WEEK 20 |
DURING the time of King William's War, there lived, near Haverhill, Massachusetts, a man named Thomas Dustin, and his wife, Hannah. They had built a home, and had a small family of children, among whom was a little baby. One day, Mr. Dustin left his wife and baby in the house, and, with his other children, was cutting wood some distance away. Possibly he was clearing ground for the planting of a new crop, for it was early spring, and the weather was good.
The Indians had not been giving them much trouble of late, and Mr. Dustin did not think it dangerous to leave his wife and baby with the nurse for a while. But, alas, the Indians were watching him, and, at a favorable moment, burst from the forest near by, rushed upon the house, slew the little baby and carried Mrs. Dustin and the nurse off into the woods!
Mr. Dustin heard the awful yells of the savages, and flew to the rescue of his wife and child. But it was too late! The party had been swallowed up in the forest, and, as the Indians leave no trail, the heart-broken man gave his loved ones up for lost.
For fifteen days the Indians forced Mrs. Dustin and the nurse to trudge with them through the forest. There was still some snow and ice in places, and neither woman was clad for such a journey. In fact, Mrs. Dustin had but one shoe, and traveled over a hundred miles, thus partly barefoot. They endured great hardships by day, and, at night, were so closely guarded by two Indians that there was no chance of escape. At last, they came to a place, now known as Dustin Island, where they found other white captives,—two men, one woman, and seven children. There was also a young boy, who had been held for over a year.
Mrs. Dustin gathered from what the Indians said that it was their intention to make their prisoners "run the gauntlet," when they reached their final destination. By "running the gauntlet" was meant that a prisoner was stripped to the waist and made to run between two files of Indians who beat him with clubs and sticks. He was indeed fortunate if he reached the end of the file alive.
For fifteen days the Indians required Mrs. Dustin and the nurse to trudge with them through the woods.
For many days the party rested where they were, presumably waiting for more prisoners. Mrs. Dustin talked with the other captives, made friends with the Indians, and showed no suspicion of her designs, in order to throw them off their guard, if it could be done. She told the boy to do likewise; and he won the favor of a Chief, who explained to him how to scalp an enemy.
Mrs. Dustin now began to plan some definite way of escape. Five weeks had passed, and, at her suggestion, the prisoners showed no signs of trying to get away. In fact, they talked to the Indians as if they would like to be adopted into the tribe, and live a savage life. Mrs. Dustin succeeded in getting a little corn every day and hiding it, and she finally found out from the Indians exactly where they were, and in what direction lay the white settlements. In the meantime, she and the nurse had also learned how to scalp, and several sharp knives had been secured by them and hidden away.
At last a time came when the Indians no longer kept guard. They all slept, and sometimes their sleep was very deep. Mrs. Dustin often arose and went among the braves, to see how wakeful they were to sounds. But they slept as if no one was near. Then one night arrived, after a hard hunt, when the Indians were so tired and had feasted so fully that they had fallen into a very deep sleep indeed.
It was dark, and all around was still. Mrs. Dustin gently shook the boy and the nurse, who arose with tomahawks and knives in hand. Each selected three Indians, and Mrs. Dustin took four. Slowly they crept, by the dim light of the camp fire, close to the sleeping savages. Knife after knife descended with unerring aim, and the tomahawk struck its deadly blow quickly and surely, until ten Indians lay dead. Not a soul was left of them, except one old Indian woman and a boy of eleven, who escaped in the dark.
Mrs. Dustin and her companions freshly lighted the fire, and by the glow scalped all the dead Indians. Then they made their way to the canoes on the shore, and, scuttling the boats except those they needed, they took the guns, ammunition and food belonging to the Indians, as well as the food they had hidden, and started down the river.
Day after day they paddled, pausing at night to rest. Cautiously they built small fires to cook their much-needed food. While they slept, one was always left awake and on guard. After a while, the party reached home, and there was great rejoicing, for they had long since been given up as dead.
The General Assembly of Massachusetts voted Mrs. Dustin a large sum of money, and the Governor of Maryland sent her a silver tankard which, to this very day, is preserved with much pride by her descendants.
S EVEN little Rabbits lay on their nest at the end of the burrow, and wriggled and squirmed and pushed their soft noses against each other all day long. Life was very easy for them, and they were contented. The first thing that they remembered was lying on their bed of fur, hay, and dried leaves, and feeling a great, warm, soft Something close beside them. After a while they learned that this Something was their Mamma Rabbit. It was she who had gotten the nest ready for them and lined it with fur that she tore from her own breast. She didn't care so much about looking beautiful as she did about making her babies comfortable.
It was their Mamma Rabbit, too, who fed them with warm milk from her own body until they should be old enough to go out of the burrow. Then they would nibble bark and tender young shoots from the roots of the trees, and all the fresh, green, growing things that Rabbits like. She used to tell them about this food, and they wondered and wondered how it would taste. They began to feel very big and strong now. The soft fur was growing on their naked little bodies and covering even the soles of their feet. It was growing inside their cheeks, too, and that made them feel important, for Papa Rabbit said that he did not know any other animals that had fur inside their cheeks. He said it was something to be very proud of, so they were very proud, although why one should want fur inside of one's cheeks it would be hard to say.
What tangles they did get into! Each little Rabbit had
four legs, two short ones in front, and two long ones
behind to help him take long jumps from one place to
another. So, you see, there were
"It is a great deal of work to pick up after children," she would say with a tired little sigh, "but it will not be long before they have homes of their own and are doing the same thing."
Mamma Rabbit was quite right when she said that, for all of their people set up housekeeping when very young, and then the cares of life begin.
One fine morning when the children were alone in their burrow, the biggest little Rabbit had a queer feeling in his face, below and in front of his long ears, and above his eager little nose. It almost scared him at first, for he had never before felt anything at all like it. Then he guessed what it meant. There were two bunchy places on his face, that Mamma Rabbit had told him were eyes. "When you are older," she had said to him, "these eyes will open, and then you will see." For the Rabbit children are always blind when they are babies.
When his mother told him that, the biggest little Rabbit had said, "What do you mean when you say I shall 'see'? Is it anything like eating?"
And Mamma Rabbit said, "No, you cannot taste things until you touch them, but you can see them when they are far away."
"Then it is like smelling," said the biggest little Rabbit.
"No, it is not like smelling, either, for there are many things, like stones, which one cannot smell and yet can see."
"Then it surely is like hearing," said the biggest little Rabbit.
"Oh dear!" exclaimed his mother, who was tired of having questions asked which could not be answered. "It is not a bit like hearing. You could never hear a black cloud coming across the sky, but you could see it if you were outside your burrow. Nobody can make you understand what seeing is until your eyes are open, and then you will find out for yourself without asking."
