Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 11  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

The Adventures of Miles Standish

CAPTAIN MILES STANDISH was an English soldier who, in his wanderings, came across the Pilgrim settlement in Holland. He liked the courage of these brave countrymen of his, and attached himself to their community, though he would not join their Church. When they began to discuss a plan for coming to America, he spoke up heartily in favor of it.

He was fond of adventure, and knew there were Indians and bears and wild creatures of all kinds in America to fight; and, since fighting was his main business and pleasure, he resolved to be among the very first to go over with the Puritans.

Accordingly, Miles Standish was among the co- [46] lonial passengers on the Mayflower. For nine weeks, the little ship battled with wind and waves. It was a trying voyage, but Miles Standish was among those who did not lose courage. He strode the deck in the worst weather, and helped the sailors manage the ship. He had a cheerful voice and a kindly manner with his fear-smitten companions,—all of which aided many a discouraged soul in standing the long voyage.

When the ship reached Cape Cod, Standish, with a few followers, went on shore, looking for a place to establish a settlement. Such a. place was found almost at the very end of Cape Cod. The men went in single file for about a mile, when they saw five or six Indians, with a dog, coming towards them. When the savages caught sight of the white men, they ran into the wood and whistled for the dog to follow.

Standish and his men pursued the Indians, but could not overtake them. When night came, they built a fire, set three men to act as sentinels, and slept on the ground until morning. By daybreak they were up and after the Indians, but found no trace of them nor of any houses.

They next discovered some mounds of sand that looked like graves. These they dug into, and came upon bows and arrows. But they covered [47] them over again, knowing the Indians did not like their dead to be disturbed. Other mounds contained baskets of corn, which the men very promptly carried away, since they were much in need of it for bread.

As they went through the woods, they came upon a deer-trap, which was such a curious contrivance that William Bradford examined it with much curiosity. Stepping upon the hidden spring, the trap closed on his leg so tightly that he called lustily for his companions to hasten and relieve him.

After wandering through the woods all day, they came to the shore, shot off their guns as a signal to the ship, and then were taken on board the vessel. This ended the first adventure of Miles Standish at Cape Cod.

After exploring the land several times for a place to found their colony, and locating none to suit them, the company spent about a month in the Mayflower, making the best of a very uncomfortable situation. At last, toward the end of December, they came to a place which John Smith, of Virginia, in one of his voyages along this coast, had named Plymouth. Here they landed and founded their colony.

An Indian tribe had lived among the Plymouth hills, but a plague had swept the entire tribe away. [48] The stubble in the fields was several years old, and the rude shelters of the Indians were rotting. There was no one to dispute the rights of the settlers to claim the soil for their own.

Rough houses of logs were soon built, the spaces between the cracks of the logs being daubed with mud. Oiled paper was used instead of glass for the windows. The weather was now very cold, the snow covered the ground, and almost blocked the people in their homes. There was little fuel and scant food. The colonists suffered dreadfully.

Many of them died, including Rose Standish, the beautiful young wife of the brave Captain. But the Captain himself kept up staunchly, and went among the sick and dying, doing all he could to help them. At one time he and six others were the only well ones in the place. These well ones brought all the wood, made all the fires, cooked all the food, attended to all the beds, and even washed the clothes for the entire colony. When spring came, only fifty of the company were left alive. It was a dreadful winter, but the Pilgrims were not dismayed by this bad beginning.

For fear the Indians would discover the weakness of the whites, and attack them in their sick and helpless condition, the graves of those who had died were ploughed over and sown with seed.

[49] During the spring they made friends with some of the Indians, particularly with Massasoit, an Indian Chief, and with Squanto, another chieftain who knew how to speak English. Squanto was very helpful to the colonists. He taught them how to catch fish and how to tread eels out of the mud. He told them to plant corn when the oak leaf was as big as a mouse's ear, and to drop a dead herring in each hill for fertilizer. He informed the unfriendly Indians that the white settlers kept the plague in their cellars, beside the black thunder powder, and could let it loose whenever they chose. In fact, he saved the little colony from utter destruction at the hands of the unfriendly savages.

At one time, Captain Standish had gone in a boat to buy corn from a tribe of Indians down the coast. When he arrived, the Indians formed a plot to kill him. One of them invited him to spend the night in his house. The wary Captain did not close his eyes. He could not understand what they said, but their actions were suspicious. Pacing to and fro, keeping his gun always ready, he watched through the long night for any sign of attack. "Why do you not sleep?" asked an Indian. "I have no desire to sleep in the house of a stranger," replied Standish. In the morning, [50] Standish backed out of the house, making the Indian follow him to his boat, and even back to Plymouth.

The Massachusetts Indians formed a plot to destroy all the English at Plymouth. Massasoit sent word to the colonists that, if they would save their lives, they must kill the Massachusetts Chiefs. Standish, with eight men, undertook the mission. He went to their village, and pretended to trade for furs. The trade was very smooth, for smiling and fair words were spoken. But the Indians said, "The Captain's eyes are watchful, and there is anger in his heart."

Then came a Chief, whetting his knife. He said boastfully, "By and by it shall see, and by and by it shall eat, but not speak." Then, turning to Standish, he said, "You are a great Captain, if you are a little man. I am not a Chief, but I have great strength."

Then Standish gave a signal, and sprang upon the boasting Indian. Snatching the knife from the hands of the astonished savage, he drove it through his heart, laying him dead on the floor. The companions of the Captain made an onslaught on the other Indians, whereupon they all fled shrieking to the woods. This ended the combat and the conspiracy. From that time on the name of [51] Standish was enough to make the Indians tremble with fear.

In this way, Captain Standish kept down the Indians, inspired hope and courage among the colonists, and secured peace and prosperity for Plymouth.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Grasshopper Who Wouldn't Be Scared

[Illustration]

[142]

T HERE were more Ants in the meadow than there were of any other kind of insects. In their family there were not only Ants, but great-aunts, cousins, nephews, and nieces, until it made one sleepy to think how many relatives each Ant had. Yet they were small people and never noisy, so perhaps the Grasshoppers seemed to be the largest family there.

There were many different families of Grasshoppers, but they were all related. Some had short horns, or feelers, and red legs; and some had long horns. Some lived in the lower part of the meadow where it was damp, and some in the upper [143] part. The Katydids, who really belong to this family, you know, stayed in trees and did not often sing in the daytime. Then there were the great Road Grasshoppers who lived only in places where the ground was bare and dusty, and whom you could hardly see unless they were flying. When they lay in the dust their wide wings were hidden and they showed only that part of their bodies which was dust-color. Let the farmer drive along, however, and they rose into the air with a gentle, whirring sound and fluttered to a safe place. Then one could see them plainly, for their large under wings were black with yellow edges.

Perhaps those Grasshoppers who were best known in the meadow were the Clouded Grasshoppers, large dirty-brown ones with dark spots, who seemed to be everywhere during the autumn. The fathers and brothers in this family always crackled their wings loudly when they [144] flew anywhere, so one could never forget that they were around.

It was queer that they were always spoken of as Grasshoppers. Their great-great-great-grandparents were called Locusts, and that was the family name, but the Cicadas liked that name and wanted it for themselves, and made such a fuss about it that people began to call them Seventeen-Year-Locusts; and then because they had to call the real Locusts something else, they called them Grasshoppers. The Grasshoppers didn't mind this. They were jolly and noisy, and as they grew older were sometimes very pompous. And you know what it is to be pompous.

When the farmer was drawing the last loads of hay to his barn and putting them away in the great mows there, three young Clouded Grasshopper brothers were frolicking near the wagon. They had tried to see who could run the fastest, [145] crackle the loudest, spring the highest, flutter the farthest, and eat the most. There seemed to be nothing more to do. They couldn't eat another mouthful, the other fellows wouldn't play with them, they wouldn't play with their sisters, and they were not having any fun at all.

