left them in her basket and every day the Gods and Goddesses came to her garden that they might eat the shining apples and so stay for ever young.

Iduna never went from her garden. All day and every day she stayed in the garden or in her golden house beside it, and all day and every day she listened to Bragi, her husband, tell a story that never had an end. Ah, but a time came when Iduna and her apples were lost to Asgard, and the Gods and Goddesses felt old age approach them. How all that happened shall be told thee, O well beloved.

Odin, the Father of the Gods, often went into the land of men to watch over their doings. Once he took Loki with him, Loki, the doer of good and the doer of evil. For a long time they went traveling through the world of men. At last they came near Jötunheim, the realm of the Giants.

It was a bleak and empty region. There were no growing things there, not even trees with berries. There were no birds, there were no animals. As Odin, the Father of the Gods, and Loki, the doer of good and the doer of evil, went through this region hunger came upon them. But in all the land around they saw nothing that they could eat.

Loki, running here and running there, came at last upon a herd of wild cattle. Creeping up on them, he caught hold of a young bull and killed him. Then he cut up the flesh into strips of meat. He lighted a fire and put the meat on spits to roast. While the meat was being cooked, Odin, the Father of the Gods, a little way off, sat thinking on the things he had seen in the world of men.

Loki made himself busy putting more and more logs on the fire. At last he called to Odin, and the Father of the Gods came and sat down near the fire to eat the meal.

But when the meat was taken off the cooking-spits and when Odin went to cut it, he found that it was still raw. He smiled at Loki for thinking the meat was cooked, and Loki, troubled that he had made a mistake, put the meat back, and put more logs upon the fire. Again Loki took the meat off the cooking-spits and called Odin to the meal.

Odin, when he took the meat that Loki brought him, found that it was as raw as if it had never been put upon the fire. "Is this a trick of yours, Loki?" he said.

Loki was so angry at the meat being uncooked that Odin saw he was playing no tricks. In his hunger he raged at the meat and he raged at the fire. Again he put the meat on the cooking-spits and put more logs on the fire. Every hour he would take up the meat, sure that it was now cooked, and every time he took it off Odin would find that the meat was as raw as the first time they took it off the fire.

Now Odin knew that the meat must be under some enchantment by the Giants. He stood up and went on his way, hungry but strong. Loki, however, would not leave the meat he had put back on the fire. He would make it be cooked, he declared, and he would not leave that place hungry.

The dawn came and he took up the meat again. As he was lifting it off the fire he heard a whirr of wings above his head. Looking up, he saw a mighty eagle, the largest eagle that ever appeared in the sky. The eagle circled round and round and came above Loki's head. "Canst thou not cook thy food?" the eagle screamed to him.

"I cannot cook it," said Loki.

"I will cook it for thee, if thou wilt give me a share," screamed the eagle.

"Come, then, and cook it for me," said Loki.

The eagle circled round until he was above the fire. Then flapping his great wings over it, he made the fire blaze and blaze. A heat that Loki had never felt before came from the burning logs. In a minute he drew the meat from the spits and found it was well cooked.

"My share, my share, give me my share," the eagle screamed at him. He flew down, and seizing on a large piece of meat instantly devoured it. He seized on another piece. Piece after piece he devoured until it looked as if Loki would be left with no meat for his meal.

As the eagle seized on the last piece Loki became angry indeed. Taking up the spit on which the meat had been cooked, he struck at the eagle. There was a clang as if he had struck some metal. The wood of the spit did not come away. It stuck to the breast of the eagle. But Loki did not let go his hold on the spit. Suddenly the eagle rose up in the air. Loki, who held to the spit that was fastened to the eagle's breast, was drawn up with him.

Before he knew what had happened Loki was miles and miles up in the air and the eagle was flying toward Jötunheim, the Realm of the Giants. And the eagle was screaming out, "Loki, friend Loki, I have thee at last. It was thou who didst cheat my brother of his reward for building the wall round Asgard. But, Loki, I have thee at last. Know now that Thiassi the Giant has captured thee, O Loki, most cunning of the dwellers in Asgard."

Thus the eagle screamed as he went flying with Loki toward Jötunheim, the Realm of the Giants. They passed over the river that divides Jötunheim from Midgard, the World of Men. And now Loki saw a terrible place beneath him, a land of ice and rock. Great mountains were there: they were lighted by neither sun nor moon, but by columns of fire thrown up now and again through cracks in the earth or out of the peaks of the mountains.

Over a great iceberg the eagle hovered. Suddenly he shook the spit from his breast and Loki fell down on the ice. The eagle screamed out to him, "Thou art in my power at last, O thou most cunning of all the Dwellers in Asgard." The eagle left Loki there and flew within a crack in the mountain.

Miserable indeed was Loki upon that iceberg. The cold was deadly. He could not die there, for he was one of the Dwellers in Asgard and death might not come to him that way. He might not die, but he felt bound to that iceberg with chains of cold.

After a day his captor came to him, not as an eagle this time, but in his own form, Thiassi the Giant.

"Wouldst thou leave thine iceberg, Loki," he said, "and return to thy pleasant place in Asgard? Thou dost delight in Asgard, although only by one-half dost thou belong to the Gods. Thy father, Loki, was the Wind Giant."

"O that I might leave this iceberg," Loki said, with the tears freezing on his face.

"Thou mayst leave it when thou showest thyself ready to pay thy ransom to me," said Thiassi. "Thou wilt have to get me the shining apples that Iduna keeps in her basket."

"I cannot get Iduna's apples for thee, Thiassi," said Loki.

"Then stay upon the iceberg," said Thiassi the Giant. He went away and left Loki there with the terrible winds buffeting him as with blows of a hammer.

When Thiassi came again and spoke to him about his ransom, Loki said, "There is no way of getting the shining apples from Iduna."

"There must be some way, O cunning Loki," said the Giant.

"Iduna, although she guards well the shining apples, is simple-minded," said Loki. "It may be that I shall be able to get her to go outside the wall of Asgard. If she goes she will bring her shining apples with her, for she never lets them go out of her hand except when she gives them to the Gods and Goddesses to eat."

"Make it so that she will go beyond the wall of Asgard," said the Giant. "If she goes outside of the wall I shall get the apples from her. Swear by the World-Tree that thou wilt lure Iduna beyond the wall of Asgard. Swear it, Loki, and I shall let thee go."

"I swear it by Ygdrassil, the World-Tree, that I will lure Iduna beyond the wall of Asgard if thou wilt take me off this iceberg."

Then Thiassi changed himself into a mighty eagle, and taking Loki in his talons, he flew with him over the stream that divides Jötunheim, the Realm of the Giants, from Midgard, the World of Men. He left Loki on the ground of Midgard, and Loki then went on his way to Asgard.

Now Odin had already returned and he had told the Dwellers in Asgard of Loki's attempt to cook the enchanted meat. All laughed to think that Loki had been left hungry for all his cunning. Then when he came into Asgard looking so famished, they thought it was because Loki had had nothing to eat. They laughed at him more and more. But they brought him into the Feast Hall and they gave him the best food with wine out of Odin's wine cup. When the feast was over the Dwellers in Asgard went to Iduna's garden as was their wont.

There sat Iduna in the golden house that opened on her garden. Had she been in the world of men, every one who saw her would have remembered their own innocence, seeing one who was so fair and good. She had eyes blue as the blue sky, and she smiled as if she were remembering lovely things she had seen or heard. The basket of shining apples was beside her.

To each God and Goddess Iduna gave a shining apple. Each one ate the apple given, rejoicing to think that they would never become a day older. Then Odin, the Father of the Gods, said the runes that were always said in praise of Iduna, and the Dwellers in Asgard went out of Iduna's garden, each one going to his or her own shining house.

All went except Loki, the doer of good and the doer of evil. Loki sat in the garden, watching fair and simple Iduna. After a while she spoke to him and said, "Why dost thou still stay here, wise Loki?"

"To look well on thine apples," Loki said. "I am wondering if the apples I saw yesterday are really as shining as the apples that are in thy basket."

"There are no apples in the world as shining as mine," said Iduna.

"The apples I saw were more shining," said Loki. "Aye, and they smelled better, Iduna."

Iduna was troubled at what Loki, whom she deemed so wise, told her. Her eyes filled with tears that there might be more shining apples in the world than hers. "O Loki," she said, "it cannot be. No apples are more shining, and none smell so sweet, as the apples I pluck off the tree in my garden."

"Go, then, and see," said Loki. "Just outside Asgard is the tree that has the apples I saw. Thou, Iduna, dost never leave thy garden, and so thou dost not know what grows in the world. Go outside of Asgard and see."

"I will go, Loki," said Iduna, the fair and simple.

dropcap image DUNA went outside the wall of Asgard. She went to the place Loki had told her the apples grew in. But as she looked this way and that way, Iduna heard a whirr of wings above her. Looking up, she saw a mighty eagle, the largest eagle that had ever appeared in the sky.

She drew back toward the gate of Asgard. Then the great eagle swooped down; Iduna felt herself lifted up, and then she was being carried away from Asgard, away, away; away over Midgard where men lived, away toward the rocks and snows of Jötunheim. Across the river that flows between the World of Men and the Realm of the Giants Iduna was borne. Then the eagle flew into a cleft in a mountain and Iduna was left in a cavernous hall lighted up by columns of fire that burst up from the earth.

The eagle loosened his grip on Iduna and she sank down on the ground of the cavern. The wings and the feathers fell from him and she saw him as a terrible Giant.

"Oh, why have you carried me off from Asgard and brought me to this place?" Iduna cried.

