WEEK 22 |
WHEN Washington was a boy, there lived in Virginia an old English nobleman, by the name of Lord Fairfax. He had come into possession of a large tract of land, but was by no means sure of its extent and boundaries.
The grandfather of Lord Fairfax, the famous Lord Culpepper, had, at one time, been Governor of Virginia. When he went back to England, he asked the King, Charles II, to give him all the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, which the King, in his easy-going way, readily consented to do. It was a large and valuable estate, with but few settlers on it. Lord Culpepper, however, did not trouble himself much about it, and never came back to Virginia to see it.
 When the old Governor died, this land descended to his daughter, and from her to Lord Fairfax. The latter was a fashionable young nobleman in London society; so he sent his cousin, William Fairfax, to look after his great estate in the wilderness of America, not caring a great deal at that time what became of it.
Now, it happened that Lord Fairfax fell in love with a beautiful young lady, and the two became engaged to be married. But she proved faithless to her promise, and, when a nobleman of higher rank presented himself, she promptly threw Lord Fairfax aside. This was a bitter blow to him, and he was so distressed and mortified that he determined never to marry anyone, but to move to America and live on his Virginia estate.
So he came across seas, and, with his cousin, dwelt in his fine mansion at Belvoir, not far from the Washington estate at Mount Vernon. Here he became a middle-aged man, tall, gaunt, and near-sighted, spending much of his time in hunting, of which he was very fond. His favorite companion on these hunting trips was young George Washington, who was a very active boy, fond of all outdoor life.
Lord Fairfax was so much attached to Washington that he decided to employ him as a surveyor  for his great estate. George had studied surveying, and was anxious to undertake the work. The old man and the young boy, now sixteen years of age, talked the matter over carefully, and everything was made ready for the great survey.
Lord Fairfax's estate was large, his "grant" stretching between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, and crossing the Blue Ridge mountains into the valley beyond. It was all wild country, with only a few settlers here and there, with scattered Indian villages and wild beasts. But it had to be surveyed and measured, and maps had to be drawn before any part of it could be sold. To make this survey and these maps was the task assigned to George Washington, the young surveyor.
It was in the early spring of 1748, that George Washington and George William Fairfax, son of the Master of Belvoir, armed with good guns, mounted on sturdy horses, and fully equipped with surveying instruments, started on their trip into the wilderness. The country in which they found themselves was beautiful. Lofty trees, broad grassy slopes, sparkling streams, and giant mountains lent variety and interest to their work. Spring was just beginning, and the birds, the early flowers, and the fresh sunshine made life very happy for  the two boys entering upon their summer's excursion into the woods.
Their course led them up the banks of the Shenandoah, where they measured and marked the land as they went, and mapped down its leading features. At night they found shelter in the rude cabin of some settler, or, if none was near, they built a fire in the woods, cooked the game they had killed, and lay down upon the ground to sleep. Thus they went on, day by day, till they came to the place where the Shenandoah flows into the Potomac. Then up the Potomac and across the mountains to a place called Berkeley Springs.
The two boys had no serious adventures. They met one band of Indians, about thirty in number, painted and armed for war; but these paid no attention to the two surveyors and offered them no harm. At times life in the woods was hard; rains often soaked them, and the dampness prevented them from building a fire for cooking; it was also difficult to get warm in the chill nights of the mountains. They slept mostly in the open air, wrapped up in their great coats, and lying upon a bed of leaves or boughs. Often they cooked by merely holding bits of meats on sharp sticks before the fire; while chips or pieces of bark took the place of dishes. But the two boys enjoyed the  work heartily. They were never sick and never dissatisfied.
The weeks passed by, and still they measured the land, located the marks, and made their maps. It was nearing summertime when they completed their journey, and turned their faces homeward. They rode over the mountains, and back to Belvoir, where they made their report to Lord Fairfax. The old nobleman was delighted with what they had done, and more than pleased with the wonderful estate they had surveyed.
Lord Fairfax left Belvoir, and made his home at Greenway Court, which was a hunting lodge he had built upon his estate. Here he spent the remainder of his life, surrounded by the great forests, in sound of the running waters, and in sight of the tall mountains. Here, an old and feeble man, the Revolutionary War found him still alive. When he heard of the victory of George Washington at Yorktown, he exclaimed, "I knew, when he was a lad surveying the wilderness for me, that boy would make a great man. Still, I am sorry he did not fight for the King instead of against him."
I T is not often that one of the Forest People has any trouble about making up his mind, but there was one large rattlesnake who had great difficulty in doing so. She lived in the southern edge of the forest, where the sunshine was clear and warm, and there were delightful crevices among the rocks in which she and all her friends and relatives could hide.
It seemed very strange that so old a Snake should be so undecided as she was. It must be that she had a careless mother  who did not bring her up in the right way. If that were so, one should indeed be sorry for her. Still even that would be no real excuse, for was she not old enough now to train herself? She had seven joints in the rattle on her tail and an eighth one growing, so you can see that she was no longer young, although, being healthy, she had grown her new joints and changed her skin oftener than some of her friends. In fact, she had grown children of her own, and if it had not been that they took after their father, they would have been a most helpless family. Fortunately for them, their father was a very decided Snake.
Yes, it was exceedingly lucky for them. It may not have been so good a thing for him. His wife was always glad to have things settled for her, and when he said, "We will do this," she answered, "Yes, dear." When he said, "We will not do that," she murmured, "No dear." And  when he said, "What shall we do?" she would reply, "Oh, I don't know. What do you think we might better do?" He did not very often ask her opinion, and there were people in the forest who said he would never have talked matters over with her if he had not known that she would leave the decision to him.