They were sitting on a hay-cock, watching the wagon as it came nearer and nearer. The farmer was on top and one of his men was walking beside it. Whenever they came to a hay-cock the farmer would stop the Horses, the man would run a long-handled, shining pitch-fork into the hay on the ground and throw it up to the farmer. Then it would be trampled down on to the load, the farmer's wife would rake up the scattering hay which was left on the ground, and that would be thrown up also.

The biggest Clouded Grasshopper said to his brothers, "You dare not sit still while they put this hay on the load!"

[146] The smallest Clouded Grasshopper said, "I do too!"

The second brother said, "Huh! Guess I dare do anything you do!" He said it in a rather mean way, and that may have been because he had eaten too much. Overeating will make any insect cross.

Now every one of them was afraid, but each waited for the others to back out. While they were waiting, the wagon stopped beside them, the shining fork was run into the hay, and they were shaken and stood on their heads and lifted through the air on to the wagon. There they found themselves all tangled up with hay in the middle of the load. It was dark and they could hardly breathe. There were a few stems of nettles in the hay, and they had to crawl away from them. It was no fun at all, and they didn't talk very much.

When the wagon reached the barn, they were pitched into the mow with the [147] hay, and then they hopped and fluttered around until they were on the floor over the Horses' stalls. They sat together on the floor and wondered how they could ever get back to the meadow. Because they had come in the middle of the load, they did not know the way.

"Oh!" said they. "Who are those four-legged people over there?"

"Kittens!" sang a Swallow over their heads. "Oh, tittle-ittle-ittle-ee!"

The Clouded Grasshoppers had never seen Kittens. It is true that the old Cat often went hunting in the meadow, but that was at night, when Grasshoppers were asleep.

"Meouw!" said the Yellow Kitten. "Look at those queer little brown people on the floor. Let's each catch one."

So the Kittens began crawling slowly over the floor, keeping their bodies and tails low, and taking very short steps. Not one of them took his eyes off the [148] Clouded Grasshopper whom he meant to catch. Sometimes they stopped and crouched and watched, then they went on, nearer, nearer, nearer, still, while the Clouded Grasshoppers were more and more scared and wished they had never left the meadow where they had been so safe and happy.

At last the Kittens jumped, coming down with their sharp little claws just where the Clouded Grasshoppers—had been. The Clouded Grasshoppers had jumped too, but they could not stay long in the air, and when they came down the Kittens jumped again. So it went until the poor Clouded Grasshoppers were very, very tired and could not jump half so far as they had done at first. Sometimes the Kittens even tried to catch them while they were fluttering, and each time they came a little nearer than before. They were so tired that they never thought of leaping up on the wall of the barn where the Kittens couldn't reach them.

[149] At last the smallest Clouded Grasshopper called to his brothers, "Let us chase the Kittens."

The brothers answered, "They're too big."

The smallest Clouded Grasshopper, who had always been the brightest one in the family, called back, "We may scare them if they are big."

Then all the Clouded Grasshoppers leaped toward the Kittens and crackled their wings and looked very, very fierce. And the Kittens ran away as fast as they could. They were in such a hurry to get away that the Yellow Kitten tumbled over the White Kitten and they rolled on the floor in a furry little heap. The Clouded Grasshoppers leaped again, and the Kittens scrambled away to their nest in the hay, and stood against the wall and raised their backs and their pointed little tails, and opened their pink mouths and spat at them, and said, "Ha-ah-h-h!"

[150] "There!" said the smallest Clouded Grasshopper to them, "we won't do anything to you this time, because you are young and don't know very much, but don't you ever bother one of us again. We might have hopped right on to you, and then what could you have done to help yourselves?"

The Clouded Grasshoppers started off to find their way back to the meadow, and the frightened Kittens looked at each other and whispered: "Just supposing they had hopped on to us! What could  we have done!"

 



Laurence Alma-Tadema

The Robin

When father takes his spade to dig,

Then Robin comes along.

He sits upon a little twig

And sings a little song.


Or, if the trees are rather far,

He does not stay alone,

But comes up close to where we are

And bobs upon a stone.

 


  WEEK 11  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Cuthbert

Part 2 of 2

The prior himself taught the boy his new lessons, for his love for the lad grew stronger and deeper each day. Boisil felt sure there was a great future before the youth, and he often dreamed dreams of the greatness in store for him and the work that he should do for God in the world.

[96] "Who knows," he would say, "what honour God hath in store for thee. If heaven sends dreams, then is thy future sure, for I have seen thee wearing the bishop's mitre and holding the pastoral staff."

As for Cuthbert himself, he was too busy to think much of dreams or make plans for the future. Just as he had played his boyish games with all his might, so now he threw his whole soul into the work of the monastery. Lessons, prayer, fast and vigil, all were diligently attended to, and it was pleasant to see his glad cheerfulness when he was set to labour with his hands. The harder the task the more he seemed to enjoy it, and he rejoiced in the strength of his body which made him able to undertake much service. Although he now lived in the sheltered convent of the valley, his thoughts would often fly back, like homing birds, to the green hillsides, the glens and rocky passes, back to the little lonely weather-beaten hut where the old nurse lived. He never could forget the people who lived up there among the hills—poor shepherds, work-worn women and little children. It was a hard life they lived, with never a soul to bring them a message of hope or good cheer. Little wonder that their ways were often crooked and evil, and the thought of God but a far-off, dim, half-forgotten dream. Little wonder that black magic and witchcraft should still have power to enchain them in their ignorance and fearfulness.

The good prior often talked with the eager young brother about these wandering sheep, and when the [97] time came he sent Cuthbert out with his blessing to work amongst the hills once more, to gather the flock into the true fold.

How well did Cuthbert know those steep mountain paths! With what a light heart did he find his way over the rough hillsides where no paths were, to reach some cluster of huts where a few poor families lived, or even a solitary dwelling where some poor soul needed his care. There was something about the young monk that won a welcome for him wherever he went. Perhaps it was because he was so sure that all would rejoice to hear the message he brought; perhaps it was because he looked for the best in every one and so they gave him of their best.

From place to place Cuthbert went, and it mattered not to him how rough was the road or how terrific the storms that swept over the border-land. The snow might lie deep upon the hills, and he might be forced to spend the whole day without food, but no difficulty ever turned him back or forced him to leave one but unvisited.

Far and near the people began to look anxiously for his coming, and to listen eagerly to his teaching. There was always much for him to do; many a tale of sin to listen to, many a sinner to be taught the way of repentance. There were children, too, to be baptized, and this was work which Cuthbert always loved. They were the little lambs of the flock to be specially guarded from the Evil One, who was ever prowling around to snatch them from the fold. The hut where the old nurse lived [98] was often visited, for Cuthbert never forgot his friends.

There were other friends too that Cuthbert remembered and loved. His "little sisters the birds" soon learned to know and trust him again, and the wild animals of the hills grew tame under his hand. It is said that on one of his journeys, as he went to celebrate Mass with a little boy as server, they had finished all their food and were obliged to go hungry. Just then an eagle hovered above their heads and dropped a fish which it had just caught. The little boy seized it gladly and would have promptly prepared it for their meal, but Cuthbert asked if he did not think the kind fisherman deserved his share. The boy looked at the eagle and then at the small fish; but he knew what the master meant, so the fish was cut in half and the eagle swooped down to secure its share of the dinner.

There is another story told of the kindness shown by his furry friends to Saint Cuthbert, and it is a story which many people have remembered even when the history of Saint Cuthbert's life has been wellnigh forgotten.

It was when Cuthbert went to visit the holy Abbess of Coldingham, that, as was his wont when night came on, he wandered out to say his prayers in silence and alone. Now one of the brothers had long been anxious to know how it was that Cuthbert spent the long hours of the night, and so he stole down to the seashore and hid among the rocks, watching to see what would happen.

