Text of Plan #990
  WEEK 9  


The Railway Children  by Edith Nesbit

The Pride of Perks

dropcap image T was breakfast-time. Mother's face was very bright as she poured the milk and ladled out the porridge.

"I've sold another story, Chickies," she said; "the one about the King of the Mussels, so there'll be buns for tea. You can go and get them as soon as they're baked. About eleven, isn't it?"

Peter, Phyllis, and Bobbie exchanged glances with each other, six glances in all. Then Bobbie said:

"Mother, would you mind if we didn't have the buns for tea to-night, but on the fifteenth? That's next Thursday."

"I  don't mind when you have them, dear," said Mother, "but why?"

"Because it's Perks's birthday," said Bobbie; "he's thirty-two, and he says he doesn't keep his birthday any more, because he's got other things to keep—not rabbits or secrets—but the kids and the missus."

"You mean his wife and children," said Mother.

"Yes," said Phyllis; "it's the same thing, isn't it?"

"And we thought we'd make a nice birthday for him. He's been so awfully jolly decent to us, you know, Mother," said Peter, "and we agreed that next bun-day we'd ask you if we could."

"But suppose there hadn't been a bun-day before the fifteenth?" said Mother.

"Oh, then, we meant to ask you to let us anti—antipate it, and go without when the bun-day came."

"Anticipate," said Mother. "I see. Certainly. It would be nice to put his name on the buns with pink sugar, wouldn't it?"

"Perks," said Peter, "it's not a pretty name."

"His other name's Albert," said Phyllis; "I asked him once."

"We might put A. P.," said Mother; "I'll show you how when the day comes."

This was all very well as far as it went. But even fourteen halfpenny buns with A. P. on them in pink sugar do not of themselves make a very grand celebration.

"There are always flowers, of course," said Bobbie, later, when a really earnest council was being held on the subject in the hay-loft where the broken chaff-cutting machine was, and the row of holes to drop hay through into the hay-racks over the mangers of the stables below.

"He's got lots of flowers of his own," said Peter.

"But it's always nice to have them given you," said Bobbie, "however many you've got of your own. We can use flowers for trimmings to the birthday. But there must be something to trim besides buns."

"Let's all be quiet and think," said Phyllis; "no one's to speak until it's thought of something."

So they were all quiet and so very still that a brown rat thought that there was no one in the loft and came out very boldly. When Bobbie sneezed, the rat was quite shocked and hurried away, for he saw that a hay-loft where such things could happen was no place for a respectable middle-aged rat that liked a quiet life.

"Hooray!" cried Peter, suddenly, "I've got it." He jumped up and kicked at the loose hay.

"What?" said the others, eagerly.

"Why, Perks is so nice to everybody. There must be lots of people in the village who'd like to help to make him a birthday. Let's go round and ask everybody."

"Mother said we weren't to ask people for things," said Bobbie, doubtfully.

"For ourselves, she meant, silly, not for other people. I'll ask the old gentleman too. You see if I don't," said Peter.

"Let's ask Mother first," said Bobbie.

"Oh, what's the use of bothering Mother about every little thing?" said Peter, "especially when she's busy. Come on. Let's go down to the village now and begin."

So they went. The old lady at the Post-office said she didn't see why Perks should have a birthday any more than anyone else.

"No," said Bobbie, "I should like everyone to have one. Only we know when his is."

"Mine's to-morrow," said the old lady, "and much notice anyone will take of it. Go along with you."

So they went.

And some people were kind, and some were crusty. And some would give and some would not. It is rather difficult work asking for things, even for other people, as you have no doubt found if you have ever tried it.

When the children got home and counted up what had been given and what had been promised, they felt that for the first day it was not so bad. Peter wrote down the lists of the things in the little pocket-book where he kept the numbers of his engines. These were the lists:


A tobacco pipe from the sweet shop.

Half a pound of tea from the grocer's.

A woollen scarf slightly faded from the draper's, which was the other side of the grocer's.

A stuffed squirrel from the Doctor.


A piece of meat from the butcher.

Six fresh eggs from the woman who lived in the old turnpike cottage.

A piece of honeycomb and six bootlaces from the cobbler, and an iron shovel from the blacksmith's.

Very early next morning Bobbie got up and woke Phyllis. This had been agreed on between them. They had not told Peter because they thought he would think it silly. But they told him afterwards, when it had turned out all right.

They cut a big bunch of roses, and put it in a basket with the needle-book that Phyllis had made for Bobbie on her birthday, and a very pretty blue necktie of Phyllis's. Then they wrote on a paper: 'For Mrs. Ransome, with our best love, because it is her birthday,' and they put the paper in the basket, and they took it to the Post-office, and went in and put it on the counter and ran away before the old woman at the Post-office had time to get into her shop.

When they got home Peter had grown confidential over helping Mother to get the breakfast and had told her their plans.

"There's no harm in it," said Mother, "but it depends how  you do it. I only hope he won't be offended and think it's charity . Poor people are very proud, you know."

"It isn't because he's poor," said Phyllis; "it's because we're fond of him."

"I'll find some things that Phyllis has outgrown," said Mother, "if you're quite sure you can give them to him without his being offended. I should like to do some little thing for him because he's been so kind to you. I can't do much because we're poor ourselves. What are you writing, Bobbie?"

"Nothing particular," said Bobbie, who had suddenly begun to scribble. "I'm sure he'd like the things, Mother."

The morning of the fifteenth was spent very happily in getting the buns and watching Mother make A. P. on them with pink sugar. You know how it's done, of course? You beat up whites of eggs and mix powdered sugar with them, and put in a few drops of cochineal. And then you make a cone of clean, white paper with a little hole at the pointed end, and put the pink egg-sugar in at the big end. It runs slowly out at the pointed end, and you write the letters with it just as though it were a great fat pen full of pink sugar-ink.

The buns looked beautiful with A. P. on every one, and, when they were put in a cool oven to set the sugar, the children went up to the village to collect the honey and the shovel and the other promised things.

The old lady at the Post-office was standing on her doorstep. The children said "Good morning," politely, as they passed.

"Here, stop a bit," she said.

So they stopped.

"Those roses," said she.

"Did you like them?" said Phyllis; "they were as fresh as fresh. I  made the needle-book, but it was Bobbie's present." She skipped joyously as she spoke.

"Here's your basket," said the Post-office woman. She went in and brought out the basket. It was full of fat, red gooseberries.

"I dare say Perks's children would like them," said she.

"You are  an old dear," said Phyllis, throwing her arms around the old lady's fat waist. "Perks will  be pleased."


"He won't be half so pleased as I was with your needle-book and the tie and the pretty flowers and all," said the old lady, patting Phyllis's shoulder. "You're good little souls, that you are. Look here. I've got a pram round the back in the wood-lodge. It was got for my Emmie's first, that didn't live but six months, and she never had but that one. I'd like Mrs. Perks to have it. It 'ud be a help to her with that great boy of hers. Will you take it along?"

"Oh!"  said all the children together.

When Mrs. Ransome had got out the perambulator and taken off the careful papers that covered it, and dusted it all over, she said:

"Well, there it is. I don't know but what I'd have given it to her before if I'd thought of it. Only I didn't quite know if she'd accept of it from me. You tell her it was my Emmie's little one's pram—"

"Oh, isn't  it nice to think there is going to be a real live baby in it again!"

"Yes," said Mrs. Ransome, sighing, and then laughing; "here, I'll give you some peppermint cushions for the little ones, and then you run along before I give you the roof off my head and the clothes off my back."

All the things that had been collected for Perks were packed into the perambulator, and at half past three Peter and Bobbie and Phyllis wheeled it down to the little yellow house where Perks lived.

The house was very tidy. On the window ledge was a jug of wild flowers, big daisies, and red sorrel, and feathery, flowery grasses.

There was a sound of splashing from the wash-house, and a partly washed boy put his head round the door.

"Mother's a-changing of herself," he said.

"Down in a minute," a voice sounded down the narrow, freshly scrubbed stairs.

The children waited. Next moment the stairs creaked and Mrs. Perks came down, buttoning her bodice. Her hair was brushed very smooth and tight, and her face shone with soap and water.

"I'm a bit late changing, Miss," she said to Bobbie, "owing to me having had a extry clean-up to-day, along o' Perks happening to name its being his birthday. I don't know what put it into his head to think of such a thing. We keeps the children's birthdays, of course; but him and me—we're too old for such like, as a general rule."

"We knew it was his birthday," said Peter, "and we've got some presents for him outside in the perambulator."

As the presents were being unpacked, Mrs. Perks gasped. When they were all unpacked, she surprised and horrified the children by sitting suddenly down on a wooden chair and bursting into tears.

"Oh, don't!" said everybody; "oh, please don't!" And Peter added, perhaps a little impatiently: "What on earth is the matter? You don't mean to say you don't like it?"

Mrs. Perks only sobbed. The Perks children, now as shiny-faced as anyone could wish, stood at the wash-house door, and scowled at the intruders. There was a silence, an awkward silence.

"Don't  you like it?" said Peter, again, while his sisters patted Mrs. Perks on the back.

She stopped crying as suddenly as she had begun.

"There, there, don't you mind me. I'm  all right!" she said. "Like it? Why, it's a birthday such as Perks never 'ad, not even when 'e was a boy and stayed with his uncle, who was a corn chandler on his own account. He failed afterwards. Like it? O—" and then she went on and said all sorts of things that I won't write down, because I am sure that Peter and Bobbie and Phyllis would not like me to. Their ears got hotter and hotter, and their faces redder and redder, at the kind things Mrs. Perks said. They felt they had done nothing to deserve all this praise.

At last Peter said: "Look here, we're glad you're pleased. But if you go on saying things like that, we must go home. And we did want to stay and see if Mr. Perks is pleased, too. But we can't stand this."

"I won't say another single word," said Mrs. Perks, with a beaming face, "but that needn't stop me thinking, need it? For if ever—"

"Can we have a plate for the buns?" Bobbie asked abruptly. And then Mrs. Perks hastily laid the table for tea, and the buns and the honey and the gooseberries were displayed on plates, and the roses were put in two glass jam jars, and the tea-table looked, as Mrs. Perks said, "fit for a Prince."

"To think!" she said, "me getting the place tidy early, and the little 'uns getting the wild flowers and all—when never did I think there'd be anything more for him except the ounce of his pet particular that I got o' Saturday and been saving up for 'im ever since. Bless us! 'e is  early!"

Perks had indeed unlatched the latch of the little front gate.

"Oh," whispered Bobbie, "let's hide in the back kitchen, and you  tell him about it. But give him the tobacco first, because you got it for him. And when you've told him, we'll all come in and shout, 'Many happy returns!' "

It was a very nice plan, but it did not quite come off. To begin with, there was only just time for Peter and Bobbie and Phyllis to rush into the wash-house, pushing the young and open-mouthed Perks children in front of them. There was not time to shut the door, so that, without at all meaning it, they had to listen to what went on in the kitchen. The wash-house was a tight fit for the Perks children and the Three Chimneys children, as well as all the wash-house's proper furniture, including the mangle and the copper.

"Hullo, old woman!" they heard Mr. Perks's voice say; "here's a pretty set-out!"

"It's your birthday tea, Bert," said Mrs. Perks, "and here's a ounce of your extry particular. I got it o' Saturday along o' your happening to remember it was your birthday to-day."

"Good old girl!" said Mr. Perks, and there was a sound of a kiss.

"But what's that pram doing here? And what's all these bundles? And where did you get the sweetstuff, and—"

The children did not hear what Mrs. Perks replied, because just then Bobbie gave a start, put her hand in her pocket, and all her body grew stiff with horror.

"Oh!" she whispered to the others, "whatever shall we do? I forgot to put the labels on any of the things! He won't know what's from who. He'll think it's all us,  and that we're trying to be grand or charitable or something horrid."

"Hush!" said Peter.

And then they heard the voice of Mr. Perks, loud and rather angry.

"I don't care," he said; "I won't stand it, and so I tell you straight."

"But," said Mrs. Perks, "it's them children you make such a fuss about—the children from the Three Chimneys."

"I don't care," said Perks, firmly, "not if it was a angel from Heaven. We've got on all right all these years and no favours asked. I'm not going to begin these sort of charity goings-on at my time of life, so don't you think it, Nell."


"Oh, hush!" said poor Mrs. Perks; "Bert, shut your silly tongue, for goodness' sake. The all three of 'ems in the wash-house a-listening to every word you speaks."

"Then I'll give them something to listen to," said the angry Perks; "I've spoke my mind to them afore now, and I'll do it again," he added, and he took two strides to the wash-house door, and flung it wide open—as wide, that is, as it would go, with the tightly packed children behind it.

"Come out," said Perks, "come out and tell me what you mean by it. 'Ave I ever complained to you of being short, as you comes this charity lay over me?"

"Oh!"  said Phyllis, "I thought you'd be so pleased; I'll never try to be kind to anyone else as long as I live. No, I won't, not never."

She burst into tears.

"We didn't mean any harm," said Peter.

"It ain't what you means so much as what you does," said Perks.

"Oh, don't!"  cried Bobbie, trying hard to be braver than Phyllis, and to find more words than Peter had done for explaining in. "We thought you'd love it. We always have things on our birthdays."

"Oh, yes," said Perks, "your own relations; that's different."

"Oh, no," Bobbie answered. "Not  our own relations. All the servants always gave us things at home, and us to them when it was their birthdays. And when it was mine, and Mother gave me the brooch like a buttercup, Mrs. Viney gave me two lovely glass pots, and nobody thought she was coming the charity lay over us."

"If it had been glass pots here," said Perks, "I wouldn't ha' said so much. It's there being all this heaps and heaps of things I can't stand. No—nor won't, neither."

"But they're not all from us—" said Peter, "only we forgot to put the labels on. They're from all sorts of people in the village."

"Who put 'em up to it, I'd like to know?" asked Perks.

"Why, we did," sniffed Phyllis.

Perks sat down heavily in the elbow-chair and looked at them with what Bobbie afterwards described as withering glances of gloomy despair.

"So you've been round telling the neighbours we can't make both ends meet? Well, now you've disgraced us as deep as you can in the neighbourhood, you can just take the whole bag of tricks back w'ere it come from. Very much obliged, I'm sure. I don't doubt but what you meant it kind, but I'd rather not be acquainted with you any longer if it's all the same to you." He deliberately turned the chair round so that his back was turned to the children. The legs of the chair grated on the brick floor, and that was the only sound that broke the silence.

Then suddenly Bobbie spoke.

"Look here," she said, "this is most awful."

"That's what I says," said Perks, not turning round.

"Look here," said Bobbie, desperately, "we'll go if you like—and you needn't be friends with us any more if you don't want, but—"

"We  shall always be friends with you,  however nasty you are to us," sniffed Phyllis, wildly.

"Be quiet," said Peter, in a fierce aside.

"But before we go," Bobbie went on desperately, "do let us show you the labels we wrote to put on the things."

"I don't want to see no labels," said Perks, "except proper luggage ones in my own walk of life. Do you think I've kept respectable and outer debt on what I gets, and her having to take in washing, to be give away for a laughing-stock to all the neighbours?"

"Laughing?" said Peter; "you don't know."

"You're a very hasty gentleman," whined Phyllis; "you know you were wrong once before, about us not telling you the secret about the Russian. Do let Bobbie tell you about the labels!"

"Well. Go ahead!" said Perks, grudgingly.

"Well, then," said Bobbie, fumbling miserably, yet not without hope, in her tightly stuffed pocket, "we wrote down all the things everybody said when they gave us the things, with the people's names, because Mother said we ought to be careful—because—but I wrote down what she said—and you'll see."

But Bobbie could not read the labels just at once. She had to swallow once or twice before she could begin.

Mrs. Perks had been crying steadily ever since her husband had opened the wash-house door. Now she caught her breath, choked, and said:

"Don't you upset yourself, Missy. I  know you meant it kind if he doesn't."

"May I read the labels?" said Bobbie, crying on to the slips as she tried to sort them. "Mother's first. It says:

" 'Little Clothes for Mrs. Perks's children.' Mother said, 'I'll find some of Phyllis's things that she's grown out of if you're quite sure Mr. Perks wouldn't be offended and think it's meant for charity. I'd like to do some little thing for him, because he's so kind to you. I can't do much because we're poor ourselves.' "

Bobbie paused.

"That's all right," said Perks, "your Ma's a born lady. We'll keep the little frocks, and what-not, Nell."

"Then there's the perambulator and the gooseberries, and the sweets," said Bobbie, "they're from Mrs. Ransome. She said: 'I dare say Mr. Perks's children would like the sweets. And the perambulator was got for my Emmie's first—it didn't live but six months, and she's never had but that one. I'd like Mrs. Perks to have it. It would be a help with her fine boy. I'd have given it before if I'd been sure she'd accept of it from me.' She told me to tell you," Bobbie added, "that it was her Emmie's little one's pram."

"I can't send that pram back, Bert," said Mrs. Perks, firmly, "and I won't. So don't you ask me—"

"I'm not a-asking anything," said Perks, gruffly.

"Then the shovel," said Bobbie. "Mr. James made it for you himself. And he said—where is it? Oh, yes, here! He said, 'You tell Mr. Perks it's a pleasure to make a little trifle for a man as is so much respected,' and then he said he wished he could shoe your children and his own children, like they do the horses, because, well, he knew what shoe leather was."

"James is a good enough chap," said Perks.

"Then the honey," said Bobbie, in haste, "and the boot-laces. He  said he respected a man that paid his way—and the butcher said the same. And the old turnpike woman said many was the time you'd lent her a hand with her garden when you were a lad—and things like that came home to roost—I don't know what she meant. And everybody who gave anything said they liked you, and it was a very good idea of ours; and nobody said anything about charity or anything horrid like that. And the old gentleman gave Peter a gold pound for you, and said you were a man who knew your work. And I thought you'd love  to know how fond people are of you, and I never was so unhappy in my life. Good-bye. I hope you'll forgive us some day—"

She could say no more, and she turned to go.

"Stop," said Perks, still with his back to them; "I take back every word I've said contrary to what you'd wish. Nell, set on the kettle."

"We'll take the things away if you're unhappy about them," said Peter; "but I think everybody'll be most awfully disappointed, as well as us."

"I'm not unhappy about them," said Perks; "I don't know," he added, suddenly wheeling the chair round and showing a very odd-looking screwed-up face, "I don't know as ever I was better pleased. Not so much with the presents—though they're an A1 collection—but the kind respect of our neighbours. That's worth having, eh, Nell?"

"I think it's all worth having," said Mrs. Perks, "and you've made a most ridiculous fuss about nothing, Bert, if you ask me."

"No, I ain't," said Perks, firmly; "if a man didn't respect hisself, no one wouldn't do it for him."

"But everyone respects you," said Bobbie; "they all said so."

"I knew you'd like it when you really understood," said Phyllis, brightly.

"Humph! You'll stay to tea?" said Mr. Perks.

Later on Peter proposed Mr. Perks's health. And Mr. Perks proposed a toast, also honoured in tea, and the toast was, "May the garland of friendship be ever green," which was much more poetical than anyone had expected from him.

* * * * * *

"Jolly good little kids, those," said Mr. Perks to his wife as they went to bed.

"Oh, they're all right, bless their hearts," said his wife; "it's you that's the aggravatingest old thing that ever was. I was ashamed of you—I tell you—"

"You didn't need to be, old gal. I climbed down handsome soon as I understood it wasn't charity. But charity's what I never did abide, and won't neither."