Now this is a bad way in which to have things go in any family, and it happened here as it would anywhere. He grew more and more selfish from having his own way all of the time, and his wife became less and less able to take care of herself. Most people thought him a very devoted husband. Perhaps he was. It is easy to be a devoted husband if you always have your own way.
One night Mr. Rattlesnake did not return to their home. Nobody ever knew what had become of him. The Red Squirrel said that Mrs. Goldfinch said that the biggest little Rabbit had told her  that the Ground Hog had overheard Mr. Crow say that he thought he saw somebody that looked like Mr. Rattlesnake chasing a Field Mouse over toward the farm, but that he might have been mistaken. This was all so uncertain that Mrs. Rattlesnake knew no more than she had known before. It was very trying.
"If I only knew positively," she said to her friend, Mrs. Striped Snake, "I could do something, although I am sure I don't know what it would be."
Mrs. Striped Snake tried to help her. "Why not have one of your children come home to live with you?" she said pleasantly, for this year's children were now old enough to shift for themselves.
"I've thought of that," answered Mrs. Rattlesnake, "but I like a quiet life, and you know how it is. Young Snakes will be young Snakes. Besides, I don't think they would want to come back."
 "Well, why not be alone, then?"
"Oh, it is so lonely," replied Mrs. Rattlesnake, with a sigh. "Everything reminds me so of my husband, and that makes me sad. If I lived somewhere else it would be different."
"Then why not move?" said Mrs. Striped Snake, briskly. "I would do that. Find a nice crack in the rock just big enough for one, or make a cosy little hole in the ground somewhere near here. Then if he comes back he can find you easily. I would do that. I certainly would."
She spoke so firmly that Mrs. Rattlesnake said she would, she would tomorrow. And her friend went home thinking it was all settled. That shows how little she really knew Mrs. Rattlesnake.
The more Mrs. Rattlesnake thought it over that night, the more she dreaded moving. "If he does not come back,"  she sighed, "I may marry again in the spring, and then I might have to move once more. I believe I will ask somebody else what I ought to do."
So in the morning she began to consult her friends. They all told her to move, and she decided to do it. Then she could not make up her mind whether to take a rock-crevice or make a hole in the ground. It took another day of visiting to settle that it should be a hole in the ground. A fourth day was spent in finding just the right place for her home, and on the fifth day she began work.
By the time the sun was over the treetops, she wished she had chosen some other place, and thought best to stop and talk to some of her friends about it. When she returned she found herself obliged to cast her skin, which had been growing tight and dry for some time. This was hard work, and she was too tired to go on with her home-making, so  she lay in the sunshine and admired her beautiful, long, and shining body of reddish brown spotted with black. Her rattle had eight joints now, for when a Rattlesnake casts the old skin a new joint is always uncovered at the end of the tail. She waved it quickly to see how an eight-jointed rattle would sound. "Lovely!" she said. "Lovely! Like the seeds of the wild cucumber shaking around in their dry and prickly case."
One could not tell all the things that happened that fall, or how very, very, very tired her friends became of having her ask their advice. She changed her mind more times than there are seeds in a milkweed pod, and the only thing of which she was always sure was eating. When there was food in sight she did not stop for anybody's advice. She ate it as fast as she could, and if she had any doubts about the wisdom of doing so, she kept them to herself.
 When winter came she had just got her new home ready, and after all she went when invited to spend the winter with a cave party of other Snakes. They coiled themselves together in a great mass and slept there until spring. As the weather grew warmer, they began to stir, wriggling and twisting themselves free.
Two bachelor Snakes asked her to marry. One was a fine old fellow with a twelve-jointed rattle. The other was just her own age.
"To be sure I will," she cried, and the pits between her nostrils and her ears looked more like dimples than ever. "Only you must wait until I can make up my mind which one to marry."
"Oh, no," they answered, "don't go to all that trouble. We will fight and decide it for you."
It was a long fight, and the older of the two Snakes had a couple of joints broken off from his rattle before it was over.  Still he beat the other one and drove him away. When he came back for his bride he found her crying. "What is the matter?" said he, quite sternly.
"Oh, that p-poor other b-bachelor!" she sobbed. "I b-believe I will g-go after him. I think p-perhaps I l-love him the b-better."
"No, you don't, Mrs. Rattlesnake," said the fine old fellow who had just won the fight. "You will do no such thing. You will marry me and never speak to him again. When I have lost two joints of my rattle in fighting for you, I intend to have you myself, and I say that you love me very dearly. Do you hear?"
"Yes, darling," she answered, as she wiped her eyes on the grass, "very dearly." And they lived most happily together.
"He reminds me so much of the first Mr. Rattlesnake," she said to her friends. "So strong, so firm, so quick to decide!"
 And the friends said to each other, "Well, let us be thankful he is. We have been bothered enough by her coming to us for advice which she never followed."
Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas,
But clouds that sail across the skies
Are prettier than these.
There are bridges in the river
As pretty as you please,
But the bow that bridges heaven
And overtops the trees
And builds a roof from earth to sky
Is prettier far than these.
WEEK 22 |
 LONG ago in a far distant land there lived a boy called Offero. He was taller and stronger and braver than any of his companions, and he was called Offero, which means bearer, because he could carry the heaviest burdens on his broad shoulders, without stooping under their weight. His was the grandest kind of strength too, for it was not only strength of body, but strength of heart and soul besides.
As Offero grew into manhood he began to tire of being first only in games and play, and he longed to use his strength for some real end, feeling sure there was work in the world waiting for his hand.