[99] It was a cold bleak night, and the sea lay black and sullen outside the line of breakers, but Cuthbert seemed to have no fear of cold or blackness. Reaching the edge of the waves, he waded in deeper and ever deeper until the water rose as high as his chest. Standing thus, he sang his hymn of praise to God, and the sound of the psalms rose triumphant, hour after hour, above the sob of the sea and the wail of the wintry wind. Not till the first faint gleam of dawn touched the east with rosy light did Cuthbert cease his vigil of prayer and praise. Then, numbed and half frozen, he waded out and stood upon the shelving beach once more, and from the sea there followed him two otters. The watcher among the rocks saw the two little animals rub themselves tenderly against the frozen feet, until their soft fur brought back some warmth and life to the ice-cold limbs; and when their work was done they stole quietly back into the water and were seen no more. It is this legend of the kindness of the otters which has never been forgotten whenever the name of Saint Cuthbert is mentioned.

For fourteen years Cuthbert remained at Melrose, and when the good Boisil died the brethren chose the favourite young monk as their prior. But it was not long before he left the abbey of Melrose and went to the monastery of Lindisfarne, on the wild bleak island known as Holy Island. Here for twelve years he did his work as thoroughly and bravely as he had done when he was a monk at Melrose, and within the monastery his gentleness and infinite patience, his kindliness and wise dealing, smoothed [100] away every difficulty, and brought peace and happiness to all the community.

It was no easy life he led on that bleak, bare, wind-swept island of the North Sea, but still Cuthbert sought for something harder and more difficult to endure. He longed to follow the example of the hermit saints of old, and he made up his mind to seek some desert spot where he might live alone with God, far from the world with its love of ease and its deadly temptations.

From the monastery of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert had often gazed across to the little islands which in summer-time shone like jewels set in a silver sea, and in winter seemed like little grey lonely ghosts wrapped in their shroud of easterly haar, or lashed by the cruel north wind until only the white foam of the breakers marked the spot where they stood. It was whispered by the brethren that evil spirits had their haunt upon the wildest of those little islands, and it seemed a fit place for the powers of darkness to work their will. There was not a tree and scarcely a plant upon the little island of Farne, for the bitter winds blew the salt spray in from every side, and only the wild sea-birds, gulls, kittiwakes, puffins, and eider-ducks, found shelter among the rocks to build their nests.

It seemed exactly the spot that Cuthbert sought for his retreat, and he only smiled when the brethren sought to dissuade him, and talked of the dangers that awaited any one who dared to land upon that island.

"Have we not ourselves heard the demon shrieks [101] and their wild wicked laughter on stormy nights?" said one brother solemnly.

"Ay, and have we not seen the glitter of the demon lights set there to lure poor fishermen to their destruction?" said another.

"The greater need, then, that I should go," said Cuthbert. "Christ's soldier is the fittest champion to fight the powers of darkness."

So Christ's soldier went out to seek a home on the desolate island, and all alone there he set to work to found a little kingdom of his own. Whether the demons fled at the approach of the holy man, or whether they fought for their kingdom and were cast out by the might of Saint Cuthbert, or whether he found only the shrieking wind and wail of the wild birds instead of the howls of a demon crew, we know not. But certain it is that when at last some of the brothers ventured over, half timidly, to see how their prior fared, they found only Cuthbert and the wild birds there in peaceful solitude.

The hut which he had built for himself against the rocks was almost like a sea-bird's nest, for it was hollowed out deep within, and its walls were of rough stones and turf, its roof of poles and dried grass. It must have been a work of great labour to build that wall, and some of the stones were so large that it seemed as if it would have needed three men to move them.

"He could not have done it by himself," whispered the brethren; "it is God's angels who have helped him." And when, too, they found a spring of clear water gushing from the rock close to the little [102] oratory, they said in their hearts, "He who turneth the stony rock into pools of water, hath here again shown His care for His servant."

At first it was needful that food should be brought to Cuthbert on the desolate island, but he was very anxious to provide for himself, for he always loved to work with his hands. The first crop of corn which he sowed came to nought, but the next thing he tried was barley, and that grew and flourished, and Cuthbert was content to think that now no longer was he dependent on others for his food. Yet it was but a scanty supply of grain that he had, and it was not without reason that the people whispered that the angels must bring food to the holy man, for he never seemed to lack the daily bread.

The wild birds that built their nests in the island of Farne soon grew accustomed to their new companion, and ceased to rise in white clouds when he came near. Of all the birds the eider-ducks were his special favourites and his special friends, and even to this day they are known by the name of Saint Cuthbert's ducks. So friendly did they become that, when the sunny month of June smiled on the little island and the mother duck was sitting upon her nest, she would allow Saint Cuthbert to come near and gently stroke her, and even let him peep inside at the hidden treasure—the five pale olive-coloured eggs that lay so snugly at the bottom of the nest.

For eight years Cuthbert lived his life of prayer and self-denial in the little home he had made for himself, but at the end of that time God had other [103] work for him to do. In the world of strife and human passions the Church had need of a strong arm and a pure heart, and it was decided that the hermit of Farne Island should be called forth and made a bishop.

A company of men landed on the island and brought the message to the lonely man in his little oratory, but Cuthbert would not listen to their pleading. The honour was too great for him, he said, and he prayed them to leave him to his prayers. Then it was that the King himself, with the bishops and great men of the kingdom, came in a wondrous procession and besought Cuthbert to come out and do battle for God in the Church. Cuthbert saw then that it was the will of God, and very sorrowfully he yielded. It was with a sad heart that he left his home among the wild birds and prepared to take his place in the world again as Bishop of Lindisfarne. The dreams of Boisil, the good prior of Melrose, had indeed come true. The shepherd lad of the hills, the monk of Melrose, the prior of Lindisfarne, the hermit of Farne, now held the pastoral staff and wore the mitre of a bishop.

It was no mere sign of office that Cuthbert held in his hand the pastoral staff. He was indeed a shepherd and bishop of men's souls, and he guarded and tended his flock as carefully as in the old days he had tended the sheep upon the hills. Once again he trod the rough hilly paths and brought comfort and help to those who were afar off, and lit the lamp of faith that had grown dim. Sometimes, in the wild waste districts where there was no church and [104] but few huts, the people would build a shelter for him with the boughs of trees, and there, in Nature's green cathedral, they would gather the children together for confirmation. Surely none of the little ones ever forgot that moment when they knelt before the good Bishop and felt the touch of his hand upon their bowed heads. The pale thin face was worn with suffering and hardship now, but the old sweet smile still drew all men's hearts out to him, and the love that shone in his eyes seemed more of heaven than of earth. He had always loved the lambs of the flock, and each little fair head upon which he laid his hand had a special place in his heart, as he gathered them into the fold of the Good Shepherd.

But it was not only the souls of his people for which Cuthbert cared, but for their bodies as well. Many an illness did he cure: many a stricken man owed his life to the Bishop's care. It seemed as if his very presence put fresh courage and strength into those who were thought to be dying, so that the touch of his hand led them back from the very gates of death. God had indeed given His servant special powers of healing, and who shall measure the power of a good man's prayers?

Once, in a far-off hamlet which had been visited by a deadly sickness, Cuthbert had gone from hut to hut, visiting and cheering each one of his people, leaving behind him courage and returning health. He was very weary and worn out, for the work had been heavy, but before leaving, he turned to a priest who was with him and said, "Is there still any one [105] sick in this place whom I can bless before I depart?"

"There is still one poor woman over yonder," answered the priest. "One of her sons is already dead and the other is dying even now."

A few swift strides and the Bishop was by the side of the stricken mother. No thought had he of the danger of catching the terrible disease. His strong loving hands gently drew the dying child from her arms, and, holding the little one close to his heart, he knelt and prayed that God would spare the little life. Even as he prayed the child's breathing grew easier, and the cold cheek grew flushed and warm, and when he placed him again in his mother's arms it was a living child she held and not a dying one now.

