Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 12  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

Building a Canoe

THE birch bark canoe was the most beautiful and ingenious of all the Indians' inventions. It was so broad that it could float in shallow streams, so strong that it could shoot dangerous rapids, and so light that one man could easily carry it on his back.

To make such a boat the Indians picked out a tall tree, with thick bark and with as few branches as possible. This they would cut down, care being taken to prevent it falling against other trees, thereby hurting the bark. The bark was then split along the length of the tree, and carefully peeled off in pieces the length and breadth of the canoe. They were very particular not to have any holes in the bark, which, during the season when the sap was in the tree, was firm and fine.

The bark was then spread on the ground in a smooth place, the inside downwards, and, in order to stretch it better, logs of wood or stones were [52] placed on it. Then the edges of the bark were gently bent upwards to form the sides of the boat. Some sticks were fixed into the ground at a distance of three or four feet from each other, forming the curved line which the sides of the boat were intended to make. The bark was bent to the form which the boat was to have, being held firmly in position by the sticks thus driven into the ground.


[Illustration]

With long paddles and strong arms, the Indians forced their craft along the river.

The ribs of the boat were made of tough hickory, cut into long, flat pieces, and bent to the shape of the boat, the wider ones in the middle, and the narrower ones towards the ends. When thus bent and tied in position, the ribs were placed upon the bark about ten inches apart.

The upper edge of each side of the boat was made of two thin poles, the boat's length, and put close together with flat edges to hold the bark between. These long poles, firmly attached to the ribs, determined the shape of the boat. The edge of the bark was now inserted between the poles on each side, and was sewed to the poles by means of mouse-wood, bark, or roots.

The poles were now sewed together at the end, and the bark was made water tight where it was joined by pounded bark of the red elm. Bands were placed across the top of the ribs of the boat [53] to prevent spreading or crushing in, and boards were laid across the bottom to step on. The boat was then ready for use.

This was a frail structure, and had to be treated very tenderly. The sides were easily torn open by rocks and hidden branches of trees, and, therefore, the Indian was always on the lookout for danger. The bottom could be easily crushed through; hence the Indian went barefoot, and entered the canoe very gingerly.

But with such a canoe three or four persons could easily float, and in some of the war canoes even a dozen Indians could find space. With long paddles and strong arms, the Indians forced their craft over the lakes and along the rivers with great ease and speed. It was strong enough to hold a heavy load, so long as it did not strike a rock or hidden tree. Such a boat could shoot down a dangerous rapid, if it was directed by skillful hands. When the Indians wished to move from one lake to another, they lifted the canoe out the water, strapped it across the back of one man, who took it over the trail across country from one body of water to another.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

A Gossiping Fly

[Illustration]

[156]

O F all the people who lived and worked in the meadow by the river, there was not one who gave so much thought to other people's business as a certain Blue-bottle Fly. Why this should be so, nobody could say; perhaps it was because he had nothing to do but eat and sleep, for that is often the way with those who do little work.

Truly his cares were light. To be sure, he ate much, but then, with nearly sixty teeth for nibbling and a wonderful long tongue for sucking, he could eat a great deal in a very short time. And [157] as for sleeping—well, sleeping was as easy for him as for anyone else.

However it was, he saw nearly everything that happened, and thought it over in his queer little three-cornered head until he was sure that he ought to go to talk about it with somebody else. It was no wonder that he saw so much, for he had a great bunch of eyes on each side of his head, and three bright, shining ones on the very top of it. That let him see almost everything at once, and beside this his neck was so exceedingly slender that he could turn his head very far around.

This particular Fly, like all other Flies, was very fond of the sunshine and kept closely at home in dark or wet weather. He had no house, but stayed in a certain elder bush on cloudy days and called that his home. He had spent all of one stormy day there, hanging on the under side of a leaf, with nothing to do but think. Of course, his head was down and his feet [158] were up, but Blue-bottle Flies think in that position as well as in any other, and the two sticky pads on each side of his six feet held him there very comfortably.

He thought so much that day, that when the next morning dawned sunshiny and clear, he had any number of things to tell people, and he started out at once.

First he went to the Tree Frog. "What do you suppose," said he, "that the Garter Snake is saying about you? It is very absurd, yet I feel that you ought to know. He says that your tongue is fastened at the wrong end, and that the tip of it points down your throat. Of course, I knew it couldn't be true, still I thought I would tell you what he said, and then you could see him and put a stop to it."

For an answer to this the Tree Frog ran out his tongue, and, sure enough, it was fastened at the front end. "The Snake is quite right," he said pleasantly, "and my tongue suits me perfectly. It is [159] just what I need for the kind of food I eat, and the best of all is that it never makes mischief between friends."

After that, the Fly could say nothing more there, so he flew away in his noisiest manner to find the Grasshopper who lost the race. "It was a shame," said the Fly to him, "that the judges did not give the race to you. The idea of that little green Measuring Worm coming in here, almost a stranger, and making so much trouble! I would have him driven out of the meadow, if I were you."

"Oh, that is all right," answered the Grasshopper, who was really a good fellow at heart; "I was very foolish about that race for a time, but the Measuring Worm and I are firm friends now. Are we not?" And he turned to a leaf just back of him, and there, peeping around the edge, was the Measuring Worm himself.

The Blue-bottle Fly left in a hurry, for where people were so good-natured he [160] could do nothing at all. He went this time to the Crickets, whom he found all together by the fat, old Cricket's hole.

"I came," he said, "to find out if it were true, as the meadow people say, that you were all dreadfully frightened when the Cow came?"

The Crickets answered never a word, but they looked at each other and began asking him questions.

"Is it true," said one, "that you do nothing but eat and sleep?"

"Is it true," said another, "that your eyes are used most of the time for seeing other people's faults?"

"And is it true," said another, "that with all the fuss you make, you do little but mischief?"

The Blue-bottle Fly answered nothing, but started at once for his home in the elder bush, and they say that his three-cornered head was filled with very different thoughts from any that had been there before.

 



Anonymous

A Pretty Game

The sun and the rain in fickle weather

Were playing hide and seek together;

And each in turn would try to chase

The other from his hiding place.

At last they met to say, "Good-by,"

And lo! a rainbow spanned the sky.

 


  WEEK 12  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Edward the Confessor

[107] KING EDWARD of England, the last of the Saxon kings, sat in his chamber deep in thought and troubled beyond all measure. It was but a short while ago that he had been living in exile at the Norman Court, with little hope of returning to his native land, and now kind fortune had not only called him home but set him there as King upon the throne. One would have thought he had been granted more than his heart's desire and should have been content, but there were troubled lines on the King's forehead as he sat and thought of those days of exile.

