WEEK 10 |
 WHEN James I. became King of England, he tried to enforce obedience to one Church, with all its forms and ceremonies and beliefs. Other kings had done this before him. Said he, "I will have one doctrine, one discipline, one religion in substance and ceremony."
This was very unwise in the King, for men should be allowed to worship God in their own way, and not in any king's way. But James cared little for the wishes of his people. "I will govern according to the common weal, and not according to the common will," was his haughty speech.
There were many people in England who were opposed to parts of the religious service and to many of the ecclesiastical ceremonies of the Church of England. They wished to purify the Church of its old customs, and so they were called "Puritans" by way of derision. The Puritans frankly refused to conform to the Church.
"I shall make them conform, else I shall harry them out of this land, or even worse," said King James, in anger.
 Some of the Puritans, believing they had a right to think for themselves in the matter of religion, broke away from the Established Church, and quietly formed separate congregations of their own. One of these congregations met in the old Manor House of Scrooby, where lived a certain William Brewster, who was a staunch Puritan, Non-Conformist and Separatist. His followers were called "Non-Conformists" because they refused to conform to the Established Church, and "Separatists" because they separated from it.
Every Sunday, numbers of people could be seen going to his house to listen to the sermon of their teacher and pastor. One of the most active of his congregation was William Bradford, whose home was near the old manor house. Bradford was only seventeen years old at the time he joined the congregation at Scrooby.
When King James heard of this meeting he was very wroth indeed. "They must conform to my Church and my service, or it shall be the worse for them!" he declared.
Therefore, some of the Puritans were taken and put in prison, others had their houses watched day and night, while still others were threatened with a loss of their means of livelihood. All of them lived in terror of the King and his agents. No  wonder the Puritans resolved to leave the country, if possible.
Though the King said he would harry them out of the land, they now found it hard to get away. The King's officers were told to arrest any who attempted to go. Accordingly, they had to make their plans with great secrecy.
A large company of the Puritans hired a ship solely for themselves, and agreed with the owner to be ready on a certain day to board her with all their goods and chattels. After long waiting, much exposure, and many delays, the ship finally arrived one night, and the Puritans went on board, hoping to get to Holland.
Hardly were they gathered together before the Captain betrayed them into the hands of the King's officers. They were put into open boats, and were rifled of all their possessions. Even their shirts were torn open in the search for money. Their books and papers were taken away. Then the entire company was sent back to town, and put into prison,—some for a month and others for even a longer time.
But the Puritans refused to give up their congregation, and they would neither conform to the King's Church nor bow to his will. After they were all out of prison, they secretly made an ar-  rangement with a Dutch Captain to take them on board his vessel at a point agreed upon, far from any town.
The women and children were sent to this place in a small boat, which, arriving ahead of time, put into a small creek to wait. Unluckily the time came for low tide and they stuck in the mud. There was no way to reach them, nor could they get away until the tide rose and floated the boat. In the meanwhile, the ship arrived, ready for her passengers.
The men of the Puritan party had come and were walking impatiently along the shore. One of the ship's boats was sent to get them; for it was thought that the women and children could be taken up later. But just as these men were safely on board, an armed body of the King's pursuers was seen coming across the fields. The Dutch Captain, in great haste, weighed anchor, hoisted his sails, and made away.
The Puritans were in great despair over leaving their families to the mercy of the officers, but the Captain refused to go back, since he feared the wrath of his own Government at his thus defying the will of the King of England. Therefore, the men were landed in Holland.
But it was not long before the English King  grew tired of the controversy. "Let them go; the country is well rid of them," said he, and gave orders to make no more arrests. Therefore, in a short while, the women and children and the rest of the Puritan Church joined the men in Holland, and began their new life in a strange land. It was now that they called themselves "Pilgrims."
For the next eleven or twelve years the Pilgrims lived in Holland. But it was hard to keep English customs in a foreign land. Their religion was too solemn and sober for the pleasure-loving Dutch. The young people were fast learning the Dutch language and customs. The elders saw more dangers to their religion from the Sunday pastimes of the people, than they found in England from the wrath of the King. Besides, they were poor, and there was also a rumor of war coming on.
Therefore, the Pilgrims decided upon another change. The King of England granted them land in the New World, and let them know he would not molest them in their worship. Doubtless he was glad to put the ocean between him and the troublesome congregation.
Two vessels were engaged to take them across—the Speedwell, lying at Delfthaven, in Holland, and the Mayflower, taking on supplies at South-  ampton, in England. The two vessels started out together, but the Speedwell sprung a leak, and had to put back into harbor. The Pilgrims, about one hundred and twenty in all, went aboard the Mayflower, and set sail for the shores of America, glad to turn their backs on the persecutions and hardships of the Old World, and knowing that they would find in their new home freedom to worship God in their own way.
E VERYTHING in the meadow was dry and dusty. The leaves on the milkweeds were turning yellow with thirst, the field blossoms drooped their dainty heads in the sunshine, and the grass seemed to fairly rattle in the wind, it was so brown and dry.
All of the meadow people when they met each other would say, "Well, this is hot," and the Garter Snake, who had lived there longer than anyone else,  declared that it was the hottest and driest time that he had ever known. "Really," he said, "it is so hot that I cannot eat, and such a thing never happened before."
The Grasshoppers and Locusts were very happy, for such weather was exactly what they liked. They didn't see how people could complain of such delightful scorching days. But that, you know, is always the way, for everybody cannot be suited at once, and all kinds of weather are needed to make a good year.
The poor Tree Frog crawled into the coolest place he could find—hollow trees, shady nooks under the ferns, or even beneath the corner of a great stone. "Oh," said he, "I wish I were a Tadpole again, swimming in a shady pool. It is such a long, hot journey to the marsh that I cannot go. Last night I dreamed that I was a Tadpole, splashing in the water, and it was hard to awaken and find myself only an uncomfortable old Tree Frog."
 Over his head the Katydids were singing, "Lovely weather! Lovely weather!" and the Tree Frog, who was a good-natured old fellow after all, winked his eye at them and said: "Sing away. This won't last always, and then it will be my turn to sing."
Sure enough, the very next day a tiny cloud drifted across
the sky, and the Tree Frog, who always knew when the weather
was about to change, began his rain-song.
