WEEK 25 |
AT the close of the French and Indian War, the town of Detroit was garrisoned by about three hundred men, under command of Major Gladwyn. All appearance of conflict was at an end. The Indians seemed to be most friendly, and were allowed to approach the fort without interference, for the purpose of trade and conference.
Pontiac, however, a noted Indian Chief, conceived a plan for capturing the fort, and murdering the garrison. He approached with a band of Indians, and camped a short distance away. He sent word to the Governor, Major Gladwyn, that he would like to come into the fort to trade and to have a talk. The Governor replied that he would be glad to have so famous a Chief, and his warriors, pay him a visit; and he fixed the day for their reception. He had no idea that they meditated treachery, and was really anxious to secure their good-will and friendship.
The evening before the meeting, an Indian woman, who had been employed by Major Gladwyn to make him a pair of moccasins out of elk skin, brought them in. They were beautiful, and Major Gladwyn was so pleased with them that he thought he would like to give them to a friend. He therefore told the Indian woman to take the rest of the elk skin, and make him another pair.
He then paid what he owed her, and dismissed her. The woman went to the door, but no further. She held back as if she had something more to say. Upon being questioned why she did not hurry home, she hesitated a while, and then replied, "You have been very good to me. You have given me work and have paid me for it. I do not want to take away the elk skin, for I may never see you again to give you the shoes you want me to make."
The Governor insisted upon knowing why she felt this way, and, after much persuasion and many promises that no harm should ever befall her, she confided to him that Pontiac and his band had formed a plot to kill all the garrison, during the visit they were about to pay the following day; after which they planned to plunder the town.
She told the Governor also that the Indians had shortened their gun stocks, so as the better to conceal them under their blankets. At a given signal, they were to rise and fire, first upon the Governor himself, and then upon every soldier in sight. Other Indians in the town were to be armed likewise, and, at the sound of firing, were to begin a general murder and burning.
This was a terrible story, and the Governor began at once to make preparations for thwarting the plans of Pontiac and his Indian warriors. He sent the woman away, called out all the soldiers, and armed them heavily. He gave every man directions what to do, and told all the traders in town to be in readiness to repel any attack.
About ten o'clock, Pontiac arrived, his warriors covered with heavy blankets. The Governor and his officers received them cheerfully. Pontiac was surprised to see so many soldiers on guard, and gathered in the streets. So he asked why it was. The Governor replied, "I drill them every day to keep them ready for service." Pontiac was disconcerted by the number, but said nothing further.
He then began his speech of friendship and good will, saying he never intended to harm the English any more, but always expected to live in peace with them. He desired his warriors to have free access to Detroit, promising no danger to the people. He was about to hand the Governor a belt of wampum, which was the signal for attack, but Gladwyn turned upon him suddenly, and said,
"You are a traitor, and are not to be believed; see this evidence of your deceit!" He tore aside the Chief's blanket, revealing the shortened gun concealed beneath it. The soldiers thereupon seized the blankets of the other warriors, and laid bare all the guns ready for their foul design.
The Indians were thus taken by surprise, and gave no signal to their companions outside. The Governor told Pontiac that the English had means of discovering all their plots, and that everything they did was sure to be known at once. He then led the much astonished Chief and his band to the gates of the fort, and ordered them never again to return for trade or conference. He spared their lives, but the next time he promised there would be no mercy.
By evening all the Indians had been driven out of the town, and the gates were closed and guarded. Pontiac never discovered that Detroit was saved by the timely warning of a grateful woman, but ever afterwards he believed that the English had a way of knowing whatever plan he made for their destruction.
LIPPERTY-LIPPERTY-LIP scampered Peter Rabbit behind the tumble-down stone wall along one side of the Old Orchard. It was early in the morning, very early in the morning. In fact, jolly, bright Mr. Sun had hardly begun his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. It was nothing unusual for Peter to see jolly Mr. Sun get up in the morning. It would be more unusual for Peter not to see him, for you know Peter is a great hand to stay out all night and not go back to the dear Old Briar-patch, where his home is, until the hour when most folks are just getting out of bed.
Peter had been out all night this time, but he wasn't sleepy, not the least teeny, weeny bit. You see, sweet Mistress Spring had arrived, and there was so much happening on every side, and Peter was so afraid he would miss something, that he wouldn't have slept at all if he could have helped it. Peter had come over to the Old Orchard so early this morning to see if there had been any new arrivals the day before.
"Birds are funny creatures," said Peter, as he hopped over a low place in the old stone wall and was fairly in the Old Orchard.
"Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut!" cried a rather sharp scolding voice. "Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut! You don't know what you are talking about, Peter Rabbit. They are not funny creatures at all. They are the most sensible folks in all the wide world."
Peter cut a long hop short right in the middle, to sit up with shining eyes. "Oh, Jenny Wren, I'm so glad to see you! When did you arrive?" he cried.
"Mr. Wren and I have just arrived, and thank goodness we are here at last," replied Jenny Wren, fussing about, as only she can, in a branch above Peter. "I never was more thankful in my life to see a place than I am right this minute to see the Old Orchard once more. It seems ages and ages since we left it."
"Well, if you are so fond of it what did you leave it for?"
demanded Peter. "It is just as I said before—you birds are funny
creatures. You never stay put; at least a lot of you don't.
Sammy Jay and Tommy Tit the Chickadee and Drummer the Woodpecker
and a few others have a little sense; they don't go off on long,
foolish journeys. But the rest of
"Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut!" interrupted Jenny Wren. "You don't know what you are talking about, and no one sounds so silly as one who tries to talk about something he knows nothing about."
Peter chuckled. "That tongue of yours is just as sharp as ever," said he. "But just the same it is good to hear it. We certainly would miss it. I was beginning to be a little worried for fear something might have happened to you so that you wouldn't be back here this summer. You know me well enough, Jenny Wren, to know that you can't hurt me with your tongue, sharp as it is, so you may as well save your breath to tell me a few things I want to know. Now if you are as fond of the Old Orchard as you pretend to be, why did you ever leave it?"
Jenny Wren's bright eyes snapped. "Why do you eat?" she asked tartly.
"Because I'm hungry," replied Peter promptly.
"What would you eat if there were nothing to eat?" snapped Jenny.
"That's a silly question," retorted Peter.
"No more silly than asking me why I leave
the Old Orchard,"
replied Jenny. "Do give us birds credit for a little common
sense, Peter. We can't live without eating any more than you can,
and in winter there is no food at all here for most of us, so we
go where there is food. Those who are lucky enough to eat the
kinds of food that can be found here in winter stay here. They
are lucky. That's what they are—lucky.
This is the saucy little House Wren who builds near your home.
"Still what?" prompted Peter.
"I wonder sometimes if you folks who are at home all the time know just what a blessed place home is," replied Jenny. "It is only six months since we went south, but I said it seems ages, and it does. The best part of going away is coming home. I don't care if that does sound rather mixed; it is true just the same. It isn't home down there in the sunny South, even if we do spend as much time there as we do here. This is home, and there's no place like it! What's that, Mr. Wren? I haven't seen all the Great World? Perhaps I haven't, but I've seen enough of it, let me tell you that! Any one who travels a thousand miles twice a year as we do has a right to express an opinion, especially if they have used their eyes as I have mine. There is no place like home, and you needn't try to tease me by pretending that there is. My dear, I know you; you are just as tickled to be back here as I am."