* * * * * *

All sorts of people were made happy by that birthday party. Mr. Perks and Mrs. Perks and the little Perkses by all the nice things and by the kind thoughts of their neighbours; the Three Chimneys children by the success, undoubted though unexpectedly delayed, of their plan; and Mrs. Ransome every time she saw the fat Perks baby in the perambulator. Mrs. Perks made quite a round of visits to thank people for their kind birthday presents, and after each visit felt that she had a better friend than she had thought.

"Yes," said Perks, reflectively, "it's not so much what you does as what you means; that's what I say. Now if it had been charity."

"Oh, drat charity," said Mrs. Perks; "nobody won't offer you charity, Bert, however much you was to want it, I lay. That was just friendliness, that was."

When the clergyman called on Mrs. Perks, she told him all about it. "It was  friendliness, wasn't it, Sir?" said she.

"I think," said the clergyman, "it was what is sometimes called loving-kindness."

So you see it was all right in the end. But if one does that sort of thing, one has to be careful to do it in the right way. For, as Mr. Perks said, when he had time to think it over, it's not so much what you do, as what you mean.


Heroes of the Middle Ages  by Eva March Tappan


Pepin the Short had done a great deal to unite the kingdom; but when he died, he left it to his two sons, and so divided it again. The older son died in a few years; and now the kingdom of the Franks was in the hands of Charlemagne, if he could hold it. First came trouble with the Saxons who lived about the lower Rhine and the Elbe. They and the Franks were both Germans, but the Franks had had much to do with the Romans, and had learned many of their ways. Missionaries, too, had dwelt among them and had taught them Christianity, while the Saxons were still heathen. It was fully thirty years before the Saxons were subdued. During those years, Charlemagne watched them closely. He fought, to be sure, whenever they rebelled, and he made some severe laws and saw to it that these were obeyed. More than this, however, he sent missionaries to them, and he built churches. He carried away many Saxon boys as hostages. These boys were carefully brought up and were taught Christianity. They learned to like the Frankish ways of living, and when they had grown up and were sent home, they urged their friends to yield and become peaceful subjects of the great king; and finally the land of the Saxons became a part of the Frankish kingdom.

Charlemagne had only begun the Saxon war, when the Pope asked for help against the Lombards, a tribe of Teutons who had settled in Northern Italy. The king was quite ready to give it, for he, too, had a quarrel with them; and in a year or two their ruler had been shut up in a monastery and Charlemagne had been crowned with the old iron crown of Lombardy.

This war had hardly come to an end before the king led his troops into Spain against the Mohammedans. There, too, he was successful; but at Roncesvalles he lost a favourite follower, Count Roland. Roland and the warriors who perished with him were so young and brave that the Franks never wearied of recounting their noble deeds. Later the story was put into a fine poem, called the "Song of Roland," which long afterward men sang as they dashed into battle.


Count Roland at Roncesvalles

In the year 800, a great honor was shown to Charlemagne, for as he was kneeling at the altar in Rome on Christmas Day, the Pope set a crown upon his head, and the people cried, "Long life and victory to the mighty Charles, the great and pacific Emperor of the Romans, crowned of God!" Charlemagne was now not only king of the Franks, but Roman Emperor. This empire, however, was smaller than it had been in the earlier days, for it included now only France, part of Germany and of Italy, and a little strip at the north of Spain.


Coronation of Charlemagne

Charlemagne had become a great ruler, and other rulers were anxious to win his friendship. Haroun-al-Rashid, or Harun the Just, the Caliph of Bagdad, hero of The Arabian Nights, was one of his special friends. This caliph was a poet and learned man. He founded schools throughout his kingdom in which medicine, geometry, and astronomy might be studied. Charlemagne did not write poetry, but he was a close student, and he desired the boys of his kingdom to be educated. One of his orders reads, "Let every monastery and every abbey have its school, where boys may be taught the Psalms, the system of musical notation, singing, arithmetic, and grammar, and let the books which are given them be free from faults, and let care be taken that the boys do not spoil them either when reading or writing." When he returned from one of his campaigns, he sent for a group of schoolboys and bade them show him their work. The boys from the poorer families had done their best, and he thanked them heartily. "Try now to reach perfection," he said, "and you shall be highly honored in my sight." The sons of the nobles had thought that as their fathers were rich and of high rank there was no need of their working, and they had nothing good to show their king. He burst out upon them in anger, "You pretty and dainty little gentlemen who count upon your birth and your wealth, you have disregarded my orders and your own reputations and neglected your studies. Let me promise you this: If you do not make haste to make good your former negligence, never think to get any favors from Karl."

As there were few learned men in the Frankish kingdom, the king sent to scholars in other parts of Europe and offered them generous rewards to come to the Franks as their teachers. He collected a library and established a school at his own court; and there the mighty Emperor, his family, and his courtiers, gathered around some wise man and learned of him. The Emperor was interested in everything. He often got up in the night to study the stars. Once when the planet Mars could not be seen, he wrote to his teacher, "What do you think of this Mars? Is it the influence of the sun? Is it a miracle ? Could he have been two years about performing the course of a single one?"

Charlemagne was a tall, large, dignified man. On state occasions he dressed most splendidly, but at other times he wore simple clothes and liked best those that were ornamented with the work of his wife and daughters. He was an expert horseman and swimmer, and he taught his sons to ride and to use the sword and the spear. He took charge of his own farms, he built churches and bridges, and he began a canal to connect the Rhine with the Danube. He encouraged trade, making the taxes upon merchants as light as possible. He collected the ancient German songs, he had a grammar of the language written, he improved the singing in the churches, and he even had the coinage of the kingdom manufactured in his own palace. All this was in addition to the fifty or more campaigns that he was obliged to make. Surely he was the busiest of monarchs and the busiest of Germans; for, although the land of the Franks is now France, yet it must not be forgotten that the Franks were German, and that the German "Karl der Grosse," would be a better name for the great ruler than the French "Charlemagne."

When the mighty Emperor died, his empire fell to his son, a gentle, kindly man, but not strong enough to meet the lawless chiefs who opposed him. He was followed by his three sons; and again the vast empire was divided. The sons were not satisfied, and they went to war. After much fighting, a treaty was made at Verdun in 843. The eldest son, Lothair, received the title of Emperor. His part of the domain was northern Italy and a broad strip of land extending to the North Sea. The kingdom of the youngest lay to the east of this, and that of the second son, Charles the Bald, to the west. Charles the Bald held more than half of what is now called France, and it is from this treaty and the reign of Charles that the French count the beginning of the kingdom of France.


The Emperor Charlemagne


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree

The village smithy stands;

The smith, a mighty man is he,

With large and sinewy hands,

And the muscles of his brawny arms

Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long;

His face is like the tan;

His brow is wet with honest sweat,

He earns whate'er he can,

And looks the whole world in the face,

For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,

You can hear his bellows blow;

You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,

With measured beat and slow,

Like a sexton ringing the village bell,

When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school

Look in at the open door;

They love to see the flaming forge,

And hear the bellows roar,

And catch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys;

He hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter's voice,

Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,

Singing in Paradise!

He needs must think of her once more,

How in the grave she lies;

And with his hard, rough hand he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.


Onward through life he goes;

Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught!

Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought;

Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Each burning deed and thought.


  WEEK 9  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

Henry VII—Another Make-Believe Prince

A FEW years after the rebellion of Lambert Simnel there was another which lasted longer and was more serious.

A second handsome boy, even more handsome, gay, and princely than Lambert Simnel, landed in Ireland. He was, he said, Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the two little princes who had been smothered in the Tower, by order of their uncle Richard.

It was quite true, he said, that his brother, Edward V., had been killed, but the wicked murderers had not been cruel enough to kill them both, and he had been saved. For seven years he had been wandering about the world from place to place. Now he had come to claim his own again and take the throne from Henry.

This story was not true. The boy's real name was Perkin Warbeck, but, like Lambert Simnel, he had been taught to tell these lies by the enemies of Henry, who hoped in this way to drive him from the throne.

Although the Irish had already been deceived once, they believed Perkin Warbeck, and many people promised to help him. The French king, who was quarrelling with Henry, invited him to come to France. There he was kindly treated, and more help was promised to him. But Henry, who always avoided war when he could, made peace with France. And the French King, although he would not betray Perkin to the English king, sent him out of France.

When he was obliged to leave the French court, Perkin went to Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy. This lady was a sister of Edward IV. and she hated Henry VII. so much that she was glad to hurt or annoy him when she could. She had helped Lambert Simnel, and now she welcomed Perkin as her nephew. She said that he was very like his supposed father, Edward IV., and she called him the White Rose of England.

Just as Henry had taken trouble to prove that Lambert Simnel was a false earl, now he took trouble to prove that Perkin was a false prince. He sent spies to the places where Perkin had been born and had lived till now, and made sure that he was really Perkin or Peterkin Warbeck. Then he found the two men who had killed the Princes in the Tower. They confessed to the murder, but they were not punished for it, perhaps because Henry thought they had not been so much to blame as Richard III. who had made them do it.

But in spite of all this, many people believed in Perkin. The king of Scotland—not that King who had been kept prisoner for such a long time in England—believed in him so much that he not only helped him with soldiers, but married him to his cousin, a beautiful lady called Catherine Gordon.

Like Lambert Simnel, Perkin was crowned and his followers called him Richard IV. The rebellion went on for about five years. Battles were fought now and again, but Perkin was never successful. His beautiful wife, Catherine, went everywhere with him. She at least believed in him and loved him.

At last, hearing that the men of Cornwall were angry with the King because he had taxed them too heavily, Perkin decided to try his fortune there. He landed in Cornwall, left his beautiful wife at St. Michael's Mount, where she might be safe, and marched to besiege Exeter. But the people of Exeter were true to the King and would not yield. So Perkin grew tired of besieging a town which would not yield and he marched away to Taunton.

There, hearing that Henry was coming against him with a great army, he took fright and ran away in the night.

Next morning, when Perkin's poor soldiers woke up and found that they had lost their leader, they had no heart to fight. Some of them ran away like Perkin, others gave themselves up, begging the King to forgive them. They were all gathered together in a churchyard at Exeter, their heads and their feet bare and ropes around their necks. King Henry came to a great window and looked down upon them. When the people saw him, they all fell upon their knees begging for pardon.

There were so many of them that the King could not punish all. So he spoke to them and, warning them not to rebel again, said he would forgive them all except the ringleaders who should be put to death.

Then with a great cry of rejoicing and thanks the people threw the ropes from their necks and went to their homes.

Henry sent to St. Michael's Mount for the Lady Catherine, Perkin's beautiful wife and when she was brought before him, blushing and trembling and fearful of the rough soldiers, the King felt so sorry for her that he treated her as a royal guest. He gave her a guard of honour and sent her to London to the court of his Queen Elizabeth.

There she lived for many years, loved and admired for her beauty and her gentleness. She was so lovely that she was called the White Rose of England, the name which the Duchess of Burgundy had given to her cowardly husband.

Meanwhile Perkin had taken sanctuary at a place called Beaulieu. Henry would not seize him while he remained in sanctuary, but he kept such a close watch that Perkin could find no way of escape, and at last gave himself up.

Henry would not see nor speak with Perkin, but made him ride in his train to London. When they arrived there, all the people came out into the streets to see the wonderful man who had pretended to be a prince, and who had made people believe in him for so many years.

Perkin was even more fortunate than Lambert Simnel had been. He was neither put in prison nor was he made a servant. He was allowed to live at court like a gentleman, although there were guards always with him who had orders never to lose sight of him.

Perkin might have spent the rest of his life in peace but he soon grew tired of being watched and one day he managed to run away. But he did not run very far. Henry's soldiers were too quick for him and once more Perkin gave himself up.

This time Henry punished Perkin by putting him into the stocks for two whole days, first at Westminster and then at Cheapside. He also made him read a paper aloud, in which he confessed that the story he had told was not true and that he was not the Duke of York.

In those days people were often punished by being put in the stocks. They had to sit in a very uncomfortable position with their feet through holes in a board. It was uncomfortable and painful also, and was considered a great disgrace. Little boys, and grown up people too, used to hoot and yell at those in the stocks and pelt them with mud, rotten eggs, and other disagreeable things.

After Perkin Warbeck had been in the stocks for two days Henry shut him up in the Tower. There he met the Earl of Warwick—the real earl, not Lambert Simnel.

These two prisoners were allowed to talk together, and soon they formed a plot to kill the Governor of the Tower, and escape. But the plot was found out and that put an end to Perkin Warbeck, for Henry, thinking that he was too dangerous to be allowed to live any longer, ordered his head to be cut off.

The poor Earl of Warwick was also put to death. This was a needless and cruel act, for the earl alone was too simple to harm any one. Indeed he was so ignorant of the world and the things in it, that it was said he did not know the difference between a hen and a goose.

Except for the wars which these pretenders, Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel caused, the reign of Henry VII. was very peaceful. One reason for that was that Henry was greedy, and he knew that wars cost a great deal of money. Once indeed he got money from the people in order to make war against the French, but as soon as he got it he made peace and kept the money for himself. The people were very angry, but Henry as a King was far more powerful than the Plantagenets had ever been and the people had to submit.

One reason why the Tudors were such powerful kings was that, during the Wars of the Roses, nearly all the nobles were killed. The King took all the money and lands which had belonged to these dead nobles, and so he became very rich. Being rich he did not need to ask Parliament for grants of money, so the people became less powerful. Indeed during a great part of Henry's reign he called no Parliament, which shows how much he had of his own way.

About this time two very wonderful things happened which made a great difference throughout the world. One was the discovery of printing. The other was the discovery of America.

Up to the time of Edward IV. books had all been written by hand, and they were so dear that only a few rich people could buy them. But, when a clever man called Caxton brought the art of printing to England, books became cheaper, and people began to think more about learning and less about fighting.

Then Columbus discovered America. That, too, made people think less about fighting, for they gave up quarrelling about little bits of the Old World and turned their thoughts to exploring the wonders of the New World, as Columbus called the land he discovered.


Winter  by Dallas Lore Sharp

The Peculiar 'Possum

I F you are a New Englander, or a Northwesterner, then, probably, you have never pulled a 'possum out of his hollow stump or from under some old rail-pile, as I have done, many a time, down in southern New Jersey. And so, probably, you have never made the acquaintance of the most peculiar creature in our American woods.

Even roast 'possum is peculiar. Up to the time you taste roast 'possum you quite agree with Charles Lamb that roast pig is peculiarly the most delicious delicacy "in the whole modus edibilis,"  in other words, bill of fare. But once you eat roast 'possum, you will go all over Lamb's tasty "Dissertation upon Roast Pig," marking out "pig" with your pencil and writing in " 'possum," making the essay read thus:—

"There is no flavor comparable, I will contend, to that of the crisp, tawny, well-watched, not over-roasted, 'possum,  as it is called,—the very teeth are invited to their share of the pleasure at this banquet in overcoming the coy, brittle resistance,—with the adhesive oleaginous—O call it not fat! but an indefinable sweetness growing up to it—the tender blossoming of fat—fat cropped in the bud—taken in the shoot—in the first innocence—" For no matter how old your roast 'possum, he is as tender as the tenderest roast pig. And that, of course, is peculiar.

But live 'possum is more peculiar than roast 'possum. It is peculiar, for instance, that almost all of the 'possum's relations, except his immediate family, dwell apart in Australia,—in Australasia, for marsupials are found also in Tasmania, New Guinea, and the Moluccas—which islands the marsupials seem to have had given them for their own when the world was made. There, at least, most of them live and have lived for ages, except the 'possums. These latter, strangely enough, live in South and North America, and nowhere else. The peculiar, puzzling thing about them is: how they, and they only of the marsupials, got away from Australia across the sea to America. Did a family of them get set adrift on a log and float across? Or was there once, as geologists tell us, a long string of islands close together, stretching from the tip of South America, from the "Horn," off across the sea to Australia, over which the 'possums might once have made their way? But if they came by such a route, why did not the kangaroos come too? Ah, the kangaroo is not a 'possum. There is no other creature in the woods that would dare play "Follow the leader" with the 'possum. No, I am half inclined to think the scientists right who say that the 'possum is the great-great-grandfather of all the marsupials, and that the migration might have been the other way about—from America, across the sea.

But what is the use of speculating? Here is the 'possum in our woods; that we know; and yonder in Australasia are his thirteen sets of cousins, and there they seem always to have been, for of these thirteen sets of cousins, four sets have so long since ceased to live that they are now among the fossils, slowly turning, every one of them, to stone!

A queer history he has, surely! But queerer than his history, is his body, and the way he grows from babyhood to twenty-pound 'possumhood.

For besides having a tail that can be used for a hand, and a paw with a thumb like the human thumb, the female 'possum has a pocket or pouch on her abdomen, just as the kangaroo has, in which she carries her young.

Now that is peculiar, so very peculiar when you study deeply into it, that the 'possum becomes to the scientist quite the most interesting mammal in North America.

Returning from a Christmas vacation one year, while a student in college, I brought back with me twenty-six live 'possums so that the professor of zoölogy could study the peculiar anatomy of the 'possum for several of its many meanings.

This pouch, for instance, and the peculiar bones of the 'possum, show that it is a very primitive mammal, one of the very oldest mammals, so close to the beginning of the mammalian line that there are only two other living "animals" (we can hardly call them mammals) older and more primitive—the porcupine ant-eater, and, oldest of all, the duck-bill, not "older" at all perhaps, but only more primitive.


For the duck-bill, though classed as a mammal, not only has the bill of the duck, but also lays eggs like the birds. The porcupine ant-eater likewise lays eggs, and so seems almost as much bird or reptile as mammal. And as the birds and reptiles lived upon the earth before the age of mammals, and are a lower and more primitive order of creatures, so the duck-bill, the porcupine ant-eater, and the 'possum, because in their anatomy they are like the birds and the reptiles in some respects, are perhaps the lowest and the oldest of all the mammals.

The 'possum, therefore, is one of the most primitive of mammals, and dates as far back as the reptilian age, when only traces of mammalian life are to be found, the 'possum's fossil ancestors being among the notable of these early remains.


The mammals at that time, as I have just said, were only partly mammal, for they were partly bird or reptile, as the duck-bill and ant-eater still are. Now the 'possum does not lay eggs as these other two do, for its young are born, not hatched; yet so tiny and undeveloped are they when born, that they must be put into their mother's pouch and nursed, as eggs are put into a nest and brooded until they are hatched—really born a second time.

For here in their mother's pouch they are like chicks in the shell, and quite as helpless. It is five weeks before they can stick their heads out and take a look at the world.

No other mammalian baby is so much of a baby and yet comes so near to being no baby at all. It is less than an inch long when put into the pouch, and it weighs only four grains! Four grains? Think how small that is. For there are 7000 grains to a pound, which means that it would take 1750 baby 'possums to weigh as much as two cups of sugar!

"I should say he was peculiar!" I hear you exclaim; and you will agree with an ancient History of Carolina which I have, when it declares: "The Opossum is the wonder of all the land animals."

I wish you had been with me one spring day as I was stretching a "lay-out" line across Cubby Hollow. (A lay-out line is a long fish-line, strung with baited hooks, and reaching across the pond from shore to shore.) I was out in the middle of the pond, lying flat on a raft made of three cedar rails, when my dog began to bark at something in a brier-patch on shore.