"That I might eat your shining apples," said Thiassi the Giant.

"That will never be, for I will not give them to you," said Iduna.

"Give me the apples to eat, and I shall carry you back to Asgard."

"No, no, that cannot be. I have been trusted with the shining apples that I might give them to the Gods only."

"Then I shall take the apples from you," said Thiassi the Giant.

He took the basket out of her hands and opened it. But when he touched the apples they shriveled under his hands. He left them in the basket and he set the basket down, for he knew now that the apples would be no good to him unless Iduna gave them to him with her own hands.

"You must stay with me here until you give me the shining apples," he said to her.

Then was poor Iduna frightened: she was frightened of the strange cave and frightened of the fire that kept bursting up out of the earth and she was frightened of the terrible Giant. But above all she was frightened to think of the evil that would fall upon the Dwellers in Asgard if she were not there to give them the shining apples to eat.

The Giant came to her again. But still Iduna would not give him the shining apples. And there in the cave she stayed, the Giant troubling her every day. And she grew more and more fearful as she saw in her dreams the Dwellers in Asgard go to her garden—go there, and not being given the shining apples, feel and see a change coming over themselves and over each other.

It was as Iduna saw in her dreams. Every day the Dwellers in Asgard went to her garden—Odin and Thor, Hödur and Baldur, Tyr and Heimdall, Vidar and Vali, with Frigga, Freya, Nanna, and Sif. There was no one to pluck the apples of their tree. And a change began to come over the Gods and Goddesses.

They no longer walked lightly; their shoulders became bent; their eyes no longer were as bright as dewdrops. And when they looked upon one another they saw the change. Age was coming upon the Dwellers in Asgard.

They knew that the time would come when Frigga would be gray and old; when Sif's golden hair would fade; when Odin would no longer have his clear wisdom, and when Thor would not have strength enough to raise and fling his thunderbolts. And the Dwellers in Asgard were saddened by this knowledge, and it seemed to them that all brightness had gone from their shining City.

Where was Iduna whose apples would give back youth and strength and beauty to the Dwellers in Asgard? The Gods had searched for her through the World of Men. No trace of her did they find. But now Odin, searching through his wisdom, saw a means to get knowledge of where Iduna was hidden.

He summoned his two ravens, Hugin and Munin, his two ravens that flew through the earth and through the Realm of the Giants and that knew all things that were past and all things that were to come. He summoned Hugin and Munin and they came, and one sat on his right shoulder and one sat on his left shoulder and they told him deep secrets: they told him of Thiassi and of his desire for the shining apples that the Dwellers in Asgard ate, and of Loki's deception of Iduna, the fair and simple.

What Odin learnt from his ravens was told in the Council of the Gods. Then Thor the Strong went to Loki and laid hands upon him. When Loki found himself in the grip of the strong God, he said, "What wouldst thou with me, O Thor?"

"I would hurl thee into a chasm in the ground and strike thee with my thunder," said the strong God. "It was thou who didst bring it about that Iduna went from Asgard."

"O Thor," said Loki, "do not crush me with thy thunder. Let me stay in Asgard. I will strive to win Iduna back."

"The judgment of the Gods," said Thor, "is that thou, the cunning one, shouldst go to Jötunheim, and by thy craft win Iduna back from the Giants. Go or else I shall hurl thee into a chasm and crush thee with my thunder."

"I will go," said Loki.

dropcap image ROM Frigga, the wife of Odin, Loki borrowed the dress of falcon feathers that she owned. He clad himself in it, and flew to Jötunheim in the form of a falcon.

He searched through Jötunheim until he found Thiassi's daughter, Skadi. He flew before Skadi and he let the Giant maid catch him and hold him as a pet. One day the Giant maid carried him into the cave where Iduna, the fair and simple, was held.

When Loki saw Iduna there he knew that part of his quest was ended. Now he had to get Iduna out of Jötunheim and away to Asgard. He stayed no more with the Giant maid, but flew up into the high rocks of the cave. Skadi wept for the flight of her pet, but she ceased to search and to call and went away from the cave.

Then Loki, the doer of good and the doer of evil, flew to where Iduna was sitting and spoke to her. Iduna, when she knew that one of the Dwellers in Asgard was near, wept with joy.

Loki told her what she was to do. By the power of a spell that was given to him he was able change her into the form of a sparrow. But before she did this she took the shining apples out of her basket and flung them into places where the Giant would never find them.

Skadi, coming back to the cave, saw the falcon fly out with the sparrow beside him. She cried out to her father and the Giant knew that the falcon was Loki and the sparrow was Iduna. He changed himself into the form of a mighty eagle. By this time sparrow and falcon were out of sight, but Thiassi, knowing that he could make better flight than they, flew towards Asgard.

Soon he saw them. They flew with all the power they had, but the great wings of the eagle brought him nearer and nearer to them. The Dwellers in Asgard, standing on the wall, saw the falcon and the sparrow with the great eagle pursuing them. They knew who they were—Loki and Iduna with Thiassi in pursuit.

As they watched the eagle winging nearer and nearer, the Dwellers in Asgard were fearful that the falcon and the sparrow would be caught upon and that Iduna would be taken again by Thiassi. They lighted great fires upon the wall, knowing that Loki would find a way through the fires, bringing Iduna with him, but that Thiassi would not find a way.

The falcon and the sparrow flew toward the fires. Loki went between the flames and brought Iduna with him. And Thiassi, coming up to the fires and finding no way through, beat his wings against the flames. He fell down from the wall and the death that came to him afterwards was laid to Loki.

Thus Iduna was brought back to Asgard. Once again she sat in the golden house that opened to her garden, once again she plucked the shining apples off the tree she tended, and once again she gave them to the Dwellers in Asgard. And the Dwellers in Asgard walked lightly again, and brightness came into their eyes and into their cheeks; age no more approached them; youth came back; light and joy were again in Asgard.


Felicia Dorothea Hemans

The Better Land

"I hear thee speak of a better land,

Thou callest its children a happy band.

O, mother! oh, where is that radiant shore?

Shall we not seek it, and weep no more?

Is it where the flower of the orange blows,

And the fireflies dance through the myrtle boughs?"

"Not there, not there, my child."

"Is it where the feathery palm trees rise,

And the date grows ripe under sunny skies?

Or 'midst the green islands of glittering seas,

Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,

And strange, bright birds on their starry wings

Bear the rich hues of all glorious things?"

"Not there, not there, my child."

"Is it far away, in some region old,

Where the rivers wander o'er sands of gold?

Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,

And the diamond lights up the secret mine,

And the pearl gleams forth from the coral strand—

Is it there, sweet mother, that better land?"

"Not there, not there, my child."

"Eye hath not seen it, my gentle boy!

Ear hath not heard its deep songs of joy;

Dreams cannot picture a world so fair;

Sorrow and death may not enter there;

Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom;

Far beyond the clouds and beyond the tomb,

It is there, it is there, my child."


  WEEK 3  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Upon the Rock  by Lisa M. Ripperton

The Lords of the White and Grey Castles

O NCE upon a time there lived two noble lords in the east country. Their lands lay between a broad river and an old oak forest, whose size was so great that no man knew it. In the midst of his land each lord had a stately castle; one was built of the white freestone, the other of the grey granite. So the one was called Lord of the White Castle, and the other Lord of the Grey.

There were no lords like them in all the east country for nobleness and bounty. Their tenants lived in peace and plenty; all strangers were hospitably entertained at their castles; and every autumn they sent men with axes into the forest to hew down the great trees, and chop them up into firewood for the poor. Neither hedge nor ditch divided their lands, but these lords never disputed. They had been friends from their youth. Their ladies had died long ago, but the Lord of the Grey Castle had a little son, and the Lord of the White, a little daughter; and when they feasted in each other's halls it was their custom to say, "When our children grow up they will marry, and have our castles and our lands, and keep our friendship in memory."

So the lords and their little children, and tenants, lived happily till one Michaelmas night, as they were all feasting in the hall of the White Castle, there came a traveller to the gate, who was welcomed and feasted as usual. He had seen many strange sights and countries, and, like most people, he liked to tell his travels. The lords were delighted with his tales, as they sat round the fire drinking wine after supper, and at length the Lord of the White Castle, who was very curious, said:

"Good stranger, what was the greatest wonder you ever saw in all your travels?"

"The most wonderful sight that ever I saw," replied the traveller, "was at the end of yonder forest, where in an ancient wooden house there sits an old woman weaving her own hair into grey cloth on an old crazy loom. When she wants more yarn she cuts off her own grey hair, and it grows so quickly that though I saw it cut in the morning, it was out of the door before noon. She told me it was her purpose to sell the cloth, but none of all who came that way had yet bought any, she asked so great a price; and, only the way is so long and dangerous through that wide forest full of boars and wolves, some rich lord like you might buy it for a mantle."

All who heard this story were astonished; but when the traveller had gone on his way the Lord of the White Castle could neither eat nor sleep for wishing to see the old woman that wove her own hair. At length he made up his mind to explore the forest in search of her ancient house, and told the Lord of the Grey Castle his intention. Being a prudent man, this lord replied that travellers' tales were not always to be trusted, and earnestly advised him against undertaking such a long and dangerous journey, for few that went far into that forest ever returned. However, when the curious lord would go in spite of all, he vowed to bear him company for friendship's sake, and they agreed to set out privately, lest the other lords of the land might laugh at them. The Lord of the White Castle had a steward who had served him many years, and his name was Reckoning Robin. To him he said:

"I am going on a long journey with my friend. Be careful of my goods, deal justly with my tenants, and above all things be kind to my little daughter Loveleaves till my return"; and the steward answered:

"Be sure, my lord, I will."