"He sings as if he were," said Peter, for all the time Mr. Wren was singing with all his might.
Jenny Wren looked over at Mr. Wren fondly. "Isn't he a dear to sing to me like that? And isn't it a perfectly beautiful spring song?" said she. Then, without waiting for Peter to reply, her tongue rattled on. "I do wish he would be careful. Sometimes I am afraid he will overdo. Just look at him now! He is singing so hard that he is shaking all over. He always is that way. There is one thing true about us Wrens, and this is that when we do things we do them with all our might. When we work we work with all our might. When Mr. Wren sings he sings with all his might."
"And, when you scold you scold with all your might," interrupted Peter mischievously.
Jenny Wren opened her mouth for a sharp reply, but laughed instead. "I suppose I do scold a good deal," said she, "but if I didn't goodness knows who wouldn't impose on us. I can't bear to be imposed on."
"Did you have a pleasant journey up from the sunny South?" asked Peter.
"Fairly pleasant," replied Jenny. "We took it rather easily. Some birds hurry right through without stopping, but I should think they would be tired to death when they arrive. We rest whenever we are tired, and just follow along behind Mistress Spring, keeping far enough behind so that if she has to turn back we will not get caught by Jack Frost. It gives us time to get our new suits on the way. You know everybody expects you to have new things when you return home. How do you like my new suit, Peter?" Jenny bobbed and twisted and turned to show it off. It was plain to see that she was very proud of it.
"Very much," replied Peter. "I am very fond of brown. Brown and gray are my favorite colors." You know Peter's own coat is brown and gray.
"That is one of the most sensible things I have heard you say," chattered Jenny Wren. "The more I see of bright colors the better I like brown. It always is in good taste. It goes well with almost everything. It is neat and it is useful. If there is need of getting out of sight in a hurry you can do it if you wear brown. But if you wear bright colors it isn't so easy. I never envy anybody who happens to have brighter clothes than mine. I've seen dreadful things happen all because of wearing bright colors."
"What?" demanded Peter.
"I'd rather not talk about them," declared Jenny in a very emphatic way. " 'Way down where we spent the winter some of the feathered folks who live there all the year round wear the brightest and most beautiful suits I've ever seen. They are simply gorgeous. But I've noticed that in times of danger these are the folks dreadful things happen to. You see they simply can't get out of sight. For my part I would far rather be simply and neatly dressed and feel safe than to wear wonderful clothes and never know a minute's peace. Why, there are some families I know of which, because of their beautiful suits, have been so hunted by men that hardly any are left. But gracious, Peter Rabbit, I can't sit here all day talking to you! I must find out who else has arrived in the Old Orchard and must look my old house over to see if it is fit to live in."
Sleep, baby, sleep!
Thy father watches his sheep;
Thy mother is shaking the dreamland tree,
And down comes a little dream on thee.
Sleep, baby, sleep!
Sleep, baby, sleep!
The large stars are the sheep;
The little stars are the lambs, I guess;
And the gentle moon is the shepherdess.
Sleep, baby, sleep!
WEEK 25 |
THE story of the life of Saint Augustine is different from almost every other saint story, because it is taken from his own words and not from what has been said about him. He wrote a wonderful book called The Confessions of Saint Augustine, and in it we find all that he thought and did from the time he was a little child.
Augustine was born in 354 in the northern part of Africa, which then belonged to Rome, and was one of the richest countries in the world. His mother, Monica, was a Christian, but all her prayers and loving care could not keep her son from evil ways. He is often called the prodigal saint, because he wandered very far astray for many years into that far country of the youngest son in the parable; living in the midst of the sins and evil pleasures of the world, until he learned to say, "I will arise and go to my father."
And so Augustine's story comforts and helps us when we feel how easy it is to do wrong, and how we fail every day to do the good things we meant to do. There are so few days we can mark with a white stone because we have really tried to be good, and so many days we are glad to forget because of the black cross that stands against them. And yet, who knows but, if we fight on to the end, we too may be saints as Augustine was, for he won his crown through many failures.
The story, in Augustine's own words, begins from the time when he was a very little baby, not from what he remembers, but from what he had learned as he watched other babies in whom he saw a picture of himself.
First of all Augustine tells of the tiny baby, who does nothing but sleep and eat and cry. Then the baby begins to laugh a little when he is awake, and very soon shows clearly his likes and dislikes, and kicks and beats with his little hands when he does not get exactly what he wants. Then comes the time of learning to speak and walk.
After that Augustine begins really to remember things about himself. For who could ever forget the trial of first going to school? Oh, how Augustine hated it, and how hard it seemed to him! The lessons were so difficult and the masters were so strict, and he loved play so much better than work, and when he went back to school with lessons unlearned and work undone, the result was of course that he was whipped. It did seem so unjust to him, for he could not see the use of lessons, and the whippings were so sore. And in his book he tells us how it made him say his first prayer to God—"I used to ask Thee, though a very little boy, yet with no little earnestness, that I might not be whipped at school."
Augustine could not see the reason why he should be forced to stay indoors and learn dull, wearisome lessons, when he might be playing in the sunshine and learning new games, which seemed so much more worth knowing. How those games delighted him! He was always eager to be first, to win the victory and to be ahead of every one else. But then followed the whipping at school, and the little sore body crept away and sobbed out the prayer from his little sore soul.
He did not understand how it could all be meant for his good. We never quite understand that till we have left school far behind.
I wonder if we all wrote down just exactly what we felt and did when we were little children, whether we would have as many things to confess as Augustine had? There are some faults which no one is very much ashamed to own because they don't seem small and mean and pitiful. But who would like to confess to being greedy and stealing sweet things from the table when no one was looking? Who would care to own that he cheated at games, caring only to come out first whether he had played fairly or not? Yet this great saint tells us he remembers doing all these mean things and looks back upon them with great sorrow. He warns other little children to kill these faults at the very beginning, for he knows how strong they grow and how difficult to conquer, when the mean child grows into a man whom no one can trust.
As time went on and he grew to be a big boy he went further and further astray. When he was little he stole things to eat because he was greedy or because he wanted to bribe other little boys to sell him their toys, but now that he was older it was out of mere pride and boastfulness that he took what did not belong to him. He thought it grand and manly to show off to other boys how little he cared about doing wrong.
Augustine tells us that in a garden near his house there was a pear-tree covered with pears neither sweet nor large. But just because it belonged to some one else, and he thought it fun to steal, he and his companions went out one dark night and robbed the tree of all its fruit. They did not care to eat the pears, and after tasting one or two threw all the rest to the pigs. There was no particular pleasure in this he allows, and he would never have done it alone, but he wanted the other boys to admire him and to think he was afraid of nothing.
And so years went on and Augustine grew up into manhood, and it seemed as if his evil ways would break his mother's heart. Through all his sin and foolishness she loved him and prayed for him but he paid no heed to her, and wandered further away into that far country, wasting all he had in living wildly and forgetting the God he had prayed to when a child.