Sometimes as he strode across the olive-clad hills, and felt the wind in his hair, and drew in great breaths of life and strength, he would see before him a dim vision of some great purpose, ever beckoning him on, and in his ear a voice would sound, that bade him use his strength only for the highest.
Night and day Offero thought upon the vision, and it seemed to him that its meaning was that he should go out into the world and do a man's work. And, since for him the highest meant strength and fearlessness, he vowed that he would search until  he found the bravest and strongest king and would take service only with him.
So Offero set out and, after many weary wanderings, he came to the gates of a great city. Here, in a palace built of alabaster, lived one whom the people called the greatest king on earth. He had more soldiers and horsemen and chariots than any other monarch, and the banner of crimson and gold that floated over the palace roof, had never been lowered in the face of any foe.
But Offero scarcely noticed all the glitter and splendour of the palace, or the crowd of waiting men. He was only eager to see the king, whom every one said was as brave and strong as a lion. No one stopped him as he strode on. Even the royal guards at the palace door stood back to let him pass. He was dusty and travel-stained, and his armour was dull and dinted by many a hard blow, but there was that in his walk and in his eyes, and the grasp of his great hand upon his sword, that made every one fall back to let him pass.
The king was seated upon his throne making wise laws for his people, when Offero entered the audience hall. Straight to the steps of the throne he went, and kneeling there placed his sword at the king's feet and offered to be his true servant. For a moment the king looked in wonder and astonishment at this giant, and the great sword that stretched along the widest step of his ivory throne. Then with a look of pride at the strength of the man kneeling at his feet, he bade Offero rise and use his sword henceforth only in the king's service.
 So Offero became the king's servant, and not one of the king's enemies could stand against him. Wherever there was danger to be met or fighting to be done, there he was ever to be found, and he made his master's name more feared and honoured than that of any other monarch in the world. His work filled all his time and thoughts, and the vision he had seen grew so dim that it had nearly faded from his memory, when one night a minstrel came to the court.
This minstrel had a harp of gold and his fingers woke the sweetest music from the golden strings, but sweeter than all was his voice as he sang of brave deeds and mighty battles, the wisdom of the wise and the courage of the strong.
The heart of Offero was charmed by the music as he sat idly among the rest of the courtiers, listening in the great audience chamber.
But as the minstrel sang, Offero noticed that the king looked disturbed and once or twice made a strange sign with his hand when a certain evil name was repeated in the song. It almost seemed to Offero as if at such times a look of fear came into his eyes.
Waiting behind the rest when the minstrel was gone, Offero looked gravely into the king's eyes and said:
"My liege, wilt thou tell thy servant, why thou didst make that sign upon thy forehead and what the look that came into thine eyes may mean—thou who fearest no man?"
Then the king answered Offero saying:
"That sign is the sign of the cross, and I make  it upon my brow whenever I hear the name of Satan, the Evil Spirit, because I fear him, and because that sign alone can protect me from him."
And Offero bowed his head, and standing there before the king he answered sadly:
"Fare thee well, O my king, for I may not serve thee longer. I have promised only to serve the greatest and one who feared nothing, so I must e'en seek this Evil Spirit. If thou fearest him, must he not be more powerful than thou?"
So Offero went sorrowfully out of the king's presence, and away from the splendid court and the fair city. And as he went the vision which of late had faded from him grew clearer, and seemed to beckon him on and on. And the voice that of old sounded in his ears spoke to him once more, so that his heart became light and his purpose grew strong.
Now after many days of toilsome wanderings, Offero came at last to the skirt of a great dark wood. The pines were so thick that never a sunbeam could pierce through their tops, and the trunks of the trees could only just be seen ghostly grey in the everlasting twilight that reigned there.
Deeper and darker grew the wood as Offero went on, until he came to the darkest part of all, and there he found the Evil Spirit and his court.
Offero could see nothing clearly in the gloom, but one great shadow stood out, bigger and stronger than any of the other shadows that flitted about, and on its brow was the outline of a kingly crown.
 "What seekest thou here?" asked the Evil One, in a deep strong voice, like the roar of distant thunder.
"I seek to serve the greatest and strongest king on earth, and one who knows no fear," answered Offero.
"Then is thy quest ended," said the shadowy king, with uplifted head and proud gesture, "for I indeed am the greatest king of all, and I know not what that word fear meaneth."
So Offero became one of the servants of the King of Evil, and his work was heavy and his wages light. But that seemed but a small matter to him, if only he had indeed found the highest.
Time passed on until there came a day when the Evil One rode out with all his servants and Offero at their head. And as they passed out of the wood they came to a cross set up by the wayside. It was only a rough cross of wood, standing out clear against the sky, the grass beneath worn by those who had knelt before it, and a bunch of wild flowers laid at its foot by some grateful hand. But when the eye of the Evil One fell upon it, he shuddered and, turning quickly round, plunged back into the wood, followed by all his servants. And Offero saw he was trembling from head to foot.
"Stop," cried Offero, barring his way, for he was not afraid even of the great Shadow upon the fierce black horse. "I would fain know what this meaneth, ere we go further. Didst thou not say thou wert stronger than all and feared nothing? and lo! thou tremblest like a child before a piece of crossed wood."
 "It is not the cross I fear," answered the Evil One, "but Him who once hung upon it."
"And who is He that you should tremble at the very thought of Him?" asked Offero. "Is He a greater and stronger king than thou?"
"He is greater, and He is stronger," answered Satan, "and He is the only one I fear."
Then Offero rode away from the dark wood and the evil company, out into the sunshine and light. And as he looked at the blue sky, and felt the warmth of the blessed sunshine once more, the vision seemed to rise again before his eyes, ever beckoning him onward, and in his ear the same voice sounded, bidding him seek on, until he should indeed find the highest.