But Cuthbert's strength was waning fast, and the old splendid health and strength were gone. He knew his work was drawing to a close and the days of his usefulness were over, and with the knowledge came a great longing to creep away to the little sea-girt island, and spend the last few months alone with God.

It was with heavy hearts that the brothers watched the little boat made ready which was to carry their beloved Bishop away from their care.

"Tell us, Reverend Bishop, when may we hope for thy return?" cried one.

"When you shall bring my body back," was the calm answer. Then they knew that this was their last farewell, and they knelt in silence to receive his blessing.

[106] The end was not far off. A few short weeks amongst the happy birds; a worn weary body laying itself down to rest before the altar in the little oratory; a glad soul winging its triumphant flight back to God, and Saint Cuthbert's earthly life was over.

The end? Nay, there is no ending to the lives of God's saints, for they come down to us through the ages, a golden inheritance which can never die; stars in the dark night shining steadily on, with a light "which shineth more and more unto the perfect Day."

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

Little Tuppens


[Illustration]



[Illustration]

[90] A hen went into the woods.

A little chicken went with her.

The chicken was little Tuppens.

Little Tuppens found some seeds.


The old hen said, "Do not eat the big seeds."


Little Tuppens wanted the big seeds.

So he ate them.



[Illustration]

[91] The hen saw little Tuppens choking.

She ran to the spring.


She said, "Please give me some water, Little Tuppens is choking."


The spring said, "Get me a cup. Then I can give you some water."



[Illustration]

[92] The old hen ran to the oak-tree.


She said, "Please give me a cup. I want to get some water, Little Tuppens is choking."


The oak-tree said, "Shake me. Then I can give you a cup."



[Illustration]

[93] The old hen ran to the little boy.


She said, "Please shake the oak-tree. I want a cup. Then I can get some water, Little Tuppens is choking."


The little boy said, "Get me some shoes. Then I can shake the oak-tree."



[Illustration]

[94] The old hen ran to the shoemaker.


She said, "Please make some shoes. I want them for the little boy. Then he will shake the oak-tree, The oak-tree will give me a cup, The spring will give me some water. I want it for little Tuppens. He is choking."


[95] The shoemaker said, "Get me some leather. Then I can make some shoes."



[Illustration]

The old hen ran to the cow.


She said, "Please give me some leather. I want it for the shoemaker. Then he will make some shoes, The boy will shake the oak-tree, [96] The oak-tree will give me a cup, The spring will give me some water. I want it for little Tuppens. He is choking."


The cow said, "Get me some corn. Then I can give you some leather."



[Illustration]

The old hen ran to the farmer.


[97] She said, "Please give me some corn. I want it for the cow. The cow will give me some leather, The shoemaker will make some shoes, The boy will shake the oak-tree, The oak-tree will give me a cup, The spring will give me some water. I want it for little Tuppens. He is choking."


The farmer said, "Get me a plow. Then I can give you some corn."


[Illustration]

[98] The old hen ran to the blacksmith.


She said, "Please make me a plow. I want it for the farmer. Then he will give me some corn, The cow will give me some leather, The shoemaker will make some shoes, The boy will shake the oak-tree, [99] The oak-tree will give me a cup, The spring will give me some water. I want it for little Tuppens. He is choking."


The blacksmith said, "Get me some iron. Then I can make a plow."



[Illustration]

The old hen ran to the dwarfs.


[100] She said, "Please give me some iron. I want it for the blacksmith. Then he will make a plow, The farmer will give me some corn, The cow will give me some leather, The shoemaker will make some shoes, The boy will shake the oak-tree, The oak-tree will give me a cup, The spring will give me some water. I want it for little Tuppens. He is choking."



[Illustration]

[101] The dwarfs wanted to help
little Tuppens.

They went into the ground.

They got the red iron.

They gave it to the hen.

The hen gave it to the blacksmith.

The blacksmith made a plow.

The farmer gave some corn.

[101] The cow gave some leather.

The shoemaker made some shoes.

The boy shook the oak-tree.

The oak-tree gave a cup.

The spring gave some water.

The hen gave the water to little Tuppens.

Then little Tuppens ate little seeds.



[Illustration]

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh! I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!


Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside—


Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown—

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!

 


  WEEK 11  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

Ungrateful Soldier

[51] HERE is another story of the battlefield, and it is much like the one which I have just told you.

Not quite a hundred years after the time of Sir Philip Sidney there was a war between the Swedes and the Danes. One day a great battle was fought, and the Swedes were beaten, and driven from the field. A soldier of the Danes who had been slightly wounded was sitting on the ground. He was about to take a drink from a flask. All at once he heard some one say,—

"O sir! give me a drink, for I am dying."

It was a wounded Swede who spoke. He was lying on the ground only a little way off. The Dane went to him at once. He knelt down by the side of his fallen foe, and pressed the flask to his lips.

"Drink," said he, "for thy need is greater than mine."

Hardly had he spoken these words, when the Swede raised himself on his elbow. He pulled a pistol from his pocket, and shot at the man who would have befriended him. The bullet grazed the Dane's shoulder, but did not do him much harm.

"Ah, you rascal!" he cried. "I was going to [52] befriend you, and you repay me, by trying to kill me. Now I will punish you. I would have given you all the water, but now you shall have only half." And with that he drank the half of it, and then gave the rest to the Swede.


[Illustration]

When the King of the Danes heard about this, he sent for the soldier and had him tell the story just as it was.

"Why did you spare the life of the Swede after he had tried to kill you?" asked the king.

[53] "Because, sir," said the soldier, "I could never kill a wounded enemy."

"Then you deserve to be a nobleman," said the king. And he rewarded him by making him a knight, and giving him a noble title.

 



James Baldwin

Sir Humphrey Gilbert

MORE than three hundred years ago there lived in England a brave man whose name was Sir Humphrey Gilbert. At that time there were no white people in this country of ours. The land was covered with forests; and where there are now great cities and fine farms there were only trees and swamps among which roamed wild Indians and wild beasts.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert was one of the first men who tried to make a settlement in America. Twice did he bring men and ships over the sea, and twice did he fail, and sail back for England. The second time, he was on a little ship called the "Squirrel." Another ship, called the "Golden Hind," was not far away. When they were three days from land, the wind failed, and the ships lay floating on the waves. Then at night the air grew very cold. A breeze sprang up from the east. Great white [54] icebergs came drifting around them. In the morning the little ships were almost lost among the floating mountains of ice. The men on the "Hind" saw Sir Humphrey sitting on the deck of the "Squirrel" with an open book in his hand. He called to them and said,—

"Be brave, my friends! We are as near heaven on the sea as on the land."

Night came again. It was a stormy night, with mist and rain. All at once the men on the "Hind" saw the lights on board of the "Squirrel" go out. The little vessel, with brave Sir Humphrey and all his brave men, was swallowed up by the waves.

 



Lucy Fitch Perkins

The Day They Got Their Skates

Part 3 of 3

Father and Mother Vedder sat up late that night. Mother Vedder said it was to prepare the goose for dinner the next day.

When the Twins woke the next morning, the fire was already roaring up the chimney, and the kitchen was warm as toast. They hopped out of bed and ran for their wooden shoes. Mother Vedder reached up to the mantel shelf for them. Truly, the hay was gone—and there in each shoe was a package done up in paper!

"Oh, he did  come! He did  come!" cried Kat. "O Mother, you're sure you didn't build the fire before he had got out of the chimney?"

"I'm sure," said Vrouw Vedder. "I've made the fire on many a St. Nicholas morning, and I've never burned him yet!"

The Twins climbed up the steps to their cupboard bed and sat on the edge of it to [169] open their packages. In Kit's was a big St. Nicholas cake, like the one in the shop window! And in Kat's were three cakes like birds, and two like fish!


[Illustration]

"Just what we wanted!" said Kit and Kat. "Do you suppose he heard us say so?"

