Text of Plan #990
  WEEK 8  


The Railway Children  by Edith Nesbit

The Amateur Fireman

dropcap image HAT'S a likely little brooch you've got on, Miss," said Perks the Porter; "I don't know as ever I see a thing more like a buttercup without it was  a buttercup."

"Yes," said Bobbie, glad and flushed by this approval. "I always thought it was more like a buttercup almost than even a real one—and I never  thought it would come to be mine, my very own—and then Mother gave it to me for my birthday."

"Oh, have you had a birthday?" said Perks; and he seemed quite surprised, as though a birthday were a thing only granted to a favoured few.

"Yes," said Bobbie; "when's your birthday, Mr. Perks?" The children were taking tea with Mr. Perks in the Porter's room among the lamps and the railway almanacs. They had brought their own cups and some jam turnovers. Mr. Perks made tea in a beer can, as usual, and everyone felt very happy and confidential.

"My birthday?" said Perks, tipping some more dark brown tea out of the can into Peter's cup. "I give up keeping of my birthday afore you was born."

"But you must have been born sometime,  you know," said Phyllis, thoughtfully, "even if it was twenty years ago—or thirty or sixty or seventy."

"Not so long as that, Missie," Perks grinned as he answered. "If you really want to know, it was thirty-two years ago, come the fifteenth of this month."

"Then why don't you keep it?" asked Phyllis.

"I've got something else to keep besides birthdays," said Perks, briefly.

"Oh! What?" asked Phyllis, eagerly. "Not secrets?"

"No," said Perks, "the kids and the Missus."

It was this talk that set the children thinking, and, presently, talking. Perks was, on the whole, the dearest friend they had made. Not so grand as the Station Master, but more approachable—less powerful than the old gentleman, but more confidential.

"It seems horrid that nobody keeps his birthday," said Bobbie. "Couldn't we  do something?"

"Let's go up to the Canal bridge and talk it over," said Peter. "I got a new gut line from the postman this morning. He gave it me for a bunch of roses that I gave him for his sweetheart. She's ill."

"Then I do think you might have given her the roses for nothing," said Bobbie, indignantly.

"Nyang, nyang!" said Peter, disagreeably, and put his hands in his pockets.

"He did, of course," said Phyllis, in haste; "directly we heard she was ill we got the roses ready and waited by the gate. It was when you were making the brekker-toast. And when he'd said 'Thank you' for the roses so many times—much more than he need have—he pulled out the line and gave it to Peter. It wasn't exchange. It was the grateful heart."

"Oh, I beg  your pardon, Peter," said Bobbie, "I am  so sorry."

"Don't mention it," said Peter, grandly, "I knew you would be."

So then they all went up to the Canal bridge. The idea was to fish from the bridge, but the line was not quite long enough.

"Never mind," said Bobbie. "Let's just stay here and look at things. Everything's so beautiful."

It was. The sun was setting in red splendour over the grey and purple hills, and the canal lay smooth and shiny in the shadow—no ripple broke its surface. It was like a grey satin ribbon between the dusky green silk of the meadows that were on each side of its banks.

"It's all right," said Peter, "but somehow I can always see how pretty things are much better when I've something to do. Let's get down on to the towpath and fish from there."

Phyllis and Bobbie remembered how the boys on the canal-boats had thrown coal at them, and they said so.

"Oh, nonsense," said Peter. "There aren't any boys here now. If there were, I'd fight them."

Peter's sisters were kind enough not to remind him how he had not  fought the boys when coal had last been thrown. Instead they said, "All right, then," and cautiously climbed down the steep bank to the towing-path. The line was carefully baited, and for half an hour they fished patiently and in vain. Not a single nibble came to nourish hope in their hearts.

All eyes were intent on the sluggish waters that earnestly pretended they had never harboured a single minnow when a loud, rough shout made them start.

"Hi!" said the shout, in most disagreeable tones, "get out of that, can't you?"

An old white horse coming along the towing-path was within half a dozen yards of them. They sprang to their feet and hastily climbed up the bank.

"We'll slip down again when they've gone by," said Bobbie.

But, alas, the barge, after the manner of barges, stopped under the bridge.

"She's going to anchor," said Peter; "just our luck!"

The barge did not anchor, because an anchor is not part of a canal-boat's furniture, but she was moored with ropes fore and aft—and the ropes were made fast to the palings and to crowbars driven into the ground.

"What you staring at?" growled the Bargee, crossly.

"We weren't staring," said Bobbie; "we wouldn't be so rude."

"Rude be blessed," said the man; "get along with you!"

"Get along yourself," said Peter. He remembered what he had said about fighting boys, and, besides, he felt safe halfway up the bank. "We've as much right here as anyone else."

"Oh, 'ave  you, indeed!" said the man. "We'll soon see about that." And he came across his deck and began to climb down the side of his barge.

"Oh, come away, Peter, come away!" said Bobbie and Phyllis, in agonised unison.

"Not me," said Peter, "but you'd  better."

The girls climbed to the top of the bank and stood ready to bolt for home as soon as they saw their brother out of danger. The way home lay all down hill. They knew that they all ran well. The Bargee did not look as if he  did. He was red-faced, heavy, and beefy.

But as soon as his foot was on the towing-path the children saw that they had misjudged him.

He made one spring up the bank and caught Peter by the leg, dragged him down—set him on his feet with a shake—took him by the ear—and said sternly:

"Now, then, what do you mean by it? Don't you know these 'ere waters is preserved? You ain't no right catching fish 'ere—not to say nothing of your precious cheek."


Peter was always proud afterwards when he remembered that, with the Bargee's furious fingers tightening on his ear, the Bargee's crimson countenance close to his own, the Bargee's hot breath on his neck, he had the courage to speak the truth.

"I wasn't  catching fish," said Peter.

"That's not your  fault, I'll be bound," said the man, giving Peter's ear a twist—not a hard one—but still a twist.

Peter could not say that it was. Bobbie and Phyllis had been holding on to the railings above and skipping with anxiety. Now suddenly Bobbie slipped through the railings and rushed down the bank towards Peter, so impetuously that Phyllis, following more temperately, felt certain that her sister's descent would end in the waters of the canal. And so it would have done if the Bargee hadn't let go of Peter's ear—and caught her in his jerseyed arm.

"Who are you a-shoving of?" he said, setting her on her feet.

"Oh," said Bobbie, breathless, "I'm not shoving anybody. At least, not on purpose. Please don't be cross with Peter. Of course, if it's your canal, we're sorry and we won't any more. But we didn't know it was yours."

"Go along with you," said the Bargee.

"Yes, we will; indeed we will," said Bobbie, earnestly; "but we do beg your pardon—and really we haven't caught a single fish. I'd tell you directly if we had, honour bright I would."

She held out her hands and Phyllis turned out her little empty pocket to show that really they hadn't any fish concealed about them.

"Well," said the Bargee, more gently, "cut along, then, and don't you do it again, that's all."

The children hurried up the bank.

"Chuck us a coat, M'ria," shouted the man. And a red-haired woman in a green plaid shawl came out from the cabin door with a baby in her arms and threw a coat to him. He put it on, climbed the bank, and slouched along across the bridge towards the village.

"You'll find me up at the 'Rose and Crown' when you've got the kid to sleep," he called to her from the bridge.

When he was out of sight the children slowly returned. Peter insisted on this.

"The canal may belong to him," he said, "though I don't believe it does. But the bridge is everybody's. Doctor Forrest told me it's public property. I'm not going to be bounced off the bridge by him or anyone else, so I tell you."

Peter's ear was still sore and so were his feelings.

The girls followed him as gallant soldiers might follow the leader of a forlorn hope.

"I do wish you wouldn't," was all they said.

"Go home if you're afraid," said Peter; "leave me alone. I'm  not afraid."

The sound of the man's footsteps died away along the quiet road. The peace of the evening was not broken by the notes of the sedge-warblers or by the voice of the woman in the barge, singing her baby to sleep. It was a sad song she sang. Something about Bill Bailey and how she wanted him to come home.

The children stood leaning their arms on the parapet of the bridge; they were glad to be quiet for a few minutes because all three hearts were beating much more quickly.

"I'm not going to be driven away by any old bargeman, I'm not," said Peter, thickly.

"Of course not," Phyllis said soothingly; "you didn't give in to him! So now we might go home, don't you think?"

"No,"  said Peter.

Nothing more was said till the woman got off the barge, climbed the bank, and came across the bridge.

She hesitated, looking at the three backs of the children, then she said, "Ahem."

Peter stayed as he was, but the girls looked round.

"You mustn't take no notice of my Bill," said the woman; " 'is bark's worse'n 'is bite. Some of the kids down Farley way is fair terrors. It was them put 'is back up calling out about who ate the puppy-pie under Marlow bridge."

"Who did?"  asked Phyllis.

"I  dunno," said the woman. "Nobody don't know! But somehow, and I don't know the why nor the wherefore of it, them words is p'ison to a barge-master. Don't you take no notice. 'E won't be back for two hours good. You might catch a power o' fish afore that. The light's good an' all," she added.

"Thank you," said Bobbie. "You're very kind. Where's your baby?"

"Asleep in the cabin," said the woman. " 'E's all right. Never wakes afore twelve. Reg'lar as a church clock, 'e is."

"I'm sorry," said Bobbie; "I would have liked to see him, close to."

"And a finer you never did see, Miss, though I says it." The woman's face brightened as she spoke.

"Aren't you afraid to leave it?" said Peter.

"Lor' love you, no," said the woman; "who'd hurt a little thing like 'im? Besides, Spot's there. So long!"

The woman went away.

"Shall we go home?" said Phyllis.

"You can. I'm going to fish," said Peter briefly.

"I thought we came up here to talk about Perks's birthday," said Phyllis.

"Perks's birthday'll keep."

So they got down on the towing-path again and Peter fished. He did not catch anything.

It was almost quite dark, the girls were getting tired, and as Bobbie said, it was past bed-time, when suddenly Phyllis cried, "What's that?"

And she pointed to the canal boat. Smoke was coming from the chimney of the cabin, had indeed been curling softly into the soft evening air all the time—but now other wreaths of smoke were rising, and these were from the cabin door.

"It's on fire—that's all," said Peter, calmly. "Serve him right."

"Oh—how can  you?" cried Phyllis. "Think of the poor dear dog."

"The Baby!"  screamed Bobbie.

In an instant all three made for the barge.

Her mooring ropes were slack, and the little breeze, hardly strong enough to be felt, had yet been strong enough to drift her stern against the bank. Bobbie was first—then came Peter, and it was Peter who slipped and fell. He went into the canal up to his neck, and his feet could not feel the bottom, but his arm was on the edge of the barge. Phyllis caught at his hair. It hurt, but it helped him to get out. Next minute he had leaped on to the barge, Phyllis following.

"Not you!" he shouted to Bobbie; "me,  because I'm wet."

He caught up with Bobbie at the cabin door, and flung her aside very roughly indeed; if they had been playing, such roughness would have made Bobbie weep with tears of rage and pain. Now, though he flung her on to the edge of the hold, so that her knee and her elbow were grazed and bruised, she only cried:

"No—not you—me,"  and struggled up again. But not quickly enough.

Peter had already gone down two of the cabin steps into the cloud of thick smoke. He stopped, remembered all he had ever heard of fires, pulled his soaked handkerchief out of his breast pocket and tied it over his mouth. As he pulled it out he said:

"It's all right, hardly any fire at all."

And this, though he thought it was a lie, was rather good of Peter. It was meant to keep Bobbie from rushing after him into danger. Of course it didn't.

The cabin glowed red. A paraffin lamp was burning calmly in an orange mist.

"Hi," said Peter, lifting the handkerchief from his mouth for a moment. "Hi, Baby—where are you?" He choked.

"Oh, let me  go," cried Bobbie, close behind him. Peter pushed her back more roughly than before, and went on.

Now what would have happened if the baby hadn't cried I don't know—but just at that moment it did  cry. Peter felt his way through the dark smoke, found something small and soft and warm and alive, picked it up and backed out, nearly tumbling over Bobbie who was close behind. A dog snapped at his leg—tried to bark, choked.

"I've got the kid," said Peter, tearing off the handkerchief and staggering on to the deck.

Bobbie caught at the place where the bark came from, and her hands met on the fat back of a smooth-haired dog. It turned and fastened its teeth on her hand, but very gently, as much as to say:

"I'm bound to bark and bite if strangers come into my master's cabin, but I know you mean well, so I won't really  bite."

Bobbie dropped the dog.

"All right, old man. Good dog," said she. "Here—give me the baby, Peter; you're so wet you'll give it cold."

Peter was only too glad to hand over the strange little bundle that squirmed and whimpered in his arms.

"Now," said Bobbie, quickly, "you run straight to the 'Rose and Crown' and tell them. Phil and I will stay here with the precious. Hush, then, a dear, a duck, a darling! Go now,  Peter! Run!"

"I can't run in these things," said Peter, firmly; "they're as heavy as lead. I'll walk."

"Then I'll  run," said Bobbie. "Get on the bank, Phil, and I'll hand you the dear."

The baby was carefully handed. Phyllis sat down on the bank and tried to hush the baby. Peter wrung the water from his sleeves and knickerbocker legs as well as he could, and it was Bobbie who ran like the wind across the bridge and up the long white quiet twilight road towards the 'Rose and Crown.'

There is a nice old-fashioned room at the 'Rose and Crown' where Bargees and their wives sit of an evening drinking their supper beer, and toasting their supper cheese at a glowing basketful of coals that sticks out into the room under a great hooded chimney and is warmer and prettier and more comforting than any other fireplace I  ever saw.

There was a pleasant party of barge people round the fire. You might not have thought it pleasant, but they did; for they were all friends or acquaintances, and they liked the same sort of things, and talked the same sort of talk. This is the real secret of pleasant society. The Bargee Bill, whom the children had found so disagreeable, was considered excellent company by his mates. He was telling a tale of his own wrongs—always a thrilling subject. It was his barge he was speaking about.

"And 'e sent down word 'paint her inside hout,' not namin' no colour, d'ye see? So I gets a lotter green paint and I paints her stem to stern, and I tell yer she looked A1. Then 'e comes along and 'e says, 'Wot yer paint 'er all one colour for?' 'e says. And I says, says I, 'Cause I thought she'd look fust-rate,' says I, 'and I think so still.' An' he says, 'Dew  yer? Then ye can just pay for the bloomin' paint yerself,' says he. An' I 'ad to, too." A murmur of sympathy ran round the room. Breaking noisily in on it came Bobbie. She burst open the swing door—crying breathlessly:

"Bill! I want Bill the Bargeman."

There was a stupefied silence. Pots of beer were held in mid-air, paralysed on their way to thirsty mouths.

"Oh," said Bobbie, seeing the bargewoman and making for her. "Your barge cabin's on fire. Go quickly."

The woman started to her feet, and put a big red hand to her waist, on the left side, where your heart seems to be when you are frightened or miserable.

"Reginald Horace!" she cried in a terrible voice; "my Reginald Horace!"

"All right," said Bobbie, "if you mean the baby; got him out safe. Dog, too." She had no breath for more, except, "Go on—it's all alight."

Then she sank on the ale-house bench and tried to get that breath of relief after running which people call the 'second wind.' But she felt as though she would never breathe again.

Bill the Bargee rose slowly and heavily. But his wife was a hundred yards up the road before he had quite understood what was the matter.

Phyllis, shivering by the canal side, had hardly heard the quick approaching feet before the woman had flung herself on the railing, rolled down the bank, and snatched the baby from her.

"Don't," said Phyllis, reproachfully; "I'd just got him to sleep."

* * * * * *

Bill came up later talking in a language with which the children were wholly unfamiliar. He leaped on to the barge and dipped up pails of water. Peter helped him and they put out the fire. Phyllis, the bargewoman, and the baby—and presently Bobbie, too—cuddled together in a heap on the bank.

"Lord help me, if it was me left anything as could catch alight," said the woman again and again.

But it wasn't she. It was Bill the Bargeman, who had knocked his pipe out and the red ash had fallen on the hearth-rug and smouldered there and at last broken into flame. Though a stern man he was just. He did not blame his wife for what was his own fault, as many bargemen, and other men, too, would have done.

* * * * * *

Mother was half wild with anxiety when at last the three children turned up at Three Chimneys, all very wet by now, for Peter seemed to have come off on the others. But when she had disentangled the truth of what had happened from their mixed and incoherent narrative, she owned that they had done quite right, and could not possibly have done otherwise. Nor did she put any obstacles in the way of their accepting the cordial invitation with which the bargeman had parted from them.

"Ye be here at seven to-morrow," he had said, "and I'll take you the entire trip to Farley and back, so I will, and not a penny to pay. Nineteen locks!"

They did not know what locks were; but they were at the bridge at seven, with bread and cheese and half a soda cake, and quite a quarter of a leg of mutton in a basket.

It was a glorious day. The old white horse strained at the ropes, the barge glided smoothly and steadily through the still water. The sky was blue overhead. Mr. Bill was as nice as anyone could possibly be. No one would have thought that he could be the same man who had held Peter by the ear. As for Mrs. Bill, she had always been nice, as Bobbie said, and so had the baby, and even Spot, who might have bitten them quite badly if he had liked.

"It was simply ripping, Mother," said Peter, when they reached home very happy, very tired, and very dirty, "right over that glorious aqueduct. And locks—you don't know what they're like. You sink into the ground and then, when you feel you're never going to stop going down, two great black gates open slowly, slowly—you go out, and there you are on the canal just like you were before."

"I know," said Mother, "there are locks on the Thames. Father and I used to go on the river at Marlow before we were married."

"And the dear, darling, ducky baby," said Bobbie; "it let me nurse it for ages and ages—and it was  so good. Mother, I wish we had a baby to play with."

"And everybody was so nice to us," said Phyllis, "everybody we met. And they say we may fish whenever we like. And Bill is going to show us the way next time he's in these parts. He says we don't know really."

"He said you  didn't know," said Peter; "but, Mother, he said he'd tell all the bargees up and down the canal that we were the real, right sort, and they were to treat us like good pals, as we were."

"So then I said," Phyllis interrupted, "we'd always each wear a red ribbon when we went fishing by the canal, so they'd know it was us,  and we were the real, right sort, and be nice to us!"

"So you've made another lot of friends," said Mother; "first the railway and then the canal!"

"Oh, yes," said Bobbie; "I think everyone in the world is friends if you can only get them to see you don't want to be un- friends."

"Perhaps you're right," said Mother; and she sighed. "Come, Chicks. It's bedtime."

"Yes," said Phyllis. "Oh dear—and we went up there to talk about what we'd do for Perks's birthday. And we haven't talked a single thing about it!"

"No more we have," said Bobbie; "but Peter's saved Reginald Horace's life. I think that's about good enough for one evening."

"Bobbie would have saved him if I hadn't knocked her down; twice I did," said Peter, loyally.

"So would I," said Phyllis, "if I'd known what to do."

"Yes," said Mother, "you've saved a little child's life. I do think that's enough for one evening. Oh, my darlings, thank God you're  all safe!"


Heroes of the Middle Ages  by Eva March Tappan

Charles Martel

When King Clovis died, his four sons divided the kingdom among them much as if it had been a farm. Then they quarrelled, and a quarrel in those days led to savage fighting. Each ruler intended to get as much as he could, and if any one stood in the way the first thought was, "Kill him." For instance, one of Clovis's sons died, leaving three boys. Queen Clotilda tried to protect the rights of her grandchildren, but two of her sons sent her a sword and a pair of scissors. That meant, "Should you rather have the boys slain or have them lose their long hair?" To lose their long hair would shut them out of the royal family, and Clotilda replied that she would rather see them dead than disgraced. Two of the boys were at once murdered by their uncle.