The Lord of the Grey Castle also had a steward who had served him many years, and his name was Wary Will. To him he said:

"I am going on a journey with my friend. Be careful of my goods, deal justly with my tenants, and above all things be kind to my little son Woodwender till my return"; and his steward answered him:

"Be sure, my lord, I will."

So these lords kissed their children while they slept, and set out each with his staff and mantle before sunrise through the old oak forest. The children missed their fathers, the tenants missed their lords. None but the stewards could tell what had become of them; but seven months wore away, and they did not come back. The lords had thought their stewards faithful, because they served so well under their eyes; but instead of that, both were proud and crafty, and thinking that some evil had happened to their masters, they set themselves to be lords in their room.

Reckoning Robin had a son called Hardhold, and Wary Will, a daughter called Drypenny. There was not a sulkier girl or boy in the country, but their fathers resolved to make a young lord and lady of them; so they took the silk clothes which Woodwender and Loveleaves used to wear, to dress them, clothing the lord's children in frieze and canvas. Their garden flowers and ivory toys were given to Hardhold and Drypenny; and at last the stewards' children sat at the chief tables, and slept in the best chambers, while Woodwender and Loveleaves were sent to herd the swine and sleep on straw in the granary.

The poor children had no one to take their part. Every morning at sunrise they were sent out—each with a barley loaf and a bottle of sour milk, which was to serve them for breakfast, dinner, and supper—to watch a great herd of swine on a wide unfenced pasture hard by the forest. The grass was scanty, and the swine were continually straying into the wood in search of acorns; the children knew that if they were lost the wicked stewards would punish them, and between gathering and keeping the herds in order, they were readier to sleep on the granary straw at night than ever they had been within their own silken curtains.


Still Woodwender and Loveleaves helped and comforted each other, saying their fathers would come back, or God would send them some friends: so, in spite of swine-herding and hard living, they looked blithe and handsome as ever; while Hardhold and Drypenny grew crosser and uglier every day, notwithstanding their fine clothes and the best of all things.

The crafty stewards did not like this. They thought their children ought to look genteel, and Woodwender and Loveleaves like young swineherds; so they sent them to a wilder pasture, still nearer the forest, and gave them two great black hogs, more unruly than all the rest, to keep. One of these hogs belonged to Hardhold, and the other to Drypenny. Every evening when they came home the stewards' children used to come down and feed them, and it was their delight to reckon up what price they would bring when properly fattened.

One sultry day, about midsummer, Woodwender and Loveleaves sat down in the shadow of a mossy rock: the swine grazed about them more quietly than usual, and they plaited rushes and talked to each other, till, as the sun was sloping down the sky, Woodwender saw that the two great hogs were missing. Thinking they must have gone to the forest, the poor children ran to search for them.


Thinking they must have gone to the forest, the children went in search of them.

They heard the thrush singing and the wood-doves calling; they saw the squirrels leaping from bough to bough, and the great deer bounding by; but though they searched for hours, no trace of the favourite hogs could be seen. Loveleaves and Woodwender durst not go home without them. Deeper and deeper they ran into the forest, searching and calling, but all in vain; and when the woods began to darken with the fall of evening, the children feared they had lost their way.

It was known that they never feared the forest, nor all the boars and wolves that were in it; but being weary, they wished for some place of shelter, and took a green path through the trees, thinking it might lead to the dwelling of some hermit or forester. A fairer way Woodwender and Loveleaves had never walked. The grass was soft and mossy, a hedge of wild roses and honeysuckle grew on either side, and the red light of sunset streamed through the tall trees above. On they went, and it led them straight to a great open dell, covered with the loveliest flowers, bordered with banks of wild strawberries, and all overshadowed by one enormous oak, whose like had never been seen in grove or forest. Its branches were as large as full-grown trees. Its trunk was wider than a country church, and its height like that of a castle. There were mossy seats at its great root, and when the tired children had gathered as many strawberries as they cared for, they sat down on one, hard by a small spring that bubbled up as clear as crystal. The huge oak was covered with thick ivy in which thousands of birds had their nests. Woodwender and Loveleaves watched them flying home from all parts of the forest, and at last they saw a lady coming by the same path which led them to the dell. She wore a gown of russet colour; her yellow hair was braided and bound with a crimson fillet. In her right hand she carried a holly branch; but the most remarkable part of her attire was a pair of long sleeves, as green as the very grass.

"Who are you," she said, "that sit so late beside my well?" and the children told her their story, how they had first lost the hogs, then their way, and were afraid to go home to the wicked stewards.

"Well," said the lady, "ye are the fairest swineherds that ever came this way. Choose whether ye will go home and keep hogs for Hardhold and Drypenny, or live in the free forest with me."

"We will stay with you," said the children, "for we like not keeping swine. Besides, our fathers went through this forest, and we may meet them some day coming home."

While they spoke, the lady slipped her holly branch through the ivy, as if it had been a key—presently a door opened in the oak, and there was a fair house. The windows were of rock crystal, but they could not be seen from without. The walls and floor were covered with thick green moss, as soft as velvet. There were low seats and a round table, vessels of carved wood, a hearth inlaid with curious stones, an oven, and a store chamber for provisions against the winter. When they stepped in, the lady said:

"A hundred years have I lived here, and my name is Lady Greensleeves. No friend or servant have I had except my dwarf Corner, who comes to me at the end of harvest with his handmill, his pannier, and his axe: with these he grinds the nuts, and gathers the berries, and cleaves the firewood, and blithely we live all the winter. But Corner loves the frost and fears the sun, and when the topmost boughs begin to bud, he returns to his country far in the north, so I am lonely in the summer time."

By this discourse the children saw how welcome they were. Lady Greensleeves gave them deer's milk and cakes of nut-flour, and soft green moss to sleep on; and they forgot all their troubles, the wicked stewards, and the straying swine. Early in the morning a troop of does came to be milked, fairies brought flowers and birds brought berries, to show Lady Greensleeves what had bloomed and ripened. She taught the children to make cheese of the does' milk, and wine of the wood-berries. She showed them the stores of honey which wild bees had made, and left in hollow trees, the rarest plants of the forest, and the herbs that made all its creatures tame.

All that summer Woodwender and Loveleaves lived with her in the great oak-tree, free from toil and care; and the children would have been happy but they could hear no tidings of their fathers. At last the leaves began to fade, and the flowers to fall; Lady Greensleeves said that Corner was coming; and one moonlight night she heaped sticks on the fire, and set her door open, when Woodwender and Loveleaves were going to sleep, saying she expected some old friends to tell her the news of the forest.

Loveleaves was not quite so curious as her father, the Lord of the White Castle: but she kept awake to see what would happen, and terribly frightened the little girl was when in walked a great brown bear.

"Good-evening, lady," said the bear.

"Good-evening, bear," said Lady Greensleeves. "What is the news in your neighbourhood?"

"Not much," said the bear; "only the fawns are growing very cunning—one can't catch above three in a day."

"That's bad news," said Lady Greensleeves; and immediately in walked a great wildcat.

"Good-evening, lady," said the cat.

"Good-evening, cat," said Lady Greensleeves. "What is the news in your neighbourhood?"

"Not much," said the cat; "only the birds are growing very plentiful—it is not worth one's while to catch them."

"That's good news," said Lady Greensleeves; and in flew a great black raven.

"Good-evening, lady," said the raven.

"Good-evening, raven," said Lady Greensleeves. "What is the news in your neighbourhood?"

"Not much," said the raven; "only in a hundred years or so we shall be very genteel and private—the trees will be so thick."

"How is that?" said Lady Greensleeves.

"Oh!" said the raven, "have you not heard how the king of the forest fairies laid a spell on two noble lords, who were travelling through his dominions to see the old woman that weaves her own hair? They had thinned his oaks every year cutting firewood for the poor: so the king met them in the likeness of a hunter, and asked them to drink out of his oaken goblet, because the day was warm; and when the two lords drank, they forgot their lands and their tenants, their castles and their children, and minded nothing in all this world but the planting of acorns, which they do day and night, by the power of the spell, in the heart of the forest, and will never cease till some one makes them pause in their work before the sun sets, and then the spell will be broken."

"Ah!" said Lady Greensleeves, "he is a great prince, that king of the forest fairies; and there is worse work in the world than planting acorns."

Soon after, the bear, the cat, and the raven bade Lady Greensleeves good-night. She closed the door, put out the light, and went to sleep on the soft moss as usual.

In the morning Loveleaves told Woodwender what she had heard, and they went to Lady Greensleeves where she milked the does, and said:

"We heard what the raven told last night, and we know the two lords are our fathers: tell us how the spell may be broken!"

"I fear the king of the forest fairies," said Lady Greensleeves, "because I live here alone, and have no friend but my dwarf Corner; but I will tell you what you may do. At the end of the path which leads from this dell turn your faces to the north, and you will find a narrow way sprinkled over with black feathers—keep that path, no matter how it winds, and it will lead you straight to the ravens' neighbourhood, where you will find your fathers planting acorns under the forest trees. Watch till the sun is near setting, and tell them the most wonderful things you know to make them forget their work; but be sure to tell nothing but truth, and drink nothing but running water, or you will fall into the power of the fairy king."