A boy saw a fox asleep on a hillside.
The boy picked up a stone and said,
"I will kill this fox.
Then I shall sell the fur
and get some money.
I shall buy rye with the money,
and I shall sow the rye
in my father's field.
The people will pass by the field.
They will see my rye and they will say,
'What fine rye that boy has.'
Then I shall say to them,
'Keep out of my rye field.'
But they will not obey.
Then I shall call to them,
'Keep out of my rye field.'
But still they will not obey.
Then I shall shout to them,
'Keep out of my rye field.'
And then they will obey me."
The boy called so loud
that the fox awoke.
The fox sprang to his feet,
and away he went to the woods.
So the boy did not get even a hair
from the tail of the fox.
— Swedish Folk Tale
Who killed Cock Robin?
"I," said the Sparrow,
"With my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin!"
Who saw him die?
"I," said the Fly,
"With my little eye,
I saw him die!"
Who caught his blood?
"I," said the Fish,
"In my little dish,
I caught his blood!"
Who'll make his shroud?
"I," said the Beetle,
"With my thread and needle,
I'll make his shroud!"
Who'll dig his grave?
"I," said the Owl,
"With my spade and shovel,
I'll dig his grave!"
Who'll be the parson?
"I," said the Rook,
"With my little book,
I'll be the parson!"
Who'll be the clerk?
"I," said the Lark,
"If it's not in the dark,
I'll be the clerk!"
Who'll carry him to the grave?
"I," said the Kite,
"If it's not in the night,
I'll carry him to the grave!"
Who'll carry the link?
"I," said the Linnet,
"I'll fetch it in a minute,
I'll carry the link!"
Who'll be chief mourner?
"I," said the Dove,
"For I mourn for my love,
I'll be chief mourner!"
Who'll sing a psalm?
"I," said the Thrush,
"If it's not in the bush,
I'll sing a psalm!"
Who'll toll the bell?
"I," said the Bull,
"Because I can pull,
I'll toll the bell!"
And all the birds fell
To sighing and sobbing,
When they heard tell
Of the death of Cock Robin!
WEEK 22 |
 A YOUNG man whose name was Pythias had done something which the tyrant Dionysius did not like. For this offense he was dragged to prison, and a day was set when he should be put to death. His home was far away, and he wanted very much to see his father and mother and friends before he died.
"Only give me leave to go home and say good-by to those whom I love," he said, "and then I will come back and give up my life."
The tyrant laughed at him.
"How can I know that you will keep your promise?" he said. "You only want to cheat me, and save yourself."
Then a young man whose name was Damon spoke and said,—
"O king! put me in prison in place of my friend Pythias, and let him go to his own country to put his affairs in order, and to bid his friends farewell. I know that he will come back as he promised, for he is a man who has never broken his word. But if he is not here on the day which you have set, then I will die in his stead."
The tyrant was surprised that anybody should make such an offer. He at last agreed to let  Pythias go, and gave orders that the young man should be shut up in prison.
Time passed, and by and by the day drew near which had been set for Pythias to die; and he had not come back. The tyrant ordered the jailer to keep close watch upon Damon, and not let him escape. But Damon did not try to escape. He still had faith in the truth and honor of his friend. He said, "If Pythias does not come back in time, it will not be his fault. It will be because he is hindered against his will."
At last the day came, and then the very hour. Damon was ready to die. His trust in his friend was as firm as ever; and he said that he did not grieve at having to suffer for one whom he loved so much.
Then the jailer came to lead him to his death; but at the same moment Pythias stood in the door. He had been delayed by storms and shipwreck, and he had feared that he was too late. He greeted Damon kindly, and then gave himself into the hands of the jailer. He was happy because he thought that he had come in time, even though it was at the last moment.
The tyrant was not so bad but that he could see good in others. He felt that men who loved and trusted each other, as did Damon and Pythias,  ought not to suffer unjustly. And so he set them both free.
"I would give all my wealth to have one such friend," he said.
MANY miles beyond Rome there was a famous country which we call Greece. The people of Greece were not united like the Romans; but instead there were several states, each of which had its own rulers.
Some of the people in the southern part of the country were called Spartans, and they were noted for their simple habits and their bravery. The name of their land was Laconia, and so they were sometimes called Lacons.
One of the strange rules which the Spartans had, was that they should speak briefly, and never use more words than were needed. And so a short answer is often spoken of as being laconic; that is, as being such an answer as a Lacon would be likely to give.
There was in the northern part of Greece a land called Macedon; and this land was at one time ruled over by a war-like king named Philip.
 Philip of Macedon wanted to become the master of all Greece. So he raised a great army, and made war upon the other states, until nearly all of them were forced to call him their king. Then he sent a letter to the Spartans in Laconia, and said, "If I go down into your country, I will level your great city to the ground."
In a few days, an answer was brought back to him. When he opened the letter, he found only one word written there.
That word was "IF."
It was as much as to say, "We are not afraid of you so long as the little word 'if' stands in your way."
If ever I see,
On bush or tree,
Young birds in their pretty nest,
I must not, in play,
Steal the birds away,
To grieve their mother's breast.
My mother, I know,
Would sorrow so,
Should I be stolen away;
So I'll speak to the birds,
In my softest words,
Nor hurt them in my play.
And when they can fly
In the bright blue sky,
They'll warble a song to me;
And then if I'm sad
It will make me glad
To think they are happy and free.