One day when Monica was weeping over this wandering son of hers and praying for him with all her heart, God sent a comforting dream to her which she never forgot. She thought she saw herself standing on a narrow wooden plank, and towards her there came a shining angel who smiled upon her as she stood there worn out with sorrow and weeping.
"Why art thou so sad, and wherefore dost thou weep these daily tears?" asked the angel.
"I weep over the ruin of my son," answered the poor mother.
Then the angel bade her cease from grieving and be at rest, and told her to look and see that on the same narrow plank of salvation where she was standing Augustine stood beside her.
His mother told Augustine of this dream, and though he only laughed at it, it seemed to sink into his heart and he remembered it many years after. And to Monica it came as a breath of hope, and comforted her through many dark days. For she was sure that God had sent this dream to tell her that in the end she and her son would stand together in His presence.
But though Monica believed this she never ceased to do all that was in her power to help Augustine. And once she went to a learned bishop and begged him to talk to Augustine and try what he could do. But the bishop was a wise man and knew that by speaking he would do more harm than good, for Augustine was proud of his unbelief and had no longing in himself for better things. But Monica did not see this and could only implore the bishop to try, until the good man grew vexed with her and said at last, "I cannot help thee in this matter, but go thy way in peace. It cannot be that a son of such tears should perish."
And these words comforted Monica, as the dream had done, and made her sure that in the end all would be right.
The good bishop spoke truly, for after many years had passed Augustine began to be weary of his own way and to look for a higher, better life. He longed to turn his face homeward, but now he had lost the way, and for long he sought it with bitter tears.
At last, one day, he felt he could bear the burden of his evil life no longer. His sins felt like a heavy chain dragging him down in the darkness, and there was no light to show him which way to turn. Taking a roll of the scriptures he wandered out into the garden and there, as he wept, he heard a voice close by chanting over and over again "Take, read." He thought it must be some game that children were playing, but he could remember none that had those words in it. And then he thought perhaps this was a voice from heaven in answer to his prayer, telling him what to do.
Eagerly he took the holy writings in his hand and opened them to read, and there he found words telling him what sort of life he should lead. In a moment it all seemed clear to him. His Father was waiting to receive and pardon him; so he arose and left the far country and all his evil habits and turned his face to God.
And then he tells how he went straight to his mother—the mother who had loved and believed in him through all those evil days, and he told her like a little child how sorry he was at last.
Then, indeed, was Monica's mourning turned into joy, and so at her life's end she and her son sat hand in hand, both looking up towards the dawning heaven; he with eyes ashamed but full of hope, and she with tears all washed away, and eyes that shone with more than earthly joy.
When his mother at last died and left him alone, Augustine did not grieve, for he knew the parting was not for long. All that was left for him to do now was to strive to make good those years he had wasted, and be more fit to meet her when God should call him home.
And so it came to pass that this great sinner became one of God's saints and did a wonderful work for Him in the world. He was made Bishop of Hippo, and was one of the most famous bishops the world has ever known.
There is one legend told of Augustine which has comforted many hearts when puzzling questions have arisen and it has seemed so difficult to understand all the Bible teaches us about our Father in heaven.
They say that once when this great father of the Church was walking along by the seashore, troubled and perplexed because he could not understand many things about God, he came upon a little child playing there alone. The child had digged a hole in the sand and was carefully filling it with water which he brought from the sea in a spoon. The bishop stopped and watched him for a while and then he asked:
"What art thou doing, my child?"
"I mean to empty the sea into my hole," answered the child, busily going backwards and forwards with his spoon.
"But that is impossible," said the bishop.
"Not more impossible than that thy human mind should understand the mind of God," said the child, gazing upwards at him with grave, sweet eyes.
And before the bishop could answer the child had vanished, and the saint knew that God had sent him as an answer to his troubled thoughts, and as a rebuke for his trying to understand the things that only God could know.
Once there were three little sisters.
The first sister had but one eye.
It was in the middle of her forehead.
She was called Little One Eye.
The second sister had two eyes.
She was called Little Two Eyes.
The third sister had three eyes.
One eye was in the middle of her forehead.
She was called Little Three Eyes.
Little Two Eyes was not happy.
One Eye and Three Eyes made fun of her.
They made her wear old clothes.
They gave her only crumbs to eat,
and she was always hungry.
They said, "You are not our sister.
You have two eyes.
You have no eye in the middle
of your forehead."
Little Two Eyes took care of the goat.
Every morning she drove it to the field.
She took crumbs with her to eat.
One morning she was very hungry,
and she began to cry.
She cried for a long time.
Then she heard a sweet voice,
and she looked up.
There stood a little old woman.
"Why are you crying, Little Two Eyes?"
"My sisters do not like me
because I have two eyes.
They make me wear old clothes,
and they give me only crumbs to eat.
I am hungry," said Little Two Eyes.
"Do not cry," said the old woman,
"you shall never be hungry again.
Say to your goat,
'Little goat, if you are able,
Pray deck out my little table.'
And a little table will stand before you
with good food on it.
You may eat all you want.
Then you must say,
'Little goat, when you are able,
Take away my little table.'
And the table will go away."
Then the old woman went away.
Little Two Eyes was very hungry.
So she said,
"Little goat, if you are able,
Pray deck out my little table."
Soon a little table stood before her
with a good dinner on it.
Little Two Eyes sat down
and ate all she wanted.
Then she said,
"Little goat, when you are able,
Take away my little table."
And the little table went away.
Little Two Eyes was very happy.
"That is a fine way to keep house,"
She did not eat the crumbs that night.
One day Three Eyes said,
"What does Little Two Eyes eat?
She does not eat our food."
"I will go to the field and see,"
said One Eye.
The next morning One Eye said,
"I will go to the field with you,
Little Two Eyes."
They drove the goat into the long grass.
Then Little Two Eyes said,
"Let us sit here, Little One Eye,
and I will sing to you."
So they sat down in the long grass.
And Little Two Eyes sang,
"Are you awake, Little One Eye?
Are you asleep, Little One Eye?
Are you awake?
Are you asleep?
Soon One Eye fell asleep.
Then Little Two Eyes said,
"Little goat, if you are able,
Pray deck out my little table."
And there stood the little table.
She ate a good dinner and said,
"Little goat, when you are able,
Take away my little table."
And the little table went away.
Then One Eye awoke.
"The sun has set," said Little Two Eyes.
"Come, let us go home."
WEEK 25 |
THERE once lived in Greece a very wise man whose name
One summer he built himself a house, but it was so small that his neighbors wondered how he could be content with it.
"What is the reason," said they, "that you, who are so great a man, should build such a little box as this for your dwelling house?"
"Indeed, there may be little reason," said he; "but, small as the place is, I shall think myself happy if I can fill even it with true friends."
GEN´GHIS KHAN was a great king and
He led his army into China and Persia, and he
One morning when he was home from the wars, he rode out into the woods to have a day's sport. Many of his friends were with him. They rode out gayly, carrying their bows and arrows. Behind them came the servants with the hounds.
It was a merry hunting party. The woods rang with their shouts and laughter. They expected to carry much game home in the evening.
On the king's wrist sat his favorite hawk; for in those days hawks were trained to hunt. At a word from their masters they would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey. If they chanced to see a deer or a rabbit, they would swoop down upon it swift as any arrow.
