Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 26  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

The Story of Acadia

ONCE upon a time, in a land of the far north, which we now call Nova Scotia, there lived a company of French people whose ancestors, in [113] generations back, had come from France to make their homes in the New World.

They were very happy and peaceful, for they were industrious and frugal. In spring and summer there were bright flowers and abundance of fruits, while autumn brought a bounteous harvest. They desired nothing more than to be let alone in their homes, to pursue their daily labors undisturbed, and, on the Sabbath, to worship God in their own way. They called their country Acadia.

So the dark-eyed children wandered through the woods and orchards in the bright sunshine, and through the fields when the grain waved, and over the meadows where the cows tinkled their bells. The fathers of these boys and girls worked in the fields or in their shops; and built little houses by the side of the streams. Their mothers took care of the homes, nursed the babies, and made clothing for the winter.

All day long the colony was very busy. Not a soul who could do anything to help was idle; even the children, when not in school, and even after their hours of play, had their appointed tasks to do. At night the families would gather on the doorsteps, or in winter by the fires, and tell stories of their ancestors who lived in France.

Because their grandfathers and great-grandfathers [114] had left France to come to America, these people still loved the old country, and considered themselves to be French. They spoke French, dressed in French manner, and kept up the customs of the land in which their forefathers were born.

Thus, for a hundred and fifty years, lived these peasants in the happy valley of Acadia. There were about seven thousand of them, and to them the world, with its quarrels and wars, its rulers and conquests, was of no moment; they cared to have no part in it.

Times of trouble soon loomed up for the Acadians. The land in which they lived became an English possession, and the King of England was their lawful ruler. The simple Acadians, ignorant of dynasties and kings, and loving only the old France of their ancestors, refused to take the oath of allegiance to England.

"We are French people. Our great-grandfathers came from France. We speak French, and our priests tell us to love the land from which we sprang. We cannot forswear our beautiful France," they said to the British officers.

An English Governor was sent to rule over the country. The French and Indian War commenced, and it was feared the Acadians would send help to the French, even though they promised to be neutral.

[115] "We are French born, and therefore love the French people. You say we are now English subjects by treaty and cession of our land to England. Therefore, we pray you to let us be neutral; we do not want to enter this war, for we would not care to take sides against our King and our people," replied the Acadians to their new Governor.

But the English were not satisfied with this, and decided upon the harsh measure of moving all the Acadians away from their homes. On the first day of June, 1755, a ship sailed into the Bay of Fundy, and anchored within a few miles of Beau Sejour, the only military post held by French troops.

It took short work to dispose of this fort. In a few months the troops were ready to carry out the order of the English government. The people were again asked if they would take the oath of allegiance to the British King, and again they said, "No."

It was now August, and the waving fields of grain betokened the industry and thrift of the people. The cattle were lowing in the meadows, and the orchards were heavy with the ripening fruit. The green slopes were dotted with farm-houses, from whose chimneys came the curling smoke of busy housewives, and around whose [116] doors grew bright autumn flowers nodding to the laughter of little children.

A body of English troops encamped in the village of Grand Pré. An order was issued for all the men to gather at the church on a certain day, in order to hear a decree of the King. The bayonets of the soldiers showed plainly that the men had to obey.

Clad in homespun, wholly unarmed, and innocent of impending misfortune, the men came, at the sounding of the bell and the beating of the drums. Without, in the churchyard, were the women, sitting or standing among the graves of their dead.

Then there arrived the guard from the ship, and the soldiers entered the church. The door was closed, and the men waited in silence to hear the will of the King.

The Commander arose, and held up a paper bearing the royal seal. Then he spoke: "You are convened by his Majesty's orders to be told that all your lands, dwellings, and cattle of all kinds are forfeited to the Crown, and that you yourselves are to be transported from this Province to other lands. Even now you are prisoners."

The men listened to the voice of the Commander as if they did not hear him. They were silent for a moment in speechless wonder. Then, when they [117] understood the awful meaning of the order, louder and louder grew their wails of anger and sorrow. They rushed, with one impulse, to the door, but in vain; for the soldiers had barred the entrance and held it with their bayonets.

One man, a blacksmith, rose, with his arms uplifted and with his face flushed with passion. "Down with the tyrants of England! We have never sworn allegiance. Death to those foreign soldiers, who seize on our homes and our harvests!" he cried. But the merciless hand of a soldier smote him upon the mouth, and he was dragged to the pavement.