WEEK 22 |
 Meanwhile King Marsil was gathering all his host. From far and near came the heathen knights, all impatient to fight, each one eager to have the honour of slaying Roland with his own hand, each swearing that none of the twelve Peers should ever again see France.
Among them was a great champion called Chernuble. He was huge and ugly, and his strength was such that he could lift with ease a burden which four mules could scarcely carry. His face was inky black, his lips thick and hideous, and his coarse long hair reached the ground. It was said that in the land from whence he came, the sun never shone, the rain never fell, and the very stones were black as coal. He too,  swearing that the Franks should die and that France should perish, joined the heathen host.
Very splendid were the Saracens as they moved along in the gleaming sunshine. Gold and silver shone upon their armour, pennons of white and purple floated over them, and from a thousand trumpets sounded their battle song.
To the ears of the Frankish knights the sound was borne as they rode through the valley of Roncesvalles.
"Sir Comrade," said Oliver, "it seemeth me there is battle at hand with the Saracen foe."
"Please Heaven it may be so," said Roland. "Our duty is to hold this post for our Emperor. Let us strike mighty blows that nothing be said or sung of us in scorn. Let us fight these heathen for our country and our faith."
As Oliver heard the sounds of battle come nearer, he climbed to the top of a hill, so that he could see far over the country. There before him he saw the Saracens marching in pride. Their helmets, inlaid  with gold, gleamed in the sun. Gaily painted shields, hauberks of shining steel, spears and pennons waved and shone, rank upon rank in countless numbers.
Quickly Oliver came down from the hill, and went back to the Frankish army. "I have seen the heathen," he said to Roland. "Never on earth hath such a host been gathered. They march upon us many hundred thousand strong, with shield and spear and sword. Such battle as awaiteth us have we never fought before."
"Let him be accursed who fleeth!" cried the Franks. "There be few among us who fear death."
"It is Ganelon the felon, who hath betrayed us," said Oliver, "let him be accursed."
"Hush thee, Oliver," said Roland; "he is my step-sire. Let us hear no evil of him."
"The heathen are in fearful force," said Oliver, "and our Franks are but few. Friend Roland, sound upon thy horn. Then will Charlemagne hear and return with all his host to help us."
 For round Roland's neck there hung a magic horn of carved ivory. If he blew upon this in case of need, the sound of it would be carried over hill and dale far, far onward. If he sounded it now, Charlemagne would very surely hear, and return from his homeward march.
But Roland would not listen to Oliver. "Nay," he said, "I should indeed be mad to sound upon my horn. If I call for help, I, Roland, I should lose my fame in all fair France. Nay, I will not sound, but I shall strike such blows with my good sword Durindal that the blade shall be red to the gold of the hilt. Our Franks, too, shall strike such blows that the heathen shall rue the day. I tell thee, they be all dead men."
"Oh Roland, friend, wind thy horn," pleaded Oliver. "To the ear of Charlemagne shall the sound be borne, and he and all his knights will return to help us."
"Now Heaven forbid that my kin should ever be pointed at in scorn because of me," said Roland, "or that fair France should fall  to such dishonour. No! I will not sound upon my horn, but I shall strike such blows with my sword Durindal that the blade shall be dyed red in the blood of the heathen."
In vain Oliver implored. "I see no dishonour shouldst thou wind thy horn," he said, "for I have beheld the Saracen host. The valleys and the hills and all the plains are covered with them. They are many and great, and we are but a little company."
"So much the better," cried Roland, "my desire to fight them grows the greater. All the angels of Heaven forbid that France, through me, should lose one jot of fame. Death is better than dishonour. Let us strike such blows as our Emperor loveth to see."
Roland was rash as Oliver was wise, but both were knights of wondrous courage, and now Oliver pleaded no more. "Look," he cried, "look where the heathen come! Thou hast scorned, Roland, to sound thy horn, and our noble men will this day do their last deeds of bravery."
 "Hush!" cried Roland, "shame to him who weareth a coward's heart."
And now Archbishop Turpin spurred his horse to a little hill in front of the army. "My lords and barons," he cried, turning to them, "Charlemagne hath left us here to guard the homeward march of his army. He is our King, and we are bound to die for him, if so need be. But now, before ye fight, confess your sins, and pray God to forgive them. If ye die, ye die as martyrs. In God's great paradise your places await you."
Then the Franks leapt from their horses and kneeled upon the ground while the Archbishop blessed them, and absolved them from all their sins. "For penance I command that ye strike the heathen full sore," he said.
Then springing from their knees the Franks leapt again into their saddles, ready now to fight and die.
"Friend," said Roland, turning to Oliver, "thou wert right. It is Ganelon who is the traitor. But the Emperor will avenge us  upon him. As for Marsil, he deemeth that he hath bought us, and that Ganelon hath sold us unto him. But he will find that it is with our swords that we will pay him."
And now the battle began. "Montjoie!" shouted the Franks. It was the Emperor's own battle cry. It means "My joy," and came from the name of his famous sword Joyeuse or joyous. This sword was the most wonderful ever seen. Thirty times a day the shimmering light with which it glowed changed. In the gold of the hilt was encased the head of the spear with which the side of Christ had been pierced. And because of this great honour the Emperor called his sword Joyeuse, and from that the Franks took their battle cry "Montjoie." Now shouting it, and plunging spurs into their horses' sides, they dashed upon the foe. Never before had been seen such pride of chivalry, such splendour of knightly grace.
With boasting words, King Marsil's nephew came riding in front of the battle.  "Ho, felon Franks!" he cried, "ye are met at last. Betrayed and sold are ye by your king. This day hath France lost her fair fame, and from Charlemagne is his right hand torn."