Paddling in as fast as I could, I found the dog standing before a large 'possum, which was backed up against a tree.


I finally got Mrs. 'Possum by the tail and dropped her unhurt into my eel-pot—a fish-trap made out of an empty nail-keg—which I had left since fall among the bushes of the hillside. Then paddling again to the middle of the pond, I untangled and set my hooks on the lay-out line, and came back to shore for my 'possum.

I didn't quite fancy pushing my hand down through the burlap cover over the end of the keg; so I turned it upside down to spill the 'possum out,—and out she spilled and nine little 'possums with her!


I had put in one and spilled out—ten! And this proves again that the 'possum is peculiar. Nine of these were babies that had been hidden from me and the dog in their mother's pouch.

Peculiar, too, was the history of one of these nine young 'possums (the one we named "Pinky"). For after Pinky's mother choked to death on a fish-bone, I gave all his brothers and sisters away, and devoted myself to training Pinky up in the way he should go. And strangely enough, when he was grown, unlike any other wild animal I had ever tamed, he would not depart from these domesticated ways, but insisted upon coming back home every time I took him away to the woods. Of course he was only a few months old when I tried to turn him loose in the woods, and that may account for his returning and squeezing through the opening of the pump-box trough into the kitchen and going fast asleep on the cushion of the settee; as it may also account for his getting into a neighbor's yard by mistake on his way back one night and drowning in the well.

You have read of 'possum hunts;—and they are peculiar, too, as naturally they must needs be. For you hunt 'possums with rabbit hounds, and shoot them with a meal-sack—shoot them into  a meal-sack would be more exact. And you hunt by moonlight if you really love 'possum.

We used to start out just as the moon, climbing over the woods, fell soft across the bare fields. The old dog would be some distance ahead, her nose to the ground, sometimes picking up a trail in the first cornfield, or again not until we reached the woods, or again leading us for miles along the creek meadows among the scattered persimmon trees, before striking a fresh scent.

Wherever the trail started it usually led away for the woods, for some hollow stump or tree, where the 'possum made his nest. Once in a while I have overtaken the fat fellow in an open field or atop a fence, or have even caught him in a hencoop; but usually, if hunting at night, it has been a long, and not always an easy, chase, for a 'possum, in spite of his fat and his fossil ancestors, is not stupid. Or else he is so slow-witted that there is no telling, by man or dog, which way he will go, or what he may do next.

A rabbit, or a deer, or a coon, when you are on their trail, will do certain things. You can count upon them with great certainty. But a 'possum never seems to do anything twice alike; he has no traveled paths, no regular tricks, no set habits. He knows the road home, but it is always a different road—a meandering, roundabout, zigzag, criss-cross, up-and-down (up-the-trees-and-down) road, we-won't-get-home-till-morning road, that takes in all the way stations, from the tops of tall persimmon trees to the bottoms of all the deep, dark holes that need looking into, along the route.

Peculiar!—So, at least, a dog with an orderly mind and well-regulated habits thinks, anyhow. For a 'possum trail will give a good rabbit dog the blues; he hasn't the patience for it. Only a slow rheumatic old hound will stick to a 'possum trail with the endurance necessary to carry it to its end—in a hollow log, or a hollow stump, or under a shock of corn or a rail-pile. Once the trail actually led me, after much trouble, into a hen-house and into a stove in the hen-house, where, upon the grate, I found three 'possums in their nest!

It is a peculiar sport, this 'possum-hunting; yet it is mildly exciting; and when you get your 'possum by the tail, he smiles at you — grins, I ought to say—and has a fit. To go hunting for a creature that smiles at you in a dreadful manner when you capture him, that flops down in a dead faint or has a fit when you take him up by the tail, that shows the spunk and fight of a boiled cabbage—to go hunting for such a beast must be exciting, as exciting as going to the store for a quart of beans.

But here are the winter woods at night, and the wide, moonlit fields, covered, it may be, with the glistening snow. The full, round moon rides high overhead, the pointed corn-shocks stand silent over the fields, the woods rise dark and shadowy beyond. Only the slow, musical cry of the hound echoes through the stirless air, which seems to sparkle like the snow, as if filled with gleaming frost-dust that only the moonlight can catch and set to glancing silvery-bright.

You don't care whether you catch a 'possum or not; you are abroad in a world so large and silent, so crystal-clear and shining, so crisp, so open, so a-creep with shadows, so deep and mysterious in its distances, so pure and beautiful and unblemished, that just to be abroad is wonder enough, and you are not sorry to come back under the brilliant midnight sky with the old dog at your heels and over your shoulder an empty bag.

But if your bag is heavy with fat 'possum then that, too, is good. You have peered into his black hole; you have reached in and pulled him out—nothing more. No roar of a gun has shattered your world of crystal; you have killed nothing, wounded nothing—no, not even the silence and the serenity of your soul. You and the clear, calm night are still one.

You have dropped a smiling 'possum into an easy, roomy bag. He feels warm against your back. The old dog follows proud and content at your heels. And you feel—as the wide, softly shining sky seems to feel.

And that, too, is peculiar.


Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Brook

I come from haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally,

And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges;

By twenty thorps, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip's farm I flow

To join the brimming river;

For men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebles,

I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow,

And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing,

And here and there a lusty trout,

And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me, as I travel,

With many a silvery water-break

Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,

I slide by hazel covers;

I move the sweet forget-me-nots

That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows;

I make the netted sunbeam dance

Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses;

I linger by my shingly bars,

I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river;

For men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.


  WEEK 9  


The Story Book of Science  by Jean Henri Fabre

The Age of Trees

"T HEY used to tell of a chestnut of Sancerre whose trunk was more than four meters round. According to the most moderate estimate its age must have been three or four hundred years. Don't cry out at the age of this chestnut. My story is just beginning, and you may be sure that, as a narrator who stimulates the curiosity of his audience, I reserve the oldest for the end.

"Much larger chestnuts are known; for example, that of Neuve-Celle, on the borders of the Lake of Geneva, and that of Esaü, in the neighborhood of Montélimar. The first is thirteen meters round at the base of the trunk. From the year 1408 it sheltered a hermitage; the story has been testified to. Since then four centuries and half have passed, adding to its age, and lightning has struck it at different times. No matter, it is still vigorous and full of leaves. The second is a majestic ruin. Its high branches are despoiled; its trunk, eleven meters round, is plowed with deep crevices, the wrinkles of old age. To tell the age of these two giants is hardly possible. Perhaps it might be reckoned at a thousand years, and still the two old trees bear fruit; they will not die."

"A thousand years! If Uncle had not said it, I should not believe it." This from Jules.

"Sh! You must listen to the end without saying anything," cautioned his uncle.

"The largest tree in the world is a chestnut on the slopes of Etna, in Sicily. Look at the map: you will see down there, at the extreme end of Italy, opposite the toe of that beautiful country which has the shape of a boot, a large island with three corners. That is Sicily. On that island is a celebrated mountain which throws up burning matter—a volcano, in short. It is called Etna. To come back to our chestnut, I must tell you that they call it 'the chestnut of a hundred horses,' because Jane, Queen of Aragon, visiting the volcano one day and, overtaken by a storm, took refuge under it with her escort of a hundred horsemen. Under its forest of leaves both riders and horses found shelter. To surround the giant, thirty people extending their arms and joining hands would not be enough. The trunk is more than fifty meters round. Judged by its size, it is less a tree-trunk than a fortress, a tower. An opening large enough to permit two carriages to pass abreast goes through the base of the chestnut and gives access into the cavity of the trunk, which is fitted up for the use of those who go to gather chestnuts; for the old colossus still has young sap and seldom fails to bear fruit. It is impossible to estimate the age of this giant by its size, for one suspects that a trunk as large as that comes from several chestnuts, originally distinct, but so near together that they have become welded into one.

"Neustadt, in Württemberg, has a linden whose branches, overburdened by years, are held up by a hundred pillars of masonry. The branches cover all together a space 130 meters in circumference. In 1229 this tree was already old, for writers of that time call it 'the big linden.' Its probable age today is seven or eight hundred years.

"There was in France, at the beginning of this century, an older tree than the veteran of Neustadt. In 1804 could be seen at the castle of Chaillé, in the Deux-Sèvres, a linden 15 meters round. It had six main branches propped with numerous pillars. If it still exists it cannot be less than eleven centuries old.

"The cemetery of Allouville, in Normandy, is shaded by one of the oldest oaks in France. The dust of the dead, into which it has thrust its roots, seems to have given it an exceptional vigor. Its trunk measures ten meters in circumference at the base. A hermit's chamber surmounted by a little steeple rises in the midst of its enormous branches. The base of the trunk, partly hollow, is fitted up as a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Peace. The greatest personages have esteemed it an honor to go and pray in this rustic sanctuary and meditate a moment under the shade of the old tree which has seen so many graves open and shut. According to its size, they consider this oak to be about nine hundred years old. The acorn that produced it must, then, have germinated about the year 1000. To-day the old oak carries its monstrous branches without effort. Glorified by men and ravaged by lightning, it peacefully follows the course of ages, perhaps having before it a future equal to its past.


White Oak

"Much older oaks are known. In 1824 a wood-cutter of Ardennes felled a gigantic oak in whose trunk were found sacrificial vases and antique coins. The old oak had had fifteen or sixteen centuries of existence.

"After the Allouville oak I will tell you of some more companions of the dead; for it is above all in these fields of repose, where the sanctity of the place protects them against the injuries of man, that the trees attain such an advanced age. Two yews in the cemetery of Haie-de-Routot, department of Eure, merit attention above all. In 1832 they shaded with their foliage the whole of the field of the dead and a part of the church, without having experienced serious damage, when an extremely violent windstorm threw a part of their branches to the ground. In spite of this mutilation these two yews are still majestic old trees. Their trunks, entirely hollow, measure each of them nine meters in circumference. Their age is estimated at fourteen hundred years.

"That, however, is not more than half the age that some other trees of the same kind have attained. A yew in a Scotch cemetery measured twenty-nine meters around. Its probable age was two thousand five hundred years. Another yew, also in a cemetery in the same country, was, in 1660, so prodigious that the whole country was talking about it. They reckoned its age then at two thousand eight hundred and twenty-four years. If it is still standing, this patriarch of European trees bears the weight of more than thirty centuries.

"Enough for the present. Now it is your turn to talk."

"I like better to be silent, Uncle Paul," said Jules. "You have upset my mind with your trees that will not die."

"I am thinking of the old yew in the Scotch cemetery. Did you say three thousand years?" asked Claire.

"Three thousand years, my dear child; and we might go still further back, if I were to tell you of certain trees in foreign countries. Some are known to be almost as old as the world."


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

Miles Standish and the Pilgrims

Why the Pilgrims Left England

THREE hundred years ago the kings of England had almost absolute power. The people had very few rights, either in church or government.

When James I came to the English throne he held the same views as the rulers before him. He said, "I am the King and therefore can do no wrong." He said also that everybody must attend his church and worship in just the way he did.

Now, there were a great many good people in England at this time who did not agree with the King's religious views. Neither the king nor the bishop should be the head of the church, they argued. They thought that the churches were built too grandly for a house of God and that too much stress was laid upon the outward forms of religion.

Having these views, it was impossible for them to conform to the rules of the Established Church. So they separated from the Church of England and held services according to their own ideas in their own churches and in private homes. In consequence they were called Separatists.

King James became greatly indignant with the Separatists and finally made a law forcing everybody to attend his church and no other.

The Separatists, however, firm in their own belief, said that they would not and could not obey this law. Instead of giving up their religion, they loved it still more and resolved to suffer and, if need be, die for it. Yet they were cautious. They no longer held public meetings, but gathered together privately to worship God. Oftentimes numbers of them journeyed from place to place, that they might carry on their services unmolested; and for this reason these wanderers became known as Pilgrims as well as Separatists. Still, in spite of all their precautions, the King's watchful officials, whenever possible, would imprison them, fine them heavily, and often lead them to the gallows.

At last, in 1608, a company of Pilgrims from the town of Scrooby decided to flee to Holland, where religious freedom was granted to all. But just as they were about to embark, the King's officers rushed up and seized them. Their clothes were taken away, and they were thrust into prison, where they were kept for several months.

The following year these Pilgrims again decided to leave England. This time they arrived safely in Holland. At last they had perfect religious freedom. They no longer lived in fear of spying officials or dark prisons.

From time to time other bands of Pilgrims came from England, until in a few years several hundreds of English were living on Dutch soil. They lived there very happily for almost twelve years. The Dutch liked them because they were good and diligent citizens, and they in turn liked the thrifty Dutch.

But as the years passed, these Pilgrims were not so well satisfied as at first. They saw that their children were acquiring the Dutch language, Dutch ways and customs, and were forgetting all about England. It must be remembered that although the Pilgrims wanted religious liberty, they dearly loved England and always had been true English at heart. It hurt them to see their children gradually becoming Dutch. Then, too, they thought, the Dutch were not so religious as themselves and were setting their children a bad example.

Owing to all this, the Pilgrims at length decided to seek another country. They thought of several places, but none seemed so desirable as America. Surely here, if anywhere, they could found a little colony of their own and live unmolested the life that pleased them best.

The Pilgrims in America

THERE were about a thousand Pilgrims in Holland at the time the new colony was decided on. It was of course impossible for all to go, as money was not plentiful and the trip was expensive. So they selected the young and strong members of the church as best fitted to withstand the hardships which lay ahead.

In due time all arrangements were complete, and the hour for starting arrived. It was a sad farewell that separated these brave and fearless people. Kneeling down together for the last time, they prayed that God would keep from danger those that stayed and those that went.

In July, 1620, this band of brave Pilgrims left the port of Delft Haven on the vessel Speedwell.  Another vessel, the Mayflower,  with friends from England was waiting for them at Plymouth. When they arrived in England they found that the Speedwell  was too shaky to undertake the voyage, so all went on board the Mayflower  and sailed for the New World.

There were just one hundred and two men, women, and children in this company. Among them were many brave men, such as John Carver, William Brewster, William Bradford, and a soldier by the name of Miles Standish. This soldier was not a Pilgrim. Like John Smith, he loved adventure; and so sincerely did he admire the pluck and perseverance of the Pilgrims that he volunteered to go with them and help them.

The trip across the ocean was long and wearisome. Storms came up, and the poor people had to remain below deck most of the time. The frail vessel was so tossed by the winds and waves that it seemed as if they would never see land again.

At last after many weary weeks they saw the American coast stretched out before them; and on a bleak, wintry day, they rounded the end of Cape Cod and sailed into what is now called Provincetown Harbor. You can hardly imagine with what hope and yet with what fear they gazed at the snow-laden trees, the bare coasts, and the dark skies above.

It was while the Mayflower  was lying at anchor in this bay that the Pilgrims drew up a written agreement in the cabin of the ship. In this agreement it was stated that all were to have equal rights; that they would live in peace and help and defend one another in time of need. They elected John Carver governor and agreed to obey such laws as should seem necessary later on.

For a month they sailed along the coast of Massachusetts Bay, endeavoring to find a suitable place to land. Oftentimes parties explored the shore in a shallop or small boat which they had brought in the Mayflower.  But Miles Standish, who usually had charge of these expeditions, preferred traveling inland to see what kind of land this bleak country was.

On more than one occasion he and his men saw Indians. One day they found several mounds, which proved to be Indian graves. A short distance away they discovered a mound freshly covered over with sand. They removed the sand and found several baskets of corn with yellow, blue, and red kernels. They were overjoyed and took the corn back with them to the ship. Later, when the Pilgrims found to whom this corn belonged, they paid the Indians for it.

During these days Miles Standish proved a very useful friend to the Pilgrims, and it was he who finally chose the spot for the colonists to land upon.

It was on the 21st of December, when the ground was knee-deep with snow and the weather biting cold, that the Pilgrims left the vessel to make their new home in this place, which John Smith had already called Plymouth.

The water was so shallow at this point that even the shallop could not quite reach the shore. Near the water's edge a large bowlder was lying, and this rock the Pilgrims used as a stepping-stone from their small boat to the dry land. To-day if you should go to Plymouth, you would see among many curious relics of the Pilgrims this interesting rock.

A large log house was hastily constructed, in which they all could live until they were able to build separate homes for each family. A platform also was put up, and on it were placed the cannon which the colonists had brought with them. It was necessary to be well armed in this strange land of savage Indians; and the colonists had come with guns, powder, and bullets for each man, and cannon for the common protection.

As the winter advanced, the Pilgrims suffered great hardships. Food was getting scarce. They had used up most of the provisions brought from England. The men were nearly worn out by the heavy work they were doing. Great trees had to be hewn down and dragged to the spot where they were to be used in building. Then came the work of cutting them into the proper size and shape, and all this in bitter cold weather.

No wonder that with all these hardships so many became ill and died. Those who remained well and strong—and there were only a few of them—nursed the sick. The large log house was turned into a hospital. When spring came, only fifty were left of the one hundred and two who had sailed from England.

In order that the Indians might not know to what a small number they had been reduced, the settlers buried their dead at night and leveled the graves so that they would not be noticed.

Yet, despite the hard winter, when the Mayflower  returned to England in the spring, not one person cared to go back. Liberty with all its hardships was sweeter than life in their old home.

One day an Indian came into the village of Plymouth and called to the people in English, "Welcome Englishmen!" His name was Samoset, and he had learned a little English from fishermen on the Maine coast. He stayed over night and left the next morning.

Shortly afterwards Samoset returned with another Indian called Squanto. Years before, Squanto had been stolen by some Englishmen and had been taken to England where he had learned to like the comforts and ways of his captors. He told the Pilgrims that the chief of his tribe, Massasoit, was coming to visit them. In an hour's time Massasoit came with sixty followers. The Pilgrims received him with all possible show. They marched to meet him, carrying their guns and beating all the drums they could muster. The chief seemed much pleased, and a peace compact was drawn up. This peace was kept for over fifty years between these Indians and the English.

Squanto afterwards came and lived in Plymouth and proved a valuable friend. He taught the English the way to plant corn, peas, and barley, and acted as interpreter between them and the neighboring tribes in their fur trading.

When spring came, the Pilgrims grew more hopeful. They had twenty acres of corn and six of barley and peas planted, and this promised a splendid harvest. With the autumn the promise was fulfilled. When they had gathered their first harvest, the Pilgrims found themselves well supplied with grain for the coming winter.

Unlike many people, they did not forget who the Giver of all this bounty was. They set aside one day for a thanksgiving for the harvest; and then, thinking the best way to show their gratitude was to give pleasure to others, they invited Massasoit and ninety of his Indians to join them in a celebration. Massasoit brought five deer for the feast. The Pilgrims themselves had sent men out to shoot wild turkey. For three days these friendly neighbors passed the time in feasting and outdoor games. From this happy beginning has grown our national custom of observing a Thanksgiving Day in the fall of each year.

Not all the Indians, however, were as friendly to the whites as were Massasoit and his tribe.

One day Canonicus, the chief of a tribe hostile to Massasoit, sent a bundle of arrows wrapped in a snake skin to Miles Standish. This was a sign of war. Standish was a brave man and did not fear the threat. He kept the arrows and, filling the snake skin with powder, returned it to Canonicus. This was enough. Canonicus thought it best to leave the English alone.