The little white cloud grew bigger and blacker, and another
came following after, then another, and another, and
another, until the sky was quite covered with rushing black
clouds. Then came a long, low rumble of thunder, and all the
meadow people hurried to find shelter. The Moths and
Butterflies hung on the undersides of great leaves. The
Grasshoppers and their cousins crawled under burdock and
mullein plants. The Ants scurried around to find their
 own homes. The Bees and Wasps, who had been gathering honey for
their nests, flew swiftly back. Everyone was hurrying to be
ready for the shower, and above all the rustle and stir
could be heard the voice of the old Frog,
The wind blew harder and harder, the branches swayed and tossed, the leaves danced, and some even blew off of their mother trees; the hundreds of little clinging creatures clung more and more tightly to the leaves that sheltered them, and then the rain came, and such a rain! Great drops hurrying down from the sky, crowding each other, beating down the grass, flooding the homes of the Ants and Digger Wasps until they were half choked with water, knocking over the Grasshoppers and tumbling them about like leaves. The lightning flashed, and the thunder pealed, and often a tree would crash down in the forest near by when the wind blew a great blast.
 When everybody was wet, and little rivulets of water were trickling through the grass and running into great puddles in the hollows, the rain stopped, stopped suddenly. One by one the meadow people crawled or swam into sight.
The Digger Wasp was floating on a leaf in a big puddle. He was too tired and wet to fly, and the whirling of the leaf made him feel sick and dizzy, but he stood firmly on his tiny boat and tried to look as though he enjoyed it.
The Ants were rushing around to put their homes in shape, the Spiders were busily eating their old webs, which had been broken and torn in the storm, and some were already beginning new ones. A large family of Bees, whose tree-home had been blown down, passed over the meadow in search for a new dwelling, and everybody seemed busy and happy in the cool air that followed the storm.
The Snake went gliding through the  wet grass, as hungry as ever, the Tree Frog was as happy as when he was a Tadpole, and only the Grasshoppers and their cousins, the Locusts and Katydids, were cross. "Such a horrid rain!" they grumbled, "it spoiled all our fun. And after such lovely hot weather too."
"Now don't be silly," said the Tree Frog, who could be really severe when he thought best, "the Bees and the Ants are not complaining, and they had a good deal harder time than you. Can't you make the best of anything? A nice, hungry, cross lot you would be if it didn't rain, because then you would have no good, juicy food. It's better for you in the end as it is, but even if it were not, you might make the best of it as I did of the hot weather. When you have lived as long as I have, you will know that neither Grasshoppers nor Tree Frogs can have their way all the time, but that it always comes out all right in the end without their fretting about it."
In Holland, children set their shoes,
This night, outside the door;
These wooden shoes Knecht Clobes sees,
And fills them from his store.
But here we hang our stockings up
On handy hook or nail;
And Santa Claus, when all is still,
Will plump them, without fail.
Speak out, you Sobersides, speak out,
And let us hear your views;
Between a stocking and a shoe,
What do you see to choose?
One instant pauses Sobersides,
A little sigh to fetch—
"Well, seems to me a stocking's best,
For wooden shoes won't stretch!"
WEEK 10 |
 IN all the countryside there was no other boy so strong and fearless as Cuthbert, the shepherd lad who dwelt amongst the hills above the old town of Melrose.
It was in the time when life was hard and rough, and there were but few comforts or luxuries even in the houses of the rich. The children in those days early learned to brave many a danger and suffer many a hardship, and so they grew up sturdy and strong of limb, accustomed to an open-air life, little heeding the icy winds of winter or the snow-storms that swept their southern border-lands of Scotland.
But among all these hardy children of the hills there was none to compare with Cuthbert. In all their games of skill or strength he easily won the foremost place. Whether it was winter and they played at mimic warfare, with wonderful snow castles to be stormed and good round snowballs for their ammunition, or whether it was summer time and they ran and wrestled on the grassy slopes of the hillside, it was Cuthbert who led the attack on the victorious side, Cuthbert who was champion among the wrestlers and swiftest in the race. When others grew tired and cried for a truce, Cuthbert was still fresh and eager, ready to urge them on,  for he never seemed to know what it meant to give in. And yet there were times when the boy stole away silently by himself to a lonely part of the hill that overlooked the little grey road beneath, and there sat as quiet and motionless as the rabbits that peeped out of their holes in the rocks beside him. So still did he sit that any one seeing him might have thought he was asleep, if they had not seen his keen bright eyes and guessed that he was as busy with his thoughts as he had been about his games.
But there was no one on the wild hillside to watch the silent boy; only his little furry friends the rabbits stole out and nibbled the grass about his feet, and the birds came hopping around him, knowing they had nought to fear from one who never harmed them, waiting for the meal which he always shared with these his friends. Sometimes impatient of his long long thoughts, they would come nearer and peck at his bare feet, and Cuthbert would raise himself and chide them for their greediness, as he spread the crumbs which he had saved for them.
It was the little grey road beneath on which his eyes were fixed, and his thoughts followed its windings until it reached the old abbey of Melrose, the home of the holy monks, the servants of God. Sometimes he would see two or three of the brothers in their homespun cloaks passing beneath, and would listen to the soft notes of the vesper hymn as it floated upwards, and the eager light in his eyes grew ever brighter as he watched and listened. He  knew what these good monks did for the people around; how they protected the weak, helped the helpless, nursed the sick, and went about unarmed and fearless through all the dangers that beset their path. There was something about the look of their kind strong faces that fascinated the boy, and drew him to watch for their passing and to dream of their work and their courage. Then he would softly sing over the fragments of their hymns which his keen ear had caught, and the sound stirred something in his soul.
"Who knows; some day I too may become a servant of God," he would whisper to himself. And it was a wonderful thought to dream about.
Then came a day which Cuthbert never forgot. He was playing as usual with the other boys, who were leaping and wrestling, and in their wild spirits trying to twist themselves into every kind of curious shape. They were all laughing and shouting together, when a little boy, scarce more than a baby, ran up and pulled Cuthbert by his coat.
"Why dost thou play such foolish games?" asked the child gravely.
Cuthbert stood still and looked down with surprise into the child's solemn eyes.
"Little wise one," he answered with a laugh, pushing him aside, but with no rough touch, "wilt thou teach us thy games of wisdom instead?"
The child turned away and with a sob flung himself upon the ground, crying as if his heart would break. The children gathered round, fearing he was hurt, but no one could find out what it was  that vexed him, until Cuthbert lifted him up and soothed him with kindly words.