The order was carried out to the letter. In a few weeks, the population of the peaceful valley was launched upon the sea for unknown shores, while the lowing of cattle and the howling of dogs were the only sounds heard from the desolate homes that once were the scenes of peace and plenty.

Some of the people escaped to the woods and were not captured. The others were scattered among the English colonies all the way from Connecticut to Georgia. Many made their way back to Canada, while some few returned to their old homes in Acadia. A number found their way to Louisiana where, on the west bank of the Mississippi, their descendants may still be found.

 



Thornton Burgess

Jenny Has a Good Word for Some Sparrows

[15] THE morning after the fight between Jenny and Mr. Wren and Bully the English Sparrow found Peter Rabbit in the Old Orchard again. He was so curious to know what Jenny Wren would do for a house that nothing but some very great danger could have kept him away from there. Truth to tell, Peter was afraid that not being able to have their old house, Jenny and Mr. Wren would decide to leave the Old Orchard altogether. So it was with a great deal of relief that as he hopped over a low place in the old stone wall he heard Mr. Wren singing with all his might.

The song was coming from quite the other side of the Old Orchard from where Bully and Mrs. Bully had set up housekeeping. Peter hurried over. He found Mr. Wren right away, but at first saw nothing of Jenny. He was just about to ask after her when he caught sight of her with a tiny stick in her bill. She snapped her sharp little eyes at him, but for once her tongue was still. You see, she couldn't talk and carry that stick at the same time. Peter watched her [16] and saw her disappear in a little hole in a big branch of one of the old apple-trees. Hardly had she popped in than she popped out again. This time her mouth was free, and so was her tongue.

"You'd better stop singing and help me," she said to Mr. Wren sharply. Mr. Wren obediently stopped singing and began to hunt for a tiny little twig such as Jenny had taken into that hole.

"Well!" exclaimed Peter. "It didn't take you long to find a new house, did it?"

"Certainly not," snapped Jenny "We can't afford to sit around wasting time like some folks I know."

Peter grinned and looked a little foolish, but he didn't resent it. You see he was quite used to that sort of thing. "Aren't you afraid that Bully will try to drive you out of that house?" he ventured.

Jenny Wren's sharp little eyes snapped more than ever. "I'd like to see him try!" said she. "That doorway's too small for him to get more than his head in. And if he tries putting his head in while I'm inside, I'll peck his eyes out! She said this so fiercely that Peter laughed right out.

"I really believe you would," said he.

"I certainly would," she retorted. "Now I can't stop to talk to you, Peter Rabbit, because [17] I'm too busy. Mr. Wren, you ought to know that that stick is too big." Jenny snatched it out of Mr. Wren's mouth and dropped it on the ground, while Mr. Wren meekly went to hunt for another. Jenny joined him, and as Peter watched them he understood why Jenny is so often spoken of as a feathered busybody.

For some time Peter Rabbit watched Jenny and Mr. Wren carry sticks and straws into that little hole until it seemed to him they were trying to fill the whole inside of the tree. Just watching them made Peter positively tired. Mr. Wren would stop every now and then to sing, but Jenny didn't waste a minute. In spite of that she managed to talk just the same.

"I suppose Little Friend the Song Sparrow got here some time ago," said she.


[Illustration]

SWEET VOICE THE VESPER SPARROW

You can tell him from other Sparrows by the white outer feathers in his tail.



LITTLE FRIEND THE SONG SPARROW

His tinkling, happy song can never be mistaken.

Peter nodded. "Yes," said he. "I saw him only a day or two ago over by the Laughing Brook, and although he wouldn't say so, I'm sure that he has a nest and eggs already."

Jenny Wren jerked her tail and nodded her head vigorously. "I suppose so," said she. "He doesn't have to make as long a journey as we do, so he gets here sooner. Did you ever in your life see such a difference as there is between Little Friend and his cousin, Bully? Everybody loves Little Friend."

[18] Once more Peter nodded. "That's right," said he. "Everybody does love Little Friend. It makes me feel sort of all glad inside just to hear him sing. I guess it makes everybody feel that way. I wonder why we so seldom see him up here in the Old Orchard."

"Because he likes damp places with plenty of bushes better," replied Jenny Wren. "It wouldn't do for everybody to like the same kind of a place. He isn't a tree bird, anyway. He likes to be on or near the ground. You will never find his nest much above the ground, not more than a foot or two. Quite often it is on the ground. Of course I prefer Mr. Wren's song, but I must admit that Little Friend has one of the happiest songs of any one I know. Then, too, he is so modest, just like us Wrens."