"St. Nicholas can hear what people think,"  said Vrouw Vedder. "He is coming [170] to see you to-night at six o'clock, and you must be ready to sing him a little song and answer any questions he asks you."

"How glad I am that we are so good!" said Kat.

"We'll see what the Saint thinks about that," said the mother. "Now get dressed; for Grandfather and Grandmother will be here for dinner, and we're going to have roast goose, and there's a great deal to do."

Kit and Kat set their beautiful cakes up where they could see them while they dressed.

"I do wish every day were St. Nicholas Day," said Kit.

"Or the day before," said Kat. "That was such a nice day!"

"All  the days are nice days, I think," said Kit.

"I don't think the dog-cart day was so very nice," said Kat. "We tore our best clothes, and they'll never, never be so nice again. That was because you  didn't mind!"

"Well," said Kit, "I minded as much as [171] I could. How can I mind two things at one time? You know how well I can think! You know how I thought about Vrouw Van der Kloot's cakes. But I can't  think how I can mind twice at one time."

"I don't suppose you can," said Kat. "But anyway, I'm sorry about my dress."

Just then Vrouw Vedder called them to come and eat their breakfast.


[Illustration]

Father and Mother Vedder sat down at the little round table and bowed their heads. Kit and Kat stood up. Father Vedder said grace; and then they ate their salt herring and [172] drank their coffee; and Kit and Kat had coffee too, because it was St. Nicholas morning.

It was snowing when, after breakfast, Kit went out with his father to feed the chickens and the pigs, and to see that the cow had something very good that she liked to eat. When they had done that, they called Kat; and she helped throw out some grain on the white snow, so the birds could have a feast, too.


[Illustration]

It snowed all day. Kit and Kat both [173] helped their mother get the dinner. They got the cabbage and the onions and the potatoes ready; and when the goose was hung upon the fire to roast, they watched it and kept it spinning around on the spit, so it would brown evenly.

By and by the kitchen was all in order, and you can't think how clean and homelike it looked! The brasses all around the room had little flames dancing in them, because they were so bright and shiny. Everything was ready for the St. Nicholas feast. The goose was nearly roasted, and there was such a good smell of it in the air!

After a while there was a great stamping of feet at the door; and Vrouw Vedder ran with the broom to brush the snow off Grandfather and Grandmother, who had skated all the way from town, on the canal. When they were warmed and dried, and all their wraps put away, Grandfather and Grandmother Winkle looked around the pleasant kitchen; and Grandmother said to Grandfather,

[174] "Our Neltje is certainly a good house-wife." Neltje was Vrouw Vedder. And Grandfather said,

"There's only one better one, my dear." He meant Grandmother Winkle.

By and by they all sat down to dinner, and I can't begin to tell you how good it was! It makes one hungry just to think of it. They had roast goose and onions and turnips and cabbage. They had bread and butter, and cheese, and sweet cakes.

"Everything except the flour in the bread, we raised ourselves," said Vrouw Vedder. "The hens gave us the eggs; and the cow, the butter. The Twins helped Father and me to take care of the chickens, and to milk the cow, and to make the butter; so it is our very own St. Nicholas feast that we are eating."

"A farmer's life is the best life there is," said Father Vedder.

They sat a long time at the table; and Grandfather told stories about when he was a boy; and Father Vedder told how Kit and [175] Kat learned to skate; and Kit and Kat told how they saw St. Nicholas riding on a white horse, and how he sent them the very things they wanted; and they all enjoyed themselves very much.

After dinner, Grandmother Winkle sat down in the chimney corner and called Kit and Kat.

"Come here," she said, "and I'll tell you some stories about St. Nicholas."


[Illustration]

[176] The Twins brought two little stools and sat beside her, one on each side. She took out her knitting; and as the needles clicked in her fingers, she told this story:

"Once upon a time, many years ago, three little brothers went out one day to the woods to gather fagots. They were just about as big as you are, Kit and Kat."

"Were they all three, twins?" asked Kat.

"The story doesn't tell about that," said Grandmother Winkle; "but maybe they were. At any rate, they all got lost in the woods and wandered ever so far, trying to find their way home. But instead of finding their way home, they just got more and more lost all the time. They were very tired and hungry; but, as they were brave boys, not one of them cried."

"It's lucky that none of those twins were girls," said Kit.

"I've even heard of boy twins that cried, when dog carts ran away, or something of that kind happened," said Grandmother [177] Winkle. "But you shouldn't interrupt; it's not polite."

"Oh!" said Kit very meekly.

"Well, as I was saying, they were very lost indeed. Night was coming on; and they were just thinking that they must lie down on the ground to sleep, when one of them saw a light shining through the leaves. He pointed it out to the others; and they walked along toward it, stumbling over roots and stones as they went, for it was now quite dark.

"As they came nearer, they saw that the light came from the window of a poor little hut on the edge of a clearing.

"They went to the door and knocked. The door was opened by a dirty old woman, who lived in the hut with her husband, who was a farmer.

"The boys told the old woman that they had lost their way, and asked her if she could give them a place to sleep. She spoke to her husband, who sat crouched over a little fire in the corner; and he told her to give them a bed in the loft.

[178] "The three boys climbed the little ladder into the loft and lay down on the hay. They were so tired that they fell asleep at once. The old man and his wife whispered about them over their bit of fire.

" 'They are fine-looking boys; and well dressed,' said the old woman.

" 'Yes,' said the old man, 'and I have no doubt they have plenty of money about them.'

" 'Do you really think so?' said the wife.

" 'I think I'll find out,' said the wicked farmer. So he climbed up to the loft and killed the three boys. Then he looked in their pockets for money; but there was no money there.

"He was very angry. And he was very much afraid—wicked people are always afraid."

"Are all afraid people wicked?" asked Kat. She wished very much that she were brave.

"M-m-m, well—not always,"  said Grandmother Winkle.

[179] "The wicked farmer was so afraid that he wanted to put the bodies of the three boys where no one would find them. So he carried them down cellar and put them into the pickle tub with his pork."

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" screamed Kat, and she put her hands over her ears. Even Kit's eyes were very round and big. But Grandmother said,

"Now, don't you be scared until I get to the end of the story. Didn't I tell you it was all about St. Nicholas? You wait and see what happened!

"That very same day the wicked farmer went to market with some vegetables to sell. As he was sitting in the market, St. Nicholas appeared, before him. He had on his mitre and his long robes, just as you see him in Kit's cake.

"Have you any pork to sell?" St. Nicholas asked the man.

"No," said the farmer.

"What of the three young pigs in your brine tub in the cellar?" said St. Nicholas.

[180] "The farmer saw that his wicked deed was found out—as all wicked deeds are, sooner or later. He fell on his knees and begged the good Saint to forgive him.

"St. Nicholas said, 'Show me the way to your house.'

"The farmer left his vegetables unsold in the market and went home at once, the Saint following all the way.

"When they reached the hut, St. Nicholas went to the pickled-pork tub in the cellar. He waved his staff over the tub, and out jumped the three boys, hearty and well! Then the good Saint took them through the woods and left them in sight of their own home."

"Oh, what a good St. Nicholas!" said Kit and Kat. "Tell us another."

"Well," said Grandmother Winkle, "once upon another time there was a very mean man, who had a great deal of money—that often happens. He had, also, three beautiful daughters—that sometimes happens too.

[181] "One day he lost all his money. Now, he cared more for money than for anything else in the world—more, even, than for his three beautiful daughters. So he made up his mind to sell them!

"St. Nicholas knew of this wicked plan; so that very night he went to the man's house and dropped some money through a broken window."

"Why did he do that?" asked Kat.

"Because the man was selling his daughters to get money. If he had money enough, he wouldn't sell them.