For more than a century, the Frankish kingdom was full of quarrels and fighting. During the following century, a king was always on the throne, but he never ruled; and these sovereigns have been nicknamed the "do-nothing kings." The real rulers were officers called mayors of the palace. The "mayor" was at first only a sort of royal attendant, but several of the kings were children when they came to the throne; and the mayors acted as their guardians but without all the regal powers. Some of the kings were stupid, and some cared only for amusement, and hardly any of them were strong and manly enough to govern. The mayors of the palace were rulers in peace, and as the "do-nothing kings" were of course unable to lead armies, the mayors became also commanders in war. This arrangement suited the Frankish nobles. They were always afraid that their kings would get too much power over them; but as a mayor was chosen from among themselves, they were not jealous of his power.

One of these mayors was named Pepin. He treated the king with the utmost respect, permitted him to live on one of the royal estates, and sent servants to wait on him. When some national festival was to be held, the king was brought to court dressed in most elegant robes and with his long hair floating over his shoulders. He rode in a heavy wagon drawn by oxen and driven by a cowherd. This was according to the ancient custom, and the people would have been displeased to have it altered. He was escorted into the palace and seated upon the throne, and the nobles came to do him honour. He recited a little speech, composed for him beforehand, urging the army to be valiant and to be always ready for service. If ambassadors were to be received, he met them graciously, and said what Mayor Pepin told him to say. Then with all deference he was led to the cart and driven back to the estate upon which he lived. He was free to go on hunting or raising doves or combing his long hair until a figurehead was needed again.

When Pepin died, his son Charles became mayor. It was fortunate that he was a good fighter, for there was a great deal of fighting to be done. There were hostile tribes on the north and east to be subdued. Then, too, there were rumors of trouble coming from another people, the Mohammedans. It was essential that Charles should have an army ready to set out at a moment's notice. But he could not keep an army without the help of the nobles, and for such help he must pay, and pay well. The churches owned a vast amount of land and money; and when Charles needed either to reward the nobles, he took it. It is probable that he did not give away the land, but only lent it to his nobles by what is called a feudal tenure; that is, so long as a noble provided a certain number of men for the mayor's army, he might hold the land and get as much gain from it as he could. This was all very well for the nobles, but it is no wonder that the bishops were not pleased. And the army so maintained was to be used to defend them against the Mohammedans.

The history of these people is interesting. About one hundred and sixty years before that time, a man named Mohammed was born in Mecca in Arabia, and he became so famous when a man that the people who knew him as a child fancied that many wonderful things had happened to him when he was small. It was said that the sheep bowed to him as he passed by, and that even the moon stooped from her place in the heavens to do him honour. While he was in the house of his nurse, so the legend says, her well never dried and her pastures were always fresh and green.

The little boy soon lost both father and mother, and was brought up in the house of his uncle. He must have been a most lovable boy, for every one seems to have been kind to him. This uncle held an office of great honor,—he was guardian of a certain black stone which, it was said, the angel Gabriel had given to Abraham. The stone was built into the outer wall of the Kaaba, a little square temple which the Arabians looked upon as especially holy. Most of them were worshipers of idols, and the Kaaba was the home of enough idols to provide a different one for every day in the year. Throngs of pilgrims journeyed to Mecca to kiss the stone and worship in the Kaaba; and the boy must have heard marvellous tales of the strange places from which they came. His uncle was a merchant and used to go with caravans to Syria and elsewhere to buy and sell goods. When Mohammed was twelve years old, he begged earnestly to be allowed to go with him. The uncle said "No." Then the boy pleaded, "But, my uncle, who will take care of me when you are gone?" The tender-hearted man could not refuse any longer, and Mohammed went on his first journey.

After this, he always travelled with his uncle, and when the uncle went out to help his tribe fight another, he became the uncle's armour-bearer. He learned about life in a caravan, and about buying and selling goods, and while he was hardly more than a boy, he was often employed by merchants to go on such trips as their agent. At length he was engaged by a wealthy widow named Kadijah to manage the large business which the death of her husband had left in her charge. She became more and more pleased with the young man, and after a while she sent a trusty slave to offer him her hand. He was surprised, but not at all unwilling, and soon there was a generous wedding feast with music and dancing. The house was open to all who chose to come, and a camel was killed that its flesh might be given to the poor.

Mohammed thought much about religious questions. He came to believe that his people were wrong in worshipping idols, and that there was only one true God. He used to go to a cavern a few miles from Mecca to pray and meditate. One month in every year he gave up entirely to this. After a while, he began to have strange dreams and visions. In one of these he thought the angel Gabriel held before him a silken cloth on which there was golden writing and bade him read it. "But I do not know how to read," replied Mohammed. "Read, in the name of the Most High," said the angel; and suddenly the power to read the letters came to him, and he found the writings were commands of God. Then the angel declared, "Thou art the prophet of God."


The Vision of Mohammed

Mohammed told Kadijah of his vision, and she believed that the angel had really come to him. After a little, he began to preach wherever people would listen. A few believed in him, but most people only laughed at his story. Still he kept on preaching, and after a while, although he had but few followers in Mecca, there were many in Medina who had come to believe that he was the prophet of God. He decided that it was best for him to go to them, and in the year 622 he and a few friends escaped from their enemies in Mecca and went to Medina. This is called the Hegira, or flight. To this day Mohammedans do not count the years from the birth of Christ, but from the Hegira.

As soon as the prophet was in Medina, his followers began to build a mosque, or place for prayer, in which he might preach. They made the walls of earth and brick. The pillars were the trunks of palm trees, and the roof was formed of their branches with a thatch of leaves. He decided that his disciples should be called to prayer five times a day, and after all these centuries the call, or muezzin, is still heard in the East from some minaret of each mosque,— "God is great. There is no God but God. Mohammed is the apostle of God. Come to prayers. Come to prayers." At dawn the crier adds, "Prayer is better than sleep." Every true Mussulman, as followers of Mohammed are called, is bound to obey this rule of prayer, and as he prays, he must turn his face toward Mecca. He is also commanded to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca before he dies, and to kiss the sacred black stone. It is still in the wall of the Kaaba, but the Kaaba itself is now within a mosque so large that it will hold 35,000 persons.

It is probable that Mohammed never learned to read or write, but his followers jotted down his words on bits of palm leaves or skins or even the shoulder-blades of animals, and many of them they learned by heart. After the death of the prophet, the caliphs, as his successors were called, collected these sayings and arranged them in a book called the Koran, which is the sacred volume of the Mussulmans.


Capture of Mecca by Mohammed

For a long while, Mohammed preached peace and gentleness and charity, and he won many followers. Then he came to believe that if people would not obey his teachings, it was right to make war upon them. He marched against Mecca with a large army of his disciples, and soon captured it. After a time, either by preaching or by fighting, the Mohammedans, or Mussulmans, became the rulers of all Arabia. After the death of their prophet, they continued their conquests. They overcame Syria, Persia, Egypt, northern Africa, and Spain. A little later they swarmed over the Pyrenees, and pushed on as far north as Tours. In 732, just one hundred years after the death of Mohammed, the Mohammedans met the Frankish army of Charles on the plain of Tours, and after a terrible combat the Mohammedans were so completely overwhelmed that they retreated toward Spain and never again tried to conquer the land of the Franks.


Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours.

It was fortunate for all Europe that the Frankish troops were led by so valiant a warrior as Charles. He not only led, but he fought with his own hands; and he swung his mighty battle-axe with such crushing blows that after this battle he was known as Charles the Hammer, or Charles Martel. It was no wonder that when the long-haired Merovingian died who was then called king of the Franks, none saw need of putting another on the throne while Charles lived.

When Charles Martel died, his son Pepin became mayor. He is known as Pepin the Short. By this time, the Pope had become so powerful that kings liked to have his sanction to whatever they proposed to do. Before long, Pepin sent an embassy to him to say, "Who ought to be king, the man who has the name or the man who has the power?" The Pope thought it reasonable that the man who was really king should also be king in name; and so it came to pass that no more Merovingians drove up from their farms once a year to sit on the throne for a day. Pepin was made king, and soon the Pope travelled all the way from Rome to St. Denis near Paris, to crown the new sovereign and anoint him with the sacred oil. He was the first king of the Carolingian Line.


Algernon Charles Swinburne

When the Hounds of Spring

When the hounds of spring are on winter's traces,

The mother of months in meadow or plain

Fills the shadows and windy places

With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain;

And the brown bright nightingale amorous

Is half assuaged for Itylus,

For the Thracian ships and the foreign faces,

The tongueless vigil and all the pain.

Come with bows bent and with emptying of quivers,

Maiden most perfect, lady of light,

With a noise of winds and many rivers,

With a clamor of waters, and with might;

Bind on thy sandals, O thou most fleet,

Over the splendor and speed of thy feet;

For the faint east quickens, the wan west shivers,

Round the feet of the day and the feet of the night.

Where shall we find her, how shall we sing to her,

Fold our hands round her knees, and cling?

O that man's heart were as fire and could spring to her,

Fire, or the strength of the streams that spring!

For the stars and the winds are unto her

As raiment, as songs of the harp-player;

For the risen stars and the fallen cling to her,

And the southwest-wind and the west-wind sing.

For winter's rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins. . . .


  WEEK 8  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Henry VII—Story of the Make-Believe Prince

W ITH Henry Tudor a new race of kings began to reign in England.

For more than three hundred years the kings of England had been Plantagenets. Henry II. was the first of the Plantagenets, and he took his name from Geoffrey of Anjou who used to wear a piece of planta genista  in his cap. With Richard III. the last of the Plantagenets died, for Henry VII., though a Plantagenet on his mother's side, was a Tudor on his father's side, and it was from his family that Henry took his name.

The Tudors were Welsh and claimed to be descended from the ancient British princes who, you remember, were driven into Wales when the Saxons took possession of England.

The Battle of Bosworth Field was the last of the Wars of the Roses. Henry Tudor, who was the Red Rose Prince, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV. and sister of the little princes who were murdered in the Tower. She was the White Rose Princess, but by marrying Henry she became the Red Rose Queen, and the differences between the House of Lancaster and the House of York, between the Red Rose and the White, ought to have been quite forgotten.

But Henry himself could not entirely forget these quarrels which had been so bitter. There were many people in England who still belonged to the White Rose party. Although they had hated Richard they were not pleased to see a Red Rose king upon the throne. So Henry VII. was hardly crowned before rebellions against him began.

Soon after Henry VII. was crowned, a handsome boy and a priest landed in Dublin. This boy called himself the Earl of Warwick. He was, he said, the son of that Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV., who was murdered in the Tower by being drowned in a cask of wine. The priest, he said, was his tutor. Ever since the death of his father, the Earl of Warwick had been kept a prisoner. But now, he said, he had escaped in some wonderful manner.

The simple Irish people believed this story. They knew nothing of Henry and had no reason for either hating or loving him. But they did love the House of York, for the Earl of Warwick's grandfather had at one time governed Ireland in the name of the King, and, having governed well, the people remembered and loved him.

So now they welcomed this young prince with great joy. Edward, Earl of Warwick, as he called himself, was gay and young and handsome, and he gained the love of the Irish so much that they resolved to crown him King.

This was done with great rejoicing in Dublin. But they had no crown, so the priest took the golden crown from the statue of the Virgin Mary which was in the church, and put it upon the boy's head. Then, wearing this crown and dressed in beautiful robes, the new King was carried through the streets on the shoulders of a great strong Irish chieftain, while the people shouted, "Long live King Edward VI.!"

Having been crowned in Ireland, "Edward VI." thought he would next conquer England. So he sailed across the Irish Sea and landed in England with a small army of wild Irishmen and Germans.

Meanwhile Henry VII. had heard of these doings in Ireland and had not been idle. He brought the real Earl of Warwick out of the Tower where he had been kept prisoner ever since he had been quite a tiny boy. Dressed in fine clothes and riding upon a splendid horse, the real earl was slowly led through the streets of London. From the Tower to St. Paul's and back again by another way, he was led so that all the people might see him.

The young earl had spent all his life in prison. It must have been a wonderful thing for him to come out into the open streets, to see the blue sky and the houses and the trees, the great procession of soldiers and knights in glittering armour and gorgeous clothes, and the people, men, women, and children, crowding in the streets, all eager to see him. And, having been led out, having seen for once all the life and stir of the great city, the poor young prince was taken back again to his dull, quiet prison, while the King marched with his army to fight the pretended earl.

The two armies met at a place called Stoke. Very few English had joined the pretender, for they were quite sure that the earl whom they had seen riding through the streets of London was the real earl and that this one was only a make-believe. The pretender's soldiers were soon defeated, for most of them were wild Irishmen badly armed; and wearing no armour, they were no match for Henry's well-armed and well-trained soldiers.

The pretender was taken prisoner, and so was the priest who was with him. They confessed that the prince was no prince at all, but a boy called Lambert Simnel, the son of a baker. The priest who was a Yorkist, or White Rose man, hated Henry, and finding that the boy Lambert was clever as well as handsome, he taught him how to behave as a prince ought. He told him stories of the Duke of Clarence and of Richard III. so that he might pretend to be what he was not.

Henry did not kill Lambert Simnel as many kings who reigned before him would have done. Instead he gave him a punishment, which, had Lambert indeed been a prince, would have been a very dreadful one. He was sent into the King's kitchen to be a scullery boy and to help the cooks.

This boy, who had worn a crown and royal robes, who had been carried through the streets shoulder high while the people cheered him as their King, was a few days later turned into a kitchen drudge, to be ordered about by the cooks and set to do the meanest kinds of work.

But Lambert Simnel behaved himself so well that the King soon took him out of the kitchen and made him a kind of page. He had then to look after the King's falcons.

All great people kept falcons in those days. They were used for hunting, and were trained to fly up in the air to catch and kill other birds.

A great deal of time and money was spent on falcons. They had hoods of velvet and jewels, and gold and silver chains. Lambert must have found his new work much more pleasant than helping the cooks in the hot kitchens.

The priest who had taught Lambert Simnel was allowed to go free, but some of the nobles who had helped him were beheaded, and others were made to pay large sums of money.


Winter  by Dallas Lore Sharp

The Missing Tooth


T HE snow had melted from the river meadows, leaving them flattened, faded, and stained with mud—a dull, dreary waste in the gray February. I had stopped beside a tiny bundle of bones that lay in the matted grass a dozen feet from a ditch. Here, still showing, was the narrow path along which the bones had dragged themselves; there the hole by which they had left the burrow in the bank of the ditch. They had crawled out in this old runway, then turned off a little into the heavy autumn grass and laid them down. The rains had come and the winter snows. The spring was breaking now and the small bundle, gently loosened and uncovered, was whitening on the wide, bare meadow.

Shall I stop beside this small bundle of whitening bones or shall I turn my head away and pass on? Shall I allow you to stop with me in our winter ramble and let you see the tragedy here in the flattened meadow grass, or shall I hide from your eyes the dark, the bitter, the tragic in the lives of the wild things out of doors?

I think it is best to hide nothing from you. Real love for nature is largely sympathy with nature; and there can be no sympathy without intimate and full understanding of the struggle and suffering in the lives out of doors. There is a dark story in this little bundle of bones. Do you wish to hear it? There is a fierce, cruel threat in the growl of the winter wind. Do you wish to hear that? There is menace and death in the shrill scream of the hawk. Do you wish to hear that? Or do you wish to hear only the song of the robin? only the whisper of the summer breeze? only the story of the life and love and joy of things?

No, there are two sides to life—two sides to your life, the bright and dark sides; two sides to the lives of all men, and to the lives of all things. Summer is the bright side of Nature's life; winter is the dark side. Summer and winter are both needed to round out the life of the year; so tears and laughter seem to be needed in our lives; joy and sorrow, peace and suffering, rest and hardship—these, or something like them, seem to be needed in the lesser lives of birds and beasts to round out their experience and make them keen and strong.

Happily, the pain and suffering in nature are largely hidden from us. Wild things when stricken "turn their faces to the wall," retreat, slink silently away out of sight to be alone. They do not wish us to know. But we do know, and we need to know, if we would enter into their lives as a sharer in them; and if we would enter into and understand the larger, wider, deeper life of which they, and we, and all things, are a part.

You must pause with me above this little bundle of bones until I tell you their story.

I had recognized the bones at once as the skeleton of a muskrat. But it was something peculiar in the way they lay that had caused me to pause. They seemed outstretched, as if composed by gentle hands, the hands of sleep. They had not been flung down. The delicate ribs had fallen in, but not a bone was broken nor displaced, not one showed the splinter of shot, or the crack that might have been made by a steel trap. No violence had been done them. They had been touched by nothing rougher than the snow. Out into the hidden runway they had crept. Death had passed by them here; but no one else in all the winter months.

The creature had died—a "natural" death. It had starved, while a hundred acres of plenty lay round about. Picking up the skull, I found the jaws locked together as if they were a single solid bone. One of the two incisor teeth of the upper jaw was missing, and apparently had never developed. The opposite tooth on the lower jaw, thus unopposed and so unworn, had grown beyond its normal height up into the empty socket above, then on, turning outward and piercing the cheek-bone in front of the eye, whence, curving like a boar's tusk, it had slowly closed the jaws and locked them, rigid, set, as fixed as jaws of stone.

At first the animal had been able to gnaw; but as the tooth curved through the bones of the face and gradually tightened the jaws, the creature got less and less to eat, until, one day, creeping out of the burrow for food, the poor thing was unable to get back.

We seldom come upon the like of this. It is commoner than we think; but, as I have said, it is usually hidden away and quickly over. How often do we see a wild thing sick—a bird or animal suffering from an accident, or dying, like this muskrat, because of some physical defect? The struggle between animals—the falling of the weak as prey to the strong—is ever before us; but this single-handed fight between the creature and Nature is a far rarer, silenter tragedy. Nature is too swift to allow us time for sympathy.

At best there is only a fighting chance in the meadow. Only strength and craft may win; only those who have all of their teeth. The muskrat with a single missing tooth never enters the real race of life at all. He slinks from some abandoned burrow, and, if the owl and mink are not watching, he dies alone in the grass, and we rarely know.

I shall never forget the impression made upon me by those quiet bones. It was like that made by my first visit to a great city hospital—out of the busy, cheerful street into a surgical ward, where the sick and injured lay in long white lines. We tramp the woods and meadows and never step from the sweet air and the pure sunlight of health into a hospital. But that is not because no sick, ill-formed, or injured are there. The proportion is smaller than among us humans, and for very good reasons, yet there is much real suffering, and to come upon it, as we will, now and then, must certainly quicken our understanding and deepen our sympathy with the life out of doors.

No sensible person could for a moment believe the animals capable of suffering as a human being can suffer; nor that there is any such call for our sympathy from them as from our human neighbors. But an unselfish sharing of the life of the fields demands that we take part in all of it.

Nature wears a brave face. Her smile is ever in the open, her laughter quick and contagious. This brave front is no mask. It is real. Sunlight, song, color, form, and fragrance are real. And so is our love and joy in Nature real. Real, also, should be our sympathy and sorrow with Nature.

Here, for instance, are my crows: do I share fully in the life of Nature so long as I think of the crow only with admiration for his cunning or with wrath at his destruction of my melons and corn?

A crow has his solemn moments. He knows fear, pain, hunger, accident, and disease; he knows something very like affection and love. For all that, he is a mere crow. But a mere crow is no mean thing. He is my brother, and a real love will give me part in all his existence. I will forage and fight with him; I will parley and play; and when the keen north winds find him in the frozen pines, I will suffer with him, too.

Here again are my meadow voles. I know that my hay crop is shorter every year for them,—a very little shorter. And I can look with satisfaction at a cat carrying a big bob-tailed vole out of my "mowing," for the voles, along with other mice, are injurious to man.


But one day I came upon two of my voles struggling for life in the water, exhausted and well-nigh dead. I helped them out, as I should have helped out any other creature, and having saved them, why, what could I do but let them go—even into my own meadow? This has happened several times.

When the drought dries the meadow, the voles come to the deep, plank-walled spring at the upper end, to drink. The water usually trickles over the curb, but in a long dry spell it shrinks to a foot or more below the edge, and the voles, once within for their drink, cannot get out. Time and again I had fished them up, until I thought to leave a board slanting down to the water, so that they could climb back to the top.