Again, Massasoit told the Pilgrims of a plot the Massachuseuks tribe was forming to kill all the English in Plymouth. Grateful for the news, Miles Standish decided to hunt up his enemies before they attacked his people. Taking a company of men with him, he fell upon the Massachuseuks and killed their leader, Pecksuot, and many others. Pecksuot had boasted the night before that he did not fear Standish because he was a little man, and he, Pecksuot, a man of great strength and courage.

As the months passed, the Pilgrims were becoming more and more settled. Starting with only the large log cabin which they had built when they first landed, they had now quite a village of separate houses for the different families.

These log houses were not like our houses of to-day. The tiny windows were covered with oiled paper instead of glass, which was too expensive. Instead of dividing the house into dining room, kitchen, and parlor, the Pilgrims had one big room. The cooking was done over the fire under the large chimney. They had scarcely any furniture. Instead of comfortable chairs and beds, they had blocks of wood covered with the furs of wild animals. In one corner stood the large spinning wheel on which the mother and daughters spun yarn for the family use.

The church which these people attended was simple and crude like their homes. Never safe from the Indians, the Pilgrims, even on Sunday, would march to church with their guns over their shoulders.

The life of the Pilgrim children was a busy and yet a happy one. Both boys and girls had to help their parents in the daily toil. Then they had their schools to attend. The schoolhouses were built of clumsy logs with a roof of dried grass and seaweeds. Inside, the walls were bare. There were no pictures and maps to help the children understand their lessons. The teachers were exceedingly strict and thought it wrong for children ever to waste time in play.

On Sunday the children had to walk very quietly to church, and to sit perfectly still through the reading of a sermon which was sure to last one hour, and often lasted two.

At night they sat around the fire while their father read the Bible to all his family; and then they went to bed. If by chance they should lie awake, they were pretty sure to hear the howling of the hungry wolves which prowled about outside. It was a dreary sound.

And so passed the days and nights of the Pilgrim children, until they grew to be God-fearing men and women, honored to this day for the part they took in the first New England colony.


Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns!" he said:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"

Was there a man dismay'd?

Not tho' the soldier knew

Some one had blunder'd:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why.

Theirs but to do and die,

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volley'd and thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabers bare,

Flash'd as they turn'd in air

Sab'ring the gunners there,

Charging an army, while

All the world wonder'd;

Plunged in the battery-smoke

Right thro' the line they broke;

Cossack and Russian

Reel'd from the saber-stroke

Shatter'd and sunder'd.

Then they rode back, but not—

Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volley'd and thunder'd:

Stormed at with shot and shell,

While horse and hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came through the jaws of death

Back from the mouth of hell,

All that was left of them—

Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?

Oh, the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Honour the charge they made!

Honour the Light Brigade—

Noble six hundred!


  WEEK 9  


Otto of the Silver Hand  by Howard Pyle

How One-eyed Hans Came to Trutz-Drachen


F RITZ, the swineherd, sat eating his late supper of porridge out of a great, coarse, wooden bowl; wife Katherine sat at the other end of the table, and the half-naked little children played upon the earthen floor. A shaggy dog lay curled up in front of the fire, and a grunting pig scratched against a leg of the rude table close beside where the woman sat.

"Yes, yes," said Katherine, speaking of the matter of which they had already been talking. "It is all very true that the Drachenhausens are a bad lot, and I for one am of no mind to say no to that; all the same it is a sad thing that a simple-witted little child like the young Baron should be so treated as the boy has been; and now that our Lord Baron has served him so that he, at least, will never be able to do us harm, I for one say that he should not be left there to die alone in that black cell."


Fritz, the swineheard, sat eating his late supper of porridge.

Fritz, the swineherd, gave a grunt at this without raising his eyes from the bowl.

"Yes, good," said Katherine, "I know what thou meanest, Fritz, and that it is none of my business to be thrusting my finger into the Baron's dish. But to hear the way that dear little child spoke when she was here this morn—it would have moved a heart of stone to hear her tell of all his pretty talk. Thou wilt try to let the red-beard know that that poor boy, his son, is sick to death in the black cell; wilt thou not, Fritz?"

The swineherd dropped his wooden spoon into the bowl with a clatter. "Potstausand!" he cried; "art thou gone out of thy head to let thy wits run upon such things as this of which thou talkest to me? If it should come to our Lord Baron's ears he would cut the tongue from out thy head and my head from off my shoulders for it. Dost thou think I am going to meddle in such a matter as this? Listen! these proud Baron folk, with their masterful ways, drive our sort hither and thither; they beat us, they drive us, they kill us as they choose. Our lives are not as much to them as one of my black swine. Why should I trouble my head if they choose to lop and trim one another? The fewer there are of them the better for us, say I. We poor folk have a hard enough life of it without thrusting our heads into the noose to help them out of their troubles. What thinkest thou would happen to us if Baron Henry should hear of our betraying his affairs to the Red-beard?"

"Nay," said Katherine, "thou hast naught to do in the matter but to tell the Red-beard in what part of the castle the little Baron lies."

"And what good would that do?" said Fritz, the swineherd.

"I know not," said Katherine, "but I have promised the little one that thou wouldst find the Baron Conrad and tell him that much."

"Thou hast promised a mare's egg," said her husband, angrily. "How shall I find the Baron Conrad to bear a message to him, when our Baron has been looking for him in vain for two days past?"

"Thou has found him once and thou mayst find him again," said Katherine, "for it is not likely that he will keep far away from here whilst his boy is in such sore need of help."

"I will have nothing to do with it!" said Fritz, and he got up from the wooden block whereon he was sitting and stumped out of the house. But, then, Katherine had heard him talk in that way before, and knew, in spite of his saying "no," that, sooner or later, he would do as she wished.

Two days later a very stout little one-eyed man, clad in a leathern jerkin and wearing a round leathern cap upon his head, came toiling up the path to the postern door of Trutz-Drachen, his back bowed under the burthen of a great peddler's pack. It was our old friend the one-eyed Hans, though even his brother would hardly have known him in his present guise, for, besides having turned peddler, he had grown of a sudden surprisingly fat.

Rap-tap-tap! He knocked at the door with a knotted end of the crooked thorned staff upon which he leaned. He waited for a while and then knocked again—rap-tap-tap!

Presently, with a click, a little square wicket that pierced the door was opened, and a woman's face peered out through the iron bars.

The one-eyed Hans whipped off his leathern cap.

"Good day, pretty one," said he, "and hast thou any need of glass beads, ribbons, combs, or trinkets? Here I am come all the way from Gruenstadt, with a pack full of such gay things as thou never laid eyes on before. Here be rings and bracelets and necklaces that might be of pure silver and set with diamonds and rubies, for anything that thy dear one could tell if he saw thee decked in them. And all are so cheap that thou hast only to say, 'I want them,' and they are thine."

The frightened face at the window looked from right to left and from left to right. "Hush," said the girl, and laid her finger upon her lips. "There! thou hadst best get away from here, poor soul, as fast as thy legs can carry thee, for if the Lord Baron should find thee here talking secretly at the postern door, he would loose the wolf-hounds upon thee."

"Prut," said one-eyed Hans, with a grin, "the Baron is too big a fly to see such a little gnat as I; but wolf-hounds or no wolf-hounds, I can never go hence without showing thee the pretty things that I have brought from the town, even though my stay be at the danger of my own hide."

He flung the pack from off his shoulders as he spoke and fell to unstrapping it, while the round face of the lass (her eyes big with curiosity) peered down at him through the grated iron bars.

Hans held up a necklace of blue and white beads that glistened like jewels in the sun, and from them hung a gorgeous filigree cross. "Didst thou ever see a sweeter thing than this?" said he; "and look, here is a comb that even the silversmith would swear was pure silver all the way through." Then, in a soft, wheedling voice, "Canst thou not let me in, my little bird? Sure there are other lasses besides thyself who would like to trade with a poor peddler who has travelled all the way from Gruenstadt just to please the pretty ones of Trutz-Drachen."

"Nay," said the lass, in a frightened voice, "I cannot let thee in; I know not what the Baron would do to me, even now, if he knew that I was here talking to a stranger at the postern;" and she made as if she would clap to the little window in his face; but the one-eyed Hans thrust his staff betwixt the bars and so kept the shutter open.


Hans held up a necklace of blue and white beads.

"Nay, nay," said he, eagerly, "do not go away from me too soon. Look, dear one; seest thou this necklace?"

"Aye," said she, looking hungrily at it.

"Then listen; if thou wilt but let me into the castle, so that I may strike a trade, I will give it to thee for thine own without thy paying a barley corn for it."

The girl looked and hesitated, and then looked again; the temptation was too great. There was a noise of softly drawn bolts and bars, the door was hesitatingly opened a little way, and, in a twinkling, the one-eyed Hans had slipped inside the castle, pack and all.

"The necklace," said the girl, in a frightened whisper.

Hans thrust it into her hand. "It's thine," said he, "and now wilt thou not help me to a trade?"

"I will tell my sister that thou art here," said she, and away she ran from the little stone hallway, carefully bolting and locking the further door behind her.

The door that the girl had locked was the only one that connected the postern hall with the castle.

The one-eyed Hans stood looking after her. "Thou fool!" he muttered to himself, "to lock the door behind thee. What shall I do next, I should like to know? Here am I just as badly off as I was when I stood outside the walls. Thou hussy! If thou hadst but let me into the castle for only two little minutes, I would have found somewhere to have hidden myself while thy back was turned. But what shall I do now?" He rested his pack upon the floor and stood looking about him.

Built in the stone wall opposite to him, was a high, narrow fireplace without carving of any sort. As Hans' one eye wandered around the bare stone space, his glance fell at last upon it, and there it rested. For a while he stood looking intently at it, presently he began rubbing his hand over his bristling chin in a thoughtful, meditative manner. Finally he drew a deep breath, and giving himself a shake as though to arouse himself from his thoughts, and after listening a moment or two to make sure that no one was nigh, he walked softly to the fireplace, and stooping, peered up the chimney. Above him yawned a black cavernous depth, inky with the soot of years. Hans straightened himself, and tilting his leathern cap to one side, began scratching his bullet-head; at last he drew a long breath. "Yes, good," he muttered to himself; "he who jumps into the river must e'en swim the best he can. It is a vile, dirty place to thrust one's self, but I am in for it now, and must make the best of a lame horse."

He settled the cap more firmly upon his head, spat upon his hands, and once more stooping in the fireplace, gave a leap, and up the chimney he went with a rattle of loose mortar and a black trickle of soot.

By and by footsteps sounded outside the door. There was a pause; a hurried whispering of women's voices; the twitter of a nervous laugh, and then the door was pushed softly open, and the girl to whom the one-eyed Hans had given the necklace of blue and white beads with the filigree cross hanging from it, peeped uncertainly into the room. Behind her broad, heavy face were three others, equally homely and stolid; for a while all four stood there, looking blankly into the room and around it. Nothing was there but the peddler's knapsack lying in the middle of the floor—the man was gone. The light of expectancy slowly faded out of the girl's face, and in its place succeeded first bewilderment and then dull alarm. "But, dear heaven," she said, "where then has the peddler man gone?"

A moment or two of silence followed her speech. "Perhaps," said one of the others, in a voice hushed with awe, "perhaps it was the evil one himself to whom thou didst open the door."

Again there was a hushed and breathless pause; it was the lass who had let Hans in at the postern, who next spoke.

"Yes," said she, in a voice trembling with fright at what she had done, "yes, it must have been the evil one, for now I remember he had but one eye." The four girls crossed themselves, and their eyes grew big and round with the fright.

Suddenly a shower of mortar came rattling down the chimney. "Ach!" cried the four, as with one voice. Bang! the door was clapped to and away they scurried like a flock of frightened rabbits.

When Jacob, the watchman, came that way an hour later, upon his evening round of the castle, he found a peddler's knapsack lying in the middle of the floor. He turned it over with his pike-staff and saw that it was full of beads and trinkets and ribbons.

"How came this here?" said he. And then, without waiting for the answer which he did not expect, he flung it over his shoulder and marched away with it.



Jataka Tales  by Ellen C. Babbitt

The Wise and Foolish Merchant

O NCE upon a time in a certain country a thrifty merchant visited a great city and bought a great supply of goods. He loaded wagons with the goods, which he was going to sell as he traveled through the country.

A stupid young merchant was buying goods in the same city. He, too, was going to sell what he bought as he traveled through the country.

They were both ready to start at the same time.

The thrifty merchant thought, "We cannot travel together, for the men will find it hard to get wood and water, and there will not be enough grass for so many oxen. Either he or I ought to go first."

So he went to the young man and told him this, saying, "Will you go before or come on after me?"

The other one thought, "It will be better for me to go first. I shall then travel on a road that is not cut up. The oxen will eat grass that has not been touched. The water will be clean. Also, I shall sell my goods at what price I like." So he said, "Friend, I will go on first."

This answer pleased the thrifty merchant. He said to himself, "Those who go before will make the rough places smooth. The old rank grass will have been eaten by the oxen that have gone before, while my oxen will eat the freshly grown tender shoots. Those who go before will dig wells from which we shall drink. Then, too, I will not have to bother about setting prices, but I can sell my goods at the prices set by the other man." So he said aloud, "Very well, friend, you may go on first."

At once the foolish merchant started on his journey. Soon he had left the city and was in the country. By and by he came to a desert which he had to cross. So he filled great water-jars with water, loaded them into a large wagon and started across the desert.

Now on the sands of this desert there lived a wicked demon. This demon saw the foolish young merchant coming and thought to himself, "If I can make him empty those water-jars, soon I shall be able to overcome him and have him in my power."

So the demon went further along the road and changed himself into the likeness of a noble gentleman. He called up a beautiful carriage, drawn by milk-white oxen. Then he called ten other demons, dressed them like men and armed them with bows and arrows, swords and shields. Seated in his carriage, followed by the ten demons, he rode back to meet the merchant. He put mud on the carriage wheels, hung water-lilies and wet grasses upon the oxen and the carriage. Then he made the clothes the demons wore and their hair all wet. Drops of water trickled down over their faces just as if they had all come through a stream.

As the demons neared the foolish merchant they turned their carriage to one side of the way, saying pleasantly, "Where are you going?"

The merchant replied, "We have come from the great city back there and are going across the desert to the villages beyond. You come dripping with mud and carrying water-lilies and grasses. Does it rain on the road you have come by? Did you come through a stream?"

The demon answered, "The dark streak across the sky is a forest. In it there are ponds full of water-lilies. The rains come often. What have you in all those carts?"


He put mud on the carriage wheels, hung water-lilies and wet grasses upon the oxen and the carriage.

"Goods to be sold," replied the merchant.

"But in that last big heavy wagon what do you carry?" the demon asked.

"Jars full of water for the journey," answered the merchant.

The demon said, "You have done well to bring water as far as this, but there is no need of it beyond. Empty out all that water and go on easily." Then he added, "But we have delayed too long. Drive on!" And he drove on until he was out of sight of the merchant. Then he returned to his home with his followers to wait for the night to come.

The foolish merchant did as the demon bade him and emptied every jar, saving not even a cupful. On and on they traveled and the streak on the sky faded with the sunset. There was no forest, the dark line being only clouds. No water was to be found. The men had no water to drink and no food to eat, for they had no water in which to cook their rice, so they went thirsty and supperless to bed. The oxen, too, were hungry and thirsty and dropped down to sleep here and there. Late at night the demons fell upon them and easily carried off every man. They drove the oxen on ahead of them, but the loaded carts they did not care to take away.

A month and a half after this the wise merchant followed over the same road. He, too, was met on the desert by the demon just as the other had been. But the wise man knew the man was a demon because he cast no shadow. When the demon told him of the ponds in the forest ahead and advised him to throw away the water-jars the wise merchant replied, "We don't throw away the water we have until we get to a place where we see there is more."

Then the demon drove on. But the men who were with the merchant said, "Sir! those men told us that yonder was the beginning of a great forest, and from there onwards it was always raining. Their clothes and hair were dripping with water. Let us throw away the water-jars and go on faster with lighter carts!"

Stopping all the carts the wise merchant asked the men, "Have you ever heard any one say that there was a lake or pond in this desert? You have lived near here always."

"We never heard of a pond or lake," they said.

"Does any man feel a wind laden with dampness blowing against him?" he asked.

"No, sir," they answered.

"Can you see a rain cloud, any of you?" said he.

"No, sir, not one," they said.

"Those fellows were not men, they were demons!" said the wise merchant. "They must have come out to make us throw away the water. Then when we were faint and weak they might have put an end to us. Go on at once and don't throw away a single half-pint of water."


He himself with the head men stood on guard.

So they drove on and before nightfall they came upon the loaded wagons belonging to the foolish merchant.

Then the thrifty merchant had his wagons drawn up in a circle. In the middle of the circle he had the oxen lie down, and also some of the men. He himself with the head men stood on guard, swords in hand and waited for the demons. But the demons did not bother them. Early the next day the thrifty merchant took the best of the wagons left by the foolish merchant and went on safely to the city across the desert.

There he sold all the goods at a profit and returned with his company to his own city.


Christina Georgina Rossetti


Hope is like a harebell trembling from its birth,

Love is like a rose the joy of all the earth;

Faith is like a lily lifted high and white,

Love is like a lovely rose the world's delight;

Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth,

But the rose with all its thorns excels them both.


  WEEK 9  


The Awakening of Europe  by M. B. Synge

Charles XII of Sweden

"He left a name, at which the world grew pale,

To point a moral or adorn a tale."


R USSIA —the largest State in Europe—took no part in public affairs. She lay unheeded amid the snow and ice of her northern clime, until Peter the Great made her mighty enough to play her part in the world's history.

Sweden, on the other hand, had already made her mark. Under Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of the North, she had become a power among the States of Europe. How she lost everything under Charles XII., and how Russia rose to fame, is one of the most romantic stories in history. Born in 1682, Charles of Sweden was ten years younger than his rival, Peter the Great of Russia. He early showed signs of future greatness. At four years old he could perform military exercises on his pony, at seven he shot his first fox, at eleven his first bear. He loved stories of war. His hero in history was Alexander the Great. He would like to be such a man, he would say.

"But he only lived thirty-two years," said his tutor.

"One has lived long enough when one has conquered a whole kingdom," answered the boy with a wisdom beyond his years.

His father, the king, died in 1697, leaving Sweden at the height of her power. Charles was a tall, thin boy of fifteen when he was crowned. It was Christmas time, and the snow fell heavily. A story says that as the boy-king sprang on his horse, sceptre in hand, the crown fell off his head into the snow. A dull murmur went through the crowd. It was an evil omen.

While Peter the Great was learning shipbuilding in Holland, Charles was learning to endure hardships bravely. He would get up at night and lie on bare planks with no clothes over him; for three nights running he slept in the stables with no covering but hay. But the moment came when the boy should suddenly become a man. He was bear-hunting one day when the news arrived that the King of Poland had invaded his dominions.

"We will soon make King Augustus return by the way he came," said Charles calmly, turning with a smile to the messenger.

He hurried to his capital, Stockholm, to prepare for war, only to learn that Russia was in league with Poland. His coolness in the face of danger filled every one with surprise.

"I have resolved," he said, "never to begin an unrighteous war, but I have also resolved never to finish a righteous war till I have utterly crushed my enemies."