This made the biggest little Rabbit lie still for
a while, and then he said: "What is a black cloud, and
why does it come across the sky? And what is the sky,
and why does it let the cloud come? And what
And now his eyes were surely opening and he should see! His tiny heart thumped hard with excitement, and he rubbed his face with his forepaws to make his eyes open faster. Ah! There it was; something round and bright at the other end of the burrow, and some queer, slender things were waving across it. He wondered if it were good to eat, but he dared not crawl toward it to see. He did not know that the round, bright thing was just a bit of sky which he saw through the end of the burrow, and that the slender, waving ones were the branches of a dead tree tossing in the wind. Then he looked at his brothers and sisters as they lay behind him. He would not have known what they were if he had not felt of them at the same time.
"I can see!" he cried. "I can see everything that there is to see! I'm ahead of you! Don't you wish that you could see, too?"
That was not a very kind thing to say, but in a minute more his brothers and sisters had reason to be glad that they couldn't see. Even while he was speaking and looking toward the light, he saw a brown head with two round eyes look in at him, and then a great creature that he thought must surely be a dog ran in toward him. How frightened he was then! He pushed his nose in among his blind brothers and sisters and tried to hide himself among them. He thought something dreadful was about to happen.
"I wish Mamma Rabbit would come," he squeaked, shutting his eyes as closely as he could. "I wish Mamma Rabbit would come."
"Why, here I am," she answered. "What are you afraid of?"
The biggest little Rabbit opened his eyes, and there was the creature who had frightened him so, and it was his own mother! You can imagine how glad she was to see that one of her children had his eyes open.
"I will call in some of my Rabbit friends," she said, "and let you see them, if you will promise not to be afraid."
The next day four of the other little Rabbits had their eyes open, and the day after that they all could see each other and the shining piece of sky at the end of the burrow. It was not so very long afterward that the Rabbit family went out to dine in the forest, and this was the first time that the children had seen their father. Often when their mother left them alone in the burrow she had pulled grass and leaves over the opening to hide it from him, for Rabbit fathers do not love their children until they are old enough to go out into the great world, and it would never do for them to know where their babies are kept. Then their father taught them how to gnaw tough bark to wear their teeth down, for Rabbits' teeth grow all the time, and if they were to eat only soft food, their teeth would get too long. He taught them, too, how to move their ears in the right way for keen hearing, and told them that when chased they must run for the burrow or the nearest thicket. "Then crouch down on some leaves that are the color of your fur," he said, "and you may not be seen at all."
"Why should we run?" said the biggest little Rabbit.
"Because you might be caught if you didn't."
"What might catch us?" asked the biggest little Rabbit.
"Oh, a Hawk, perhaps, or a Weasel."
"What does a Hawk look like?"
"Like a great bird floating in the sky," said Papa Rabbit. "Now, don't ask me a single question more."
"Does a Hawk look like that bird above us?" asked the biggest little Rabbit.
His father gave one look upward. "Yes!" he said. "Run!"
And just as the Hawk swooped down toward the ground, he
A kitten once to its mother said,
"I'll never more be good,
But I'll go and be a robber bold
And live in a dreary wood,
Wood, wood, wood,
And live in a dreary wood."
So off he went to a dreary wood,
And there he met a cock,
And blew his head with a pistol off,
Which gave him an awful shock,
Shock, shock, shock,
Which gave him an awful shock.
Soon after that he met a cat.
"Now give to me your purse
Or I'll shoot you through and stab you, too,
And kill you—which is worse,
Worse, worse, worse,
And kill you—which is worse."
At last he met a robber dog
And they sat down to drink;
The dog did joke and laugh and sing,
Which made the kitten wink,
Wink, wink, wink,
Which made the kitten wink.
At last they quarreled, then they fought
Beneath the greenwood tree,
And puss was felled with an awful club
Most terrible to see,
See, see, see,
Most terrible to see.
When puss got up his eye was cut
And swelled, and black and blue;
Moreover all his bones were sore,
Which made this kitten mew,
Mew, mew, mew.
Which made this kitten mew.
So up he got and rubbed his head,
And went home very sad.
"O mother dear, behold me here;
I'll never more be bad,
Bad, bad, bad,
I'll nevermore be bad."
WEEK 20 |
But all this while the Prince Conon waited with no little impatience for news of Ursula. He had been baptized and joined the Christian faith, he had sent the companions she desired, and now he waited for her to fulfil her promise.
And ere long a letter reached him, written round and fair in the princess's own handwriting, telling him that as he had so well fulfilled her conditions, and was now her own true knight, she gave him permission to come to her father's court, that they might meet and learn to know each other.
It was but little time that Prince Conon lost before he set sail for Brittany. The great warships made a prosperous voyage over the sea that parted the two countries, and came sailing majestically into the harbour of Brittany, where the people had gathered in crowds to see the young prince who had come to woo their fair princess.
From every window gay carpets were hung, and the town was all in holiday, as Ursula stood on the landing-place, the first to greet the prince as he stepped ashore, and all that Conon had heard of her seemed as nothing compared to the reality, as she stood before him in her great beauty and welcomed him with gentle courtesy. And he grew to love her so truly that he was willing to do in all things as she wished, though he longed for the three years to be over that he might carry her off to England and make her his queen.
But Ursula told the prince of the vision that had come to her in her dream, when the angel had said she must first go through much suffering, and visit the shrines of saints in distant lands. And she told him she could not be happy unless he granted her these three years in which to serve God, and begged him meanwhile to stay with her father and comfort him while she was gone.
So Ursula set out with her eleven thousand maidens, and the city was left very desolate and forlorn. But the pilgrims were happy as they sailed away over the sea, for they were doing the angel's bidding, and they feared nothing, for they trusted that God would protect and help them.
At first the winds were contrary and they were driven far out of their course, so that instead of arriving at Rome, which was the place they had meant to go to, they were obliged to land at a city called Cologne, where the barbarous Germans lived. Here, while they were resting for a little, another dream was sent to Ursula, and the angel told her that in this very place, on their return, she and all her maidens would suffer death and win their heavenly crowns. This did not affright the princess and her companions, but rather made them rejoice, that they should be found worthy to die for their faith.
So they sailed on up the River Rhine till they could go no further, and they landed at the town of Basle, determined to do the rest of their pilgrimage on foot.
It was a long and tedious journey over the mountains to Italy, and the tender feet of these pilgrims might have found it impossible to climb the rough road had not God sent six angels to help them on their way, to smooth over the rough places, and to help them in all dangers so that no harm could befall them.