It is wholesome to be the good Samaritan to a meadow mouse, to pour out, even waste, a little of the oil and wine of sympathy on the humblest of our needy neighbors.

Here are the chimney swallows, too. One can look with complacency, with gratitude, indeed, upon the swallows of other chimneys, as they hawk in the sky; yet, when the little creatures, so useful, but so uncombed and unfumigated, set up their establishments in your chimney,  to the jeopardy of the whole house, then you need an experience like mine.

I had had a like experience years before, when the house did not belong to me. This time, however, the house was mine, and if it became infested with vermin because of the swallows, I could not move away; so I felt like burning them in the chimney, bag and baggage. There were four nests, as nearly as I could make out, and, from the frequent squeakings, I knew they were all filled with young. Then one day, when the young were nearly ready to fly, there came a rain that ran wet far down the sooty chimney, loosened the mortar of the nests, and sent them crashing into the fireplace.

Some of the young birds were killed outright; the others were at my mercy, flung upon me,—helpless, wailing infants! Of course I made it comfortable for them on the back-log, and let their mothers flutter down unhindered to feed them. Had I understood the trick, I would have hawked for them and helped feed them myself!

They made a great thunder in the chimney; they rattled down into the living-room a little soot; but nothing further came of it. We were not quarantined. On the contrary, we had our reward, according to promise; for it was an extremely interesting event to us all. It dispelled some silly qualms, it gave us intimate part in a strange small life, so foreign, yet so closely linked to our own; and it made us pause with wonder that even our empty, sooty chimney could be made use of by Nature to our great benefit.

I wonder if the nests of the chimney swallows came tumbling down when the birds used to build in caves and hollow trees? It is a most extraordinary change, this change from the trees to the chimneys, and it does not seem to have been accompanied by an increase of architectural wisdom necessary to meet all the conditions of the new hollow. The mortar or glue, which, I imagine, held firmly in the empty trees, will not mix with the chimney soot, so that the nest, especially when crowded with young, is easily loosened by the rain, and sometimes even broken away by the slight wing stroke of a descending swallow, or by the added weight of a parent bird as it settles with food.

We little realize how frequent fear is among the birds and animals, and how often it proves fatal. A situation that would have caused no trouble ordinarily, becomes through sudden fright a tangle or a trap. I have known many a quail to bolt into a fast express train and fall dead. Last winter I left the large door of the barn open, so that my flock of juncos could feed inside upon the floor. They found their way into the hayloft and went up and down freely. On two or three occasions I happened in so suddenly that they were thoroughly frightened and flew madly into the cupola to escape through the windows. They beat against the glass until utterly dazed, and would have perished there, had I not climbed up later and brought them down. So thousands of the migrating birds perish yearly by flying wildly against the dazzling lanterns of the lighthouses, and thousands more either lose their course in the thick darkness of the stormy nights, or else are blown out of it, and drift far away to sea.

Hasty, careless, miscalculated movements are not as frequent among the careful wild folk as among us, perhaps; but there is abundant evidence of their occasional occurrence and of their sometimes fatal results.

Several instances are recorded of birds that have been tangled in the threads of their nests; and one instance of a bluebird that was caught in the flying meshes of an oriole's nest into which it had been spying.

I once found the mummied body of a chippy twisting and swinging in the leafless branches of a peach tree. The little creature was suspended in a web of horsehair about two inches below a nest. It looked as if she had brought a snarled bunch of the hair and left it loose in the twigs. Later on, a careless step and her foot was fast, when every frantic effort for freedom only tangled her the worse. In the nest above were four other tiny mummies—a double tragedy that might with care have been averted.

A similar fate befell a song sparrow that I discovered hanging dead upon a barbed-wire fence. By some chance it had slipped a foot through an open place between the two twisted strands, and then, fluttering along, had wedged the leg and broken it in the struggle to escape.

We have all held our breath at the hazardous traveling of the squirrels in the treetops. What other animals take such risks?—leaping at dizzy heights from bending limbs to catch the tips of limbs still smaller, saving themselves again and again by the merest chance.

But luck sometimes fails. My brother, a careful watcher in the woods, on one occasion when he was hunting, saw a gray squirrel miss its footing in a tree and fall, breaking its neck upon a log beneath.

I have frequently known squirrels to fall short distances, and once I saw a red squirrel come to grief like this gray squirrel. He was scurrying through the tops of some lofty pitch pines, a little hurried and flustered at sight of me, and, nearing the end of a high branch, was in the act of springing, when the dead tip cracked under him and he came tumbling headlong.


The height must have been forty feet, so that before he reached the ground he had righted himself,—his tail out and legs spread,—but the fall was too great. He hit the earth heavily, and before I could reach him he lay dead upon the needles, with blood oozing from his eyes and nostrils.

Unhoused and often unsheltered, the wild things suffer as we hardly yet understand. No one can estimate how many of our wild creatures die in a year from severe cold, heavy storms, high winds and tides. I have known the nests of a whole colony of gulls and terns to be swept away in a great storm; while the tides, over and over, have flooded the inlet marshes and drowned out the nests in the grass—those of the clapper rails by thousands.

I remember a late spring storm that came with the returning redstarts and, in my neighborhood, killed many of them. Toward evening of that day one of the little black-and-orange voyageurs fluttered against the window and we let him in, wet, chilled, and so exhausted that for a moment he lay on his back in my open palm. Soon after there was another soft tapping at the window,—and two little redstarts were sharing our cheer and drying their butterfly wings in our warmth. Both of these birds would have perished had we not harbored them for the night.

The birds and animals are not as weather-wise as we; they cannot foretell as far ahead nor provide as certainly against need, despite the popular notion to the contrary.

We point to the migrating birds, to the muskrat houses, to the hoards of the squirrels, and say, "How wise and far-sighted these Nature-taught children are!" True, they are, but only for conditions that are normal. Their wisdom does not cover the unusual. The gray squirrels did not provide for the unusually hard weather of last winter. Three of them from the woodlot came begging of me, and lived on my wisdom, not their own.

Consider the ravens, that neither sow nor reap, that have neither storehouse nor barn, yet they are fed—but not always. Indeed, there are few of our winter birds that go hungry so often as do the cousins of the ravens, the crows, and that die in so great numbers for lack of food and shelter.

After severe and protracted cold, with a snow-covered ground, a crow-roost looks like a battlefield, so thick lie the dead and wounded. Morning after morning the flock goes over to forage in the frozen fields, and night after night returns hungrier, weaker, and less able to resist the cold. Now, as the darkness falls, a bitter wind breaks loose and sweeps down upon the pines.

"List'ning the doors an' winnocks rattle,

I thought me on the ourie cattle,"—

and how often I have thought me of the crows biding the night yonder in the moaning pines! So often, as a boy, and with so real an awe, have I watched them returning at night, that the crows will never cease flying through my wintry sky,—an endless line of wavering black figures, weary, retreating figures, beating over in the early dusk.

And to-night another wild storm sweeps across the winter fields. All the afternoon the crows have been going over, and are still passing as the darkness settles at five o'clock. Now it is nearly eight, and the long night is but just begun. The storm is increasing. The wind shrieks about the house, whirling the fine snow in hissing eddies past the corners and driving it on into long, curling crests across the fields. I can hear the roar as the wind strikes the shoal of pines where the fields roll into the woods—a vast surf sound, but softer and higher, with a wail like the wail of some vast heart in pain.

I can see the tall trees rock and sway with their burden of dark forms. As close together as they can crowd on the bending limbs cling the crows, their breasts turned all to the storm. With crops empty and bodies weak, they rise and fall in the cutting, ice-filled wind for thirteen hours of night.

Is it a wonder that the life fires burn low? that sometimes the small flames flicker and go out?



  WEEK 8  


The Story Book of Science  by Jean Henri Fabre

The Old Pear-Tree

U NCLE PAUL had just cut down a pear-tree in the garden. The tree was old, its trunk ravaged by worms, and for several years it had not borne any fruit. It was to be replaced by another. The children found their Uncle Paul seated on the trunk of the pear-tree. He was looking attentively at something. "One, two, three, four, five," said he, tapping with his finger upon the cross-section of the felled tree. What was he counting?

"Come quick," he called, "come; the pear-tree is waiting to tell you its story. It seems to have some curious things to tell you."

The children burst out laughing.

"And what does the old pear-tree wish to tell us?" asked Jules.

"Look here, at the cut which I was careful to make very clean with the ax. Don't you see some rings in the wood, rings which begin around the marrow and keep getting larger and larger until they reach the bark?"

"I see them," Jules replied; "they are rings fitted one inside another."

"It looks a little like the circles that come just after throwing a stone into the water," remarked Claire.

"I see them too by looking closely," chimed in Emile.

"I must tell you," continued Uncle Paul, "that those circles are called annual layers. Why annual, if you please? Because one is formed every year; one only, understand, neither more nor less. The learned who spend their lives studying plants, and who are called botanists, tell us that no doubt is possible on that point. From the moment the little tree springs from the seed to the time when the old tree dies, every year there is formed a ring, a layer of wood. This understood, let us count the layers of our pear-tree."

Uncle Paul took a pin to guide his counting; Emile, Jules, and Claire looked on attentively. One, two, three, four, five—They counted thus up to forty-five, from the marrow to the bark.

"The trunk has forty-five layers of wood," announced Uncle Paul. "Who can tell me what that signifies? How old is the pear-tree?"

"That is not very hard," answered Jules, "after what you have just told us. As it makes one ring every year, and we have counted forty-five, the pear-tree must be forty-five years old."

"Eh! Eh! what did I tell you?" cried Uncle Paul, in triumph. "Has not the pear-tree talked? It has begun its history by telling us its age. Truly, the tree is forty-five years old."

"What a singular thing!" Jules exclaimed. "You can know the age of a tree as if you saw its birth. You count the layers of wood; so many layers, so many years. One must be with you, Uncle, to learn those things. And the other trees, oak, beech, chestnut, do they do the same?"

"Absolutely the same. In our country every tree counts one year for each layer. Count its layers and you have its age."

"Oh! how sorry I am I did not know that the other day," put in Emile, "when they cut down the big beech which was in the way on the edge of the road. Oh, my! What a fine tree! It covered a whole field with its branches. It must have been very old."

"Not very," said Uncle Paul. "I counted its layers; it had one hundred and seventy."

"One hundred and seventy, Uncle Paul! Honest and truly?"

"Honest and truly, my little friend, one hundred and seventy."

"Then the beech was a hundred and seventy years old," said Jules. "Is it possible? A tree to grow so old! And no doubt it would have lived many years longer if the road-mender had not had it cut down to widen the road."

"For us, a hundred and seventy years would certainly be a great age," assented his uncle; "no one lives so long. For a tree it is very little. Let us sit down in the shade. I have more to tell you about the age of trees."


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

John Smith and Pocahontas

The~Jamestown~Colony and the~Adventures of~John~Smith

IN the year 1606 two companies were formed in England to make settlements in America. One of these was called the London Company, the other the Plymouth Company.

On the first day of January, 1607, the London Company sent out three vessels with one hundred and five colonists, all men. Of these, fifty-two were men of wealthy families who had never had to work. This was very unfortunate for a colony that had to make its way in an unfarmed land.

The colonists had been told to put ashore on Roanoke Island, where Raleigh's ill-fated colonists had been. But a storm drove the ships into Chesapeake Bay, and the newcomers sailed up a beautiful river which they named after King James. It was now the middle of May. The place looked inviting; the shores were covered with beautiful flowers and shrubs, and so the colonists determined to settle there. They built a little town and named it Jamestown.

But it was not an easy task—this founding a colony. The food gave out. The hot Virginia sun and the terrible fever killed many. Within a few months half of the settlers had died, and the remainder would have starved had not some kind Indians brought corn and fruit.

In time, however, the intense heat of summer gave place to the glorious days of autumn, and the settlers became hopeful again.

By great good fortune there was a wonderful man in this colony, and had it not been for him the settlers at Jamestown might all have perished. This was Captain John Smith. Through his ability and good judgment, the colony finally won its footing.

John Smith was born in 1579, in England. His life was one of continuous adventure, much of which he tells in his autobiography. Many think that he has exaggerated his accounts of his daring adventures and narrow escapes from death; but he was nevertheless a wonderful man, and his life as he tells it is very interesting.

When yet a boy Smith was very fond of adventure. He was anxious to travel and see strange lands, so at the age of fifteen he sold his books and ran away with the money. He went over to the continent of Europe and fought in the Dutch and French armies.

He soon tired of this and thought he would like to go on a ship; so he boarded a vessel sailing to Italy. A severe storm arose; and the sailors, thinking him the cause of the tempest, threw him, like Jonah, into the sea. But young Smith was a fine swimmer and after a hard struggle reached an island.

A passing vessel picked him up. This ship was a war vessel. It soon met an enemy, and a battle ensued. Smith fought so bravely that he was given a share in the plunder of the vessel.

Still looking for other adventures, our young hero turned his steps toward the east, where he joined the Austrian army, which was fighting the Turks. For his bravery he was made a captain.

One day the Turks sent a challenge "to any officer in the Christian army" that "to delight the ladies who did long to see any courtlike pastime, the Lord Turbashaw did defy any captain that had the command of a company, who durst combat him for his head." This challenge was accepted by so many young captains that they had to cast lots, and the lot fell to Captain John Smith.

All the officers and soldiers and grand ladies appeared to witness the conflict. With one single swift thrust Smith sent his lance through his opponent. A comrade of the Turk wanted to avenge his friend's death. He challenged Smith, but a like fate awaited him. Still a third Turk thought he could overcome Smith, but he too was killed. For his skill Smith was given a coat of arms on which the bleeding heads of three Turks were represented.

Ill luck soon overtook him, however. He was wounded in a battle and left on the battlefield as dead. Lying there with dead and dying men on all sides, he was finally found and his wounds cared for. After a while, Smith was taken to Constantinople and sold as a slave. A Turkish lady aided him, but he was cruelly treated by her brother.

One day while Smith was threshing grain, this cruel master rode up and insulted him. In his anger he smote the man and killed him. Then he swiftly exchanged his ragged clothes for those of his master and, hiding the body under some straw, fled.

After traveling through other countries our adventurer arrived in England, just as the fever of American colonization was at its height. And he, too, determined to go to America.

Life in Jamestown

IN 1607 Captain John Smith sailed with a colonizing expedition sent out by the London company. It was the same expedition that founded Jamestown, as we have seen, and struggled through that first hot summer.

Many of the colonists, you will remember, had never worked. They thought manual labor a disgrace. But it soon became evident that some must work, or all would starve. The warm climate had tended to make them all languid. Many were really lazy and preferred to search for gold than till the soil.

But John Smith soon showed these idle "gentlemen" how to hew trees and build huts. In his book he says, "The axes so oft blistered their tender fingers, that many times every third blow had a loud oath to drown the echo." Smith did not like to hear the men swear, so he devised a plan to make them refrain from it. He told them that at night, for every oath, he would pour a can of cold water down the swearer's sleeve.

At first it was very hard to get food enough. The corn brought by the friendly Indians did not last long. So to keep the colonists from starving, Smith explored the country, visited different Indian tribes, and bargained with them for such supplies as they could furnish.

These settlers had no idea of the greatness of this country. A map of that time showed Virginia as a mere narrow strip of land between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Believing this to be true, Captain Smith decided to visit the Pacific and went on many exploring trips to the west of Jamestown in the hope of finding it.

On one of these expeditions, Captain Smith and a few of his men fell into the hands of hostile Indians. All of his companions were killed, but Smith was saved by his presence of mind. He diverted the Indians' attention by showing them a compass. The Indians had never seen anything like it before. They thought it marvelous. Then Smith wrote some message on a piece of paper and asked his captors to send it to Jamestown. When the Indians found that this wonderful prisoner "could make paper talk" to his friends, they were a little afraid of him and considered it wiser not to kill him, but to take him to their mighty chief, Powhatan.

When John Smith was led as a captive before Powhatan, the great chief sat before his fire, dressed in raccoon skins. On either side of him sat the squaws, and in front of the squaws stood the grim warriors, straight and stiff. It was a terrible moment for poor Captain Smith. Would they kill him at once, or could he still hope to save his life by amusing the Indians? Again the compass was brought out, and once more it worked a charm. The chief concluded to keep this entertaining person a prisoner.

Now, Powhatan had a little daughter twelve or thirteen years old. Her name was Pocahontas. She was a beautiful girl and her father's pet. She was allowed to spend much time with the old chief's prisoner; and Smith told her strange stories, made whistles for her, gave her strings of beads, and so won her lasting love and affection.

But before very long the novelty of the prisoner's compass and the marvel of his writing wore away. Smith had nothing new with which to amuse the Indians. They grew tired of him, and Powhatan ordered him to be killed. The day of the execution arrived. The whole tribe came. Smith was forced to lay his head on a block of stone. An Indian had just raised the hatchet for the fatal blow when Pocahontas rushed to Smith and, throwing her arms over his head, begged her father to spare his life. The old chief could never refuse his little daughter anything; and so Smith's life was spared, and he was sent back to Jamestown.

From now on Pocahontas was always kind to the colonists; and as long as there was peace between the Indians and the English, she often visited them. Once she even came secretly by night and warned them of danger from an Indian attack.

When Captain Smith reached the colony again, he found it in a sad condition. During his imprisonment, matters had gone from bad to worse. With him away the lazy would not work, and nothing seemed to have been done. Sickness and famine had once more attacked the settlers, and death was everywhere. Fortunately a vessel with provisions and more colonists soon anchored in the bay. But many of the newcomers were "fine gentlemen" or "vagabond gentlemen" like the first settlers. They too refused to do their share. "We have not come here to work," they boldly asserted. "If you will not work, you shall not eat," said Smith; and they soon found that he fully meant what he said. They had to work, and matters began to improve. Still the temptation to neglect the fields and to search for gold was very strong with these early settlers. Once they found something that looked like gold. A shipload was sent to England. Great was the disappointment when they learned it was nothing but yellow earth. It was called "fool's gold."

In the fall of 1609 Smith was dreadfully injured by the explosion of a bag of gunpowder, and he was compelled to go to England for surgical aid.

But as before, no sooner was he gone than the troubles of the colonists began to increase. Now came what was known as the "starving time." At last the colonists had to eat cats, dogs, rats; and, once, even an Indian was cooked and devoured. If more help had not come from England just when it did, the little colony would soon have been at an end.

However, it was not until Sir Thomas Dale came to Virginia as governor that affairs really began to brighten. A stern, severe soldier, Governor Dale had strict rules and saw that they were obeyed. If a colonist did not like the rules and talked against them, the Governor had a hole bored through his tongue; and he had other punishments for other offenses. So it is no wonder that from the time of his coming the harvests were greater and the idlers disappeared.

But in spite of all Governor Dale could do, one great danger still threatened the colonists. This was the hostility of the Indians. They were very treacherous. Even Powhatan had played several wily tricks upon the white settlers and had proved a most dangerous friend.

Such were the conditions between the white men and the Indians, when, by chance, a certain young colonial captain captured Pocahontas. She was visiting a neighboring tribe; and with a copper kettle he bribed the chief of this tribe to help him take the Indian girl prisoner. Then he carried her back to Jamestown where she was kept as a hostage for her father's good behavior.

In the years that had passed since Pocahontas saved the life of John Smith, she had grown still more beautiful. Living among the settlers, she quickly came to be beloved by all, and especially by a young Englishman named John Rolfe. He wanted to make her his wife. But she was still a heathen, and it was thought wrong to marry a heathen. So Pocahontas became a Christian, was baptized in the little church at Jamestown, and received the name of Rebecca. And the next year, 1614, she and John Rolfe were married. Both the settlers and the Indians were delighted over this marriage, for it created a strong, new bond between them. Many years of peace followed.

Later Rolfe took his bride to England where the King and Queen received this American princess with great delight, for they had heard of her bravery in saving Captain Smith's life.