He left Stockholm, never to return. Peter the Great had besieged a town on the shores of the Baltic, and thither Charles marched with a force of 14,000 Swedes to drive back the Russians. As the boy-king led his troops towards the enemy's lines the sky became dark with a sudden storm; heavy snow fell, which was driven by the wind into the faces of the Russians. Charles saw his advantage, and advanced rapidly. The Russians were not used to warfare. Their Tsar Peter was serving as a soldier among them, to teach them what he himself had learned; but he could not stay them in the face of the Swedes, and they fell back in confusion. So Charles gained the victory and entered Narva in triumph. It was but the first of many victories. The youthful conqueror now marched against the King of Poland, with the result that in 1707 the king had formally to resign his crown, which was at once offered to Charles XII., King of Sweden.

The eyes of all Europe were now fixed on this Swedish hero, who was carrying all before him.

Marlborough rushed over to interview Charles in person, and to find out whether he had intentions of joining France; but he noted how the young king's face kindled on mention of Peter the Great, and how the table was strewn with maps of Russia. Charles cared nothing for Europe's wars so long as he could overthrow his rival in Russia.

At last the longed-for moment came, and Charles XII. at the head of a huge army marched into Russia, hoping to reach Moscow in time to deal a deadly blow to the Russians. He was making his way thither when a terrible frost, the like of which had not been known for many years, froze all Europe. Birds dropped dead from the trees; men who fell asleep were frozen to death. Nowhere was it more terrible than in Russia. The sufferings of the Swedes were intense. Yet the king's plans had to be carried out and the daily march made. Thousands perished in the snow, and the situation of the Swedish army became alarming. Supplies were running short, and all communication with Central Europe was now cut off by the Russians.

Since the days of Narva, nine years before, the whole of Russia had awakened. Peter the Great had retaken Narva and built his city of Petersburg. He had built a navy and taught his people modern warfare. So in the spring of the year 1709 he was ready with a magnificent army, fresh and well supplied, for the invasion of Charles. At the head of his troops he now forced the Swedish king to give battle under the walls of Pultowa, a fortress to the south of Moscow.

A fresh misfortune now befell the Swedes. Charles was riding within range of the enemy's fire when a bullet struck him in the foot. He did not flinch, but blood dropping fast from his boot, and his own ghastly paleness, revealed the truth. In great pain he spent another hour in the trenches giving orders, until his foot became so swollen that his boot had to be cut off. Bones were broken, and the splinters had to be cut away, the king assisting with a knife himself. But he could no longer retain the command.

The day of battle dawned, and Charles put on his uniform, wore a spurred boot on the sound foot, and placed himself in a litter to be drawn to the scene of action. The Swedes, whose uniforms were ragged from their long campaigns, tied a wisp of straw in their caps and adopted as their watchword "With God's help." Never was Charles more wanted to command his forces than to-day. The Swedes fought fearlessly; but the Russian host was too strong for them, and before evening fell Peter the Great stood victorious on the field of Pultowa. Charles, whose litter had been smashed by a cannon-ball, was borne out of the battle by his soldiers.

When the Swedish officers surrendered their arms to the Tsar, he asked the commander how he dared to invade a great empire like Russia with a mere handful of men.

"Because the king commanded it," was the loyal answer, "and it is the first duty of a loyal subject to obey his king."

"You are an honest fellow," answered Peter the Great, "and for your loyalty I return you your sword."

Thus Peter triumphed over Sweden.

"The foundations of St Petersburg are firm at last," he cried joyously as the defeated Swedes hastened away from his inhospitable country.


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

The All-Father's Forebodings: How He Leaves Asgard


dropcap image WO ravens had Odin All-Father; Hugin and Munin were their names; they flew through all the worlds every day, and coming back to Asgard they would light on Odin's shoulders and tell him of all the things they had seen and heard. And once a day passed without the ravens coming back. Then Odin, standing on the Watch-Tower Hlidskjalf, said to himself:

I fear me for Hugin,

Lest he not come back,

But I watch more for Munin.

A day passed and the ravens flew back. They sat, one on each of his shoulders. Then did the All-Father go into the Council Hall that was beside Glasir, the wood that had leaves of gold, and harken to what Hugin and Munin had to tell him.

They told him only of shadows and forebodings. Odin All-Father did not speak to the Dwellers in Asgard of the things they told him. But Frigga, his Queen, saw in his eyes the shadows and forebodings of things to come. And when he spoke to her about these things she said, "Do not strive against what must take place. Let us go to the holy Norns who sit by Urda's Well and see if the shadows and the forebodings will remain when you have looked into their eyes.

And so it came that Odin and the Gods left Asgard and came to Urda's Well, where, under the great root of Ygdrassil, the three Norns sat, with the two fair swans below them. Odin went, and Tyr, the great swordsman, and Baldur, the most beautiful and the Best-Beloved of the Gods, and Thor, with his hammer.

A Rainbow Bridge went from Asgard, the City of the Gods, to Midgard, the World of Men. But another Rainbow Bridge, more beautiful and more tremulous still, went from Asgard to that root of Ygdrassil under which was Urda's Well. This Rainbow Bridge was seldom seen by men. And where the ends of the two rainbows came together Heimdall stood, Heimdall with the Golden Teeth, the Watcher for the Gods, and the Keeper of the Way to Urda's Well.

"Open the gate, Heimdall," said the All-Father, "open the gate, for to‑day the Gods would visit the holy Norns."

Without a word Heimdall opened wide the gate that led to that bridge more colored and more tremulous than any rainbow seen from earth. Then did Odin and Tyr and Baldur step out on the bridge. Thor followed, but before his foot was placed on the bridge, Heimdall laid his hand upon him.

"The others may go, but you may not go that way, Thor," said Heimdall.

"What? Would you, Heimdall, hold me back?" said Thor.

"Yes, for I am Keeper of the Way to the Norns," said Heimdall. "You with the mighty hammer you carry are too weighty for this way. The bridge I guard would break under you, Thor with the hammer."

"Nevertheless I will go visit the Norns with Odin and my comrades," said Thor.

"But not this way, Thor," said Heimdall. "I will not let the bridge be broken under the weight of you and your hammer. Leave your hammer here with me if you would go this way."

"No, no," said Thor. "I will not leave in any one's charge the hammer that defends Asgard. And I may not be turned back from going with Odin and my comrades."

"There is another way to Urda's Well," said Heimdall. "Behold these two great Cloud Rivers, Körmt and Ermt. Canst thou wade through them? They are cold and suffocating, but they will bring thee to Urda's Well, where sit the three holy Norns."

Thor looked out on the two great rolling rivers of cloud. It was a bad way for one to go, cold and suffocating. Yet if he went that way he could keep on his shoulder the hammer which he would not leave in another's charge. He stept out into the Cloud River that flowed by the Rainbow Bridge, and with his hammer upon his shoulder he went struggling on to the other river.

Odin, Tyr, and Baldur were beside Urda's Well when Thor came struggling out of the Cloud River, wet and choking, but with his hammer still upon his shoulder. There stood Tyr, upright and handsome, leaning on his sword that was inscribed all over with magic runes; there stood Baldur, smiling, with his head bent as he listened to the murmur of the two fair swans; and there stood Odin All-Father, clad in his blue cloak fringed with golden stars, without the eagle-helmet upon his head, and with no spear in his hands.

The three Norns, Urda, Verdandi, and Skulda, sat beside the well that was in the hollow of the great root of Ygdrassil. Urda was ancient and with white hair, and Verdandi was beautiful, while Skulda could hardly be seen, for she sat far back, and her hair fell over her face and eyes. Urda, Verdandi, and Skulda; they knew the whole of the Past, the whole of the Present, and the whole of the Future. Odin, looking on them, saw into the eyes of Skulda even. Long, long he stood looking on the Norns with the eyes of a God, while the others listened to the murmur of the swans and the falling of the leaves of Ygdrassil into Urda's Well.

Looking into their eyes, Odin saw the shadows and forebodings that Hugin and Munin told him of take shape and substance. And now others came across the Rainbow Bridge. They were Frigga and Sif and Nanna, the wives of Odin and Thor and Baldur. Frigga looked upon the Norns. As she did, she turned a glance of love and sadness upon Baldur, her son, and then she drew back and placed her hand upon Nanna's head.

Odin turned from gazing on the Norns, and looked upon Frigga, his queenly wife. "I would leave Asgard for a while, wife of Odin," he said.

"Yea," said Frigga. "Much has to be done in Midgard, the World of Men."

"I would change what knowledge I have into wisdom," said Odin, "so that the things that are to happen will be changed into the best that they may be."

"You would go to Mimir's Well," said Frigga.

"I would go to Mimir's Well," said Odin.

"My husband, go," said Frigga.

Then they went back over that Rainbow Bridge that is more beautiful and more tremulous than the one that men see from the earth; they went back over the Rainbow Bridge, the Æsir and the Asyniur, Odin and Frigga, Baldur and Nanna, Tyr, with his sword, and Sif beside Tyr. As for Thor, he went struggling through the Cloud Rivers Kömt and Ermt, his hammer Miölnir upon his shoulder.

Little Hnossa, the youngest of the Dwellers in Asgard, was there, standing beside Heimdall, the Watcher for the Gods and the Keeper of the Bridge to Urda's Well, when Odin All-Father and Frigga, his Queen, went through the great gate with heads bent. "To‑morrow," Hnossa heard Odin say, "to‑morrow I shall be Vegtam the Wanderer upon the ways of Midgard and Jötunheim."


Matthew Arnold

The Forsaken Merman

Come, dear children, let us away;

Down and away below!

Now my brothers call from the bay,

Now the great winds shoreward blow,

Now the salt tides seaward flow;

Now the wild white horses play,

Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.

Children dear, let us away!

This way, this way!

Call her once before you go—

Call once yet!

In a voice that she will know:

"Margaret! Margaret!"

Children's voices should be dear

(Call once more) to a mother's ear;

Children's voices, wild with pain—

Surely she will come again!

Call her once and come away;

This way, this way!

"Mother dear, we cannot stay!

The wild white horses foam and fret."

Margaret! Margaret!

Come, dear children, come away down;

Call no more!

One last look at the white-wall'd town,

And the little gray church on the windy shore;

Then come down!

She will not come though you call all day;

Come away, come away!

Children dear, was it yesterday

We heard the sweet bells over the bay?

In the caverns where we lay,

Through the surf and through the swell,

The far-off sound of a silver bell?

Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,

Where the winds are all asleep;

Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,

Where the salt weed sways in the stream,

Where the sea-beasts, ranged all round,

Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground;

Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,

Dry their mail and bask in the brine;

Where great whales come sailing by,

Sail and sail, with unshut eye,

Round the world forever and aye?

When did music come this way?

Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, was it yesterday

(Call yet once) that she went away?

Once she sate with you and me,

On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,

And the youngest sate on her knee.

She comb'd its bright hair, and she tended it well,

When down swung the sound of a far-off bell.

She sigh'd, she look'd up through the clear green sea;

She said: "I must go, for my kinsfolk pray

In the little gray church on the shore to-day.

'Twill be Easter-time in the world—ah me!

And I lose my poor soul, Merman! here with thee."

I said: "Go up, dear heart, through the waves;

Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves!"

She smil'd, she went up through the surf in the bay.

Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, were we long alone?

"The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan;

Long prayers," I said, "in the world they say;

Come!" I said; and we rose through the surf in the bay.

We went up the beach, by the sandy down

Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-wall'd town;

Through the narrow pav'd streets, where all was still,

To the little gray church on the windy hill.

From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers,

But we stood without in the cold blowing airs.

We climb'd on the graves, on the stones worn with rains,

And we gaz'd up the aisle through the small leaded panes.

She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear:

"Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here!

Dear heart," I said, "we are long alone;

The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan."

But, ah, she gave me never a look,

For her eyes were seal'd to the holy book!

Loud prays the priest: shut stands the door.

Come away, children, call no more!

Come away, come down, call no more!

Down, down, down!

Down to the depths of the sea!

She sits at her wheel in the humming town,

Singing most joyfully.

Hark what she sings: "O joy, O joy,

For the humming street, and the child with its toy!

For the priest, and the bell, and the holy well;

For the wheel where I spun,

And the blessèd light of the sun!"

And so she sings her fill,

Singing most joyfully,

Till the spindle drops from her hand,

And the whizzing wheel stands still.

She steals to the window, and looks at the sand,

And over the sand at the sea;

And her eyes are set in a stare;

And anon there breaks a sigh,

And anon there drops a tear,

From a sorrow-clouded eye,

And a heart sorrow-laden,

A long, long sigh;

For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden,

And the gleam of her golden hair.

Come away, away, children;

Come, children, come down!

The hoarse wind blows colder;

Lights shine in the town.

She will start from her slumber

When gusts shake the door;

She will hear the winds howling,

Will hear the waves roar.

We shall see, while above us

The waves roar and whirl,

A ceiling of amber,

A pavement of pearl.

Singing: "Here came a mortal,

But faithless was she!

And alone dwell forever

The kings of the sea."

But, children, at midnight,

When soft the winds blow,

When clear falls the moonlight,

When spring-tides are low;

When sweet airs come seaward

From heaths starr'd with broom,

And high rocks throw mildly

On the blanch'd sands a gloom;

Up the still, glistening beaches,

Up the creeks we will hie,

Over banks of bright seaweed

The ebb-tide leaves dry.

We will gaze, from the sand-hills,

At the white, sleeping town;

At the church on the hill-side—

And then come back down.

Singing: "There dwells a lov'd one,

But cruel is she!

She left lonely forever

The kings of the sea."


  WEEK 9  


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

Through the Skylight

I F any reader, big or little, should wonder whether there is a meaning in this story deeper than that of an ordinary fairy tale, I will own that there is. But I have hidden it so carefully that the smaller people, and many larger folk, will never find it out, and meantime the book may be read straight on, like "Cinderella," or "Blue-Beard," or "Hop-o'-my-Thumb," for what interest it has, or what amusement it may bring.

Having said this, I return to Prince Dolor, that little lame boy whom many may think so exceedingly to be pitied. But if you had seen him as he sat patiently untying his wonderful cloak, which was done up in a very tight and perplexing parcel, using skillfully his deft little hands, and knitting his brows with firm determination, while his eyes glistened with pleasure, and energy, and eager anticipation—if you had beheld him thus, you might have changed your opinion.

When we see people suffering or unfortunate, we feel very sorry for them; but when we see them bravely bearing their sufferings and making the best of their misfortunes, it is quite a different feeling. We respect, we admire them. One can respect and admire even a little child.

When Prince Dolor had patiently untied all the knots, a remarkable thing happened. The cloak began to undo itself. Slowly unfolding, it laid itself down on the carpet, as flat as if it had been ironed; the split joined with a little sharp crick-crack, and the rim turned up all round till it was breast-high; for meantime the cloak had grown and grown, and become quite large enough for one person to sit in it as comfortable as if in a boat.

The Prince watched it rather anxiously; it was such an extraordinary, not to say a frightening thing. However, he was no coward, but a thorough boy, who, if he had been like other boys, would doubtless have grown up daring and adventurous—a soldier, a sailor, or the like. As it was, he could only show his courage morally, not physically, by being afraid of nothing, and by doing boldly all that it was in his narrow powers to do. And I am not sure but that in this way he showed more real valor than if he had had six pairs of proper legs.

He said to himself: "What a goose I am! As if my dear godmother would ever have given me anything to hurt me. Here goes!"

So, with one of his active leaps, he sprang right into the middle of the cloak, where he squatted down, wrapping his arms tight round his knees, for they shook a little and his heart beat fast. But there he sat, steady and silent, waiting for what might happen next.

Nothing did happen, and he began to think nothing would, and to feel rather disappointed, when he recollected the words he had been told to repeat—"Abracadabra, dum dum dum!"

He repeated them, laughing all the while, they seemed such nonsense. And then—and then——

Now I don't expect anybody to believe what I am going to relate, though a good many wise people have believed a good many sillier things. And as seeing's believing, and I never saw it, I cannot be expected implicitly to believe it myself, except in a sort of a way; and yet there is truth in it—for some people.

The cloak rose, slowly and steadily, at first only a few inches, then gradually higher and higher, till it nearly touched the skylight. Prince Dolor's head actually bumped against the glass, or would have done so, had he not crouched down, crying, "Oh, please don't hurt me!" in a most melancholy voice.

Then he suddenly remembered his godmother's express command—"Open the skylight!"

Regaining his courage at once, without a moment's delay, he lifted up his head and began searching for the bolt—the cloak meanwhile remaining perfectly still, balanced in the air. But the minute the window was opened, out it sailed—right out into the clear, fresh air, with nothing between it and the cloudless blue.

Prince Dolor had never felt any such delicious sensation before! I can understand it. Cannot you? Did you never think, in watching the rooks going home singly or in pairs, oaring their way across the calm evening sky, till they vanish like black dots in the misty grey, how pleasant it must feel to be up there, quite out of the noise and din of the world, able to hear and see everything down below, yet troubled by nothing and teased by no one—all alone, but perfectly content.

Something like this was the happiness of the little lame Prince when he got out of Hopeless Tower, and found himself for the first time in the pure open air, with the sky above him and the earth below.

True, there was nothing but earth and sky; no houses, no trees, no rivers, mountains, seas—not a beast on the ground, or a bird in the air. But to him even the level plain looked beautiful; and then there was the glorious arch of the sky, with a little young moon sitting in the west like a baby queen. And the evening breeze was so sweet and fresh, it kissed him like his godmother's kisses; and by-and-by a few stars came out, first two or three, and then quantities—quantities! so that, when he began to count them, he was utterly bewildered.


By-and-by a few stars came out, first two or three, and then quantities!

By this time, however, the cool breeze had become cold, the mist gathered, and as he had, as he said, no outdoor clothes, poor Prince Dolor was not very comfortable. The dews fell damp on his curls—he began to shiver.

"Perhaps I had better go home," thought he.

But how? For in his excitement the other words which his godmother had told him to use had slipped his memory. They were only a little different from the first, but in that slight difference all the importance lay. As he repeated his "Abracadabra," trying ever so many other syllables after it, the cloak only went faster and faster, skimming on through the dusky, empty air.

The poor little Prince began to feel frightened. What if his wonderful travelling-cloak should keep on thus travelling, perhaps to the world's end, carrying with it a poor, tired, hungry boy, who, after all, was beginning to think there was something very pleasant in supper and bed?

"Dear godmother," he cried pitifully, "do help me! Tell me just this once and I'll never forget again."

Instantly the words came rushing into his head—"Abracadabra, tum tum ti!" Was that it? Ah! yes—for the cloak began to turn slowly. He repeated the charm again, more distinctly and firmly, when it gave a gentle dip, like a nod of satisfaction, and immediately started back, as fast as ever, in the direction of the tower.

He reached the skylight, which he found exactly as he had left it, and slipped in, cloak and all, as easily as he had got out. He had scarcely reached the floor, and was still sitting in the middle of his travelling-cloak—like a frog on a water-lily leaf, as his godmother had expressed it—when he heard his nurse's voice outside.

"Bless us! what has become of your Royal Highness all this time? To sit stupidly here at the window till it is quite dark, and leave the skylight open too. Prince! what can you be thinking of? You are the silliest boy I ever knew."

"Am I?" said he absently, and never heeding her crossness; for his only anxiety was lest she might find out anything.