Roland heard him. With spur in side and slackened rein, he dashed upon the heathen, mad with rage. Through shield and hauberk pierced his spear, and the Saracen fell dead ere his scoffing words were done. "Thou dastard!" cried Roland, "no traitor is Charlemagne, but a right noble king and cavalier."
King Marsil's brother, sick at heart to see his nephew fall, rode out with mocking words upon his lips. "This day is the honour of France lost," he sneered.
But Oliver struck his golden spurs into his steed's side! "Caitiff, thy taunts are little worth," he cried, and, pierced through shield and buckler, the heathen fell.
Bishop Turpin, too, wielded well both sword and lance. "Thou lying coward, be silent evermore!" he cried, as a scoffing  heathen king fell beneath his blows. "Charlemagne our lord is true and good, and no Frank shall flee this day."
"Montjoie! Montjoie!" sounded high above the clang of battle, as heathen after heathen was laid low. Limbs were lopped, armour flew in splinters. Many a heathen knight was cloven through from brow to saddle bow. The plain was strewn with the dying and the dead.
In Roland's hand his lance was shivered to the haft. Throwing the splintered wood away, he drew his famous Durindal. The naked blade shone in the sun and fell upon the helmet of Chernuble, Marsil's mighty champion. The sparkling gems with which it shone were scattered on the grass. Through cheek and chine, through flesh and bone, drove the shining steel, and Chernuble fell upon the ground, a black and hideous heap. "Lie there, caitiff!" cried Roland, "thy Mahomet cannot save thee. Not unto such as thou is the victory."
Chernuble, Marsil's mighty champion
On through the press rode Roland. Dur-  indal flashed and fell and flashed again, and many a heathen bit the dust. Oliver, too, did marvellous deeds. His spear, as Roland's, was shivered into atoms. But scarcely knowing what he did, he fought still with the broken shaft, and with it brought many a heathen to his death.
"Comrade, what dost thou?" said Roland. "Is it now the time to fight with staves? Where is thy sword called Hauteclere with its crystal pommel and golden guard?"
"I lacked time in which to draw it," replied Oliver, "there was such need to strike blows fast and hard."
But now he drew his shining Hauteclere from its scabbard, and with it he dealt such blows that Roland cried, "My brother art thou, Oliver, from henceforth. Ah! such blows our Emperor would dearly love to see."
Furious and more furious waxed the fight. On all sides might be heard the cry of "Montjoie! Montjoie!" and many a blow did Frank and heathen give and take. But although  thousands of Saracens lay dead, the Franks too had lost many of their bravest knights. Shield and spear, banner and pennon, broken, bloodstained and trampled, strewed the field.
Fiercer, wilder still, the battle grew. Roland, Oliver, Archbishop Turpin and all the twelve Peers of France fought in the thickest of the press. Many of the heathen fled, but even in flight they were cut down.
Meanwhile over France burst a fearful storm. Thunder rolled, lightning flashed, the very earth shook and trembled. There was not a town in all the land but the walls of it were cracked and riven. The sky grew black at mid-day, rain and hail in torrents swept the land. "It is the end of the world," the people whispered in trembling fear.
Alas, they knew not! It was the earth's great mourning for the death of Roland, which was nigh.
The battle waxed horrible. The Saracens fled, and the Franks pursued till of that great  heathen host but one was left. Of the Saracen army which had set out in such splendour, four hundred thousand strong, one heathen king alone remained. And he, King Margaris, sorely wounded, his spear broken, his shield pierced and battered, fled with the direful news to King Marsil.
The Franks had won the day, and now mournfully over the plain they moved, seeking their dead and dying comrades. Weary men and worn were they, sad at the death of many brother knights, yet glad at the might and victory of France.
W HEN the first hillock of fresh brown earth was thrown up in the edge of the Forest, the People who lived there said to each other. "Can it be that we have a new neighbor?"
Perhaps the Rabbits, the Ground Hogs, and the Snakes cared the most, for they also made their homes in the ground; yet even the Orioles wanted to know all about it. None of them had ever been acquainted with a Mole. They had seen the ridges in the meadows beneath which the Moles had their runways, and they knew that  when the Moles were making these long streets under ground, they had to cut an opening through the grass once in a while and throw the loose earth out. This new mound in the forest looked exactly like those in the meadow, so they decided there must be a Mole in the neighborhood.
If that were so, somebody should call upon him and get acquainted; but how could they call? Mrs. Red Squirrel said: "Why can't some of you people who are so clever at digging, burrow down and find him?"
"Yes indeed," twittered the birds; "that is a good plan."
But Mr. Red Squirrel smiled at his wife and said: "I am afraid, Bushy-tail (that was his pet name for her) that none of our friends here could overtake the Mole. You know he is a very fast runner. If they were following they could never catch him."
 "Let them burrow down ahead of the place where he is working, then," said she.
"And the Mole would turn and go another way, not knowing it was a friend looking for him."
"Well, why not make an opening into one of his runways and go into it, hunting until he is found?" said Mrs. Red Squirrel, who was like some other people in not wishing to give up her own ideas.
"Yes," cried a mischievous young Woodpecker; "let the Ground Hog go. You surely don't think him too fat?"
Now there was no denying that the Ground Hog was getting too stout to look well, and people thought he would be angry at this. Perhaps he was angry. The little Rabbits were sure of it. They said they knew by the expression of his tail. Still, you know, the Ground Hog came of a good family, and well-bred people do not say mean things even if they are annoyed. He combed the fur on his  face with both paws, and answered with a polite bow: "If I had the slender and graceful form of my charming friend, Mrs. Red Squirrel, I should be delighted to do as she suggests."