In 1617, John Rolfe decided to return with his wife and their little son to Jamestown. Pocahontas had grown to love her adopted country, and yet she had many sad hours of longing for her forest home. But this home she was never to see again. Just before she and her husband were to sail, she suddenly became ill and died. And the beautiful Indian princess was buried in the land of her adoption, where her sweet winning manners had won her many friends.

Two years before his marriage to Pocahontas, John Rolfe had begun the systematic culture of tobacco in Virginia. Soon this came to be the leading industry of the colony.

In 1619 a Dutch vessel sold twenty negroes to the settlers. They were made to till the soil and do manual labor. From time to time more slaves were brought over, and slavery and the culture of tobacco went hand in hand.

Tobacco was becoming very popular in England and found a ready sale, though King James was much opposed to the smoking of it. He called it "a vile weed." As it continued to be smoked just the same, he placed a heavy tax upon it. Yet, in spite of even this, the demand increased; and a flourishing tobacco trade with Europe resulted in a flourishing colony in America.

What had become of Captain John Smith? After his gunpowder wounds had healed, he had come back to America and explored the Atlantic coast from Maine many miles to the south. It was he who gave to this part of our country the name New England. He carefully made a map of the new section and on his return to England presented it to King Charles, the son of King James.

Then the next year Smith set out again to found a colony in this region. Unfortunately he and his vessel were captured by the French, but after a while Smith escaped and fled back to England. He never returned to America after this, but remained in England and wrote several books on his travels.

John Smith has been called "The Father of Virginia." Certain it is that it was through his bravery, tact, and resolute perseverance that the Jamestown colony weathered its first hard year in America and became one of the most important English settlements in the New World.

The Indians

THE Virginia colonists, the explorers who came to America before them, and the settlers who followed them, all found the country occupied by Indians.

These Indians had copper-colored skins, were tall, and had small black piercing eyes and straight black hair.

The race was divided into tribes, and each tribe was governed by its chief. Each tribe had its headquarters in some definite part of the country, although the men in hunting often wandered for miles into neighboring lands.

The homes of the Indians varied according to the tribe. Some lived in log houses, some built rude houses of bark, while still other tribes had only circular wigwams. There was no chimney in any of these homes. The fires were built in fire pits dug in the ground, and the smoke escaped through a hole in the roof.

The most important of the Indians' household goods was the pot. They had also some wooden dishes and trays, which they made themselves. They seldom had anything to sit upon, but squatted upon the ground. Some of them slept on small couches made of bulrushes. Others rolled themselves in skins and slept on the ground.

The Indian's clothes were generally made from the dried skins of animals. He would wear the same skin until it wore out, and never thought of washing it. Cleanliness was little known among these people. They were very fond of bright colors and liked to deck themselves with strings of shells or beads. In this love of finery, the men exceeded the women.

The Indians lived mainly on game and fish. The game consisted of wild geese, ducks, deer, bears, and foxes. In summer, game was very plentiful and easily found; but a struggle for existence began with the cold weather.

The Indian despised manual labor. He spent his time in fishing, hunting, and fighting, and left all the hard work to his squaw. These squaws must have had their hands full, as they had to look after the house, the planting of the garden, the children, and the cooking.

An Indian mother was anxious to have each son grow up to be a manly, brave warrior. His first lesson was not to read and write, but to use his bow and arrow. The little girls learned such housework as the Indians thought necessary and helped their mothers in the garden.

Among some of the Indian tribes the women held a high place and were often consulted in matters of war and peace. Most of the Indian women were kind and gentle, but the men were usually very cruel.

An Indian warrior's bravery was judged by the number of human scalps that hung from his belt. This prize trophy was cut from the head of each victim, sometimes even before he was dead. Because of this custom of cutting off scalps, the Indian warriors adopted a strange way of wearing their hair. Most likely it was partly to show that they did not fear death and partly as a challenge to their enemies to come and take their scalps if they could. Be that as it may, an Indian warrior had his hair cut short except on the top of his head. Here grew one long lock—the scalp lock.

If an enemy was taken alive, he could be pretty sure that sooner or later he must die by torture. His only hope was that some member of his captor's tribe might ask that his life be spared. If this miracle should happen, the prisoner would be adopted as a member of the victorious tribe.

A favorite method of putting a prisoner to death was by burning him alive. He was tied to a stump, and fagots were piled around him and set on fire. The delight of the Indians at this awful sight was often so great that they would dance and howl like fiends around the poor victim.

The war implements of the Indians were tomahawks, bows and arrows, and war clubs. The tomahawk looked much like a hatchet, but was made of stone. Later when the Indian saw the white man's weapons, he wanted to obtain them. For a long time gunpowder was a mystery to the savages. They thought that it grew from the ground. One of the Indian tribes sowed some in the spring, hoping that by autumn they would have a fine harvest.

In warfare an Indian seldom came out in open battle, but preferred to send a swift arrow upon an unsuspecting foe. If he could kill his enemy, why should he endanger himself? so he reasoned.

The religious beliefs of the Indian were simple. The Great Spirit, all wise, loving, and powerful, ruled over all. But the spirit of some animal ruled and took care of each individual. An Indian never killed the animal whose spirit formed his totem, but he did not hesitate to kill the totem of any other Indian. After death, the spirits of the brave would go to the happy hunting grounds, where hunting and fishing and eating were the chief pastimes.

The Indians did not have a priesthood. The medicine-man had some of the qualities of a priest. He pretended to be able to drive away evil spirits by the aid of magic.

The Indian's education was a very severe one. He knew nothing about reading and writing, although he did make pictures which served as a kind of writing. But he was skilled in woodcraft, in the art of war, and, above all, in self-control.

It would not be at all fair to say that the American Indian was always cruel and revengeful. He had a good side to his nature which was just as strong as the bad side. No friend could prove truer than an Indian. He never forgot a kindness that had been done to him, and never failed to return it in some way. He would often divide his last ear of corn with a starving person. It was only after the settlers had shown hostility to the Indians that they found them the bitterest and most persistent of foes.


Emily Dickinson


The sky is low, the clouds are mean,

A travelling flake of snow

Across a barn or through a rut

Debates if it will go.

A narrow wind complains all day

How some one treated him;

Nature, like us, is sometimes caught

Without her diadem.


  WEEK 8  


Otto of the Silver Hand  by Howard Pyle

In the House of the Dragon Scorner


A TALL, narrow, gloomy room; no furniture but a rude bench; a bare stone floor, cold stone walls and a gloomy ceiling of arched stone over head; a long, narrow slit of a window high above in the wall, through the iron bars of which Otto could see a small patch of blue sky and now and then a darting swallow, for an instant seen, the next instant gone. Such was the little baron's prison in Trutz-Drachen. Fastened to a bolt and hanging against the walls, hung a pair of heavy chains with gaping fetters at the ends. They were thick with rust, and the red stain of the rust streaked the wall below where they hung like a smear of blood. Little Otto shuddered as he looked at them; can those be meant for me, he thought.

Nothing was to be seen but that one patch of blue sky far up in the wall. No sound from without was to be heard in that gloomy cell of stone, for the window pierced the outer wall, and the earth and its noises lay far below.

Suddenly a door crashed without, and the footsteps of men were heard coming along the corridor. They stopped in front of Otto's cell; he heard the jingle of keys, and then a loud rattle of one thrust into the lock of the heavy oaken door. The rusty bolt was shot back with a screech, the door opened, and there stood Baron Henry, no longer in his armor, but clad in a long black robe that reached nearly to his feet, a broad leather belt was girdled about his waist, and from it dangled a short, heavy hunting sword.

Another man was with the Baron, a heavy-faced fellow clad in a leathern jerkin over which was drawn a short coat of linked mail.

The two stood for a moment looking into the room, and Otto, his pale face glimmering in the gloom, sat upon the edge of the heavy wooden bench or bed, looking back at them out of his great blue eyes. Then the two entered and closed the door behind them.

"Dost thou know why thou art here?" said the Baron, in his deep, harsh voice.

"Nay," said Otto, "I know not."


"Then dost thou not know why I am here?" said the Baron.

"So?" said the Baron. "Then I will tell thee. Three years ago the good Baron Frederick, my uncle, kneeled in the dust and besought mercy at thy father's hands; the mercy he received was the coward blow that slew him. Thou knowest the story?"

"Aye," said Otto, tremblingly, "I know it."

"Then dost thou not know why I am here?" said the Baron.

"Nay, dear Lord Baron, I know not," said poor little Otto, and began to weep.

The Baron stood for a moment or two looking gloomily upon him, as the little boy sat there with the tears running down his white face.

"I will tell thee," said he, at last; "I swore an oath that the red cock should crow on Drachenhausen, and I have given it to the flames. I swore an oath that no Vuelph that ever left my hands should be able to strike such a blow as thy father gave to Baron Frederick, and now I will fulfil that too. Catch the boy, Casper, and hold him."

As the man in the mail shirt stepped toward little Otto, the boy leaped up from where he sat and caught the Baron about the knees. "Oh! dear Lord Baron," he cried, "do not harm me; I am only a little child, I have never done harm to thee; do not harm me."

"Take him away," said the Baron, harshly.

The fellow stooped, and loosening Otto's hold, in spite of his struggles and cries, carried him to the bench, against which he held him, whilst the Baron stood above him.

Baron Henry and the other came forth from the cell, carefully closing the wooden door behind them. At the end of the corridor the Baron turned, "Let the leech be sent to the boy," said he. And then he turned and walked away.

Otto lay upon the hard couch in his cell, covered with a shaggy bear skin. His face was paler and thinner than ever, and dark rings encircled his blue eyes. He was looking toward the door, for there was a noise of someone fumbling with the lock without.

Since that dreadful day when Baron Henry had come to his cell, only two souls had visited Otto. One was the fellow who had come with the Baron that time; his name, Otto found, was Casper. He brought the boy his rude meals of bread and meat and water. The other visitor was the leech or doctor, a thin, weasand little man, with a kindly, wrinkled face and a gossiping tongue, who, besides binding wounds, bleeding, and leeching, and administering his simple remedies to those who were taken sick in the castle, acted as the Baron's barber.

The Baron had left the key in the lock of the door, so that these two might enter when they chose, but Otto knew that it was neither the one nor the other whom he now heard at the door, working uncertainly with the key, striving to turn it in the rusty, cumbersome lock. At last the bolts grated back, there was a pause, and then the door opened a little way, and Otto thought that he could see someone peeping in from without. By and by the door opened further, there was another pause, and then a slender, elfish-looking little girl, with straight black hair and shining black eyes, crept noiselessly into the room.

She stood close by the door with her finger in her mouth, staring at the boy where he lay upon his couch, and Otto upon his part lay, full of wonder, gazing back upon the little elfin creature.

She, seeing that he made no sign or motion, stepped a little nearer, and then, after a moment's pause, a little nearer still, until, at last, she stood within a few feet of where he lay.

"Art thou the Baron Otto?" said she.

"Yes," answered Otto.

"Prut!" said she, "and is that so! Why, I thought that thou wert a great tall fellow at least, and here thou art a little boy no older than Carl Max, the gooseherd." Then, after a little pause—"My name is Pauline, and my father is the Baron. I heard him tell my mother all about thee, and so I wanted to come here and see thee myself. Art thou sick?"

"Yes," said Otto, "I am sick."

"And did my father hurt thee?"

"Aye," said Otto, and his eyes filled with tears, until one sparkling drop trickled slowly down his white face.

Little Pauline stood looking seriously at him for a while. "I am sorry for thee, Otto," said she, at last. And then, at her childish pity, he began crying in earnest.

This was only the first visit of many from the little maid, for after that she often came to Otto's prison, who began to look for her coming from day to day as the one bright spot in the darkness and the gloom.

Sitting upon the edge of his bed and gazing into his face with wide open eyes, she would listen to him by the hour, as he told her of his life in that far away monastery home; of poor, simple brother John's wonderful visions, of the good Abbot's books with their beautiful pictures, and of all the monkish tales and stories of knights and dragons and heroes and emperors of ancient Rome, which brother Emmanuel had taught him to read in the crabbed monkish Latin in which they were written.

One day the little maid sat for a long while silent after he had ended speaking. At last she drew a deep breath. "And are all these things that thou tellest me about the priests in their castle really true?" said she.

"Yes," said Otto, "all are true."

"And do they never go out to fight other priests?"

"No," said Otto, "they know nothing of fighting."

"So!" said she. And then fell silent in the thought of the wonder of it all, and that there should be men in the world that knew nothing of violence and bloodshed; for in all the eight years of her life she had scarcely been outside of the walls of Castle Trutz-Drachen.

At another time it was of Otto's mother that they were speaking.

"And didst thou never see her, Otto?" said the little girl.

"Aye," said Otto, "I see her sometimes in my dreams, and her face always shines so bright that I know she is an angel; for brother John has often seen the dear angels, and he tells me that their faces always shine in that way. I saw her the night thy father hurt me so, for I could not sleep and my head felt as though it would break asunder. Then she came and leaned over me and kissed my forehead, and after that I fell asleep."

"But where did she come from, Otto?" said the little girl.

"From paradise, I think," said Otto, with that patient seriousness that he had caught from the monks, and that sat so quaintly upon him.

"So!" said little Pauline; and then, after a pause, "That is why thy mother kissed thee when thy head ached—because she is an angel. When I was sick my mother bade Gretchen carry me to a far part of the house, because I cried and so troubled her. Did thy mother ever strike thee, Otto?"

"Nay," said Otto.

"Mine hath often struck me," said Pauline.

One day little Pauline came bustling into Otto's cell, her head full of the news which she carried. "My father says that thy father is out in the woods somewhere yonder, back of the castle, for Fritz, the swineherd, told my father that last night he had seen a fire in the woods, and that he had crept up to it without anyone knowing. There he had seen the Baron Conrad and six of his men, and that they were eating one of the swine that they had killed and roasted. "Maybe," said she, seating herself upon the edge of Otto's couch; "maybe my father will kill thy father, and they will bring him here and let him lie upon a black bed with bright candles burning around him, as they did my uncle Frederick when he was killed."

"God forbid!" said Otto, and then lay for a while with his hands clasped. "Dost thou love me, Pauline?" said he, after a while.

"Yes," said Pauline, "for thou art a good child, though my father says that thy wits are cracked."

"Mayhap they are," said Otto, simply, "for I have often been told so before. But thou wouldst not see me die, Pauline; wouldst thou?"

"Nay," said Pauline, "I would not see thee die, for then thou couldst tell me no more stories; for they told me that uncle Frederick could not speak because he was dead."

"Then listen, Pauline," said Otto; "if I go not away from here I shall surely die. Every day I grow more sick and the leech cannot cure me." Here he broke down and, turning his face upon the couch, began crying, while little Pauline sat looking seriously at him.

"Why dost thou cry, Otto?" said she, after a while.

"Because," said he, "I am so sick, and I want my father to come and take me away from here."

"But why dost thou want to go away?" said Pauline. "If thy father takes thee away, thou canst not tell me any more stories."

"Yes, I can," said Otto, "for when I grow to be a man I will come again and marry thee, and when thou art my wife I can tell thee all the stories that I know. Dear Pauline, canst thou not tell my father where I am, that he may come here and take me away before I die?"

"Mayhap I could do so," said Pauline, after a little while, "for sometimes I go with Casper Max to see his mother, who nursed me when I was a baby. She is the wife of Fritz, the swineherd, and she will make him tell thy father; for she will do whatever I ask of her, and Fritz will do whatever she bids him do."

"And for my sake, wilt thou tell him, Pauline?" said Otto.

"But see, Otto," said the little girl, "if I tell him, wilt thou promise to come indeed and marry me when thou art grown a man?"

"Yes," said Otto, very seriously, "I will promise."

"Then I will tell thy father where thou art," said she.

"But thou wilt do it without the Baron Henry knowing, wilt thou not, Pauline?"

"Yes," said she, "for if my father and my mother knew that I did such a thing, they would strike me, mayhap send me to my bed alone in the dark."


Jataka Tales  by Ellen C. Babbitt

The Foolish, Timid Rabbit

O NCE upon a time, a Rabbit was asleep under a palm-tree. All at once he woke up, and thought:


He jumped up and ran.

"What if the world should break up! What then would become of me?"

At that moment, some Monkeys dropped a cocoanut. It fell down on the ground just back of the Rabbit.

Hearing the noise, the Rabbit said to himself: "The earth is all breaking up!"

And he jumped up and ran just as fast as he could, without even looking back to see what made the noise.

Another Rabbit saw him running, and called after him, "What are you running so fast for?"

"Don't ask me!" he cried.

But the other Rabbit ran after him, begging to know what was the matter.


The lion

Then the first Rabbit said: "Don't you know? The earth is all breaking up!"

And on he ran, and the second Rabbit ran with him.

The next Rabbit they met ran with them when he heard that the earth was all breaking up.

One Rabbit after another joined them, until there were hundreds of Rabbits running as fast as they could go.

They passed a Deer, calling out to him that the earth was all breaking up. The Deer then ran with them.

The Deer called to a Fox to come along because the earth was all breaking up.

On and on they ran, and an Elephant joined them.

At last the Lion saw the animals running, and heard their cry that the earth was all breaking up.


Saw the animals running.

He thought there must be some mistake, so he ran to the foot of a hill in front of them and roared three times.

This stopped them, for they knew the voice of the King of Beasts, and they feared him.

"Why are you running so fast?" asked the Lion.

"Oh, King Lion," they answered him, "the earth is all breaking up!"

"Who saw it breaking up?" asked the Lion.

"I didn't," said the Elephant. "Ask the Fox—he told me about it."

"I didn't," said the Fox.

"The Rabbits told me about it," said the Deer.

One after another of the Rabbits said: "I did not see it, but another Rabbit told me about it."

At last the Lion came to the Rabbit who had first said the earth was all breaking up.

"Is it true that the earth is all breaking up?" the Lion asked.

"Yes, O Lion, it is," said the Rabbit. "I was asleep under a palm-tree. I woke up and thought, 'What would become of me if the earth should all break up?' At that very moment, I heard the sound of the earth breaking up, and I ran away."

"Then," said the Lion, "you and I will go back to the place where the earth began to break up, and see what is the matter."

So the Lion put the little Rabbit on his back, and away they went like the wind. The other animals waited for them at the foot of the hill.

The Rabbit told the Lion when they were near the place where he slept, and the Lion saw just where the Rabbit had been sleeping.

He saw, too, the cocoanut that had fallen to the ground near by. Then the Lion said to the Rabbit, "It must have been the sound of the cocoanut falling to the ground that you heard. You foolish Rabbit!"

And the Lion ran back to the other animals, and told them all about it.

If it had not been for the wise King of Beasts, they might be running still.


Away they went like the wind.



The Gay Gos-hawk

"O well is me, my gay gos-hawk,

That you can speak and flee;

For you can carry a love-letter

To my true love frae me."

"O how can I carry a letter to her,

Or how should I her know?

I bear a tongue ne'er wi' her spak',

And eyes that ne'er her saw."

"The white o' my love's skin is white

As down o' dove or maw;

The red o' my love's cheek is red

As blood that's spilt on snaw.

"When ye come to the castle,

Light on the tree of ash,

And sit ye there, and sing our loves

As she comes frae the mass.

"Four and twenty fair ladies

Will to the mass repair;

And weel may ye my lady ken,

The fairest lady there."

When the gos-hawk flew to that castle,

He lighted on the ash;

And there he sat and sang their loves

As she came frae the mass.

"Stay where ye be, my maidens a',

And sip red wine anon,

Till I go to my west window

And hear a birdie's moan."

She's gane unto her west window,

The bolt she fairly drew;

And unto that lady's white, white neck

The bird a letter threw.

"Ye're bidden to send your love a send,

For he has sent you twa;

And tell him where he may see you soon,

Or he cannot live ava."

"I send him the ring from my finger,

The garland off my hair,

I send him the heart that's in my breast;

What would my love have mair?

And at the fourth kirk in fair Scotland,

Ye'll bid him wait for me there."