She would have been a very clever person to have done so. The instant Prince Dolor got off it, the cloak folded itself up into the tiniest possible parcel, tied all its own knots, and rolled itself of its own accord into the farthest and darkest corner of the room. If the nurse had seen it, which she didn't, she would have taken it for a mere bundle of rubbish not worth noticing.

Shutting the skylight with an angry bang, she brought in the supper and lit the candles with her usual unhappy expression of countenance. But Prince Dolor hardly saw it; he only saw, hid in the corner where nobody else would see it, his wonderful travelling-cloak.


She brought in the supper and lit the candles with her usual unhappy expression . . . he only saw his wonderful travelling-cloak.

And though his supper was not particularly nice, he ate it heartily, scarcely hearing a word of his nurse's grumbling, which to-night seemed to have taken the place of her sullen silence.

"Poor woman!" he thought, when he paused a minute to listen and look at her, with those quiet, happy eyes, so like his mother's. "Poor woman! she  hasn't got a travelling-cloak!"

And when he was left alone at last, and crept into his little bed, where he lay awake a good while, watching what he called his "sky-garden," all planted with stars, like flowers, his chief thought was—"I must be up very early to-morrow morning, and get my lessons done, and then I'll go travelling all over the world on my beautiful cloak."

So next day he opened his eyes with the sun, and went with a good heart to his lessons. They had hitherto been the chief amusement of his dull life; now, I am afraid, he found them also a little dull. But he tried to be good—I don't say Prince Dolor always was good, but he generally tried to be—and when his mind went wandering after the dark dusty corner where lay his precious treasure, he resolutely called it back again.

"For," he said, "how ashamed my godmother would be of me if I grew up a stupid boy!"

But the instant lessons were done, and he was alone in the empty room, he crept across the floor, undid the shabby little bundle, his fingers trembling with eagerness, climbed on the chair, and thence to the table, so as to unbar the skylight—he forgot nothing now—said his magic charm, and was away out of the window, as children say, "in a few minutes less than no time."

Nobody missed him. He was accustomed to sit so quietly always, that his nurse, though only in the next room, perceived no difference. And besides, she might have gone in and out a dozen times, and it would have been just the same; she never could have found out his absence.

For what do you think the clever godmother did? She took a quantity of moonshine, or some equally convenient material, and made an image, which she set on the window-sill reading, or by the table drawing, where it looked so like Prince Dolor that any common observer would never have guessed the deception; and even the boy would have been puzzled to know which was the image and which was himself.

And all this while the happy little fellow was away, floating in the air on his magic cloak, and seeing all sorts of wonderful things—or they seemed wonderful to him, who had hitherto seen nothing at all.

First, there were the flowers that grew on the plain, which, whenever the cloak came near enough, he strained his eyes to look at; they were very tiny, but very beautiful—white saxifrage, and yellow lotus, and ground-thistles, purple and bright, with many others the names of which I do not know. No more did Prince Dolor, though he tried to find them out by recalling any pictures he had seen of them. But he was too far off; and though it was pleasant enough to admire them as brilliant patches of colour, still he would have liked to examine them all. He was, as a little girl I know once said of a playfellow, "a very examining  boy."

"I wonder," he thought, "whether I could see better through a pair of glasses like those my nurse reads with, and takes such care of. How I would take care of them, too! if I only had a pair!"

Immediately he felt something queer and hard fixing itself to the bridge of his nose. It was a pair of the prettiest gold spectacles ever seen; and looking downwards, he found that, though ever so high above the ground, he could see every minute blade of grass, every tiny bud and flower—nay, even the insects that walked over them.

"Thank you, thank you!" he cried, in a gush of gratitude—to anybody or everybody, but especially to his dear godmother, whom he felt sure had given him this new present. He amused himself with it for ever so long, with his chin pressed on the rim of the cloak, gazing down upon the grass, every square foot of which was a mine of wonders.

Then, just to rest his eyes, he turned them up to the sky—the blue, bright, empty sky, which he had looked at so often and seen nothing.

Now surely there was something. A long, black, wavy line, moving on in the distance, not by chance, as the clouds move apparently, but deliberately, as if it were alive. He might have seen it before—he almost thought he had; but then he could not tell what it was. Looking at it through his spectacles, he discovered that it really was alive; being a long string of birds, flying one after the other, their wings moving steadily and their heads pointed in one direction, as steadily as if each were a little ship, guided invisibly by an unerring helm.

"They must be the passage-birds flying seawards!" cried the boy, who had read a little about them, and had a great talent for putting two and two together and finding out all he could. "Oh, how I should like to see them quite close, and to know where they come from and whither they are going! How I wish I knew everything in all the world!"

A silly speech for even an "examining" little boy to make; because, as we grow older, the more we know the more we find out there is to know. And Prince Dolor blushed when he had said it, and hoped nobody had heard him.

Apparently somebody had, however; for the cloak gave a sudden bound forward, and presently he found himself high in the air, in the very middle of that band of aerial travellers, who had no magic cloak to travel on—nothing except their wings. Yet there they were, making their fearless way through the sky.

Prince Dolor looked at them as one after the other they glided past him; and they looked at him—those pretty swallows, with their changing necks and bright eyes—as if wondering to meet in mid-air such an extraordinary sort of bird.


They looked at him . . . as if wondering to meet in mid-air such an extraordinary sort of bird.

"Oh, I wish I were going with you, you lovely creatures! I'm getting so tired of this dull plain, and the dreary and lonely tower. I do so want to see the world! Pretty swallows, dear swallows! tell me what it looks like—the beautiful, wonderful world!"

But the swallows flew past him—steadily, slowly pursuing their course as if inside each little head had been a mariner's compass, to guide them safe over land and sea, direct to the place where they desired to go.

The boy looked after them with envy. For a long time he followed with his eyes the faint, wavy black line as it floated away, sometimes changing its curves a little, but never deviating from its settled course, till it vanished entirely out of sight.

Then he settled himself down in the centre of the cloak, feeling quite sad and lonely.

"I think I'll go home," said he, and repeated his "Abracadabra, tum tum ti!" with a rather heavy heart. The more he had, the more he wanted; and it is not always one can have everything one wants—at least, at the exact minute one craves for it; not even though one is a prince, and has a powerful and beneficent godmother.

He did not like to vex her by calling for her, and telling her how unhappy he was, in spite of all her goodness; so he just kept his trouble to himself, went back to his lonely tower, and spent three days in silent melancholy, without even attempting another journey on his travelling-cloak.


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

Living Creatures

T HE fourth day it happened that the deaf-mute paid his accustomed visit, after which Prince Dolor's spirits rose. They always did, when he got the new books, which, just to relieve his conscience, the King of Nomansland regularly sent to his nephew; with many new toys also, though the latter were disregarded now.

"Toys, indeed! when I'm a big boy," said the Prince, with disdain, and would scarcely condescend to mount a rocking-horse which had come, somehow or other—I can't be expected to explain things very exactly—packed on the back of the other, the great black horse, which stood and fed contentedly at the bottom of the tower.

Prince Dolor leaned over and looked at it, and thought how grand it must be to get upon its back—this grand live steed—and ride away, like the pictures of knights.

"Suppose I was a knight," he said to himself; "then I should be obliged to ride out and see the world."

But he kept all these thoughts to himself, and just sat still, devouring his new books till he had come to the end of them all. It was a repast not unlike the Barmecide's feast which you read of in the "Arabian Nights," which consisted of very elegant but empty dishes, or that supper of Sancho Panza in "Don Quixote," where, the minute the smoking dishes came on the table, the physician waved his hand and they were all taken away.

Thus almost all the ordinary delights of boy-life had been taken away from, or rather never given to, this poor little Prince.

"I wonder," he would sometimes think—"I wonder what it feels like to be on the back of a horse, galloping away, or holding the reins in a carriage, and tearing across the country, or jumping a ditch, or running a race, such as I read of or see in pictures. What a lot of things there are that I should like to do! But first I should like to go and see the world. I'll try."

Apparently it was his godmother's plan always to let him try, and try hard, before he gained anything. This day the knots that tied up his travelling-cloak were more than usually troublesome, and he was a full half-hour before he got out into the open air, and found himself floating merrily over the top of the tower.

Hitherto, in all his journeys he had never let himself go out of sight of home, for the dreary building, after all, was home—he remembered no other; but now he felt sick of the very look of his tower, with its round smooth walls and level battlements.

"Off we go!" cried he, when the cloak stirred itself with a slight, slow motion, as if waiting his orders. "Anywhere—anywhere, so that I am away from here, and out into the world."

As he spoke, the cloak, as if seized suddenly with a new idea, bounded forward and went skimming through the air, faster than the very fastest railway train.

"Gee-up! gee-up!" cried Prince Dolor in great excitement. "This is as good as riding a race."

And he patted the cloak as if it had been a horse—that is, in the way he supposed horses ought to be patted; and tossed his head back to meet the fresh breeze, and pulled his coat-collar up and his hat down as he felt the wind grow keener and colder, colder than anything he had ever known.

"What does it matter, though?" said he. "I'm a boy, and boys ought not to mind anything."

Still, for all his good-will, by-and-by, he began to shiver exceedingly; also, he had come away without his dinner, and he grew frightfully hungry. And to add to everything, the sunshiny day changed into rain, and being high up, in the very midst of the clouds, he got soaked through and through in a very few minutes.

"Shall I turn back?" meditated he. "Suppose I say 'Abracadabra?' "

Here he stopped, for already the cloak gave an obedient lurch, as if it were expecting to be sent home immediately.

"No—I can't—I can't go back! I must go forward and see the world. But oh! if I had but the shabbiest old rug to shelter me from the rain, or the driest morsel of bread and cheese, just to keep me from starving! Still, I don't much mind; I'm a prince, and ought to be able to stand anything. Hold on, cloak, we'll make the best of it."

It was a most curious circumstance, but no sooner had he said this than he felt stealing over his knees something warm and soft; in fact, a most beautiful bearskin, which folded itself round him quite naturally, and cuddled him up as closely as if he had been the cub of the kind old mother-bear that once owned it. Then feeling in his pocket, which suddenly stuck out in a marvellous way, he found, not exactly bread and cheese, nor even sandwiches, but a packet of the most delicious food he had ever tasted. It was not meat, nor pudding, but a combination of both, and it served him excellently for both. He ate his dinner with the greatest gusto imaginable, till he grew so thirsty he did not know what to do.

"Couldn't I have just one drop of water, if it didn't trouble you too much, kindest of godmothers?"

For he really thought this want was beyond her power to supply. All the water which supplied Hopeless Tower was pumped up with difficulty from a deep artesian well—there were such things known in Nomansland—which had been made at the foot of it. But around, for miles upon miles, the desolate plain was perfectly dry. And above it, high in the air, how could he expect to find a well, or to get even a drop of water?

He forgot one thing—the rain. While he spoke, it came on in another wild burst, as if the clouds had poured themselves out in a passion of crying, wetting him certainly, but leaving behind, in a large glass vessel which he had never noticed before, enough water to quench the thirst of two or three boys at least. And it was so fresh, so pure—as water from the clouds always is, when it does not catch the soot from city chimneys and other defilements—that he drank it, every drop, with the greatest delight and content.

Also, as soon as it was empty, the rain filled it again, so that he was able to wash his face and hands and refresh himself exceedingly. Then the sun came out and dried him in no time. After that he curled himself up under the bearskin rug, and though he determined to be the most wide-awake boy imaginable, being so exceedingly snug and warm and comfortable, Prince Dolor condescended to shut his eyes just for one minute. The next minute he was sound asleep.

When he awoke, he found himself floating over a country quite unlike anything he had ever seen before.

Yet it was nothing but what most of you children see every day and never notice it—a pretty country landscape, like England, Scotland, France, or any other land you choose to name. It had no particular features—nothing in it grand or lovely—was simply pretty, nothing more; yet to Prince Dolor, who had never gone beyond his lonely tower and level plain, it appeared the most charming sight imaginable.

First, there was a river. It came tumbling down the hillside, frothing and foaming, playing at hide-and-seek among rocks, then bursting out in noisy fun like a child, to bury itself in deep still pools. Afterwards it went steadily on for a while, like a good grown-up person, till it came to another big rock, where it misbehaved itself extremely. It turned into a cataract, and went tumbling over and over, after a fashion that made the Prince—who had never seen water before, except in his bath or his drinking-cup—clap his hands with delight.

"It is so active, so alive! I like things active and alive!" cried he, and watched it shimmering and dancing, whirling and leaping, till, after a few windings and vagaries, it settled into a respectable stream. After that it went along, deep and quiet, but flowing steadily on, till it reached a large lake, into which it slipped and so ended its course.


After a few windings and vagaries, it settled into a respectable stream.

All this the boy saw, either with his own naked eye or through his gold spectacles. He saw also as in a picture, beautiful but silent, many other things, which struck him with wonder, especially a grove of trees.

Only think, to have lived to his age (which he himself did not know, as he did not know his own birthday) and never to have seen trees! As he floated over these oaks, they seemed to him—trunk, branches, and leaves—the most curious sight imaginable.

"If I could only get nearer, so as to touch them," said he, and immediately the obedient cloak ducked down; Prince Dolor made a snatch at the topmost twig of the tallest tree, and caught a bunch of leaves in his hand.

Just a bunch of green leaves—such as we see in myriads; watching them bud, grow, fall, and then kicking them along on the ground as if they were worth nothing. Yet how wonderful they are—every one of them a little different. I don't suppose you could ever find two leaves exactly alike in form, colour, and size—no more than you could find two faces alike, or two characters exactly the same. The plan of this world is infinite similarity and yet infinite variety.

Prince Dolor examined his leaves with the greatest curiosity—and also a little caterpillar that he found walking over one of them. He coaxed it to take an additional walk over his finger, which it did with the greatest dignity and decorum, as if it, Mr. Caterpillar, were the most important individual in existence. It amused him for a long time; and when a sudden gust of wind blew it overboard, leaves and all, he felt quite disconsolate.

"Still there must be many live creatures in the world besides caterpillars. I should like to see a few of them."

The cloak gave a little dip down, as if to say "All right, my Prince," and bore him across the oak forest to a long fertile valley—called in Scotland a strath and in England a weald, but what they call it in the tongue of Nomansland I do not know. It was made up of cornfields, pasturefields, lanes, hedges, brooks, and ponds.


It was made up of cornfields, pasturefields, lanes, hedges, brooks, and ponds.

Also, in it were what the Prince desired to see—a quantity of living creatures, wild and tame. Cows and horses, lambs and sheep, fed in the meadows; pigs and fowls walked about the farmyards; and, in lonelier places, hares scudded, rabbits burrowed, and pheasants and partridges, with many other smaller birds, inhabited the fields and woods.


In it were what the Prince desired to see, a quantity of living creatures.

Through his wonderful spectacles the Prince could see everything; but, as I said, it was a silent picture; he was too high up to catch anything except a faint murmur, which only aroused his anxiety to hear more.

"I have as good as two pairs of eyes," he thought. "I wonder if my godmother would give me a second pair of ears."

Scarcely had he spoken than he found lying on his lap the most curious little parcel, all done up in silvery paper. And it contained—what do you think? Actually a pair of silver ears, which, when he tried them on, fitted so exactly over his own, that he hardly felt them, except for the difference they made in his hearing.

There is something which we listen to daily and never notice. I mean the sounds of the visible world, animate and inanimate. Winds blowing, waters flowing, trees stirring, insects whirring (dear me! I am quite unconsciously writing rhyme), with the various cries of birds and beasts—lowing cattle, bleating sheep, grunting pigs, and cackling hens—all the infinite discords that somehow or other make a beautiful harmony.

We hear this, and are so accustomed to it that we think nothing of it; but Prince Dolor, who had lived all his days in the dead silence of Hopeless Tower, heard it for the first time. And oh! if you had seen his face.

He listened, listened, as if he could never have done listening. And he looked and looked, as if he could not gaze enough. Above all, the motion of the animals delighted him: cows walking, horses galloping, little lambs and calves running races across the meadows, were such a treat for him to watch—he that was always so quiet. But, these creatures having four legs, and he only two, the difference did not strike him painfully.

Still, by-and-by, after the fashion of children—and I fear, of many big people too—he began to want something more than he had, something that would be quite fresh and new.

"Godmother," he said, having now begun to believe that, whether he saw her or not, he could always speak to her with full confidence that she would hear him—"Godmother, all these creatures I like exceedingly; but I should like better to see a creature like myself. Couldn't you show me just one little boy?"

There was a sigh behind him—it might have been only the wind—and the cloak remained so long balanced motionless in air that he was half afraid his godmother had forgotten him, or was offended with him for asking too much. Suddenly, a shrill whistle startled him, even through his silver ears, and looking downwards, he saw start up from behind a bush on a common, something——

Neither a sheep nor a horse nor a cow—nothing upon four legs. This creature had only two; but they were long, straight, and strong. And it had a lithe, active body, and a curly head of black hair set upon its shoulders. It was a boy, a shepherd-boy, about the Prince's own age—but, oh! so different.

Not that he was an ugly boy—though his face was almost as red as his hands, and his shaggy hair matted like the backs of his own sheep. He was rather a nice-looking lad; and seemed so bright and healthy and good-tempered—"jolly" would be the word, only I am not sure if they have such a one in the elegant language of Nomansland—that the little Prince watched him with great admiration.

"Might he come and play with me? I would drop down to the ground to him, or fetch him up to me here. Oh, how nice it would be if I only had a little boy to play with me."

But the cloak, usually so obedient to his wishes, disobeyed him now. There were evidently some things which his godmother either could not or would not give. The cloak hung stationary, high in air, never attempting to descend. The shepherd lad evidently took it for a large bird, and, shading his eyes, looked up at it, making the Prince's heart beat fast.


The shepherd lad evidently took it for a large bird.

However, nothing ensued. The boy turned round, with a long, loud whistle—seemingly his usual and only way of expressing his feelings. He could not make the thing out exactly—it was a rather mysterious affair, but it did not trouble him much—he  was not an "examining" boy.

Then, stretching himself, for he had been evidently half asleep, he began flopping his shoulders with his arms to wake and warm himself; while his dog, a rough collie, who had been guarding the sheep meanwhile, began to jump upon him, barking with delight.

"Down, Snap, down! Stop that, or I'll thrash you," the Prince heard him say; though with such a rough, hard voice and queer pronunciation that it was difficult to make the words out. "Hollo! Let's warm ourselves by a race."

They started off together, boy and dog—barking and shouting, till it was doubtful which made the more noise or ran the faster. A regular steeple-chase it was: first across the level common, greatly disturbing the quiet sheep; and then tearing away across country, scrambling through hedges and leaping ditches, and tumbling up and down over ploughed fields. They did not seem to have anything to run for—but as if they did it, both of them, for the mere pleasure of motion.

And what a pleasure that seemed! To the dog of course, but scarcely less so to the boy. How he skimmed along over the ground—his cheeks glowing, and his hair flying, and his legs—oh, what a pair of legs he had!

Prince Dolor watched him with great intentness, and in a state of excitement almost equal to that of the runner himself—for a while. Then the sweet pale face grew a trifle paler, the lips began to quiver, and the eyes to fill.

"How nice it must be to run like that!" he said softly, thinking that never—no, never in this world—would he be able to do the same.

Now he understood what his godmother had meant when she gave him his travelling-cloak, and why he had heard that sigh—he was sure it was hers—when he had asked to see "just one little boy."