First they journeyed past the great lakes where the snow-capped mountains towered in their white glory, then up the mountain-road, ever higher and higher, where the glaciers threatened to sweep down upon them, and the path was crossed by fierce mountain-torrents. But before long they began to descend the further side; and the snow melted in patches and the green grass appeared. Then followed stretches of flowery meadow-land, where the soft southern air whispered to them of the land of sunshine, fruit, and flowers.
Lower down came the little sun-baked Italian villages, and the simple, kindly people who were eager to help the company of maidens in every way, and gazed upon them with reverence when they knew they were on a pilgrimage to Rome.
Thus the pilgrims went onward until at length they came to the River Tiber and entered the city of Rome, where were the shrines of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
Now the Bishop of Rome, whom men call the Pope, was much troubled when it was told him that a company of eleven thousand fair women had entered his city. He could not understand what it might mean, and was inclined to fear it might be a temptation of the evil one. So he went out to meet them, taking with him all his clergy in a great procession, chanting their hymns as they went.
And soon the two processions met, and what was the amazement and joy of the Pope when a beautiful maiden came and knelt before him and asked for his blessing, telling him why she and her companions had come to Rome.
"Most willingly do I give thee my blessing," answered the old man, "and bid thee and thy companions welcome to my city. My servants shall put up tents for you all in some quiet spot, and ye shall have the best that Rome can afford."
So the maidens rested there in quiet happiness, thankful to have come to the end of their pilgrimage and to have reached the shrines of God's great saints. But to Ursula an added joy was sent which made her happiness complete.
For the prince, whom she had left behind, grew impatient of her long absence, and the longing for his princess grew so strong he felt that he could not stay quietly at home not knowing where she was nor what had befallen her. So he had set out, and, journeying by a different route, had arrived in Rome the same day as Ursula and her maidens were received by the good bishop.
It is easy to picture the delight of Conon and Ursula when they met together again, and knelt hand in hand to receive the Pope's blessing. And when Ursula told him all that had happened and of the angels whom God had sent to guide and protect them, the only desire the prince had was to share her pilgrimage and be near her when danger threatened. And his purpose only became stronger when she told him of the vision she had had in the city of Cologne.
"How can I leave thee, my princess," he asked, "when I have but now found thee? Life holds no pleasure when thou art absent. The days are grey and sunless without the sunshine of thy presence. Bid me come with thee and share thy dangers, and if it be, as thou sayest, that it is God's will that thou and all these maidens shall pass through suffering and death for His sake, then let me too win the heavenly crown that we may praise God together in that country where sorrow and separation can touch us no more."
And Ursula was glad to think that, through love of her, the prince should be led to love God, and so granted his request and bade her companions prepare to set out once more.
The Pope would fain have persuaded them to stop longer in Rome, but Ursula told him of her vision, and how it was time to return as the dream had warned her. Then the Pope and his clergy made up their minds to join the pilgrimage also, that they too might honour God by a martyr's death.
Now there were in Rome at that time two great Roman captains who were cruel heathens, and who looked upon this pilgrimage with alarm and anger. They commanded all the imperial troops in the northern country of Germany; and when they heard that Ursula and her maidens were bound for Cologne they were filled with dismay and wrath. For they said to each other:
"If so many good and beautiful women should reach that heathen land the men there will be captivated by their beauty and wish to marry them. Then, of course, they will all become Christians, and the whole nation will be won over to this new religion."
"We cannot suffer this," was the answer. "Come, let us think of some way to prevent so great a misfortune that would destroy all our power in Germany."
So these two wicked heathen captains agreed to send a letter to the king of the Huns, a fierce savage, who was just then besieging Cologne. In it they told him that thousands of fair women in a great company were on their way to help the city, and if they were allowed to enter all chances of victory for his army would vanish. There was but one thing to be done and that was to kill the entire band of maidens the moment they arrived.
Meanwhile Ursula and her companions had set sail for Cologne, and with them were now Prince Conon and his knights and the Pope with many bishops and cardinals. And after many days of danger and adventure the pilgrims arrived at the city of Cologne.
The army of barbarians who were encamped before the city was amazed to see such a strange company landing from the ships. For first there came the eleven thousand maidens, then a company of young unarmed knights, then a procession of old men richly robed and bearing no weapons of any kind.
For a moment the savage soldiers stood still in amazement, but then, remembering the orders they had received in the letter from the Roman captains, they rushed upon the defenceless strangers and began to slay them without mercy. Prince Conon was the first to fall, pierced by an arrow, at the feet of his princess. Then the knights were slain and the Pope with all his clergy.
Again the savage soldiers paused, and then like a pack of wolves they fell upon the gentle maidens, and these spotless white lambs were slain by thousands.
And in their midst, brave and fearless, was the Princess Ursula, speaking cheerful words of comfort to the dying and bidding one and all rejoice and look forward to the happy meeting in the heavenly country. So great was her beauty and courage that even those wicked soldiers dared not touch her, and at last, when their savage work was done, they took her before their prince that he might decide her fate.
Never before had Ursula's beauty shone forth more wonderfully than it did that day when she stood among these savage men and gazed with steadfast eyes upon the prince, as one might look upon a wild beast.
The prince was amazed and enchanted, for he had never seen so lovely a maid in his life before, and he motioned to the soldiers to bring Ursula nearer to him.
"Do not weep, fair maiden," he said, trying to speak in his gentlest voice, "for though you have lost all your companions you will not be alone. I will be your husband, and you shall be the greatest queen in Germany."
Then most proudly did Ursula draw herself up, and her clear eyes shone with scorn as she answered:
"Does it indeed seem to thee as though I wept? And canst thou believe that I would live when all my dear ones have been slain by thee, thou cruel coward, slayer of defenceless women and unarmed men?"
And when the proud prince heard these scornful words he fell into a furious rage, and, bending the bow that was in his hand, he shot three arrows through the heart of Princess Ursula and killed her instantly.
So the pure soul went to join the companions of her pilgrimage and to receive the crown of life which the angel of her dream had promised her, and for which she had laid down her earthly crown as gladly as when in her peaceful home she laid it aside before she went to rest.
A long time ago there was an old man
and an old woman.
They were very poor.
The old man worked in the field.
And the old woman spun flax.
One day the old woman said,
"Daddy, make me a straw ox,
and smear it with tar."
"What is the good of a straw ox?"
said the old man.
"Please make me a straw ox,"
said the old woman.
So the old man made the straw ox,
and he smeared it with tar.
The next morning the old woman drove
the straw ox into the field.
She said, "Graze away, little ox,
while I spin my flax."
She spun her flax a long time.
Then she fell asleep.
Soon a bear came out of the woods.
He ran at the ox and said,
"Who are you? Speak and tell me."
"I am an ox, I am.
I am made of straw
and smeared with tar, I am."
"Oh," said the bear,
"you are made of straw
and smeared with tar, are you?