She hied her to her father dear

As fast as gang could she:

"I'm sick at the heart, my father dear;

An asking grant you me!"

"Ask ye na for that Scottish lord,

For him ye'll never see!"

"An asking, an asking, dear father!" she says,

"An asking grant you me;

That if I die in fair England,

In Scotland ye'll bury me.

"At the first kirk o' fair Scotland,

Ye cause the bells be rung;

At the second kirk o' fair Scotland,

Ye cause the mass be sung;

"At the third kirk o' fair Scotland,

Ye deal gold for my sake;

At the fourth kirk o' fair Scotland,

O there ye'll bury me at!

"This is all my asking, father,

I pray ye grant it me!"

"Your asking is but small," he said;

"Weel granted it shall be.

But why do ye talk o' suchlike things?

For ye arena going to dee."

The lady's gane to her chamber,

And a moanfu' woman was she,

As gin she had ta'en a sudden brash,

And were about to dee.

The lady's gane to her chamber

As fast as she could fare;

And she has drunk a sleepy draught,

She mixed wi' mickle care.

She's fallen into a heavy trance,

And pale and cold was she;

She seemed to be as surely dead

As any corpse could be.

Out and spak' an auld witch-wife,

At the fireside sat she:

"Gin she has killed herself for love,

I wot it weel may be:

"But drap the het lead on her cheek,

And drap it on her chin.

And drap it on her bosom white,

And she'll maybe speak again.

'Tis much that a young lady will do

To her true love to win."

They drapped the het lead on her cheek,

They drapped it on her chin,

They drapped it on her bosom white,

But she spake none again.

Her brothers they went to a room,

To make to her a bier;

The boards were a' o' cedar wood,

The edges o' silver clear.

Her sisters they went to a room,

To make to her a sark;

The cloth was a' o' the satin fine,

And the stitching silken-wark.

"Now well is me, my gay gos-hawk,

That ye can speak and flee!

Come show me any love-tokens

That ye have brought to me."

"She sends ye her ring frae her finger white,

The garland frae her hair;

She sends ye the heart within her breast;

And what would ye have mair?

And at the fourth kirk o' fair Scotland,

She bids ye wait for her there."

"Come hither, all my merry young men!

And drink the good red wine;

For we must on towards fair England

To free my love frae pine."

The funeral came into fair Scotland,

And they gart the bells be rung;

And when it came to the second kirk,

They gart the mass be sung.

And when it came to the third kirk,

They dealt gold for her sake;

And when it came to the fourth kirk,

Her love was waiting thereat.

At the fourth kirk in fair Scotland

Stood spearmen in a row;

And up and started her ain true love,

The chieftain over them a'.

"Set down, set down the bier," he says,

"Till I look upon the dead;

The last time that I saw her face,

Its color was warm and red."

He stripped the sheet from off her face

A little below the chin;

The lady then she opened her eyes,

And looked full on him.

"O give me a shive o' your bread, love,

O give me a cup o' your wine!

Long have I fasted for your sake,

And now I fain would dine.

"Gae hame, gae hame, my seven brothers,

Gae hame and blow the horn!

And ye may say that ye sought my skaith,

And that I hae gi'en ye the scorn.

"I cam' na here to bonny Scotland

To lie down in the clay;

But I cam' here to bonny Scotland,

To wear the silks sae gay!

"I cam' na here to bonny Scotland,

Amang the dead to rest;

But I cam' here to bonny Scotland

To the man that I lo'e best!"


  WEEK 8  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

How Peter the Great Learned Shipbuilding

"Nothing can be small to a great man."


O NE day in the year 1697, when William III. was yet ruling over England and Holland, the Dutch shipbuilders at the little village of Zaandam were surprised to hear that Peter the Great, Emperor or Tsar of Russia, was at the village inn.

"Yes," said the people, he had come to learn from the Dutch how to build ships, and he was disguised as a common sailor like themselves.

It was quite true. Peter the Great had come from the heart of his great country, Russia; he had crossed the Baltic into Sweden, and thence had reached Holland. It was but six o'clock in the morning when he arrived at Zaandam, and he had been the first to jump ashore and moor his ship to the quay. Meeting a Dutch workman, who had been employed once in Russia, he insisted on going to his cottage for a lodging. It was a small bare cottage built of wood. It had but one room, with a big chimney-corner and a wooden cupboard in which a mattress was laid for sleeping.

"We are only foreign craftsmen seeking work," he told the curious people. Then he bought himself a set of carpenter's tools, carried them to the cottage with his own hands, and set to work at once. He dressed in a Dutch suit, like the local boatmen, in a red waistcoat with large buttons, short jacket, and wide breeches. He spent hours daily watching the shipbuilders at work; he visited saw-mills, oil- and paper-mills, rope-works, sail-makers' and iron-smiths' workshops. He made a model windmill too. He also bought a small ship, made a mast with his own hands, fitted it up, and sailed about the bay.

But meanwhile the news had leaked out that the tall, handsome man, with long curling hair, in the dress of a Dutch sailor, was indeed the Tsar of Russia, and crowds of people began to follow him everywhere. So a week later he escaped to Amsterdam in a violent storm of wind, and there he was given a lodging in the great dockyards of the East India Company. Here he worked steadily for four months, so that he might help in the building of one ship from end to end. He rose early, lit his own fire, cooked his own food, and lived altogether like a simple workman.

It was a very different life to that he had lived in Russia. From his earliest years he had been surrounded with every luxury. As a baby he had slept in a cradle covered with velvet and embroidered with gold, his sheets had been of silk, his frocks of satin trimmed with pearls and emeralds. At three years old he had driven in a little golden carriage drawn by four tiny ponies, while dwarfs rode beside him as bodyguard. As a boy he loved sailors and soldiers, and was enthusiastic about ships and the sea. Such was the boyhood of the man who was to found Russia's army and navy.


Peter the Great at Amsterdam.

Peter the Great was working away in the dockyard at Amsterdam, when one day the Duke of Marlborough visited the docks to see him at work. "Peter, carpenter of Zaandam, help those men to carry that wood," cried the foreman, in order to point him out to the Englishman. And the Tsar Peter obeyed at once.

When the ship was finished, it was offered to Peter the Great as a present from the city of Amsterdam. He accepted it with joy, christened it the Amsterdam, and carried it back to Russia. He had built his ship, but still he was dissatisfied. He thought the Dutch worked too much by "rule of thumb," that they had no knowledge of shipbuilding really. So he grew sad and out of spirits; he had travelled so far and had not "reached the desired goal."

"You should come over to England," said an Englishman who was present. "In our country shipbuilding is carried to the highest perfection."

Peter the Great was delighted with the idea. He had met William of Orange, and the King of England had sent him a beautiful ship, constructed on a new plan. Peter now asked him if he might come to England in order to visit the dockyards. William replied by sending over two large ships to conduct the Tsar to England. Arrived in London, Peter the Great went over the large docks at the mouth of the river Thames. He soon mastered the higher branches of shipbuilding to his satisfaction.

"I should have remained a carpenter only had I not come to England," he used to say afterwards.

But it would take too long to tell how Peter the Great returned to Russia and taught his people how to build ships, how he built the great city which bears his name, Petersburg, to this day. He built it on the shores of the Baltic, at the mouth of a large river, in imitation of Amsterdam, and made it the capital of Russia.

But the story of how he learnt to build ships in Holland and England shows how, in the eyes of the world, those two nations were in advance of all others in the art of shipbuilding.


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

Heimdall and Little Hnossa: How All Things Came To Be


dropcap image NOSSA, the child of Freya and the lost Odur, was the youngest of all the Dwellers in Asgard. And because it had been prophesied that the child would bring her father and her mother together, little Hnossa was often taken without the City of the Gods to stand by Bifröst, the Rainbow Bridge, so that she might greet Odur if his steps turned toward Asgard.

In all the palaces of the City of the Gods little Hnossa was made welcome: in Fensalir, the Halls of Mists, where Frigga, the wife of Odin All-Father, sat spinning with golden threads; in Breidablik, where Baldur, the Well-Beloved, lived with his fair wife, the young Nanna; in Bilskirnir, the Winding House, where Thor and Sif lived; and in Odin's own palace Valaskjalf, that was all roofed over with silver shields.

The greatest of all the palaces was Gladsheim, that was built by the golden-leaved wood, Glasir. Here the banquets of the Gods were held. Often little Hnossa looked within and saw Odin All-Father seated at the banquet table, with a mantle of blue over him and a shining helmet shaped like an eagle upon his head. Odin would sit there, not eating at all, but drinking the wine of the Gods, and taking the food off the table and giving it to Geri and Freki, the two wolves that crouched beside his seat.

She loved to go outside the great gate and stay beside Heimdall, the Warder of the Rainbow Bridge. There, when there was no one crossing that she might watch, she would sit beside Heimdall and listen to the wonders that he spoke of.

Heimdall held in his hands the horn that was called the Gialarhorn. He would sound it to let the Dwellers in Asgard know that one was crossing the Rainbow Bridge. And Heimdall told little Hnossa how he had trained himself to hear the grasses grow, and how he could see all around him for a hundred miles. He could see in the night as well as the day. He never slept. He had nine mothers, he told Hnossa, and he fed on the strength of the earth and the cold sea.

As she sat beside him day after day, Heimdall would tell little Hnossa how all things began. He had lived from the beginning of time and he knew all things. "Before Asgard was built," he said, "and before Odin lived, earth and sea and sky were all mixed together: what was then the Chasm of Chasms. In the North there was Niflheim, the Place of Deadly Cold. In the South there was Muspelheim, the Land of Fire. In Niflheim there was a cauldron called Hveigilmer that poured out twelve rivers that flowed into the Chasm of Chasms.

"Ginnungagap, the Chasm of Chasms, filled up with ice, for the waters of the rivers froze as they poured into it. From Muspelheim came clouds of fire that turned the ice into thick mists. The mists fell down again in drops of dew, and from these drops were formed Ymir, the Ancient Giant.

"Ymir, the Ancient Giant, traveled along by the twelve rivers until he came to where another living form was standing in the mists. This was a Giant Cow. Audhumla was the name of that cow. Ymir lay down beside her and drank her milk, and on the milk she gave him he lived. Other beings were formed out of the dew that fell to the ground. They were the Daughters of the Frost, and Ymir, the Ancient Giant, married one, and their children were the Giants.

"One day Ymir saw Audhumla breathe upon a cliff of ice and lick with her tongue the place she breathed on. As her tongue went over and over the place he saw that a figure was being formed. It was not like a Giant's form; it was more shapely and more beautiful. A head appeared in the cliff and golden hair fell over the ice. As Ymir looked upon the being that was being formed he hated him for his beauty.

"Audhumla, the Giant Cow, went on licking the place where she had breathed. At last a man completely formed stepped from the cliff. Ymir, the Ancient Giant, hated him so much that he would have slain him then and there. But he knew that if he did this, Audhumla would feed him no more with her milk.

"Bur was the name of the man who was formed in the ice cliff, Bur, the first of the heroes. He, too, lived on the milk of Audhumla. He married a daughter of the Ancient Giant and he had a son. But Ymir and Ymir's sons hated Bur, and the time came at last when they were able to kill him.

"And now there was war between Ymir and Ymir's sons and the son and son's sons of Bur. Odin was the son of Bur's son. Odin brought all his brothers together, and they were able to destroy Ymir and all his brood—all except one. So huge was Ymir that when he was slain his blood poured out in such a mighty flood that his sons were all drowned in it, all except Bergelmir, who was in a boat with his wife when the flood came, and who floated away on the flood to the place that we now call Jötunheim, the Realm of the Giants.

"Now Odin and his sons took the body of Ymir—the vastest body that ever was—and they flung it into the Chasm of Chasms, filling up all the hollow places with it. They dug the bones out of the body and they piled them up as the mountains. They took the teeth out and they made them into the rocks. They took the hair of Ymir and they made it into the forests of trees. They took his eyebrows and formed them into the place where Men now dwell, Midgard. And out of Ymir's hollow skull they made the sky.

"And Odin and his sons and brothers did more than this. They took the sparks and the clouds of flame that blew from Muspelheim, and they made them into the sun and the moon and all the stars that are in the sky. Odin found a Dusky Giantess named Night whose son was called Day, and he gave both of them horses to drive around the sky. Night drove a horse that is named Hrimfaxe, Frosty Mane, and Day drove around a horse that is named Skinfaxe, Shining Mane. From Hrimfaxe's bit fall the drops that make the dew upon the earth.

"Then Odin and his sons made a race of men and women and gave them Midgard to live in. Ugly Dwarfs had grown up and spread themselves over the earth. These Odin made to go live in the hollow places beneath the earth. The Elves he let stay on the earth, but he gave them the tasks of tending the streams and the grasses and the flowers. And with the Vanir he made peace after a war had been waged, taking Niörd from them for a hostage.

"Bergelmir, the giant who escaped drowning in Ymir's blood, had sons and daughters in Jötunheim. They hated Odin and his sons and strove against him. When Odin lighted up the world with the sun and the moon they were very wroth, and they found two of the fiercest of the mighty wolves of Jötunheim and set them to follow them. And still the sun and the moon, Sol and Mani, are followed by the wolves of Jötunheim."

Such wonders did Heimdall with the Golden Teeth tell Hnossa, the youngest of the Dwellers in Asgard. Often the child stayed with him by the Rainbow Bridge, and saw the Gods pass to and from Midgard: Thor, with his crown of stars, with the great hammer Miölnir in his hands, with the gloves of iron that he used when he grasped Miölnir; Thor in his chariot drawn by two goats and wearing the belt that doubled his strength; Frigga, with her dress of falcon feathers, flying swiftly as a bird; Odin All-Father himself, riding upon Sleipner, his eight-legged steed, clad all in golden armor, with his golden helmet, shaped like an eagle, upon his head, and with his spear Gungnir in his hand.

Heimdall kept his horn in the branch of a great tree. This tree was called Ygdrassil, he told little Hnossa, and it was a wonder to Gods and Men. "No one knows of a time when Ygdrassil was not growing, and all are afraid to speak of the time when it will be destroyed.

"Ygdrassil has three roots. One goes deep under Midgard, another goes deep under Jötunheim, and the third grows above Asgard. Over Odin's hall a branch of Ygdrassil grows, and it is called the Peace Bough.

"You see Ygdrassil, little Hnossa, but you do not know all the wonders of it. Far up in its branches four stags graze; they shake from their horns the water that falls as rain upon the earth. On the topmost branch of Ygdrassil, the branch that is so high that the Gods themselves can hardly see it, there is an eagle that knows all things. Upon the beak of this eagle a hawk is perched, a hawk that sees what the eyes of the eagle may not see.

"The root of Ygdrassil that is in Midgard goes deep down to the place of the dead. Here there is an evil dragon named Nidhögg that gnaws constantly at the root, striving to destroy Ygdrassil, the Tree of trees. And Ratatösk, the Squirrel of Mischief—behold him now!—runs up and down Ygdrassil, making trouble between the eagle above and the dragon below. He goes to tell the dragon how the eagle is bent upon tearing him to pieces and he goes back to tell the eagle how the dragon plans to devour him. The stories that he brings to Nidhögg make the evil dragon more fierce to destroy Ygdrassil, the Tree of trees, so that he may come upon the eagle and devour him.

"There are two wells by the roots of Ygdrassil, and one is above and one is below. One is beside the root that grows in Jötunheim. This is a Well of Knowledge, and it is guarded by old Mimir the Wise. Whoever drinks out of this well knows of all the things that will come to be. The other well is by the root that grows above Asgard. No one may drink out of this well. The three sisters that are the holy Norns guard it, and they take the white water from it to water Ygdrassil, that the Tree of Life may keep green and strong. This well, little Hnossa, is called Urda's Well.

And little Hnossa heard that by Urda's Well there were two beautiful white swans. They made a music that the Dwellers in Asgard often heard. But Hnossa was too young to hear the music that was made by the swans of Urda's Well.


  WEEK 8  


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

A Distant Tower

A ND what of the little lame prince, whom everybody seemed so easily to have forgotten?

Not everybody. There were a few kind souls, mothers of families, who had heard his sad story, and some servants about the palace, who had been familiar with his sweet ways—these many a time sighed and said, "Poor Prince Dolor!" Or, looking at the Beautiful Mountains, which were visible all over Nomansland, though few people ever visited them, "Well, perhaps his Royal Highness is better where he is than even there."

They did not know—indeed, hardly anybody did know—that beyond the mountains, between them and the sea, lay a tract of country, barren, level, bare, except for short, stunted grass, and here and there a patch of tiny flowers. Not a bush—not a tree—not a resting place for bird or beast was in that dreary plain. In summer the sunshine fell upon it hour after hour with a blinding glare; in winter the winds and rains swept over it unhindered, and the snow came down steadily, noiselessly, covering it from end to end in one great white sheet, which lay for days and weeks unmarked by a single footprint.

Not a pleasant place to live in—and nobody did live there, apparently. The only sign that human creatures had ever been near the spot, was one large round tower which rose up in the centre of the plain, and might be seen all over it—if there had been anybody to see, which there never was.


One large round tower which rose up in the centre of the plain.

Rose, right up out of the ground, as if it had grown of itself, like a mushroom. But it was not at all mushroom-like; on the contrary, it was very solidly built. In form, it resembled the Irish round towers, which have puzzled people for so long, nobody being able to find out when, or by whom, or for what purpose they were made; seemingly for no use at all, like this tower. It was circular, of very firm brickwork, with neither doors nor windows, until near the top, when you could perceive some slits in the wall, through which one might possibly creep in or look out. Its height was nearly a hundred feet, and it had a battlemented parapet, showing sharp against the sky.

As the plain was quite desolate—almost like a desert, only without sand, and led to nowhere except the still more desolate sea-coast—nobody ever crossed it. Whatever mystery there was about the tower, it and the sky and the plain kept their secret to themselves.

It was a very great secret indeed—a state secret—which none but so clever a man as the present King of Nomansland would ever have thought of. How he carried it out, undiscovered, I cannot tell. People said, long afterwards, that it was by means of a gang of condemned criminals, who were set to work, and executed immediately after they had done, so that nobody knew anything, or in the least suspected the real fact.

And what was the fact? Why, that this tower, which seemed a mere mass of masonry, utterly forsaken and uninhabited, was not so at all. Within twenty feet of the top, some ingenious architect had planned a perfect little house, divided into four rooms—as by drawing a cross within a circle you will see might easily be done. By making skylights, and a few slits in the walls for windows, and raising a peaked roof which was hidden by the parapet, here was a dwelling complete; eighty feet from the ground, and as inaccessible as a rook's nest on the top of a tree.

A charming place to live in! if you once got up there—and never wanted to come down again.

Inside—though nobody could have looked inside except a bird, and hardly even a bird flew past that lonely tower—inside it was furnished with all the comfort and elegance imaginable; with lots of books and toys, and everything that the heart of a child could desire. For its only inhabitant, except a nurse of course, was a poor solitary child.

One winter night, when all the plain was white with moonlight, there was seen crossing it a great tall black horse, ridden by a man also big and equally black, carrying before him on the saddle a woman and a child. The woman—she had a sad, fierce look, and no wonder, for she was a criminal under sentence of death, but her sentence had been changed to almost as severe a punishment. She was to inhabit the lonely tower with the child, and was allowed to live as long as the child lived—no longer. This in order that she might take the utmost care of him; for those who put him there were equally afraid of his dying and of his living. And yet he was only a little gentle boy, with a sweet sleepy smile—he had been very tired with his long journey—and clinging arms, which held tight to the man's neck, for he was rather frightened, and the face, black as it was, looked kindly at him. And he was very helpless, with his poor, small shriveled legs, which could neither stand nor run away—for the little forlorn boy was Prince Dolor.


He was rather frightened, and the face, black as it was, looked kindly at him.

He had not been dead at all—or buried either. His grand funeral had been a mere pretense: a wax figure having been put in his place, while he himself was spirited away under charge of these two, the condemned woman and the black man. The latter was deaf and dumb, so could neither tell nor repeat anything.