Peter turned his head aside to hide a smile, for if there is anybody who delights in being both seen and heard it is Jenny Wren, while Little Friend the Song Sparrow is shy and retiring, content to make all the world glad with his song, but preferring to keep out of sight as much as possible.

Jenny chattered on as she hunted for some more material for her nest. "I suppose you've noticed, said she, "that he and his wife dress very much alike. They don't go in for bright colors any [19] more than we Wrens do. They show good taste. I like the little brown caps they wear, and the way their breasts and sides are streaked with brown. Then, too, they are such useful folks. It is a pity that that nuisance of a Bully doesn't learn something from them. I suppose they stay rather later than we do in the fall."

"Yes," replied Peter. "They don't go until Jack Frost makes them. I don't know of any one that we miss more than we do them."

"Speaking of the sparrow family, did you see anything of Whitethroat?" asked Jenny Wren, as she rested for a moment in the doorway of her new house and looked down at Peter Rabbit.

Peter's face brightened. "I should say I did!" he exclaimed. "He stopped for a few days on his way north. I only wish he would stay here all the time. But he seems to think there is no place like the Great Woods of the North. I could listen all day to his song. Do you know what he always seems to be saying?"

"What?" demanded Jenny.

"I live happ-i-ly, happ-i-ly, happ-i-ly," replied Peter. "I guess he must too, because he makes other people so happy."

Jenny nodded in her usual emphatic way. "I don't know him as well as I do some of the others," said she, "but when I have seen him down in [20] the South he always has appeared to me to be a perfect gentleman. He is social, too; he likes to travel with others."

"I've noticed that," said Peter. "He almost always has company when he passes through here. Some of those Sparrows are so much alike that it is hard for me to tell them apart, but I can always tell Whitethroat because he is one of the largest of the tribe and has such a lovely white throat. He really is handsome with his black and white cap and that bright yellow spot before each eye. I am told that he is very dearly loved up in the North where he makes his home. They say he sings all the time."

"I suppose Scratcher the Fox Sparrow has been along too," said Jenny. "He also started some time before we did."

"Yes," replied Peter. "He spent one night in the dear Old Briar-patch. He is fine looking too, the biggest of all the Sparrow tribe, and how  he can sing. The only thing I've got against him is the color of his coat. It always reminds me of Reddy Fox, and I don't like anything that reminds me of that fellow. When he visited us I discovered something about Scratcher which I don't believe you know."

"What?" demanded Jenny rather sharply.

"That when he scratches among the leaves he [21] uses both feet at once," cried Peter triumphantly. "It's funny to watch him."

"Pooh! I knew that," retorted Jenny Wren. "What do you suppose my eyes are made for? I thought you were going to tell me something I didn't know."

Peter looked disappointed.

 



Eliza Lee Follen

The New Moon

Dear mother, how pretty

The moon looks to-night!

She was never so cunning before;

The two little horns

Are so sharp and so bright,

I hope she'll not grow any more.


If I were up there,

With you and my friends,

I'd rock in it nicely you'd see;

I'd sit in the middle

And hold by both ends;

Oh, what a bright cradle 'twould be!


I would call to the stars

To keep out of the way,

Lest we should rock over their toes;

And then I would rock

Till the dawn of the day,

And see where the pretty moon goes.


And then we would stay

In the beautiful skies,

And through the bright clouds we would roam;

We would see the sun set,

And see the sun rise,

And on the next rainbow come home.

 


  WEEK 26  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Augustine of Canterbury

[62] IT was market-day in the great city of Rome, and the people were busy buying and selling and shouting, just as they do to-day with us, when market-day comes round. But there was a great difference between this Roman market and ours, a difference which would have seemed to us strange and cruel. For instead of sheep and oxen, or green vegetables from the country, they were selling men and boys, and even little maidens. There in the great market-place, with the sun beating down on their bare heads, they stood, looking with dull, despairing eyes, or with frightened glances at the crowds of buyers and sellers who were bargaining around.

Suddenly a hush fell on the crowd, and a stately figure was seen crossing the square. People stood aside and bent their heads in reverence as Gregory passed by, for he was Abbot of a great monastery in Rome, and was much beloved even by the rough Roman soldiers. He walked swiftly as if he did not care to linger in the market-place, for it grieved his gentle heart to see the suffering of the slaves when he could do nothing to help them.