Give me some straw and tar.
Then I can mend my torn fur."
"You may take some," said the ox.
The bear ran at the ox.
He began to tear away the tar,
and he stuck fast.
He pulled and pulled, but could not let go.
Then the ox dragged the bear home.
The old woman awoke.
"Where is my ox?" she cried.
"I will go home to see."
So she got up and ran home.
And there stood the ox and the bear.
She ran to the old man.
"Look," she cried,
"the ox has brought us a bear."
The old man threw the bear into the cellar.
The next morning the old woman drove
the ox into the field again.
"Graze away, little ox," she said,
"while I spin my flax."
She spun her flax a long time.
Then she fell asleep.
He comes in the night! He comes in the night!
He softly, silently comes;
While the little brown heads on the pillows so white
Are dreaming of bugles and drums.
He cuts through the snow like a ship through the foam,
While the white flakes around him whirl;
Who tells him I know not, but he findeth the home
Of each good little boy and girl.
His sleigh it is long, and deep, and wide;
It will carry a host of things,
While dozens of drums hang over the side,
With the sticks sticking under the strings.
And yet not the sound of a drum is heard,
Not a bugle blast is blown,
As he mounts to the chimney-top like a bird,
And drops to the hearth like a stone.
The little red stockings he silently fills,
Till the stockings will hold no more;
The bright little sleds for the great snow hills
Are quickly set down on the floor.
Then Santa Claus mounts to the roof like a bird,
And glides to his seat in the sleigh;
Not the sound of a bugle or drum is heard
As he noiselessly gallops away.
He rides to the East, and he rides to the West,
Of his goodies he touches not one;
He eateth the crumbs of the Christmas feast
When the dear little folks are done.
Old Santa Claus doeth all that he can;
This beautiful mission is his;
Then, children, be good to the little old man,
When you find who the little man is.
WEEK 20 |
ONCE there was a war between the Roman people and the
The Romans did not have very many fighting men at that time, and they knew that they were not strong enough to meet the Etruscans in open battle. So they kept themselves inside of their walls, and set guards to watch the roads.
One morning the army of
"What shall we do?" said the white-haired Fathers who made
the laws for the Roman
Now, among the guards at the bridge, there was a brave man
"Hew down the bridge with all the speed that you can!" he cried. "I, with the two men who stand by me, will keep the foe at bay."
Then, with their shields before them, and their long spears in their hands, the three brave men stood in the road, and kept back the horsemen whom Porsena had sent to take the bridge.
On the bridge the Romans hewed away at the beams and posts. Their axes rang, the chips flew fast; and soon it trembled, and was ready to fall.
"Come back! come back, and save your lives!" they cried to
But just then Porsena's horsemen dashed toward them again.
"Run for your lives!" said Horatius to his friends. "I will keep the road."
They turned, and ran back across the bridge. They had hardly reached the other side when there was a crashing of beams and timbers. The bridge toppled over to one side, and then fell with a great splash into the water.
When Horatius heard the sound, he knew that the city was
safe. With his face still toward Porsena's men, he moved
"And he spake to the noble river
That rolls by the walls of Rome:
'O Tiber! father Tiber!
To whom the Romans pray,
A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,
Take thou in charge to-day.' "
He leaped into the deep, swift stream. He still had his
heavy armor on; and when he sank out of sight, no one
thought that he would ever be seen again. But he was a
strong man, and the best swimmer in Rome. The next
minute he rose. He was
Soon he reached the farther side, where his friends stood ready to help him. Shout after shout greeted him as he climbed upon the bank. Then Porsena's men shouted also, for they had never seen a man so brave and strong as Horatius. He had kept them out of Rome, but he had done a deed which they could not help but praise.
As for the Romans, they were very grateful to Horatius for
having saved their city. They called him Horatius
"With weeping and with laughter,
Still was the story told,
How well Horatius kept the bridge
In the brave days of old."
HE day after the feast it was still very cold, but there were
signs of spring in the air. When Menie went out to feed the dogs,
he saw a flock of ravens flying north, and Koko saw some
Two days after that, when the twins and Koko were all three playing together on the Big Rock, they saw a huge iceberg float lazily by.
It had broken away from a glacier, farther north, and was drifting slowly toward the Southern Sea. It gleamed in the sun like a great ice palace.
One morning the air was thick with fog. When Kesshoo saw the fog he said, "This would be a great day to hunt reindeer."
"Oh, let me go with you!" cried Menie.
Monnie knew better than to ask. She knew very well she would never be allowed to go.
Kesshoo thought a little before he answered. Then he said, "If Koko's father will go, too, you and Koko may both go with us. You are pretty small to go hunting, but boys cannot begin too early to learn."
Menie was wild with joy. He rushed to Koko's house and told him and his father what Kesshoo had said.
When he had finished, Koko's father said at once, "Tell Kesshoo we will go."
It was not long before they were ready to start. Kesshoo had his great bow, and arrows, and a spear. He also had his bird dart. Koko's father had his bow and spear and dart, too. Menie had his little bow and arrows.
Kesshoo put a harness on Tooky and tied the end of Tooky's harness trace around Menie's waist. Koko's father had brought his best dog, too, and Koko was fastened to the end of that dog's harness in the same way.
Then the four hunters started on their journey—Menie and Koko driving the dogs in front of them.
Monnie stood on the Big Rock and watched them until they were out of sight in the fog. Nip and Tup were with her. They wanted to go as much as Monnie did and she had hard work to keep them from following after the hunters.
Kesshoo knew very well where to look for the reindeer. He led the way up a steep gorge where the first green moss appeared in the spring. They all four walked quietly along for several miles.
When they got nearly to the head of the gorge, Kesshoo stopped. He said to the boys, "You must not make any noise yourselves, and you must not let the dogs bark. If you do there will be no reindeer today."
The boys kept very still, indeed. The dogs were good hunting dogs. They knew better than to bark.
They walked on a little farther. Then Kesshoo came very near the others and spoke in a low voice. He said, "We are coming to a spot where there are likely to be reindeer. The wind is from the south. If we keep on in this direction, the reindeer will smell us. We must go round in such a way that the wind will carry the scent from them to us, not from us to them."
They turned to the right and went round to the north. They had gone only a short distance in this direction, when they found fresh reindeer tracks in the snow. The dogs began to sniff and strain at their harnesses.
"They smell the game," whispered Kesshoo. "Hold on tight! Don't let them run."
Menie and Koko held the dogs back as hard as they could. Kesshoo and Koko's father crept forward with their bows in their hands. The fog was so thick they could not see very far before them.
They had gone only a short distance, when out of the fog loomed two great gray shadows. Instantly the two men dropped on their knees and took careful aim.