"I think I had rather not look at him again," said the poor little Prince, drawing himself back into the centre of his cloak, and resuming his favourite posture, sitting like a Turk, with his arms wrapped round his feeble, useless legs.

"You're no good to me," he said, patting them mournfully. "You never will be any good to me. I wonder why I had you at all; I wonder why I was born at all, since I was not to grow up like other boys. Why  not?"

A question so strange, so sad, yet so often occurring in some form or other, in this world—as you will find, my children, when you are older—that even if he had put it to his mother she could only have answered it, as we have to answer many as difficult things, by simply saying, "I don't know." There is much that we do not know and cannot understand—we big folks no more than you little ones. We have to accept it all just as you have to accept anything which your parents may tell you, even though you don't as yet see the reason of it. You may sometime, if you do exactly as they tell you, and are content to wait.

Prince Dolor sat a good while thus, or it appeared to him a good while, so many thoughts came and went through his poor young mind—thoughts of great bitterness, which, little though he was, seemed to make him grow years older in a few minutes.

Then he fancied the cloak began to rock gently to and fro, with a soothing kind of motion, as if he were in somebody's arms: somebody who did not speak, but loved him and comforted him without need of words; not by deceiving him with false encouragement or hope, but by making him see the plain, hard truth in all its hardness, and thus letting him quietly face it, till it grew softened down, and did not seem nearly so dreadful after all.

Through the dreary silence and blankness, for he had placed himself so that he could see nothing but the sky, and had taken off his silver ears, as well as his gold spectacles—what was the use of either when he had no legs to walk or run?—up from below there rose a delicious sound.

You have heard it hundreds of times, my children, and so have I. When I was a child I thought there was nothing so sweet; and I think so still. It was just the song of a skylark, mounting higher and higher from the ground, till it came so close that Prince Dolor could distinguish his quivering wings and tiny body, almost too tiny to contain such a gush of music.

"Oh, you beautiful, beautiful bird!" cried he; "I should dearly like to take you in and cuddle you. That is, if I could—if I dared."

But he hesitated. The little brown creature with its loud heavenly voice almost made him afraid. Nevertheless, it also made him happy; and he watched and listened—so absorbed that he forgot all regret and pain, forgot everything in the world except the little lark.

It soared and soared, and he was just wondering if it would soar out of sight, and what in the world he should do when it was gone, when it suddenly closed its wings, as larks do, when they mean to drop to the ground. But, instead of dropping to the ground, it dropped right into the little boy's breast.

What felicity! If it would only stay! A tiny, soft thing to fondle and kiss, to sing to him all day long, and be his playfellow and companion, tame and tender, while to the rest of the world it was a wild bird of the air. What a pride, what a delight! To have something that nobody else had—something all his own. As the travelling-cloak travelled on, he little heeded where, and the lark still stayed, nestled down in his bosom, hopped from his hand to his shoulder, and kissed him with its dainty beak, as if it loved him, Prince Dolor forgot all his grief, and was entirely happy.

But when he got in sight of Hopeless Tower a painful thought struck him.

"My pretty bird, what am I to do with you? If I take you into my room and shut you up there, you, a wild skylark of the air, what will become of you? I am used to this, but you are not. You will be so miserable, and suppose my nurse should find you—she who can't bear the sound of singing? Besides, I remember her once telling me that the nicest thing she ever ate in her life was lark pie!"

The little boy shivered all over at the thought. And, though the merry lark immediately broke into the loudest carol, as if saying derisively that he defied anybody to eat him—still Prince Dolor was very uneasy. In another minute he had made up his mind.

"No, my bird, nothing so dreadful shall happen to you if I can help it; I would rather do without you altogether. Yes, I'll try. Fly away, my darling, my beautiful! Good-by, my merry, merry bird."

Opening his two caressing hands, in which, as if for protection, he had folded it, he let the lark go. It lingered a minute, perching on the rim of the cloak, and looking at him with eyes of almost human tenderness; then away it flew, far up into the blue sky. It was only a bird.

But some time after, when Prince Dolor had eaten his supper—somewhat drearily, except for the thought that he could not possibly sup off lark pie now—and gone quietly to bed, the old familiar little bed, where he was accustomed to sleep, or lie awake contentedly thinking—suddenly he heard outside the window a little faint carol—faint but cheerful—cheerful even though it was the middle of the night.

The dear little lark! it had not flown away after all. And it was truly the most extraordinary bird, for, unlike ordinary larks, it kept hovering about the tower in the silence and darkness of the night, outside the window or over the roof. Whenever he listened for a moment, he heard it singing still.

He went to sleep as happy as a king.


The Bee People  by Margaret Warner Morley

Her Tongue


M EANTIME, while we have been gossiping about Miss Apis's eyes, she has gone off.

There she is, just landing in another morning-glory blossom. She strikes the nectar guide as a shot strikes the bull's eye, then down she tumbles to the very bottom of the flower. Here are the nectar cups, five of them, filled full of sweet clear nectar, for it is early in the morning, and Miss Apis is the first to arrive. She wants this nectar to carry home and make into honey, but how is she going to get her head into the tiny openings that lead to the nectar?


You need not worry about that. She knows what to do, and all at once produces a long shining brown tongue and thrusts it deep down into her nectar.

Here is a morning-glory that must have had an X-ray turned upon it, for we can see right through it to where Miss Apis is reaching her brown tongue down to the nectar.


This tongue is almost as queer as her eyes. Not that she has twelve thousand six hundred tongues. Oh, no; one tongue like hers is quite enough, as you probably will agree when you know more about it.

It is a long tongue and a strong tongue, and curls about, lapping up the sweetness, as you can see for yourself if you catch her and give her a drop of honey.


Enjoying a drop of honey

But now she has licked the morning-glory dry and—but what has  she done with her tongue?

It was almost as long as her body a moment ago, and now it is gone.

Miss Apis, what have you done with your tongue?

Where is your tongue, Miss Apis?

Miss Apis, Miss Apis! Your Tongue, Miss Apis?

But she only looks at us out of her twelve thousand six hundred large eyes and her three small eyes, and says not a word.

Her tongue is all right, and she knows how to hold it.

There, she is going to speak! Buzz—b-u-z-z-zz. No, that is her wing music; her tongue is still silent. Off she goes and leaves us in despair concerning it. Now she has deposited herself in another flower—and sure enough—yes—there is that l-o-n-g, b-r-o-w-n tongue wriggling around in the nectar cup.

I will catch hold of it and pull it, Miss Apis, if you do not tell me what you did with it.

Will you? she seems to say, solemnly looking at us out of her twelve thousand six hundred and three eyes.

No, we will not, because it is gone again.

I think, in spite of her solemn and owl-like looks, she is laughing at us.

Saucy Miss Apis, what do  you do with your tongue?

"I know what you do with yours," she seems to say, and flies off.

But now I know. I saw her do it. She pulled it in, just as you do yours when you have put it out of your mouth. But hers is such a large tongue it could not be pulled into her mouth at all.. The best she could do was to pull it up as short as possible, and then fold it back into a nice little groove under her head.

It is a very useful tongue and a very queer one. It has to reach down into long flower-cups, and so it must be long. It has to lap up honey, and so it must be flexible. It has to find its way though very small openings, and so it must be as slender as a thread.


It often has to come into contact with the hard parts of flowers and plants, and so it must be protected.

It is protected by two hard horny sheaths,—one covering the upper side of the tongue, (T); the other covering the lower side. The lower sheath is made of two long pieces, X, X, that can be separated, as you see in the picture. Each has a little feeler F at the end. Usually they lie side by side with their edges over-lapping underneath the tongue. They make a little through in which the tongue lies, as you see in this next picture. They protect the under side of the tongue.


The upper sheath is also made of two horny pieces Y, Y that can be separated from each other. They lie side by side when not separated, and their inner edges overlap so that they form a covering to the upper side of the tongue. So, you see, when the two sheaths are in their right places they make a tube about the tongue, and the tongue is run out at the point of the sheaths when the bee wants to lick up nectar.


Miss Apis has her tongue-sheath separated into so many parts for a very good reason.

If the sheath were a closed tube, pieces of honey-comb or grains of pollen or other substances might get wedged in, when she was licking up honey or nectar, and give her a great deal of trouble. But as it is, if anything gets caught, all she has to do is to separate the parts of her tongue-sheath and clear it out.

Miss Apis's tongue is surrounded by rings of hairs which hold fast the nectar and enable her to draw it up into her mouth through the tube made by her tongue-sheaths.

The very tip of her tongue is like a little round plate and helps her to lick up the honey.

You see by now that Miss Apis's tongue is a very sweet tongue, in fact, a honeyed tongue, as we might say. We speak of poets and orators as having honeyed tongues, but I leave it to you if any of them can equal Miss Apis in this.

If you look in Miss Apis's face when she is not eating, you cannot see her tongue at all, as it is folded back under her head.


You can see her tightly closed jaws, J, J and her upper lip, but not her tongue.

Here she has opened her jaws and let her tongue down between them, but you can see only the upper sheath and the two little feelers that grow on the points of the lower sheath.


In this next picture she has pushed her tongue out below the sheaths, as she does when licking up honey or nectar that is easily reached.


If the nectar is hard to get at she needs a longer tongue, and therefore shoots the under sheath out below the upper one.


When she does this her tongue is not so well protected, but it is longer, as you can see in this next picture.

When the tongue is not in use, it is drawn up as short as possible, and then is folded back into a groove on the under-side of Miss Apis's head, something as a boy shuts his knife-blade into the handle.


Side view of Miss Apis's head with the tongue (T) folded back

Getting honey is very easy where it is in open cups, but sometimes the flower sweets are in the bottoms of the tubes too long for the bee's tongue to reach them.

What is she to do in such a case? When she smells a delicious meal which she cannot reach, shall she pass by with a sigh because she cannot get it? Sometimes she is obliged to, but sometimes she is helped by the bumble-bees.

These are much larger than honey-bees; and you will know them because they are covered all over with hair, as if they had on furry coats. Honey-bees have very little hair on the body below the waist. Bumble-bees have broad bands of yellow hairs across their bodies, and sometimes the whole thorax, or part between the head and waist, is bright yellow. Bumble-bees can always be found in red clover fields. Their horny tongue -sheaths are larger and stronger than the sheaths of the honey bee. Indeed, they make quite a strong little dagger with which Madam Bombus, the bumble-bee, can cut a hole in a flower.


Madam Bombus, the Bumble-Bee

When Madam Bombus finds a flower with sweets which she cannot reach without taking too much trouble, she goes to the spot beneath which the sweet she wants is concealed, and, with a downward blow of her convenient dagger, rips open the intervening membrane. Then she unfurls her flag in triumph. In this case her flag is her tongue, you understand. She inserts it in the hole she has made and licks out the sweet juice.

After she is gone, comes the turn of Miss Apis, who puts her tongue trough the hole that her larger and stronger friend has made, and takes her share also.

Since the nectaries of the flowers usually fill up as soon as the bees have licked them out, Miss Apis may get as much honey as though Madam Bombus had not taken any.

So you see that the bees help each other to get at their food. But I do not think Miss Honey-Bee knows who has cut open the flowers for her.

It is the flowers with spurs that Madam Bombus most often cuts into in this ungracious manner. I myself have seen her go up to a tidy little touch-me-not cup, and passing straight by the open door in front, cling to the yellow spur at the back, which holds the nectar, and with no hesitation whatever thrust her sharp little dagger into the spur, slit a hole there, and take out the nectar.


The tidy little Touch-me-not

It is difficult to believe this of a very respectable-looking being with several thousands of solemn eyes that make her look many times as wise as an owl, but it only proves how little one can rely upon appearances in this world.

It seems to be unwise for Madam Bombus to do such a thing; for by going in at the front door she would preserve the lives of the flowers that feed her.

When she goes about slitting open nectaries, she injures not only herself but all her fellow-bees; for bees carry pollen from flower to flower, as you very well know, and this pollen is necessary to the forming of the seeds. When the bees go into a flower as they ought, they carry some of the pollen that has rubbed off against their hairy bodies to the next flower they visit, which is just what the flowers need. But when they break open the nectaries from the outside, they do not get dusted with pollen, and do not carry it to other flowers. No pollen, no seeds; no seeds, no more plants; so now you understand why the bees do harm when they cut nectaries open.

The honey-bees seldom do this, because they cannot. Their dagger sheath is not strong enough. I once saw a honey-bee try very hard to cut a hole in the long tube of a purple azalea. She could not reach the nectar from the front of the flower, because the tube was too long and slender, so she tried to break in the back way. But she could not do it, and all the azalea nectar she got she sucked out of holes which the bumble bees had made in some of the flowers. The azalea did not make honey for the bees; its long and slender tube was fitted to the tongues of large moths and butterflies.


Purple Azaleas


Edward Lear

There Was an Old Person Whose Habits

There was an Old Person whose habits

Induced him to feed upon Rabbits;

When he'd eaten eighteen,

He turned perfectly green,

Upon which he relinquished those habits.


  WEEK 9  


Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Stranger at the Well

Matthew xiv: 3 to 5;
Mark vi: 17 to 20;
Luke iii: 19, 20;
John iii: 22, to iv: 42.

dropcap image HILE Jesus was teaching in Jerusalem and in the country places near it, John the Baptist was still preaching and baptizing. But already the people were leaving John and going to hear Jesus. Some of the followers of John the Baptist were not pleased as they saw that fewer people came to their master, and that the crowds were seeking Jesus. But John said to them, "I told you that I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. Jesus is the Christ, the King. He must grow greater, while I must grow less, and I am glad that it is so."

Soon after this Herod Antipas, the king of the province or land of Galilee, put John in prison. Herod had taken for his wife a woman named Herodias, who had left her husband to live with Herod, which was very wicked. John sent word to Herod that it was not right for him to have this woman as his wife. These words of John made Herodias very angry. She hated John, and tried to kill him. Herod himself did not hate John so greatly, for he knew that John had spoken the truth. But he was weak, and yielded to his wife Herodias. To please her he sent John the Baptist to a lonely prison among the mountains east of the Dead Sea, for the land in that region, as well as Galilee, was under Herod's rule. There in prison Herod hoped to keep John safe from the hate of his wife Herodias.

Soon after John the Baptist was thrown into prison, Jesus left the country near Jerusalem, with his disciples, and went toward Galilee, the province in the north. Between Judea in the south and Galilee in the north lay the land of Samaria, where the Samaritans lived, who hated the Jews. They worshipped the Lord as the Jews worshipped him, but they had their own temple and their own priests. And they had their own Bible, which was only the five books of Moses, for they would not read the other books of the Old Testament. The Jews and the Samaritans would scarcely ever speak to each other, so great was the hate between them.

When Jews went from Galilee to Jerusalem, or from Jerusalem to Galilee, they would not pass through Samaria, but went down the mountains to the river Jordan, and walked beside the river, in order to go around Samaria. But Jesus, when he would go from Jerusalem to Galilee, walked over the mountains, straight through Samaria. One morning, while he was on his journey, he stopped to rest beside an old well at the foot of Mount Gerizim, not far from the city of Shechem, but nearer to a little village that was called Sychar. This well had been dug by Jacob, the great father or ancestor of the Israelites, many hundreds of years before. It was an old well then in the days of Jesus, and it is much older now, for the same well may be seen in that place still. Even now travellers may have a drink from Jacob's well, as we read in Story 14.

It was early in the morning, about sunrise, when Jesus was sitting by Jacob's well. He was very tired, for he had walked a long journey; he was hungry, and his disciples had gone to the village near at hand to buy food. He was thirsty, too; and as he looked into the well he could see the water, a hundred feet below, but he had no rope with which to let down a cup or a jar and to draw up some water to drink.

Just at this moment a Samaritan woman came to the well, with her water-jar upon her head, and her rope in her hand. Jesus looked at her, and in one glance read her soul, and saw all her life. He knew that Jews did not often speak to Samaritans, but he said to her, "Please to give me a drink."

The woman saw from his looks and his dress that he was a Jew; and she said to him, "How is it that you, who are a Jew, ask drink of me, a Samaritan woman?"

Jesus answered her, "If you knew what God's free gift is, and if you knew who it is that says to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would ask him to give you living water, and he would give it to you."


The woman of Samaria sees Jesus at the well.

There was something in the words and the looks of Jesus which made the woman feel that he was not a common man. She said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where can you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who drank from this well, and who gave it to us?"

"Whoever drinks of this water," said Jesus, "shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life."

"Sir," said the woman, "give me some of this water of yours, so that I will not thirst any more, nor come all the way to this well."

Jesus looked at the woman, and said to her, "Go home, and bring your husband, and come here."

"I have no husband," answered the woman.

"Yes," said Jesus, "you have spoken the truth. You have no husband. But you have had five husbands, and the man whom you now have is not your husband."

The woman was filled with wonder as she heard this. She saw that here was a man who knew what a stranger could not know. She felt that God had spoken to him, and she said, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet of God. Tell me, whether our people or the Jews are right. Our fathers have worshipped on this mountain. The Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where men should go to worship. Now, which of these is the right place?"

"Woman, believe me," said Jesus, "there is coming a time when men shall worship God in other places besides on this mountain and in Jerusalem. The time is near; it has even now come, when the true worshippers everywhere shall pray to God in spirit and in truth; for God himself is a Spirit."

The woman said, "I know that the Anointed One is coming, the Christ. When he comes he will teach us all things."

Jesus said to her, "I that speak to you now am he, the Christ!"

Just at this time the disciples of Jesus came back from the village. They wondered to see Jesus talking with this Samaritan woman, but they said nothing.

The woman had come to draw water, but in her interest in this wonderful stranger she forgot her errand. Leaving her water-jar, she ran back to her village, and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I have done in all my life! Is not this man the Christ whom we are looking for?"

When the woman was gone away, the disciples urged Jesus to eat some of the food which they had brought. A little while before Jesus had been hungry, but now he had forgotten his own needs of food and drink. He said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing of, the food of the soul; and that food is to do the will of God, and to work for him. Do you say to me that there are four months before the harvest? You shall reap, and shall have a rich reward, gathering fruit to everlasting life."

Jesus meant that as this woman, bad though she may have been before, was now ready to hear his words; so they would find the hearts of men everywhere, like a field of ripe grain, ready to be won and to be saved.

Soon the woman came back to the well with many of her people. They asked Jesus to come to their town, and to stay there and teach them. He went with them, and stayed there two days, teaching the people, who were Samaritans. And many of the people in that place believed in Jesus, and said, "We have heard for ourselves; now we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."


Five Children and It  by Edith Nesbit

Grown Up

C YRIL had once pointed out that ordinary life is full of occasions on which a wish would be most useful. And this thought filled his mind when he happened to wake early on the morning after the morning after Robert had wished to be bigger than the baker's boy, and had been it. The day that lay between these two days had been occupied entirely by getting the governess-cart home from Benenhurst.

Cyril dressed hastily; he did not take a bath, because tin baths are so noisy, and he had no wish to rouse Robert, and he slipped off alone, as Anthea had once done, and ran through the dewy morning to the sand-pit. He dug up the Psammead very carefully and kindly, and began the conversation by asking it whether it still felt any ill effects from the contact with the tears of Robert the day before yesterday. The Psammead was in good temper. It replied politely.

"And now, what can I do for you?" it said. "I suppose you've come here so early to ask for something for yourself—something your brothers and sisters aren't to know about, eh? Now, do be persuaded for your own good! Ask for a good fat Megatherium and have done with it."