"Has aught harmed thee?" asked Cuthbert.
"No, no," sobbed the child; "but how canst thou, Cuthbert, chosen by God to be His servant and bishop, play at foolish games with babes, when He has called thee to teach thy elders?"
What strange words were these? The other boys had little patience with the crying child, and roughly bade him go home. But in Cuthbert's ears the words rang with a solemn sound, and he stored them up in his mind to ponder upon their meaning. What had the child meant? Was it possible that some day the words would come true and he would indeed be chosen by God to enter His service?
There was so much to think about that the lonely hours on the hillside grew longer and longer, and he but rarely joined in the games now. Even at night he could not rest, thinking those long long thoughts. He knew that the holy monks spent many a night in prayer to God, and he learned to love the dark solemn stillness when he crept out on the bare hillside to say his prayers under the starlit sky.
It seemed to be a link between him and those servants of God, and he thought in his childish way that if the angels were there to carry the holy prayers up to God's throne, they might in passing take his little prayer as well, and in that goodly company God would accept the best that a child could offer, knowing it was the prayer of one who longed to serve Him too.
 As Cuthbert grew older there was less time for dreaming or for play. The sheep that were entrusted to him needed constant watchful care, for it was no easy task to be a shepherd in those wild days. Many an enemy lurked on the hillside, ready to snatch away a lamb if the shepherd was not careful. Not only did wolves prowl hungrily around, but men, not too honest, were as ready as the wolves to rob the flock, and it behoved the shepherd to be ever watchful and wary.
At night-time the shepherd lads would gather their sheep together and spend the hours in company watching round the fire, which they piled high with dried heather and dead branches from the wood. It was no hardship to Cuthbert, for he loved the long quiet nights on the hillside, and often while the others slept he watched alone, using the time for prayer.
He had helped to make the watch-fire as usual one night and had seen to the safety of the sheep, and then, one by one, the shepherd lads had fallen asleep in the warmth of the glowing fire. There was no need to rouse them, for he could keep guard alone, and he stole away a little apart to spend the night in prayer, as was his custom.
It was a dark night; the sky was velvet black, without even a star to prick a point of light through its heavy blackness, and the reflection of the fire served only to make the darkness more dense on the lonely hillside. Cuthbert could scarcely see the outline of the sheep, huddled together for warmth, and in that great silence and solitude God seemed  very near. Then, as he knelt in prayer, gazing upwards, a vision such as that which gladdened the eyes of the shepherds of Bethlehem burst upon his view. A great stream of dazzling light broke through the darkness, as if a window in heaven had been opened, and in that white shaft of light a company of angels swept down to earth. It was no birthday message which they brought this time, but their song of triumph told of a good life ended, the crowning of a victor in a well-fought fight, as they bore upward the soul of one whose warfare was accomplished and who was entering into the joy of his Lord.
A great awe and joy filled the soul of Cuthbert as he gazed. Long after the last gleam of heavenly light had vanished, the last echo of the angels' songs had ceased, he knelt on there. This then was the glorious end of those who entered the service of God. "Fight the good fight: lay hold on eternal life"; was that an echo of the angels' song, or how was it that he seemed to hear the words spoken clearly in his ears?
With a cry Cuthbert sprang to his feet and ran back to the fire where the sleeping shepherds lay.
"Wake up, wake up," he cried, shaking them by the shoulders as he spoke. "How can ye sleep when ye might have beheld the vision of God's angels?"
The startled lads jumped up, wondering at first whether it might be an alarm of wolves or robbers, but even they were awed when they caught sight of Cuthbert's face and saw the light that shone upon  it. With breathless interest they listened to the tale he had to tell of the angels' visit and the soul they had carried up to God. What could it all mean? They wished that they too had spent the night in prayer, instead of sleeping there.
Early in the morning, as soon as it was light and he could leave the sheep, Cuthbert found his way to the nearest hamlet, and there he learned that Aiden, the holy Bishop of Lindisfarne, had died that night.
So it was the soul of the good Bishop whose glorious end, nay rather whose triumphant new beginning, had been heralded by the angel throng. Cuthbert was awed to think that his eyes had been permitted to gaze upon that wondrous vision, and he felt that it must surely be a sign that God had given ear to his prayers, and would accept him as His servant. It was a call to arms; there should be no delay. He was eager and ready to fight the good fight, to lay hold on eternal life.
Before very long all his plans were made. It was but a simple matter to follow the example of the disciples of old, to leave all and to follow the Master. Only the sheep were to be gathered into the fold and their charge given up; only the little hut on the hillside to be visited, and a farewell to be said to the old nurse who dwelt there. Cuthbert had lost both father and mother when he was eight years old, and the old woman had taken charge of him ever since. She was sorely grieved to part with the lad, but she saw that his purpose was strong and that nothing would shake it. With  trembling hands she blessed him ere he left her, and bade him not forget the lonely little hut on the hillside and the old nurse who had cared for him.
So at last all was ready, and Cuthbert set off down the hillside and along the little grey road that led to the monastery of Melrose, beside the shining silver windings of the Tweed.
Snow lay on all the hills around, and the wintry wind wailed as it swept past the grey walls and through the bare branches of the trees that clustered round the abbey. So mournful and so wild was the sound that it might have been the spirit of evil wailing over the coming defeat in store for the powers of darkness, when the young soldier should arrive to enrol his name in the army of God's followers.
At the door of the monastery a group of monks were standing looking down the darkening road for the return of one of the brothers. The prior Boisil himself was among them, and was the first to catch sight of a figure coming towards them with a great swinging stride. "A stranger," said one of the brothers, trying to peer through the gathering gloom.
"It is no beggar," said another. "Methinks it is a young knight. His steps are eager and swift, and he hath strong young limbs."
The prior said naught, but he too eagerly watched the figure as it came nearer. A strange feeling of expectancy had seized him. Something was surely about to happen which he had half unconsciously  long waited for. Then, as the boy drew near and lifted his eager questioning eyes to the prior's face, the good man's heart went out to him.
"Behold a servant of the Lord." Very solemnly the words rang out as Boisil stretched out both hands in welcome, and then laid them in blessing upon the young fair head that was bowed before him.
The greeting seemed strange to the brethren gathered around. Who was this boy? What did their prior mean? But stranger still did the greeting sound in the ears of Cuthbert himself, and he could scarcely believe that he heard aright. "A servant of God": did the holy man really mean to call him, the shepherd lad, by that great name?