All day long
Toward evening they started for home. The king had often ridden through the woods, and he knew all the paths. So while the rest of the party took the nearest way, he went by a longer road through a valley between two mountains.
The day had been warm, and the king was very thirsty. His pet hawk had left his wrist and flown away. It would be sure to find its way home.
The king rode slowly along. He had once seen a spring of
clear water near this
At last, to his joy, he saw some water
The king leaped from his horse. He took a little silver cup from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops.
It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink.
All at once there was a
The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk.
The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.
The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch
This time he did not wait so long. When the cup was half full, he lifted it toward his mouth. But before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hands.
And now the king began to grow angry. He tried again; and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.
The king was now very angry indeed.
"How do you dare to act so?" he cried. "If I had you in my hands, I would wring your neck!"
Then he filled the cup again. But before he tried to drink, he drew his sword.
"Now, Sir Hawk," he said, "this is the last time."
He had hardly spoken, before the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup from his hand. But the king was looking for this. With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as it passed.
The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its master's feet.
"That is what you get for your pains," said
But when he looked for his cup he found that it had fallen between two rocks, where he could not reach it.
"At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring," he said to himself.
With that he began to climb the steep bank to the place
from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the
higher he climbed, the
At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of
water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost
filling it? It was a huge, dead snake of the most
The king stopped. He forgot his thirst. He thought only of the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him.
"The hawk saved my life!" he cried; "and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him."
"I have learned a sad lesson
When the waves made by the iceberg had calmed down again, Kesshoo paddled round among the boats.
He said, "I think we'd better land about a mile above here. There's a stream there, and perhaps we can get some salmon for our dinner."
He led the way in his kyak, and all the other boats followed. They kept out of the path of the iceberg, which had already floated some distance from the shore, and it was not long before they came to a little inlet.
Kesshoo paddled into it and up to the very end of it, where a beautiful stream of clear water came dashing down over the rocks into the sea.
The hills sloped suddenly down to the shore. The sun shone brightly on the green slopes, and the high cliffs behind shut off the cold north winds. It was a little piece of summer set right down in the valley.
"Oh, how beautiful!" everybody cried.
The boats were soon drawn up on the beach, the women and children tumbled out, and then began preparations for dinner.
The women got out their cooking pots, and Koolee set to work to make a fireplace out of three stones.
They had blubber and moss with them, but how could they get a fire? They had no matches. They had never even heard of a match.
The Angakok sat down on the beach. He had some little pieces of dry driftwood and some dried moss.
He held one end of a piece of driftwood in a sort of handle which he pressed against his lips. The other end was in a hollow spot in another piece of wood.
The Angakok rolled one driftwood stick round and round in the hollow spot of the other. He did this by means of a bow which he pulled from one side to the other. This made the stick whirl first one way, then back again. Soon a little smoke came curling up round the stick.
Koolee dropped some dried moss on the smoking spot. Suddenly there was a little blaze!
She fed the little flame with more moss, and then lighted the moss on the stones of the fireplace. She put a soapstone kettle filled with water over the fire, and soon the kettle was boiling.
While all this was going on down on the beach, the men took their salmon spears and went up the river, and Koko and the twins went with them.
The wives of the Angakok went to find moss to feed the fire. They brought back great armfuls of it, and put it beside the fireplace.
Koolee was the cook. She stayed on the beach and looked after the babies and the dogs, and the fire. Everything was ready for dinner, except the food!
Meanwhile the men had found a good place where there were big stones in the river. They stood on these stones with their spears in their hands. There were hundreds of salmon in the little stream. The salmon were going up to the little lake from which the river flowed.
When the fish leaped in the water, the men struck at them with their fish spears. There were so many fish, and the men were so skillful that they soon had plenty for dinner.
They strung them all on a walrus line and went back to the beach. Koolee popped as many as she could into her pot to cook, but the men were so hungry they ate theirs raw, and the twins and Koko had as many fishes' eyes to eat as they wanted, for once in their lives.
When everybody had eaten as much as he could possibly hold, the babies were rolled up in furs in the sand and went to sleep. The Angakok lay down on the sand in the sunshine with his hands over his stomach and was soon asleep, too.
The men sat in a little group near by, and Menie and Koko lay on their stomachs beside Kesshoo.
The women had gone a little farther up the beach. The air was still, except for the rippling sound of the water, the distant chatter of the women, the snores of the Angakok, and the buzzing of mosquitoes!
For quite a long time everybody rested. Menie and Koko didn't go to sleep. They were having too much fun. They played with shells and pebbles and watched the mosquitoes buzzing over the Angakok's face. There were a great many mosquitoes, and they seemed to like the Angakok. At last one settled on his nose, and bit and bit. Menie and Koko wanted to slap it, but, of course, they didn't dare. They just had to let it bite!
All of a sudden the Angakok woke up and slapped it himself. He slapped it harder than he intended to. He looked very much surprised and quite offended about it. He sat up and looked round for his wives, as if he thought perhaps they had something to do with it. But they were at the other end of the beach. The Angakok yawned and rubbed his nose, which was a good deal swollen.
Just then Kesshoo spoke, "I think we shall look a long time before we find a better spot than this to camp," he said. "Here are plenty of salmon. We can catch all we need to dry for winter use, right here. There must be deer farther up the fiord. What do you say to setting up the tents right here?"
When Kesshoo said anything, the others were pretty sure to agree, because Kesshoo was such a brave and skillful man that they trusted his judgment.
All the men said, "Yes, let us stay."
Then the Angakok said, "Yes, my children, let us stay! While you thought I was asleep here on the sand I was really in a trance. I thought it best to ask my Tornak about this spot, and whether we should be threatened here by any hidden danger. My Tornak says to stay!"
This settled the matter.
"Tell the women," said Kesshoo. Koko's father went over to the place where the women and children were.
"Get out the tent poles," he called to them. "Here's where we stay."
The women jumped up and ran to the woman boats. They got out the long narwhal tusks, and the skins, and set them down on the beach.
"Come with me," Koolee called to the twins. She gave them each a long tent pole to carry. She herself carried the longest pole of all, and a pile of skins.
Koolee led the way up the green slope to a level spot overlooking the stream and the bay. It was beside some high rocks, and there were smaller stones all about.
There was a flat stone that she used for the sleeping bench. When the poles were set up and securely fastened, she got the tent skins and covered the poles.
She put on one layer of skin with the hair inside and over that another covering of skin with the fur side out. She sewed the skins together over the entrance with leather thongs and left a flap for a door.
Then she placed stones around the edge of the tent covering to keep the wind from blowing it away. She piled the bed skins on the rock, and their summer house was ready.
The twins brought the musk ox hides, with all their treasures in them, and the cooking pots and knives and household things from the beach, while Koolee made the fireplace in the tent.
She made the fireplace by driving four sticks into the ground and lashing them together to make a framework.
She hung the cooking kettle by straps from the four corners. Under the kettle on a flat stone she placed the lamp. Then the stove was ready.
"We shall cook out of doors most of the time," she said to the twins, "but in rainy weather we shall need the lamp."
It was only a little while before there was a whole new village ready to live in, with plenty of fish and good fresh water right at hand.
Menie and Monnie were happy in their new home. They climbed about on the rock and found a beautiful cave to play in. They gathered flowers and shells and colored stones and brought them to their mother.