The reindeer did not see them. They did not know that anything was near until they felt the sting of the hunters' arrows. One reindeer dropped to the earth. The other was not killed. He flung his head in the air and galloped away, and they could hear the thud, thud of his hoofs long after he had disappeared in the fog.
The moment the dogs heard the singing sound of the arrows, they bounded forward. Koko and Menie were not strong enough to hold them back, and they could not run fast enough to keep up with them. So they just bumped along behind the dogs! Some of the time they slid through the snow.
The snow was rough and hard, and it hurt a good deal to be dragged through it as if they were sledges, but Eskimo boys are used to bumps, and they knew if they cried they might scare the game, so they never even whimpered.
It was lucky for them that they had not far to go. When they came bumping along, Kesshoo and Koko's father laughed at them.
"Don't be in such a hurry," they called. "There's plenty of time!"
They unbound the traces from Menie and Koko and hitched the dogs to the body of the reindeer. Then they all started back to the village with Koko's father driving the dogs.
Soon the fog lifted and the sky grew clear.
Monnie was playing with her doll in the igloo, when she heard Tooky bark. She knew it was Tooky at once. She and Koolee both plunged into the tunnel like mice down a mouse hole. Nip and Tup were ahead of them.
Outside they found Koko's mother and the baby. Koolee called to her, and she called to the wives of the Angakok, who were scraping a bear's skin in the snow.
The Angakok's wives, and Koko's mother and her baby, and Koolee, and Monnie, and Nip and Tup all ran to meet the hunters, and you never saw two prouder boys than Koko and Menie when they showed the reindeer to their mothers.
The mothers were proud of their young hunters, too. Koolee said, "Soon we shall have another man in our family."
When they were quite near the village again, they met the Angakok. He had been trying to catch up with them and he was out of breath from running. He looked at them sternly.
"Why didn't you call me?" he panted.
His wives looked frightened and didn't say a word. Nobody else said anything. The Angakok glared at them all for a moment. Then he poked the reindeer with his fingers to see if it was fat and said to the men, "Which portion am I to have?"
"Would you like the liver?" asked Kesshoo. He remembered about the bear's liver, you see.
But the Angakok looked offended. "Who will have the stomach?" he said. "You know very well that the stomach is the best part of a reindeer."
"Take the stomach, by all means, then," said Kesshoo, politely.
Koolee and Monnie looked very much disappointed. They wanted the stomach dreadfully.
But the Angakok answered, "Since you urge me, I will take the stomach. I had a dream last night, and in the dream I was told by my Tornak that today I should feed upon a reindeer's stomach, given me by one of my grateful children. When you think how I suffered to bring food to you, I am sure you will wish to provide me with whatever it seems best that I should have."
He stood by while Kesshoo and Koko's father skinned the reindeer and cut it in pieces. Then he took the stomach and disappeared into his igloo—with his face all wreathed in smiles.
Who comes dancing over the snow,
His soft little feet all bare and rosy?
Open the door though the wild winds blow,
Take the child in and make him cozy.
Take him in and hold him dear,
For he is the wonderful glad New Year.
WEEK 20 |
The Emperor Charlemagne was well pleased, for at last, after much fighting, he had taken the city of Cordres. The walls lay in ruins, and with his great war engines he had shattered the towers and turrets. Within the town his knights had found rich plunder of gold and silver and precious stones, of wrought armour and princely weapons. So they were well rewarded for days of fighting and of toil.
But most of all Charlemagne was glad that not a heathen man remained within the walls. For those who would not be baptized, and become good Christian men, had been slain. Such was the great Emperor's way. To every prisoner was given the choice to live as Christian or to die as heathen.
And now, resting after his labours and his battles, great Karl sat in a sunny orchard. Around him were gathered his mighty men. Wise and old, bearded and grave, they sat upon gay carpets spread upon the ground, talking together or playing chess. Of the younger knights, some wrestled or ran or tried their strength in friendly wise in the cool shadow of the trees. Among them was the Emperor's nephew Roland, the bravest knight of France, and his fast friend Oliver.
And into the cool shade of the orchard, where these knights rested and played, rode Blancandrin and his train, on their white mules. Bending low before Charlemagne, "In the name of God we greet thee," said the messengers.
Then kneeling humbly, Blancandrin spoke. "The valiant King Marsil sends me to thee," he said, "with presents rich and rare. He promises to become thy vassal; he will place his hands within thy hands, and swear to serve thee. But already thou hast been too long time distant from thy fair realm of France. Go back, and there will King Marsil come to do thee homage."
When Blancandrin had finished speaking, the Emperor bowed his head in thought. He was never quick to speak, and now he pondered long before he answered the kneeling stranger. In silence around him, his own knights and the messengers of Spain awaited his reply.
At last Charlemagne raised his head. "Thou hast spoken well," he said to Blancandrin, "but King Marsil is my great enemy. Thy words are fair, but how may I know if there be any truth in them?"
This was even as Blancandrin had foreseen. "We will give thee hostages," he said, "ten—twenty—whatever number thou wilt ask. I will send mine own son to thee. And if we keep not faith with thee, if King Marsil come not, as he swears he will, to bow the knee to thee and receive the baptism of Holy Christ, then mayest thou slay them all."
"So be it"; said Charlemagne, "it seemeth me King Marsil may yet find grace."
Then as the day was far gone, and the evening sun sent long shadows through the trees, the Emperor gave orders that the Saracens should be lodged with honour, that every respect should be paid to them and that they should be waited upon as noble guests.
So the night passed and very early in the morning, Charlemagne rose. And after hearing morning prayer, he called his wise men round him that they might give him counsel.
"My lords and barons," he said, "King Marsil hath sent messengers to me with fair words and rich presents. He promises to be my vassal and to be baptized in the name of Holy Christ. And to this end he will follow me to France, if I now return thither. But how may I know whether he lie to me, or whether he speak truth?"
"Beware of him, beware!" cried the Franks.
Then, as silence once more fell upon them, Roland rose. His cheek was flushed, his eye flashed in anger. "Believe not thou this Marsil!" he cried. "He was ever a traitor. Once before, dost thou not remember it, there came from him false messengers, with olive branches in their hands and lies upon their lips. And when thou sentest two of thy knights to him, he smote off their heads. Listen not unto him, but end as thou hast begun. Carry the war to Saragossa, and if the siege should last all thy life long, it were still worth it, to avenge the death of our noble knights upon this felon Marsil. War! I say war!"
The Emperor bent his head. With his fingers he twisted his long white beard as he sat in thought, and to his nephew he answered no word good or bad. Around him stood his knights and nobles, silent too.