Amidst all the gaiety and wild revels of the Norman Court, the exiled prince had seemed to live in a world apart from the pleasure-loving courtiers, with whom he had but little in common. He was a strange, dreamy boy, and even his appearance had something dreamlike about it. His soft shining hair was almost milky white in its fairness, and the rose pink of his cheeks made that curious whiteness seem truly dazzling by contrast. He had delicate hands, with long, thin, transparent fingers, and these hands, it was whispered, held a magic in their touch and could stroke away pain and charm away sickness. While others talked of warlike deeds and boasted of wild adventures, he dreamed [108] his dreams of the saints of old and the good fight which they had fought. Of all those saints the one he loved the best was brave, headstrong Saint Peter, so weak at first, so firm and faithful at last. And next he loved the kind Saint John with his great loving heart and gentle kindly ways. These two dream friends were far more real to him than any of the gay companions among whom he lived, and it is little wonder that the boy prince with such friends kept himself pure and unspotted from the world and earned the title of "Confessor."

The only thing outside his dream life in which Prince Edward delighted was in the chase. After long hours spent in church he would gallop off for days into the forest, hunting and hawking, no longer a dreamy youth with downcast eyes, but a keen alert sportsman whose eyes shone with daring and excitement.

It was while hunting one day that his horse stumbled on the edge of a dangerous cliff, and, with a swift appeal to his unseen friend, the Prince called upon Saint Peter to save him.

"Saint Peter," he cried, "save me, and I vow that I will make a pilgrimage to thy shrine in Rome to mark my gratitude."

The stumbling horse recovered its foothold and Edward rode safely home. Going straight to church, he knelt there giving thanks for his safety, and while he was still on his knees there came a messenger from England bidding him return and rule over the people as their rightful King.

This good fortune made him more anxious than [109] ever to keep the vow he had made that day. The saint had been his friend and helper in the time of exile, and now, when fortune smiled upon him, he longed to show his gratitude the more.

But Edward had soon to learn that a king belongs to his people and not to himself.

As soon as it was known that the new king desired to make a pilgrimage to Rome, the people were dismayed and horrified.

"We cannot allow it," they cried. "A king can only leave his kingdom with the consent of the Commons, and that consent we will not give."

The wise councillors and advisers also shook their heads.

"The risks are too great," they said. "There are perils by road and sea, by mountain pass and river, dangers from robbers and armed foes. Who would venture among those Romans who are such villains, caring only for the red gold and the white silver?"

So it was that the King was sorely troubled that day as he sat and thought of all these things. He had sent messengers to Rome to beg that he might be pardoned for breaking his vow, and now he was awaiting their return, wondering what answer the Pope would send.

Ere long the answer came, and the Pope's message cheered Edward's heart. Instead of making a pilgrimage to Rome to do honour to Saint Peter, the King was to show his gratitude by building or restoring some monastery belonging to Saint Peter, which should be for ever after under the special protection of the Kings of England.

[110] It was a happy way out of the difficulty, and the King began at once to consider where the abbey should be built. He was deep in thought one day, sitting with his head resting on his hand, his dreamy eyes already seeing visions of a wonderful minster pointing its spires heavenward, when a servant entered and told him that a holy man, a hermit, begged to be allowed speech with the King.

"Bring him hither at once," said Edward; "it is not fit that a holy man should be kept waiting."

It was very trying to be interrupted when his whole heart was filled with thoughts of the great plan, but he put them aside and turned to give a kindly greeting to the old man, who had perhaps come to ask a boon of his King. He little guessed that this very interruption was to bring him the help which he sought.

Very slowly and with trembling steps the old hermit came into the royal presence. King's palaces were strange abodes to one who lived in the caves and rocks of the earth. The green boughs of the trees were the only canopy which the old man knew; the daisied grass was his carpet, and for companions he had the squirrels and the birds, with whom he shared his meal of fruit and roots. But God had sent His servant with a message and he was here to deliver it to the King. The strange city, the bewildering noise, and the wonderful palace were things which had nought to do with him. His one desire was to tell his tale. The King listened with earnest attention, for the message was a strange one.

[111] "Three nights ago," said the hermit, "as I knelt at prayer, behold there appeared to me in a vision an old man, bright and beautiful like to a clerk, whom I knew to be Saint Peter. He bade me tell thee that thou wouldst even now be released from thy vow, and commanded instead to build an abbey. The place where thou shouldst build the abbey, said he, should be on the Isle of Thorns, two leagues from the city. There a little chapel of Saint Peter already stands, and there the great abbey shall be built, which shall be indeed the Gate of Heaven and the Ladder of Prayer. As soon as the vision was ended I wrote all the words down upon this parchment, sealed it with wax, and now have brought it to your Majesty."

So the spot was chosen on which the fair abbey should be built, and King Edward gave his whole heart and attention to the great work.

The little Isle of Thorns of which the hermit spoke had taken its name from the wild forest and thickets with which it was overgrown. It was also called the "Terrible Place" in the days when it was the refuge for the wild animals which came down from the hills around. In those days it was said that a heathen temple had been built on the island, and that later, in the time of King Sebert, it had been turned into a Christian chapel and dedicated to Saint Peter.

Now there was a curious old legend about the dedication of that little chapel in the midst of the wild thicket of thorns, and perhaps it helped the dreamy King to decide to build his abbey there.

[112] The legend tells that in the days of King Sebert, when the monastery was finished, it was arranged that on a certain day Mellitus, the first Bishop of London, should consecrate the chapel. It so happened that, the night before the consecration, a fisherman named Edric was casting his nets into the Thames from the Isle of Thorns when, on the opposite shore, he saw an old man, who hailed him and asked that he might be rowed across to the little island. The old man was dressed in a curious foreign robe and seemed to be a stranger, but he had a beautiful kindly face, and Edric willingly did his bidding. Across the dark stream they rowed, and when the old man landed on the island, Edric stood watching to see where he would go.

The stranger walked straight to the chapel door, and as he entered, lo! the whole chapel was flooded with a blaze of light, so that it stood out fair and shining without darkness or shadow. Then a host of angels, swinging their golden censers, began to descend from above and to ascend, linking earth with heaven, and the sweet blue breath of the incense trailed in thin clouds around the brightness of the heavenly torches. Slowly and solemnly the service of consecration was performed, while the awe-struck fisherman, forgetting his nets and his fishing, gazed in wonder at the heavenly vision.

Presently the lights faded, the angels vanished, and the little chapel was left in darkness once more. Then the old man came out of the chapel and greeted the wondering fisherman.

"How many fish hast thou taken?" asked the stranger.

[113] Edric stammered out that he had caught no fish, and the old man smiled kindly upon him, seeing his confusion.

"To-morrow thou shalt tell the Bishop Mellitus all thou hast seen," he said. "I am Peter, Keeper of the Keys of Heaven, and I have consecrated my own church of Saint Peter, Westminster. For thyself, go on with thy fishing, and thou shalt catch a plentiful supply. This I promise thee on two conditions. First, that thou shalt no more fish on Sundays; and secondly, that thou shalt pay a tithe of the salmon to the abbey of Westminster."

Early next day came the Bishop Mellitus to consecrate the chapel, as he had arranged, and the first to meet him was the fisherman Edric, who stood waiting there with a salmon in his hand. He told his tale, and presented his salmon from Saint Peter, and then showed the Bishop where the holy water had been sprinkled, and all the signs of the heavenly consecration.