"Father," he cried, almost bewildered, "wilt thou indeed teach me how I may become God's servant, for it is His service that I seek?"
The prior smiled kindly at the anxious face, and bade him enter the monastery in God's name.
"My son," he said, "there is much for thee to learn, much to suffer, much to overcome, but surely the victory shall be thine."
So Cuthbert entered the monastery and the gates were shut. The old life was left behind and the new life begun.
 Once there were three billy goats.
There was Little Billy Goat Gruff.
There was Big Billy Goat Gruff.
And there was Great Big Billy Goat Gruff.
 The goats' home was by a bridge.
Over the bridge was a hillside.
There was grass on the hillside.
The billy goats wanted the grass.
They wanted to eat it.
They wanted to get fat.
Little Billy Goat Gruff said, "I will go over the bridge."
 Great Big Billy Goat said, "A big troll is under the bridge. Trolls eat billy goats."
Little Billy Goat Gruff said, "The troll will not eat me. Trolls do not eat little billy goats."
 Little Billy Goat Gruff went on the bridge.
The bridge said, "Trip-trip."
The troll said, "Who trips over my bridge?"
"Little Billy Goat Gruff trips over the bridge."
 "Why do you trip over my bridge?"
"I want to eat the grass on the hillside."
"You shall not trip over my bridge. I will eat you."
"Do not eat me. Big Billy Goat Gruff will come. You can eat him."
"Go on, then," said the troll.
"Trip-trip, trip-trip, trip-trip."
And little Billy Goat Gruff went to the hillside.
 Big Billy Goat Gruff said, "The troll did not eat little Billy. I will go over the bridge."
Big Billy Goat Gruff went on the bridge.
"Trip-trip, trip-trip," said the bridge.
The troll said, "Who trips over my bridge?"
 "Big Billy Goat Gruff trips over the bridge."
"Why do you trip over my bridge?"
"I want to eat the grass on the hillside."
"You shall not eat the grass. I will eat you."
"Do not eat me. Great Big Billy Goat Gruff is big. He will come over the bridge. You can eat him."
"Go on, then," said the troll.
 "Trip-trip, trip-trip, trip-trip."
And Big Billy Goat Gruff went to the hillside.
Great Big Billy Goat Gruff said, "I will go over the bridge. I can make the troll run."
Great Big Billy Goat Gruff went on the bridge.
 The bridge said, "Trip-trip, trip-trip, trip-trip."
The troll said, "Who trips over my bridge?"
"Great Big Billy Goat Gruff trips over the bridge."
"Why do you trip over my bridge?"
"I want to eat the grass on the hillside."
"You shall not trip over my bridge. I will eat you."
Great Big Billy Goat Gruff said,
 "Come from under the bridge.
I want to see you.
I want you to see me.
I want you to see my big horns."
The troll came from under the bridge.
He saw Great Big Billy Goat Gruff.
He saw his big horns.
 Great Big Billy Goat Gruff ran at the troll with his horns.
The troll fell into the water.
Then Great Big Billy Goat Gruff went to the hillside.
The billy goats ate the grass.
And they got fat.
When the sleepy man comes with the dust on his eyes,
(Oh, weary, my Dearie, so weary!)
He shuts up the earth, and he opens the skies.
(So hush-a-by, weary, my Dearie!)
He smiles through his fingers, and shuts up the sun;
(Oh, weary, my Dearie, so weary!)
The stars that he loves he lets out one by one.
(So hush-a-by, weary, my Dearie!)
He comes from the castle of Drowsy-boy Town;
(Oh, weary, my Dearie, so weary!)
At the touch of his hand tired eyelids fall down.
(So hush-a-by, weary, my Dearie!)
WEEK 10 |
ONCE upon a time there lived on the banks of the River Dee a miller, who was the happiest man in England. He was always busy from morning till night, and he was always singing as merrily as any lark. He was so cheerful that he made everybody else cheerful; and people all over the land liked to talk about his pleasant ways. At last the king heard about him.
 "I will go down and talk with this wonderful miller," he said. "Perhaps he can tell me how to be happy."
As soon as he stepped inside of the mill, he heard the miller singing:—
"I envy nobody—no, not I!—
For I am as happy as I can be;
And nobody envies me."
"You're wrong, my friend," said the king. "You're wrong as wrong can be. I envy you; and I would gladly change places with you, if I could only be as light-hearted as you are."
The miller smiled, and bowed to the king.
"I am sure I could not think of changing places with you, sir," he said.
"Now tell me," said the king, "what makes you so cheerful and glad here in your dusty mill, while I, who am king, am sad and in trouble every day."
The miller smiled again, and said, "I do not know why you are sad, but I can easily tell why I am glad. I earn my own bread; I love my wife and my children; I love my friends, and they love me; and I owe not a penny to any man. Why should I not be happy? For here is the River Dee, and every day it turns my mill; and the mill grinds the corn that feeds my wife, my babes, and me."
"Say no more," said the king. "Stay where you are, and be happy still. But I envy you. Your dusty cap is worth more than my golden crown. Your mill does more for you than my kingdom can do for me. If there were more such men as you, what  a good place this world would be! Good-by, my friend!"
The king turned about, and walked sadly away; and the miller went back to his work, singing:—
"Oh, I'm as happy as happy can be;
For I live by the side of the River Dee!"
A CRUEL battle was being fought. The ground was covered with dead and dying men. The air was hot and stifling. The sun shone down without pity on the wounded soldiers lying in the blood and dust.
One of these soldiers was a nobleman, whom everybody loved for his gentleness and kindness. Yet now he was no better off than the poorest man in the field. He had been wounded, and would die; and he was suffering much with pain and thirst.
When the battle was over, his friends hurried to his aid. A soldier came running with a cup in his hand.
"Here, Sir Philip," he said, "I have brought you some clear, cool water from the brook. I will raise your head so that you can drink."
 The cup was placed to Sir Philip's lips. How thankfully he looked at the man who had brought it! Then his eyes met those of a dying soldier who was lying on the ground close by. The wistful look in the poor man's face spoke plainer than words.
"Give the water to that man," said Sir Philip quickly; and then, pushing the cup toward him, he said, "Here, my comrade, take this. Thy need is greater than mine."