The children thanked her for this good counsel. She packed up cakes and cheese for them in a bag of woven grass, and they soon found the narrow way sprinkled over with black feathers. It was very long, and wound through the thick trees in so many circles that the children were often weary, and sat down to rest. When the night came, they found a mossy hollow in the trunk of an old tree, where they laid themselves down, and slept all the summer night—for Woodwender and Loveleaves never feared the forest. So they went, eating their cakes and cheese when they were hungry, drinking from the running stream, and sleeping in the hollow trees, till on the evening of the seventh day they came into the ravens' neighbourhood.


The tall trees were laden with nests and black with ravens. There was nothing to be heard but continual cawing; and in a great opening where the oaks grew thinnest, the children saw their own fathers busy planting acorns. Each lord had on the velvet mantle in which he left his castle, but it was worn to rags with rough work in the forest. Their hair and beards had grown long; their hands were soiled with earth; each had an old wooden spade, and on all sides lay heaps of acorns. The children called them by their names, and ran to kiss them, each saying:—"Dear father, come back to your castle and your people!" but the lords replied:

"We know of no castles and no people. There is nothing in all this world but oak-trees and acorns."

Woodwender and Loveleaves told them of all their former state in vain—nothing would make them pause for a minute: so the poor children first sat down and cried, and then slept on the cold grass, for the sun set, and the lords worked on. When they awoke it was broad day; Woodwender cheered up his friend, saying:—"We are hungry, and there are still two cakes in the bag, let us share one of them—who knows but something may happen?"

So they divided the cake, and ran to the lords, saying: "Dear fathers, eat with us"; but the lords said:

"There is no use for meat or drink. Let us plant our acorns."

Loveleaves and Woodwender sat down, and ate that cake in great sorrow. When they had finished, both went to a stream hard by, and began to drink the clear water with a large acorn shell; and as they drank there came through the oaks a gay young hunter, his mantle was green as the grass; about his neck there hung a crystal bugle, and in his hand he carried a huge oaken goblet, carved with flowers and leaves, and rimmed with crystal. Up to the brim it was filled with milk, on which the rich cream floated; and as the hunter came near, he said: "Fair children, leave that muddy water, and come and drink with me;" but Woodwender and Loveleaves answered:

"Thanks, good hunter; but we have promised to drink nothing but running water." Still the hunter came nearer with his goblet, saying:

"The water is foul: it may do for swineherds and woodcutters, but not for such fair children as you. Tell me, are you not the children of mighty kings? Were you not reared in palaces?" But the boy and girl answered him:

"No: we were reared in castles, and are the children of yonder lords; tell us how the spell that is upon them may be broken!" and immediately the hunter turned from them with an angry look, poured out the milk upon the ground, and went away with his empty goblet.

Loveleaves and Woodwender were sorry to see the rich cream spilled, but they remembered Lady Greensleeves' warning, and seeing they could do no better, each got a withered branch and began to help the lords, scratching up the ground with the sharp end, and planting acorns; but their fathers took no notice of them, nor all that they could say; and when the sun grew warm at noon, they went again to drink at the running stream. Then there came through the oaks another hunter, older than the first, and clothed in yellow; about his neck there hung a silver bugle, and in his hand he carried an oaken goblet, carved with leaves and fruit, rimmed with silver, and filled with mead to the brim. This hunter also asked them to drink, told them the stream was full of frogs, and asked them if they were not a young prince and princess dwelling in the woods for their pleasure? but when Woodwender and Loveleaves answered as before:—"We have promised to drink only running water, and are the children of yonder lords: tell us how the spell may be broken!"—he turned from them with an angry look, poured out the mead, and went his way.

All that afternoon the children worked beside their fathers, planting acorns with the withered branches; but the lords would mind neither them nor their words. And when the evening drew near they were very hungry; so the children divided their last cake, and when no persuasion would make the lords eat with them, they went to the banks of the stream, and began to eat and drink, though their hearts were heavy.

The sun was getting low, and the ravens were coming home to their nests in the high trees; but one, that seemed old and weary, alighted near them to drink at the stream. As they ate the raven lingered, and picked up the small crumbs that fell.

"Friend," said Loveleaves, "this raven is surely hungry; let us give it a little bit, though it is our last cake."

Woodwender agreed, and each gave a bit to the raven; but its great bill finished the morsels in a moment, and hopping nearer, it looked them in the face by turns.

"The poor raven is still hungry," said Woodwender, and he gave it another bit. When that was gobbled, it came to Loveleaves, who gave it a bit too, and so on till the raven had eaten the whole of their last cake.

"Well," said Woodwender, "at least, we can have a drink." But as they stooped to the water, there came through the oaks another hunter, older than the last, and clothed in scarlet; about his neck there hung a golden bugle, and in his hand he carried a huge oaken goblet, carved with ears of corn and clusters of grapes, rimmed with gold, and filled to the brim with wine. He also said:

"Leave this muddy water, and drink with me. It is full of toads, and not fit for such fair children. Surely ye are from fairyland, and were reared in its queen's palace!" But the children said:

"We will drink nothing but this water, and yonder lords are our fathers: tell us how the spell may be broken!" And the hunter turned from them with an angry look, poured out the wine on the grass, and went his way. When he was gone, the old raven looked up into their faces, and said:

"I have eaten your last cake, and I will tell you how the spell may be broken. Yonder is the sun, going down behind yon western trees. Before it sets, go to the lords, and tell them how their stewards used you, and made you herd hogs for Hardhold and Drypenny. When you see them listening, catch up their wooden spades, and keep them if you can till the sun goes down."

Woodwender and Loveleaves thanked the raven, and where it flew they never stopped to see, but running to the lords began to tell as they were bidden. At first the lords would not listen, but as the children related how they had been made to sleep on straw, how they had been sent to herd hogs in the wild pasture, and what trouble they had with the unruly swine, the acorn planting grew slower, and at last they dropped their spades. Then Woodwender, catching up his father's spade, ran to the stream and threw it in. Loveleaves did the same for the Lord of the White Castle. That moment the sun disappeared behind the western oaks, and the lords stood up, looking, like men just awoke, on the forest, on the sky, and on their children.

So this strange story has ended, for Woodwender and Loveleaves went home rejoicing with their fathers. Each lord returned to his castle, and all their tenants made merry. The fine toys and the silk clothes, the flower-gardens and the best chambers, were taken from Hardhold and Drypenny, for the lords' children got them again; and the wicked stewards, with their cross boy and girl, were sent to herd swine, and live in huts in the wild pasture, which everybody said became them better. The Lord of the White Castle never again wished to see the old woman that wove her own hair, and the Lord of the Grey Castle continued to be his friend. As for Woodwender and Loveleaves they met with no more misfortunes, but grew up, and were married, and inherited the two castles and the broad lands of their fathers. Nor did they forget the lonely Lady Greensleeves, for it was known in the east country that she and her dwarf Corner always came to feast with them in the Christmas time, and at midsummer they always went to live with her in the great oak in the forest."


Insect Life  by Arabella B. Buckley

Familiar Moths

W HEN Moths creep out of their cases they no longer do us any harm. They spread their wings and fly about sipping honey from the flowers. Their strong jaws have almost disappeared, and feathery lips take their place. Their inner jaws have grown very long, and are rolled together into a long double tube (p. 17)—very like a tiny elephant's trunk. When the insect is not using this trunk it is rolled up under its lip, but when it wants to reach the honey in the flowers it unrolls the trunk and thrusts it into the blossoms.

In the early morning, or evening in August, you may see the Privet Hawk-moth (1, p. 20) with its beautiful rose-coloured wings striped with black, thrusting its head into the honeysuckle in the hedge. Or the large brown Humming-bird moth may be hovering in the sunshine over a bed of flowers in the garden, or sucking honey out of the deep flowers of the evening primrose. You may know it partly by the humming noise it makes with its wings, and partly because it does not settle on the flowers, but sucks as it flies.

Then there is the Death's-head Hawk-moth, which is the largest moth in England, and has this curious name because the grey marks on the back of its thorax are something like a skull. It has brown front wings, and yellow hind wings, with dark bands across them, and its feelers and trunk are very short. You may find it, if you look out after sunset in the autumn, fluttering over the hedge, for it is not nearly so rare as people think, only it always flies by night.


Head of a Moth

If you get one of these big moths you will be surprised to see how different it is from the caterpillar out of which it grows. The six legs are still there on the three rings of the thorax, but there are four splendid wings above them. These wings are made of very fine transparent skin, and are covered all over with scales, which are arranged like tiles on a roof. However carefully you take hold of a moth or a butterfly you will always find some fine dust left on your fingers. Each grain of this dust is a lovely scale, and it is these which give the moth its beautiful colours. Moths and butterflies are called Lepidoptera,  because this word means "scale-winged." The caterpillar had six small eyes, so tiny that we did not notice them. The moth has these still, but it has besides two glorious globes (e,  p. 17) on each side of its head, cut into hundreds of little windows, so that the moth can look every way, although the eyes do not move. The eyes of the Death's-head moth shine like red lamps in the dark night.



The moth is plainly divided into the three parts. Its hind body is oval and pointed, its broad front body carries its legs and wings, and its head carries the big eyes (e), the delicate feelers, and the sucking trunk (p.17). The feelers or antennæ  of moths are broad in the middle and pointed at the end, and they have tiny feathers on them. By this you may know moths from butterflies. For the antennæ of butterflies are nearly always round and thick at the ends like a club and have no feathers on them.


Another difference between them is, that butterflies fold their wings upwards  over their backs so that the upper side of the wings touch each other, while moths lay theirs down  on their backs like a roof on a house.