"The first night St. Nicholas dropped enough money to pay for the eldest daughter. The next night he took a purse of gold for the second daughter, and dropped it down the chimney. It fell down right in front of the man, as he was getting a coal to light his pipe. The third night the man watched; and when St. Nicholas came, the door flew open, and the man ran out. He caught St. Nicholas by his long robe and held him.

" 'O St. Nicholas, Servant of the Lord,' [182] he said, 'why dost thou hide thy good deeds?'

"And from that time on, every one has known it is St. Nicholas who brings gifts in the night and drops them down the chimney."

"Did the man sell his daughter?" asked Kat.

"No," said Grandmother. "He was so ashamed of himself that he wasn't wicked any more."

"Does St. Nicholas give everybody presents so they will be good?" asked Kat.

"Yes," said Grandmother; "that's why bad children get only a rod in their shoes."

"He gave the bad man nice presents to make him good," said Kit. "Why doesn't he give bad children nice things to make them  good too?"

Grandmother Winkle knitted for a minute without speaking. Then she said,

"I guess he thinks that the rod is the present that will make them good in the shortest time."

[183] The clock had been ticking steadily along while Grandmother had been telling stories, and it was now late in the afternoon. The sky was all red in the west; there were long, long shadows across the snowy fields, and the corners of the kitchen were quite dark.

"It's almost time to expect him, now," said Vrouw Vedder; and she brought out a sheet and spread it in the middle of the kitchen floor. She stirred up the fire, and the room was filled with the pleasant glow from the flames.

Kit and Kat sat on their little stools. Their eyes were very big. At five minutes of six, Vrouw Vedder said,

"He will be here in just a few minutes, now. Get up, Kit and Kat, and sing your song!"

The Twins stood up on the edge of the sheet and began to sing:

"St. Nicholas, good, holy man,

Put on your best gown;

Ride with it to Amsterdam,

From Amsterdam to Spain."


[Illustration]

[184] While they were singing, there was a sound at the door, of some one feeling for the latch. Then the door flew open, and a great shower of sweet cakes and candies fell [185] onto the sheet, all around Kit and Kat! There in the doorway stood St. Nicholas himself, smiling and shaking off the snow! His horse was stamping outside. Kit and Kat could hear it.

They stopped singing and hardly breathed,—they stood so still. They looked at St. Nicholas with big, big eyes. In one hand St. Nicholas carried two large packages; in the other, a birch rod.

"Are there any good children here?" said St. Nicholas.

"Pretty good, if you please, dear St. Nicholas," said Kit in a very small voice.

"Children who always mind their mothers and fathers and grandfathers and grandmothers?" said St. Nicholas, "and who do not quarrel?"

Kat couldn't say anything at all, though the Saint looked right at her! Vrouw Vedder spoke.

"I think, dear St. Nicholas, they are very good children," she said.

[186] "Then I will leave these for them and carry the rod along to some bad little boy and girl, if I find one," said St. Nicholas. "There seem to be very few about here. I haven't left a single rod yet." And he handed one big package to Kit, and another to Kat.

"Thank you," said Kit and Kat.

St. Nicholas smiled at them and waved his hand. Then the door shut, and he was gone!

Kit and Kat dropped on their knees to pick up the cakes and candies. They passed the cakes and candies around to each one. Vrouw Vedder lighted the candles, and then they all gathered around to see Kit and Kat open their bundles.

"You open yours first," said Vrouw Vedder to Kat.


[Illustration]

Kat was so excited that she could hardly untie the string. When she got the bundle open, there was a beautiful new Sunday dress—much prettier than the torn one had ever been! Oh, how pleased Kat was! She [187] hugged her mother and her grandmother and her father and her grandfather.

"I just wish I could hug dear St. Nicholas, too," she said.

Then Kit opened his bundle; and there was a beautiful new velveteen suit, with his very own silver buttons on it! It had pockets in it! He put his hand in one pocket. [188] It had a penny in it! Then he put his hand in the other pocket. There was another penny!

"I'm going to see if there's a pocket in mine," said Kat.

She hunted and hunted and hunted. By and by she found a pocket. And sure enough, there was a penny in that too!

Then some presents came from somewhere for Father and Mother Vedder and for Grandfather and Grandmother Winkle; and such a time as they all had, opening the bundles and showing their presents!

Then Mother Vedder tried on Kit's suit and Kat's dress, to see if they were the right size. They were just right exactly.

"St. Nicholas even knows how big we are," said Kat.

"Oh, I wish St. Nicholas Day would last a week," said Kit.

"That reminds me," said Vrouw Vedder, and she looked at the clock. "Half-past ten, and these children still up! Bless my heart, this will never do! Come here, Kit and Kat, and let me undo your buttons!"

[189] "May we take our new clothes to bed with us?" Kat asked.


[Illustration]

"Yes, just this once," said Mother Vedder, "because this is St. Nicholas night."

[190] They kissed their Grandfather and Grandmother good-night, and their Mother and Father, and said their prayers like good children; and then they climbed up into their little cupboard bed, and Vrouw Vedder drew the curtains, so they would go to sleep sooner.

"Good-night, dear little Twins," she said.

And so say we.


[Illustration]
 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

What Can I Give Him?

What can I give Him?

Poor as I am?


If I were a shepherd,

I would bring a lamb.


If I were a wise man,

I would do my part.


Yet what can I give Him?

Give my heart.

 


  WEEK 11  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

How Beowulf the Goth Came to Daneland

[10] And now it came to pass that, across the sea in far Gothland, the songs of Grendel and his wrath were sung, until to Beowulf the Goth the tale of woe was carried. And Beowulf, when he heard of Grendel's deeds, cried that he would go across the waves to Hrothgar, the brave king, since he had need of men to help him.

Now Beowulf was very strong in war, mighty among men. Of all the nobles of the Goths there was none so great as he. Much beloved, too, was he of Hygelac, King of the Goths, for they were kinsmen and good comrades. And because of the [11] love they bore him, many prayed him to bide peacefully at home, but others, knowing his prowess, bade him go forth.

Beowulf was eager for the contest, so taking with him fifteen warriors and good comrades, he stepped into a ship and bade the captain set sail for Daneland.

Then like a bird wind-driven upon the waves, the foam-necked ship sped forth. For two days the warriors fared on over the blue sea, until they came again to Daneland and anchored beneath the steep mountains of that far shore.


[Illustration]

The warriors fared on over the blue sea

There, lightly springing to shore, the warriors gave thanks to the sea-god that the voyage had been so short and easy for them.

But upon the heights above them stood the warden of the shore. His duty it was to guard the sea-cliffs and mark well that no [12] foe landed unaware. Now as the warriors sprang to shore, he saw the sun gleam upon sword and shield and coat of mail.

"What manner of men be these?" he asked himself. And mounting upon his horse he rode towards them.

Waving his huge spear aloft, he cried, as he rode onward, "What men be ye who come thus clad in mail-coats, thus armed with sword and spear? Whence cometh this proud vessel over the waves? Long have I kept watch and ward upon this shore that no foe might come unaware to Daneland, yet never have I seen shield-bearing men come openly as ye. And never have I seen more noble warrior than he who seems your leader. Nay, such splendour of armour, such beauty and grace have I not seen. But, strangers, travellers from the sea, I must know whence ye come ere ye go further. Ye [13] may not pass else, lest ye be spies and enemies to Daneland. It were well that ye told me speedily."

Then Beowulf answered him, "We are folk of the Goths, thanes of King Hygelac. In friendly guise we come to seek thy lord, King Hrothgar, the mighty chieftain. We have a goodly message to the famed lord of the Danes. There is no cause to be secret. Thou knowest if it be true or no, but we indeed have heard that among ye Danes there is a great and wily foe, a loather of valour, who prowleth terribly in dark nights, making great slaughter and causing much woe. Therefore have I come, for perchance I may be of succour to the noble King Hrothgar in his need."

Fearless and bold, facing the band of warlike men, the warden sat upon his horse, and when Beowulf had ceased speaking, he answered him.