The Bishop bowed his head in reverence as he listened, and prepared to return home.

"My services are not needed," he said: "the chapel hath indeed been consecrated in a better and more saintly fashion than a hundred such as I could have consecrated it."

In the days of King Edward the Isle of Thorns was no longer the Terrible Place, for the forest had been cleared and Saint Peter's chapel stood in the midst of flowery meadows; but still the fishermen cast their nets in the river and caught many a silver salmon, and once a year Saint Peter's fish was carried [114] to the monastery in payment of the tithe which Edric had promised.

There were two other legends told of the little chapel which seem to have made King Edward love the place with a special love.

One story tells how a poor cripple Irishman named Michael sat one day by the side of the path which led to the chapel, watching for the King to pass. The kindly King at once noticed the lame man, and stopped to talk to him. Michael with piteous earnestness told his tale, and begged for help. There seemed no cure for his lameness, although he had made six pilgrimages to Rome, but at last Saint Peter had promised that he would be cured if only the King would carry him up to the chapel upon his own royal shoulders.

The courtiers mocked, and turned their backs on the ragged beggar, but King Edward, with kind compassionate words, bent down and lifted the cripple, and carried him up to the chapel, where he laid him before the altar. Immediately strength returned to the poor crippled limbs: the man stood upright, then knelt and thanked God and his King, and blessed the little chapel of Saint Peter.

The other legend tells of a wonderful vision sent to bless the eyes of the Confessor in the same chapel, as he knelt before the altar. Perhaps it was because his heart was pure and innocent and his faith so strong that his earthly eyes were opened to see the Christ-Child Himself standing there "pure and bright like a spirit," while a glory shone around.

[115] It was small wonder, then, that the King was glad to choose this spot on which to build a great abbey to the glory of God and Saint Peter. The work was begun at once, and the King came to live in the palace of Westminster that he might be near at hand and watch the building. A tenth part of all the wealth of the kingdom was spent upon the abbey, and it took fifteen years to build; but the King grudged neither time nor money in carrying out this, his heart's desire. Indeed the King had but little idea of the value of money, and was sometimes rather a trial to his steward Hugolin, who had charge of the chest where the royal gold was kept. Sometimes Hugolin lost all patience with his royal master, and shook his head over his dreamy ways.

Why, there had been one day when Edward had actually encouraged a thief to steal his gold! The money-chest had been left open in the King's room, and a scullion from the kitchen had come creeping in thinking the King was asleep. Edward had watched the thief help himself three times to the gold, and then had warned him to make haste and get away before Hugolin should return.

"He will not leave you even a halfpenny," cried the King, "so be quick."

The words only added to the scullion's terror, as he gazed upon the white-haired King who was watching him so intently. He fled from the room, glad to take the King's advice and to escape before the steward's return.

[116] "Your Majesty has allowed yourself to be robbed," said Hugolin reproachfully, when he saw the empty chest and heard the King's story.

"The thief hath more need of it than we," said his master; "enough treasure hath King Edward."

The King's treasure was indeed spent lavishly upon the building of the great abbey, and soon it began to rise from its foundations like a flower, growing in beauty and stateliness year by year, while the dreamy King watched over it, and added every beauty that his fancy could devise. Rough grey stone was cut and sculptured into exquisite shapes and designs; the daylight, as it streamed through the rich stained glass of the windows, was turned as if by magic into shafts of purest colour—purple, crimson, and blue. Fair as a dream the abbey stood finished at last, built by a dweller in dreamland, but solid and firm as a rock upon its foundations, and as firmly to be fixed in the hearts of the English people, while they ever weave around it their dreams of all that is great and good—the honour and glory of England.

The King's life was drawing to a close just as the great abbey was completed, and Edward knew that this was so. All his life he had relied greatly on warnings and visions, and now strange tales were told of how the end had been foretold.

It was said that as the King was on his way to the dedication of a chapel to Saint John, he was met by a beggar who asked alms of him.

"I pray thee help me, for the love of Saint John," cried the beggar.

[117] Now the King could not refuse such a request, for he loved Saint John greatly. But he had no money with him and Hugolin was not at hand, so he drew off from his finger a large ring, royal and beautiful, and gave it with a kindly smile to the poor beggar.

Not very long afterwards, the legend tells us, two English pilgrims far away in Syria lost their way, and wandered about in darkness and amidst great dangers, not knowing which road led to safety. They were almost in despair, when suddenly a light shone across their path, and in the light they saw an old man with bowed white head and a face of wonderful beauty.

"Whence do ye come?" asked the old man, "and what is the name of your country and your King?"

"We are pilgrims from England," replied the wanderers, "and our King is the saintly Edward, whom men call the Confessor."

Then the old man smiled joyously, and led them on their way until they came to an inn.

"Know ye who I am?" he asked. "I am Saint John, the friend of Edward your King. This ring which he gave for love of me, ye shall bear back to him, and tell him that in six months we shall meet together in Paradise."

So the pilgrims took the ring and carried it safely over land and sea until they reached the King's palace, when they gave it back into the royal hand and delivered the message from Saint John.

It was midwinter when the abbey was ready for consecration. The river ran dark and silent [118] as on that long-ago night when the fisherman rowed Saint Peter across to the little chapel and the angels came to sing the service. Now all that earthly hands could do was done, and the greatest in the land were gathered there to be present at the consecration of Saint Peter's abbey. Only the King was absent. He who had dreamed the fair dream and wrought it out in solid stone and fairest ornament, was lying sick unto death while the seal was set upon his work.

For a few days he lingered on, and then from the land of dreams he passed to the great Reality, and the old chronicles add the comforting words: "Saint Peter, his friend, opened the gate of Paradise, and Saint John, his own dear one, led him before the Divine Majesty."

They laid the King to rest in the centre of his beautiful abbey, and, ever since, our land has held no greater honour for her heroes than to let them sleep by the resting-place of the saintly King.

All honour to those who, through the might of sword or pen, by courage or learning, have won a place within Saint Peter's abbey of Westminster! But for the simple of the earth it is good to remember, that he who was first laid there won his place not by great deeds of courage or gifts of wondrous learning, but by the simple faith that was in him, the kindly thought for those who were poor and needed his help, the loving-kindness which even a child may win, though he miss a hero's grave in the King's abbey.

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

Little Spider's First Web


[Illustration]



[Illustration]

[104] A big spider saw a little spider.

The little spider was spinning a web.

It was her first web.


The big spider got on his web. And he began to swing.



[Illustration]

[105] A fly saw the big spider on his web.


He said, "Why do you swing, big spider?"


"I swing because little spider is spinning her first web."


The fly said, "Then I will buzz. I will buzz and buzz."



[Illustration]

[106] A bee heard the fly buzz.

She said, "Why do you buzz, little fly?"


"I buzz because little spider is spinning her first web."


The bee said, "Then I will hum. I will hum and hum."



[Illustration]

[107] A cricket heard the bee hum. He said, "Why do you hum, little bee?"


"I hum because little spider is spinning her first web."