What a brave, noble man he was! The name of Sir Philip Sidney will never be forgotten; for it was the name of a Christian gentleman who always had the good of others in his mind. Was it any wonder that everybody wept when it was heard that he was dead?
It is said, that, on the day when he was carried to the grave, every eye in the land was filled with tears. Rich and poor, high and low, all felt that they had lost a friend; all mourned the death of the kindest, gentlest man that they had ever known.
 Not many days after Kit and Kat got their skates, there came a cold, cold wind. It blew over the fields and over the canals all day and all night long; and in the morning, when the Twins looked out, the canal was one shining roadway of ice.
Father Vedder came in from the stable with a great pail full of milk.
"Winter is here now, for good and all," he said, as he set the
pail down. "The canals are frozen over, and soon it will be the
day for the feast of
Kit and Kat ran to him and said, both together,
"Dear Father Vedder, will you please teach us to skate before
"I'll see if the ice is strong enough to bear," said Father Vedder; and he went right down to the canal to see, that very minute. When he came in, he said,
"Yes, the ice is strong; and we will go out as soon as you are ready, and try your skates."
Vrouw Vedder said,
 "I should like to go too"; and Father Vedder said to Kit and Kat,
"Your mother used to be the finest skater in the whole village when she was a young girl. You must not let her beat you."
They hurried through with their work—Kit and Kat helped. Then they all put on their heavy shoes and wraps, took their skates over their shoulders, and started for the canal.
"If you learn to skate well enough, we will take you to town
before the feast of
He put on his own skates and Kit's, and the mother put on her own and Kat's.
"I'm sure we can do it almost right away," said Kat.
"Now we'll show you how to skate," said Father Vedder. He stood the Twins up on the ice. They held each other's hands. They were afraid to move. Father Vedder took Mother Vedder's hand.
"See," he said, "like this!" And away  they went like two swallows, skimming over the ice. In a minute they were ever so far away.
Kit and Kat felt lonesome, and very queer, when they saw their father and mother flying along in that way. They weren't used to see them do anything but work, and move about slowly.
"It looks easy," said Kit. "Let's try it. We must not be afraid."
He started with his right leg, pushing it out a little in front of him. But it was very strange how his legs acted. They didn't  seem to belong to him at all! His left leg tried to follow his right, just as it ought to; but, instead, it slid out sidewise and knocked against Kat's skates. Then both Kat's feet flew up; and she sat down very hard, on the ice. And Kit came down on top of her.
They tried to get up; but, each time they tried, their feet slid away from them.
"Oh dear," said Kat, "we are all mixed up! Are those your feet or mine? I can't tell which is which!"
"They don't any of them mind," said Kit. "I can't stand up on any of them. I've tried them all! We'll just have to wait until Father and Mother come back and pick us out."
"Ice is quite cold to sit on, isn't it?" said Kat.
Soon Father and Mother Vedder came skimming back again. When they saw Kit and Kat, they laughed and skated to them, picked them up, and set them on their feet.
"Now I'll take Kit, and you take Kat,"  said Vrouw Vedder to her husband, "and they'll be skating in no time." So Kat's father took her hands, and Kit took hold of his mother's, and they started off.
At first the Twins' feet didn't behave well at all. They seemed to want to do everything they could to bother them. They would sprawl way apart; then they would toe in and run into each other.
Many times Kit and Kat would have fallen if Father and Mother Vedder had not held them up; but before the lesson was over, both Kit and Kat could skate a little bit alone.
"See, this is the way," said Vrouw Vedder; and she skated around in a circle. Then she cut a figure like this 8 in the ice. Then Father Vedder did a figure like this S all on one foot.
"My!" said Kit and Kat.
"I think our parents must skate the best of all the people in the world," said Kat.
"I'm going to some day," said Kit.
"So 'm I," said Kat.
 After a while Vrouw Vedder said,
"It's time to go home. Not too much the first time." So they all went back home with their cheeks as red as roses, and their noses too, and such an appetite for dinner!
But the Twins were a little lame next day.
Every day after that, Kit and Kat went out with their skates to
the ditches and tried and tried to skate as
Father and Mother did—they did so
want to skate to town and see the sights before the
"If you will watch at the window, you'll see a great sight on the canal very soon," said Kit to his mother one day.
Of course Vrouw Vedder hadn't the least idea what it would be!
Kit and Kat slipped out through the stable and ran down to the ditch. They put on their skates and skated from the ditch out to the big canal.
 Vrouw Vedder was watching at the window. Soon she saw Kit and Kat go flying by, hand in hand, on the canal! They waved their hands to her. Vrouw Vedder was so pleased that she went to call Father Vedder, who was in the hay-loft over the stable.
"Come and see Kit and Kat," she cried.
Father Vedder came down from the loft and looked too. Then Kit cut a figure like this, S, and Kat cut one like this, 6. The round spot is where she sat down hard, just as she was almost around.
When they came into the kitchen Father said,
"I think we could take such a fine pair of skaters as that to the
Vink with us on our way to town! The ice is very hard and thick
for so early in the season, and we will go
"We can see the shops too.
Kit and Kat could hardly wait for to-  morrow to come. They polished their skates and made everything ready.
"What do you suppose the Vink is?" said Kat to Kit.
"I think it is something like a church," said Kit.
"You don't know what a Vink is—so there," said Kat. "I think it's something to eat."
Then Kit changed the subject.
"I'll race you
"I'll beat," said Kat.
"We'll see," said Kit.
The next day they started, all four, quite early in the morning. Vrouw Vedder took her basket on her arm.
"I shall want to buy some things," she said.
Father Vedder lighted his pipe—"To keep my nose warm," he said.
Then they all went down to the canal and put on their skates.
"Kat and I are going to race to the first windmill," said Kit.
 "I'll tell you when to start," said Father Vedder.
"And I'll get a cake for the one who wins," said the mother.
"One, two, three!" Away they flew like the wind! Father and Mother Vedder came close behind.
 Kit was so sure he would beat that he thought he would show off a little. He went zigzag across the canal; once or twice he stopped to skate in curves.
Kat didn't stop for anything. She kept her eyes on the windmill, and she skated as hard as she could.
They were getting quite near the mill now. Kit stopped playing and began to skate as fast as he could. But Kat had got the start of him.
"I'll soon get ahead of her," he thought. "She's a girl, and I'm a boy." He struck out with great long sweeps—as long as such short legs could make—but Kat kept ahead; and in another minute there she was at the windmill, quite out of breath, and pointing her finger at Kit!