That was really a very clever thing for Mr. Ground Hog to say. It was much more agreeable than if he had grunted out, "Much she knows about it! We burrowing people are all too large." And now Mrs. Red Squirrel was pleased and happy although her plan was not used.
That night Mrs. Ground Hog said to her husband: "I didn't know you admired Mrs. Red Squirrel so much." And he answered: "Pooh! Admire her? She is a very good-looking person for one of her family, and I want to be polite to her for her husband's sake. He and I have business together. But for my part I prefer more flesh. I could never have married a slender wife, and I am pleased to see, my dear, that you are stouter than  you were." And this also shows how clever a fellow Mr. Ground Hog was.
The very next night, as luck would have it, the Mole came out of his runway for a scamper on the grass. Mr. Ground Hog saw him and made his acquaintance. "We are glad to have you come," said he. "You will find it a pleasant neighborhood. People are very friendly."
"Well, I'm glad of that," answered the Mole. "I don't see any sense in people being disagreeable, myself, but in the meadow which I have just left there were the worst neighbors in the world. I stood it just as long as I could, and then I moved."
"I am sorry to hear that," said the Ground Hog, gently. "I had always supposed it a pleasant place to live in." He began to wonder what kind of fellow the Mole was. He did not like to hear him say such unkind things before a new acquaintance. Sometimes unpleasant things have to be said, but it was not so now.
 "Umph!" said the Mole. "You have to live with people to know them. Of course, we Moles had no friends among the insects. We are always glad to meet them in the ground, but they do not seem so glad to meet us. That is easily understood when you remember what hungry people Moles are. Friendship is all very well, but when a fellow's stomach is empty, he can't let that stand in the way of a good dinner. There was no such reason why the Tree Frog or the Garter Snake should dislike me."
"Are you sure they did dislike you?"
"Certain of it. I remember how one night I wanted to talk with the Garter Snake, and asked him to come out of his hole for a visit in the moonlight. He wouldn't come."
"What did he say?" asked the Ground Hog.
"Not a word! And that was the worst of it. Think how provoking it was for  me to stand there and call and call and not get any reply."
"Perhaps he was not at home," suggested the Ground Hog.
"That's what he said when I spoke to him. Said he was spending the night down by the river. As though I'd be likely to believe that! I guess he saw that he couldn't fool me, though, for after I told him what I thought of him he wriggled away without saying a word."
"Still he is not so disagreeable as the Tree Frog," said the Mole, after a pause in which the Ground Hog had been trying not to laugh. The Ground Hog said afterward that it was the funniest sight imaginable to see the stout little Mole scampering back and forth in the moonlight, and stopping every few minutes to scold about the Meadow People. The twitching of his tiny tail and the jerky motions of his large, pink-palmed digging hands, showed how angry he grew in  thinking of them, and his pink snout fairly quivered with rage.
"I will tell you about the Tree Frog," said the mole. "He is one of these fellows who are always just so good-natured and polite. I can't endure them. I say it's putting on airs to act that way. I was telling him what I thought of the Garter Snake, and what should he do but draw himself up and say: 'Excuse me, but the Garter Snake is a particular friend of mine, and I do not care to hear him spoken of in that way.' I guess I taught him one good lesson, though. I told him he was just the kind of person I should expect the Garter Snake to like, and that I wished them much joy together, but that I didn't want anything to do with them.
"It was only a short time after this that I had such trouble about making my fort. Whenever I started to dig in a place I would find some other Mole there ahead of me."
 "And then you would have to go somewhere else, of course?" said the Ground Hog.
"I'd like to know why!" said the Mole, with his glossy silver-brown fur on end. "No indeed! I had a perfect right to dig wherever I wished, and I would tell them so, and they would have to go elsewhere. One Mole was bad-tempered enough to say that he had as much right in the meadow as anybody, and I had to tussle with him and bite him many times before he saw his mistake. . . . They are disagreeable people over there,—but why are you going so soon? I thought we would have a good visit together."
"I promised to meet Mrs. Ground Hog," said her husband, "and must go. Good-night!" and he trotted away.
Not long afterward this highly respectable couple were feeding together in the moonlight. "What do you think of the Mole?" said she.
 "Well,—er—ahem," answered her husband. "You
know, my dear, that I do not like to talk against
people, and I might better not tell you exactly what I
think of him. He is a queer-looking fellow, and I
always distrust anyone who will not look me in the eye.
Perhaps that is not his fault, for the fur hides his
eyes and he wears his ears inside of his head; but I
must say that a fiercer or more disagreeable-looking
snout I never saw. He has had trouble with all his old
neighbors, and a fellow who cannot get along peaceably
in one place will not in another. He is always talking
about his rights and what he
"You have told me enough," said Mrs. Ground Hog, interrupting him. "Nobody ever liked a person who insists on his 'rights' every time. And such a person never enjoys life. What a pity it is!" and she gave a sigh that shook her fat sides. "Now, I had it all planned that he  should marry and set up housekeeping, and that I should have another pleasant neighbor soon."
"Ah! Mrs. Ground Hog," said her husband teasingly, "I knew you would be thinking of that. You are a born matchmaker. Now I think we could stand a few bachelors around here,—fine young fellows who have nothing to do but enjoy life." And his eyes twinkled as he said it.
"As though you did not enjoy life!" answered his wife. "Still, I could not wish any young Mole such a husband as this fellow. It is a great undertaking to marry a grumpy bachelor and teach him the happiness of living for others." And she looked very solemn.
"I suppose you found it so?" said Mr. Ground Hog, sidling up toward her.