One common moth you may find is the Goat-moth. It has a short body and brownish white wings with wavy black lines on them. You will find it resting on the leaves of the willow or poplar. It does not fly about much, for it has no trunk, and does not eat any food during its short moth life. It only wants to find a place on which to lay its eggs, which will hatch into a naked red grub. This grub will bore its way into the tree and live there for years, eating the wood.


Six-Spot Burnet Moth with its Caterpillar and Cocoon

Many moth grubs live inside trunks and branches. If you look over the currant bushes on a hot summer's day you will often find a pretty little moth with a narrow yellow and black body, thin legs, long feelers and clear transparent wings, very unlike most moths. This is one of the Clearwing-moths (5, Plate, p. 20), which have scales round the edge of their wings only. It is so lazy that you will easily catch it, and it looks so like a gnat that it is called the Gnat Clearwing. This moth lays its eggs in the twigs of the currant bushes, and its little yellow caterpillar, with a black line on its back, eats its way into the pith of the twigs. You should always clear away the dead or faded twigs on the currant bushes, for fear these caterpillars should be in them.

Another moth which you may find flying in the bright sunshine is of a dark blue-green colour, with six bright crimson spots on its wings. It is the Six-spot Burnet-moth, whose cocoons you may find in May fastened on the blades of long grass in the meadow. By August the moth is out and flits from flower to flower.

There is one more moth which you will like to know, because its caterpillar is the Woolly Bear, or Hairy Man, which curls itself up in a ball when you pick it up. It is very fond of feeding on the lettuces and strawberries, and when it is ready to change it bites off its long hairs and weaves them into its cocoon. When the moth comes out it runs about the flower beds in the evening and does not fly very high. But everyone knows it as the Tiger-moth (4, p. 20), for it is the grandest moth we have. Its front wings are cream coloured with wavy brown stripes on them. The hind ones are bright scarlet spotted with black. Its thorax has a bright red band on it, and its abdomen is scarlet with black bars. If you can find a Woolly Bear in the early summer and keep it in a box with a piece of wire over it and give it plenty of dead nettles to eat you may see its cocoon and the grand Tiger-moth which comes out of it.

Try to find a Hawk-moth, a Clearwing-moth, a Tiger-moth, and the cocoon of the Burnet-moth. Bring in caterpillars and cocoons, when you can find them, always with a piece of the plant on which they feed.


Vachel Lindsay

The Moon's the North Wind's Cooky

The Moon's the North Wind's cooky.

He bites it, day by day,

Until there's but a rim of scraps

That crumble all away.

The South Wind is a baker.

He kneads clouds in his den,

And bakes a crisp new moon that . . . greedy

North . . . Wind . . . eats . . . again! 


  WEEK 3  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Manger of Bethlehem

Matthew i: 18 to 25;
Luke ii: 1 to 39.

dropcap image OON after the time when John the Baptist was born, Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, the husband of Mary, had a dream. In his dream he saw an angel from the Lord standing beside him. The angel said to him:

"Joseph, I have come to tell you, that Mary, the young woman whom you are to marry, will have a son, sent by the Lord God. You shall call his name Jesus, which means 'salvation,' because he shall save his people from their sins."

Joseph knew from this that this coming child was to be the King of Israel, of whom the prophets of the Old Testament had spoken so many times.

Soon after Joseph and Mary were married in Nazareth, a command went forth from the emperor, Augustus Caesar, through all the lands of the Roman empire, for all the people to go to the cities and towns from which their families had come, and there to have their manes written down upon a list, for the emperor wished a list to be made of the people under his rule. As both Joseph and Mary had come from the family of David the king, they went together from Nazareth to Bethlehem, there to have their names written upon the list. For you remember that Bethlehem in Judea, six miles south of Jerusalem, was the place where David was born, and where his father's family had lived for many years (see Story 57).

It was a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem; down the mountains to the river Jordan, then following the Jordan almost to its end, and then climbing the mountains of Judah to the town of Bethlehem. When Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem they found the city full of people who, like themselves, had come to have their names enrolled or written upon the list. The inn or hotel was full, and there was no room for them; for no one but themselves knew that this young woman was soon to be the mother of the Lord of all the earth. The best that they could do was to go to a stable, where the cattle were kept. There the little baby was born, and was laid in a manger, where the cattle were fed.

On that night some shepherds were tending their sheep in a field near Bethlehem. Suddenly a great light shone upon them, and they saw an angel of the Lord standing before them. They were filled with fear, as they saw how glorious the angel was. But the angel said to them:

"Be not afraid; for behold I bring you news of great joy, which shall be to all the people; for there is born to you this day in Bethlehem, the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord, the anointed king. You may see him there; and may know him by this sign: He is a new-born baby, lying in a manger at the inn."

And then they saw that the air around and the sky above them were filled with angels, praising God and singing:

"Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace among men in whom God is well pleased."

While they looked with wonder, and listened the angels went out of sight as suddenly as they had come. Then the shepherds said, one to another:

"Let us go at once to Bethlehem, and see this wonderful thing that has come to pass, and which the Lord has made known to us."

Then as quickly as they could go to Bethlehem, they went and found Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, and his young wife Mary, and the little baby lying in the manger. They told Mary and Joseph and others also, how they had seen the angels, and what they had heard about this baby. All who heard their story wondered at it; but Mary, the mother of the child, said nothing. She thought over all these things, and silently kept them in her heart. After their visit, the shepherds went back to their flocks, praising God for the good news that he had sent to them.


Jesus in the manger, with angels looking on.

When the little one was eight days old they gave him a name; and the name given was "Jesus," a word which means "salvation;" as the angel had told both Mary and Joseph that he should be named. So the very name of this child told what he should do for men; for he was to bring salvation to the world.

It was the law among the Jews that after the first child was born in a family, he should be brought to the Temple; and there an offering should be made for him to the Lord, to show that this child was the Lord's. A rich man would offer a lamb, but a poor man might give a pair of young pigeons for the sacrifice. On the day when Jesus was forty days old, Joseph and Mary brought him to the Temple; and as Joseph the carpenter was not a rich man, they gave for the child as an offering a pair of young pigeons.


The baby Jesus brought to the temple.

At that time there was living in Jerusalem a man of God named Simeon. The Lord had spoken to Simeon, and had said to him that he should not die until the Anointed King should come, whom they called "the Christ," for the word Christ means "anointed." On a certain day the Spirit of the Lord told Simeon to go to the Temple. He went, and was there when Joseph and Mary brought the little child Jesus. The Spirit of the Lord said to Simeon:

"This little one is the promised Christ."

Then Simeon took the baby in his arms and praised the Lord and said:

"Now, O Lord, thou mayest let thy servant depart,

According to thy word, in peace.

For my eyes have seen thy salvation,

Which thou hast given before all the peoples,

A light to give light to the nations,

And the glory of thy people Israel."

When Joseph and Mary heard this, they wondered greatly. Simeon gave to them a blessing in the name of the Lord; and he said to Mary, "This little one shall cause many in Israel to fall, and to rise again. Many shall speak against him; and sorrow like a sword shall pierce your heart also."

You know how this came to pass afterward, when Mary saw her son dying on the cross.

While Simeon was speaking, a very old woman came in. Her name was Anna and God spoke to her as to a prophet. She stayed almost all the time in the Temple, worshipping God day and night. She, too, saw through the Spirit of the Lord, that this little child was Christ the Lord, and gave thanks to God for his grace.

Thus early in the life of Jesus God showed to a few that this little child should become the Saviour of his people and of the world.


Five Children and It  by Edith Nesbit

Being Wanted

T HE morning after the children had been the possessors of boundless wealth, and had been unable to buy anything really useful or enjoyable with it, except two pairs of cotton gloves, twelve penny buns, an imitation crocodile-skin purse, and a ride in a pony-cart, they awoke without any of the enthusiastic happiness which they had felt on the previous day when they remembered how they had had the luck to find a Psammead, or Sand-fairy, and to receive its promise to grant them a new wish every day. For now they had had two wishes, Beauty and Wealth, and neither had exactly made them happy. But the happening of strange things, even if they are not completely pleasant things, is more amusing than those times when nothing happens but meals, and they are not always completely pleasant, especially on the days when it is cold mutton or hash.

There was no chance of talking things over before breakfast, because everyone overslept itself, as it happened, and it needed a vigorous and determined struggle to get dressed so as to be only ten minutes late for breakfast. During this meal some efforts were made to deal with the question of the Psammead in an impartial spirit, but it is very difficult to discuss anything thoroughly and at the same time to attend faithfully to your baby brother's breakfast needs. The Baby was particularly lively that morning. He not only wriggled his body through the bar of his high chair, and hung by his head, choking and purple, but he seized a tablespoon with desperate suddenness, hit Cyril heavily on the head with it, and then cried because it was taken away from him. He put his fat fist in his bread-and-milk, and demanded "nam," which was only allowed for tea. He sang, he put his feet on the table—he clamoured to "go walky." The conversation was something like this—

"Look here—about that Sand-fairy——Look out!—he'll have the milk over."

Milk removed to a safe distance.

"Yes—about that Fairy——No, Lamb dear, give Panther the narky poon."

Then Cyril tried. "Nothing we've had yet has turned out——He nearly had the mustard that time!"

"I wonder whether we'd better wish——Hullo!—you've done it now, my boy!" And in a flash of glass and pink baby-paws, the bowl of golden carp in the middle of the table rolled on its side and poured a flood of mixed water and gold-fish into the Baby's lap and into the laps of the others.