Then in the stillness, a knight whose name was Ganelon sprang up. His face was dark and haughty, and with proud gestures he strode to the foot of the throne. "Listen not to the counsel of fools!" he cried. "Think rather of thine own best good. King Marsil's gifts and promises, I say, thou oughtest to accept. He who counselleth thee to refuse is a fool, and thinketh not of the death we all may die. Listen not to the counsel of pride. Let fools be, and hearken to the wise." And casting a look of dark hatred at Roland, Ganelon was silent.
Then from his seat an old man rose. He was the Duke Naimes. His face was brown and wrinkled, his beard was white and long, and in all the Emperor's court there was none more wise than he.
Turning to the Emperor, "Thou hast heard," he said, "the words of Count Ganelon. It is wise counsel that he giveth. Let it be followed. King Marsil is vanquished in war. Thou hast taken all his castles, the walls of his towns are laid low by thy war engines, his villages are burned, his men are beaten. To-day he prays thee to have mercy upon him, and thou wrongest thyself if thou refuse. Send, I counsel thee, one of thy knights to Saragossa to speak with King Marsil, for it is time that this great war should end, and that we return to our own land."
Then all the Franks cried out, "The Duke hath spoken well."
"My lords and barons," said the Emperor, "since ye think it well, whom shall we send to do our bidding at Saragossa?"
"I will go right gladly," said Duke Naimes. "Give me here and now thy glove and mace as tokens that I am thy messenger, and let me go."
"Nay," replied the Emperor, "wisest art thou in counsel. By my beard, thou shalt not go so far from me! Sit thee down, I command thee!"
Duke Naimes was silent, and again the Emperor spoke. "My lords and barons, whom will ye that we send?"
"Send me!" cried Roland, "right joyfully will I go."
"Nay," said Oliver, springing forward, "nay, not so. Too fiery of temper art thou. Thou wouldst bring but evil out of this. Let me go rather, if the Emperor will."
"Be silent, both!" thundered Charlemagne. "Not a step shall ye go, either one or other of you. Nay, by my white beard, I swear none of my twelve chosen peers shall go." For Roland and Oliver were two of the twelve noblest and best of Charlemagne's knights, known as the Peers of France.
Before the anger of the Emperor the Franks stood silent and abashed. Then from the ranks of knights, Turpin, the old Archbishop of Rheims, stepped out. Raising his clear, strong voice, he spoke. "Sire," he cried, "thy knights and barons have suffered much in war these seven long years. Let them now rest. But give to me thy glove and mace. I will find this Saracen lord, and will speak unto him my mind."
"Nay," said the Emperor, and his brow grew yet more dark, "nay, by my troth thou shalt not go. Sit thee down, and speak not again until I command thee." Then, as Turpin was silent and went back to his place, once again the Emperor turned to his knights. "My lords of France," he cried, "now choose ye, choose ye whom we shall send to do our bidding at Saragossa!"
"Ah!" said Roland, "if I may not go, then send Ganelon my step-father. Nowhere canst thou find a better knight or wiser man."
"Well said! well said!" shouted the Franks. "If so the Emperor will, there were no man better."
"Good," replied Charlemagne, "Ganelon it shall be. Approach, Count, and receive the mace and glove. The Franks have chosen thee. Thou hast heard."
But Ganelon stood in his place white and trembling with passion. "This is Roland's work," he said in a voice low, yet sharp with anger. "For this, I vow, I will love him no more. No more will I love Oliver, for he is Roland's friend. No more will I love the Peers, for they are his companions. There, Sire, before thy face I fling defiance at them."
"Ganelon," replied the Emperor sternly, "there is too much anger here. Since I order it, thou shalt go."
"Oh, I will go," cried Ganelon mad with anger, "I will go, and I will die as the two knights before me died. For if I go to Saragossa, I know well that I shall never return." Then seeing that his anger moved not the Emperor one whit, he began to speak in a pleading, gentle voice. "Forget not thou thy sister who is my wife," he said. "Forget not my son, too. Oh, my pretty boy! If he lives he will be a noble knight, and to him I leave all my lands and riches. Be thou good to him and love him, for I shall never see him more."
"Ganelon," said Charlemagne scornfully, "thy heart is too tender methinks. If I command thee to go, go thou must."
And now Count Ganelon's anger knew no bounds. Shaking with wrath, he flung his cloak backward from his shoulders, showing the silken vest which he wore beneath. He was very tall and splendid, and his dark proud face glowed with passion, and his grey eyes glittered as he turned to Roland. "Fool," he cried, "dastard, why this hatred against me? Ah! every one knows. I am thy step-father, and therefore hast thou condemned me to go to Marsil and to death. But wait," he went on, his voice trembling and choking with passion, "wait, and if it please Heaven that I return, I will bring upon thee such sorrow and mourning as shall last all thy life long."
"Pride and folly," laughed Roland scornfully, "thou knowest that I care not for thy threats. But such a message as that upon which the Emperor now sends thee requires a man of wisdom, and if so the Emperor will, I will take thy place."
But neither did this please Ganelon. "Thou art not my vassal," he cried, "nor am I thy lord. The Emperor hath commanded me to go to Saragossa, and go I shall. But I shall do thee and thy companions an evil to avenge me of this day."
At that Count Roland laughed aloud in scorn.
When Ganelon heard Roland laugh he became as one beside himself. His face grew purple with anger, he gasped and choked. "I hate thee," he hissed at last, "I hate thee!" Then struggling to be calm he turned once more to the Emperor. "Great Karl," he said, "I am ready to do thy will."
'I hate thee,' hissed Ganelon
"Fair Sir Ganelon," said the Emperor, "this is my message to the heathen King Marsil. Say to him that he shall bend the knee to gentle Christ and be baptized in His name. Then will I give him full half of Spain to hold in fief. Over the other half Count Roland, my nephew well-beloved, shall reign. If Marsil doth not choose to accept these terms then will I march to Saragossa. I will besiege and take his city. I will bind him hand and foot, and will lead him prisoner to Aix, my royal seat. There he shall be tried, and judged and slain, dying a death of torture and disgrace. Here is the letter which I have sealed with my seal. Give thou it into the hands of the heathen lord."
Thus speaking, the Emperor held out the letter and his right hand glove to Ganelon. But he, in his anger scarce knowing what he did, as he knelt to take them, let the glove slip from his fingers, and it fell to the ground between them.
"Alas!" cried the Franks, "that is an evil omen. Ill-luck will come to us of this quest."
"Ye shall have news of it anon," said Ganelon darkly, turning from them. Then to the Emperor he said, "Sire, let me go. Since go I must, why delay?"
The Emperor raised his hand, and signed him with the sign of the cross. "Go," he said, "in Christ's name and mine." And giving his mace into Ganelon's hand, he bade him God-speed.
