WEEK 1 |
L EIF was a bold Norseman, and was called "Lucky" because he came safely through so many dangers. He was the bravest seaman of his race, and the sailors believed that whatever boat carried him would come safely into port, no matter how fierce the storm.
When voyagers from the far seas brought word to Iceland that fair lands covered with forests lay to the west, for they had seen them, Leif the Lucky called for thirty-five strong and true men. "Let us sail to this country, and get wood for our ships, and perhaps gold and silver to sell to the kings of Europe," he said. The men came forward and the ship set sail in the summer.
They went by way of Greenland, where they stopped for more news of the strange lands, and then sailed southwest for many days. The first place they saw was a land of ice and mountains. This was probably Newfoundland. Then they reached a level country covered with trees. This was probably Nova Scotia. Still sailing onward, the little ships with their brave crews came to a beautiful country abounding in trees, grass, and flowers. Here they landed, and carried all their baggage ashore with them. The place was so beautiful, they resolved to spend the winter there, and at once set about building houses. This was probably somewhere in Rhode Island.
When the Norsemen had built their houses, Leif said to his men, "Let us explore the land; some of us will stay to guard the houses, and the rest will find out what there is to see." So they set forth into the interior.
Soon they came upon an abundance of grapevines hanging from trees and covered with luscious fruit. Leif was delighted, and at once named the country Vinland, or the Land of Vines. So they gathered grapes, and cut wood for their ships, and built more houses, and settled down to spend the winter in this delightful spot. The cold came on, but the Norsemen did not mind it, for they had plenty of food and great fires; besides which, they were accustomed to cold weather.
In the spring they loaded their ships with timber, and sailed for home. Here they narrated their marvelous story of the new land. Leif offered his ship to his brother, Thorwald, and told him he might go and spend a winter in Vinland. So Thorwald fitted himself out and started for the new country, but he was not as lucky as his brother. He found the homes that had been built by those who had been before him; but the Indians attacked his party one night, and killed Thorwald with a poisoned arrow. He was buried on the shore, and his men set sail for home as soon as the weather allowed them to leave.
About eight hundred years after this, a skeleton clothed in armor was found buried in the earth at the head of Narragansett Bay. No one knew who it was; but we have every reason to believe that it was the remains of the brave old Norse warrior, Thorwald, or, maybe, of one of his followers. At any rate, the Skeleton in Armor has been the subject of much romance and poetry, and the traditions of the Norsemen have been handed down to us as sagas in the writing of the seafaring Icelanders.
S the warm August days came,
The more he thought about it the more he squirmed, until
suddenly he heard a faint little sound, too faint for larger
people to hear, and found a tiny slit in the wall of his
chrysalis. It was such a dainty green chrysalis with white
wrinkles, that it seemed almost a pity to have it break.
Still it had held him for eight days already and that was as
long as any of his family ever hung in the chrysalis, so it
was quite time for it to be torn open and left empty.
Poor Mr. Butterfly! He found his wings
so wet and crinkled
that they wouldn't work at all, so he had to sit quietly in
the sunshine all day drying them. And just as they got big,
and smooth, and dry, it grew dark, and
The next morning, bright and early, he flew away to visit
the flowers. First, he stopped to see the Daisies by the
roadside. They were all dancing in the wind, and their
bright faces looked as cheerful as anyone could wish. They
were glad to see
The Daisies smiled and nodded to each other, saying, "This is the kind of place we were made for, that's all."
Mr. Butterfly shook his head very doubtfully, and then bade
them a polite
The Cardinals are a very stately family, as everybody knows.
They hold their heads very high, and never make deep bows,
even to the wind, but for all that they are a very pleasant
family to meet. They gave
"It is a delightful place to grow," said they.
"But the Daisies always do choose such places," said the Cardinals.
"And your family," said Mr. Butterfly, "have lived so long in wet places that it is a wonder you are alive. Your color is good, but to stand with one's roots in water all the time! It is shocking."
"Cardinals and Butterflies live differently," said the
Mr. Butterfly left the river and flew over to the woods. He was very much out of patience. He was so angry that his feelers quivered, and now you know how angry he must have been. He knew that the Violets were a very agreeable family, who never put on airs, so he went at once to them.
He had barely said
"To think," he said, "what notions some flowers have! Now you have a pleasant home here in the edge of the woods. I have been telling the Daisies and the Cardinals that they should grow in such a place, but they wouldn't listen to me. The Daisies were quite uppish about it, and the Cardinals were very stiff."
"My dear friend," answered a Violet, "they could never live if they moved up into our neighborhood. Every flower has his own place in this world, and is happiest in that place. Everything has its own place and its own work, and every flower that is wise will stay in the place for which it was intended. You were exceedingly kind to want to help the flowers, but suppose they had been telling you what to do. Suppose the Cardinals had told you that flying around was not good for your health, and that to be truly well you ought to grow planted with your legs in the mud and water."
"Oh!" said Mr. Butterfly, "Oh! I never thought of that. Perhaps Butterflies don't know everything."
"No," said the Violet, "they don't know everything, and you haven't been out of your chrysalis very long. But those who are ready to learn can always find someone to tell them. Won't you eat some honey?"
And Mr. Butterfly sipped honey and was happy.
Little wind, blow on the hill top,
Little wind, blow down the plain;
Little wind, blow up the sunshine,
Little wind, blow off the rain.