Everyone was almost as much upset as the gold-fish; the Lamb only remaining calm. When the pool on the floor had been mopped up, and the leaping, gasping gold-fish had been collected and put back in the water, the Baby was taken away to be entirely re-dressed by Martha, and most of the others had to change completely. The pinafores and jackets that had been bathed in gold-fish-and-water were hung out to dry, and then it turned out that Jane must either mend the dress she had torn the day before or appear all day in her best petticoat. It was white and soft and frilly, and trimmed with lace, and very, very pretty, quite as pretty as a frock, if not more so. Only it was not  a frock, and Martha's word was law. She wouldn't let Jane wear her best frock, and she refused to listen for a moment to Robert's suggestion that Jane should wear her best petticoat and call it a dress.

"It's not respectable," she said. And when people say that, it's no use anyone's saying anything. You'll find this out for yourselves some day.

So there was nothing for it but for Jane to mend her frock. The hole had been torn the day before when she happened to tumble down in the High Street of Rochester, just where a water-cart had passed on its silvery way. She had grazed her knee, and her stocking was much more than grazed, and her dress was cut by the same stone which had attended to the knee and the stocking. Of course the others were not such sneaks as to abandon a comrade in misfortune, so they all sat on the grass-plot round the sun-dial, and Jane darned away for dear life. The Lamb was still in the hands of Martha having its clothes changed, so conversation was possible.

Anthea and Robert timidly tried to conceal their inmost thought, which was that the Psammead was not to be trusted; but Cyril said—

"Speak out—say what you've got to say—I hate hinting, and 'don't know,' and sneakish ways like that."

So then Robert said, as in honour bound, "Sneak yourself—Anthea and me weren't so gold-fishy as you two were, so we got changed quicker, and we've had time to think it over, and if you ask me"—

"I didn't ask you," said Jane, biting off a needleful of thread as she had always been strictly forbidden to do. (Perhaps you don't know that if you bite off ends of cotton and swallow them they wind tight round your heart and kill you? My nurse told me this, and she told me also about the earth going round the sun. Now what is one to believe—what with nurses and science?)

"I don't care who asks or who doesn't," said Robert, "but Anthea and I think the Sammyadd is a spiteful brute. If it can give us our wishes I suppose it can give itself its own, and I feel almost sure it wishes every time that our wishes shan't do us any good. Let's let the tiresome beast alone, and just go and have a jolly good game of forts, on our own, in the chalk-pit."

(You will remember that the happily-situated house where these children were spending their holidays lay between a chalk-quarry and a gravel-pit.)

Cyril and Jane were more hopeful—they generally were.

"I don't think the Sammyadd does it on purpose," Cyril said; "and, after all, it was  silly to wish for boundless wealth. Fifty pounds in two-shilling pieces would have been much more sensible. And wishing to be beautiful as the day was simply donkeyish. I don't want to be disagreeable, but it was.  We must try to find a really useful wish, and wish it."

Jane dropped her work and said—

"I think so too, it's too silly to have a chance like this and not use it. I never heard of anyone else outside a book who had such a chance; there must be simply heaps of things we could wish for that wouldn't turn out Dead Sea fish, like these two things have. Do let's think hard and wish something nice, so that we can have a real jolly day—what there is left of it."

Jane darned away again like mad, for time was indeed getting on, and everyone began to talk at once. If you had been there you could not possibly have made head or tail of the talk, but these children were used to talking "by fours," as soldiers march, and each of them could say what it had to say quite comfortably, and listen to the agreeable sound of its own voice, and at the same time have three-quarters of two sharp ears to spare for listening to what the others said. That is an easy example in multiplication of vulgar fractions, but, as I daresay you can't do even that, I won't ask you to tell me whether ¾ x 2 = 1½, but I will ask you to believe me that this was the amount of ear each child was able to lend to the others. Lending ears was common in Roman times, as we learn from Shakespeare; but I fear I am getting too instructive.

When the frock was darned, the start for the gravel-pit was delayed by Martha's insisting on everybody's washing its hands—which was nonsense, because nobody had been doing anything at all, except Jane, and how can you get dirty doing nothing? That is a difficult question, and I cannot answer it on paper. In real life I could very soon show you—or you me, which is much more likely.

During the conversation in which the six ears were lent (there were four children, so that  sum comes right), it had been decided that fifty pounds in two-shilling pieces was the right wish to have. And the lucky children, who could have anything in the wide world by just wishing for it, hurriedly started for the gravel-pit to express their wishes to the Psammead. Martha caught them at the gate, and insisted on their taking the Baby with them.


The lucky children . . . hurriedly started for the gravel pit.

"Not want him indeed! Why, everybody 'ud want him, a duck! with all their hearts they would; and you know you promised your ma to take him out every blessed day," said Martha.

"I know we did," said Robert in gloom, "but I wish the Lamb wasn't quite so young and small. It would be much better fun taking him out."

"He'll mend of his youngness with time," said Martha; "and as for smallness, I don't think you'd fancy carrying of him any more, however big he was. Besides he can walk a bit, bless his precious fat legs, a ducky! He feels the benefit of the new-laid air, so he does, a pet!"

With this and a kiss, she plumped the Lamb into Anthea's arms, and went back to make new pinafores on the sewing-machine. She was a rapid performer on this instrument.

The Lamb laughed with pleasure, and said, "Walky wif Panty," and rode on Robert's back with yells of joy, and tried to feed Jane with stones, and altogether made himself so agreeable that nobody could long be sorry that he was of the party.

The enthusiastic Jane even suggested that they should devote a week's wishes to assuring the Baby's future, by asking such gifts for him as the good fairies give to Infant Princes in proper fairy-tales, but Anthea soberly reminded her that as the Sand-fairy's wishes only lasted till sunset they could not ensure any benefit to the Baby's later years; and Jane owned that it would be better to wish for fifty pounds in two-shilling pieces, and buy the Lamb a three-pound fifteen rocking-horse, like those in the big stores, with a part of the money.

It was settled that, as soon as they had wished for the money and got it, they would get Mr. Crispin to drive them into Rochester again, taking Martha with them if they could not get out of taking her. And they would make a list of things they really wanted before they started. Full of high hopes and excellent resolutions, they went round the safe slow cart-road to the gravel-pits, and as they went in between the mounds of gravel a sudden thought came to them, and would have turned their ruddy cheeks pale if they had been children in a book. Being real live children, it only made them stop and look at each other with rather blank and silly expressions. For now they remembered that yesterday, when they had asked the Psammead for boundless wealth, and it was getting ready to fill the quarry with the minted gold of bright guineas—millions of them—it had told the children to run along outside the quarry for fear they should be buried alive in the heavy splendid treasure. And they had run. And so it happened that they had not had time to mark the spot where the Psammead was, with a ring of stones, as before. And it was this thought that put such silly expressions on their faces.

"Never mind," said the hopeful Jane, "we'll soon find him."

But this, though easily said, was hard in the doing. They looked and they looked, and, though they found their seaside spades, nowhere could they find the Sand-fairy.

At last they had to sit down and rest—not at all because they were weary or disheartened, of course, but because the Lamb insisted on being put down, and you cannot look very carefully after anything you may have happened to lose in the sand if you have an active baby to look after at the same time. Get someone to drop your best knife in the sand next time you go to the seashore and then take your baby brother with you when you go to look for it, and you will see that I am right.

The Lamb, as Martha had said, was feeling the benefit of the country air, and he was as frisky as a sandhopper. The elder ones longed to go on talking about the new wishes they would have when (or if) they found the Psammead again. But the Lamb wished to enjoy himself.

He watched his opportunity and threw a handful of sand into Anthea's face, and then suddenly burrowed his own head in the sand and waved his fat legs in the air. Then of course the sand got into his eyes, as it had into Anthea's, and he howled.

The thoughtful Robert had brought one solid brown bottle of ginger-beer with him, relying on a thirst that had never yet failed him. This had to be uncorked hurriedly—it was the only wet thing within reach, and it was necessary to wash the sand out of the Lamb's eyes somehow. Of course the ginger hurt horribly, and he howled more than ever. And, amid his anguish of kicking, the bottle was upset and the beautiful ginger-beer frothed out into the sand and was lost for ever.

It was then that Robert, usually a very patient brother, so far forgot himself as to say—

"Anybody would want him, indeed! Only they don't; Martha doesn't, not really, or she'd jolly well keep him with her. He's a little nuisance, that's what he is. It's too bad. I only wish everybody did  want him with all their hearts; we might get some peace in our lives."

The Lamb stopped howling now, because Jane had suddenly remembered that there is only one safe way of taking things out of little children's eyes, and that is with your own soft wet tongue. It is quite easy if you love the Baby as much as you ought to do.

Then there was a little silence. Robert was not proud of himself for having been so cross, and the others were not proud of him either. You often notice that sort of silence when someone has said something it ought not to—and everyone else holds its tongue and waits for the one who oughtn't to have said it is sorry.

The silence was broken by a sigh—a breath suddenly let out. The children's heads turned as if there had been a string tied to each nose, and somebody had pulled all the strings at once.

And everyone saw the Sand-fairy sitting quite close to them, with the expression which it used as a smile on its hairy face.

"Good-morning," it said; "I did that quite easily! Everyone wants him now."

"It doesn't matter," said Robert sulkily, because he knew he had been behaving rather like a pig. "No matter who wants him—there's no one here to—anyhow."

"Ingratitude," said the Psammead, "is a dreadful vice."

"We're not ungrateful," Jane made haste to say, "but we didn't really  want that wish. Robert only just said it. Can't you take it back and give us a new one?"