Then later they went for more fish with the men, and Kesshoo let them stand on the stones and try to spear the fish just the way the men did.
Menie caught one, and Koko caught one, but Monnie had no luck at all. "Anyway, I caught a codfish once," Monnie said, to comfort herself.
In two hours everything was as settled about the camp as if they had lived there a week, and every one was hungry again. Hungriness and sleepiness came just as regularly as if they had had nights and clocks both, to measure time by.
When the food was ready, Kesshoo called "Ujo, ujo," which meant "boiled meat," and everybody came running to the beach.
The men sat in one circle, the women and children in another. Pots of boiled fish were set in the middle of the circles, and they all dipped in with their fingers and took what they wanted.
When everybody had eaten, the children played on the beach. They skipped stones and danced and played ball, and their mothers played with them.
The men had their fun, too. They sat in their circle, told stories, and played games which weren't children's games, and the Angakok sang a song, beating time on a little drum. All the men sang the chorus.
By and by, Koolee saw Monnie's head nodding. So she said to the twins, "Come, children, let's go up to the tent."
She took their hands and led them up the slope.
"We're not sleepy," the twins declared.
"I am," said Koolee, "and I want you with me."
They went into the tent, which was not so light as it was out of doors in the bright sunlight. Then they undressed, crawled in among the deerskins, and were soon sound asleep, all three of them. After a while Kesshoo came up from the beach and went to sleep too.
Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into the here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.
Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.
What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.
What makes your cheek like a warm, white rose?
Something better than any one knows.
Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.
Where did you get that pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.
Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.
Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherub's wings.
How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.
But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought of you, and so I am here.
WEEK 25 |
Over the plain fled the heathen, and Roland could no more pursue them. His good horse lay dead beside him, and he, all weary and worn, bent to aid his dear friend Turpin. Quickly he unlaced his helmet, drew off his shirt of mail, now all stained and rent with many a sword-cut, and tearing his silken vest in stripes, he gently bound his wounds. Then tenderly lifting him in his arms he laid him on a grassy bank.
Kneeling beside the dying Archbishop, Roland whispered softly, "Father, our comrades, whom we loved, are all slain, but we should not leave them thus. Give me leave to go, and I will seek them and bring them here, that thou mayest bless them once more."
"Go, friend," said Turpin, "but return right soon. Thanks be to God, the field is ours. We have won it, thou and I alone."
So all alone Roland went across the dreadful field. One by one he found the Peers of France. One by one he tenderly raised them in his arms, and brought them to the Archbishop, laying them at his feet.
As Turpin gazed upon them lying there so still and quiet, tears started to his eyes and trickled down his pale worn cheeks. "My lords," he cried, raising his hand in blessing, "may the Lord of all glory receive your souls! In the flower-starred meadows of Paradise may ye live for ever!" And there on the battle-field he absolved them from all their sins, and signed them with the sign of the Cross.
'May the Lord of all glory receive your souls.'
Once again Roland returned to search the plain for his friend Oliver. At last, under a pine tree, by a wild-rose bush, he found his body. Very tenderly he lifted him, and faint and spent, staggering now beneath his burden, he carried him, and laid him with the other Peers, beside the Archbishop, so that he too might receive a last blessing.
"Fair Oliver, my comrade," said Roland, kneeling beside him, "to break a lance and shatter in pieces a shield, to counsel loyally and well, to punish traitors and cowards, never was there better knight on earth." Then, fainting, Roland fell forward on the ground.
When Turpin saw Roland swoon, he stretched out his hand and took his ivory horn from his neck. Through Roncesvalles there flowed a stream, and the Archbishop thought that if he could but reach it, he would bring from it some water to revive Roland.
With great difficulty he rose, and with trembling footsteps, staggering as he went, he dragged himself a little way. But his strength was gone. Soon he stumbled and fell upon his knees, unable to rise again. Turning his eyes to heaven he clasped his hands together, "May God take me to His paradise," he cried, and so fell forward dead. Thus died the Archbishop in the service of his Emperor. He who both by word and weapon had never ceased to war against the heathen was now silent and still for ever.
When Roland came to himself he saw Turpin kneel upon the ground a little way off and then fall forward dead. Again Roland rose, and going to the Archbishop crossed his beautiful white hands upon his breast. "Ah! Father," he said, "knight of noble lineage, I leave thee in the hands of the Most Glorious. Never man served Him more willingly. Nay, never since the Holy Apostles hath such a prophet been. To win man and to guard our faith thou wert ever ready. May the gates of Paradise be wide for thee."
Then lifting his hands to heaven, Roland called aloud, "Ride! oh Karl of France, ride quickly as thou mayest. In Roncesvalles there is great sorrow for thee. But the King Marsil too hath sorrow and loss, and for one of us there lie here forty of the heathen."
Then faint and weary Roland sank upon the grass. In one hand he clasped his ivory horn which he had taken again from the fingers of the dead Archbishop, in the other he held his sword Durindal. As he sat there still and quiet, a Saracen who had lain among the dead, pretending to be dead also, suddenly rose. Stealthily he crept towards Roland. Nearer and nearer he came, until when he was quite close, he stretched out his hand and seized Durindal. "Vanquished, he is vanquished, the nephew of Charlemagne is vanquished!" he shouted. "Behold his sword, which I will carry with me into Arabia!"
Stealthily he crept towards Roland
But even as the Saracen seized Durindal, Roland opened his eyes. "Thou art none of our company, I ween," he cried, and raising his ivory horn he brought it crashing down upon the head of the Saracen. Helmet and skull-bone cracked beneath the blow, and the heathen fell dead at Roland's feet.
"Coward," he cried, "who made thee so bold that thou didst dare to lay hand upon Roland? Whoever hears of it will deem thee a madman." Then looking sadly at his horn, he said, "For thee have I broken the mouthpiece of my horn, and the gold and gems about the rim are scattered on the ground."
And now, fearing that some one might again steal his sword when he was no longer able to resist, Roland gathered all his strength together. Taking Durindal in his hand he went to where a bare brown rock rose out of the plain. With mighty blows he dashed the blade against the rock again and again. But it would not break. The steel grated and screeched upon the stone, but no scratch or dint was seen upon the blade, no notch upon the edge. "Oh, Holy Mary, Mother of Heaven, come to my aid!" cried Roland. "Oh my good Durindal, what misfortune! When I am parted from thee I shall no longer be able to take care of thee. We together have gained many battles; we together have conquered many realms, which now own Charlemagne as King. As long as I live, thou shalt never be taken from me, and when I am dead thou shalt never belong to one who shall flee before the foe, thou, who hast so long been borne by a valiant warrior."
Again Roland struck upon the rock. Again the steel grated and screeched, but the sword would not break. When the knight saw that he could not break the blade he became very sad. "Oh my good Durindal," he cried, "thou who hast shone and flamed in the sunshine many a time and oft to my joy, now givest thou me pain and sorrow lest I leave thee in the hands of the heathen?"