WEEK 1 |
L ONG years ago, when Rome was mistress of the world and her soldiers and citizens were to be found everywhere, even the little island of Britain had its place among the colonies of the great empire. Here the Romans laid their roads and planted their towns, built temples to their gods, and ruled the barbarians with a firm strong hand. Many noble Roman families lived in Britain in those days, and although the life was ruder and rougher than that they were accustomed to in the wonderful city of Rome, still they made their houses as luxurious and comfortable as they could and tried to be content.
It was in one of these well-built houses, with inlaid floors and marble baths, that the little Alban was born, heir to a great Roman family. The parents had settled in the town of Verulam, on the banks of the little river Ver, but they always looked upon Britain as a land of exile, and planned to send their boy back to Rome as soon as he should be old enough to be taught and trained to be a Roman citizen.
But the child himself was very happy in his island home. The little stream that ran past the town was in his eyes a wonderful river which would carry his boats far out to sea. The green hill on the opposite bank was a playground fit for the gods, with its carpet of golden-eyed daisies and yellow buttercups, and the smooth grassy slopes that were so soft to roll upon. The great forests that looked so dark and gloomy held him spell-bound, and he loved to watch the grey mists come rolling over the marshy land, turning everything into a world of mystery.
Never was there a happier child in all the world; but the reason of his happiness was not because he had so many pleasures, but because he was kind and generous to every one round about him. It seemed as if there was a little singing bird in the golden cage of his heart, a bird that was always singing happy songs, and its name was Unselfishness.
Now, as soon as the boy grew old enough, he was sent away to Rome as his parents had planned, for they wished him to learn many things which he could never be taught in the little island of Britain. It seemed to Alban as if he had come to a different world when first he entered the city of Rome. Accustomed as he was to the little town with its few well-built houses, the rude huts and wild marsh wastes, the rolling mists and grey skies, he had never dreamed of such a city as this. Palaces of white marble triumphantly rearing their columns up to heaven; temples of the gods more beautiful than a dream; baths luxurious as those of a king's dwelling; and above all the blue sky, such a blue as he had never even dreamed of, and sunshine which kept him even warmer than his fur coat had ever done.
There was much to learn and much to do in this new world of wonder and magnificence, but as Alban grew into a man, he found that there was something he loved better than all this splendour and luxury. Far away on the banks of the little river, in the island of the mist and grey skies, there was something which bound his heart with a golden thread of love and memory which nothing could snap. Although the house at Verulam was no grand palace; although the country was rough and wild and often cold and bleak, it was home. The great forests, the green flowery hills, the rolling mists seemed to be calling him. It meant home to him, and he loved it better than all the glory of Rome.
So Alban returned to the island of the mists, and lived once more in the house where he was born, on the banks of the little river. He was rich and powerful and had everything that heart could desire, and he was as happy as ever, for he was so kind and generous that every one loved him. Rich and poor alike were welcome at his house, and no one who needed help asked for it in vain. Travellers always stopped at his gate, and he never refused hospitality to any guest.
It was late one night, when doors were barred and every one had gone to rest, that a knocking was heard at the outer gate. It was an urgent knocking although not very loud, and the servants at last went to see who it was that sought shelter at that unseemly hour. A weary-looking man dressed in a long cloak was standing there, and he begged that he might be taken in secretly and hidden from his pursuers, who were even now close at hand.
The servants, knowing their master's will, brought him quickly in, and one went to his lord to tell him of the new arrival. "He hath a strange cloak and seemeth to be a teacher, and one of those whom men call Christians," said the servant, as he told his tale: "he saith that even now he is pursued and hath endured great persecutions."
"See that he is made welcome," said Alban, "and that he is hidden secretly, and let no man prate of his presence here."
The poor hunted man, who was indeed a Christian priest, was brought in and secretly hidden, as Alban had commanded, and for a while his pursuers sought for him in vain.
Alban knew well how cruel were the tortures and punishments which these Christians endured, and he looked to find his guest stricken with terror and fear, but to his surprise the priest's face was calm and even happy.
"Art thou not afraid that thy persecutors may track thee here?" asked Alban curiously.
"My Master is stronger than they," answered the priest calmly. "He will protect me."
"Who is thy master?" asked Alban wonderingly.
"The Lord Christ," answered the priest.
"That poor man who died the death of a criminal?" said Alban, in a mocking voice.
"The King of Heaven, who deigned to come to earth as a helpless child," answered the priest, "and who became Man that He might teach us to be Men."
"And what reward dost thou receive for thy service to this King?" asked Alban, looking at the worn clothes, the weary thin face of the man before him.
"They who serve Christ have no thought of reward," answered the priest. "Their only thought is how much service they may offer their Master. Stripes, persecutions, tortures, death, these are the rewards which His faithful soldiers gladly suffer, that they may be fit to call Him 'Lord.' Wilt thou listen to the story of my King?"
"These are strange sayings of thine," said Alban, "but I will hear no more. 'Tis almost like a call to battle in my ears, and yet I know it is but foolishness. Be silent; I will have no more of thy idle talk."
Disturbed and angry, Alban turned to go, but all that day the words he had heard rang in his ears. How royally was this King served by His followers! Who was He that could command such splendid service? He had heard of this God of the Christians, but had never troubled himself to learn what His life had been.
Then when night came and he lay sleeping, a dream was sent—a dream which told him the story of the King, which he had refused to hear that day. He saw the Man, crowned with the wreath of thorns; he saw the face of majesty and power gazing so pitifully at the cruel throng who seized Him and nailed Him to the cross. He saw the body laid in the tomb, and then the figure of the living Christ ascending with great glory into heaven. And sweeping upwards, there followed a great multitude in white robes, following Him who had conquered death, for whom they too had laid down their lives.