"I beat—I beat," she said.
"Well, I could have beaten if I wanted to," said Kit.
"I'll get the cake," said Kat.
"I don't care," said Kit. But Kat knew that he did.
 "I'll give you a piece," she said.
Father and Mother Vedder came along then; and when Kit and Kat were rested, they all skated for a long time without saying anything. Then Father Vedder said proudly to his wife,
"They keep up as well as anybody! Were there ever such Twins!" And Mother Vedder said,
By and by other people appeared on the canal—men and women and children, all skating. They were going to the town to see the sights too.
One woman skated by with her baby in her arms. One man was smoking a long pipe, and his wife was carrying a basket of eggs. But the man and woman were good skaters. They flew along, laughing; and no one could get near enough to upset them.
As they came nearer to the town, Kit and Kat saw a tent near the place where one canal opened into another. A man stood  near the tent. He put his hands together and shouted through them to the skaters,
"Come in, come in, and get a drink
Of warm sweet milk on your way to the Vink."
 "We must be getting quite near the Vink," Kat said. "I do wonder what it looks like! Do you think it's alive?"
They passed another tent. There a man was shouting,
"Come buy a sweet cake; it costs but a cent,
Come buy, come buy, from the man in the tent."
Vrouw Vedder said,
"I promised a cake to the one who beat in the race. We'll go in here and get it."
So they went to the tent.
They bought two cakes, and each ate half of one. Kat broke the cakes and gave them to the others, because she won the race.
When they had eaten the cakes, they skated on. The canals grew more and more crowded. There were a good many tents; flags were flying, and the whole place was very gay.
At last they saw a big building, with crowds of merry skaters about it. Many people were going in and out.
"There's the Vink," said Father Vedder.
 "Where?" said Kit and Kat.
He pointed to the building.
"Oh!" said Kit. He never said another word about what they had thought it was like.
Soon they were inside the "Vink." It was a large restaurant. There were many little tables about, crowded with people, eating and drinking. Father Vedder found a table, and they all sat down.
"Bring us some pea soup," he said to the waiter. Soon they were eating the hot soup.
"This is the best thing I ever had," said Kit.
When they had eaten their soup, they went out of the building and walked through the streets of the town. All the shops were filled with pretty things. The bake shops had wonderful cakes with little candies on top, and there were great cakes made like St. Nicholas himself in his long robes.
Kit and Kat flattened their noses against all the shop windows, and looked at the toys and cakes.
"And I want some of those," Kat said, pointing to some cakes made in the shapes of birds and fish.
Vrouw Vedder had gone with her basket on an errand. Father Vedder and Kit and Kat walked slowly along, waiting for her.  Soon there was a great noise up the street. There were shouts, and the clatter of wooden shoes.
"Look! Look!" cried Kit.
There, in the midst of the crowd, was a great white horse; and riding on it was the good St. Nicholas himself! He had a long  white beard and red cheeks, and long robes, with a mitre on his head; and he smiled at the children, who crowded around him and followed him in a noisy procession down the street.
"Where is he going?" asked Kit and Kat.
"He's carrying presents to houses where there are good girls and boys," Father Vedder said. "For bad children, there is only a rod in the shoe."
"I'm glad we're so good," said Kit.
"When will he come to our house?" asked Kat.
 Kit and Kat were in a hurry to get home, for fear the Saint would get there first.
It was growing late, so they all went to a waffle shop for their supper.
In the shop a woman sat before an open fire. On the fire was a big waffle iron. She made the waffles, put sugar and butter on them, and passed a plate of them to each one. Oh, how good they were!
 When they had eaten their waffles, Father and Mother Vedder and the Twins went back to the canal and put on their skates. It was late in the afternoon: They took hold of hands and began to skate toward home, four in a row. Father and Mother Vedder were on the outside, and the Twins in the middle.
It was dark when they reached home. Vrouw Vedder lighted the fire, while Father Vedder went to feed the cow and see that the chickens and ducks and geese were all safe for the night.
Kit and Kat ran for their wooden shoes. They each took one and
put some hay in
 it. This was for
I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And, oh! it was all laden
With pretty things for thee!
There were comfits in the cabin,
And apples in the hold;
The sails were made of silk,
And the masts were made of gold.
The four-and-twenty sailors
That stood between the decks
Were four-and-twenty white mice,
With chains about their necks.
The captain was a duck,
With a packet on his back;
And when the ship began to move,
The captain said, "Quack! quack!"
WEEK 10 |
 Long, long ago, there lived in Daneland a king called Hrothgar. The old men of his country loved him and bowed the knee to him gladly, and the young men obeyed him and joyfully did battle for him. For he was a king mighty in war, and valiant. Never foe could stand against him, but he overcame them all, and took from them much spoil.
So this king wrought peace in his land and his riches grew great. In his palace there were heaped gold in rings and in chains, armour finely welded, rich jewels which glowed as soft sunlight.
 Then King Hrothgar looked upon this great treasure and brooded thereon. At last he said, "I will build me a great hall. It shall be vast and wide, adorned within and without with gold and ivory, with gems and carved work. The fame of it shall spread over all the earth, and men shall sing of it for all time. And when it is builded, therein shall I call all my warriors, young and old and divide to them the treasure that I have. It shall be a hall of joy and feasting."
Then King Hrothgar called his workmen and gave them commandment to build the hall. So they set to work, and day by day it rose quickly, becoming each day more and more fair, until at length it was finished.
It stood upon a height, vast and stately, and as it was adorned with the horns of deer, King Hrothgar named it Hart Hall.
 Then, true to his word and well pleased with the work of his servants, King Hrothgar made a great feast. To it his warriors young and old were called, and he divided his treasure, giving to each rings of gold.
And so in the Hall there was laughter and song and great merriment. Every evening when the shadows fell, and the land grew dark without, the knights and warriors gathered in the Hall to feast. And when the feast was over, and the wine-cup passed around the board, and the great fire roared upon the hearth, and the dancing flames gleamed and flickered, making strange shadows among the gold and carved work of the walls, the minstrel took his harp and sang.
Then from the many-windowed Hall the light glowed cheerfully. Far over the dreary fen and moorland the gleam was  shed, and the sound of song and harp awoke the deep silence of the night.