The cricket said, "Then I will chirp. I will chirp and chirp."



[Illustration]

[108] An ant heard the cricket chirp.


She said, "Why do you chirp, cricket?"


"I chirp because little spider is spinning her first web."


The ant said, "Then I will run to and fro. I will run and run."



[Illustration]

[109] A butterfly saw the ant run to and fro.


She said, "Why do you run to and fro?"


"I run because little spider is spinning her first web."


The butterfly said, "Then I will fly. I will fly and fly."



[Illustration]

[110] A bird saw the butterfly.


She said, "Why do you fly, butterfly?"


"I fly because little spider is spinning her first web."


The bird said, "Then I will sing. [111] I will sing and sing. I will make the children happy."



[Illustration]

The children heard the bird sing.

They saw the butterfly fly.

They saw the ant run to and fro.

They heard the cricket chirp.

They heard the bee hum.

They heard the fly buzz.

[112] They saw the big spider swing on his web.

They saw the little spider spinning her first web.

The children were happy.


[Illustration]

 



Judge Parry

I Would Like You for a Comrade

I would like you for a comrade, for I love you, that I do,

I never met a little calf as amiable as you;

I would teach you how to dance and sing and how to talk and laugh,

If I were not a little girl and you were not a calf.


I would like you for a comrade; you should share my barley meal,

And butt me with your little horns just hard enough to feel;

We would lie beneath the chestnut trees and watch the leaves uncurl,

If I were not a clumsy calf and you a little girl.

 


  WEEK 12  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

Sir Walter Raleigh

THERE once lived in England a brave and noble man whose name was Walter Raleigh. He was not only brave and noble, but he was also handsome and polite; and for that reason the queen made him a knight, and called him Sir Walter Raleigh.

I will tell you about it.

When Raleigh was a young man, he was one day walking along a street in London. At that time the streets were not paved, and there were no side- [55] walks. Raleigh was dressed in very fine style, and he wore a beautiful scarlet cloak thrown over his shoulders.

As he passed along, he found it hard work to keep from stepping in the mud, and soiling his handsome new shoes. Soon he came to a puddle of muddy water which reached from one side of the street to the other. He could not step across. Perhaps he could jump over it.

As he was thinking what he should do, he happened to look up. Who was it coming down the street, on the other side of the puddle?

It was Elizabeth, the Queen of England, with her train of gentlewomen and waiting maids. She saw the dirty puddle in the street. She saw the handsome young man with the scarlet cloak, standing by the side of it. How was she to get across?

Young Raleigh, when he saw who was coming, forgot about himself. He thought only of helping the queen. There was only one thing that he could do, and no other man would have thought of that.

He took off his scarlet cloak, and spread it across the puddle. The queen could step on it now, as on a beautiful carpet.

She walked across. She was safely over the ugly puddle, and her feet had not touched the mud. She paused a moment, and thanked the young man.

[56] As she walked onward with her train, she asked one of the gentlewomen, "Who is that brave gentleman who helped us so handsomely?"

"His name is Walter Raleigh," said the gentlewoman.

"He shall have his reward," said the queen.

Not long after that, she sent for Raleigh to come to her palace.

The young man went, but he had no scarlet cloak to wear. Then, while all the great men and fine ladies of England stood around, the queen made him a knight. And from that time he was known as Sir Walter Raleigh, the queen's favorite.

Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Humphrey Gilbert, about whom I have already told you, were half-brothers.

When Sir Humphrey made his first voyage to America, Sir Walter was with him. After that, Sir Walter tried several times to send men to this country to make a settlement.

But those whom he sent found only great forests, and wild beasts, and savage Indians. Some of them went back to England; some of them died for want of food; and some of them were lost in the woods. At last Sir Walter gave up trying to get people to come to America.

But he found two things in this country which [57] the people of England knew very little about. One was the potato, the other was tobacco.

If you should ever go to Ireland, you may be shown the place where Sir Walter planted the few potatoes which he carried over from America. He told his friends how the Indians used them for food; and he proved that they would grow in the Old World as well as in the New.

Sir Walter had seen the Indians smoking the leaves of the tobacco plant. He thought that he would do the same, and he carried some of the leaves to England. Englishmen had never used tobacco before that time; and all who saw Sir Walter puffing away at a roll of leaves thought that it was a strange sight.

One day as he was sitting in his chair and smoking, his servant came into the room. The man saw the smoke curling over his master's head, and he thought that he was on fire.

He ran out for some water. He found a pail that was quite full. He hurried back, and threw the water into Sir Walter's face. Of course the fire was all put out.

After that a great many men learned to smoke. And now tobacco is used in all countries of the world. It would have been well if Sir Walter Raleigh had let it alone.

 



James Baldwin

Pocahontas

[58] THERE was once a very brave man whose name was John Smith. He came to this country many years ago, when there were great woods everywhere, and many wild beasts and Indians. Many tales are told of his adventures, some of them true and some of them untrue. Among the latter is the following story:—

One day when Smith was in the woods, some Indians came upon him, and made him their prisoner. They led him to their king, and in a short time they made ready to put him to death.

A large stone was brought in, and Smith was made to lie down with his head on it. Then two tall Indians with big clubs in their hands came forward. The king and all his great men stood around to see. The Indians raised their clubs. In another moment they would fall on Smith's head.

But just then a little Indian girl rushed in. She was the daughter of the king, and her name was Pocahontas. She ran and threw herself between Smith and the uplifted clubs. She clasped Smith's head with her arms. She laid her own head upon his.

"O father!" she cried, "spare this man's life. I [59] am sure he has done you no harm, and we ought to be his friends."

The men with the clubs could not strike, for they did not want to hurt the child. The king at first did not know what to do. Then he spoke to some of his warriors, and they lifted Smith from the ground. They untied the cords from his wrists and feet, and set him free.

The next day the king sent Smith home; and several Indians went with him to protect him from harm.

After that, as long as she lived, Pocahontas was the friend of the white men, and she did a great many things to help them.

 



Lucy Fitch Perkins

The Eskimo Twins

[12]

T HIS is the true story of Menie and Monnie and their two little dogs, Nip and Tup.

Menie and Monnie are twins, and they live far away in the North, near the very edge.

They are five years old.

Menie is the boy, and Monnie is the girl. But you cannot tell which is Menie and which is Monnie,—not even if you look ever so hard at their pictures!

That is because they dress alike.

When they are a little way off even their own mother can't always tell. And if she can't, who can?

Sometimes the twins almost get mixed up about it themselves. And then it is very hard to know which is Nip and which is Tup, because the little dogs are twins too.

[13] Nobody was surprised that the little dogs were twins, because dogs often are.

But everybody in the whole village where Menie and Monnie live was simply astonished to see twin babies!

They had never known of any before in their whole lives.

Old Akla, the Angakok, or Medicine Man of the village, shook his head when he heard about them. He said, "Such a thing never happened here before. Seals and human beings never have twins! There's magic in this."

The name of the twins' father was Kesshoo. If you say it fast it sounds just like a sneeze.