Early next morning Alban went to the secret chamber to seek the priest and ask what that dream could mean.
"God has been very gracious to thee, my son," answered the priest solemnly. "He has taught thee Himself what thou didst refuse to hear from me."
"Tell me more," said Alban humbly; "I will listen to every word that thou canst tell me now."
With a glad heart the priest told over again the story of his Master's life, and Alban listened eagerly. Again the battle-call sounded in his ears, and he longed to serve a Master such as this.
"But hast thou indeed counted the cost of such a service?" asked the teacher. "It is no pleasant service which He offers."
"I seek no pleasant service," answered Alban.
"A cruel death may be thy only reward," said the priest again. "Dost thou not repent the kindness which made thee harbour a Christian?"
"Nay," replied Alban; "thou hast brought me life instead of death. I have never yet repented of one kind or merciful act which I have done to any man."
Then the priest could no longer refuse to baptize the new soldier into the service of the King; but as they knelt in prayer together the servants came hurriedly to the door telling of a band of soldiers who had entered the courtyard and demanded to search the house for the hidden fugitive.
Alban sprang to his feet, and caught up the heavy cloak and cowl of the priest. "Quick! quick!" he cried, "escape thou in my mantle, and I will stay here in thy place. They will scarce discover who I am until thou hast escaped far away out of their reach."
"How can I do this?" said the priest. "Thou wilt suffer in my stead."
" 'Tis my first call to arms," said Alban gladly. "Let me thus begin to serve the King."
There was no time for words; the soldiers were at the door; but when they entered there was but one cloaked figure there, and he showed no resistance, but quietly gave himself into their hands.
The judge was in the temple, sacrificing to his gods, when they brought the fugitive Christian to receive his sentence. And when the cloak was thrown back and he saw the young Roman noble, he was doubly furious because he had been deceived.
"Thou has hidden a traitor in thy house, and well dost thou deserve to bear his punishment," he cried angrily. "Perhaps thou too art a Christian. Sacrifice at once to the gods, and beg for mercy."
"It is as thou sayest; I am a Christian," answered Alban calmly. "I serve the King of Heaven, and will offer no sacrifice to thy false gods."
There was a note of triumph in the voice of the young Roman, and the people wondered when they saw him standing there so fearless and triumphant. Did he not know what it meant to call himself a Christian? He was young and rich and powerful; all the pleasures of life, gay and alluring, lay spread out before him; all the great things which men strive after lay within his grasp; and yet he was choosing torture, dishonour and death. The wondering "why?" was echoed in every heart.
But there was little time for wonder. The soldiers, by order of the judge, seized Alban and dragged him away to be tortured, and then he was led out to be executed in the arena on the opposite side of the river.
All the inhabitants of the town came out to see the sight, and some looked on with pity, remembering the kindness they had received at the hands of the young Roman noble. Others again came out to mock. How gallant and happy he had always looked. There would surely be no smile on his face now! But when they pressed forward, and caught sight of that pale young face, their mocking words were silenced, and a feeling of awe fell upon the crowd. Yes, the old happy look was there still, but there was something higher and purer added to it. A light of wondrous happiness seemed to shine forth, and the people as they looked felt as did those men who gazed upon Saint Stephen. "They saw his face, as it had been the face of an angel."
Down to the little river they led him; but when they came to the bridge there was no room to pass, for the crowd was so great. The order was given to ford the river, but the legend tells us that before Saint Alban could step down, the stream dried up, and he crossed over, without so much as wetting his feet.
Then the old legend goes on to tell how the executioner, who watched this miracle from the opposite bank, was struck with fear and remorse. How could he put to death a man whom heaven itself so carefully guarded? He would not fight against the God of Alban, so he threw down his sword and refused to touch him.
But Alban walked steadfastly on to the place of execution. Up the grassy slopes of the green hill he went, along the flowery path of scented thyme and golden-eyed daisies, where he had loved to play as a little lad. On this bright June day the hill was starred with flowers, and they seemed indeed a fitting carpet to spread beneath the feet of the first English martyr.
There were other executioners ready to do the bidding of the governor, and there, on the green hillside, the first faithful English soldier in the noble army of martyrs laid down his life.
A clear spring of water, it is said, sprang up to mark the spot where Saint Alban was put to death, near the little town of Verulam which now bears his name; but the miracle was scarcely needed. The memory that sprang from the life laid down in merciful kindness for another, in the service of the King, is a spring of living water that can never fail or be cut off.
The little red hen found a seed.
It was a little seed.
The little red hen found a seed.
It was a wheat seed.
The little red hen found a seed.
It was a wheat seed.
The little red hen said,
"Who will plant the seed?"
The little red hen said,
"Who will plant the seed?"
The pig said, "Not I."
The cat said, "Not I."
The dog said, "Not I."
The little red hen said, "I will."
The little red hen said,
"Who will cut the wheat?"
The pig said, "Not I."
The cat said, "Not I."
The dog said, "Not I."
The little red hen said,
"I will then."
And she did.
White sheep, white sheep,
On a blue hill,
When the wind stops
You all stand still.
When the wind blows,
You walk away slow.
White sheep, white sheep,
Where do you go?
WEEK 1 |
ANY years ago there lived in
In those days a king did not have a very easy life. There was war almost all the time, and no one else could lead his army into battle so well as he. And so, between ruling and fighting, he had a busy time of it indeed.