Within the Hall was light and gladness, but without there was wrath and hate. For far on the moor there lived a wicked giant named Grendel. Hating all joy and brightness, he haunted the fastness and the fen, prowling at night to see what evil he might do.
And now when night by night he heard the minstrel's song, and saw the lighted windows gleam through the darkness, it was pain and grief to him.
Very terrible was this ogre Grendel to look upon. Thick black hair hung about his face, and his teeth were long and sharp, like the tusks of an animal. His huge body and great hairy arms had the strength of ten men. He wore no armour, for his skin was tougher than any coat of mail that man or giant might weld. His  nails were like steel and sharper than daggers, and by his side there hung a great pouch in which he carried off those whom he was ready to devour.
Terrible was this ogre Grendel to look upon
Now day by day this fearsome giant was tortured more and more, for to him it was a torture to hear the sounds of laughter and of merriment. Day by day the music of harp and song of minstrel made him more and more mad with jealous hate.
At length he could bear it no longer. Therefore one night he set out, and creeping through the darkness came to Hart Hall, where, after the feast and song were done, the warriors slept.
Peacefully they slept with arms and armour thrown aside, having no fear of any foe. And so with ease the fierce and savage giant seized them with his greedy claws. Speedily he slew thirty of the bravest warriors. Then howling with  wicked joy he carried them off to his dark dwelling, there to devour them.
Oh, when morning came, great was the moaning in Daneland. When the sun arose and shone upon the desolated Hall, and the war-craft of Grendel was made plain, there was weeping. A cry of woe and wailing crept out over the moorland, and the woesome sound made glad the heart of the Wicked One.
But Hrothgar, the mighty, sat upon his throne downcast and sorrowful. He who was strong in war wept now for the woe of his thanes.
With eyes dimmed and dark, in grief and rage he looked across the wild wide moorland, where the track of the monster was marked with blood, and he longed for a champion.
But who could fight against an Ogre? Before the thought the bravest quailed.  Such a fight would be too loathly, too horrible. It was not to be endured.
When night fell the sorrowing warriors laid themselves down to rest with sighs and tears, in the bright hall that once had rung with songs and laughter. But the greedy monster was not yet satisfied, his work was not yet done. Stealthily through the darkening moorland again the Ogre crept until he reached the Hart Hall.
Again he stretched forth his hand, again he seized the bravest of the warriors, slew and carried them off to his drear dwelling.
Then was there wailing and fierce sorrow among the mighty men. Yet was there none so brave that he would face and fight the demon foe. But each man swore that he would not again sleep beneath the roof of Hart Hall. So when evening fell, they departed every man to the dwellings  around the palace, and the fair Hall was left desolate.
Thus Grendel, single handed, warred against the Dane folk until the great Hall, the wonder of men, was forsaken and empty.
For twelve long years it stood thus, no man daring, except in the light of day, to enter it. For after the shadows of evening fell, Grendel was master there. And in that stately Hall, when night was darkest, he held his horrid feasts. Only near to the throne, the carved Gift-seat or throne of the Dane folk, where Hrothgar the king used to sit, and from whence he dispensed gifts to his people, there only he dared not go. Something sacred and pure was there, before which the wicked Ogre trembled.
Thus for twelve long years Grendel warred against Hrothgar and the Dane folk. He prowled through the misty  moorland, lay in wait in dark places, slaying young and old. Many were the grisly deeds he did, many the foul crimes. And the mighty warriors, strong of heart against a mortal foe, were powerless against him.
Downcast and sorrowful of heart Hrothgar sat among his counsellors. None among them knew how to give him advice or comfort. None knew how to deliver his land from the Evil One.
Then the minstrels made mournful songs, and far and wide they sang of how Grendel ever warred with Hrothgar. They sang of how year by year there was battle and wrath between the noble King and the Ogre of evil fame.
T HIS is the story of a venturesome young Spider, who left his home in the meadow to seek his fortune in the great world.
He was a beautiful Spider, and belonged to one of the best families in the country around. He was a worker, too, for, as he had often said, there wasn't a lazy leg on his body, and he could spin the biggest, strongest, and shiniest web in the meadow. All the young people in the meadow liked him, and he was invited to every party, or  dance, or picnic that they planned. If he had been content to stay at home, as his brothers and sisters were, he would in time have become as important and well known as the Tree Frog, or the fat, old Cricket, or even as the Garter Snake.
But that would not satisfy him at all, and one morning he said "Good-by" to all his friends and relatives, and set sail for unknown lands. He set sail, but not on water. He crawled up a tree, and out to the end of one of its branches. There he began spinning a long silken rope, and letting the wind blow it away from the tree. He held fast to one end, and when the wind was quite strong, he let go of the branch and sailed off through the air, carried by his rope balloon, and blown along by the wind.
The meadow people, on the ground below, watched him until he got so far away that he looked about as large as a Fly, and then he looked no bigger than an Ant,  and then no bigger than a clover seed, and then no bigger than the tiniest egg that was ever laid, and then—well, then you could see nothing but sky, and the Spider was truly gone. The other young Spiders all wished that they had gone, and the old Spiders said, "They might much better stay at home, as their fathers and mothers had done." There was no use talking about it when they disagreed so, and very little more was said.
Meanwhile, the young traveller was having a very fine time. He was carried past trees and over fences, down toward the river. Under him were all the bright flowers of the meadow, and the bushes which used to tower above his head. After a while, he saw the rushes of the marsh below him, and wondered if the Frogs there would see him as he passed over them.
Next, he saw a beautiful, shining river, and in the quiet water by the shore were  great white water-lilies growing, with their green leaves, or pads, floating beside them. "Ah," thought he, "I shall pass over the river, and land on the farther side," and he began to think of eating his rope balloon, so that he might sink slowly to the ground, when—the wind suddenly stopped blowing, and he began falling slowly down, down, down, down.
How he longed for a branch to cling to! How he shivered at the thought of plunging into the cold water! How he wished that he had always stayed at home! How he thought of all the naughty things that he had ever done, and was sorry that he had done them! But it was of no use, for still he went down, down, down. He gave up all hope and tried to be brave, and at that very minute he felt himself alight on a great green lily-pad.
This was indeed an adventure, and he was very joyful for a little while. But he got hungry, and there was no food near.  He walked all over the leaf, Lily-Pad Island he named it, and ran around its edges as many as forty times. It was just a flat, green island, and at one side was a perfect white lily, which had grown, so pure and beautiful, out of the darkness and slime of the river bottom. The lily was so near that he jumped over to it. There he nestled in its sweet, yellow centre, and went to sleep.