But suddenly the crowd seemed to divide in front of him, and he stopped in wonder at the sight which [63] met his eyes. It was only a group of little fair-haired English boys who had been captured in the wars, and carried off to be sold as slaves in the Roman market. But Gregory had never seen anything like them before. All around were dark-eyed, swarthy-faced Italians, or darker-skinned slaves from Africa, and these boys with their sunny, golden hair, fair faces, and eyes blue as the sky overhead, seemed to him creatures from a different world.

"Whence come these children, and what name do they bear?" asked the bishop of a man who stood beside him.

"From a savage island far over the sea," he answered, "and men call them Angles."

Then the kind bishop looked with pitying eyes upon the beautiful children, and said to himself, as he turned to go: "They should be called not Angles, but angels."

The sight of those boys, so strong and fearless and beautiful, made Gregory think a great deal about the little island of Britain, far away across the sea, from whence they had come. He knew the people who lived there were a fierce, warlike race, having a strange religion of their own, and that very few of them were Christians. But he knew, too, that though they were hard to conquer, and difficult to teach, still they were a people worth teaching, and he longed to win them to the side of Christ and to show them how to serve the true God.

In those days people in Italy knew very little about that far-away island, and it seemed to them as difficult and dangerous to go to England as it would [64] seem to us if we were asked to go to the wildest part of Africa. True there were no lions nor tigers in England, but the tall, fair-haired giants who lived there were as savage as they were brave, and might be even worse to deal with than the wild beasts of other lands.

So it may well be believed that when Saint Gregory, who was now Pope of Rome, chose forty monks and sent them on a mission to this distant island, they were not very anxious to go, and set out in fear and trembling.

But at their head was one who knew no fear and who was willing to face any dangers in the service of his Master. This man was Augustine, a monk of Rome, whom Gregory had chosen to lead the mission, knowing that his courage would strengthen the others, and his wisdom would guide them aright.

It took many long days and nights of travel to reach the coast where they were to find a ship to carry them across to Britain, and before they had gone very far, the forty monks were inclined to turn back in despair. From every side they heard such terrible tales of the savage islanders they were going to meet, that their hearts, never very courageous, were filled with terror, and they refused to go further. Nothing that Augustine could say would persuade them to go on, and they would only agree that he should go back to Rome and bear their prayers to Saint Gregory, imploring him not to force them to face such horrible danger. If Augustine would do this they promised to wait his return and to do then whatever the Pope ordered.

[65] They had not to wait many days, for Augustine speedily brought back the Pope's answer to their request. His dark face glowed and his eyes shone with the light of victory, as he read to them the letter which Saint Gregory had sent. There was to be no thought of going back. Saint Gregory's words were few, but decisive. "It is better not to begin a work than to turn back as soon as danger threatens; therefore, my beloved sons, go forward by the help of our Lord."

So they obeyed, and with Augustine at their head once more set out, hardly hoping to escape the perils of the journey, and expecting, if they did arrive, to be speedily put to death by the savage islanders.

Perhaps the worst trial of all was when they set sail from France and saw the land fading away in the distance. In front there was nothing to be seen but angry waves and a cold, grey sky, and they seemed to be drifting away from the country of sunshine and safety into the dark region of uncertainty and danger. Nay, the island, whose very name was terrible to them, was nowhere to be seen, and seemed all the more horrible because it was wrapped in that mysterious grey mist.

But though they did not know it, they had really nothing to fear from the island people, for the queen of that part of England where they landed was a Christian, and had taught the King Ethelbert to show mercy and kindness. So when the company of cold, shivering monks came ashore they were met with a kind and courteous welcome, and instead of enemies they found friends.

[66] The king himself came to meet them, and he ordered the little band of foreigners to be brought before him, that he might learn their errand. He did not receive them in any hall or palace, but out in the open air, for it seemed safer there, in case these strangers should be workers of magic or witchcraft.

It must have been a strange scene when the forty monks, with Augustine at their head, walked in procession up from the beach to the broad green meadow where the king and his soldiers waited for them. The tall, fair-haired warriors who stood around, sword in hand, ready to defend their king, must have looked with surprise at these black-robed men with shaven heads and empty hands. They carried no weapons of any sort, and they seemed to bear no banner to tell men whence they came. Only the foremost monks carried on high a silver cross and the picture of a crucified Man, and instead of shouts and war-cries there was the sound of a melodious chant sung by many voices, yet seeming as if sung by one.