A fierce, rude people, called the Danes, had come from over the sea,
and were fighting the
At last, after a great battle, the English army was
broken up and
Late in the day the king came to the hut
"Yes," she said, "I will give you some supper if you will watch these cakes. I want to go out and milk the cow; and you must see that they do not burn while I am gone."
King Alfred was very willing to watch the cakes,
but he had far greater things to think about.
How was he going to get his army
In a little while the
"You lazy fellow!" she cried. "See what you have done!
I have been told that she even struck the king with a stick;
but I can hardly
The king must have laughed to himself at the thought of being scolded in this way; and he was so hungry that he did not mind the woman's angry words half so much as the loss of the cakes.
I do not know whether he had
T one time the Danes drove King Alfred from his kingdom,
and he had to lie hidden for a long time on a little
One day, all who were on the
The king called the servant, and asked, "How much food have we in the house?"
"My lord," said the servant, "we have only one loaf and a little wine."
Then the king gave thanks to God, and said, "Give half of the loaf and half of the wine to this poor man."
The servant did as he was bidden. The beggar thanked the king for his kindness, and went on his way.
The king was glad, and he and his people were more hopeful than they had ever been before.
When night came, the king lay awake for a long time, and thought about the things that had happened that day. At last he fancied that he saw a great light like the sun; and in the midst of the light there stood an old man with black hair, holding an open book in his hand.
It may all have been a dream, and yet to the king it seemed very real indeed. He looked and wondered, but was not afraid.
"Who are you?" he asked of the old man.
"Alfred, my son, be brave," said the man;
"for I am the one to whom you gave this day the half of all the food
that you had. Be strong and joyful of heart, and listen to what I say.
Rise up early in the morning and blow your horn three times,
so loudly that the Danes may hear it. By nine o'clock, five hundred men will
be around you ready to be led into battle. Go forth bravely,
and within seven days your
Then the light went out, and the man was seen no more.
In the morning the king arose early, and crossed over to the mainland. Then he blew his horn three times very loudly; and when his friends heard it they were glad, but the Danes were filled with fear.
At nine o'clock, five hundred of his bravest soldiers stood around him
ready for battle. He spoke, and told them what he had seen and heard in his dream;
and when he had
So they went out bravely to battle; and they beat the Danes, and drove them back into their own place. And King Alfred ruled wisely and well over all his people for the rest of his days.
This is a picture of Kit and Kat. They are Twins, and they live in Holland. Kit is the boy, and Kat is the girl.
Of course their real names are not Kit and Kat at all. Their real names are Christopher and Katrina. But you can see for yourself that such long names as that would never in the world fit such a short pair of Twins. So the Twins' Mother, Vrouw Vedder, said,
"They cannot be called Christopher and Katrina until they are four and a half feet high."
Now it takes a long time to grow four and a half feet of Boy and Girl. You know, chickens and puppies and colts and kittens always grow up much faster than twins. Kit and Kat ate a great many breakfasts and dinners and suppers, and played a great many plays, and had a great many happy days while they were growing up to their names. I will tell you about some of them.
O NE summer morning, very early, Vrouw Vedder opened the door of her little Dutch kitchen and stepped out.
She looked across the road which ran by the house, across the canal on the other side, across the level green fields that lay beyond, clear to the blue rim of the world, where the sky touches the earth. The sky was very blue; and the great, round, shining face of the sun was just peering over the tops of the trees, as she looked out.
Vrouw Vedder listened. The roosters in the barnyard were crowing, the ducks in the canal were quacking, and all the little birds in the fields were singing for joy. Vrouw Vedder hummed a slow little tune of her own, as she went back into her kitchen.
Kit and Kat were still asleep in their little cupboard bed. She gave them each a kiss. The Twins opened their eyes and sat up.
"O Kit and Kat," said Vrouw Vedder, "the sun is up, the birds are
all awake and singing, and Grandfather is going fishing
Kit and Kat bounced out of bed in a minute. Their mother helped them put on their clothes and new wooden shoes. Then she gave them each a bowl of bread and milk for their breakfast. They ate it sitting on the kitchen doorstep.
This is a picture of Kit and Kat digging worms. You see they did just as their mother said, and did not step on the young cabbages. They sat on them, instead. But that was an accident.
Kit dug the worms, and Kat put them into a basket, with some earth in it to make them feel at home.
When Grandfather came, he brought a large
Vrouw Vedder kissed Kit and Kat
"Mind Grandfather, and don't fall into the water," she said.
Grandfather and the Twins started off together down the long road beside the canal.
The house where the Twins lived was right beside the canal. Their father was a gardener, and his beautiful rows of cabbages and beets and onions stretched in long lines across the level fields by the roadside.
Grandfather lived in a large town, a little way beyond the farm where the Twins lived. He did not often have a holiday, because he carried milk to the doors of the people in the town, every morning early. Sometime I will tell you how he did it; but I must not tell you now, because if I do, I can't tell you about their going fishing.
This morning, Grandfather carried his rod and the
They walked along ever so far, beside the canal. Then they turned to the left and walked along a path that ran from the canal across the green fields to what looked like a hill.
But it wasn't a hill at all, really, because there aren't any hills in Holland. It was a long, long wall of earth, very high—oh, as high as a house, or even higher! And it had sloping sides.
There is such a wall of earth all around the country of Holland, where the Twins live. There has to be a wall, because the sea is higher than the land. If there were no walls to shut out the sea, the whole country would be covered with water; and if that were so, then there wouldn't be any Holland, or any Holland Twins, or any story. So you see it was very lucky for the Twins that the wall was there. They called it a dyke.