When they reached the foot of the tower, there was light enough to see a huge chain dangling from the parapet, but dangling only halfway. The deaf-mute took from his saddle-wallet a sort of ladder, arranged in pieces like a puzzle, fitted it together, and lifted it up to meet the chain. Then he mounted to the top of the tower, and slung from it a sort of chair, in which the woman and the child placed themselves and were drawn up, never to come down again as long as they lived. Leaving them there, the man descended the ladder, took it to pieces again and packed it in his pack, mounted the horse and disappeared across the plain.

Every month they used to watch for him, appearing like a speck in the distance. He fastened his horse to the foot of the tower and climbed it, as before, laden with provisions and many other things. He always saw the Prince, so as to make sure that the child was alive and well, and then went away until the following month.

While his first childhood lasted, Prince Dolor was happy enough. He had every luxury that even a prince could need, and the one thing wanting—love—never having known, he did not miss. His nurse was very kind to him, though she was a wicked woman. But either she had not been quite so wicked as people said, or she grew better through being shut up continually with a little innocent child, who was dependent upon her for every comfort and pleasure of his life.

It was not an unhappy life. There was nobody to tease or ill-use him, and he was never ill. He played about from room to room—there were four rooms—parlour, kitchen, his nurse's bedroom, and his own; learnt to crawl like a fly, and to jump like a frog, and to run about on all-fours almost as fast as a puppy. In fact, he was very much like a puppy or a kitten, as thoughtless and as merry—scarcely ever cross, though sometimes a little weary. As he grew older, he occasionally liked to be quiet for awhile, and then he would sit at the slits of windows, which were, however, much bigger than they looked from the bottom of the tower,—and watch the sky above and the ground below, with the storms sweeping over and the sunshine coming and going, and the shadows of the clouds running races across the blank plain.

By and by he began to learn lessons—not that his nurse had been ordered to teach him, but she did it partly to amuse herself. She was not a stupid woman, and Prince Dolor was by no means a stupid boy; so they got on very well, and his continual entreaty, "What can I do? what can you find me to do?" was stopped, at least for an hour or two in the day.

It was a dull life, but he had never known any other; anyhow, he remembered no other; and he did not pity himself at all. Not for a long time, till he grew quite a big little boy, and could read quite easily. Then he suddenly took to books, which the deaf-mute brought him from time to time—books which, not being acquainted with the literature of Nomansland, I cannot describe, but no doubt they were very interesting; and they informed him of everything in the outside world, and filled him with an intense longing to see it.

From this time a change came over the boy. He began to look sad and thin, and to shut himself up for hours without speaking. For his nurse hardly spoke, and whatever questions he asked beyond their ordinary daily life she never answered. She had, indeed, been forbidden, on pain of death, to tell him anything about himself, who he was, or what he might have been. He knew he was Prince Dolor, because she always addressed him as "my prince" and "your royal highness," but what a prince was he had not the least idea. He had no idea of anything in the world, except what he found in his books.

He sat one day surrounded by them, having built them up round him like a little castle wall. He had been reading them half the day, but feeling all the while that to read about things which you never can see is like hearing about a beautiful dinner while you are starving. For almost the first time in his life he grew melancholy; his hands fell on his lap; he sat gazing out of the window-slit upon the view outside—the view he had looked at every day of his life, and might look at for endless days more.

Not a very cheerful view—just the plain and the sky—but he liked it. He used to think, if he could only fly out of that window, up to the sky or down to the plain, how nice it would be! Perhaps when he died—his nurse had told him once in anger that he would never leave the tower till he died—he might be able to do this. Not that he understood much what dying meant, but it must be a change, and any change seemed to him a blessing.

"And I wish I had somebody to tell me all about it; about that and many other things; somebody that would be fond of me, like my poor white kitten."

Here the tears came into his eyes, for the boy's one friend, the one interest of his life, had been a little white kitten, which the deaf-mute, kindly smiling, once took out of his pocket and gave him—the only living creature Prince Dolor had ever seen. For four weeks it was his constant plaything and companion, till one moonlight night it took a fancy for wandering, climbed on to the parapet of the tower, dropped over and disappeared. It was not killed, he hoped, for cats have nine lives; indeed, he almost fancied he saw it pick itself up and scamper away, but he never caught sight of it more.

"Yes, I wish I had something better than a kitten—a person, a real live person, who would be fond of me and kind to me. Oh, I want somebody—dreadfully, dreadfully!"

As he spoke, there sounded behind him a slight tap-tap-tap, as of a stick or a cane, and twisting himself round, he saw—what do you think he saw?

Nothing either frightening or ugly, but still exceedingly curious. A little woman, no bigger than he might himself have been, had his legs grown like those of other children; but she was not a child—she was an old woman. Her hair was grey, and her dress was grey, and there was a grey shadow over her wherever she moved. But she had the sweetest smile, the prettiest hands, and when she spoke it was in the softest voice imaginable.

"My dear little boy,"—and dropping her cane, the only bright and rich thing about her, she laid those two tiny hands on his shoulders—"my own little boy, I could not come to you until you had said you wanted me, but now you do want me, here I am."


She laid those two tiny hands on his shoulders, — "My own little boy, I could not come to you until you had said you wanted me."

"And you are very welcome, madam," replied the Prince, trying to speak politely, as princes always did in books; "and I am exceedingly obliged to you. May I ask who you are? Perhaps my mother?" For he knew that little boys usually had a mother, and had occasionally wondered what had become of his own.

"No," said the visitor, with a tender, half-sad smile, putting back the hair from his forehead, and looking right into his eyes—"No, I am not your mother, though she was a dear friend of mine; and you are as like her as ever you can be."

"Will you tell her to come and see me then?"

"She cannot; but I dare say she knows all about you. And she loves you very much—and so do I; and I want to help you all I can, my poor little boy."

"Why do you call me poor?" asked Prince Dolor, in surprise.

The little old woman glanced down on his legs and feet, which he did not know were different from those of other children, and then at his sweet, bright face, which, though he knew not that either, was exceedingly different from many children's faces, which are often so fretful, cross, sullen. Looking at him, instead of sighing, she smiled. "I beg your pardon, my prince," said she.

"Yes, I am a prince, and my name is Dolor; will you tell me yours, madam?"

The little old woman laughed like a chime of silver bells.

"I have not got a name—or rather, I have so many names that I don't know which to choose. However, it was I who gave you yours, and you will belong to me all your days. I am your godmother."

"Hurrah!" cried the little prince; "I am glad I belong to you, for I like you very much. Will you come and play with me?"

So they sat down together and played. By-and-by they began to talk.

"Are you very dull here?" asked the little old woman.

"Not particularly, thank you, godmother. I have plenty to eat and drink, and my lessons to do, and my books to read—lots of books."

"And you want nothing?"

"Nothing. Yes—perhaps——If you please, godmother, could you bring me just one more thing?"

"What sort of thing!"

"A little boy to play with."

The old woman looked very sad. "Just the thing, alas, which I cannot give you. My child, I cannot alter your lot in any way, but I can help you to bear it."

"Thank you. But why do you talk of bearing it? I have nothing to bear."

"My poor little man!" said the old woman in the very tenderest tone of her tender voice. "Kiss me!"

"What is kissing?" asked the wondering child.

His godmother took him in her arms and embraced him many times. By-and-by he kissed her back again—at first awkwardly and shyly, then with all the strength of his warm little heart.

"You are better to cuddle than even my white kitten, I think. Promise me that you will never go away."

"I must; but I will leave a present behind me—something as good as myself to amuse you—something that will take you wherever you want to go, and show you all that you wish to see."

"What is it?"

"A travelling-cloak."

The Prince's countenance fell. "I don't want a cloak, for I never go out. Sometimes nurse hoists me on to the roof, and carries me round by the parapet; but that is all. I can't walk, you know, as she does."

"The more reason why you should ride; and besides, this travelling-cloak——"

"Hush!—she's coming."

There sounded outside the room door a heavy step and a grumpy voice, and a rattle of plates and dishes.

"It's my nurse, and she is bringing my dinner; but I don't want dinner at all—I only want you. Will her coming drive you away, godmother?"

"Perhaps; but only for a little while. Never mind; all the bolts and bars in the world couldn't keep me out. I'd fly in at the window, or down through the chimney. Only wish for me, and I come."

"Thank you," said Prince Dolor, but almost in a whisper, for he was very uneasy at what might happen next. His nurse and his godmother—what would they say to one another? how would they look at one another?—two such different faces: one, harsh-lined, sullen, cross, and sad; the other, sweet and bright and calm as a summer evening before the dark begins.

When the door was flung open, Prince Dolor shut his eyes, trembling all over: opening them again, he saw he need fear nothing; his lovely old godmother had melted away just like the rainbow out of the sky, as he had watched it many a time. Nobody but his nurse was in the room.

"What a muddle your Royal Highness is sitting in," said she sharply. "Such a heap of untidy books; and what's this rubbish?" knocking a little bundle that lay beside them.

"Oh, nothing, nothing—give it me!" cried the Prince, and, darting after it, he hid it under his pinafore, and then pushed it quickly into his pocket. Rubbish as it was, it was left in the place where she had sat, and might be something belonging to her—his dear, kind godmother, whom already he loved with all his lonely, tender, passionate heart.

It was, though he did not know this, his wonderful travelling-cloak.


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

The Travelling-Cloak

A ND what of the travelling-cloak? What sort of cloak was it, and what good did it do the Prince?

Stay, and I'll tell you all about it.

Outside it was the commonest-looking bundle imaginable—shabby and small; and the instant Prince Dolor touched it, it grew smaller still, dwindling down till he could put it in his trousers pocket, like a handkerchief rolled up into a ball. He did this at once, for fear his nurse should see it, and kept it there all day—all night, too. Till after his next morning's lessons he had no opportunity of examining his treasure.

When he did, it seemed no treasure at all; but a mere piece of cloth—circular in form, dark green in colour—that is, if it had any colour at all, being so worn and shabby, though not dirty. It had a split cut to the centre, forming a round hole for the neck—and that was all its shape; the shape, in fact, of those cloaks which in South America are called ponchos—very simple, but most graceful and convenient.

Prince Dolor had never seen anything like it. In spite of his disappointment, he examined it curiously; spread it out on the floor, then arranged it on his shoulders. It felt very warm and comfortable; but it was so exceedingly shabby—the only shabby thing that the Prince had ever seen in his life.


Prince Dolor had never seen anything like it.
In spite of his disappointment, he examined it curiously.

"And what use will it be to me?" said he sadly. "I have no need of outdoor clothes, as I never go out. Why was this given me, I wonder? and what in the world am I to do with it? She must be a rather funny person, this dear godmother of mine."

Nevertheless, because she was his godmother, and had given him the cloak, he folded it carefully and put it away, poor and shabby as it was, hiding it in a safe corner of his toy cupboard, which his nurse never meddled with. He did not want her to find it, or to laugh at it, or at his godmother—as he felt sure she would, if she knew all.

There it lay, and by-and-by he forgot all about it; nay, I am sorry to say that, being but a child, and not seeing her again, he almost forgot his sweet old godmother, or thought of her only as he did of the angels or fairies that he read of in his books, and of her visit as if it had been a mere dream of the night.

There were times, certainly, when he recalled her; of early mornings, like that morning when she appeared beside him, and late evenings, when the grey twilight reminded him of the colour of her hair and her pretty soft garments; above all, when, waking in the middle of the night, with the stars peering in at his window, or the moonlight shining across his little bed, he would not have been surprised to see her standing beside it, looking at him with those beautiful tender eyes, which seemed to have a pleasantness and comfort in them different from anything he had ever known.

But she never came, and gradually she slipped out of his memory—only a boy's memory, after all; until something happened which made him remember her, and want her as he had never wanted anything before.

Prince Dolor fell ill. He caught—his nurse could not tell how—a complaint common to the people of Nomansland, called the doldrums, as unpleasant as measles or any other of our complaints; and it made him restless, cross, and disagreeable. Even when a little better, he was too weak to enjoy anything, but lay all day long on his sofa, fidgeting his nurse extremely—while, in her intense terror lest he might die, she fidgeted him still more. At last, seeing he really was getting well, she left him to himself—which he was most glad of, in spite of his dulness and dreariness. There he lay, alone, quite alone.


Even when a little better, he was too weak to enjoy anything,
but lay all day long on his sofa, fidgeting his nurse extremely.

Now and then an irritable fit came over him, in which he longed to get up and do something, or to go somewhere—would have liked to imitate his white kitten—jump down from the tower and run away, taking the chance of whatever might happen.

Only one thing, alas! was likely to happen; for the kitten, he remembered, had four active legs, while he——

"I wonder what my godmother meant when she looked at my legs and sighed so bitterly? I wonder why I can't walk straight and steady like my nurse—only I wouldn't like to have her great, noisy, clumping shoes. Still it would be very nice to move about quickly—perhaps to fly, like a bird, like that string of birds I saw the other day skimming across the sky, one after the other."

These were the passage-birds—the only living creatures that ever crossed the lonely plain; and he had been much interested in them, wondering whence they came and whither they were going.

"How nice it must be to be a bird! If legs are no good, why cannot one have wings? People have wings when they die—perhaps: I wish I was dead, that I do. I am so tired, so tired; and nobody cares for me. Nobody ever did care for me, except perhaps my godmother. Godmother, dear, have you quite forsaken me?"

He stretched himself wearily, gathered himself up, and dropped his head upon his hands; as he did so, he felt somebody kiss him at the back of his neck, and, turning, found that he was resting, not on the sofa pillows, but on a warm shoulder—that of the little old woman clothed in grey.

How glad he was to see her! How he looked into her kind eyes and felt her hands, to see if she were all real and alive! then put both his arms round her neck, and kissed her as if he would never have done kissing!

"Stop, stop!" cried she, pretending to be smothered. "I see you have not forgotten my teachings. Kissing is a good thing—in moderation. Only just let me have breath to speak one word."

"A dozen!" he said.

"Well, then, tell me all that has happened to you since I saw you—or, rather, since you saw me, which is quite a different thing."

"Nothing has happened—nothing ever does happen to me," answered the Prince dolefully.

"And are you very dull, my boy?"

"So dull, that I was just thinking whether I could not jump down to the bottom of the tower, like my white kitten."

"Don't do that, not being a white kitten."

"I wish I were—I wish I were anything but what I am."

"And you can't make yourself any different, nor can I do it either. You must be content to stay just what you are."

The little old woman said this—very firmly, but gently, too—with her arms round his neck and her lips on his forehead. It was the first time the boy had ever heard any one talk like this, and he looked up in surprise—but not in pain, for her sweet manner softened the hardness of her words.

"Now, my prince—for you are a prince, and must behave as such—let us see what we can do; how much I can do for you, or show you how to do for yourself. Where is your travelling-cloak?"

Prince Dolor blushed extremely. "I—I put it away in the cupboard; I suppose it is there still."

"You have never used it; you dislike it?"

He hesitated, not wishing to be impolite. "Don't you think it's—just a little old and shabby for a prince?"

The old woman laughed—long and loud, though very sweetly.

"Prince, indeed! Why, if all the princes in the world craved for it, they couldn't get it, unless I gave it them. Old and shabby! It's the most valuable thing imaginable! Very few ever have it; but I thought I would give it to you, because—because you are different from other people."

"Am I?" said the Prince, and looked first with curiosity, then with a sort of anxiety, into his godmother's face, which was sad and grave, with slow tears beginning to steal down.

She touched his poor little legs. "These are not like those of other little boys."

"Indeed!—my nurse never told me that."

"Very likely not. But it is time you were told; and I tell you, because I love you."

"Tell me what, dear godmother?"

"That you will never be able to walk, or run, or jump, or play—that your life will be quite different to most people's lives; but it may be a very happy life for all that. Do not be afraid."

"I am not afraid," said the boy; but he turned very pale, and his lips began to quiver, though he did not actually cry—he was too old for that, and, perhaps, too proud.

Though not wholly comprehending, he began dimly to guess what his godmother meant. He had never seen any real live boys, but he had seen pictures of them—running and jumping—which he had admired and tried hard to imitate but always failed. Now he began to understand why he failed, and that he always should fail—that, in fact, he was not like other little boys; and it was of no use his wishing to do as they did, and play as they played, even if he had had them to play with. His was a separate life, in which he must find out new work and new pleasures for himself.

The sense of the inevitable,  as grown-up people call it—that we cannot have things as we want them to be, but as they are, and that we must learn to bear them and make the best of them—this lesson, which everybody has to learn soon or late—came, alas! sadly soon, to the poor boy. He fought against it for a while, and then, quite overcome, turned and sobbed bitterly in his godmother's arms.

She comforted him—I do not know how, except that love always comforts; and then she whispered to him, in her sweet, strong, cheerful voice—"Never mind!"

"No, I don't think I do mind—that is, I won't  mind," replied he, catching the courage of her tone and speaking like a man, though he was still such a mere boy.

"That is right, my prince!—that is being like a prince. Now we know exactly where we are; let us put our shoulders to the wheel and——"

"We are in Hopeless Tower" (this was its name, if it had a name), "and there is no wheel to put our shoulders to," said the child sadly.

"You little matter-of-fact goose! Well for you that you have a godmother called——"

"What?" he eagerly asked.


"Stuff-and-nonsense! What a funny name!"

"Some people give it me, but they are not my most intimate friends. These call me—never mind what," added the old woman, with a soft twinkle in her eyes. "So as you know me, and know me well, you may give me any name you please; it doesn't matter. But I am your godmother, child. I have few godchildren; those I have love me dearly, and find me the greatest blessing in all the world."

"I can well believe it," cried the little lame Prince, and forgot his troubles in looking at her—as her figure dilated, her eyes grew lustrous as stars, her very raiment brightened, and the whole room seemed filled with her beautiful and beneficent presence like light.

He could have looked at her forever—half in love, half in awe; but she suddenly dwindled down into the little old woman all in grey, and, with a malicious twinkle in her eyes, asked for the travelling-cloak.

"Bring it out of the rubbish cupboard, and shake the dust off it, quick!" said she to Prince Dolor, who hung his head, rather ashamed. "Spread it out on the floor, and wait till the split closes and the edges turn up like a rim all round. Then go and open the skylight—mind, I say open the skylight,—set yourself down in the middle of it, like a frog on a water-lily leaf; say 'Abracadabra, dum dum dum,' and—see what will happen!"

The prince burst into a fit of laughing. It all seemed so exceedingly silly; he wondered that a wise old woman like his godmother should talk such nonsense.

"Stuff-and-nonsense, you mean," said she, answering, to his great alarm, his unspoken thoughts. "Did I not tell you some people called me by that name? Never mind; it doesn't harm me."

And she laughed—her merry laugh—as child-like as if she were the prince's age instead of her own, whatever that might be. She certainly was a most extraordinary old woman.

"Believe me or not, it doesn't matter," said she. "Here is the cloak: when you want to go travelling on it, say Abracadabra, dum, dum, dum;  when you want to come back again, say Abracadabra, tum tum ti.  That's all; good-bye."

A puff of most pleasant air passing by him, and making him feel for the moment quite strong and well, was all the Prince was conscious of. His most extraordinary godmother was gone.

"Really now, how rosy your Royal Highness's cheeks have grown! You seem to have got well already," said the nurse, entering the room.

"I think I have," replied the Prince very gently—he felt kindly and gently even to his grim nurse. "And now let me have my dinner, and go you to your sewing as usual."

The instant she was gone, however, taking with her the plates and dishes, which for the first time since his illness he had satisfactorily cleared, Prince Dolor sprang down from his sofa, and with one or two of his frog-like jumps reached the cupboard where he kept his toys, and looked everywhere for his travelling-cloak.

Alas! it was not there.

While he was ill of the doldrums, his nurse, thinking it a good opportunity for putting things to rights, had made a grand clearance of all his "rubbish"—as she considered it: his beloved headless horses, broken carts, sheep without feet, and birds without wings—all the treasures of his baby days, which he could not bear to part with. Though he seldom played with them now, he liked just to feel they were there.