Without a look at the gathered peers, without a word of farewell, Ganelon turned on his heel, and went to his own house. There he clad himself in his finest armour. Golden spurs were bound upon his feet, a cloak of rich fur and silk was flung about his shoulders. Murglies, his famous sword, he girt to his side, and as he sprang upon his horse Taschebrun, many a knight pressed round him to say farewell, many begged to be allowed to go with him. For they were gallant knights and bold, and to go upon a quest of danger was their greatest joy. But Ganelon would have none of them. "God forbid!" he cried; "I had rather go upon my death alone. But, gentle sirs, ye return to fair France, whither I too would fain go. Greet there for me my dear lady and my boy. Defend him and guard his rights as ye would your own." Then with bent head Ganelon turned slowly from their sight, and rode to join the heathen Blancandrin.
As he journeyed, his heart was heavy. Sadly he thought of that fair France which he might never see again, more sadly still of his wife and child whom never again perhaps would he hold in his arms. Then his heart grew hot with jealous anger at the thought that these knights and nobles whom he hated would now soon return to France, and that he alone of all that gallant host would be left to die in heathen Spain.
"C OME," said Mamma Bat, flying toward her home in the cave, "it is time that you children went to bed. The eastern sky is growing bright, and I can see the fleecy clouds blush rosy red as the sun looks at them."
The little Bats flitted along after her, and
And now the night was over and their mother had called
them to go home. One of the little Bats hung back with
cross look on his face, and twice his
father had to tell him to fly faster. He was thinking
how he would like to see the forest in the daytime. He
had never seen the sun rise, and he wanted to do that.
He had never seen any of the
"It is your turn next," said
"I'm not going to bed," the little Bat answered.
"Not going to bed!" said his father. "Are you crazy?"
"No," said the little Bat, "I'm not."
"I don't believe the child is well," said
"I am well, and I haven't eaten too much," said the little Bat. "I think you might let a fellow have some fun once in a while. I've never seen the sun in my life, and there are whole lots of birds and animals in the forest that I've only heard about."
"I won't go to bed!" said the little Bat.
"Very well," said his father. "I shall not try to make you. Fly away at once and let us go to sleep."
After he had gone,
The little Bat flew away feeling very brave. He guessed he knew how to take care of himself, even in daylight. He felt sorry for his brothers who were in the cave, but he made up his mind that he would tell them all about it the next night.
The eastern sky grew brighter and brighter. It hurt
his eyes to look at it, and he blinked and turned away.
Somebody went scampering over the grass, kicking up his
heels as he ran. "That must be a Rabbit," thought the
little Bat. "The
Just then a sunbeam came slanting through the forest and fell on his furry coat as he clung to a branch. "Ow!" he cried. "Ow! How warm it is! I don't like that. The moonbeams do not feel so. I must fly to a shady corner." He started to fly. Just what was the matter, he never knew. It may have been because he couldn't see well, it may have been because he was getting very tired, or it may have been because the strangeness of it all was beginning to frighten him; but at all events, he went down, down, down until he found himself pitching and tumbling around in the grass.
A Crow had seen him fall, and cried loudly, "Come!
Come! Come!" to his friends. The Rabbits, who were
feeding near by, came scampering along, making great
leaps in their haste to see what was the matter. The
Goldfinches, the Robins, the Orioles, the Woodpeckers,
and many other birds came fluttering up. Even a
"What is the cause of all this commotion?" he asked. He might have said, "What is the matter?" and then they would have understood him at once, but he was too haughty for that. He thought he had to use big words once in a while to show that he could. If people didn't understand them, he was willing to explain what he meant.
"We've found such a queer bird, sir," said the biggest little Rabbit, without waiting to find out what a "commotion" was. "Just see him tumble around!"
"Bird? That is no bird," said a Woodpecker. "Look at his ears and his nose. He hasn't even a bill."
"Well, he flies," said the biggest little Rabbit, "because I saw him, so he must be a bird."
"Humph!" said a Chipmunk. "So does my cousin, the
"And this fellow hasn't a feather to his skin!" cried an Oriole.
"I don't say that my son is right," said Papa Rabbit, "but this creature has wings." And he gave the Bat a poke that made him flutter wildly for a minute.
"Yes, but what kind of wings?" asked the Goldfinch. "A pair of skinny things that grow on to his legs and have hooks on both ends."
"He must be a very stupid fellow, at all events," said the Ground Hog. "He doesn't talk, or walk, or eat, or even fly well. He must come of a very common family. For my part, I am not interested in persons of that kind." And he walked away with his nose in the air.
Now the other forest people would have liked to watch
the Bat longer, but after the Ground Hog had gone off
in this way, they thought it would show too much
curiosity if they stayed. So one after another went
away, and the little Bat was left alone. He fluttered
around until he reached the branch where the
"Oh dear!" he said, "I wonder how long a day is.
I am hot and blind and sleepy, and if any more of the
forest people come and talk about me, I don't know what
I shall do. They don't think me
And then, because he was a very tired little Bat, and cross, as people always are when they have done wrong, he began to blame somebody else for all his trouble.
"If my father and mother had cared very much about me," he said, "they would never have let me stay up all day. Guess if I were a big Bat and had little Bats of my own, I'd take better care of them!" But that is always the way, and when, long afterward, he was a big Bat with little Bats of his own, he was a much wiser person.
I know the song that the bluebird is singing,
Up in the apple tree, where he is swinging.
Brave little fellow! the skies may look dreary,
Nothing cares he while his heart is so cheery.
Hark! how the music leaps out from his throat!
Hark! was there ever so merry a note?
Listen awhile, and you'll hear what he's saying,
Up in the apple tree, swinging and swaying.
"Dear little blossoms, down under the snow,
You must be weary of winter, I know;
Hark! while I sing you a message of cheer,
Summer is coming and springtime is here!
"Little white snowdrop, I pray you arise;
Bright yellow crocus, come, open your eyes;
Sweet little violets hid from the cold,
Put on your mantle of purple and gold;
Daffodils, daffodils! Say, do you hear?
Summer is coming, and springtime is here!"
WEEK 20 |
A LONG time ago, when Thomas Jefferson was
There were two captains of this company. Their names were Lewis and Clark. There were forty-five men in the party.
They were gone two years and four months. For most of that time they did not see any white men but their own party. They did not hear a word from home for more than two years.
They got their food mostly by hunting. They killed a great many
When they were very hungry, they had to live on roots if they could get them. Some of the Indians made a kind of bread out of roots. The white men bought this when they could not get meat. But there were days when they did not have anything to eat.
They were very friendly with the Indians. One day some of the men went to make a visit to an Indian village. The Indians gave them something to eat.