Grandfather and Kit and Kat climbed the dyke. When they reached the top, they sat down a few minutes to rest and look at the great blue sea. Grandfather sat in the middle, with Kit on one side, and Kat on the other; and the basket of worms and the basket of lunch were there, too.
They saw a great ship sail slowly by, making a cloud of smoke.
"Where do the ships go, Grandfather?" asked Kit.
"To America, and England, and China, and all over the world," said Grandfather.
"Why?" asked Kat. Kat almost always said "Why?" and when she didn't, Kit did.
"To take flax and linen from the mills of Holland to make dresses for little girls in other countries," said Grandfather.
"Is that all?" asked Kit.
"They take cheese and herring, bulbs and butter, and lots of other things besides, and bring back to us wheat and meat and all sorts of good things from the lands across the sea."
"I think I'll be a sea captain when I'm big," said Kit.
"So will I," said Kat.
"Girls can't," said Kit.
But Grandfather shook his head and said:
"You can't tell what a girl may be by the time she's four feet and a half high and is called Katrina. There's no telling what girls will do anyway. But, children, if we stay here we shall not catch any fish."
So they went down the other side of the dyke and out onto a little pier that ran from the sandy beach into the water.
Grandfather showed them how to bait their hooks. Kit baited Kat's for her, because Kat said it made her all wriggly inside to do it. She did not like it. Neither did the worm!
They all sat down on the end of the pier, Grandfather sat on the very end and let his wooden shoes hang down over the water; but he made Kit and Kat sit with their feet stuck straight out in front of them, so they just reached to the edge,—"So you can't fall in," said Grandfather.
They dropped their hooks into the water and sat very still, waiting for a bite. The sun climbed higher and higher in the sky, and it grew hotter and hotter on the pier. The flies tickled Kat's nose and made her sneeze.
"Keep still, can't you?" said Kit crossly. "You'll scare the fish. Girls don't know how to fish, anyway."
Pretty soon Kat felt a queer little jerk on her line. She was perfectly sure she did.
Kat squealed and jerked her rod. She jerked it so hard that one foot flew right up in the air, and one of her new wooden shoes went—splash—right into the water!
But that wasn't the worst of it! Before you could say Jack Robinson, Kat's hook flew around and caught in Kit's clothes and pricked him.
Kit jumped and said "Ow!" And then—no one could ever tell how it happened—there was Kit in the water, too, splashing like a young whale, with Kat's hook still holding fast to his clothes in the back!
Grandfather jumped then, too, you may be sure. He caught hold of Kat's rod and pulled hard and called out, "Steady there, steady!"
And in one minute there was Kit in the shallow water beside the pier, puffing and blowing like a grampus!
Grandfather reached down and pulled him up.
When Kit was safely on the pier, Kat threw her arms around his neck, though the water was running down in streams from his hair and eyes and ears.
"O Kit," she said, "I truly thought it was a fish on my line when I jumped!"
"Just like a
"Well, anyway," said Kat, "I caught more than you did. I caught you!"
Then Kat thought of something else. She shook her finger at Kit.
"O Kit," she said, "Mother told you not to fall into the water!"
"Where are both of yours?" screamed Kat.
Sure enough, where were they? No one had thought about shoes, because they were thinking so hard about Kit.
They ran to the end of the pier and looked. There was Kat's shoe sailing away toward America like a little boat! Kit's were still bobbing about in the water near the pier.
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" shrieked Kat; but the tide was going out and carrying her shoe farther away every minute. They could not get it; but Grandfather reached down with his rod and fished out both of Kit's shoes Then Kat took off her other one and her stockings, and they all three went back to the beach.
Grandfather and Kat covered Kit up with
sand to keep him warm
while his clothes were drying. Then Grandfather stuck the Twins'
Then they ate their luncheon of bread and butter, cheese, and milk, with some radishes from Father's garden. It tasted very good, even if it was sandy. After lunch Grandfather said,
"It will never do to go home without any fish at all."
So by and by he went back to the pier and caught one while the
Twins played in the sand. He put it in the
Kat brought shells and pebbles to Kit, because he had to stay
covered up in the sand, and Kit built a play dyke all around
himself with them, and Kat dug a canal outside the dyke. Then she
They played until the shadow of the dyke grew very long across the sandy beach, and then Grandfather said it was time to go home.
He helped Kit dress, but Kit's clothes were still a little wet in the thick parts. And Kat had to go barefooted and carry her one wooden shoe.
They climbed the dyke and crossed the fields, and walked along the road by the canal. The road shone, like a strip of yellow ribbon across the green field. They walked quite slowly, for they were tired and sleepy.
By and by Kit said, "I see our house"; and Kat said, "I see Mother at the gate."
Grandfather gave the fish he caught to Kit and Kat, and Vrouw Vedder cooked it for their supper; and though it was not a very big fish, they all had some.
Grandfather must have told Vrouw Vedder something about what had
happened; for that night, when she put Kit to bed, she felt of
his clothes carefully—but she didn't say a word about their
being damp. And she said to Kat:
Then Kit and Kat hugged her and said
A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!"
WEEK 1 |
Siegfried was born a Prince and grew to be a hero, a hero with a heart of gold. Though he could fight, and was as strong as any lion, yet he could love too and be as gentle as a child.
The father and mother of the hero-boy lived in a strong castle near the banks of the great Rhine river. Siegmund, his father, was a rich king, Sieglinde, his mother, a beautiful queen, and dearly did they love their little son Siegfried.