Their mother's name was Koolee. Kesshoo and Koolee, and Menie and Monnie, and Nip and Tup, all live together in the cold Arctic winter in a little stone hut, called an "igloo."

In the summer they live in a tent, which they call a "tupik." The winters are very long and cold, and what do you think! They have one night there that is four whole months long!

[14] For four long months, while we are having Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and even Lincoln's Birthday, the twins never once see the sun!

But at last one day in early spring the sun comes up again out of the sea, looks at the world for a little while, and then goes out of sight again. Each day he stays for a longer time until after a while he doesn't go out of sight at all!

Then there are four long months of daylight when there is never any bedtime. Menie and Monnie just go to sleep whenever they feel sleepy.

Although many Eskimos think twins bring bad luck, Kesshoo and Koolee were very glad to have two babies.

They would have liked it better still if Monnie had been a boy, too, because boys grow up to hunt and fish and help get food for the family.

But Kesshoo was the best hunter and the best kyak man in the whole village. So he said to Koolee, "I suppose there must be [15] girls in the world. It is no worse for us than for others."

So because Kesshoo was a brave fisherman and strong hunter, and because Koolee was clever in making clothing and shoes out of the skins of the animals which he brought home, the twins had the very best time that little Eskimo children can have.

And that is quite a good time, as you will see if you read all about it in this book.


[Illustration]

 



Lucy Larcom

Sir Robin

Rollicking Robin is here again.

What does he care for the April rain?

Care for it? Glad of it! Doesn't he know

That the April rain carries off the snow,

And coaxes out leaves to shadow his nest,

And washes his pretty red Easter vest!

And makes the juice of the cherry sweet,

For his hungry little robins to eat?

"Ha! ha! ha!" Hear the jolly bird laugh.

"That isn't the best of the story, by half."

 


  WEEK 12  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

Beowulf Telleth How He Warred with the Sea Folk

[23] Now among all the joyous company who feasted and made merry in the Hart Hall there was one who bore a gloomy face and angry heart. This was a knight named Hunferth. At Hrothgar's feet he sat in jealous wrath, for he could not bear that any knight in all the world should have greater fame than he himself. The praise of Beowulf was bitterness to him, and thus he spake in scoffing words:

"Art thou that Beowulf who didst contend with Breca on the wide sea in a swimming match? Art thou he who with Breca, out of vain pride swam [24] through the sea, and for foolhardiness ventured your lives in deep waters? No man, 'twas said, nor friend nor foe could turn ye from the foolish play. 'Twas winter-time and the waves dashed with loud fury. Yet for a week ye twain strove upon the waters.

"He overcame thee in swimming, he had more strength. Then at morning-time the sea drave him to shore. Thence he departed to his own land where he owned a nation, a town, and much wealth. Yea, in that contest thou hadst not the better. Now although thou art so splendid in war, I expect a worse defeat for thee, if thou darest to abide here the coming of Grendel."

"Friend Hunferth," said Beowulf quietly, "thou hast spoken much of Breca and of our contest. Now will I tell thee the truth of the matter. Rightly I claim to have [25] the greatest strength upon the sea, more skill than any man upon the waves.

"Breca and I when we were boys talked much thereon, and swore that when we were grown to men we should venture our lives upon the sea. And even so we did.

"As we swam forth into the waves, our naked swords we held in hand. That was right needful to defend us against the whale-fishes.

"Breca was not fleeter than I upon the waves. Strive as he might, he could not flee from me. And so for five nights upon the sea we swam. Then a great storm arose and drave us asunder. Fierce and cold were the waves, dark and terrible the night. The north wind drave upon us till the ocean boiled in madness of wrath.

"Then too the anger of the sea-monsters arose. Glad was I then that my shirt of mail, gold adorned and trusty, wrapped [26] my body. For a spotted monster seized me fast in his grim grip and dragged me to the floor of the sea. But I strove with him and my bright blade was dyed in the blood of the sea-brute.

"So I escaped me that time. Yet, although one was slain, around me swarmed many another fearful foe. But my dear sword served me well. They did not have joy of their feast, the Evil-doers! They did not sit around on the floor of the sea to swallow me down. Nay rather, in the morning, put to sleep with the sword, they lay among the sea-weeds on the shore, cast up by the waves. And never since upon the great waters have they troubled the sailors.

"Yea, in that contest I slew nine sea-brutes. Never have I heard of a fiercer fight by night under the arch of heaven. Never have I heard of a man more [27] wretched upon the waves. Yet I escaped. And when the sun at morning rose above the sea, the waves cast me upon the shore of Finland, spent and weary of my journey.

"I have never heard it said that thou, Hunferth, didst make such play of sword, no nor Breca, nor any of you. Ye have not done such deeds. But in sooth I would not boast myself. Yet I say unto thee, Hunferth, that Grendel, the evil monster, had never done so many horrors against thy king, that he had never brought such shame upon this fair Hall, hadst thou been so battle-fierce as thou vauntest that thou art. Yea, he hath seen that he hath no need to fear the boasted courage of the Dane folk. So he warreth, and slayeth, and feasteth as he pleaseth. He looketh not for battle at the hands of the Danes. But I, a Goth, shall offer him [28] war, war fierce and long. And after that, he who will may go proudly to Hart Hall."

When Beowulf had ceased speaking there was a cry from all the thanes and earls. The Hall rang with the sound of clashing armour and loud shouts as the Dane folk cheered the hero.

But Hunferth abashed held his peace.

Then forth from the bower came Wealtheow, Hrothgar's queen. Stately and tall, and very beautiful she came, clothed in rich garments girdled with gold. A golden crown was upon her head, and jewels glittered upon her neck. In her hand she held a great golden cup set with gems. First to King Hrothgar she went and gave to him the beaker.

"Hail to thee," she cried, "mayest thou have joy of the drinking, joy of the feast, ever dear to thy people."

[29] And Hrothgar drank, merry of heart, glad with thoughts of the morrow.

Then through all the Hall Wealtheow moved, speaking gracious words, giving to each warrior, young and old, wine from the golden cup. At last she, the crowned queen, courteous and beautiful, came to Beowulf.


[Illustration]

Giving to each warrior, young and old, wine from the golden cup

Graciously Wealtheow smiled upon the Goth lord, holding the beaker to him.

"I thank the Lord of All, that thou art come to us," she said. "Thou art come, noble earl, to bring us comfort, and to deliver us out of our sorrows."

The fierce warrior bowed before the beautiful queen, as he held the wine-cup. He felt the joy of battle rise within him, and aloud he spake:

"I sware it when I did set out upon the deep sea, as I stood by my comrades upon the ship. I sware that I alone would do the [30] deed or go down to death in the grip of the monster. As an earl I must fulfil my word, or here in the Hart Hall must I await my death-day."

The queen was well pleased with the proud words of the Goth lord. And so in splendour and high state she moved through the Hall till she came again to the Gift-seat, and there beside the king she sat.

Then again in the Hall there was sound of laughter and merriment. The minstrels sang, and the earls told of mighty deeds until the evening shadows slanted along the wall. Then all arose. The sound of song and laughter was stilled. It was time to be gone.