"No—I can't," the Sand-fairy said shortly; "chopping and changing—it's not business. You ought to be careful what you do  wish. There was a little boy once, he'd wished for a Plesiosaurus instead of an Ichthyosaurus, because he was too lazy to remember the easy names of everyday things, and his father had been very vexed with him, and had made him go to bed before tea-time, and wouldn't let him go out in the nice flint boat along with the other children,—it was the annual school-treat next day,—and he came and flung himself down near me on the morning of the treat, and he kicked his little prehistoric legs about and said he wished he was dead. And of course then he was."

"How awful!" said the children all together.

"Only till sunset, of course," the Psammead said; "still it was quite enough for his father and mother. And he caught it when he woke up—I tell you. He didn't turn to stone—I forget why—but there must have been some reason. They didn't know being dead is only being asleep, and you're bound to wake up somewhere or other, either where you go to sleep or in some better place. You may be sure he caught it, giving them such a turn. Why, he wasn't allowed to taste Megatherium for a month after that. Nothing but oysters and periwinkles, and common things like that."

All the children were quite crushed by this terrible tale. They looked at the Psammead in horror. Suddenly the Lamb perceived that something brown and furry was near him.

"Poof, poof, poofy," he said, and made a grab.


"Poof, poof, poofy," he said, and made a grab.

"It's not a pussy," Anthea was beginning, when the Sand-fairy leaped back.

"Oh, my left whisker!" it said; "don't let him touch me. He's wet."

Its fur stood on end with horror—and indeed a good deal of the ginger-beer had been spilt on the blue smock of the Lamb.

The Psammead dug with its hands and feet, and vanished in an instant and a whirl of sand.

The children marked the spot with a ring of stones.

"We may as well get along home," said Robert. "I'll say I'm sorry; but anyway if it's no good it's no harm, and we know where the sandy thing is for to-morrow."

The others were noble. No one reproached Robert at all. Cyril picked up the Lamb, who was now quite himself again, and off they went by the safe cart-road.

The cart-road from the gravel-pits joins the road almost directly.

At the gate into the road the party stopped to shift the Lamb from Cyril's back to Robert's. And as they paused a very smart open carriage came in sight, with a coachman and a groom on the box, and inside the carriage a lady—very grand indeed, with a dress all white lace and red ribbons and a parasol all red and white—and a white fluffy dog on her lap with a red ribbon round its neck. She looked at the children, and particularly at the Baby, and she smiled at him. The children were used to this, for the Lamb was, as all the servants said, a "very taking child." So they waved their hands politely to the lady and expected her to drive on. But she did not. Instead she made the coachman stop. And she beckoned to Cyril, and when he went up to the carriage she said—

"What a dear darling duck of a baby! Oh, I should  so like to adopt it! Do you think its mother would mind?"

"She'd mind very much indeed," said Anthea shortly.

"Oh, but I should bring it up in luxury, you know. I am Lady Chittenden. You must have seen my photograph in the illustrated papers. They call me a Beauty, you know, but of course that's all nonsense. Anyway"—

She opened the carriage door and jumped out. She had the wonderfullest red high-heeled shoes with silver buckles. "Let me hold him a minute," she said. And she took the Lamb and held him very awkwardly, as if she was not used to babies.

Then suddenly she jumped into the carriage with the Lamb in her arms and slammed the door, and said, "Drive on!"

The Lamb roared, the little white dog barked, and the coachman hesitated.

"Drive on, I tell you!" cried the lady; and the coachman did, for, as he said afterwards, it was as much as his place was worth not to.

The four children looked at each other, and then with one accord they rushed after the carriage and held on behind. Down the dusty road went the smart carriage, and after it, at double-quick time, ran the twinkling legs of the Lamb's brothers and sisters.


At double-quick time, ran the twinkling legs of the Lamb's brothers and sisters.

The Lamb howled louder and louder, but presently his howls changed by slow degrees to hiccupy gurgles, and then all was still, and they knew he had gone to sleep.

The carriage went on, and the eight feet that twinkled through the dust were growing quite stiff and tired before the carriage stopped at the lodge of a grand park. The children crouched down behind the carriage, and the lady got out. She looked at the Baby as it lay on the carriage seat, and hesitated.

"The darling—I won't disturb it," she said, and went into the lodge to talk to the woman there about a setting of eggs that had not turned out well.

The coachman and footman sprang from the box and bent over the sleeping Lamb.

"Fine boy—wish he was mine," said the coachman.

"He wouldn't favour you  much," said the groom sourly; "too 'andsome."

The coachman pretended not to hear. He said—

"Wonder at her now—I do really! Hates kids. Got none of her own, and can't abide other folkses'."

The children, crouched in the white dust under the carriage, exchanged uncomfortable glances.

"Tell you what," the coachman went on firmly, "blowed if I don't hide the little nipper in the hedge and tell her his brothers took 'im! Then I'll come back for him afterwards."

"No, you don't," said the footman. "I've took to that kid so as never was. If anyone's to have him, it's me—so there!"

"Stop your talk!" the coachman rejoined. "You don't want no kids, and, if you did, one kid's the same as another to you. But I'm a married man and a judge of breed. I knows a firstrate yearling when I sees him. I'm a-goin' to 'ave him, an' least said soonest mended."

"I should 'a' thought," said the footman sneeringly, "you'd a'most enough. What with Alfred, an' Albert, an' Louise, an' Victor Stanley, and Helena Beatrice, and another"—

The coachman hit the footman in the chin—the footman hit the coachman in the waistcoat—the next minute the two were fighting here and there, in and out, up and down, and all over everywhere, and the little dog jumped on the box of the carriage and began barking like mad.


The next minute the two were fighting.

Cyril, still crouching in the dust, waddled on bent legs to the side of the carriage farthest from the battlefield. He unfastened the door of the carriage—the two men were far too much occupied with their quarrel to notice anything—took the Lamb in his arms, and, still stooping, carried the sleeping baby a dozen yards along the road to where a stile led into a wood. The others followed, and there among the hazels and young oaks and sweet chestnuts, covered by high strong-scented brake-fern, they all lay hidden till the angry voices of the men were hushed at the angry voice of the red-and-white lady, and, after a long and anxious search, the carriage at last drove away.

"My only hat!" said Cyril, drawing a deep breath as the sound of wheels at last died away. "Everyone does  want him now—and no mistake! That Sammyadd has done us again! Tricky brute! For any sake, let's get the kid safe home."

So they peeped out, and finding on the right hand only lonely white road, and nothing but lonely white road on the left, they took courage, and the road, Anthea carrying the sleeping Lamb.

Adventures dogged their footsteps. A boy with a bundle of faggots on his back dropped his bundle by the roadside and asked to look at the Baby, and then offered to carry him; but Anthea was not to be caught that way twice. They all walked on, but the boy followed, and Cyril and Robert couldn't make him go away till they had more than once invited him to smell their fists. Afterwards a little girl in a blue-and-white checked pinafore actually followed them for a quarter of a mile crying for "the precious Baby," and then she was only got rid of by threats of tying her to a tree in the wood with all their pocket handkerchiefs. "So that bears can come and eat you as soon as it gets dark," said Cyril severely. Then she went off crying. It presently seemed wise, to the brothers and sisters of the Baby who was wanted by everyone, to hide in the hedge whenever they saw anyone coming, and thus they managed to prevent the Lamb from arousing the inconvenient affection of a milkman, a stone-breaker, and a man who drove a cart with a paraffin barrel at the back of it. They were nearly home when the worst thing of all happened. Turning a corner suddenly they came upon two vans, a tent, and a company of gipsies encamped by the side of the road. The vans were hung all round with wicker chairs and cradles, and flower-stands and feather brushes. A lot of ragged children were industriously making dust-pies in the road, two men lay on the grass smoking, and three women were doing the family washing in an old red watering-can with the top broken off.

In a moment every gipsy, men, women, and children, surrounded Anthea and the Baby.

"Let me hold him, little lady," said one of the gipsy women, who had a mahogany-coloured face and dust-coloured hair; "I won't hurt a hair of his head, the little picture!"

"I'd rather not," said Anthea.

"Let me  have him," said the other woman, whose face was also of the hue of mahogany, and her hair jet-black, in greasy curls. "I've nineteen of my own, so I have"—

"No," said Anthea bravely, but her heart beat so that it nearly choked her.

Then one of the men pushed forward.

"Swelp me if it ain't!" he cried, "my own long-lost cheild! Have he a strawberry mark on his left ear? No? Then he's my own babby, stolen from me in hinnocent hinfancy. 'And 'im over—and we'll not 'ave the law on yer this time."

He snatched the Baby from Anthea, who turned scarlet and burst into tears of pure rage.


He snatched the baby from Anthea.

The others were standing quite still; this was much the most terrible thing that had ever happened to them. Even being taken up by the police in Rochester was nothing to this. Cyril was quite white, and his hands trembled a little, but he made a sign to the others to shut up. He was silent a minute, thinking hard. Then he said—

"We don't want to keep him if he's yours. But you see he's used to us. You shall have him if you want him"—

"No, no!" cried Anthea,—and Cyril glared at her.

"Of course we want him," said the women, trying to get the Baby out of the man's arms. The Lamb howled loudly.

"Oh, he's hurt!" shrieked Anthea; and Cyril, in a savage undertone, bade her "stop it!"

"You trust to me," he whispered. "Look here," he went on, "he's awfully tiresome with people he doesn't know very well. Suppose we stay here a bit till he gets used to you, and then when it's bedtime I give you my word of honour we'll go away and let you keep him if you want to. And then when we're gone you can decide which of you is to have him, as you all want him so much."