"What a tease you are!" said his wife. "You know that I am happy." And really, of all the couples on whom the  moon looked that night, there was not a happier one than this pair of Ground Hogs; and there was not a lonelier or more miserable person than the Mole, who guarded his own rights and told people what he thought of them. But it is always so.
I love little Pussy,
Her coat is so warm;
And if I don't hurt her,
She'll do me no harm.
So I'll not pull her tail,
Nor drive her away,
But Pussy and I
Very gently will play.
She shall sit by my side,
And I'll give her some food;
And she'll love me, because
I am gentle and good.
I'll pat little Pussy,
And then she will purr,
And thus show her thanks
For my kindness to her.
I'll not pinch her ears,
Nor tread on her paw,
Lest I should provoke her
To use her sharp claw.
I never will vex her,
Nor make her displeased,
For Puss doesn't like
To be worried or teased.
WEEK 22 |
THE Revolution was about over. Americans were very happy. Their country was to be free.
At this time a little boy was born in New York. His family was named Irving. What should this little boy be named?
His mother said, "Washington's work is done. Let us name the baby Washington." So he was called Washington Irving.
When this baby grew to be a little boy, he was one day walking with his nurse. The nurse was a Scotch girl. She saw General Washington go into a shop. She led the little boy into the shop also.
The nurse said to General Washington, "Please, your Honor, here is a bairn that is named for you."
"Bairn" is a Scotch word for child.
 Washington put his hand on the little boy's head and gave him his blessing. When Irving became an author, he wrote a life of Washington.
Little Irving was a merry, playful boy. He was full of mischief.
Sometimes he would climb out of a window to the roof of his father's house. From this he would go to roofs of other houses. Then the little rascal would drop a pebble down a neighbor's chimney. Then he would hurry back and get into the window again. He would wonder what the people thought when the pebble came rattling down their chimney.
Irving in Mischief
Of course he was punished when his tricks were found out. But he was a favorite with his teacher. With all his faults, he would not tell a lie. The teacher called the little fellow "General."
In those days naughty school-boys were whipped.  Irving could not bear to see another boy suffer. When a boy was to be whipped, the girls were sent out. Irving always asked the schoolmaster to let him go out with the girls.
Like other boys, Irving was fond of stories. He liked to read about Sindbad the sailor, and Robinson Crusoe. But most of all he liked to read about other countries. He had twenty small volumes called "The World Displayed." They told about the people and countries of the world. Irving read these little books a great deal.
One day the schoolmaster caught him reading in school. The master slipped behind him and grabbed the book. Then he told Irving to stay after school.
Irving expected a punishment. But the master told him he was pleased to find that he liked to read such good books. He told him not to read them in school.
Reading about other countries made Irving wish to see them. He thought he would like to travel. Like other wild boys, he thought of running away. He wanted to go to sea.
But he knew that sailors had to eat salt pork. He did not like salt pork. He thought he would learn to like it. When he got a chance, he ate pork.  And sometimes he would sleep all night on the floor. He wanted to get used to a hard bed.
But the more he ate pork, the more he disliked it. And the more he slept on the floor, the more he liked a good bed. So he gave up his foolish notion of being a sailor boy.
Some day you will read Irving's "Sketch Book." You will find some famous stories in it. There is the story of Rip Van Winkle, who slept twenty years. And there is the funny story of the Headless Horseman. When you read these amusing stories, you will remember the playful boy who became a great author.
Rip Van Winkle wakes up
O NCE upon a time there was a Goose who had beautiful golden feathers. Not far away from this Goose lived a poor, a very poor woman, who had two daughters. The Goose saw that they had a hard time to get along and said he to himself:
"If I give them one after another of my golden feathers, the mother can sell them, and with the money they bring she and her daughters can then live in comfort."
So away the Goose flew to the poor woman's house.
Seeing the Goose, the woman said: "Why do you come here? We have nothing to give you."
"But I have something to give you," said the Goose. "I will give my feathers, one by one, and you can sell them for enough so that you and your daughters can live in comfort."
So saying the Goose gave her one of his feathers, and then flew away. From time to time he came back, each time leaving another feather.
 The mother and her daughters sold the beautiful feathers for enough money to keep them in comfort. But one day the mother said to her daughters: "Let us not trust this Goose. Some day he may fly away and never come back. Then we should be poor again. Let us get all of his feathers the very next time he comes."
The daughters said: "This will hurt the Goose. We will not do such a thing."
But the mother was greedy. The next time the Golden  Goose came she took hold of him with both hands, and pulled out every one of his feathers.
Now the Golden Goose has strange feathers. If his feathers are plucked out against his wish, they no longer remain golden but turn white and are of no more value than chicken-feathers. The new ones that come in are not golden, but plain white.
As time went on his feathers grew again, and then he flew away to his home and never came back again.
Little White Lily
Sat by a stone,
Drooping and waiting
Till the sun shone.
Little White Lily
Sunshine has fed;
Little White Lily
Is lifting her head.
Little White Lily
Said: "It is good—
Little White Lily's
Clothing and food."
Little White Lily
Dressed like a bride!
Shining with whiteness,
And crownèd beside!
Little White Lily
Drooping with pain,
Waiting and waiting
For the wet rain.
Little White Lily
Holdeth her cup;
Rain is fast falling
And filling it up.
Little White Lily
Said: "Good again,—
When I am thirsty
To have the nice rain.
Now I am stronger,
Now I am cool;
Heat cannot burn me,
My veins are so full."
Little White Lily
Smells very sweet;
On her head sunshine,
Rain at her feet.
Thanks to the sunshine,
Thanks to the rain,
Little White Lily
Is happy again.