Farewells were said. Man greeted man, not knowing what the morning might bring forth. But all knew that battle was making ready for those who waited in that great Hall. When the sun had [31] gone down, and dark night covered all the land, ghostly creatures would creep forth to war in the shadow.

So with grave words Hrothgar bade Beowulf farewell.

"Good luck bide with thee," he said. "Into thy keeping I give the Hall of the Dane folk. Never before did I commit it to any man. Keep it now right bravely. Remember thy fame, show thy great valour, and watch against the Evil-doer. If thou overcome him, there is no desire of thine that shall be unfulfilled, so that it lieth in my power to give it thee."

Then Hrothgar and his band of warriors and thanes went forth from the Hall, and Beowulf with his comrades was left to guard it.

The beds were spread around the walls, and Beowulf prepared himself strangely for battle. His coat of mail, firmly wrought [32] with shining rings of steel, he cast aside. He took his helmet from his head, and with his sword and shield, and all his glittering war-harness, gave it to the keeping of a servant.

And thus all unarmed, clad only in his silken coat, he proudly spake:

"In war-craft I deem I am no worse than Grendel. Therefore not with the sword shall I put him to sleep, though that were easy. Not thus shall I take his life, for he is not learned in the use of war-weapons. So without them we twain this night shall fight. And God the all-wise shall give victory even as it shall seem best to Him."

Having so spoken Beowulf laid his head upon his pillow and all around him his warriors lay down to take their rest. None among them thought ever again to see his own land. For they had heard of [33] the terrible death that had carried off so many of the Dane folk from Hart Hall. Little they thought to escape that death. Yet so reckless were they of life that soon they slept. They who were there to guard that high Hall slept—all save one.

Beowulf alone, watchful and waiting for the foe, impatiently longed for the coming battle.

 



H. E. Marshall

How Beowulf Overcame Grendel the Ogre

[34] And now all slept save Beowulf alone. Then out of the creeping mists that covered the moorland forth the Evil Thing strode.

Right onward to the Hall he came, goaded with fearful wrath. The bolts and bars he burst asunder with but a touch, and stood within the Hall.

Out of the dark Grendel's eyes blazed like fire. Loud he laughed, wild-demon laughter, as he gazed around upon the sleeping warriors.

Here truly was a giant feast spread out before him. And ere morning light should [35] come he meant to leave no man of them alive. So loud he laughed.

Beowulf, watchful and angry, yet curbed his wrath. He waited to see how the monster should attack. Nor had he long to wait.

Quickly stretching forth a fang, Grendel seized a sleeping warrior. Ere the unhappy one could wake he was torn asunder. Greedily Grendel drank his blood, crushed his bones, and swallowed his horrid feast.

Again the goblin stretched forth his claws hungry for his feast. But Beowulf raising himself upon his elbow reached out his hand, and caught the monster.

Then had the fell giant fierce wrath and pain. Never before had he made trial of such a hand-grip. In it he writhed and struggled vainly. Hotter and hotter grew his anger, deeper and deeper his fear. He longed to flee, to seek his demon lair and [36] there make merry with his fellows. But though his strength was great he could not win free from that mighty grasp.

Then Beowulf, remembering his boast that he would conquer this ruthless beast, stood upright, gripping the Ogre yet more firmly.

Awful was the fight in the darkness. This way and that the Ogre swayed, but he could not free himself from the clutch of those mighty fingers.

The noise of the contest was as of thunder. The fair Hall echoed and shook with demon cries of rage, until it seemed that the walls must fall.

The wine in the cups was spilled upon the floor. The benches, overlaid with gold, were torn from their places. Fear and wonder fell upon the Dane folk. For far and wide the din was heard, until the king trembled in his castle, the slave in his hut.

[37] The knights of Beowulf awoke, arose, drew their sharp swords, and plunged into the battle. They fought right manfully for their master, their great leader. But though they dealt swift and mighty blows, it was in vain. Grendel's hide was such that not the keenest blade ever wrought of steel could pierce it through. No war-axe could wound him, for by enchantments he had made him safe. Nay, by no such honourable means might death come to the foul Ogre.

Louder and louder grew the din, fiercer and wilder the strife, hotter the wrath of those who strove.

But at length the fight came to an end. The sinews in Grendel's shoulder burst, the bones cracked. Then the Ogre tore himself free, and fled, wounded to death, leaving his arm in Beowulf's mighty grip.

[38] Sobbing forth his death-song, Grendel fled over the misty moorland, until he reached his dwelling in the lake of the Water Dragons, and there plunged in. The dark waves closed over him, and he sank to his home.

Loud were the songs of triumph in Hart Hall, great the rejoicing. For Beowulf had made good his boast. He had cleansed the Hall from the Ogre. Henceforth might the Dane folk sleep peacefully therein. And so the Goths rejoiced. And over the doorway of the Hall, in token of his triumph, Beowulf nailed the hand, and arm, and shoulder of Grendel.

Then when morning came, and the news was spread over all the land, there was much joy among the Dane folk. From far and near many a warrior came riding to the Hall to see the marvel. Over the moor they rode, too, tracking Grendel's gory [39] footsteps, until they came to the lake of the Water Dragons. There they gazed upon the water as it boiled and seethed, coloured dark with the poison blood of the Ogre.

Then back with light hearts they sped, praising the hero. "From north to south," they cried, "between the seas all the world over, there is none so valiant as he, none so worthy of honour."

With loosened rein they galloped in the gay sunshine. And by the way minstrels made songs, and sang of the mighty deeds of the Goth hero, praising him above the heroes of old. In all the land there was song and gladness.

Then from his bower came the aged king, clad in gorgeous robes. Behind him was his treasurer, the keeper of his gold, and a great troop of warriors. With him walked the queen, splendid too, in robes [40] of purple and gold, while many fair ladies followed in her train.

Over the flower-starred meadow they passed, stately and beautiful, until they stood before the Hall.

As Hrothgar mounted the steps, he gazed upon the roof shining with gold in the sun. He gazed too upon the hand and arm of Grendel. Great was his joy and gladness.

Then the king turned to the people gathered there. "For this sight be thanks at once given to the All Wise," he cried. "What sorrow and trouble hath Grendel caused me! When I saw my Hall stained with blood, when I saw my wise men bowed with grief, broken in spirit, I hoped no more. I thought never in this life to be repaid for all the brave men that I have lost.

"Then lo! when my sorrow was dark, there cometh a young warrior, a youth [41] mighty in battle. And he hath done the deed that all our wisdom was not able to perform."

Then turning to Beowulf, the king stretched out his hands and cried, "Now, O Beowulf, greatest of fighters, henceforth will I love thee as a son. No wish of thine but I will grant it to thee, if it be in my power.

"Full oft of yore have I for lesser deeds given great rewards. Treasure and honour have I heaped upon knights less brave than thou, less mighty in war. But thou by thy deeds hast made for thyself a glorious name which shall never be forgotten."

Then Beowulf, proudly humble, answered, "It was joy to do the daring deed. Blithe at heart we fought the Unknown One. But I would that thou thyself hadst seen the Ogre among the treasures of the Hall. I thought to bind him on a bed of [42] death. But in my hand he might not lie. He was too strong for me. His body slipped from my grasp. Nevertheless he left with me his hand and arm and shoulder. It is certain that now he lieth dead and will never more trouble the land."

There was joy among the heroes as Beowulf spoke. But Hunferth hung his head, and bit his lip in silence. He no longer had desire to taunt the hero, or make boast of his own war-craft. Shame held him speechless.

And so through all that day the crowd came and went before the door of Hart Hall. Greatly did all men marvel at the fearful sight, at the war-hand of the Ogre. The nails were like steel, the fingers like daggers, and the whole hide so hard that no sword, however finely welded, might pierce it through.

It was indeed a great marvel.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Frog-Hoppers Go Out into the World

[Illustration]

[161]

A LONG the upper edge of the meadow and in the corners of the rail fence there grew golden-rod. During the spring and early summer you could hardly tell that it was there, unless you walked close to it and saw the slender and graceful stalks pushing upward through the tall grass and pointing in many different ways with their dainty leaves. The Horses and Cows knew it, and although they might eat all around it they never pulled at it with their lips or ate it. In the autumn, each stalk was crowned with sprays of tiny bright yellow blossoms, which nodded in the wind and scattered their golden pollen all around. Then it sometimes [162] happened that people who were driving past would stop, climb over the fence, and pluck some of it to carry away. Even then there was so much left that one could hardly miss the stalks that were gone.

It may have been because the golden-rod was such a safe home that most of the Frog-Hoppers laid their eggs there. Some laid eggs in other plants and bushes, but most of them chose the golden-rod. After they had laid their eggs they wandered around on the grass, the bushes, and the few trees which grew in the meadow, hopping from one place to another and eating a little here and a little there.

Nobody knows why they should have been called Frog-Hoppers, unless it was because when you look them in the face they seem a very little like tiny Frogs. To be sure, they have six legs, and teeth on the front pair, as no real Frog ever [163] thought of having. Perhaps it was only a nickname because their own name was so long and hard to speak.

The golden-rod was beginning to show small yellow-green buds on the tips of its stalks, and the little Frog-Hoppers were now old enough to talk and wonder about the great world. On one stalk four Frog-Hopper brothers and sisters lived close together. That was much pleasanter than having to grow up all alone, as most young Frog-Hoppers do, never seeing their fathers and mothers or knowing whether they ever would.

These four little Frog-Hoppers did not know how lucky they were, and that, you know, happens very often when people have not seen others lonely or unhappy. They supposed that every Frog-Hopper family had two brothers and two sisters living together on a golden-rod stalk. They fed on the juice or sap of the golden-rod, pumping it out of the stalk [164] with their stout little beaks and eating or drinking it. After they had eaten it, they made white foam out of it, and this foam was all around them on the stalk. Any one passing by could tell at once by the foam just where the Frog-Hoppers lived.

One morning the oldest Frog-Hopper brother thought that the sap pumped very hard. It may be that it did pump hard, and it may be that he was tired or lazy. Anyway, he began to grumble and find fault. "This is the worst stalk of golden-rod I ever saw in my life," he said. "It doesn't pay to try to pump any more sap, and I just won't try, so there!"

He was quite right in saying that it was the worst stalk he had ever seen, because he had never seen any other, but he was much mistaken in saying that it didn't pay to pump sap, and as for saying that "it didn't pay, so there!" we all know that when insects begin to talk in that way the best thing to do is to leave them [165] quite alone until they are better-natured.

The other Frog-Hopper children couldn't leave him alone, because they hadn't changed their skins for the last time. They had to stay in their foam until that was done. After the big brother spoke in this way, they all began to wonder if the sap didn't pump hard. Before long the big sister wiggled impatiently and said, "My beak is dreadfully tired."

Then they all stopped eating and began to talk. They called their home stuffy, and said there wasn't room to turn around in it without hitting the foam. They didn't say why they should mind hitting the foam. It was soft and clean, and always opened up a way when they pushed against it.

"I tell you what!" said the big brother, "after I've changed my skin once more and gone out into the great world, you won't catch me hanging around this old golden-rod."

[166] "Nor me!" "Nor me!" "Nor me!" said the other young Frog-Hoppers.

"I wonder what the world is like," said the little sister. "Is it just bigger foam and bigger golden-rod and more Frog-Hoppers?"

"Huh!" exclaimed her big brother. "What lots you know! If I didn't know any more than that about it, I'd keep still and not tell anybody." That made her feel badly, and she didn't speak again for a long time.

Then the little brother spoke. "I didn't know you had ever been out into the world," he said.

"No," said the big brother, "I suppose you didn't. There are lots of things you don't know." That made him feel badly, and he went off into the farthest corner of the foam and stuck his head in between a golden-rod leaf and the stalk. You see the big brother was very cross. Indeed, he was exceedingly cross.

[167] For a long time nobody spoke, and then the big sister said, "I wish you would tell us what the world is like."

The big brother knew no more about the world than the other children, but after he had been cross and put on airs he didn't like to tell the truth. He might have known that he would be found out, yet he held up his head and answered: "I don't suppose that I can tell you so that you will understand, because you have never seen it. There are lots of things there—whole lots of them—and it is very big. Some of the things are like golden-rod and some of them are not. Some of them are not even like foam. And there are a great many people there. They all have six legs, but they are not so clever as we are. We shall have to tell them things."

This was very interesting and made the little sister forget to pout and the little brother come out of his foam-corner. He [168] even looked as though he might ask a few questions, so the big brother added, "Now don't talk to me, for I must think about something."

It was not long after this that the young Frog-Hoppers changed their skins for the last time. The outside part of the foam hardened and made a little roof over them while they did this. Then they were ready to go out into the meadow. The big brother felt rather uncomfortable, and it was not his new skin which made him so. It was remembering what he had said about the world outside.

When they had left their foam and their golden-rod, they had much to see and ask about. Every little while one of the smaller Frog-Hoppers would exclaim, "Why, you never told us about this!" or, "Why didn't you tell us about that?"

Then the big brother would answer: "Yes, I did. That is one of the things [169] which I said were not like either golden-rod or foam."

For a while they met only Crickets, Ants, Grasshoppers, and other six-legged people, and although they looked at each other they did not have much to say. At last they hopped near to the Tree Frog, who was sitting by the mossy trunk of a beech tree and looked so much like the bark that they did not notice him at first. The big brother was very near the Tree Frog's head.

"Oh, see!" cried the others. "There is somebody with only four legs, and he doesn't look as though he ever had any more. Why, Brother, what does this mean? You said everybody had six."

At this moment the Tree Frog opened his eyes a little and his mouth a great deal, and shot out his quick tongue. When he shut his mouth again, the big brother of the Frog-Hoppers was nowhere to be seen. They never had a chance to [170] ask him that question again. If they had but known it, the Tree Frog at that minute had ten legs, for six and four are ten. But then, they couldn't know it, for six were on the inside.