The courtiers and the high-born maidens who dwelt in the castle honoured the little Prince, and thought him the fairest child in all the land, as indeed he was.
Sieglinde, his queen-mother, would ofttimes dress her little son in costly garments and lead him by the hand before the proud, strong men-at-arms who stood before the castle walls. Nought had they but smiles and gentle words for their little Prince.
When he grew older, Siegfried would ride into the country, yet always would he be attended by King Siegmund's most trusted warriors.
Then one day armed men entered the Netherlands, the country over which King Siegmund ruled, and the little Prince was sent away from the castle, lest by any evil chance he should fall into the hands of the foe.
Siegfried was hidden away safe in the thickets of a great forest, and dwelt there under the care of a blacksmith, named Mimer.
Mimer was a dwarf, belonging to a strange race of little folk called Nibelungs. The Nibelungs lived for the most part in a dark little town beneath the ground. Nibelheim was the name of this little town and many of the tiny men who dwelt there were smiths. All the livelong day they would hammer on their little anvils, but all through the long night they would dance and play with tiny little Nibelung women.
It was not in the little dark town of Nibelheim that Mimer had his forge, but under the trees of the great forest to which Siegfried had been sent.
As Mimer or his pupils wielded their tools the wild beasts would start from their lair, and the swift birds would wing their flight through the mazes of the wood, lest danger lay in those heavy, resounding strokes.
But Siegfried, the hero-boy, would laugh for glee, and seizing the heaviest hammer he could see he would swing it with such force upon the anvil that it would be splintered into a thousand pieces.
Then Mimer the blacksmith would scold the lad, who was now the strongest of all the lads under his care; but little heeding his rebukes, Siegfried would fling himself merrily out of the smithy and hasten with great strides into the gladsome wood. For now the Prince was growing a big lad, and his strength was even as the strength of ten.
To-day Siegfried was in a merry mood. He would repay Mimer's rebukes in right good fashion. He would frighten the little blacksmith dwarf until he was forced to cry for mercy.
Clad in his forest dress of deerskins, with his hair as burnished gold blowing around his shoulders, Siegfried wandered away into the depths of the woodland.
There he seized the silver horn which hung from his girdle and raised it to his lips. A long, clear note he blew, and ere the sound had died away the boy saw a sight which pleased him well. Here was good prey indeed! A bear, a great big shaggy bear was peering at him out of a bush, and as he gazed the beast opened its jaws and growled, a fierce and angry growl.
Not a whit afraid was Siegfried. Quick as lightning he had caught the great creature in his arms, and ere it could turn upon him, it was muzzled, and was being led quietly along toward the smithy.
Mimer was busy at his forge sharpening a sword when Siegfried reached the doorway.
At the sound of laughter the little dwarf raised his head. It was the Prince who laughed. Then Mimer saw the bear, and letting the sword he held drop to the ground with a clang, he ran to hide himself in the darkest corner of the smithy.
Then Mimer saw the bear
Then Siegfried laughed again. He was no hero-boy to-day, for next he made the big bear hunt the little Nibelung dwarf from corner to corner, nor could the frightened little man escape or hide himself in darkness. Again and again as he crouched in a shadowed corner, Siegfried would stir up the embers of the forge until all the smithy was lighted with a ruddy glow.
At length the Prince tired of his game, and unmuzzling the bear he chased the bewildered beast back into the shelter of the woodlands.
Mimer, poor little dwarf, all a-tremble with his fear, cried angrily, "Thou mayest go shoot if so it please thee, and bring home thy dead prey. Dead bears thou mayest bring hither if thou wilt, but live bears shalt thou leave to crouch in their lair or to roam through the forest." But Siegfried, the naughty Prince, only laughed at the little Nibelung's frightened face and harsh, croaking voice.
Now as the days passed, Mimer the blacksmith began to wish that Siegfried had never come to dwell with him in his smithy. The Prince was growing too strong, too brave to please the little dwarf, moreover many were the mischievous tricks his pupil played on him.
Prince though he was, Mimer would see if he could not get rid of his tormentor. For indeed though, as I have told you, Siegfried had a heart of gold, at this time the gold seemed to have grown dim and tarnished. Perhaps that was because the Prince had learned to distrust and to dislike, nay, more, to hate the little, cunning dwarf.
However that may be, it is certain that Siegfried played many pranks upon the little Nibelung, and he, Mimer, determined to get rid of the quick-tempered, strong-handed Prince.
One day, therefore, it happened that the little dwarf told Siegfried to go deep into the forest to bring home charcoal for the forge. And this Mimer did, though he knew that in the very part of the forest to which he was sending the lad there dwelt a terrible dragon, named Regin. Indeed Regin was a brother of the little blacksmith, and would be lying in wait for the Prince. It would be but the work of a moment for the monster to seize the lad and greedily to devour him.
To Siegfried it was always joy to wander afar through the woodland. Ofttimes had he thrown himself down on the soft, moss-covered ground and lain there hour after hour, listening to the wood-birds' song. Sometimes he would even find a reed and try to pipe a tune as sweet as did the birds, but that was all in vain, as the lad soon found. No tiny songster would linger to hearken to the shrill piping of his grassy reed, and the Prince himself was soon ready to fling it far away.
It was no hardship then to Siegfried to leave the forge and the hated little Nibelung, therefore it was that with right good-will he set out in search of charcoal for Mimer the blacksmith.