A third time Roland struck upon the rock and beat the blade with all his might. But still it would not break. Neither notch nor scratch was to be seen upon the shining steel. Then softly and tenderly he made moan, "Oh, fair and holy, my Durindal, it is not meet that the heathen should possess thee. Thou shouldst ever be served by Christian hand, for within thy hilt is many a holy relic. Please Heaven thou shalt never fall into the hands of a coward." Thus spoke he to his sword, caressing it as some loved child.
Then, seeing that by no means could he break his sword, Roland threw himself upon the grass with his face to the foe, so that when Charlemagne and all his host arrived they might know that he had died a conqueror. Beneath him, so that he guarded them with his body, he laid his sword and horn.
Clasping his hands, he raised them to heaven. "Oh God," he cried, "I have sinned. Pardon me for all the wrong that I have done both in great things and in small. Pardon me for all that I have done from the hour of my birth until now when I am laid low."
So with hands clasped in prayer, the great warrior met his end. Through the quiet evening air was heard the rustle of angels' wings. And St. Raphael, St. Michael of Peril, and the angel Gabriel swept down upon the dreadful battle-field, and taking the soul of Roland, bore it to Paradise.
Roland was dead and bright angels had already carried his soul to heaven, when Charlemagne and all his host at last rode into the valley of Roncesvalles. What a dreadful sight was there! Not a path nor track, not a yard nor foot of ground but was covered with slain Franks and heathen lying side by side in death.
Charlemagne gazed upon the scene with grief and horror. "Where art thou, Roland?" he called. "The archbishop, where is he? Oliver, where art thou?" All the twelve peers he called by name. But none answered. The wind moaned over the field, fluttering here and there a fallen banner, but voice to answer there was none.
"Alas," sighed Charlemagne, "what sorrow is mine that I was not here ere this battle was fought!"
In and out of his long white beard his fingers twisted, and tears of grief and anger stood in his eyes. Behind him, rank upon rank, crowded his knights and barons full of wrath and sorrow. Not one among them but had lost a son or brother, a friend or comrade. For a time they stood dumb with grief and horror.
Then spoke Duke Naimes. Wise in counsel, brave in battle was he. "Look, Sire," he cried, "look where two leagues from us the dust arises upon the great highway. There is gathered the army of the heathen. Ride, Sire, ride and avenge our wrongs."
And so it was, for those who had fled from the battle-field were gathered together and were now crowding onward to Saragossa.
"Alas!" said Charlemagne, "they are already far away. Yet they have taken from me the very flower of France, so for the sake of right and honour I will do as thou desirest."
Then the Emperor called to him four of his chief barons. "Rest here," he said, "guard the field, the valleys and the hills. Leave the dead lying as they are, but watch well that neither lion nor any other savage beast come nigh to them. Neither shall any servant or squire touch them. I forbid ye to let man lay hand upon them till we return."
"Sire, we will do thy will," answered the four.
Then, leaving a thousand knights to be with them, Charlemagne sounded his war-trumpets, and the army set forth upon the pursuit of the heathen. Furiously they rode and fast, but already the foe was far. Anxiously the Emperor looked to the sun as it slowly went down toward the west. Night was at hand and the enemy still afar.
Then, alighting from his horse, Charlemagne kneeled upon the green grass. "Oh Lord, I pray Thee," he cried, "make the sun to stop. Say Thou to the night, 'wait.' Say Thou to the day, 'remain.' " And as the Emperor prayed, his guardian angel stooped down and whispered to him, "Ride onward, Charlemagne! Light shall not fail thee. Thou hast lost the flower of France. The Lord knoweth it right well. But thou canst now avenge thee upon the wicked. Ride!"
Hearing these words, Charlemagne sprang once more to horse and rode onward.
And truly a miracle was done for him. The sun stood motionless in the sky, the heathen fled, the Franks pursued, until in the Valley of Darkness they fell upon them and beat them with great slaughter. The heathen still fled, but the Franks surrounded them, closing every path, and in front flowed the river Ebro wide and deep. Across it there was no bridge, upon it no boat, no barge. Calling upon their gods Tervagan and Apollin and upon Mahomet to save them, the heathen threw themselves into the water. But there no safety they found. Many, weighted with their heavy armour, sank beneath the waves. Others, carried by the tide, were swept away, and all were drowned, King Marsil alone fleeing towards Saragossa.
When Charlemagne saw that all his enemies were slain, he leapt from his horse, and, kneeling upon the ground, gave thanks to Heaven. And even as he rose from his knees the sun went down and all the land was dim in twilight.
"Now is the hour of rest," said the Emperor. "It is too late to return to Roncesvalles, for our steeds are weary and exhausted. Take off their saddles and their bridles, and let them refresh themselves upon the field."
"Sire, it is well said," replied the Franks.
So the knights, leaping from their horses, took saddle and bridle from them, and let them wander free upon the green meadows by the river side. Then, being very weary, the Franks lay down upon the grass, all dressed as they were in their armour, and with their swords girded to their sides, and slept. So worn were they with battle and with grief, that none that night kept watch, but all alike slept.
The Emperor too slept upon the ground among his knights and barons. Like them he lay in his armour. And his good sword Joyeuse was girt about him.
The night was clear and the moon shone brightly. And Charlemagne, lying on the grass, thought bitterly of Roland and of Oliver, and of all the twelve Peers of France who lay dead upon the field of Roncesvalles. But at last, overcome with grief and weariness, he fell asleep.
As the Emperor slept, he dreamed. He thought he saw the sky grow black with thunder-clouds, then jagged lightning flashed and flamed, hail fell and wild winds howled. Such a storm the earth had never seen, and suddenly in all its fury it burst upon his army. Their lances were wrapped in flame, their shields of gold were melted, hauberks and helmets were crushed to pieces. Then bears and wolves from out the forests sprang upon the dismayed knights, devouring them. Monsters untold, serpents, fiery fiends, and more than thirty thousand griffins, all rushed upon the Franks with greedy, gaping jaws.
"Arm! Arm! Sire," they cried to him. And Charlemagne, in his dream, struggled to reach his knights. But something, he knew not what, held him bound and helpless. Then from out the depths of the forest a lion rushed upon him. It was a fierce, terrible, and proud beast. It seized upon the Emperor, and together they struggled, he fighting with his naked hands. Who would win, who would be beaten, none knew, for the dream passed and the Emperor still slept.
Again Charlemagne dreamed. He stood, he thought, upon the marble steps of his great palace of Aix holding a bear by a double chain. Suddenly out of the forest there came thirty other bears to the foot of the steps where Charlemagne stood. They all had tongues and spoke like men. "Give him back to us, Sire," they said, "he is our kinsman, and we must help him. It is not right that thou shouldest keep him so long from us."
Then from out the palace there came a hound. Bounding among the savage beasts he threw himself upon the largest of them. Over and over upon the grass they rolled, fighting terribly. Who would be the victor, who the vanquished? Charlemagne could not tell. The vision passed, and he slept till daybreak.
As the first dim light of dawn crept across the sky, Charlemagne awoke. Soon all the camp was astir, and before the sun rose high the knights were riding back over the wide roads to Roncesvalles.
When once again they reached the dreadful field, Charlemagne wandered over all the plain until he came where Roland lay. Then taking him in his arms he made great moan. "My friend, my Roland, who shall now lead my army? My nephew, beautiful and brave, my pride, my glory, all are gone. Alas the day! alas!" Thus with tears and cries he mourned his loss.