In the Indian
Feeding the Spirit of the Buffalo
The Indians believed, that, if they treated this buffalo head politely, the live buffaloes would come to their hunting ground. Then they would have plenty of meat. They think the spirit of the buffalo is a kind of a god. They are very careful to please this god.
THE Indians among whom Captain Clark and Captain Lewis traveled had many strange ways of doing things. They had nothing like our matches for making fire. One tribe of Indians had this way of lighting a fire. An Indian would lay down a dry stick. He would rub this stick with the end of another stick. After a while this rubbing would make something like saw-dust on the stick that was lying down. The Indian would keep on rubbing till the wood grew hot. Then the fine wood dust would smoke. Then it would burn. The Indian would put a little kin-dling wood on it. Soon he would have a large fire.
In that time the white people had not yet found out how to make matches. They lighted a fire by striking a piece of flint against a piece of steel. This would make a spark of fire. By letting this spark fall on something that would burn easily, they started a fire.
White men had another way of lighting a fire when the sun was shining.
They used what was called a burning glass. This was a round piece of
glass. It was thick in the middle, and thin at the edge. When you held
up a burning glass in the
sun, it drew the sun's heat so as to make a
little hot spot. If you put paper under this spot of hot sunshine, it
would burn. Men could light the
Captain Clark had something funny happen to him on account of his burning glass. He had walked ahead of the rest of his men. He sat down on a rock. There were some Indians on the other side of the river. They did not see the captain. Captain Clark saw a large bird called a crane flying over his head. He raised his gun and shot it.
The Indians on the other side of the river had never seen a white man in their lives. They had never heard a gun. They used bows and arrows.
They heard the sound of Clark's gun. They looked up and saw the large bird falling from the sky. It fell close to where Captain Clark sat. Just as it fell they caught sight of Captain Clark sitting on the rocks. They thought they had seen him fall out of the sky. They thought that the sound of his gun was a sound like thunder that was made when he came down.
The Indians all ran away as fast as they could. They went into their
Captain Clark wished to be friendly with them. So he got a canoe and paddled to the other side of the river. He came to the Indian houses. He found the flaps which they use for doors shut. He opened one of them and went in. The Indians were sitting down, and they were all crying and trembling.
Among the Indians the sign of peace is to smoke
Lighting a Pipe with a Burning Glass
He wished to light his pipe for them to smoke. So he took out his burning glass. He held it in the sun. He held his pipe under it. The sunshine was drawn together into a bright little spot on the tobacco. Soon the pipe began to smoke.
Then he held out his pipe for the Indians to smoke with him. That is their way of making friends. But none of the Indians would touch the pipe. They thought that he had brought fire down from heaven to light his pipe. They were now sure that he fell down from the sky. They were more afraid of him than ever.
At last Captain Clark's Indian man came. He told the other Indians that the white man did not come out of the sky. Then they smoked the pipe, and were not afraid.
O NCE upon a time three Fishes lived in a far-away river. They were named Thoughtful, Very-Thoughtful, and Thoughtless.
One day they left the wild country where no men lived, and came down the river to live near a town.
Very-Thoughtful said to the other two: "There is danger all about us here. Fishermen come to the river here to catch fish with all sorts of nets and lines. Let us go back again to the wild country where we used to live."
But the other two Fishes were so lazy and so greedy that they kept putting off their going from day to day.
But one day Thoughtful and Thoughtless went swimming on ahead of Very-Thoughtful and they did not see the fisherman's net and rushed into it. Very-Thoughtful saw them rush into the net.
"I must save them," said Very-Thoughtful.
So swimming around the net, he splashed in the water in front of it, like a Fish that had broken through the net and gone up the river. Then he swam back of the net and splashed about there like a Fish that had broken through and gone down the river.
The fisherman saw the splashing water and thought the Fishes had broken through the net and that one had gone up the river, the other down, so he pulled in the net by one corner. That let the two Fishes out of the net and away they went to find Very-Thoughtful.
"You saved our lives, Very-Thoughtful," they said, "and now we are willing to go back to the wild country."
So back they all went to their old home where they lived safely ever after.
O NCE upon a time a Big Rat lived in the forest, and many hundreds of other Rats called him their Chief.
A Tricky Wolf saw this troop of Rats, and began to plan how he could catch them. He wanted to eat them, but how was he to get them? At last he thought of a plan. He went to a corner near the home of the Rats and waited until he saw one of them coming. Then he stood up on his hind legs.
The Chief of the Rats said to the Wolf, "Wolf, why do you stand on your hind legs?"
"Because I am lame," said the Tricky Wolf. "It hurts me to stand on my front legs."
"And why do you keep your mouth open?" asked the Rat.
"I keep my mouth open so that I may drink in all the air I can," said the Wolf. "I live on air; it is my only food day after day. I can not run or walk, so I stay here. I try not to complain." When the Rats went away the Wolf lay down.
The Chief of the Rats was sorry for the Wolf, and he went each night and morning with all the other Rats to talk with the Wolf, who seemed so poor, and who did not complain.
Each time as the Rats were leaving, the Wolf caught and ate the last one. Then he wiped his lips, and looked as if nothing had happened.
Each night there were fewer Rats at bedtime. Then they asked the Chief of the Rats what the trouble was. He could not be sure, but he thought the Wolf was to blame.
So the next day the Chief said to the other Rats, "You go first this time and I will go last."
They did so, and as the Chief of the Rats went by, the Wolf made a spring at him. But the Wolf was not quick enough, and the Chief of the Rats got away.
"So this is the food you eat. Your legs are not so lame as they were. You have played your last trick, Wolf," said the Chief of the Rats, springing at the Wolf's throat. He bit the Wolf, so that he died.
And ever after the Rats lived happily in peace and quiet.
A snowdrop lay in the sweet, dark ground.
"Come out," said the Sun, "come out!"
But she lay quite still and she heard no sound.
"Asleep," said the Sun, "no doubt!"
The snowdrop heard, for she raised her head.
"Look spry," said the Sun, "look spry!"
"It's warm," said the snowdrop, "here in bed."
"O fie!" said the sun, "O fie!"
"You call me too soon, Mister Sun, you do."
"No, no," said the Sun, "oh, no!"
"There's something above and I can't see through."
"It 's snow," said the Sun, "just snow."
"But I say, Mister Sun, are the robins here?"
"May be," said the Sun, "may be."
"There wasn't a bird when you called last year."
"Come out," said the Sun, "and see."
The snowdrop sighed, for she liked her nap,
And there wasn't a bird in sight;
But she popped out of bed in her white nightcap.
"That's right," said the Sun, "that's right!"
And soon as that small nightcap was seen
A robin began to sing
The air grew warm and the grass turned green.
" 'Tis spring," laughed the Sun, " 'tis spring!"