Then Augustine stood out from among the company of monks and waited for the king to speak.

"Who art thou, and from whence have come these men who are with thee?" asked the king. "Me-thinks thou comest in peace, else wouldst thou have carried more deadly weapons than a silver charm and a painted sign. I fain would know the reason of thy visit to this our island."

Slowly Augustine began to tell the story of their pilgrimage and the message they had brought. So [67] long he spoke that the sun began to sink and the twilight fell over the silent sea that lay stretched out beyond the meadow where they sat before his story was done.

The king bent forward, thoughtfully weighing the words he had heard, and looking into the faces of these strange messengers of peace. At length he spoke, and the weary monks and stalwart warriors listened eagerly to his words.

"Thou hast spoken well," he said to Augustine, "and it may be there is truth in what thou sayest. But a man does not change his religion in an hour. I will hear more of this. But meanwhile ye shall be well cared for, and all who choose may listen to your message."

Those were indeed welcome words to the company of poor tired monks, and when the kindly islanders, following their king's example, made them welcome and gave them food and shelter, they could well echo the words of Saint Gregory in the Roman market: "These are not Angles but angels."

And soon King Ethelbert gave the little company a house of their own, and allowed them to build up the ancient church at Canterbury, which had fallen into ruins. There they lived as simply and quietly as they had done in their convent in Italy, praying day and night for the souls of these heathen people, and teaching them, as much by their lives as their words, that it was good to serve the Lord Christ.

And before very long the people began to listen eagerly to their teaching, and the king himself was baptized with many others. The chant which the [68] monks had sung that first day of their landing no longer sounded strange and mysterious in the ears of the islanders, for they too learnt to sing the "Alleluia" and to praise God beneath the sign of the silver cross.

Now Augustine was very anxious that the Ancient British Church should join his party and that they should work together under the direction of Pope Gregory. But the British Christians were not sure if they might trust these strangers, and it was arranged that they should meet first, before making any plans.

The Ancient British Church had almost been driven out of the land, and there were but few of her priests left. They did not know whether they ought to join Augustine and his foreign monks, or strive to work on alone. In their perplexity they went to a holy hermit, and asked him what they should do.

"If this man comes from God, then follow him," said the hermit.

"But how can we know if he is of God?" asked the people.

The hermit thought a while and then said: "The true servant of God is ever humble and lowly of heart. Go to meet this man. If he rises and bids you welcome, then will you know that he bears Christ's yoke, and will lead you aright. But if he be proud and haughty, and treat you with scorn, never rising to welcome you, then see to it that ye have nought to do with him."

So the priests and bishops of the British Church [69] arranged to meet Augustine under a great oak-tree, which was called ever afterwards "Augustine's oak." They carefully planned that the foreign monks should arrive there first, in time to be seated, so that the hermit's test might be tried when they themselves should arrive.

Unhappily, Augustine did not think of rising to greet the British bishops, and they were very angry and would agree to nothing that he proposed, though he warned them solemnly that if they would not join their forces with his, they would sooner or later fall by the hand of their enemies.

Greatly disappointed Augustine returned to Canterbury and worked there for many years without help, until all who lived in that part of England learned to be Christians.

And Pope Gregory hearing of his labours was pleased with the work his missionary had done, and thought it fit that the humble monk should be rewarded with a post of honour. So he made Augustine Archbishop of Canterbury, the first archbishop that England had known. It was a simple ceremony then, with only the few faithful monks kneeling around the chair on which the archbishop was enthroned, but Augustine's keen, dark face shone with the light of victory and humble thankfulness, for it seemed a seal upon his work, a pledge that the island should never again turn back from the faith of Christ.

And could those dark eyes have looked forward and pierced the screen of many years, Augustine would have seen a goodly succession of archbishops [70] following in his footsteps, each in his turn sitting in that same simple old chair, placed now in Westminster Abbey and guarded as one of England's treasures.

And he would have seen, too, what would have cheered his heart more than all—a Christian England venerating the spot where his monastery once stood, and building upon it a college to his memory. And there he would have seen England's sons trained to become missionaries and to go out into all the world to preach the gospel, just as that little band of monks, with Augustine at their head, came to our island in those dark, far-off days.

But though Augustine could not know all this, his heart was filled with a great hope and a great love for the islanders who now seemed like his own children, and he was more than content to spend his life amongst them.