They were all gone! and with them the travelling-cloak. He sat down on the floor, looking at the empty shelves, so beautifully clean and tidy, then burst out sobbing as if his heart would break.

But quietly—always quietly. He never let his nurse hear him cry. She only laughed at him, as he felt she would laugh now.

"And it is all my own fault!" he cried. "I ought to have taken better care of my godmother's gift. Oh, godmother, forgive me! I'll never be so careless again. I don't know what the cloak is exactly, but I am sure it is something precious. Help me to find it again. Oh, don't let it be stolen from me—don't, please!"

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed a silvery voice. "Why, that travelling-cloak is the one thing in the world which nobody can steal. It is of no use to anybody except the owner. Open your eyes, my prince, and see what you shall see."

His dear old godmother, he thought, and turned eagerly round. But no; he only beheld, lying in a corner of the room, all dust and cobwebs, his precious travelling-cloak.

Prince Dolor darted toward it, tumbling several times on the way,—as he often did tumble, poor boy! and pick himself up again, never complaining. Snatching it to his breast, he hugged and kissed it, cobwebs and all, as if it had been something alive. Then he began unrolling it, wondering each minute what would happen. What did happen was so curious that I must leave it for another chapter.


The Bee People  by Margaret Warner Morley

Apis Mellifica and Her Eyes


H ERE comes a little brown lady whose mane is Apis Mellifica. She is making her wings to so fast that they buzz like a humming-top. Straight as an arrow she goes to that morning-glory flower. All at once the buzzing stops; little Miss Apis has landed feet down and right side up on the nectar guide.

Such great eyes as stare at you when you look her full in the face! No wonder she saw the bright flower a long way off and came straight to it.


She has more eye-space for her size than an owl, which is saying a good deal. In fact, her head looks as if it were nearly all eyes, —for two large ones cover the sides. And if you will believe me, in the space between the two large eyes, right on top of her heard, are three small ones!


Miss Apis's face

Unless you shave Miss Apis's head you can see but one of these small eyes at a time, as there is a tuft of hairs in front of each, which hides it unless you are looking right down into it. In the picture Miss Apis's head has been shaved.

Five eyes!

But that is not all. Each of her two large eyes is made up of about six thousand three hundred verysmall ones.

Really, Miss Apis, twelve thousand six hundred and three eyes are a goodly supply for one bee.

It is fortunate that she does not have to keep count of them, for if she counted an eye every second it would take almost four hours to get to the end, without stopping to take a sip of honey, or even to say, Oh, dear me!

How would you like your mother to look at you out of more than twelve thousand eyes when you had been doing something naughty? Two eyes are bad enough at such times. Let us hope that young bees never do wrong.

Just imagine a naughty little bee looking up to find twelve thousand six hundred small eyes and three large ones solemnly staring at his wickedness!

The truth is, all the thousands of small eyes that make up each large eye work together and act as one large eye.

Miss Apis's large eyes are called "compound eyes" because they are made of so many small eyes, or "facets."

The facets are so very small that you cannot see them except by the aid of a microscope; and here is a picture showing you a portion of the eye considerably magnified.


Whoever goes as far as Miss Apis does in search of flowers needs good eyes that can see a long distance. She has been known to fly four or five miles in search of flowers; just think of going back and forth from hive to flowers and flowers to hive any such distance as that! As a rule, however, Miss Apis goes only a little way, half a mile or so, but even for this she needs good, far-seeing eyes.

And she has them,—for her compound eyes are very far-sighted.

This is probably the reason she needs the three small eyes, which are near-sighted and enable her to see things close at hand.

Although she possesses such a prodigious number of eyes, Miss Apis has no eyelids. No, indeed! She has eye-hairs instead, that point outward and do not prevent her seeing but keep dust and pollen from getting into her eyes.

If you look back at the picture of the facets, you will see some of these hairs. She combs her eyes every time she combs her head, and this does not seem at all funny to her, for, you see, she is used to it.


Wild Grape


Charles Edward Carryl

The Plaint of the Camel

Canary birds feed on sugar and seed,

Parrots have crackers to crunch;

And as for the poodles, they tell me the noodles

Have chickens and cream for their lunch.

But there's never a question

About my digestion—

Anything does for me!

Cats, you're aware, can repose in a chair,

Chickens can roost upon rails;

Puppies are able to sleep in a stable,

And oysters can slumber in pails.

But no one supposes

A poor Camel dozes—

Any place does for me!

Lambs are inclosed where it's never exposed,

Coops are constructed for hens;

Kittens are treated to houses well heated,

And pigs are protected by pens.

But a Camel comes handy

Wherever it's sandy—

Anywhere does for me!

People would laugh if you rode a giraffe

Or mounted the back of an ox;

It's nobody's habit to ride on a rabbit

Or try to bestraddle a fox.

But as for a Camel, he's

Ridden by families—

Any load does for me!

A snake is as round as a hole in the ground,

And weasels are wavy and sleek;

And no alligator could ever be straighter

Than lizards that live in a creek,

But a Camel's all lumpy

And bumpy and humpy—

Any shape does for me!


  WEEK 8  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast

John ii: 1, to iii: 21.

dropcap image FEW days after Jesus met his first followers or disciples at the river Jordan, he came with these men to a town in Galilee called Cana, to be present at a wedding. In those lands a feast was always held at a wedding and often the friends of those who were married stayed several days, eating and drinking together.

The mother of Jesus was at this wedding as a friend of the family, for Nazareth, where she lived, was quite near to Cana. Before the wedding feast was over all the wine had been used, and there was no more for the guests to drink. The mother of Jesus knew that her son had power to do whatever he chose, and she said to him, "They have no wine."

Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have I to do with thee? My hour is not yet come."

But his mother knew that Jesus would in some way help the people in their need; and she said to the servants who were waiting at the table, "Whatever he tells you to do, be sure to do it."

In the dining hall were standing six large stone jars, each about as large as a barrel, holding twenty-five gallons. These jars held water for washing, as the Jews washed their hands before every meal, and washed their feet as often as they came from walking in the street, since they wore no shoes, but only sandals. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the water-jars with water."

The servants obeyed Jesus and filled the jars up to the brim. Then Jesus spoke to them again, and said, "Now draw out some of the water and take it to the ruler of the feast."


Jesus at the wedding feast.

They drew out water from the jars, and saw that it had been turned into wine. The ruler did not know from what place the wine had come, but he said to the young man who had just been married, the bridegroom, "At a feast everybody gives his best wine at the beginning, and afterward, when his guests have drunk freely, he brings on wine that is not so good; but you have kept the good wine until now."

This was the first time that Jesus used the power that God had given him, to do what no other man could do. Such works as these were called "miracles" and Jesus did them as signs of his power as the Son of God. When the disciples saw this miracle they believed in Jesus more fully than before. After this Jesus went with his mother and his younger brothers to a place called Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But they stayed there only a few days, for the feast of the Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem to attend it. You remember that the feast of the Passover was held every year to keep in mind how God had led the people of Israel out of Egypt long before.

When Jesus came to Jerusalem he found in the courts of the Temple men who were selling oxen and sheep and doves for the sacrifices, and other men sitting at tables changing the money of Jews who came from other lands into the money of Judea. All this made the courts around the Temple seem like a market, and not a place for the worship of God.

Jesus picked up some cord, and made from it a little whip. With it he began to drive out of the Temple all the buyers and sellers. He was but one, and they were many; but such power was in his look that they ran before him. He drove the men, and the sheep and the oxen; he overturned the tables, and threw on the floor the money; and to those who were selling the doves he said, "Take these things away; make not my Father's house a house for selling and buying!"


Jesus drives the buyers and sellers from the temple.

These acts of Jesus were not pleasing to the rulers of the Jews, for many of them were getting rich by this selling of sacrifices and changing of money. Some of the rulers came to Jesus, and said to him, "What right have you to come here and do such things as these? What sign can you show that God has given to you power to rule in this place?"

Jesus said to them, "I will give you a sign. Destroy this house of God, and in three days I will raise it up."

Then said the Jews, "It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and it is not finished yet. Will you raise it up in three days?"

But Jesus did not mean the Temple on Mount Moriah. He was speaking of himself; for in him God was dwelling as in a temple, and he meant that when they should put him to death, he would rise again in three days. Afterward, when Jesus had died and risen again, his followers, the disciples, thought of what he had said, and understood these words.

While Jesus was in Jerusalem one of the rulers of the Jews, a man named Nicodemus, came to see him. He came in the night, perhaps because he was afraid to be seen coming in the daytime. He said to Jesus, "Master, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no man can do these wonderful things that you do unless God is with him."

Jesus said to Nicodemus, "I say to you in truth, that unless a man is born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Nicodemus did not know that this meant that to be saved we must have new hearts given to us by the Lord. He said, "Why, how can a man be born twice? How can one be born again after he has grown up?"

Jesus said to him, "I tell you of a truth, that unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

By this he meant that we must be baptized, and that God must put his Spirit in us, if we are to become God's children. Jesus said also, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that every one who believes in him may have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him may not perish, but may have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn (that is to judge) the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

We have already read in Story 32, how Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, and how that serpent pointed to Christ.


Five Children and It  by Edith Nesbit

Bigger Than the Baker's Boy

"L OOK here," said Cyril. "I've got an idea."

"Does it hurt much?" said Robert sympathetically.

"Don't be a jackanape! I'm not humbugging."

"Shut up, Bobs!" said Anthea.

"Silence for the Squirrel's oration," said Robert.

Cyril balanced himself on the edge of the water-butt in the backyard, where they all happened to be, and spoke.

"Friends, Romans, countrymen—and women—we found a Sammyadd. We have had wishes. We've had wings, and being beautiful as the day—ugh!—that was pretty jolly beastly if you like—and wealth and castles, and that rotten gipsy business with the Lamb. But we're no forrarder. We haven't really got anything worth having for our wishes."

"We've had things happening," said Robert; "that's always something."

"It's not enough, unless they're the right things," said Cyril firmly. "Now I've been thinking"—

"Not really?" whispered Robert.

"In the silent what's-its-names of the night. It's like suddenly being asked something out of history—the date of the Conquest or something; you know it all right all the time, but when you're asked it all goes out of your head. Ladies and gentlemen, you know jolly well that when we're all rotting about in the usual way heaps of things keep cropping up, and then real earnest wishes come into the heads of the beholder"—

"Hear, hear!" said Robert.

"—of the beholder, however, stupid he is," Cyril went on. "Why, even Robert might happen to think of a really useful wish if he didn't injure his poor little brains trying so hard to think.—Shut up, Bobs, I tell you!—You'll have the whole show over."

A struggle on the edge of a water-butt is exciting but damp. When it was over, and the boys were partially dried, Anthea said—

"It really was you began it, Bobs. Now honour is satisfied, do let Squirrel go on. We're wasting the whole morning."

"Well then," said Cyril, still wringing the water out of the tails of his jacket, "I'll call it pax if Bobs will."

"Pax then," said Robert sulkily. "But I've got a lump as big as a cricket ball over my eye."

Anthea patiently offered a dust-coloured handkerchief, and Robert bathed his wounds in silence. "Now, Squirrel," she said.

"Well then—let's just play bandits, or forts, or soldiers, or any of the old games. We're dead sure to think of something if we try not to. You always do."

The others consented. Bandits was hastily chosen for the game. "It's as good as anything else," said Jane gloomily. It must be owned that Robert was at first but a half-hearted bandit, but when Anthea had borrowed from Martha the red-spotted handkerchief in which the keeper had brought her mushrooms that morning, and had tied up Robert's head with it so that he could be the wounded hero who had saved the bandit captain's life the day before, he cheered up wonderfully. All were soon armed. Bows and arrows slung on the back look well; and umbrellas and cricket stumps through the belt give a fine impression of the wearer's being armed to the teeth. The white cotton hats that men wear in the country nowadays have a very brigandish effect when a few turkey's feathers are stuck in them. The Lamb's mail-cart was covered with a red-and-blue checked table-cloth, and made an admirable baggage-wagon. The Lamb asleep inside it was not at all in the way. So the banditti set out along the road that led to the sand-pit.

"We ought to be near the Sammyadd," said Cyril, "in case we think of anything suddenly."

It is all very well to make up your minds to play bandit—or chess, or ping-pong, or any other agreeable game—but it is not easy to do it with spirit when all the wonderful wishes you can think of, or can't think of, are waiting for you round the corner. The game was dragging a little, and some of the bandits were beginning to feel that the others were disagreeable things, and were saying so candidly, when the baker's boy came along the road with loaves in a basket. The opportunity was not one to be lost.

"Stand and deliver!" cried Cyril.

"Your money or your life!" said Robert.

And they stood on each side of the baker's boy. Unfortunately, he did not seem to enter into the spirit of the thing at all. He was a baker's boy of an unusually large size. He merely said—

"Chuck it now, d'ye hear!" and pushed the bandits aside most disrespectfully.

Then Robert lassoed him with Jane's skipping-rope, and instead of going round his shoulders, as Robert intended, it went round his feet and tripped him up. The basket was upset, the beautiful new loaves went bumping and bouncing all over the dusty chalky road. The girls ran to pick them up, and all in a moment Robert and the baker's boy were fighting it out, man to man, with Cyril to see fair play, and the skipping-rope twisting round their legs like an interesting snake that wished to be a peace-maker. It did not succeed; indeed the way the boxwood handles sprang up and hit the fighters on the shins and ankles was not at all peace-making. I know this is the second fight—or contest—in this chapter, but I can't help it. It was that sort of day. You know yourself there are days when rows seem to keep on happening, quite without your meaning them to. If I were a writer of tales of adventure such as those which used to appear in The Boys of England  when I was young of course I should be able to describe the fight, but I cannot do it. I never can see what happens during a fight, even when it is only dogs. Also, if I had been one of these Boys of England  writers, Robert would have got the best of it. But I am like George Washington—I cannot tell a lie, even about a cherry-tree, much less about a fight, and I cannot conceal from you that Robert was badly beaten, for the second time that day. The baker's boy blacked his other eye, and being ignorant of the first rules of fair play and gentlemanly behaviour, he also pulled Robert's hair, and kicked him on the knee. Robert always used to say he could have licked the baker if it hadn't been for the girls. But I am not sure. Anyway, what happened was this, and very painful it was to self-respecting boys.


He pulled Robert's hair.

Cyril was just tearing off his coat so as to help his brother in proper style, when Jane threw her arms round his legs and began to cry and ask him not to go and be beaten too. That "too" was very nice for Robert, as you can imagine—but it was nothing to what he felt when Anthea rushed in between him and the baker's boy, and caught that unfair and degraded fighter round the waist, imploring him not to fight any more.

"Oh, don't hurt my brother any more!" she said in floods of tears. "He didn't mean it—it's only play. And I'm sure he's very sorry."

You see how unfair this was to Robert. Because, if the baker's boy had had any right and chivalrous instincts, and had yielded to Anthea's pleading and accepted her despicable apology, Robert could not, in honour, have done anything to him at any future time. But Robert's fears, if he had any, were soon dispelled. Chivalry was a stranger to the breast of the baker's boy. He pushed Anthea away very roughly, and he chased Robert with kicks and unpleasant conversation right down the road to the sand-pit, and there, with one last kick, he landed him in a heap of sand.

"I'll larn you, you young varmint!" he said, and went off to pick up his loaves and go about his business. Cyril, impeded by Jane, could do nothing without hurting her, for she clung round his legs with the strength of despair. The baker's boy went off red and damp about the face; abusive to the last, he called them a pack of silly idiots, and disappeared round the corner. Then Jane's grasp loosened. Cyril turned away in silent dignity to follow Robert, and the girls followed him, weeping without restraint.

It was not a happy party that flung itself down in the sand beside the sobbing Robert. For Robert was sobbing—mostly with rage. Though of course I know that a really heroic boy is always dry-eyed after a fight. But then he always wins, which had not been the case with Robert.

Cyril was angry with Jane; Robert was furious with Anthea; the girls were miserable; and not one of the four was pleased with the baker's boy. There was, as French writers say, "a silence full of emotion."

Then Robert dug his toes and his hands into the sand and wriggled in his rage. "He'd better wait till I'm grown up—the cowardly brute! Beast!—I hate him! But I'll pay him out. Just because he's bigger than me."

"You began," said Jane incautiously.

"I know I did, silly—but I was only jollying—and he kicked me—look here"—

Robert tore down a stocking and showed a purple bruise touched up with red.

"I only wish I was bigger than him, that's all."

He dug his fingers in the sand, and sprang up, for his hand had touched something furry. It was the Psammead, of course—"On the look-out to make sillies of them as usual," as Cyril remarked later. And of course the next moment Robert's wish was granted, and he was bigger than the baker's boy. Oh, but much, much bigger! He was bigger than the big policeman who used to be at the crossing at the Mansion House years ago,—the one who was so kind in helping old ladies over the crossing,—and he was the biggest man I  have ever seen, as well as the kindest. No one had a foot-rule in its pocket, so Robert could not be measured—but he was taller than your father would be if he stood on your mother's head, which I am sure he would never be unkind enough to do. He must have been ten or eleven feet high, and as broad as a boy of that height ought to be. His suit had fortunately grown too, and now he stood up in it—with one of his enormous stockings turned down to show the gigantic bruise on his vast leg. Immense tears of fury still stood on his flushed giant face. He looked so surprised, and he was so large to be wearing a turned down collar outside of his jacket that the others could not help laughing.

"The Sammyadd's done us again," said Cyril.


"The Sammyadd's done us again," said Cyril.

"Not us—me,"  said Robert. "If you'd got any decent feeling you'd try to make it make you the same size. You've no idea how silly it feels," he added thoughtlessly.

"And I don't want to; I can jolly well see how silly it looks," Cyril was beginning; but Anthea said—

"Oh, don't!  I don't know what's the matter with you boys to-day. Look here, Squirrel, let's play fair. It is hateful for poor old Bobs, all alone up there. Let's ask the Sammyadd for another wish, and, if it will, I do really think we ought all to be made the same size."

The others agreed, but not gaily; but when they found the Psammead, it wouldn't.

"Not I," it said crossly, rubbing its face with its feet. "He's a rude violent boy, and it'll do him good to be the wrong size for a bit. What did he want to come digging me out with his nasty wet hands for? He nearly touched me! He's a perfect savage. A boy of the Stone Age would have had more sense."

Robert's hands had indeed been wet—with tears.

"Go away and leave me in peace, do," the Psammead went on. "I can't think why you don't wish for something sensible—something to eat or drink, or good manners, or good tempers. Go along with you, do!"

It almost snarled as it shook its whiskers, and turned a sulky brown back on them. The most hopeful felt that further parley was vain.

They turned again to the colossal Robert.

"What ever shall we do?" they said; and they all said it.

"First," said Robert grimly, "I'm going to reason with that baker's boy. I shall catch him at the end of the road."

"Don't hit a chap smaller than yourself, old man," said Cyril.

"Do I look like hitting him?" said Robert scornfully. "Why, I should kill  him. But I'll give him something to remember. Wait till I pull up my stocking." He pulled up his stocking, which was as large as a small bolster-case, and strode off. His strides were six or seven feet long, so that it was quite easy for him to be at the bottom of the hill, ready to meet the baker's boy when he came down swinging the empty basket to meet his master's cart, which had been leaving bread at the cottages along the road.

Robert crouched behind a haystack in the farmyard, that is at the corner, and when he heard the boy come whistling along he jumped out at him and caught him by the collar.

"Now," he said, and his voice was about four times its usual size, just as his body was four times its, "I'm going to teach you to kick boys smaller than you."

He lifted up the baker's boy and set him on the top of the haystack, which was about sixteen feet from the ground, and then he sat down on the roof of the barn and told the baker's boy exactly what he thought of him.


He lifted up the baker's boy and set him on top of the haystack.