As he loitered there where the trees grew thickest, Siegfried took his horn and blew it lustily. If he could not pipe on a grassy reed, at least he could blow a rousing note on his silver horn.
Suddenly as Siegfried blew, the trees seemed to sway, the earth to give out fire. Regin, the dragon, had roused himself at the blast, and was even now drawing near to the Prince.
It was at the mighty strides of the monster that the trees had seemed to tremble, it was as he opened his terrible jaws that the earth had seemed to belch out fire.
For a little while Siegfried watched the dragon in silence. Then he laughed aloud, and a brave, gay laugh it was. Alone in the forest, with a sword buckled to his side, the hero was afraid of naught, not even of Regin. The ugly monster was sitting now on a little hillock, looking down upon the lad, his victim as he thought.
Then Siegfried called boldly to the dragon, "I will kill thee, for in truth thou art an ugly monster."
"I will kill thee, for in truth thou art an ugly monster"
At those words Regin opened his great jaws, and showed his terrible fangs. Yet still the boy Prince mocked at the hideous dragon.
And now Regin in his fury crept closer and closer to the lad, swinging his great tail, until he well-nigh swept Siegfried from his feet.
Swiftly then the Prince drew his sword, well tempered as he knew, for had not he himself wrought it in the forge of Mimer the blacksmith? Swiftly he drew his sword, and with one bound he sprang upon the dragon's back, and as he reared himself, down came the hero's shining sword and pierced into the very heart of the monster. Thus as Siegfried leaped nimbly to the ground, the dragon fell back dead. Regin was no longer to be feared.
Then Siegfried did a curious thing. He had heard the little Nibelung men who came to the smithy to talk with Mimer, he had heard them say that whoever should bathe in the blood of Regin the dragon would henceforth be safe from every foe. For his skin would grow so tough and horny that it would be to him as an armour through which no sword or spear could ever pierce.
Thinking of the little Nibelungs' harsh voices and wrinkled little faces, as they had sat talking thus around Mimer's glowing forge, Siegfried now flung aside his deerskin dress and bathed himself from top to toe in the dragon's blood.
But as he bathed, a leaf from off a linden tree was blown upon his shoulders, and on the spot where it rested Siegfried's skin was still soft and tender as when he was a little child. It was only a tiny spot which was covered by the linden leaf, but should a spear thrust, or an arrow pierce that tiny spot, Siegfried would be wounded as easily as any other man.
The dragon was dead, the bath was over, and clad once more in his deerskin, Siegfried set out for the smithy. He brought no charcoal for the forge; all that he carried with him was a heart afire with anger, a sword quivering to take the life of the Nibelung, Mimer.
For now Siegfried knew that the dwarf had wished to send him forth to death, when he bade him go seek charcoal in the depths of the forest.
Into the dusky glow of the smithy plunged the hero, and swiftly he slew the traitor Mimer. Then gaily, for he had but slain evil ones of whom the world was well rid, then gaily Siegfried fared through the forest in quest of adventure.
HEN Mr. and Mrs. Robin built in the spring, they were not
quite agreed as to where the nest should be.
"And the nest will be just the color of the rails," said
she, "so that even a
"I say that the tree is the place for it," said
Mrs. Robin was wise enough not to answer back when he spoke
in this way. She only shook her feathers, took ten quick
running steps, tilted her body forward, looked hard at the
ground, and pulled out something for supper. After that she
fluttered around the maple tree crotch as though she had
never thought of any other place.
That night they perched in the
At another time she said: "My dear, I am afraid that the dry
grass you are bringing is too
Mr. Robin hunted and hunted, but could find nothing which was darker. As he flew past the fence, he noticed that it was almost the color of the grass in his bill.
After a while, soft gray clouds began to cover the sky. "I
It did rain, however, and very soon. The great drops came
down so hard that one could only think of pebbles falling.
"I believe," said Mrs. Robin to her husband, "that you are right in saying that we might better give up this place and begin over again somewhere else."
Now Mr. Robin could not remember having said that he thought
anything of the sort, and he looked very sharply at his
wife, and cocked his black head on one side until all the
black and white streaks on his throat showed. She did not
seem to know that he was watching her as she hopped around
the partly built nest, poking it here and pushing it there,
and trying her hardest to make it look right. He thought she
would say something, but she didn't. Then he knew he must
speak first. He flirted his tail and tipped his head and
drew some of his
"It seems almost too bad," said she. "Of course there are
By this time Mr. Robin knew exactly what to do. "Plenty of
them," said he. "Now don't fuss any longer with this. That
place on the rail fence is an excellent one. I wonder that
no other birds have taken it." As he spoke he flew ahead to
the very spot which
She was a very wise bird, and knew far too much to say, "I told you so." Saying that, you know, always makes things go wrong. She looked at the rail fence, ran along the top of it, toeing in prettily as she ran, looked around in a surprised way, and said. "Oh, that place?"
"Yes, Mrs. Robin," said her husband, "that place. Do you see anything wrong about it?"
"No-o," she said. "I think I could make it do."
Before long another nest was half built, and
Mr. Robin was also at work, and such billfuls of mud, such
fine little twigs, and such big wisps of dry grass as went
into that home! Once
Mr. Robin was very proud of his nest and of his wife. He
never went far away
if he could help it. Once she heard him
"Yes," said Mrs. Robin to Mrs. Goldfinch, "I was perfectly
Pussy-Cat Mew jumped over a coal
And in her best petticoat burned a great hole.
Pussy-Cat Mew shall have no more milk
Till she has mended her gown of silk.