And when his work was ended, and the faithful soul gave up his charge, they buried him in the island which had once seemed to him a land of exile but which at last had come to mean even more to him than his own sunny land of Italy.

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

Little Two Eyes

Part 2 of 2


[Illustration]

[68]

The next morning, Three Eyes said,

"I will go to the field with you."


They drove the goat into the long grass.


"Let us sit down and I will sing to you,"

said Little Two Eyes, and she sang,

"Are you awake, Little Three Eyes?

Are you asleep, Little Two Eyes?

Awake, Little Three Eyes?

Asleep, Little Two Eyes?

Awake?

Asleep?"


[69]

Soon her two eyes went to sleep.

But the eye in the middle

of her forehead did not go to sleep.


Little Two Eyes did not know this.


So she called for her table.

She ate her dinner,

and the table went away.


Three Eyes looked out of her open eye,

and she saw all that Little Two Eyes did.


"Come, Little Three Eyes, the sun has set,

let us go home," said Little Two Eyes.

So they went home.


Three Eyes said to Little One Eye,

"I know why she does not eat."

And she told her sister all about the goat

and the table.

So they went to the field

and killed the goat.


[70]

Then Little Two Eyes sat down and cried.

Soon the little old woman stood by her.

"Little Two Eyes, why do you cry?"

she said.


"I cry because my goat is killed,"

said Little Two Eyes.


The old woman said,

"Go home and get the heart of the goat.

Then plant it by the house."

Little Two Eyes ran to her sisters and said,

"Please give me the heart of the goat."


Her sisters laughed and said,

"You may have it.

We do not want it."


Little Two Eyes took the heart of the goat,

and she planted it in the ground.

That night a tree grew up from the heart,

and it was full of golden apples.


[71]

"How did the tree get there?" said One Eye.

"How could a tree grow up in one night?"

said Three Eyes.


But Little Two Eyes knew all about it.

When One Eye climbed the tree,

the apples sprang away from her.


"I can see better than you,

let me try," said Three Eyes.

So she climbed the tree,

but the apples sprang from her, too.


"Let me try," said Little Two Eyes.


"What can you do with two eyes?

This tree is not for you," said her sisters.


But Little Two Eyes climbed the tree,

and the apples fell into her hands.


"I can get them now," said Three Eyes.


"So can I," said One Eye.


[Illustration]

[72]

Just then a prince rode up.

The sisters said to Little Two Eyes,

"Run away and hide.

The prince must not see you;

you have two eyes."

And they hid her under a keg.


The prince saw the sisters and the tree

with the golden apples.

"Please give me a golden apple," said he.


[75]

"We will get some for you,"

said the sisters.


So they climbed the tree, but the

branches sprang away from them.


"This tree is not yours," said the prince,

"you cannot get an apple."

"The tree is ours, it is ours,"

they said again and again.


Then Little Two Eyes rolled a golden

apple to the prince.


"Where did this come from?" said he.

Then she rolled another apple to him.

"I must see where they come from,"

said the prince.

He looked under the keg,

and there sat Little Two Eyes.

"Can you pick some apples for me?"

said the prince.


[74]

"Yes, I can," she said.

Then Little Two Eyes climbed the tree.


She got the golden apples

and gave them to the prince.

He looked at her and said,

"What can I do for you?"


"Take me away with you," she said,

"I am not happy here."

So the prince took her on his horse,

and they rode away.

He took her to his father's castle.


The next morning Little Two Eyes

looked out of the window.

There stood the tree

with the golden apples.

Little Two Eyes was very happy.


— Grimm's Fairy Tales.

 



Eugene Field

The Rock-a-By Lady

The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby Street

Comes stealing; comes creeping;

The poppies they hang from her head to her feet,

And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet—

She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet,

When she findeth you sleeping!


There is one little dream of a beautiful drum—

"Rub-a-dub!" it goeth;

There is one little dream of a big sugarplum,

And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come

Of popguns that bang, and tin tops that hum,

And a trumpet that bloweth!


And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams

With laughter and singing;

And boats go a-floating on silvery streams,

And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty gleams,

And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams,

The fairies go winging!


Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet?

They'll come to you sleeping;

So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet,

For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby Street,

With poppies that hang from her head to her feet,

Comes stealing; comes creeping.

 


  WEEK 26  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

Doctor Goldsmith

THERE was once a kind man whose name was Oliver Goldsmith. He wrote many delightful books, some of which you will read when you are older.