[14] "Ye come as friends, O bearers of weapons, O wearers of war garments. Follow me then, and I will lead you on. I will also give commandment to my men that they guard your ship where it lies by the shore until ye come again."

So following the warden they marched forward. Eager they were for battle, eager to see the far-famed Hart Hall. And as they marched, their gold-decked helmets, their steel mail-coats, their jewelled sword-hilts, flashed in the sunlight, and the clank and clash of weapons and armour filled the air.

On and on they pressed quickly, until the warden drew rein. "There," he said, pointing onward, "there lies the great Hart Hall. No longer have ye need of me. The way ye cannot miss. As for me, I will back to the sea to keep watch against a coming foe."

[15] Then wheeling his horse he galloped swiftly away, while the Goths marched onward until they reached the Hart Hall. There, weary of the long way that they had come, they laid down their shields, and leaning their spears against the walls, sat upon the bench before the great door.

And as they sat there resting, there came to them a proud warrior. "Whence come ye with these great shields," he asked, "whence with these grey shirts of mail, these jewelled helmets and mighty spears? I am Hrothgar's messenger and servant, I who ask. Never saw I prouder strangers, never more seemly men. I ween it is not from some foe ye flee in fear and trouble. Rather in pride and daring it would seem ye come to visit Hrothgar."

Then answered Beowulf. "My name is Beowulf, and we are Hygelac's thanes. [16] To thy lord, the mighty Hrothgar, we will tell our errand if he will deign that we do greet him."

The warrior bowed low, for well he saw that Beowulf was a mighty prince.

"I will ask my lord the King," he said, "if so be thou mayest come to him. And to thee right quickly will I bear his answer."

So saying he departed, and came to Hrothgar where he sat amongst his earls. The king was now old and grey-haired, and sat amid his wise men bowed with grief, for there was none among them mighty enough to free his land from the Ogre.

"My lord," the warrior said, and knelt before the king, "from far beyond the sea strange knights are come. They pray that they may speak with thee. These sons of battle name their leader Beowulf. [17] Refuse them not, O king, but give them kindly answer. For by the splendour of their arms I deem them worthy of much honour. The prince who sendeth such warriors hither must be great indeed."

"Beowulf!" cried Hrothgar. "I knew him when he was yet a lad. His father and his mother have I known. Truly he hath sought a friend. And I have heard of him that he is much renowned in war, and that he hath the strength of thirty men in the grip of his hand. I pray Heaven he hath been sent to free us from the horror of Grendel. Haste thee, bid him enter, bid them all to come. I would see the whole friendly band together. Say to them that they are right welcome to the land of Danes."

The warrior bowed low. Then once more going to the door of the Hall, he stood before Beowulf and his knights.

[18] "My lord," he said, "the king biddeth me to say to thee that he knoweth already of thy rank and fame. He saith to you brave-hearted men from over the sea that ye are all welcome to him. Now may ye go in to speak with him, wearing your war trappings and with your helmets upon your heads. But leave your shields, your spears, and deadly swords without here, until the talk be done."

Then Beowulf and his warriors rose. Some went with him to the Hall, others stayed without to guard the shields and weapons.

Guided by the Danish warrior the knights marched right through the great Hart Hall, until they stood before the Gift-seat where sat the aged king.

"Hail to thee, Hrothgar," cried Beowulf. "I am Hygelac's friend and kinsman. Many fair deeds have I done though yet [19] I be young. And to me in far Gothland the tales of Grendel's grim warfare were told. Sea-faring men told that the great Hall so fair and well-built doth stand forsaken and empty as soon as the shades of evening fall, because of the prowlings of that fell giant.

"Then as we heard such tales did my friends urge me to come to thee because they knew my might. They had themselves seen how I laid low my foes. Five monsters I bound, thus humbling a giant brood. Sea-monsters I slew in the waves at night-time. Many a wrong have I avenged, fiercely grinding the oppressors.

"And now will I fight against Grendel. Alone against the Ogre will I wage war. Therefore one boon I crave of thee, noble prince. Refuse it not, for thereto am I come from very far. I pray thee that I alone, having with me only mine own [20] earls and comrades, may cleanse Hart Hall.

"It hath been told to me that Grendel recketh not of weapons, for his hide is as of steel armour. Therefore will I bear neither sword nor shield. But I will grapple with the fiend with mine hands alone, and foe to foe we will fight for victory. And, unto whomsoever it seemeth good to the Lord of Life, unto him shall the victory be given.

"If Grendel win, then will he fearlessly devour the people of the Goths my dear comrades, my noble earls, even as aforetime he hath devoured thy warriors. Then wilt thou not need to cover me with a mound, for the lone moor will be my burial-place. Where ye track the footsteps of the Ogre stained with gore, there will he with greed devour my thanes and me.

[21] "But if I die, then send back to Hygelac my coat of mail, for in all the world there is no other like to it. This is all I ask."

Beowulf was silent, and Hrothgar the aged king answered him.

"O friend Beowulf," he said, "thou hast sought us out to help us. Yet to me it is pain and sorrow to tell to any man what shame, what sudden mischiefs, Grendel in his wrath hath done to me. See! my palace-troop, my war-band hath grown small. Grendel hath done this. In his prowlings he hath carried off my men so that my warriors are few.

"Full oft when the wine was red in the cup my knights did swear that they would await the coming of Grendel, to meet him with sword-thrust. So when night fell they abode in the Hall. But in the morning, when day dawned, my fair house was red [22] with blood. And I needs must mourn the death of yet more gallant knights, must have fewer thanes to own my rule.

"But sit now to the feast and eat with gladness, sure that victory will come to thee."

So the Goths sat them down in the great Hart Hall and feasted with the Dane folk. The mead cup was carried round, the minstrel sang of deeds of love and battle, and there was great joy and laughter in all the Hall.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Earthworm Half-Brothers

[Illustration]

[151]

E ARLY one wet morning, a long Earthworm came out of his burrow. He did not really leave it, but he dragged most of his body out, and let just the tip-end of it stay in the earth. Not having any eyes, he could not see the heavy, gray clouds that filled the sky, nor the milkweed stalks, so heavy with rain-drops that they drooped their pink heads. He could not see these things, but he could feel the soft, damp grass, and the cool, clear air, and as for seeing, why, Earthworms never do have eyes, and never think of wanting them, any more than you would want six legs, or feelers on your head.

[152] This Earthworm had been out of his burrow only a little while, when there was a flutter and a rush, and Something flew down from the sky and bit his poor body in two. Oh, how it hurt! Both halves of him wriggled and twisted with pain, and there is no telling what might have become of them if another and bigger Something had not come rushing down to drive the first Something away. So there the poor Earthworm lay, in two aching, wriggling pieces, and although it had been easy enough to bite him in two, nothing in the world could ever bite him into one.

After a while the aching stopped, and he had time to think. It was very hard to decide what he ought to do. You can see just how puzzling it must have been, for, if you should suddenly find yourself two people instead of one, you would not know which one was which. At this very minute, who should come along but the [153] Cicada, and one of the Earthworm pieces asked his advice. The Cicada thought that he was the very person to advise in such a case, because he had had such a puzzling time himself. So he said in a very knowing way: "Pooh! That is a simple matter. I thought I was two Cicadas once, but I wasn't. The thinking, moving part is the real one, whatever happens, so that part of the Worm which thinks and moves is the real Worm."

"I am the thinking part," cried each of the pieces.

The Cicada rubbed his head with his front legs, he was so surprised.

"And I am the moving part," cried each of the pieces, giving a little wriggle to prove it.

"Well, well, well, well!" exclaimed the Cicada, "I believe I don't know how to settle this. I will call the Garter Snake," and he flew off to get him.