WEEK 1 |
B EFORE the white people came, there were no houses in this country but the little huts of the Indians. The Indian houses were made of bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.
Some people came to one part of the country. Others started settlements in other places. When more people came, some of these settlements grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to fill with people.
The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is now, settled there a long time ago. They had a governor over them. He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John Winthrop.
The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise anything to eat. They had brought flour and oatmeal from England. But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise corn on their new ground.
sent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a
long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They
went to the
At last they set a day for everybody to fast and pray for food. The governor had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would get any more.
Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His bread had all been eaten up. His family were hungry. The governor gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel.
Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up toward Boston. It was loaded with food for all the people.
The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The fast day was turned into a thanksgiving day.
One day a man sent a very cross letter to Governor Winthrop. Winthrop sent it back to him. He said, "I cannot keep a letter that might make me angry." Then the man that had written the cross letter wrote to Winthrop, "By conquering yourself, you have conquered me."
A MONKEY lived in a great tree on a river bank.
In the river there were many Crocodiles. A Crocodile watched the Monkeys for a long time, and one day she said to her son: "My son, get one of those Monkeys for me. I want the heart of a Monkey to eat."
"How am I to catch a Monkey?" asked the little Crocodile. "I do not travel on land, and the Monkey does not go into the water."
"Put your wits to work, and you'll find a way," said the mother.
And the little Crocodile thought and thought.
At last he said to himself: "I know what I'll do. I'll get that Monkey that lives in a big tree on the river bank. He wishes to go across the river to the island where the fruit is so ripe."
So the Crocodile swam to the tree where the Monkey lived. But he was a stupid Crocodile.
"Oh, Monkey," he called, "come with me over to the island where the fruit is so ripe."
"How can I go with you?" asked the Monkey. "I do not swim."
"No—but I do. I will take you over on my back," said the Crocodile.
The Monkey was greedy, and wanted the ripe fruit, so he jumped down on the Crocodile's back.
"Off we go!" said the Crocodile.
"This is a fine ride you are giving me!" said the Monkey.
"Do you think so? Well, how do you like this?" asked the Crocodile, diving.
"Oh, don't!" cried the Monkey, as he went under the water. He was afraid to let go, and he did not know what to do under the water.
When the Crocodile came up, the Monkey sputtered and choked. "Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?" he asked.
"I am going to kill you by keeping you under water," answered the Crocodile. "My mother wants Monkey-heart to eat, and I'm going to take yours to her."
"Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?" he asked.
"I wish you had told me you wanted my heart," said the Monkey, "then I might have brought it with me."
"How queer!" said the stupid Crocodile. "Do you mean to say that you left your heart back there in the tree?"
"That is what I mean," said the Monkey. "If you want my heart, we must go back to the tree and get it. But we are so near the island where the ripe fruit is, please take me there first."
"No, Monkey," said the Crocodile, "I'll take you straight back to your tree. Never mind the ripe fruit. Get your heart and bring it to me at once. Then we'll see about going to the island."
"Very well," said the Monkey.
But no sooner had he jumped onto the bank of the river than—whisk! up he ran into the tree.
From the topmost branches he called down to the Crocodile in the water below:
"My heart is way up here! If you want it, come for it, come for it!"
T HE Monkey soon moved away from that tree.
He wanted to get away from the Crocodile, so that he might live in peace.
But the Crocodile found him, far down the river, living in another tree.
In the middle of the river was an island covered with fruit-trees.
Half-way between the bank of the river and the island, a large rock rose out of the water. The Monkey could jump to the rock, and then to the island. The Crocodile watched the Monkey crossing from the bank of the river to the rock, and then to the island.
He thought to himself, "The Monkey will stay on the island all day, and I'll catch him on his way home at night."
The Monkey had a fine feast, while the Crocodile swam about, watching him all day.
Toward night the Crocodile crawled out of the water and lay on the rock, perfectly still.
When it grew dark among the trees, the Monkey started for home. He ran down to the river bank, and there he stopped.
"What is the matter with the rock?" the Monkey thought to himself. "I never saw it so high before. The Crocodile is lying on it!"
But he went to the edge of the water and called: "Hello, Rock!"
Then he called again: "Hello, Rock!"
Three times the Monkey called, and then he said:
"Why is it, Friend Rock, that you do not answer me
"Oh," said the stupid Crocodile to himself, "the rock answers the Monkey at night. I'll have to answer for the rock this time."
So he answered: "Yes, Monkey! What is it?"
The Monkey laughed, and said: "Oh, it's you, Crocodile, is it?"
"Yes," said the Crocodile. "I am waiting here for you. I am going to eat you."
"You have caught me in a trap this time," said the Monkey. "There is no other way for me to go home. Open your mouth wide so I can jump right into it."
The Monkey jumped.
Now the Monkey well knew that when Crocodiles open their mouths wide, they shut their eyes.
While the Crocodile lay on the rock with his mouth wide open and his eyes shut, the Monkey jumped.
But not into his mouth! Oh, no! He landed on the top of the Crocodile's head, and then sprang quickly to the bank. Up he whisked into his tree.
When the Crocodile saw the trick the Monkey had played on him, he said: "Monkey, you have great cunning. You know no fear. I'll let you alone after this."
"Thank you, Crocodile, but I shall be on the watch for you just the same," said the Monkey.
Seven little chicks go,
"Peep, peep, peep,"
Hunting where the grasses grow
Deep, deep, deep.
Then the mother hen calls,
"Cluck, cluck, cluck,"
Wishing every little chick
Luck, luck, luck.