He had a gentle heart. He was always ready to help others and to share with them anything that he had. He gave away so much to the poor that he was always poor himself.

He was sometimes called Doctor Goldsmith; for he had studied to be a physician.

One day a poor woman asked Doctor Goldsmith to go and see her husband, who was sick and could not eat.

Goldsmith did so. He found that the family was in great need. The man had not had work for a long time. He was not sick, but in distress; and, as for eating, there was no food in the house.

"Call at my room this evening," said Goldsmith [119] to the woman, "and I will give you some medicine for your husband."

In the evening the woman called. Goldsmith gave her a little paper box that was very heavy.

"Here is the medicine," he said. "Use it faithfully, and I think it will do your husband a great deal of good. But don't open the box until you reach home."

"What are the directions for taking it?" asked the woman.

"You will find them inside of the box," he answered.

When the woman reached her home, she sat down by her husband's side, and they opened the box. What do you think they found in it?

It was full of pieces of money. And on the top were the directions: —

"TO BE TAKEN AS OFTEN AS NECESSITY REQUIRES."

Goldsmith had given them all the ready money that he had.

 



James Baldwin

The Kingdoms

THERE was once a king of Prussia whose name was Frederick William.

On a fine morning in June he went out alone to walk in the green woods. He was tired of the [120] noise of the city, and he was glad to get away from it.

So, as he walked among the trees, he often stopped to listen to the singing birds, or to look at the wild flowers that grew on every side. Now and then he stooped to pluck a violet, or a primrose, or a yellow buttercup. Soon his hands were full of pretty blossoms.

After a while he came to a little meadow in the midst of the wood. Some children were playing there. They were running here and there, and gathering the cowslips that were blooming among the grass.

It made the king glad to see the happy children, and hear their merry voices. He stood still for some time, and watched them as they played.

Then he called them around him, and all sat down together in the pleasant shade. The children did not know who the strange gentleman was; but they liked his kind face and gentle manners.

"Now, my little folks," said the king, "I want to ask you some questions, and the child who gives the best answer shall have a prize."

Then he held up an orange so that all the children could see.


[Illustration]

"You know that we all live in the kingdom of [121] Prussia," he said; "but tell me, to what kingdom does this orange belong?"

The children were puzzled. They looked at one [122] another, and sat very still for a little while. Then a brave, bright boy spoke up and said,—

"It belongs to the vegetable kingdom, sir."

"Why so, my lad?" asked the king.

"It is the fruit of a plant, and all plants belong to that kingdom," said the boy.

The king was pleased. "You are quite right," he said; "and you shall have the orange for your prize."

He tossed it gayly to the boy. "Catch it if you can!" he said.

Then he took a yellow gold piece from his pocket, and held it up so that it glittered in the sunlight.

"Now to what kingdom does this belong?" he asked.

Another bright boy answered quickly, "To the mineral kingdom, sir! All metals belong to that kingdom."

"That is a good answer," said the king. "The gold piece is your prize."

The children were delighted. With eager faces they waited to hear what the stranger would say next.

"I will ask you only one more question," said the king, "and it is an easy one." Then he stood up, and said, "Tell me, my little folks, to what kingdom do I belong?"

[123] The bright boys were puzzled now. Some thought of saying, "To the kingdom of Prussia." Some wanted to say, "To the animal kingdom." But they were a little afraid, and all kept still.

At last a tiny blue-eyed child looked up into the king's smiling face, and said in her simple way,—

"I think to the kingdom of heaven."

King Frederick William stooped down and lifted the little maiden in his arms. Tears were in his eyes as he kissed her, and said, "So be it, my child! So be it."

 



Lucy Fitch Perkins

The Summer Day

I

[174]

T HE summer days flew by, only one really shouldn't say days at all, but summer day.  For three whole bright months it was just one daylight picnic all the time!

The people ate when they were hungry and slept when they were sleepy. The men caught hundreds of salmon, and the women split them open and dried them on the rocks for winter use. The children played all day long.

The men hunted deer and musk ox and bears up in the hills and brought them back to camp. They hunted game both by land and by sea. There was so much to eat that everybody grew fatter, and as for the Angakok, he got so very fat that Koko said to Menie, "I don't believe we can [175] ever get the Angakok home in the woman boat! He's so heavy he'll sink it! I think it would be a good plan to tie a string to him and tow him back like a walrus!"