When he fell asleep it was late in the afternoon, and, as the sun sank lower and lower in the west, the lily began to close her petals and get ready for the night. She was just drawing under the water when the Spider awakened. It was dark and close, and he felt himself shut in and going down. He scrambled and pushed, and got out just in time to give a great leap and alight on Lily-Pad Island once more. And then he was in a sad plight. He was hungry and cold, and night was coming on, and, what was worst of all, in  his great struggle to free himself from the lily he had pulled off two of his legs, so he had only six left.
He never liked to think of that night afterward, it was so dreadful. In the morning he saw a leaf come floating down the stream; he watched it; it touched Lily-Pad Island for just an instant and he jumped on. He did not know where it would take him, but anything was better than staying where he was and starving. It might float to the shore, or against one of the rushes that grew in the shallower parts of the river. If it did that, he would jump off and run up to the top and set sail again, but the island, where he had been, was too low to give him a start.
He went straight down-stream for a while, then the leaf drifted into a little eddy, and whirled around and around, until the Spider was almost too dizzy to stand on it. After that, it floated slowly, very slowly, toward the shore, and at last  came the joyful minute when the Spider could jump to some of the plants that grew in the shallow water, and, by making rope bridges from one to another, get on solid ground.
After a few days' rest he started back to the meadow, asking his way of every insect that he met. When he got home they did not know him, he was so changed, but thought him only a tramp Spider, and not one of their own people. His mother was the first one to find out who he was, and when her friends said, "Just what I expected! He might have known better," she hushed them, and answered: "The poor child has had a hard time, and I won't scold him for going. He has learned that home is the best place, and that home friends are the dearest. I shall keep him quiet while his new legs are growing, and then, I think, he will spin his webs near the old place."
And so he did, and is now one of the  steadiest of all the meadow people. When anybody asks him his age, he refuses to tell, "For," he says, "most of me is middle-aged, but these two new legs of mine are still very young."
Will you be my little wife,
If I ask you? Do!
I'll buy you such a Sunday frock,
A nice umbrella, too.
And you shall have a little hat,
With such a long white feather,
A pair of gloves, and sandal shoes,
The softest kind of leather.
And you shall have a tiny house,
A beehive full of bees,
A little cow, a largish cat
And green sage cheese.
WEEK 10 |
PUTNAM was a brave soldier. He fought many battles against the Indians. After that he became a general in the Revolution. But this is a story of his battle with a wolf. It took place when he was a young man, before he was a soldier.
Putnam lived in Connecticut. In the woods there were still a few wolves. One old wolf came to Putnam's neighborhood every winter. She always brought a family of young wolves with her.
The hunters would always kill the young wolves.  But they could not find the old mother wolf. She knew how to keep out of the way.
The farmers tried to catch her in their traps. But she was too cunning. She had had one good lesson when she was young. She had put the toes of one foot into a steel trap. The trap had snipped them off. After that she was more careful.
One winter night she went out to get some meat. She came to Putnam's flock of sheep and goats. She killed some of them. She found it great fun.
There were no dogs about. The poor sheep had nobody to protect them. So the old wolf kept on killing. One sheep was enough for her supper. But she killed the rest just for sport. She killed seventy sheep and goats that night.
Putnam and his friends set out to find the old sheep killer. There were six men of them. They agreed that two of them should hunt for her at a time. Then another two should begin as soon as the first two should stop. So she would be hunted day and night.
The hunters found her track in the snow. There could be no mistake about it. The track made by one of her feet was shorter than those made by the other feet. That was because one of her feet had been caught in a trap.
The hunters found that the old wolf had gone  a long way off. Perhaps she felt guilty. She must have thought that she would be hunted. She had trotted away for a whole night.
Then she turned and went back again. She was getting hungry by this time. She wanted some more sheep.
The men followed her tracks back again. The dogs drove her into a hole. It was not far from Putnam's house.
All the farmers came to help catch her. They sent the dogs into the cave where the wolf was. But the wolf bit the dogs, and drove them out again.
Then the men put a pile of straw in the mouth of the cave. They set the straw on fire. It filled the cave with smoke. But Mrs. Wolf did not come out.
Then they burned brimstone in the cave. It must have made the wolf sneeze. But the cave was deep. She went as far in as she could, and staid there. She thought that the smell of brimstone was not so bad as the dogs and men who wanted to kill her.
Putnam wanted to send his negro into the cave to drive out the wolf. But the negro thought that he would rather stay out.
Then Putnam said that he would go in himself. He tied a rope to his legs. Then he got  some pieces of birch-bark. He set fire to these. He knew that wild animals do not like to face a fire.
He got down on his hands and knees. He held the blazing bark in his hand. He crawled through the small hole into the cave. There was not room for him to stand up.
At first the cave went downward into the ground. Then it was level a little way. Then it went upward. At the very back of this part of the cave was the wolf. Putnam crawled up until he could see the wolf's eyes.
When the wolf saw the fire, she gave a sudden growl. Putnam jerked the rope that was tied to his leg. The men outside thought that the wolf had caught him. They pulled on the other end of the rope.
The men pulled as fast as they could. When they had drawn Putnam out, his clothes were torn. He was badly scratched by the rocks.
He now got his gun. He held it in one hand. He held the burning birch-bark in the other. He crawled into the cave again.
When the wolf saw him coming again, she was very angry. She snapped her teeth. She got ready to spring on him. She meant to kill him as she had killed his sheep. Putnam fired at her head.
 As soon as his gun went off, he jerked the rope. His friends pulled him out.
He waited awhile for the smoke of his gun to clear up. Then he went in once more. He wanted to see if the wolf was dead.
He found her lying down. He tapped her nose with his birch-bark. She did not move. He took hold of her. Then he jerked the rope.
This time the men saw him come out, bringing the dead wolf. Now the sheep would have some peace.
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.
"Bunches of grapes," says Timothy:
"Pomegranates pink," says Elaine;
"A junket of cream and a cranberry tart
For me," says Jane.
"Love-in-a-mist," says Timothy:
"Primroses pale," says Elaine;
"A nosegay of pinks and mignonette
For me," says Jane.
"Chariots of gold," says Timothy:
"Silvery wings," says Elaine;
"A bumpity ride in a wagon of hay
For me," says Jane.