Then said one, "Sire, grieve not overmuch. Command rather that we search the plain and gather together all our men who have been slain by the heathen. Then let us bury them with chant, and song and solemn ceremony, as befits such heroes."
"Yea," said Charlemagne, "it is well said. Sound your trumpets!"
So the trumpets were sounded, and over all the field the Franks searched, gathering their slain brothers and comrades.
With the army there were many bishops, abbots and monks, and so with chant and hymn, with prayer and incense, the Franks were laid to rest. With great honour they were buried. Then, for they could do no more, their comrades left them.
Only the bodies of Roland, Oliver and Archbishop Turpin, they did not lay in Spanish ground. In three white marble coffins covered with silken cloths they were placed on chariots, ready to be carried back to the fair land of France.
PETER RABBIT'S eyes twinkled when Jenny Wren said that she must look her old house over to see if it was fit to live in. "I can save you that trouble," said he.
"What do you mean?" Jenny's voice was very sharp.
"Only that your old house is already occupied," replied Peter. "Bully the English Sparrow has been living in it for the last two months. In fact, he already has a good-sized family there."
CHIPPY THE CHIPPING SPARROW
The smallest of the family.
BULLY THE ENGLISH SPARROW
The common sparrow of the streets.
"What?" screamed Jenny and Mr. Wren together. Then without even saying good-by to Peter, they flew in a great rage to see if he had told them the truth. Presently he heard them scolding as fast as their tongues could go, and this is very fast indeed.
"Much good that will do them," chuckled Peter. "They will have to find a new house this year. All the sharp tongues in the world couldn't budge Bully the English sparrow. My, my, my, my, just hear that racket! I think I'll go over and see what is going on."
So Peter hopped to a place where he could get a good view of Jenny Wren's old home and still not be too far from the safety of the old stone wall. Jenny Wren's old home had been in a hole in one of the old apple-trees. Looking over to it, Peter could see Mrs. Bully sitting in the little round doorway and quite filling it. She was shrieking excitedly. Hopping and flitting from twig to twig close by were Jenny and Mr. Wren, their tails pointing almost straight up to the sky, and scolding as fast as they could make their tongues go. Flying savagely at one and then at the other, and almost drowning their voices with his own harsh cries, was Bully himself. He was perhaps one fourth larger than Mr. Wren, although he looked half again as big. But for the fact that his new spring suit was very dirty, due to his fondness for taking dust baths and the fact that he cares nothing about his personal appearance and takes no care of himself, he would have been a fairly good-looking fellow. His back was more or less of an ashy color with black and chestnut stripes. His wings were brown with a white bar on each. His throat and breast were black, and below that he was of a dirty white. The sides of his throat were white and the back of his neck chestnut.
By ruffling up his feathers and raising his wings slightly as he hopped about, he managed to make himself appear much bigger than he really was. He looked like a regular little fighting savage. The noise had brought all the other birds in the Old Orchard to see what was going on, and every one of them was screaming and urging Jenny and Mr. Wren to stand up for their rights. Not one of them had a good word for Bully and his wife. It certainly was a disgraceful neighborhood squabble.
Bully the English Sparrow is a born fighter. He never is happier than when he is in the midst of a fight or a fuss of some kind. The fact that all his neighbors were against him didn't bother Bully in the least.
Jenny and Mr. Wren are no cowards, but the two together were no match for Bully. In fact, Bully did not hesitate to fly fiercely at any of the onlookers who came near enough, not even when they were twice his own size. They could have driven him from the Old Orchard had they set out to, but just by his boldness and appearance he made them afraid to try.
All the time Mrs. Bully sat in the little round doorway, encouraging him. She knew that as long as she sat there it would be impossible for either Jenny or Mr. Wren to get in. Truth to tell, she was enjoying it all, for she is as quarrelsome and as fond of fighting as is Bully himself.
"You're a sneak! You're a robber! That's my house, and the sooner you get out of it the better!" shrieked Jenny Wren, jerking her tail with every word as she hopped about just out of reach of Bully.
"It may have been your house once, but it is mine now, you little snip-of-nothing!" cried Bully, rushing at her like a little fury. "Just try to put us out if you dare! You didn't make this house in the first place, and you deserted it when you went south last fall. It's mine now, and there isn't anybody in the Old Orchard who can put me out."
Peter Rabbit nodded. "He's right there," muttered Peter. "I don't like him and never will, but it is true that he has a perfect right to that house. People who go off and leave things for half a year shouldn't expect to find them just as they left them. My, my, my what a dreadful noise! Why don't they all get together and drive Bully and Mrs. Bully out of the Old Orchard? If they don't I'm afraid he will drive them out. No one likes to live with such quarrelsome neighbors. They don't belong over in this country, anyway, and we would be a lot better off if they were not here. But I must say I do have to admire their spunk."
All the time Bully was darting savagely at this one and that one and having a thoroughly good time, which is more than could be said of any one else, except Mrs. Bully.
"I'll teach you folks to know that I am in the Old Orchard to stay!" shrieked Bully. "If you don't like it, why don't you fight? I am not afraid of any of you or all of you together." This was boasting, plain boasting, but it was effective. He actually made the other birds believe it. Not one of them dared stand up to him and fight. They were content to call him a bully and all the bad names they could think of, but that did nothing to help Jenny and Mr. Wren recover their house. Calling another bad names never hurts him. Brave deeds and not brave words are what count.
How long that disgraceful squabble in the Old Orchard would have lasted had it not been for something which happened, no one knows. Right in the midst of it some one discovered Black Pussy, the cat who lives in Farmer Brown's house, stealing up through the Old Orchard, her tail twitching and her yellow eyes glaring eagerly. She had heard that dreadful racket and suspected that in the midst of such excitement she might have a chance to catch one of the feathered folks. You can always trust Black Pussy to be on hand at a time like that.
No sooner was she discovered than everything else was forgotten. With Bully in the lead, and Jenny and Mr. Wren close behind him, all the birds turned their attention to Black Pussy. She was the enemy of all, and they straightway forgot their own quarrel. Only Mrs. Bully remained where she was, in the little round doorway of her house. She intended to take no chances, but she added her voice to the general racket. How those birds did shriek and scream! They darted down almost into the face of Black Pussy, and none went nearer than Bully the English Sparrow and Jenny Wren.
Now Black Pussy hates to be the center of so much attention. She knew that, now she had been discovered, there wasn't a chance in the world for her to catch one of those Old Orchard folks. So, with tail still twitching angrily, she turned and, with such dignity as she could, left the Old Orchard. Clear to the edge of it the birds followed, shrieking, screaming, calling her bad names, and threatening to do all sorts of dreadful things to her, quite as if they really could.
When finally she disappeared towards Farmer Brown's barn, those angry voices changed. It was such a funny change that Peter Rabbit laughed right out. Instead of anger there was triumph in every note as everybody returned to attend to his own affairs. Jenny and Mr. Wren seemed to have forgotten all about Bully and his wife in their old house. They flew to another part of the Old Orchard, there to talk it all over and rest and get their breath. Peter Rabbit waited to see if they would not come over near enough to him for a little more gossip. But they didn't, and finally Peter started for his home in the dear Old Briar-patch. All the way there he chuckled as he thought of the spunky way in which Jenny and Mr. Wren had stood up for their rights.