A very queer couple they made, the [154] Garter Snake and the Cicada, as they came hurrying back from the Snake's home. The Garter Snake was quite excited. "Such a thing has not happened in our meadow for a long time," he said, "and it is a good thing there is somebody here to explain it to you, or you would be dreadfully frightened. My family is related to the Worms, and I know. Both of you pieces are Worms now. The bitten ends will soon be well, and you can keep house side by side, if you don't want to live together."

"Well," said the Earthworms, "if we are no longer the same Worm, but two Worms, are we related to each other? Are we brothers, or what?"

"Why," answered the Garter Snake, with a funny little smile, "I think you might call yourselves half-brothers." And to this day they are known as "the Earthworm half-brothers." They are very fond of each other and are always seen together.

[155] A jolly young Grasshopper, who is a great eater and thinks rather too much about food, said he wouldn't mind being bitten into two Grasshoppers, if it would give him two stomachs and let him eat twice as much.

The Cicada told the Garter Snake this one day, and the Garter Snake said: "Tell him not to try it. The Earthworms are the only meadow people who can live after being bitten in two that way. The rest of us have to be one, or nothing. And as for having two stomachs, he is just as well off with one, for if he had two, he would get twice as hungry."

 



Josiah Gilbert Holland

Rockaby, Lullaby

Rockaby, lullaby, bees on the clover!—

Crooning so drowsily, crying so low—

Rockaby, lullaby, dear little rover!

Down into wonderland—

Down to the under-land—

Go, oh go!

Down into wonderland, go!

 


  WEEK 11  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

How Benny West Learned To Be a Painter

[56] IN old times there lived in Pennsylvania a little fellow whose name was Benjamin West. He lived in a long stone house.

He had never seen a picture. The country was new, and there were not many pictures in it. Benny's father was a Friend or Quaker. The Friends of that day did not think that pictures were useful things to make or to have.

[57] Before he was seven years old, this little boy began to draw pictures. One day he was watching the cradle of his sister's child. The baby smiled. Benny was so pleased with her beauty, that he made a picture of her in red and black ink. The picture of the baby pleased his mother when she saw it. That was very pleasant to the boy.


[Illustration]

Painting Baby's Portrait

He made other pictures. At school he used to draw with a pen before he could write. He made pictures of birds and of animals. Sometimes he would draw flowers.

He liked to draw so well, that sometimes he forgot to do his work. His father sent him to work in the field one day. The father went out to see how well he was doing his work. Benny was nowhere to be found. At last his father saw him sitting under a large poke-weed. He was making pictures. He had squeezed the juice out of some poke-berries. The juice of [58] poke-berries is deep red. With this the boy had made his pictures. When the father looked at them, he was surprised. There were portraits of every member of the family. His father knew every picture.


[Illustration]

Flower and Fruit of the Poke-Berry

Up to this time Benny had no paints nor any brushes. The Indians had not all gone away from that neighborhood. The Indians paint their faces with red and yellow colors. These colors they make themselves. Sometimes they prepare them from the juice of some plant. Sometimes they get them by finding red or yellow earth. Some of the Indians can make rough pictures with these colors.

The Indians near the house of Benny's father must have liked the boy. They showed him how to make red and yellow colors for himself. He got some of his mother's indigo to make blue. He now had red, yellow, and blue. By mixing these three, the other colors that he wanted could be made.

But he had no brush to paint with. He took some long hairs from the cat's tail. Of these he made his brushes. He used so many of the cat's hairs, that her tail began to look bare. Everybody in the house began to wonder what was the matter with pussy's tail. At last Benny told where he got his brushes.


[Illustration]

Making a Paint Brush

[59] A cousin of Benny's came from the city on a visit. He saw some of the boy's drawings. When he went home, he sent Benny a box of paints. With the paints were some brushes. And there was some canvas such as pictures are painted on. And that was not all. There were in the box six beautiful engravings.

The little painter now found himself rich. He was so happy he could hardly sleep at all. At night he put the box that held his treasures on a chair by his bed. As soon as daylight came, he carried the precious box to the garret. The garret of the long stone house was his studio. Here he worked away all day long. He did not go to school at all. Perhaps he forgot that there was any school. Perhaps the little artist could not tear himself away from his work.

But the schoolmaster missed him. He came to ask if Benny was ill. The mother was vexed when she found that he had stayed away from school. She went to look for the naughty boy. After a while she found the little truant. He was hard at work in his garret.

[60] She saw what he had been doing. He had not copied any of his new engravings. He had made up a new picture by taking one person out of one engraving, and another out of another. He had copied these so that they made a picture that he had thought of for himself.

His mother could not find it in her heart to punish him. She was too much pleased with the picture he was making. This picture was not finished. But his mother would not let him finish it. She was afraid he would spoil it if he did anything more on it.

The good people called Friends did not like the making of pictures, as I said. But they thought that Benny West had a talent that he ought to use. So he went to Philadelphia to study his art. After a while he sailed away to Italy to see the pictures that great artists had painted.

At last he settled in England. The King of England was at that time the king of this country, too. The king liked West's pictures. West became the king's painter. He came to be the most famous painter in England.

He liked to remember his boyish work. He liked to remember the time when he was a little Quaker boy making his paints of poke-juice and Indian colors.

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Elephant Girly-face

[52]

O NCE upon a time a king had an Elephant named Girly-face. The Elephant was called Girly-face because he was so gentle and good and looked so kind. "Girly-face never hurts anybody," the keeper of the Elephants often said.

Now one night some robbers came into the courtyard and sat on the ground just outside the stall where Girly-face slept. The talk of the robbers awoke Girly-face.

"This is the way to break into a house," they said. "Once inside the house kill any one who wakens. A robber must not be afraid to kill. A robber must be cruel and have no pity. He must never be good, even for a moment."


[Illustration]

The talk of the robbers awoke Girly-face.

Girly-face said to himself, "Those men are teaching me how I should act. I will be cruel. I will show no pity. I will not be good—not even for a moment."

[55] So the next morning when the keeper came to feed Girly-face he picked him up in his trunk and threw the poor keeper to the ground, killing him.


[Illustration]

He picked him up in his trunk and threw the poor keeper to the ground.

Another keeper ran to see what the trouble was, and Girly-face killed him, too.

For days and days Girly-face was so ugly that no one dared go near. The food was left for him, but no man would go near him.

By and by the king heard of this and sent one of his wise men to find out what ailed Girly-face.

The wise man had known Girly-face a long time. He looked the Elephant over carefully and could find nothing that seemed to be the matter.

He thought at last, "Girly-face must have heard some bad men talking. Have there been any bad men talking about here?" asked the wise man.

"Yes," one of the keepers said, "a band of robbers were caught here a few weeks ago. They had met in the yard to talk over their plans. They were talking together near the stall where Girly-face sleeps."

So the wise man went back to the king. Said he, "I think Girly-face has been listening to bad talk. If you will send some good men to talk where Girly- [56] face can hear them I think he will be a good Elephant once more."


[Illustration]

He looked the Elephant over carefully.

So that night the king sent a company of the best men to be found to sit and talk near the stall where Girly-face lived. They said to one another, "It is wrong to hurt any one. It is wrong to kill. Every one should be gentle and good."

"Now those men are teaching me," thought Girly-face. "I must be gentle and good. I must hurt no one. I must not kill any one." And from that time on Girly-face was tame and as good as ever an Elephant could be.

 



Edith Nesbit

Baby Seed Song

Little brown seed, oh! little brown brother,

Are you awake in the dark?

Here we lie cozily, close to each other:

Hark to the song of the lark—

"Waken!" the lark says, "waken and dress you,

Put on your green coats and gay,

Blue sky will shine on you, sunshine caress you—

Waken! 'tis morning—'tis May!"


Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,

What kind of flower will you be?

I'll be a poppy—all white, like my mother;

Do be a poppy like me.

What! you're a sunflower? How I shall miss you

When you're grown golden and high!

But I shall send all the bees up to kiss you;

Little brown brother, good-by!