[Illustration]

"Yes," said Menie. "Maybe he would shrink some if we soaked him well. Don't you know how water shrinks the walrus hide cords that we tie around things when we want them to hold tight together?"

It was lucky for Menie and Koko that nobody heard them say that about the Angakok. It would have been thought very disrespectful.

[176] When the game grew scarce, or they got tired of camping in one spot everything was piled into their boats again, and away they went up the coast until they found another place they liked better. Then they would set up their tents again.

Sometimes they came to other camps and had a good time meeting new people and making new friends.

At last, late in August, the sun slipped down below the edge of the World again. It stayed just long enough to fill the sky with wonderful red and gold sunset clouds, then it came up again. The next night there was a little time between the sunset sky and the lovely colors of the sunrise.

The next night was longer still. Each day grew colder and colder. Still the people lingered in their tents. They did not like to think the pleasant summer was over, and the long night near.

But at last Kesshoo said, "I think it is time to go back to winter quarters. The nights are fast growing longer. The snow may be upon us any day now. I don't [177] know of a better place to settle than the village where we spent last winter. The igloos are all built there ready to use again. What do you say? Shall we go back there?"

"Yes, let us go back," they all said.

II

The very next day they started. The boats were heavily loaded with dried fish, there were great piles of new skins heaped in the woman boats, and every kyak towed a seal.

For days they traveled along the coast, stopping only for rest and food. The twins and Koko sat in the bottom of the boat with the dogs, and listened to the regular dip of the paddles, to the cries of the sea birds as they flew away toward the south, and to the chatter of the women. These were almost the only sounds they heard, for the silence of the Great White World was all about them. They talked together in low voices and planned all the things they would do when the long night was really upon them once more.

[178] When at last they came in sight of the Big Rock, they felt as if they had reached home after a very long journey.

Koko stood up in the boat and pointed to it. "See," he cried, "there's the Big Rock where we found the bear!"

"Yes," Monnie said, "and where we slid downhill."

"And I see where I got caught on the ice raft," Menie shouted.

"Sit down," said Koko's mother. "You'll tip the boat and spill us all into the water."

Koko sat down; the boat glided along through the water, nearer and nearer, until at last they came round the Big Rock, and there, just as if they had not been away at all, lay the whole village of five igloos, looking as if it had gone to sleep in the sunshine.

The big boats waited until the men had all paddled to the shore and beached their kyaks, then they were drawn carefully up on to the sand, and every one got out. The beach at once became a very busy place. The men pulled the walruses and seals out of the water and took care of the boats, [179] while the women set up the tents, cut the meat into big pieces for storage, and carried all their belongings to the tents.

Although the village looked just the same, other things looked quite different. Nip and Tup were big dogs by this time. They ran away up the beach with Tooky and the other dogs the moment they were out of the boats. They did not stay with the twins all the time now, as they used to do. The twins were much bigger, too. Koolee looked at them as they helped her carry the tent-skins up from the beach, and said to them, "My goodness, I must make my needles fly! Winter is upon us and your clothes are getting too small for you! You must have new things right away." The twins thought this was a very good idea. They liked new clothes as well as any one in the world.

Koolee set up the tent beside their old igloo, and there they lived while the men of the village went out every day in their kyaks for seal and walrus, or back into the hills after other game to store away for food during the long winter. The women scraped [180] and cured the skins and cut up the meat and packed it away as fast as the men could kill the game and bring it home.

Each day it grew colder, and each night was longer than the last, until one short September day there came a great snow storm! It snowed all day long, and that night the wind blew so hard that Koolee and the twins nearly froze even among the fur covers of their bed, and when morning came they found themselves nearly buried under a great drift.

That very day Koolee put the stones over the roof of the igloo once more, and the twins helped her fill in the chinks with moss and earth, and cover it with a heavy layer of snow, patted down with the snow shovel, until everything was snug and tight again.

Then they moved in. By the next day all the igloos in the village were in use, and when night came their windows shone with the light of the lamps, just as they had so many months before.

Nip and Tup slept outside with Tooky now, in a snow house which Kesshoo had [181] built for them. Menie and Monnie missed them, but Koolee said, "You are getting so big now you must begin to do something besides play with puppies. Monnie must learn to sew, and Menie must help Father with feeding the dogs and looking after their harnesses, and driving the sledge."

"Maybe Father will teach you both to carve fine things out of ivory this winter! