Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 18  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

The Saving of Hadley

[76] KING PHILIP'S War was raging. Hundreds of the people of New England had fallen victims to the fury of the savages. Whole villages had perished, their inhabitants being slain or carried away as captives. The country was in a state of terror, for Philip was a ruthless foe, and the war-whoop of his followers meant death by tomahawk or fire-brand.

The whites were ever on the lookout. The farmer took his gun with him to the fields, and listened always for the sound of alarm from his cabin. The churches were guarded like forts, and men prayed with musket in hand. By night the villages slept with a watch posted at every avenue of approach. Despite all this, the dusky savage glided upon his foe undetected, and generally left behind him a havoc of smoking ruins and dead bodies.

Hadley, Massachusetts, was a frontier town at this time, 1676. It was on the northwestern edge of white settlements, and beyond were the forests full of deadly Narragansetts. One day, in the midst of summer, the people were gathered at church, engaged in divine worship. The hour had [77] been set apart for fasting and prayer, that the land might be delivered from the scourge of warfare. As the people prayed, the men clutched their muskets and the women cowered in dread.

Precaution was well taken. In the midst of their devotions yells smote upon their ears. The Indians had crept through the bushes and, under cover of the forests, had passed the guards and were upon the people before they knew of their danger. The men ceased their prayers and grabbed their guns. Hurrying out, they found the foe in the streets of the village, filling the air with terrible cries of ferocious triumph.

Confusion and terror reigned among the inhabitants. On all sides the Indians were beginning their deadly work. The suddenness of the attack prevented the villagers from getting ready with their usual vigor, and it seemed that a panic would ensue, and everybody would be slain or captured. Hadley then would be one more of the towns wiped out by the Indians!

Just at the critical moment, a strange man appeared among them. He was tall and stately, with long white hair, and dressed in the old-fashioned style of England. His face glowed with determination, his manner gave confidence, and his voice inspired the people to resistance.

[78] "Here, get into line and order at once! The women and children must retire to the church! Come on, men, with me! Ready, march. He gave orders in a quick fashion, and the men, without question, obeyed at once. It seemed to them that God had sent an angel to deliver them from their trouble.

Inspired by the thought that God had answered the prayers which, only a short while before, they had offered up, and firm in the belief that an angel led them, they shouted with one voice, "Lead on! We follow to the last man." Their shout of determination matched the war cry of the Narragansetts themselves.

With remarkable vigor for an aged man, the stranger led the attack. The men of Hadley followed closely, and pressed vigorously upon the ranks of the Indians. Seeing the sudden vision of a white-haired figure in a strange dress, the Indians were dismayed, and began to waver.

"Make ready! Fire!" cried the leader, and raised his stick. The men of Hadley sent volley after volley into the terrified enemy, who turned and fled to the forest, pursued by the whites until they were completely out of sight. They then returned to the town to thank their savior who had led them successfully through this dreadful disaster.

[79] He was nowhere to be found. He had mysteriously disappeared—even as mysteriously as he had come, and from that time on no man in Hadley ever saw him again, except the minister himself, the only one in all the town who knew anything about him.

To solve the mystery we must go back to England, to 1649, the year in which Charles I. was executed. To his death-warrant there were signed the names of fifty-nine judges. After a number of years his son, Charles II., mounted the throne and swore he would behead everybody who had had anything to do with the murder of his father. As a result, many of the judges paid the death penalty.

We have only to do with two of them—Whalley and Goffe—who, when they saw the fate that awaited them in England, fled to America and landed in Boston about thirteen years before the incidents occurred which are the chief interest of this story. Here they hoped to live in peace. But word came that they were wanted in England, so they moved to New Haven to escape capture at the hands of the King's men. The King had sent royal messengers to America to find and arrest the regicides, as they were called. He was resolved to put them to death.

These messengers found nothing but trouble in [80] their path. The people, who knew Whalley and Goffe very well, would give no information whatsoever to the King's agents, but passed the two judges on from town to town, hiding them in cellars or attics, and even in caves in the woods, that they might escape. They lived for months, sometimes even years, in the houses of friends, and only a few people would know when they were in the village. At one time the royal pursuers passed over a bridge, while Whalley and Goffe were lying beneath it, only an arm's length from the horses' feet!

Once they dwelt in a cave, their food supplied by the people of a neighboring village, when the Indians found their retreat. The poor fugitives feared the savages would betray them, so they hastened to find a new place of shelter. They made their way to Hadley, aided by many friends and traveling only by night. Here they were received by the minister of the village and given a refuge in his house. For twelve years, they lived comfortably here, never venturing outside, their presence quite unsuspected by the villagers. It was not until the Indians attacked the village that one of them, Goffe, showed himself, and in the manner we have described!

After the attack was over, the mysterious leader [81] disappeared from view and from history. What became of him and his companion will forever remain one of the mysteries of the romantic period in our history when this country was very young.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Story of the Cowbird's Egg

[Illustration]

[73]

O N the edge of the forest next to the meadow, a pair of young Goldfinches were about to begin housekeeping. They were a handsome couple, and the birds who were already nesting near by were much pleased to see them tree-hunting there.

Mr. Goldfinch was a fine, cheerful little fellow, every feather of whose black and yellow coat was always well oiled [74] and lying in its proper place. His wife was dressed in a dull, greenish brown with a touch of yellow on her breast. "Bright yellow and black does very well for Mr. Goldfinch," she would say, "but for one who has to sit on the nest as long as I shall have to, it would never do. People would see me among the leaves and know just where to find my eggs."

Mr. Goldfinch thought that there was never a bird who had a prettier, dearer, or harder-working little wife than he, and he would wonder how he was ever happy before he knew her. That is a way that people have of forgetting the days that are past; and the truth is that Mr. Goldfinch had made fun of the Robins and other birds all spring, because they had to build nests and hunt worms for their babies, while he had nothing to do but sing and sleep and feed himself. In those days the Robins used to call after him as he flew away, [75] "Silly fellow! Silly fellow! Silly!" They knew that there is something sweeter in life than just taking good care of one's self.

One afternoon Mr. Goldfinch saw a tiny green-brown bird on a sweetbriar bush, and as he watched her he thought her the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. She had such a dainty way of picking out the seeds, and gave such graceful hops from one twig to another. Then Mr. Goldfinch fluffed up his feathers and swelled out his throat and sang her such songs as he had never sung before. He did not want her to speak to anybody else, and yet he could not help her doing so, for Goldfinches always go together in crowds until they have homes of their own, and at this time they were having concerts every morning. He showed her where the finest dandelion seeds could be found, and one bright and sunshiny day she became Mrs. Goldfinch, [76] and they went together to find a place for their home.

They began one nest and had it nearly done, when Mr. Goldfinch said it was not in a good place, and tore it all to pieces. Mrs. Goldfinch felt very badly about this and talked it over with some of her Goldfinch neighbors. They told her not to mind it at all, that their husbands often did the same thing, and that sometimes they came to like the new place much better than the old. At any rate, there was no use in getting cross about it, because that was something she would have to expect.

Mr. Goldfinch was sure that they had built too near the ground, and he had chosen a crotch above. Toward this he was dragging the bits of grape-vine and cedar-bark which were woven into their first nest. He said they could also use some of the grasses and mosses which they had gotten together, and he even [77] told his wife of some fine thistle-down which he could bring for the inside, where the eggs were to be laid. Mrs. Goldfinch watched him tugging with bill and both feet to loosen the bits of bark, and she said to herself: "Dear fellow! what a helper he is! I won't mind rebuilding if it makes him happy," and she went to work with a will.

When the sun went down in the west the next night the second nest was done, and it was the last thing at which the Goldfinches looked before tucking their heads under their wings and going to sleep. It was the first thing that they saw the next morning, too, and they hopped all around it and twittered with pride, and gave it little tweaks here and little pokes there before they flew away to get breakfast.

While they were gone, Mrs. Cowbird came walking over the grass and dry leaves to the foot of the tree. She wagged her [78] head at every step, and put on as many airs as though she were showily dressed, instead of wearing, as she always does, a robe of dull brownish gray. She had seen the Goldfinches fly away, and she was looking for their home. She was a lazy creature in spite of her stirring ways, and she wished to find a nice little nest in which to lay an egg. You know Cowbirds never think of building nests. They want all of their time to take care of themselves, which is a very foolish way of living; but then, you could never make a Cowbird think so!

"That nest is exactly right," said Mrs. Cowbird. "I will lay my egg there at once, and when Mrs. Goldfinch has laid hers she will have to hatch them all together and take care of my baby for me. What an easy way this is to bring up one's family! It is really no work at all! And I am sure that my children will get along well, because I am always careful to choose [79] the nests of small birds for them. Then they are larger and stronger than the other babies, and can get more than their share of food."

So she laid a big white egg with gray and brown spots on it in the Goldfinches' new home, and then she flew off to the Cowbird flock, as gay and careless as you please. When the Goldfinches came back, they saw the egg in their nest and called all their neighbors to talk it over. "What shall I ever do?" said Mrs. Goldfinch. "I wanted my nest for my own eggs, and I meant to lay them to-morrow. I suppose I shall have to sit on this one too, but it won't be at all comfortable."

"I wouldn't," said one of her neighbors, a Yellow Warbler. "I left my nest once when such a thing happened to me, and built a new one for my own eggs."

"Oh dear!" cried Mrs. Goldfinch, "we have built two already, and I cannot build another.

[80] "Well, whatever you do," said a Vireo, "don't hatch the big egg out with your own. I did once, and such a time as I had! The young Cowbird pushed two of my little Vireos out onto the ground, and ate so much that I was quite worn out by the work of hunting for him."

"My dear," said Mr. Goldfinch, "I have an excellent plan. We will put another floor in our nest, right over this egg, and then by adding a bit all around the sides we can have plenty of room for our own children. It will be much less work than beginning all over again, and then the Cowbird's egg will be too cool to hatch."

Everybody called this a most clever plan, and Mr. Goldfinch was very proud to have thought of it. They went to work once more, and it was not so very long before the new floor was done and the new walls raised. Then, oh, wonder of wonders! there were soon four tiny, pearly [81] eggs of their own lying on the thistle-down lining of the nest.

Mrs. Goldfinch had to stay very closely at home now, but her husband went off with his friends a great deal. He bathed and sang and preened his feathers and talked about his queer nest and his bright little wife, after the manner of Goldfinches everywhere.

His friends laughed at him for helping so much about the nest, for, you know, Goldfinches do not often help their wives about home. He cocked his handsome head on one side and answered: "My wife seemed to need me then. She is not so very strong. And I do not know what she would ever have done about the strange egg, if I had not been there to advise her."

When he got back to his home that night, Mrs. Goldfinch said: "I have been wondering why we did not roll the Cowbird's egg out on the ground, instead of going to all that trouble of building around it."

[82] And Mr. Goldfinch declared that he believed she was the only bird who had ever thought of such a thing. "It could have been done just as well as not," he said. "I must tell that to the other birds in the morning. How lucky I am to have such a bright wife! It would be dreadful if such a clever fellow as I had a dull mate!"

 



Anonymous

Cherries

Under the trees, the farmer said,

Smiling and shaking his wise old head:

"Cherries are ripe! but then, you know,

There's the grass to cut and the corn to hoe;

We can gather the cherries any day,

But when the sun shines we must make our hay;

To-night, when the work has all been done,

We'll muster the boys, for fruit and fun."


Up on the tree a robin said,

Perking and cocking his saucy head,

"Cherries are ripe! and so to-day

We'll gather them while you make the hay;

For we are the boys with no corn to hoe,

No cows to milk, and no grass to mow."

At night the farmer said: "Here's a trick

These roguish robins have had their pick."

 


  WEEK 18  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Hugh of Lincoln

Part 2 of 2

At his palace of Stow the Bishop found a new friend ready to welcome him, one of the kind of friends he specially loved. In the lake among the woods a wild swan had been seen to swoop down and take up its abode. It was so large and strong that it easily drove away or killed all the tame swans there, and then triumphantly beat the air with its great white wings over its new dominions, and cried aloud with a harsh shrill voice.

It seemed willing to be friendly with the servants, although it would allow no one to touch it, so with some difficulty it was enticed into the palace to be shown to the Lord-Bishop. Hugh, with his love for animals, soon made friends, and the swan came closer and closer, until it took some bread from his hand, and from that moment adopted him as a friend and master. It was frightened of nothing as long as Hugh was at hand, and it became so fiercely loving that no one dared come near the Bishop while the swan was on guard. Sometimes [170] when he was asleep, and it was needful for his servants to pass his bed to fetch something that was wanted, they dared not go near him, for the swan would spread its great snowy white wings in defence, looking like a very angry guardian angel, and if they came nearer, would threaten them with its strong beak. Harsh and disdainful to every one else, the curious creature was always gentle and loving towards Hugh, and would often nestle its head and long neck up his wide sleeve, and lay its head upon his breast, uttering soft little cries of pleasure. When the Bishop was away from home, the swan would never enter the palace, but even before his return was expected by others, there was a sound of a great beating of wings and strange cries from the lake among the woods.

"Now hark ye," the country people would say, "surely our Lord-Bishop is returning home. Dost thou not hear that strange bird preparing his welcome?"

No sooner did the luggage carts and servants begin to arrive than the swan would leave the lake and make its way with great long strides into the palace. The moment it heard its master's voice it ran to him, swelling its throat with great cries of welcome, and following at his heels wherever he went. Only at the end, when the Bishop's life was near its close and he came to Stow for the last time, his favourite had no welcome for him. Hiding itself among the reeds, it hung its head, and had all the ways of a sick creature. In some strange way it seemed to know that it was to lose its master, [171] and the shadow of his coming death seemed already to have fallen upon it.

People have wondered much at this curious friendship between Saint Hugh and the white swan, but they forget that for those of His servants who love and serve Him, God has said, "I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground."

Troubles soon began for the Bishop in his new life. He had a keen sense of justice, and could not bear to see the weak treated unfairly by the strong, and one of his first acts was to punish the King's own chief forester for oppressing the poor.

That was a bold act, but worse was to follow when the new Bishop refused to give a place in the cathedral stalls to one of the King's favourite courtiers.

"The stalls are for priests, and not for courtiers," was the message he sent to Henry. "The King has plenty of rewards for those who fight his battles. Let him not take their offices from those who serve the King of Kings."

Henry was both hurt and angry, and ordered that the Bishop should come at once to him at Woodstock.

"He is both ungrateful and troublesome," said the King. "I will speak with him myself."

It was a sunny summer day when Hugh arrived at Woodstock, and he was told that the King was awaiting his arrival in one of the cool forest glades. There, under the trees, upon the green sward among [172] a company of courtiers, sat the King in a leafy bower. The sunbeams filtered through the interwoven branches and threw patches of gold upon the green, while the birds in the boughs overhead sang in royal concert. But the song of the birds was the only sound that broke the stillness. The King and his courtiers sat sternly silent, and never a figure moved nor a word of welcome was spoken when the Bishop came through the trees.

"Good morrow, your Majesty," said Hugh.

There was no answer. Every one sat silent, and no one as much as glanced at the Bishop. At length the King looked up and asked one of the attendants for a needle and thread. He had hurt one of his fingers, and the rag around it was loose. Very solemnly he began to sew, stitch, stitch, stitch, in unbroken silence, while the sunbeams danced and the birds sang.

A smile at last dawned on Hugh's face, for he began to guess what the silence meant. He was surprised, but not in the least afraid. Going round to where the King sat, he put both hands on the shoulders of the man who was sitting next to Henry and gently moved him to one side. Then he sat down in the vacant place, and with a mirthful look in his eyes, watched the King as he sewed in gloomy silence.

"How like your Highness is to your kinsfolk of Falaise," said the Bishop thoughtfully.

The King tried to look dignified, then stopped his stitching, and burst out into a peal of laughter, rolling from side to side. The rest of the company [173] were much amazed, but as soon as the King could speak he explained the joke.

"Know you," he said, "what sort of an insult this strange fellow has offered to us? I will explain it to you. Our great ancestor Duke William, the conqueror of this land, was born of a mother of no very high extraction, who belonged to a town in Normandy, namely Falaise. This town is very celebrated for its skill in leather-stitching. When, then, this scoffer saw me stitching my finger, straightway he declared me to be like the tanners of Falaise, and one of their kinsmen."

The Bishop's fearlessness and the good joke put Henry in a better temper, and he listened quietly to what Hugh had to say.

"I know well, sire," said the Bishop earnestly, "that you took great pains to get me made a bishop, and I would in return do my best to prove your choice a wise one. I acted justly in these matters, and because my actions were right I felt sure you would approve them."

The King nodded his head, and once more the Bishop's faith in him met its reward. The forester was ordered to be flogged, and never again while Hugh was bishop did any courtier apply for a stall in the cathedral.

Many a time in after days did Hugh cross the royal will and fall under the King's displeasure, but he never swerved from the right, and faced the royal wrath so fearlessly, that in the end he earned for himself the title of the "Hammer of Kings."

All the clergy and the poor around loved their [174] Bishop. Every one in trouble, the poor and the sick, came to him for help, and no one ever came in vain. But perhaps it was the children whom he specially loved. To people who did not understand that love, it seemed almost like a miracle to see how children were drawn towards him. Little faces brightened into smiles when they saw him; little sun-browned hands caught at his cloak as he passed, happy only if they might touch his robe. Even the babies, meeting his smile, stretched out their arms to go to him. It seemed as if he possessed some secret talisman to win their hearts. A miraculous secret the wise people called it, but children knew it was no secret at all, but just the old miracle of love.

Perhaps the saddest of all God's creatures in those days were the poor lepers, who lived apart and were shunned by every one because of their terrible sickness. And just because they were so sad and suffering, the good Bishop loved to go to them and try to help and comfort them. Through the sunny world of light and laughter these poor lepers passed along like gaunt grey shadows, with the one dreadful cry upon their lips, "Unclean, unclean." Men and women drew back shuddering when the grey shadows passed by, warned by the harsh clang of the lepers' bell. Even children hid their faces in terror, and though some kind hearts would give them food and help, there was no kind hand that would venture to touch the leper.

But Hugh had no fear of the sickness and no horror of these poor souls. His Master's touch [175] had healed many such an one in days gone by, and he felt that in touching them he "touched the hand of Him who touched the leper of old in Galilee." Gently and lovingly the Bishop tended the poor outcasts. He fed and clothed them, washed their weary painful feet, and often stooping down, he kissed their poor scarred cheeks. Perhaps above all it was the human touch they longed for, and looking into his kind eyes, they would have some faint idea of the wondrous love which the lepers of old had seen in the pitying eyes of our dear Lord Himself.

"Surely this is too much," said his clergy, watching their Bishop with shuddering glances. "What good can it do? We know of course that Saint Martin, of blessed memory, healed the leper with his kiss, but the miracle does not happen now."

The Bishop only looked at them with a quiet smile.

"Martin by his kiss brought bodily health to the leper," he said, "but the leper by his kiss brings health to my soul."

It was men's bodies as well as their souls that Hugh cared for, and it vexed him sorely to see how carelessly the poor bodies were treated when the souls had gone home to God. No matter how busy he was, he would put everything aside to pay the last honours to the dead. Once, on his way to dine with the King, he found the body of a poor beggar lying by the wayside, and at once stopped to bury it. Messengers came to bid him come at once, as the King was furious at his delay, but [176] the Bishop went on calmly with his work and bade them tell the King he need not wait for him. "I am occupied in the service of the King of Kings," he said: "I cannot neglect it."

Very soon after King Henry's death, trouble arose between the Bishop and the new King Richard. He of the lion heart could not understand how one of his own subjects dare disobey his orders, and when the Bishop of Lincoln refused to make the clergy pay to provide soldiers for foreign service, he ordered him to come and explain his disobedience in person.

Hugh started at once for France, where the King awaited his coming near Rouen. Richard was in the chapel, seated upon his royal throne, and the service had begun when the Bishop arrived. But Hugh went straight up to him and demanded the usual kiss. Richard answered never a word, but turned coldly away.

"Give me the kiss, my lord King," said Hugh, seizing the royal mantle and giving it a hearty shake.

"You do not deserve the kiss," said the King in a surly tone.

"Nay, but I do," answered Hugh, and he gave the robe a stronger shake, drawing it out as far as it would reach. "Give me the kiss."

King Richard was not at all accustomed to being shaken and spoken to in that tone of voice, but there was something about the man that even kings could not resist, and the kiss was given. Then Hugh went to kneel humbly in the lowest [177] place in the chapel, until the service was over and he could explain why he had refused to send the money demanded of him. And not only did he convince the King of his justice, but he went on to calmly reprove Richard for some of his faults, and suggest many improvements in his behaviour. The King listened meekly, and was heard to say afterwards: "If all bishops were like my lord of Lincoln, not a prince among us could lift up his head against them."

Time passed on and Richard died. Then John, the false and mean, reigned over England, and many a warning word did he hear from the lips of the good Bishop. But Hugh was nearing the end of his journey now, and with a thankful heart he prepared to lay down his arms after his long warfare in the service of God.

In the house belonging to the see of Lincoln at the old Temple, the faithful soldier and servant lay awaiting the messenger of the King of Kings.

"Prepare some ashes," he directed, "and spread them on the bare ground, in the form of a cross, and lay me there to die."

The weary body, clad in the rough hair-shirt, was laid on the cross, and, as the grey shadows of twilight gathered in the quiet room, the strains of the evening hymn came floating through the open window.

"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace," chanted the choristers of Saint Paul's, and even as they sang, the prayer was answered. Only the worn-out body lay upon the cross of ashes; the [178] soul had indeed departed in peace, and the warfare of the faithful soldier was accomplished.

They carried the saint's body to Lincoln, and the whole countryside, rich and poor, high and low, came out to meet him, while King John and William of Scotland shared the honour of bearing him to his last resting-place.

"It may be observed," says the old chronicle, "that he who neglected kings to bury the dead, at his own burial was followed by kings."

The loving memory of Saint Hugh has faded and grown dim, perhaps, with passing years, but at Lincoln the great cathedral, which he helped to build with his own hands, speaks still in its strength and beauty of the bishop-saint, so strong in his steadfast courage, so beautiful in his tender love for the weak and helpless of the earth.

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

The Bremen Band

Part 2 of 2

[28]
      Donkey:     It is a long way to Bremen.
Let us sleep in the woods to-night.
I shall sleep under the tree.

[29]
           Dog:     I shall sleep under the tree, too.

          Cock:     I shall sleep on the branches, too.
Oh! I see a light in a house.

      Donkey:     Let us go to the house.

           Dog:     Yes, let us go to the house.

      Donkey:     I can see in the window.

          Cock:     What do you see, gray horse?

      Donkey:     What do I see?
I see a table, full of good food.
There are robbers at the table.

           Dog:     That shall be our supper.

           Cat:     Yes, that shall be our supper.
How can we get it?

[30]
          Cock:     We must drive the robbers away.
How can we do it?

      Donkey:     We can all sing,
     and the robbers will run away.
They want me for supper,
I can sing,
Hee-haw! hee-haw! hee-haw!

           Dog:     I can sing,
Bow-wow! bow-wow! bow-wow!

           Cat:     I can sing,
Mee-ow! mee-ow! mee-ow!

          Cock:     I can sing, Cock-a-doo-dle-do!
     cock-a-doo-dle-do!

      Donkey:     I will stand by the window.
Old dog, stand on my back.
Old Whiskers, get on the dog's back.
Red Cock, get on the cat's back.


[Illustration]

      Donkey:     Now, let us all sing together.
Ready, one, two, three.

[32]
             All:     Hee-haw! hee-haw! hee-haw!
Bow-wow! bow-wow! bow-wow!
Mee-ow! mee-ow! mee-ow!
Cock-a-doo-dle-do! cock-a-doo-dle-do!

      Robber:     Did you hear that noise?
It must be goblins.
Let us run away.

          Cock:     See the robbers run.
Come, let us eat their supper.

           Dog:     This is better than a bone.

          Cock:     We shall never be hungry again.

      Donkey:     I can eat no more.
Let us go to sleep.
I shall sleep under the tree.
Old dog, you sleep by the door.
Old Whiskers, you sleep by the fire.
Red Cock, you sleep on the roof.

      Robber:     It is all still now.
The goblins are gone.
Let us go back.

           Cat:     Spit, spit! I will scratch!

      Robber:     Let me out, let me out!
An old goblin is scratching me.

           Dog:     Bow-wow! I will bite!

      Robber:     A man has cut me with a knife.
Let me out! O, let me out!

      Donkey:     Hee-haw! I will kick!

      Robber:     A big goblin has struck me.

          Cock:     Cock-a-doo-dle-do! cock-a-doo-dle-do!

      Robber:     The judge on the roof says,
"Bring the robbers here."
Come, let us be off.

      Donkey:     We will not go to Bremen.
We will all live in this house.

          Cock:     Cock-a-doo-dle-do! cock-a-doo-dle-do!

— German Folk Tale

 



Anonymous

Grasshopper Green

Grasshopper Green is a comical chap;

He lives on the best of fare.

Bright little trousers, jacket and cap,

These are his summer wear.

Out in the meadow he loves to go,

Playing away in the sun;

Its hopperty, skipperty, high and low—

Summer's the time for fun.


Grasshopper Green has a dozen wee boys,

And soon as their legs grow strong

Each of them joins in his frolicsome joys,

Singing his merry song.

Under the hedge in a happy row

Soon as the day has begun

It's hopperty, skipperty, high and low—

Summer's the time for fun.


Grasshopper Green has a quaint little house.

It's under the hedge so gay.

Grandmother Spider, as still as a mouse,

Watches him over the way.

Gladly he's calling the children, I know,

Out in the beautiful sun;

It's hopperty, skipperty, high and low—

Summer's the time for fun.

 


  WEEK 18  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

The Story of Regulus

[82] ON the other side of the sea from Rome there was once a great city named Carthage. The Roman people were never very friendly to the people of Carthage, and at last a war began between them. For a long time it was hard to tell which would prove the stronger. First the Romans would gain a battle, and then the men of Car-thage would gain a battle; and so the war went on for many years.

Among the Romans there was a brave general named Regulus,—a man of whom it was said that he never broke his word. It so happened after a while, that Regulus was taken prisoner and carried to Carthage. Ill and very lonely, he dreamed of his wife and little children so far away beyond the sea; and he had but little hope of ever seeing them again. He loved his home dearly, but he believed that his first duty was to his country; and so he had left all, to fight in this cruel war.

He had lost a battle, it is true, and had been taken prisoner. Yet he knew that the Romans were gaining ground, and the people of Carthage were afraid of being beaten in the end. They had sent into other countries to hire soldiers to help [83] them; but even with these they would not be able to fight much longer against Rome.

One day some of the rulers of Carthage came to the prison to talk with Regulus.

"We should like to make peace with the Roman people," they said, "and we are sure, that, if your rulers at home knew how the war is going, they would be glad to make peace with us. We will set you free and let you go home, if you will agree to do as we say."

"What is that?" asked Regulus.

"In the first place," they said, "you must tell the Romans about the battles which you have lost, and you must make it plain to them that they have not gained anything by the war. In the second place, you must promise us, that, if they will not make peace, you will come back to your prison."

"Very well," said Regulus, "I promise you, that, if they will not make peace, I will come back to prison."

And so they let him go; for they knew that a great Roman would keep his word.

When he came to Rome, all the people greeted him gladly. His wife and children were very happy, for they thought that now they would not be parted again. The white-haired Fathers who [84] made the laws for the city came to see him. They asked him about the war.

"I was sent from Carthage to ask you to make peace," he said. "But it will not be wise to make peace. True, we have been beaten in a few battles, but our army is gaining ground every day. The people of Carthage are afraid, and well they may be. Keep on with the war a little while longer, and Carthage shall be yours. As for me, I have come to bid my wife and children and Rome farewell. To-morrow I will start back to Carthage and to prison; for I have promised."

Then the Fathers tried to persuade him to stay.

"Let us send another man in your place," they said.

"Shall a Roman not keep his word?" answered Regulus. "I am ill, and at the best have not long to live. I will go back, as I promised."

His wife and little children wept, and his sons begged him not to leave them again.

"I have given my word," said Regulus. "The rest will be taken care of."

Then he bade them good-by, and went bravely back to the prison and the cruel death which he expected.

This was the kind of courage that made Rome the greatest city in the world.

 



James Baldwin

Cornelia's Jewels

[85] IT was a bright morning in the old city of Rome many hundred years ago. In a vine-covered summer-house in a beautiful garden, two boys were standing. They were looking at their mother and her friend, who were walking among the flowers and trees.

"Did you ever see so handsome a lady as our mother's friend?" asked the younger boy, holding his tall brother's hand. "She looks like a queen."

"Yet she is not so beautiful as our mother," said the elder boy. "She has a fine dress, it is true; but her face is not noble and kind. It is our mother who is like a queen."

"That is true," said the other. "There is no woman in Rome so much like a queen as our own dear mother."

Soon Cornelia, their mother, came down the walk to speak with them. She was simply dressed in a plain white robe. Her arms and feet were bare, as was the custom in those days; and no rings nor chains glittered about her hands and neck. For her only crown, long braids of soft brown hair were coiled about her head; and a tender smile lit up her noble face as she looked into her sons' proud eyes.

[86] "Boys," she said, "I have something to tell you."

They bowed before her, as Roman lads were taught to do, and said, "What is it, mother?"

"You are to dine with us to-day, here in the garden; and then our friend is going to show us that wonderful casket of jewels of which you have heard so much."

The brothers looked shyly at their mother's friend. Was it possible that she had still other rings besides those on her fingers? Could she have other gems besides those which sparkled in the chains about her neck?

When the simple outdoor meal was over, a servant brought the casket from the house. The lady opened it. Ah, how those jewels dazzled the eyes of the wondering boys! There were ropes of pearls, white as milk, and smooth as satin; heaps of shining rubies, red as the glowing coals; sapphires as blue as the sky that summer day; and diamonds that flashed and sparkled like the sunlight.

The brothers looked long at the gems.

"Ah!" whispered the younger; "if our mother could only have such beautiful things!"

At last, however, the casket was closed and carried carefully away.

"Is it true, Cornelia, that you have no jewels?" [87] asked her friend. "Is it true, as I have heard it whispered, that you are poor?"

"No, I am not poor," answered Cornelia, and as she spoke she drew her two boys to her side; "for here are my jewels. They are worth more than all your gems."

I am sure that the boys never forgot their mother's pride and love and care; and in after years, when they had become great men in Rome, they often thought of this scene in the garden. And the world still likes to hear the story of Cornelia's jewels.

 



Lucy Fitch Perkins

The Feast

Part 1 of 2

I

[77]

T HE moment the sun had gone out of sight all the people in the village came pouring out of their tunnels on their way to the feast at Kesshoo's house.

Kesshoo's house was so small that it seemed as if all the people could not possibly get into it.

But the Eskimos are used to crowding into very small spaces, indeed. Sometimes a man and his wife and all his children will live in a space about the size of a big double bed.

First the Angakok came out of his igloo, looking fatter than ever. The Angakok always found plenty to eat somehow. Both his wives were thin. Their faces looked like baked apples all brown and wrinkled.


[Illustration]

[78] When they reached Kesshoo's house, the Angakok went into the tunnel first.

Now I can't tell you whether he had grown fatter during the five days, or whether the entrance had grown smaller, but this much I know: the Angakok got stuck! He couldn't get himself into the room no matter how much he tried! He squirmed and wriggled and twisted, until his face was very red and he looked as if he would burst, but there he stayed.

Other people had crawled into the tunnel after him. His two wives were just behind. Everybody got stuck, of course, because no one could move until the Angakok did. He was just like a cork in the neck of a bottle.

Kesshoo and Koolee and the twins and Nip and Tup were all in the igloo. When they saw the Angakok's face come through the hole they thought, of course, the rest of him would come too. But it didn't, and the Angakok was mad about it.

"Why don't they build igloos the way they used to?" he growled. "Every year [79] the tunnels get smaller and smaller! Am I to remain here forever?" he went on. "Why doesn't somebody help me?"

Kesshoo and Koolee seized him under his arms. They pulled and pulled. The two wives pushed him from behind.

"I-yi! I-yi!" screamed the Angakok. "You will scrape my skin off!"

He kicked out behind with his feet. His wives backed hastily, to get out of the way. That made them bump into Koko's mother who was just behind them. Her baby was in her hood, and when she backed, the baby's head was bumped on the roof of the tunnel.

The baby began to roar. In the tunnel it sounded like a clap of thunder. The wives of the Angakok and Koko's mother all began to talk at once, and with that and the baby's crying I suppose there never was a tunnel that held so much noise. It all came into the igloo, and it sounded quite frightful. The twins crept into the farthest corner of the sleeping bench and watched their father and mother and the [80] Angakok, with their eyes almost popping out of their heads.

Nip and Tup thought they would help a little, so they jumped off the bench; and barked at the Angakok. You see, they didn't know he was a great medicine man. They thought maybe he ought not to be there at all.


[Illustration]

Nip even snapped at the Angakok's ear!

That made the Angakok more angry than ever. He reached into the room, seized [81] Nip with one hand and flung him up on to the sleeping bench. Nip lit on top of Menie. Nip was very much surprised, and so was Menie.


[Illustration]

Now, whether the jerk he gave in throwing Nip did it or not, I cannot say, but at that instant Kesshoo and Koolee both gave a great pull in front. At the same moment the two wives gave a great push behind, and the next moment after that, there was the Angakok, still red, and still angry, sitting on the edge of the sleeping bench in the best place near the fire!

Then his two wives came crawling through. The Angakok looked at them as if he thought they had made him stick in the tunnel, and had done it on purpose, too. The wives scuttled up on to the sleeping bench, and got into the farthest corner of it as fast as they could.

The women and children always sat back on the bench at a feast.

When Koko's mother came in, the baby was still crying. She climbed up on to the bed with him, and Menie and Monnie showed [82] him the pups and that made the baby laugh again.

As fast as they came in, the women and children packed themselves away on the sleeping bench. The men sat along the edge of it with their feet on the floor.

II

The smell of food soon made everybody cheerful. When at last they were all crowded into the room, Koolee placed the [83] bear's head and other pans of meat on the floor.


[Illustration]

Then she crawled back on to the bench with the other women.

The Angakok was the first one to help himself. He reached down and took a large chunk of meat. He held it up to his mouth and took hold of the end with his teeth. Then he sawed off a huge mouthful with his knife.

It looked as if he would surely cut off the end of his nose too, but he didn't.

When the men had all helped themselves, pieces of meat were handed out to the women and children.

Soon they were all eating as if their lives depended on it. And now I think of it, their lives did depend on it, to be sure! I will not speak about their table manners. In fact, they hadn't any to speak of! They had nothing to eat with the meat—not even salt—but it was a great feast to them for all that, and they ate and ate until every scrap was gone.

The Angakok grew better-natured every [84] minute. By the time he had eaten all he could hold he was really quite happy and benevolent! He clasped his hands over his stomach and smiled on everybody.

The women chattered in their corner of the sleeping-bench, and Koolee showed Koko's mother the new fur suit trimmed with white rabbit's skin that she was making for Menie. And Koko's mother said she really must make one for Koko just like it.

The twins and Koko talked about a trap to catch hares which they meant to make as soon as the long days began again, and the baby went to sleep on a pile of furs in the corner. Menie fed the pups with some of his own meat, and gave them each a bone. Nip and Tup buried their bones under the baby and then went to sleep too.

 



Joy Allison

I Love You, Mother

"I love you, mother," said little John.

Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on,

And he was off to the garden swing,

And left her the water and wood to bring.


"I love you, mother," said rosy Nell—

"I love you more than tongue can tell."

But she teased and pouted full half the day

Till her mother was glad when she went to play.


"I love you, mother," said little Fan;

"To-day I'll help you all I can;

How glad I am that school doesn't keep."

So she rocked the baby till it fell asleep.


Then slipping softly she took the broom

And swept the floor and dusted the room.

Busy and happy all the day was she,

Helpful and cheerful as a child should be.


"I love you, mother," again they said,

Three little children going to bed.

How do you think that mother guessed

Which of them really loved her best?

 


  WEEK 18  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

Beowulf's Last Rest

[103] Then was the heart of Wiglaf sad when he saw upon the earth his dearest king lie still. His slayer, the frightful Fire-Dragon, lay there too. No more would he fly through the midnight air working deadly harm, no more would he guard his treasure. Beowulf had conquered him, but his victory was repaid in death.

Sorrowing, Wiglaf knelt beside his lord. He bathed his face with water, he called to him to awake. But it was of no avail. He could not, however much he longed, call back his king to earth. No prayers could turn back the doom which God the ruler had sent forth.

Now that the fight was over, it was not [104] long before the cowards, who during all the combat had forsaken their king and sheltered in the wood, came forth. Dastard faith breakers, ten of them together now came to the place where Wiglaf knelt beside his king. They durst not draw the sword to aid at this their liege lord's need. But now ashamed, they came bearing their shields, wearing their war-garments now that all need of them was past.

Then Wiglaf, sorrowful in soul, looked with anger at the cowards. No soft words had he for the craven-hearted crew.

"Lo," he cried, "he that would speak truth may well say that the liege lord who gave you these war-garments in which ye stand utterly castaway his gifts. Helmets and coats of mail he gave to those he deemed most worthy. But when war came upon him truly the king had little cause to boast of his warriors. Yet the [105] Lord of All, the Ruler of Victories, granted him valour so that he avenged himself alone with his sword. I could give him in the combat little protection and aid. Yet I undertook above my means to help my kinsman. Weak I am, yet when I struck with my sword the Dragon's fire flamed less fiercely. When I smote the destroyer, fire gushed less violently forth from him.

"Too few defenders thronged round their prince when need came. And now for you there shall be no more sharing of treasure, no more giving of swords, no more joy in your homes. Houseless and beggared shall ye wander when far and wide the nobles shall hear of your flight, of your base deed. Death is better for every warrior than a life of shame."

Then Wiglaf turned from the cowards in scorn. Up over the sea cliff a troop of warriors had sat all day from early morn [106] awaiting the return of their king. To them Wiglaf commanded that the issue of the fight should now be told.

So a messenger rode to the cliff. Loud he spake so that all might hear his baleful news. "Now is the kind Lord of the Goth folk fast on his deathbed. He resteth on his fatal couch through the Dragon's deed. By him lieth his deadly foe done to death with sword-wounds. Beside Beowulf, Wiglaf sits. One warrior over another lifeless holdeth sorrowful ward 'gainst friend or foe.

"Now may the people of the Danes expect a time of war. For as soon as the fall of the king be known among the Franks and Frisians they will make battle-ready. Yea, such is the deadly hate of men, that I ween from all around they will attack us when they shall learn our lord is lifeless. For he it was who [107] defended our land against the foe. He it was who kept safe both treasure and realm with his wisdom and valour.

"Now it were best that with all speed we brought the great king to the funeral pile. It is not meet that treasure of little value be buried with the bold king. For here lieth a house of treasure, of gold uncounted, sadly bought with his life's blood. These the fire must devour, the flame must enwrap. No warrior shall wear bracelet or collar for remembrance. No fair maiden shall deck her neck with the gold's sheen. Nay rather, sad of mood, with golden ornaments laid aside, often shall they tread a strange land now that our war leader has ceased from laughter, from sport, and from song of joy. No longer now shall sound of harp awaken the warriors; but the hand that held the sword shall lie cold. The dark raven [108] over the dead shall croak, he shall tell the eagle how he sped with his meal, while the wolf spoiled the carcasses of the slain."

Thus spake the bold warrior, bringer of evil tidings.

And now the troop all arose. Sadly and with welling tears they went under the cliff-ways to behold the fearful sight.

They found upon the sand, lifeless and soulless, him who before time had given them gifts. So was the end, and the good chief was gone. He in death heroic had perished.

There too they saw a more strange thing. Near the king lay the Dragon all loathly along the plain. Fifty feet long he lay scorched with his own fires, grim and ghastly to look upon. He who of old joyed to fly through the air in the night-time now lay fast in death. Never more would he fly through the air, never more [109] gloat in his cave. By him stood cups and vessels, dishes and precious swords, rusty and eaten away. They seemed as if they had lain a thousand years in the earth.

Then Wiglaf lifted up his voice and spake. "Often must a brave man endure sorrow for another, as it hath happened with us. We could in no wise hold our king back from this combat. The hoard here hath been dearly bought. I have been within and beheld all the treasures of the cave. As much as I could carry I bore out to my lord who was yet living. Then many things spake he, the wise king. He bade me greet you, prayed that ye would make a lofty cairn, great and glorious, upon the coast here, for he was a warrior most famous throughout all the earth. Come now, let us hasten a second time to see and seek the wonders within the cave. I will be your guide, and [110] ye shall see rings and piled gold such as ye have gazed upon never before.

"Let the bier be made ready against our return. Then let us bear our lord to the place where he shall long rest in the peace of the All-Powerful."

Then did Wiglaf send commandment to all those who possessed land, houses, and slaves, that they should bring wood for the pile for the funeral of the good king.

"Now," he said, "shall the flame devour, the wan fire and the flame shall grow strong, and shall destroy the prince of warriors. He who so often in the thickest of the fight awaited the storm of darts shall now depart hence for evermore."

Then having given commandment that the people should build the funeral pile, Wiglaf called seven of the best of the king's thanes to him. With them he went into the dark treasure-cavern.

[111] Before them marched a warrior bearing in his hand a flaming torch. And when they saw the treasure lying around, gold and jewels in countless numbers, the thanes marvelled greatly. Quickly they gathered of the hoard and carried it forth. A great wagon they loaded with twisted gold and all manner of precious stuffs, and brought it to the funeral pile.

As for the winged beast which lay dead upon the plain, they thrust it over the cliff into the sea below. There he sank, and the waves closed over the dead guardian of the treasure of which the cave was now all despoiled.

And now the aged warrior was laid upon a bier. Then with bowed heads and lagging steps his thanes bore him to the cliff where high above the sea the funeral pile was laid.

Roundabout it was hung with helmets [112] and with shields and with bright coats of mail. And in the midst was laid the great king, while the warriors mourned and wept for their beloved lord.

Then the funeral pyre was lit. Great flames sprang upward, dark clouds of smoke rolled up to the sky. The roar of the flame was mingled with the weeping of the Goth people, as with heavy hearts in woful mood they mourned the death of their liege lord.

Then a dirge of sorrow was sung by an aged dame in honour of Beowulf. Again and again she wailed forth her sore dread of evil days to come. Much blood-shed, shame, and captivity would come upon the land, she cried, now that its lord was dead.

And as she wailed the fire flamed and roared until the wood was all burned away. Then the great pyre sank together [113] in ashes: the body of the great king was all consumed in flame.

Then did the Goth people build a high cairn upon the hill where the fire had been. It was high and broad, and might be seen for many miles by the travellers upon the sea. For ten days they built up the beacon of the war-renowned, famous king. They surrounded it with a wall in the most honourable manner that wise men could devise. Within the cairn they placed the rings and bright jewels and all manner of precious ornaments which they had taken from the Dragon's hoard. And thus they left the great treasure to the earth to hold. Gold they laid in the dust, where it yet remains to men as useless as of old. Then round the cairn twelve war-chiefs slowly rode. And as they rode they spoke and sang of their king.

They praised his valour, they sang of [114] his manhood and his courtesy. Even so it is fitting that a man should praise his liege lord and love him.

Thus the Goth people wept for their fallen lord. His comrades said that he was of all the kings of the earth the best. Of men he was the mildest and the kindest, and to his people the gentlest. Of all rulers he was most worthy of praise.

Thus went the great king to his last rest.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

Mrs. Mourning Dove's Housekeeping

[Illustration]

[83]

S TRANGE as it may seem, there had never been any Mourning Doves in the forest until this year, and when a pair came there to live, the people were much excited. They talked about the Doves' song, so sweet and sad, and about their soft coats of brown and gray, and they wondered very much what kind of home they would build. Would it be a swinging pocket of hairs, strings, and down, like that of the Orioles? Would it be stout and heavy like the nests of the Robins? Or would [84] it be a ball of leaves and grasses on the ground, with a tiny doorway in one side, like that of the Ovenbird?

You can see that the forest people were really very much interested in the Mourning Doves, and so, perhaps, it is not strange that, when the new couple built their nest in the lower branches of a spruce tree, everybody watched it and talked about it.

"Really," said one of the Blackbirds, who had flown over from the swamp near by, "I never should think of calling that thing a nest! It is nothing but a few twigs and sticks laid together. It is just as flat as a maple-leaf, and what is to keep those poor little Doves from tumbling to the ground I can't see."

"I wouldn't worry about the little Doves yet," said a Warbler. "I don't think there will ever be any little Doves in that nest. The eggs will roll off of it long before they are ready to hatch, and [85] the nest will blow to pieces in the first storm we have."

"Well," said the Blackbird, as she started for home, "I shall want to know how the Mourning Doves get on. If any of you are over my way, stop and tell me the news."

Some days after this, a Quail, passing under the Doves' home, happened to look up and see two white eggs in the nest. It was so very thin that she could see them quite plainly through the openings between the twigs. Later in the day, she spoke of this to a Grouse, saying, "I came by the Mourning Doves' nest and saw two white eggs through the bottom."

After she went away, the Grouse said to a wild Rabbit: "The Quail told me that the Mourning Dove's eggs went right through the bottom of her nest, and I don't wonder. It wasn't strong enough to hold anything."

At sunset, the Rabbit had a short visit [86] with Mrs. Goldfinch, as she pulled a great thistle-head to pieces and made her supper from its seeds. He told her he had heard that the Mourning Dove's eggs had fallen through the bottom of the nest and broken on the ground, and Mrs. Goldfinch said: "Oh, that poor Mrs. Mourning Dove! I must go to see her in the morning." Then she fled home to her own four pearly treasures.

Now, of course the Rabbit was mistaken when he said anybody had told him that those two eggs were broken; just as much mistaken as the Grouse was when she said somebody had told her that the eggs had fallen. They both thought they were right, but they were careless listeners and careless talkers, and so each one had changed it a bit in the telling.

The next day it rained, and the next, and the next. Mrs. Goldfinch did not dare leave her nest to make calls, lest the cold raindrops should chill and hurt the [87] four tiny birds that lay curled up in their shells. At last the weather was warm and sunshiny, and Mrs. Goldfinch and some of her bird neighbors went to call on Mrs. Mourning Dove. They found her just coming from a wheat-field, where she had been to get grain. "Oh, you poor creature!" they cried. "We have heard all about it. Your poor babies! How sorry we are for you!"

Mrs. Mourning Dove looked from one to another as though she did not know what to make of it. "What do you mean?" she cooed. "My babies are well and doing finely. Won't you come to see them?"

Then it was the turn of the other birds to be surprised. "Why," they chirped, "we heard that your eggs had fallen through your nest and had broken and killed the tiny Dove babies inside. Is it true?"

"Not a word of it," answered Mrs. [88] Mourning Dove. "The nest is all right, and the eggs were not broken until my two little darlings broke them with their sharp beaks."

"Here they are," she added, fondly. "Did you ever see such pretty ones? See him open his bill, the dear! And did you ever see such a neck as she has? Mr. Mourning Dove thinks there never were such children."

"But do you feel perfectly safe to leave them in that nest?" asked the Oriole politely. "My babies are so restless that I should be afraid to trust them in it."

"That is what people always say," answered Mrs. Mourning Dove, with a happy coo, "and I fear that I am a rather poor housekeeper, but it runs in our family. Mr. Mourning Dove and I have raised many pairs of children, and they never rolled out, or tumbled through, or blew away, and I do not worry about [89] these. I shall never be thrifty like you good builders, perhaps, but I'm sure you cannot love your little ones any more than I do mine. It was very kind of you to be so sorry for me when you heard I was in trouble. I think I have the best neighbors in the world."

When her callers went away, they could not say enough about Mrs. Mourning Dove's pleasant ways, and her gentle, well-behaved children. "It is too bad she is such a poor nest-maker," the Vireo said, "and I understand now what she meant when she told me that they sometimes used old Robins' nests for their young. She said they flattened them out and added a few twigs, and that they did finely. I thought it very queer in them to do so, but perhaps if I had not been a good builder I should have done the same thing."

"Perhaps we all would," the others agreed. "She certainly is a very pleasant [90] bird, and she is bringing up her children well. Mr. Mourning Dove seems to think her perfect. We won't worry any more about her."

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

Minnie and Mattie

Minnie and Mattie

And fat little May,

Out in the country,

Spending a day.


Such a bright day,

With the sun glowing,

And the trees half in leaf,

And the grass growing.


Pinky-white pigling

Squeals through his snout,

Woolly-white lambkin

Frisks all about.


Cluck! Cluck! the mother hen

Summons her folk—

Ducklings all downy soft,

Yellow as yolk.


Cluck! Cluck! the mother hen

Summons her chickens

To peck the dainty bits

Found in her pickings.


Minnie and Mattie

And May carry posies,

Half of sweet violets,

Half of primroses.


Give the sun time enough,

Glowing and glowing,

He'll rouse the roses

And bring them blowing.


Don't wait for roses,

Losing to-day,

O Minnie, O Mattie

And wise little May.


Violets and primroses

Blossom to-day,

For Minnie and Mattie

And fat little May.

 


  WEEK 18  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

Decatur and the Pirates

NEARLY a hundred years have passed since the ship "Philadelphia" was burned. But the brave sailors who did it will never be forgotten.

The people of Tripoli in Africa were pirates. They took the ships of other nations at sea. They [84] made slaves of their prisoners. The friends of these slaves sometimes sent money to buy their freedom. Some countries paid money to these pirates to let their ships go safe.

Our country had trouble with the pirates. This trouble brought on a war. Our ships were sent to fight against Tripoli.

One of the ships fighting against the pirates was called the "Philadelphia." One day she was chasing a ship of Tripoli. The "Philadelphia" ran on the rocks. The sailors could not get her off. The pirates came and fought her as she lay on the rocks. They took her men prisoners. Then they went to work to get her off. After a long time they got her into deep water. They took her to Tripoli. Our ships could not go there after her, because there were so many great cannons on the shore near the ship.

The pirates got the "Philadelphia" ready to go to sea. They loaded her cannons. They meant to slip out past our ships of war. Then they would take a great many smaller American ships.

But the Americans laid a plan to burn the "Philadelphia." It was a very dangerous thing to try to do. The pirates had ships of war near the "Philadelphia." They had great guns on the shore. There was no way to do it in the day-time. It [85] could only be done by stealing into the Bay of Tripoli at night.

The Americans had taken a little vessel from the pirates. She was of the kind that is called a ketch. She had sails. She also had long oars. When there was no wind to sail with, the sailors could row her with the oars.

This little ketch was sent one night to burn the "Philadelphia." The captain of this boat was Stephen Decatur. He was a young man, and very brave.

Decatur made his men lie down, so that the pirates would not know how many men he had on his ketch. Only about ten men were in sight. The rest were lying hidden on the boat.

They came near to the "Philadelphia." It was about ten o'clock at night. The pirates called to them. The pilot of the ketch told them that he was from Mal-ta. He told them that he had come to sell things to the people of Tripoli. He said that the ketch had lost her anchor. He asked them to let him tie her to the big ship till morning.

The pirates sent out a rope to them. But when the ketch came nearer, the pirates saw that they had been fooled. They cried out, "Americans, Americans!"

Then the Americans lying down took hold of [86] the rope and pulled with all their might, and drew the ketch close to the ship. They were so close, that the ship's cannons were over their heads. The pirates could not fire at them.

The men who had been lying still now rose up. There were eighty of them. In a minute they were scram-bling up the sides of the big ship. Some went in one way, some another. They did not shoot. They fought with swords and pikes, or short spears.

Soon they drove the pirates to one side of the ship. Then they could hear the pirates jumping over into the water. In a few minutes the pirates had all gone.

But the Americans could not stay long. They must burn the ship before the pirates on the shore should find out what they were doing.

They had brought a lot of kin-dling on the ketch. They built fires in all parts of the ship. The fire ran so fast, that some of the men had trouble to get off the ship.

When the Americans got back on the ketch, they could not untie the rope that held the ketch to the ship. The big ship was bursting into flames. The ketch would soon take fire.

They took swords and hacked the big rope in two. Then they pushed hard to get away from [87] the fire. The ketch began to move. The sailors took the large oars and rowed. They were soon safe from the fire.

All this they had done without any noise. But, now that they had got away, they looked back. The fire was shooting up toward the sky. The men stopped rowing, and they gave three cheers. They were so glad, that they could not help it.

By this time the pirates on shore had waked up. They began to fire great cannon balls at the little ketch. One of the balls went through her sails. Ah! how the sailors rowed!

The whole sky was now lighted up by the fire. The pirates' cannons were thundering. The cannon balls were splashing the water all round the ketch. But the Americans got away. At last they were safe in their own ships.

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

Why the Owl Is Not King of the Birds

[90]

W HY is it that Crows torment the Owls as they sleep in the daytime? For the same reason that the Owls try to kill the Crows while they sleep at night.

Listen to a tale of long ago and then you will see why.

Once upon a time, the people who lived together when the world was young took a certain man for their king. The four-footed animals also took one of their number for their king. The fish in the ocean chose a king to rule over them. Then the birds gathered together on a great flat rock, crying:

"Among men there is a king, and among the beasts, and the fish have one, too; but we birds have none. We ought to have a king. Let us choose one now."

And so the birds talked the matter over and at last they all said, "Let us have the Owl for our king."


[Illustration]

"See how sour he looks right now."

[91] No, not all, for one old Crow rose up and said, "For my part, I don't want the Owl to be our king. Look at him now while you are all crying that you want him for your king. See how sour he looks right now. If that's the cross look he wears when he is happy, how will he look when he is angry? I, for one, want no such sour-looking king!"

Then the Crow flew up into the air crying, "I don't [92] like it! I don't like it!" The Owl rose and followed him. From that time on the Crows and the Owls have been enemies. The birds chose a Turtle Dove to be their king, and then flew to their homes.

 



Anonymous

Dame Duck's First Lecture on Education

Old Mother Duck has hatched a brood

Of ducklings, small and callow;

Their little wings are short, their down

Is mottled gray and yellow.


There is a quiet little stream,

That runs into the moat,

Where tall green sedges spread their leaves,

And water lilies float.


Close by the margin of the brook

The old duck made her nest,

Of straw, and leaves, and withered grass,

And down from her own breast.


And then she sat for four long weeks

In rainy days and fine,

Until the ducklings all came out—

Four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.


One peeped out from beneath her wing,

One scrambled on her back;

"That's very rude," said old Dame Duck,

"Get off! quack, quack, quack, quack!"


" 'Tis close," said Dame Duck, shoving out

The eggshells with her bill;

"Besides, it never suits young ducks

To keep them sitting still."


So, rising from her nest, she said,

"Now, children, look at me;

A well-bred duck should waddle so,

From side to side—d' ye see?"


"Yes," said the little ones, and then

She went on to explain:

"A well-bred duck turns in its toes

As I do—try again."


"Yes," said the ducklings, waddling on:

"That's better," said their mother;

"But well-bred ducks walk in a row,

Straight—one behind another."


"Yes," said the little ducks again,

All waddling in a row:

"Now to the pond," said old Dame Duck—

Splash, splash, and in they go.


"Let me swim first," said old Dame Duck,

"To this side, now to that;

There, snap at those great brown-winged flies,

They make young ducklings fat.


"Now when you reach the poultry yard,

The hen-wife, Molly Head,

Will feed you, with the other fowls,

On bran and mashed-up bread.


"The hens will peck and fight, but mind,

I hope that all of you

Will gobble up the food as fast

As well-bred ducks should do.


"You'd better get into the dish,

Unless it is too small;

In that case, I should use my foot,

And overturn it all."


The ducklings did as they were bid,

And found the plan so good,

That, from that day, the other fowls

Got hardly any food.