"That's fair enough," said the man who was holding the Baby, trying to loosen the red neckerchief which the Lamb had caught hold of and drawn round his mahogany throat so tight that he could hardly breathe. The gipsies whispered together, and Cyril took the chance to whisper too. He said, "Sunset! we'll get away then."

And then his brothers and sisters were filled with wonder and admiration at his having been so clever as to remember this.

"Oh, do let him come to us!" said Jane. "See, we'll sit down here and take care of him for you till he gets used to you."

"What about dinner?" said Robert suddenly. The others looked at him with scorn. "Fancy bothering about your beastly dinner when your br—I mean when the Baby"—Jane whispered hotly. Robert carefully winked at her and went on—

"You won't mind my just running home to get our dinner?" he said to the gipsy; "I can bring it out here in a basket."

His brothers and sisters felt themselves very noble and despised him. They did not know his thoughtful secret intention. But the gipsies did in a minute.

"Oh yes!" they said; "and then fetch the police with a pack of lies about it being your baby instead of ours! D'jever catch a weasel asleep?" they asked.

"If you're hungry you can pick a bit along of us," said the light-haired gipsy-woman, not unkindly. "Here Levi, that blessed kid'll howl all his buttons off. Give him to the little lady, and let's see if they can't get him used to us a bit."

So the Lamb was handed back; but the gipsies crowded so closely that he could not possibly stop howling. Then the man with the red handkerchief said—

"Here, Pharaoh, make up the fire; and you girls see to the pot. Give the kid a chanst." So the gipsies, very much against their will, went off to their work, and the children and the Lamb were left sitting on the grass.

"He'll be all right at sunset," Jane whispered. "But, oh, it is awful! Suppose they are frightfully angry when they come to their senses! They might beat us, or leave us tied to trees, or something."

"No, they won't," Anthea said ("Oh, my Lamb, don't cry any more, it's all right, Panty's got oo, duckie"); "they aren't unkind people, or they wouldn't be going to give us any dinner."

"Dinner?" said Robert; "I won't touch their nasty dinner. It would choke me!"

The others thought so too then. But when the dinner was ready—it turned out to be supper, and happened between four and five—they were all glad enough to take what they could get. It was boiled rabbit, with onions, and some bird rather like a chicken, but stringier about its legs and with a stronger taste. The Lamb had bread soaked in hot water and brown sugar sprinkled on the top. He liked this very much, and consented to let the two gipsy women feed him with it, as he sat on Anthea's lap. All that long hot afternoon Robert and Cyril and Anthea and Jane had to keep the Lamb amused and happy, while the gipsies looked eagerly on. By the time the shadows grew long and black across the meadows he had really "taken to" the woman with the light hair, and even consented to kiss his hand to the children, and to stand up and bow, with his hand on his chest—"like a gentleman"—to the two men. The whole gipsy camp was in raptures with him, and his brothers and sisters could not help taking some pleasure in showing off his accomplishments to an audience so interested and enthusiastic. But they longed for sunset.


He consented to let the two gypsy women feed him.

"We're getting into the habit of longing for sunset," Cyril whispered. "How I do wish we could wish something really sensible, that would be of some use, so that we should be quite sorry when sunset came."

The shadows got longer and longer, and at last there were no separate shadows any more, but one soft glowing shadow over everything; for the sun was out of sight—behind the hill—but he had not really set yet. The people who make the laws about lighting bicycle lamps are the people who decide when the sun sets; she has to do it too, to the minute, or they would know the reason why!

But the gipsies were getting impatient.

"Now, young uns," the red-handkerchief man said, "it's time you were laying of your heads on your pillowses—so it is! The kid's all right and friendly with us now—so you just hand him over and get home like you said."

The women and children came crowding round the Lamb, arms were held out, fingers snapped invitingly, friendly faces beaming with admiring smiles; but all failed to tempt the loyal Lamb. He clung with arms and legs to Jane, who happened to be holding him, and uttered the gloomiest roar of the whole day.

"It's no good," the woman said, "hand the little poppet over, miss. We'll soon quiet him."

And still the sun would not set.

"Tell her about how to put him to bed," whispered Cyril; "anything to gain time—and be ready to bolt when the sun really does make up its silly old mind to set."

"Yes, I'll hand him over in just one minute," Anthea began, talking very fast,—"but do let me just tell you he has a warm bath every night and cold in the morning, and he has a crockery rabbit to go into the warm bath with him, and little Samuel saying his prayers in white china on a red cushion for the cold bath; and he hates you to wash his ears, but you must; and if you let the soap get into his eyes, the Lamb"—

"Lamb kyes," said he—he had stopped roaring to listen.

The woman laughed. "As if I hadn't never bath'd a babby!" she said. "Come—give us a hold of him. Come to 'Melia, my precious"—

"G'way, ugsie!" replied the Lamb at once.

"Yes, but," Anthea went on, "about his meals; you really must  let me tell you he has an apple or banana every morning, and bread and milk for breakfast, and an egg for his tea sometimes, and"—

"I've brought up ten," said the black ringleted woman, "besides the others. Come, miss, 'and 'im over—I can't bear it no longer. I just must give him a hug."

"We ain't settled yet whose he's to be, Esther," said one of the men.

"It won't be you, Esther, with seven of 'em at your tail a'ready."

"I ain't so sure of that," said Esther's husband.

"And ain't I nobody, to have a say neither?" said the husband of 'Melia.

Zillah, the girl, said, "An' me? I'm a single girl—and no one but 'im to look after—I ought to have him."

"Hold your tongue!"

"Shut your mouth!"

"Don't you show me no more of your imperence!"

Everyone was getting very angry. The dark gipsy faces were frowning and anxious-looking. Suddenly a change swept over them, as if some invisible sponge had wiped away these cross and anxious expressions, and left only a blank.

The children saw that the sun really had  set. But they were afraid to move. And the gipsies were feeling so muddled because of the invisible sponge that had washed all the feelings of the last few hours out of their hearts, that they could not say a word.

The children hardly dared to breathe. Suppose the gipsies, when they recovered speech, should be furious to think how silly they had been all day?

It was an awkward moment. Suddenly Anthea, greatly daring, held out the Lamb to the red-handkerchief man.

"Here he is!" she said.

The man drew back. "I shouldn't like to deprive you, miss," he said hoarsely.

"Anyone who likes can have my share of him," said the other man.

"After all, I've got enough of my own," said Esther.

"He's a nice little chap, though," said Amelia. She was the only one who now looked affectionately at the whimpering Lamb.

Zillah said, "If I don't think I must have had a touch of the sun. I  don't want him."

"Then shall we take him away?" said Anthea.

"Well—suppose you do," said Pharaoh heartily, "and we'll say no more about it!"

And with great haste all the gipsies began to be busy about their tents for the night. All but Amelia. She went with the children as far as the bend in the road—and there she said—

"Let me give him a kiss, miss,—I don't know what made us go for to behave so silly. Us gipsies don't steal babies, whatever they may tell you when you're naughty. We've enough of our own, mostly. But I've lost all mine."

She leaned towards the Lamb; and he, looking in her eyes, unexpectedly put up a grubby soft paw and stroked her face.

"Poor, poor!" said the Lamb. And he let the gipsy woman kiss him, and, what is more, he kissed her brown cheek in return—a very nice kiss, as all his kisses are, and not a wet one like some babies give. The gipsy woman moved her finger about on his forehead as if she had been writing something there, and the same with his chest and his hands and his feet; then she said—

"May he be brave, and have the strong head to think with, and the strong heart to love with, and the strong arms to work with, and the strong feet to travel with, and always come safe home to his own." Then she said something in a strange language no one could understand, and suddenly added—

"Well, I must be saying 'so long'—and glad to have made your acquaintance." And she turned and went back to her home—the tent by the grassy roadside.

The children looked after her till she was out of sight. Then Robert said, "How silly of her! Even sunset didn't put her  right. What rot she talked!"

"Well," said Cyril, "if you ask me, I think it was rather decent of her"—

"Decent?" said Anthea; "it was very nice indeed of her. I think she's a dear"—

"She's just too frightfully nice for anything," said Jane.

And they went home—very late for tea and unspeakably late for dinner. Martha scolded, of course. But the Lamb was safe.

"I say—it turned out we wanted the Lamb as much as anyone," said Robert, later.

"Of course."

"But do you feel different about it now the sun's set?"

"No,"  said all the others together.

"Then it's lasted over sunset with us."

"No, it hasn't," Cyril explained. "The wish didn't do anything to us.  We always wanted him with all our hearts when we were our proper selves, only we were all pigs this morning; especially you, Robert." Robert bore this much with a strange calm.

"I certainly thought  I didn't want him this morning," said he. "Perhaps I was  a pig. But everything looked so different when we thought we were going to lose him."

And that, my dear children, is the moral of this chapter. I did not mean it to have a moral, but morals are nasty forward beings, and will keep putting in their oars where they are not wanted. And since the moral has crept in, quite against my wishes, you might as well think of it next time you feel piggy yourself and want to get rid of any of your brothers and sisters. I hope this doesn't often happen, but I daresay it has happened sometimes, even to you!


Emily Dickinson

The Snow

It sifts from leaden sieves,

It powders all the wood,

It fills with alabaster wool

The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face

Of mountain and of plain,—

Unbroken forehead from the east

Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence;

It wraps it, rail by rail,

Till it is lost in fleeces;

It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem,—

The summer's empty room,

Acres of seams where harvests were,

Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,

As ankles of a queen,—

Then stills its artisans like ghosts,

Denying they have been.