I don't think the boy heard it all—he was in a sort of trance of terror. When Robert had said everything he could think of, and some things twice over, he shook the boy and said—

"And now get down the best way you can," and left him.

I don't know how the baker's boy got down, but I do know that he missed the cart and got into the very hottest of hot water when he turned up at last at the bakehouse. I am sorry for him, but after all, it was quite right that he should be taught that boys mustn't use their feet when they fight, but their fists. Of course the water he got into only became hotter when he tried to tell his master about the boy he had licked and the giant as high as a church, because no one could possibly believe such a tale as that. Next day the tale was believed—but that was too late to be of any use to the baker's boy.

When Robert rejoined the others he found them in the garden. Anthea had thoughtfully asked Martha to let them have dinner out there—because the dining-room was rather small, and it would have been so awkward to have a brother the size of Robert in there. The Lamb, who had slept peacefully during the whole stormy morning, was now found to be sneezing, and Martha said he had a cold and would be better indoors.

"And really it's just as well," said Cyril, "for I don't believe he'd ever have stopped screaming if he'd once seen you, the awful size you are!"

Robert was indeed what a draper would call an "out-size" in boys. He found himself able to step right over the iron gate in the front garden.

Martha brought out the dinner—it was cold veal and baked potatoes, with sago pudding and stewed plums to follow.

She of course did not notice that Robert was anything but the usual size, and she gave him as much meat and potatoes as usual and no more. You have no idea how small your usual helping of dinner looks when you are many times your proper size. Robert groaned, and asked for more bread. But Martha would not go on giving more bread for ever. She was in a hurry, because the keeper intended to call on his way to Benenhurst Fair, and she wished to be smartly dressed before he came.

"I wish we  were going to the Fair," said Robert.

"You can't go anywhere that size," said Cyril.

"Why not?" said Robert. "They have giants at fairs, much bigger ones than me."

"Not much, they don't," Cyril was beginning, when Jane screamed "Oh!" with such loud suddenness that they all thumped her on the back and asked whether she had swallowed a plum-stone.

"No," she said, breathless from being thumped, "it's—it's not a plum-stone. It's an idea. Let's take Robert to the Fair, and get them to give us money for showing him! Then we really shall  get something out of the old Sammyadd at last!"

"Take me, indeed!" said Robert indignantly. "Much more likely me take you!"

And so it turned out. The idea appealed irresistibly to everyone but Robert, and even he was brought round by Anthea's suggestion that he should have a double share of any money they might make. There was a little old pony-cart in the coach-house—the kind that is called a governess-cart. It seemed desirable to get to the Fair as quickly as possible, so Robert—who could now take enormous steps and so go very fast indeed—consented to wheel the others in this. It was as easy to him now as wheeling the Lamb in the mail-cart had been in the morning. The Lamb's cold prevented his being of the party.

It was a strange sensation being wheeled in a pony-carriage by a giant. Everyone enjoyed the journey except Robert and the few people they passed on the way. These mostly went into what looked like some kind of standing-up fits by the roadside, as Anthea said. Just outside Benenhurst, Robert hid in a barn, and the others went on to the Fair.


It was a strange sensation being wheeled in a pony-carriage by a giant.

There were some swings, and a hooting-tooting blaring merry-go-round, and a shooting-gallery and Aunt Sallies. Resisting an impulse to win a cocoanut,—or at least to attempt the enterprise,—Cyril went up to the woman who was loading little guns before the array of glass bottles on strings against a sheet of canvas.

"Here you are, little gentleman!" she said. "Penny a shot!"

"No, thank you," said Cyril, "we are here on business, not on pleasure. Who's the master?"

"The what?"

"The master—the head—the boss of the show."

"Over there," she said, pointing to a stout man in a dirty linen jacket who was sleeping in the sun; "but I don't advise you to wake him sudden. His temper's contrairy, especially these hot days. Better have a shot while you're waiting."

"It's rather important," said Cyril. "It'll be very profitable to him. I think he'll be sorry if we take it away."

"Oh, if it's money in his pocket," said the woman. "No kid now? What is it?"

"It's a giant."

"You are  kidding?"

"Come along and see," said Anthea.

The woman looked doubtfully at them, then she called to a ragged little girl in striped stockings and a dingy white petticoat that came below her brown frock, and leaving her in charge of the "shooting-gallery" she turned to Anthea and said, "Well, hurry up! But if you are  kidding, you'd best say so. I'm as mild as milk myself, but my Bill he's a fair terror and"—

Anthea led the way to the barn. "It really is  a giant," she said. "He's a giant little boy—in a suit like my brother's there. And we didn't bring him up to the Fair because people do stare so, and they seem to go into kind of standing-up fits when they see him. And we thought perhaps you'd like to show him and get pennies; and if you like to pay us something, you can—only, it'll have to be rather a lot, because we promised him he should have a double share of whatever we made."

The woman murmured something indistinct, of which the children could only hear the words, "Swelp me!"  "balmy," and "crumpet," which conveyed no definite idea to their minds.

She had taken Anthea's hand, and was holding it very firmly; and Anthea could not help wondering what would happen if Robert should have wandered off or turned his proper size during the interval. But she knew that the Psammead's gifts really did last till sunset, however inconvenient their lasting might be; and she did not think, somehow, that Robert would care to go out alone while he was that size.

When they reached the barn and Cyril called "Robert!" there was a stir among the loose hay, and Robert began to come out. His hand and arm came first—then a foot and leg. When the woman saw the hand she said "My!" but when she saw the foot she said "Upon my word!" and when, by slow and heavy degrees, the whole of Robert's enormous bulk was at last disclosed, she drew a long breath and began to say many things, compared with which "balmy" and "crumpet" seemed quite ordinary. She dropped into understandable English at last.

"What'll you take for him?" she said excitedly. "Anything in reason. We'd have a special van built—leastways, I know where there's a second-hand one would do up handsome—what a baby elephant had, as died. What'll you take? He's soft, ain't he? Them giants mostly is—but I never see—no, never! What'll you take? Down on the nail. We'll treat him like a king, and give him first-rate grub and a doss fit for a bloomin' dook. He must be dotty or he wouldn't need you kids to cart him about. What'll you take for him?"

"They won't take anything," said Robert sternly. "I'm no more soft than you are—not so much, I shouldn't wonder. I'll come and be a show for to-day if you'll give me,"—he hesitated at the enormous price he was about to ask,—"if you'll give me fifteen shillings."

"Done," said the woman, so quickly that Robert felt he had been unfair to himself, and wished he had asked thirty. "Come on now—and see my Bill—and we'll fix a price for the season. I dessay you might get as much as two pounds a week reg'lar. Come on—and make yourself as small as you can for gracious' sake!"

This was not very small, and a crowd gathered quickly, so that it was at the head of an enthusiastic procession that Robert entered the trampled meadow where the Fair was held, and passed over the stubby yellow dusty grass to the door of the biggest tent. He crept in, and the woman went to call her Bill. He was the big sleeping man, and he did not seem at all pleased at being awakened. Cyril, watching through a slit in the tent, saw him scowl and shake a heavy fist and a sleepy head. Then the woman went on speaking very fast. Cyril heard "Strewth," and "biggest draw you ever, so help me!" and he began to share Robert's feeling that fifteen shillings was indeed far too little. Bill slouched up to the tent and entered. When he beheld the magnificent proportions of Robert he said but little,—"Strike me pink!" were the only words the children could afterwards remember,—but he produced fifteen shillings, mainly in sixpences and coppers, and handed it to Robert.

"We'll fix up about what you're to draw when the show's over to-night," he said with hoarse heartiness. "Lor' love a duck! you'll be that happy with us you'll never want to leave us. Can you do a song now—or a bit of a breakdown?"

"Not to-day," said Robert, rejecting the idea of trying to sing "As once in May," a favourite of his mother's, and the only song he could think of at the moment.

"Get Levi and clear them bloomin' photos out. Clear the tent. Stick out a curtain or suthink," the man went on. "Lor', what a pity we ain't got no tights his size! But we'll have 'em before the week's out. Young man, your fortune's made. It's a good thing you came to me, and not to some chaps as I could tell you on. I've known blokes as beat their giants, and starved 'em too; so I'll tell you straight, you're in luck this day if you never was afore. 'Cos I'm a lamb, I am—and I don't deceive you."

"I'm not afraid of anyone beating me," said Robert, looking down on the "lamb." Robert was crouched on his knees, because the tent was not big enough for him to stand upright in, but even in that position he could still look down on most people. "But I'm awfully hungry—I wish you'd get me something to eat."

"Here, 'Becca," said the hoarse Bill. "Get him some grub—the best you've got, mind!" Another whisper followed, of which the children only heard, "Down in black and white—first thing to-morrow."

Then the woman went to get the food—it was only bread and cheese when it came, but it was delightful to the large and empty Robert; and the man went to post sentinels round the tent, to give the alarm if Robert should attempt to escape with his fifteen shillings.

"As if we weren't honest," said Anthea indignantly when the meaning of the sentinels dawned on her.

Then began a very strange and wonderful afternoon.

Bill was a man who knew his business. In a very little while, the photographic views, the spyglasses you look at them through so that they really seem rather real, and the lights you see them by, were all packed away. A curtain—it was an old red-and-black carpet really—was run across the tent. Robert was concealed behind, and Bill was standing on a trestle-table outside the tent making a speech. It was rather a good speech. It began by saying that the giant it was his privilege to introduce to the public that day was the eldest son of the Emperor of San Francisco, compelled through an unfortunate love affair with the Duchess of the Fiji Islands to leave his own country and take refuge in England—the land of liberty—where freedom was the right of every man, no matter how big he was. It ended by the announcement that the first twenty who came to the tent door should see the giant for threepence apiece. "After that," said Bill, "the price is riz, and I don't undertake to say what it won't be riz to. So now's yer time."

A young man with his sweetheart on her afternoon out was the first to come forward. For this occasion his was the princely attitude—no expense spared—money no object. His girl wished to see the giant? Well, she should see the giant, even though seeing the giant cost threepence each and the other entertainments were all penny ones.

The flap of the tent was raised—the couple entered. Next moment a wild shriek from the girl thrilled through all present. Bill slapped his leg. "That's done the trick!" he whispered to 'Becca. It was indeed a splendid advertisement of the charms of Robert.

When the young girl came out she was pale and trembling, and a crowd was round the tent.


When the girl came out she was pale and trembling.

"What was it like?" asked a farm-hand.

"Oh!—horrid!—you wouldn't believe," she said. "It's as big as a barn, and that fierce. It froze the blood in my bones. I wouldn't ha' missed seeing it for anything."

The fierceness was only caused by Robert's trying not to laugh. But the desire to do that soon left him, and before sunset he was more inclined to cry than laugh, and more inclined to sleep than either. For, by ones and twos and threes, people kept coming in all the afternoon, and Robert had to shake hands with those who wished it, and to allow himself to be punched and pulled and patted and thumped, so that people might make sure he was really real.

The other children sat on a bench and watched and waited, and were very bored indeed. It seemed to them that this was the hardest way of earning money that could have been invented. And only fifteen shillings! Bill had taken four times that already, for the news of the giant had spread, and trades-people in carts, and gentlepeople in carriages, came from far and near. One gentleman with an eyeglass, and a very large yellow rose in his buttonhole, offered Robert, in an obliging whisper, ten pounds a week to appear at the Crystal Palace. Robert had to say "No."

"I can't," he said regretfully. "It's no use promising what you can't do."

"Ah, poor fellow, bound for a term of years, I suppose! Well, here's my card; when your time's up come to me."


"When your time's up come to me."

"I will—if I'm the same size then," said Robert truthfully.

"If you grow a bit, so much the better," said the gentleman.

When he had gone, Robert beckoned Cyril and said—

"Tell them I must and will have a rest. And I want my tea."

Tea was provided, and a paper hastily pinned on the tent. It said—



Then there was a hurried council.

"How am I to get away?" said Robert.

"I've been thinking about it all the afternoon."

"Why, walk out when the sun sets and you're your right size. They can't do anything to us."

Robert opened his eyes. "Why, they'd nearly kill us," he said, "when they saw me get my right size. No, we must think of some other way. We must  be alone when the sun sets."

"I know," said Cyril briskly, and he went to the door, outside which Bill was smoking a clay pipe and talking in a low voice to 'Becca. Cyril heard him say—"Good as havin' a fortune left you."

"Look here," said Cyril, "you can let people come in again in a minute. He's nearly finished tea. But he must  be left alone when the sun sets. He's very queer at that time of day, and if he's worried I won't answer for the consequences."

"Why—what comes over him?" asked Bill.

"I don't know; it's—it's sort of a change,"  said Cyril candidly. "He isn't at all like himself—you'd hardly know him. He's very queer indeed. Someone'll get hurt if he's not alone about sunset." This was true.

"He'll pull round for the evening, I s'pose?"

"Oh yes—half an hour after sunset he'll be quite himself again."

"Best humour him," said the woman.

And so, at what Cyril judged was about half an hour before sunset, the tent was again closed "whilst the giant gets his supper."

The crowd was very merry about the giant's meals and their coming so close together.

"Well, he can pick a bit," Bill owned. "You see he has to eat hearty, being the size he is."

Inside the tent the four children breathlessly arranged a plan of retreat.

"You go now,"  said Cyril to the girls, "and get along home as fast as you can. Oh, never mind the pony-cart; we'll get that to-morrow. Robert and I are dressed the same. We'll manage somehow, like Sydney Carton did. Only, you girls must  get out, or it's all no go. We can run, but you can't—whatever you may think. No, Jane, it's no good Robert going out and knocking people down. The police would follow him till he turned his proper size, and then arrest him like a shot. Go you must! If you don't, I'll never speak to you again. It was you got us into this mess really, hanging round people's legs the way you did this morning. Go,  I tell you!"

And Jane and Anthea went.

"We're going home," they said to Bill. "We're leaving the giant with you. Be kind to him." And that, as Anthea said afterwards, was very deceitful, but what were they to do?

When they had gone, Cyril went to Bill.

"Look here," he said, "he wants some ears of corn—there's some in the next field but one. I'll just run and get it. Oh, and he says can't you loop up the tent at the back a bit? He says he's stifling for a breath of air. I'll see no one peeps in at him. I'll cover him up, and he can take a nap while I go for the corn. He will  have it—there's no holding him when he gets like this."

The giant was made comfortable with a heap of sacks and an old tarpaulin. The curtain was looped up, and the brothers were left alone. They matured their plan in whispers. Outside, the merry-go-round blared out its comic tunes, screaming now and then to attract public notice.

Half a minute after the sun had set, a boy came out past Bill.

"I'm off for the corn," he said, and mingled quickly with the crowd.

At the same instant a boy came out of the back of the tent past 'Becca, posted there as sentinel.

"I'm off after the corn," said this boy also. And he, too, moved away quietly and was lost in the crowd. The front-door boy was Cyril; the back-door was Robert—now, since sunset, once more his proper size. They walked quickly through the field, along the road, where Robert caught Cyril up. Then they ran. They were home as soon as the girls were, for it was a long way, and they ran most of it. It was indeed a very  long way, as they found when they had to go and drag the pony-cart home next morning, with no enormous Robert to wheel them in it as if it were a mail-cart, and they were babies and he was their gigantic nursemaid.

* * * * * *

I cannot possibly tell you what Bill and 'Becca said when they found that the giant had gone. For one thing, I do not know.



The Gay Gos-hawk

"O well is me, my gay gos-hawk,

That you can speak and flee;

For you can carry a love-letter

To my true love frae me."

"O how can I carry a letter to her,

Or how should I her know?

I bear a tongue ne'er wi' her spak',

And eyes that ne'er her saw."

"The white o' my love's skin is white

As down o' dove or maw;

The red o' my love's cheek is red

As blood that's spilt on snaw.

"When ye come to the castle,

Light on the tree of ash,

And sit ye there, and sing our loves

As she comes frae the mass.

"Four and twenty fair ladies

Will to the mass repair;

And weel may ye my lady ken,

The fairest lady there."

When the gos-hawk flew to that castle,

He lighted on the ash;

And there he sat and sang their loves

As she came frae the mass.

"Stay where ye be, my maidens a',

And sip red wine anon,

Till I go to my west window

And hear a birdie's moan."

She's gane unto her west window,

The bolt she fairly drew;

And unto that lady's white, white neck

The bird a letter threw.

"Ye're bidden to send your love a send,

For he has sent you twa;

And tell him where he may see you soon,

Or he cannot live ava."

"I send him the ring from my finger,

The garland off my hair,

I send him the heart that's in my breast;

What would my love have mair?

And at the fourth kirk in fair Scotland,

Ye'll bid him wait for me there."

She hied her to her father dear

As fast as gang could she:

"I'm sick at the heart, my father dear;

An asking grant you me!"

"Ask ye na for that Scottish lord,

For him ye'll never see!"

"An asking, an asking, dear father!" she says,

"An asking grant you me;

That if I die in fair England,

In Scotland ye'll bury me.

"At the first kirk o' fair Scotland,

Ye cause the bells be rung;

At the second kirk o' fair Scotland,

Ye cause the mass be sung;

"At the third kirk o' fair Scotland,

Ye deal gold for my sake;

At the fourth kirk o' fair Scotland,

O there ye'll bury me at!

"This is all my asking, father,

I pray ye grant it me!"

"Your asking is but small," he said;

"Weel granted it shall be.

But why do ye talk o' suchlike things?

For ye arena going to dee."

The lady's gane to her chamber,

And a moanfu' woman was she,

As gin she had ta'en a sudden brash,

And were about to dee.

The lady's gane to her chamber

As fast as she could fare;

And she has drunk a sleepy draught,

She mixed wi' mickle care.

She's fallen into a heavy trance,

And pale and cold was she;

She seemed to be as surely dead

As any corpse could be.

Out and spak' an auld witch-wife,

At the fireside sat she:

"Gin she has killed herself for love,

I wot it weel may be:

"But drap the het lead on her cheek,

And drap it on her chin.

And drap it on her bosom white,

And she'll maybe speak again.

'Tis much that a young lady will do

To her true love to win."

They drapped the het lead on her cheek,

They drapped it on her chin,

They drapped it on her bosom white,

But she spake none again.

Her brothers they went to a room,

To make to her a bier;

The boards were a' o' cedar wood,

The edges o' silver clear.

Her sisters they went to a room,

To make to her a sark;

The cloth was a' o' the satin fine,

And the stitching silken-wark.

"Now well is me, my gay gos-hawk,

That ye can speak and flee!

Come show me any love-tokens

That ye have brought to me."

"She sends ye her ring frae her finger white,

The garland frae her hair;

She sends ye the heart within her breast;

And what would ye have mair?

And at the fourth kirk o' fair Scotland,

She bids ye wait for her there."

"Come hither, all my merry young men!

And drink the good red wine;

For we must on towards fair England

To free my love frae pine."

The funeral came into fair Scotland,

And they gart the bells be rung;

And when it came to the second kirk,

They gart the mass be sung.

And when it came to the third kirk,

They dealt gold for her sake;

And when it came to the fourth kirk,

Her love was waiting thereat.

At the fourth kirk in fair Scotland

Stood spearmen in a row;

And up and started her ain true love,

The chieftain over them a'.

"Set down, set down the bier," he says,

"Till I look upon the dead;

The last time that I saw her face,

Its color was warm and red."

He stripped the sheet from off her face

A little below the chin;

The lady then she opened her eyes,

And looked full on him.

"O give me a shive o' your bread, love,

O give me a cup o' your wine!

Long have I fasted for your sake,

And now I fain would dine.

"Gae hame, gae hame, my seven brothers,

Gae hame and blow the horn!

And ye may say that ye sought my skaith,

And that I hae gi'en ye the scorn.

"I cam' na here to bonny Scotland

To lie down in the clay;

But I cam' here to bonny Scotland,

To wear the silks sae gay!

"I cam' na here to bonny Scotland,

Amang the dead to rest;

But I cam' here to bonny Scotland

To the man that I lo'e best!"