 



Lydia Maria Child

The Little Maiden and the Little Bird

"Little bird! little bird! come to me!

I have a green cage ready for thee—

Beauty bright flowers I'll bring thee anew,

And fresh, ripe cherries, all wet with dew."


"Thanks, little maiden, for all thy care,—

But I love dearly the clear, cool air,

And my snug little nest in the old oak tree."

"Little bird! little bird! stay with me!"


"Nay, little damsel! away I'll fly

To greener fields and warmer sky;

When spring returns with pattering rain,

You'll hear my merry song again."


"Little bird! little bird! who'll guide thee

Over the hills and over the sea?

Foolish one! come in the house to stay,

For I'm very sure you'll lose your way."


"Ah, no, little maiden! God guides me

Over the hills and over the sea;

I will be free as the rushing air

And sing of sunshine everywhere."

 


  WEEK 12  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

Washington and His Hatchet

[54] IT was Arbor Day in the Mossy Hill School, Johnny Littlejohn had to speak a piece that had something to do with trees. He thought it would be a good plan to say something about the little cherry tree that Washington spoiled with his hatchet, when he was a little boy. This is what he said:

He had a hatchet—little George—

A hatchet bright and new,

And sharp enough to cut a stick—

A little stick—in two.

He hacked and whacked and whacked and hacked,

This sturdy little man;

He hacked a log and hacked a fence,

As round about he ran.

He hacked his father's cherry tree

And made an ugly spot;

The bark was soft, the hatchet sharp,

And little George forgot.

[55]

You know the rest. The father frowned

And asked the reason why;

You know the good old story runs

He could not tell a lie.

The boy that chopped that cherry tree

Soon grew to be a youth;

At work and books he hacked away,

And still he told the truth:

The youth became a famous man,

Above six feet in height,

And when he had good work to do

He hacked with all his might.

He fought the armies that the king

Had sent across the sea;

He battled up and down the land

To set his country free.

For seven long years he hacked and whacked

With all his might and main

Until the British sailed away

And did not come again.


[Illustration]

 



Edward Eggleston

Washington's Christmas Gift

[61] WASHINGTON was fighting to set this country free. But the army that the King of England sent to fight him was stronger than Washington's army. Washington was beaten and driven out of Brooklyn. Then he had to leave New York. After that, he marched away into New Jersey to save his army from being taken. At last he crossed the Delaware River. Here he was safe for a while.

Some of the Hessian soldiers that the king had hired to fight against the Americans came to Trenton. Trenton is on the Delaware River.

Washington and his men were on the other side of the Delaware River from the Hessians. Washington's men were discouraged. They had been driven back all the way from Brooklyn. It was winter, and they had no warm houses to stay in. They had not even warm clothes. They were dressed in old clothes that people had given them. Some of them were barefooted in this cold weather.

The Hessians and other soldiers of the king were waiting for the river to freeze over. Then they would march across on the ice. They meant to fight Washington once more, and break up his army.

[62] But Washington was thinking about something too.

He was waiting for Christmas. He knew that the Hessian soldiers on the other side of the river would eat and drink a great deal on Christmas Day.


[Illustration]

Marching to Trenton

The afternoon of Christmas came. The Hessians were singing and drinking in Trenton. But Washington was marching up the river bank. Some of his barefoot men left blood marks on the snow as they marched.

The men and cannons were put into flat boats. These boats were pushed across the river with poles. There were many great pieces of ice in the river. But all night long the flat boats were pushed across and then back again for more men.

[63] It was three o'clock on the morning after Christmas when the last Americans crossed the river. It was hailing and snowing, and it was very cold. Two or three of the soldiers were frozen to death.

It was eight o'clock in the morning when Washington got to Trenton. The Hessians were sleeping soundly. The sound of the American drums waked them. They jumped out of their beds. They ran into the streets. They tried to fight the Americans.

But it was too late. Washington had already taken their cannons. His men were firing these at the Hessians. The Hessians ran into the fields to get away. But the Americans caught them.

The battle was soon over. Washington had taken nine hundred prisoners.

This was called the battle of Trenton. It gave great joy to all the Americans. It was Washington's Christmas gift to the country.

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Banyan Deer

[58]

T HERE was once a Deer the color of gold. His eyes were like round jewels, his horns were white as silver, his mouth was red like a flower, his hoofs were bright and hard. He had a large body and a fine tail.

He lived in a forest and was king of a herd of five hundred Banyan Deer. Near by lived another herd of Deer, called the Monkey Deer. They, too, had a king.

The king of that country was fond of hunting the Deer and eating deer meat. He did not like to go alone so he called the people of his town to go with him, day after day.

The townspeople did not like this for while they were gone no one did their work. So they decided to make a park and drive the Deer into it. Then the king could go into the park and hunt and they could go on with their daily work.

[59] They made a park, planted grass in it and provided water for the Deer, built a fence all around it and drove the Deer into it.

Then they shut the gate and went to the king to tell him that in the park near by he could find all the Deer he wanted.

The king went at once to look at the Deer. First he saw there the two Deer kings, and granted them their lives. Then he looked at their great herds.

Some days the king would go to hunt the Deer, sometimes his cook would go. As soon as any of the Deer saw them they would shake with fear and run. But when they had been hit once or twice they would drop down dead.

The King of the Banyan Deer sent for the King of the Monkey Deer and said, "Friend, many of the Deer are being killed. Many are wounded besides those who are killed. After this suppose one from my herd goes up to be killed one day, and the next day let one from your herd go up. Fewer Deer will be lost this way."


[Illustration]

The King of the Banyan Deer sent for the King of the Monkey Deer.

The Monkey Deer agreed. Each day the Deer whose turn it was would go and lie down, placing its [61] head on the block. The cook would come and carry off the one he found lying there.

One day the lot fell to a mother Deer who had a young baby. She went to her king and said, "O King of the Monkey Deer, let the turn pass me by until my baby is old enough to get along without me. Then I will go and put my head on the block."

But the king did not help her. He told her that if the lot had fallen to her she must die.

Then she went to the King of the Banyan Deer and asked him to save her.

"Go back to your herd. I will go in your place," said he.

The next day the cook found the King of the Banyan Deer lying with his head on the block. The cook went to the king, who came himself to find out about this.

"King of the Banyan Deer! did I not grant you your life? Why are you lying here?"

"O great King!" said the King of the Banyan Deer, "a mother came with her young baby and told me that the lot had fallen to her. I could not ask any one else to take her place, so I came myself."

[62] "King of the Banyan Deer! I never saw such kindness and mercy. Rise up. I grant your life and hers. Nor will I hunt any more the Deer in either park or forest."


[Illustration]

Rise up. I grant your life and hers.

 



Kate Greenaway

I Saw a Ship

I saw a ship that sailed the sea.

It left me as the sun went down.

The white birds flew and followed it

To town—to London town.


Right sad were we to stand alone

And see it pass away;

And yet we knew some ship would come—

Some other ship—some other day.