"Thank you—not to-day, I think," said Cyril cautiously. "What I really wanted to say was—you know how you're always wishing for things when you're playing at anything?"

"I seldom play," said the Psammead coldly.

"Well, you know what I mean," Cyril went on impatiently. "What I want to say is: won't you let us have our wish just when we think of it, and just where we happen to be? So that we don't have to come and disturb you again," added the crafty Cyril.

"It'll only end in your wishing for something you don't really want, as you did about the castle," said the Psammead, stretching its brown arms and yawning. "It's always the same since people left off eating really wholesome things. However, have it your own way. Good-bye."

"Good-bye," said Cyril politely.

"I'll tell you what," said the Psammead suddenly, shooting out its long snail's eyes,—"I'm getting tired of you—all of you. You have no more sense than so many oysters. Go along with you!"

And Cyril went.

"What an awful long time babies stay  babies," said Cyril after the Lamb had taken his watch out of his pocket while he wasn't noticing, and with coos and clucks of naughty rapture had opened the case and used the whole thing as a garden spade, and when even immersion in a wash basin had failed to wash the mould from the works and make the watch go again.


He opened the case and used the whole thing as a garden spade.

Cyril had said several things in the heat of the moment; but now he was calmer, and had even consented to carry the Lamb part of the way to the woods. Cyril had persuaded the others to agree to his plan, and not to wish for anything more till they really did wish it. Meantime it seemed good to go to the woods for nuts, and on the mossy grass under a sweet chestnut tree the five were sitting. The Lamb was pulling up the moss by fat handfuls, and Cyril was gloomily contemplating the ruins of his watch.

"He does grow," said Anthea. "Doesn't 'oo, precious?"

"Me grow," said the Lamb cheerfully—"me grow big boy, have guns' an' mouses—an'—an' "—— Imagination or vocabulary gave out here. But anyway it was the longest speech the Lamb had ever made, and it charmed everyone, even Cyril, who tumbled the Lamb over and rolled him in the moss to the music of delighted squeals.

"I suppose he'll be grown up some day," Anthea was saying, dreamily looking up at the blue of the sky that showed between the long straight chestnut-leaves. But at that moment the Lamb, struggling gaily with Cyril, thrust a stout-shod little foot against his brother's chest; there was a crack!—the innocent Lamb had broken the glass of father's second-best Waterbury watch, which Cyril had borrowed without leave.

"Grow up some day!" said Cyril bitterly, plumping the Lamb down on the grass. "I daresay he will—when nobody wants him to. I wish to goodness he would"—

"Oh,  take care!" cried Anthea in an agony of apprehension. But it was too late—like music to a song her words and Cyril's came out together—

Anthea—"Oh, take care!"

Cyril—"Grow up now!"

The faithful Psammead was true to its promise, and there, before the horrified eyes of its brothers and sisters, the Lamb suddenly and violently grew up. It was the most terrible moment. The change was not so sudden as the wish-changes usually were. The Baby's face changed first. It grew thinner and larger, lines came in the forehead, the eyes grew more deep-set and darker in colour, the mouth grew longer and thinner; most terrible of all, a little dark mustache appeared on the lip of one who was still—except as to the face—a two-year-old baby in a linen smock and white open-work socks.

"Oh, I wish it wouldn't! Oh, I wish it wouldn't! You boys might wish as well!"

They all wished hard, for the sight was enough to dismay the most heartless. They all wished so hard, indeed, that they felt quite giddy and almost lost consciousness; but the wishing was quite vain, for, when the wood ceased to whirl round, their dazed eyes were riveted at once by the spectacle of a very proper-looking young man in flannels and a straw hat—a young man who wore the same little black mustache which just before they had actually seen growing upon the Baby's lip. This, then, was the Lamb—grown up! Their own Lamb! It was a terrible moment. The grown-up Lamb moved gracefully across the moss and settled himself against the trunk of the sweet chestnut. He tilted the straw hat over his eyes. He was evidently weary. He was going to sleep. The Lamb—the original little tiresome beloved Lamb often went to sleep at odd times and in unexpected places. Was this new Lamb in the grey flannel suit and the pale green necktie like the other Lamb? or had his mind grown up together with his body?

That was the question which the others, in a hurried council held among the yellowing brake-fern a few yards from the sleeper, debated eagerly.

"Whichever it is, it'll be just as awful," said Anthea. "If his inside senses are grown up too, he won't stand our looking after him; and if he's still a baby inside of him how on earth are we to get him to do anything? And it'll be getting on for dinner-time in a minute."

"And we haven't got any nuts," said Jane.

"Oh bother nuts!" said Robert, "but dinner's different—I didn't have half enough dinner yesterday. Couldn't we tie him to the tree and go home to our dinner and come back afterwards?"

"A fat lot of dinner we should get if we went back without the Lamb!" said Cyril in scornful misery. "And it'll be just the same if we go back with him in the state he is now. Yes, I know it's my doing; don't rub it in! I know I'm a beast, and not fit to live; you can take that for settled, and say no more about it. The question is, what are we going to do?"

"Let's wake him up, and take him into Rochester or Maidstone and get something to eat at a baker's shop," said Robert hopefully.

"Take him?" repeated Cyril. "Yes—do! It's all my fault—I don't deny that—but you'll find you've got your work cut out for you if you try to take that young man anywhere. The Lamb always was spoilt, but now he's grown up he's a demon—simply. I can see it. Look at his mouth."

"Well then," said Robert, "let's wake him up and see what he'll  do. Perhaps he'll  take us  to Maidstone and stand treat. He ought to have a lot of money in the pockets of those extra-special pants. We must  have dinner, anyway."

They drew lots with little bits of brake fern. It fell to Jane's lot to waken the grown-up Lamb.

She did it gently by tickling his nose with a twig of honeysuckle. He said "Bother the flies!" twice, and then opened his eyes.


She did it gently by tickling his nose with a twig of honeysuckle.

"Hullo, kiddies!" he said in a languid tone, "still here? What's the giddy hour? You'll be late for your grub!"

"I know we shall," said Robert bitterly.

"Then cut along home," said the grown-up Lamb.

"What about your grub, though?" asked Jane.

"Oh, how far is it to the station, do you think? I've a sort of a notion that I'll run up to town and have some lunch at the club."

Blank misery fell like a pall on the four others. The Lamb—alone—unattended—would go to town and have lunch at a club! Perhaps he would also have tea there. Perhaps sunset would come upon him amid the dazzling luxury of club-land, and a helpless cross sleepy baby would find itself alone amid unsympathetic waiters, and would wail miserably for "Panty" from the depths of a club arm-chair! The picture moved Anthea almost to tears.

"Oh no, Lamb ducky, you mustn't do that!" she cried incautiously.

The grown-up Lamb frowned. "My dear Anthea," he said, "how often am I to tell you that my name is Hilary or St. Maur or Devereux?—any of my baptismal names are free to my little brothers and sisters, but not  'Lamb'—a relic of foolishness and far-off childhood."

This was awful. He was their elder brother now, was he? Well of course he was, if he was grown-up—since they weren't. Thus, in whispers, Anthea and Robert.

But the almost daily adventures resulting from the Psammead's wishes were making the children wise beyond their years.

"Dear Hilary," said Anthea, and the others choked at the name, "you know father didn't wish you to go to London. He wouldn't like us to be left alone without you to take care of us. Oh, deceitful thing that I am!" she added to herself.

"Look here," said Cyril, "if you're our elder brother, why not behave as sich and take us over to Maidstone and give us a jolly good blow-out, and we'll go on the river afterwards?"

"I'm infinitely obliged to you," said the Lamb courteously, "but I should prefer solitude. Go home to your lunch—I mean your dinner. Perhaps I may look in about tea-time—or I may not be home till after you are in your beds."

Their beds! Speaking glances flashed between the wretched four. Much bed there would be for them if they went home without the Lamb.

"We promised mother not to lose sight of you if we took you out," Jane said before the others could stop her.

"Look here, Jane," said the grown-up Lamb, putting his hands in his pockets and looking down at her, "little girls should be seen and not heard. You kids must learn not to make yourselves a nuisance. Run along home now—and perhaps, if you're good, I'll give you each a penny to-morrow."

"Look here," said Cyril, in the best "man to man" tone at his command, "where are you going, old man? You might let Bobs and me come with you—even if you don't want the girls."

This was really rather noble of Cyril, for he never did care much about being seen in public with the Lamb, who of course after sunset would be a baby again.

The "man to man" tone succeeded.

"I shall run over to Maidstone on my bike," said the new Lamb airily, fingering the little black mustache. "I can lunch at The Crown—and perhaps I'll have a pull on the river; but I can't take you all on the machine—now, can I? Run along home, like good children."

The position was desperate. Robert exchanged a despairing look with Cyril. Anthea detached a pin from her waistband, a pin whose withdrawal left a gaping chasm between skirt and bodice, and handed it furtively to Robert—with a grimace of the darkest and deepest meaning. Robert slipped away to the road. There, sure enough, stood a bicycle—a beautiful new one. Of course Robert understood at once that if the Lamb was grown up he must  have a bicycle.


There, sure enough, stood a bicycle.

This had always been one of Robert's own reasons for wishing to be grown-up. He hastily began to use the pin—eleven punctures in the back tyre, seven in the front. He would have made the total twenty-two but for the rustling of the yellow hazel-leaves, which warned him of the approach of the others. He hastily leaned a hand on each wheel, and was rewarded by the "whish" of the what was left of air escaping from eighteen neat pin-holes.

"Your bike's run down," said Robert, wondering how he could so soon have learned to deceive.

"So it is," said Cyril.

"It's a puncture," said Anthea, stooping down, and standing up again with a thorn which she had got ready for the purpose.

"Look here."

The grown-up Lamb (or Hilary, as I suppose one must now call him) fixed his pump and blew up the tyre. The punctured state of it was soon evident.


The punctured state of it was soon evident.

"I suppose there's a cottage somewhere near—where one could get a pail of water?" said the Lamb.

There was; and when the number of punctures had been made manifest, it was felt to be a special blessing that the cottage provided "teas for cyclists." It provided an odd sort of tea-and-hammy meal for the Lamb and his brothers. This was paid for out of the fifteen shillings which had been earned by Robert when he was a giant—for the Lamb, it appeared, had unfortunately no money about him. This was a great disappointment for the others; but it is a thing that will happen, even to the most grown-up of us. However, Robert had enough to eat, and that was something. Quietly but persistently the miserable four took it in turns to try and persuade the Lamb (or St. Maur) to spend the rest of the day in the woods. There was not very much of the day left by the time he had mended the eighteenth puncture. He looked up from the completed work with a sigh of relief, and suddenly put his tie straight.

"There's a lady coming," he said briskly,—"for goodness' sake, get out of the way. Go home—hide—vanish somehow! I can't be seen with a pack of dirty kids." His brothers and sisters were indeed rather dirty, because, earlier in the day, the Lamb, in his infant state, had sprinkled a good deal of garden soil over them. The grown-up Lamb's voice was so tyrant-like, as Jane said afterwards, that they actually retreated to the back garden, and left him with his little mustache and his flannel suit to meet alone the young lady, who now came up the front garden wheeling a bicycle.

The woman of the house came out, and the young lady spoke to her,—the Lamb raised his hat as she passed him,—and the children could not hear what she said, though they were craning round the corner and listening with all their ears. They felt it to be "perfectly fair," as Robert said, "with that wretched Lamb in that condition."

When the Lamb spoke, in a languid voice heavy with politeness, they heard well enough.

"A puncture?" he was saying. "Can I not be of any assistance? If you could allow me——?"

There was a stifled explosion of laughter and the grown-up Lamb (otherwise Devereux) turned the tail of an angry eye in its direction.

"You're very kind," said the lady, looking at the Lamb. She looked rather shy, but, as the boys put it, there didn't seem to be any nonsense about her.

"But oh," whispered Cyril, "I should have thought he'd had enough bicycle-mending for one day—and if she only knew that really and truly he's only a whiny-piny, silly little baby!"

"He's not,"  Anthea murmured angrily. "He's a dear—if people only let him alone. It's our own precious Lamb still, whatever silly idiots may turn him into—isn't he, Pussy?"

Jane doubtfully supposed so.

Now, the Lamb—whom I must try to remember to call St. Maur—was examining the lady's bicycle and talking to her with a very grown-up manner indeed. No one could possibly have supposed, to see and hear him, that only that very morning he had been a chubby child of two years breaking other people's Waterbury watches. Devereux (as he ought to be called for the future) took out a gold watch when he had mended the lady's bicycle, and all the hidden onlookers said "Oh!"—because it seemed so unfair that the Baby, who had only that morning destroyed two cheap but honest watches, should now, in the grown-upness to which Cyril's folly had raised him, have a real gold watch—with a chain and seals!

Hilary (as I will now term him) withered his brothers and sisters with a glance, and then said to the lady—with whom he seemed to be quite friendly—

"If you will allow me, I will ride with you as far as the Cross Roads; it is getting late, and there are tramps about."

No one will ever know what answer the young lady intended to give to this gallant offer, for, directly Anthea heard it made, she rushed out, knocking against a swill pail, which overflowed in a turbid stream, and caught the Lamb (I suppose I ought to say Hilary) by the arm. The others followed, and in an instant the four dirty children were visible beyond disguise.

"Don't let him," said Anthea to the lady, and she spoke with intense earnestness; "he's not fit to go with anyone!"

"Go away, little girl!" said St. Maur (as we will now call him) in a terrible voice.

"Go home at once!"

"You'd much better not have anything to do with him," the now reckless Anthea went on. "He doesn't know who he is. He's something very different from what you think he is."

"What do you mean?" asked the lady, not unnaturally, while Devereux (as I must term the grown-up Lamb) tried vainly to push Anthea away. The others backed her up, and she stood solid as a rock.

"You just let him go with you," said Anthea, "you'll soon see what I mean! How would you like to suddenly see a poor little helpless baby spinning along downhill beside you with its feet up on a bicycle it had lost control of?"

The lady had turned rather pale.

"Who are these very dirty children?" she asked the grown-up Lamb (sometimes called St. Maur in these pages).

"I don't know," he lied miserably.

"Oh, Lamb! how can  you?" cried Jane,—"when you know perfectly well you're our own little baby brother that we're so fond of. We're his big brothers and sisters," she explained, turning to the lady, who with trembling hands was now turning her bicycle towards the gate, "and we've got to take care of him. And we must get him home before sunset, or I don't know whatever will become of us. You see, he's sort of under a spell—enchanted—you know what I mean!"

Again and again the Lamb (Devereux, I mean) had tried to stop Jane's eloquence, but Robert and Cyril held him, one by each leg, and no proper explanation was possible. The lady rode hastily away, and electrified her relatives at dinner by telling them of her escape from a family of dangerous lunatics. "The little girl's eyes were simply those of a maniac. I can't think how she came to be at large," she said.

When her bicycle had whizzed away down the road, Cyril spoke gravely.

"Hilary, old chap," he said, "you must have had a sunstroke or something. And the things you've been saying to that lady! Why, if we were to tell you the things you've said when you are yourself again, say to-morrow morning, you wouldn't ever understand them—let alone believe them! You trust to me, old chap, and come home now, and if you're not yourself in the morning we'll ask the milkman to ask the doctor to come."

The poor grown-up Lamb (St. Maur was really one of his Christian names) seemed now too bewildered to resist.

"Since you seem all to be as mad as the whole worshipful company of hatters," he said bitterly, "I suppose I had  better take you home. But you're not to suppose I shall pass this over. I shall have something to say to you all to-morrow morning."

"Yes, you will, my Lamb," said Anthea under her breath, "but it won't be at all the sort of thing you think it's going to be."

In her heart she could hear the pretty, soft little loving voice of the baby Lamb—so different from the affected tones of the dreadful grown-up Lamb (one of whose names was Devereux)—saying, "Me love Panty—wants to come to own Panty."

"Oh, let's go home, for goodness' sake," she said. "You shall say whatever you like in the morning—if you can," she added in a whisper.

It was a gloomy party that went home through the soft evening. During Anthea's remarks Robert had again made play with the pin and the bicycle tyre, and the Lamb (whom they had to call St. Maur or Devereux or Hilary) seemed really at last to have had his fill of bicycle-mending. So the machine was wheeled.

The sun was just on the point of setting when they arrived at the White House. The four elder children would have liked to linger in the lane till the complete sunsetting turned the grown-up Lamb (whose Christian names I will not further weary you by repeating) into their own dear tiresome baby brother. But he, in his grown-upness, insisted on going on, and thus he was met in the front garden by Martha.

Now you remember that, as a special favour, the Psammead had arranged that the servants in the house should never notice any change brought about by the wishes of the children. Therefore Martha merely saw the usual party, with the baby Lamb, about whom she had been desperately anxious all the afternoon, trotting beside Anthea, on fat baby legs, while the children, of course, still saw the grown-up Lamb (never mind what names he was christened by), and Martha rushed at him and caught him in her arms, exclaiming—

"Come to his own Martha, then—a precious poppet!"

The grown-up Lamb (whose names shall now be buried in oblivion) struggled furiously. An expression of intense horror and annoyance was seen on his face. But Martha was stronger than he. She lifted him up and carried him into the house. None of the children will ever forget that picture. The neat grey-flannel-suited grown-up young man with the green necktie and the little black mustache—fortunately, he was slightly built, and not tall—struggling in the sturdy arms of Martha, who bore him away helpless, imploring him, as she went, to be a good boy now, and come and have his nice bremmink! Fortunately, the sun set as they reached the doorstep, the bicycle disappeared, and Martha was seen to carry into the house the real live darling sleepy two-year-old Lamb. The grown-up Lamb (nameless henceforth) was gone for ever.


The grown-up Lamb struggled.

"For ever," said Cyril, "because, as soon as ever the Lamb's old enough to be bullied, we must jolly well begin to bully him, for his own sake—so that he mayn't grow up like that."

"You shan't bully him," said Anthea stoutly,—"not if I can stop it."

"We must tame him by kindness," said Jane.

"You see," said Robert, "if he grows up in the usual way, there'll be plenty of time to correct him as he goes along. The awful thing to-day was his growing up so suddenly. There was no time to improve him at all."

"He doesn't want any improving," said Anthea as the voice of the Lamb came cooing through the open door, just as she had heard it in her heart that afternoon—

"Me loves Panty—wants to come to own Panty!"


Sir Walter Scott


Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the west!

Through all the wide Border his steed was the best,

And save his good broadsword he weapons had none;

He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone.

So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,

There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone,

He swam the Eske River where ford there was none;

But ere he alighted at Netherby gate

The bride had consented, the gallant came late:

For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war

Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall,

Among bridesmen and kinsmen and brothers and all:

Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword

(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word),

"Oh, come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,

Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?"

"I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied;—

Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide—

And now am I come, with this lost love of mine,

To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.

There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,

That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar."

The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up;

He quaffed of the wine, and he threw down the cup.

She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,

With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.

He took her soft hand ere her mother could bar,—

"Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,

That never a hall such a galliard did grace;

While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,

And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume,

And the bridemaidens whispered, " 'Twere better by far

To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar!"

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,

When they reached the hall door, and the charger stood near;

So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,

So light to the saddle before her he sprung!

"She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;

They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan,

Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran;

There was racing and chasing, on Cannobie lea,

But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.

So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,

Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?