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.
How skilfully she builds her cell;
How neat she spreads her wax,
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labor or of skill
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed;
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
WEEK 25 |
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON knew more about the birds of this country than any man had ever known before. He was born in the State of Louisiana. His father took him to France when he was a boy. He went to school in France.
The little John James was fond of stud-y-ing about wild animals. But most of all he wished to know about birds. Seeing that the boy liked such things, his father took pains to get birds and flowers for him.
While he was yet a boy at school, he began to gather birds and other animals for himself. He learned to skin and stuff them. But his stuffed birds did not please him. Their feathers did not look bright, like those of live birds. He wanted living birds to study.
His father told him that he could not keep so many birds alive. To please the boy he got him a book with pictures in it. Looking at these pictures made John James wish to draw. He thought that he could make pictures that would look like the live birds.
But when he tried to paint a picture of a bird, it looked worse than
his stuffed birds. The birds he drew were not much like real birds. He
called them a "family of cripples." As often as his birthday came
round, he made a
All this time he was learning to draw birds. But he was not willing to make pictures that were not just like the real birds. So when he grew to be a man he went to a great French painter whose name was David. David taught him to draw and paint things as they are.
Then he came back to this country, and lived awhile in Pennsylvania. Here his chief study was the wild creatures of the woods.
He gathered many eggs of birds. He made pictures of these eggs. He did not take birds' eggs to break up the nests. He was not cruel. He took only what he needed to study.
He would make two little holes in each egg. Then he would shake the egg, or stir it up with a little stick or straw, or a long pin. This would break up the inside of the egg. Then he would blow into one of the holes. That would blow the inside of the egg out through the other hole.
These egg shells he strung together by running strings through the
holes. He hung these strings of egg shells all over the walls of his
room. On the
He married a young lady, and brought her to live in this
He made up his mind to write a great book about American birds. He
meant to tell all about the birds in one book. Then in another book he
would print pictures of the birds, just as large as the birds
To do this he must travel many thousands of miles. He must live for years almost all of the time in the woods. He would have to find and shoot the birds, in order to make pictures of them. And he must see how the birds lived, and how they built their nests, so that he could tell all about them. It would take a great deal of work and trouble. But he was not afraid of trouble.
That was many years ago. Much of our country was then covered with
He lost his money and became poor. Sometimes he had to paint portraits to get money to live on. Once he turned dancing master for a while. But he did not give up his great idea. He still studied birds, and worked to make his books about American birds. His wife went to teaching to help make a living.
After years of hard work, he made paintings of nearly a thousand birds. That was almost enough for his books. But, while he was traveling, two large rats got into the box in which he kept his pictures. They cut up all his paintings with their teeth, and made a nest of the pieces. This almost broke his heart for a while. For many nights he could not sleep, because he had lost all his work.
But he did not give up. After some days he took his gun, and went into the woods. He said to himself, "I will begin over again. I can make better paintings than those that the rats spoiled." But it took him four long years and a half to find the birds, and make the pictures again.
He was so careful to have his drawings just like the birds, that he would measure them in every way. Thus he made his pictures just the size of the birds themselves.
At last the great books were printed. In this country, in France, and in England, people praised the wonderful books. They knew that Audubon was indeed a great man.
Audubon could shoot very well. A friend of his one day threw up his
cap in the air. He told
But the hunters who lived in the woods could shoot better. They would light a candle. Then one of the hunters would take his gun, and go a hundred steps away from the candle. He would then shoot at the candle. He would shoot so as to snuff it. He would not put out the candle. He would only cut off a bit of the wick with the bullet. But he would leave the candle burning.
Snuffing the Candle
Once Audubon came near being killed by some robbers. He stopped at a cabin where lived an old white woman. He found a young Indian in the house. The Indian had hurt himself with an arrow. He had come to the house to spend the night.
The old woman saw Audubon's fine gold watch. She asked him to let her look at it. He put it into her hands for a minute. Then the Indian passed by Audubon, and pinched him two or three times. That was to let him know that the woman was bad, and that she might rob him.
Audubon went and lay down with his hand on his gun. After a while two men came in. They were the sons of the old woman. Then the old woman sharpened a large knife. She told the young men to kill the Indian first, and then to kill Audubon and take his watch. She thought that Audubon was asleep. But he drew up his gun ready to fire.
Just then two hunters came to the cabin. Audubon told them what the robbers were going to do. They took the old woman and her sons, and tied their hands and feet. The Indian, though he was in pain from his hurt, danced for joy when he saw that the robbers were caught. The woman and her sons were afterward punished.
O NCE upon a time four young princes heard a story about a certain wonderful tree, called the Red-Bud Tree. No one of them had ever seen a Red-Bud Tree, and each prince wished to be the first to see one.
So the eldest prince asked the driver of the king's chariot to take him deep into the woods where this tree grew. It was still very early in the spring and the tree had no leaves, nor buds. It was black and bare like a dead tree. The prince could not understand why this was called a Red-Bud Tree, but he asked no questions.
Later in the spring, the next son went with the driver of the king's chariot to see the Red-Bud Tree. At this time it was covered with red buds.
The tree was all covered with green leaves when the third son went into the woods a little later to see it. He asked no questions about it, but he could see no reason for calling it the Red-Bud Tree.
Some time after this the youngest prince begged to be taken to see the Red-Bud Tree. By this time it was covered with little bean-pods.
When he came back from the woods he ran into the garden where his brothers were playing, crying, "I have seen the Red-Bud Tree."
"So have I," said the eldest prince. "It did not look like much of a tree to me," said he; "it looked like a dead tree. It was black and bare."
"What makes you say that?" said the second son. "The tree has hundreds of beautiful red buds. This is why it is called the Red-Bud Tree."
The third prince said: "Red buds, did you say? Why do you say it has red buds? It is covered with green leaves."
The prince who had seen the tree last laughed at his brothers, saying: "I have just seen that tree, and it is not like a dead tree. It has neither red buds nor green leaves on it. It is covered with little bean-pods."
The king heard them and waited until they stopped talking. Then he said: "My sons, you have all four seen the same tree, but each of you saw it at a different time of the year."
Three little kittens lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
O mother dear,
We sadly fear
That we have lost our mittens.
"Lost your mittens!
You naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie."
Mew, mew, mew.
"No, you shall have no pie."
Mew, mew, mew.
Three little kittens found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
O mother dear,
See here, see here!
See! we have found our mittens.
"What! found your mittens,
You little kittens,
Then you may have some pie."
Purr, purr, purr;
Oh, let us have the pie.
Purr, purr, purr.
The three little kittens put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie.
O mother dear,
We greatly fear
That we have soiled our mittens.
"Soiled your mittens!
You naughty kittens!"
Then they began to sigh,
Mew, mew, mew.
Then they began to sigh,
Mew, mew, mew.
The three little kittens washed their mittens.
And hung them out to dry.
O mother dear,
Look here, look here!
See! we have washed our mittens.
"Washed your mittens!
Oh, you're good kittens.
But I smell a rat close by.
"Hush! Hush!" Mew, mew,
We smell a rat near by.
Mew, mew, mew.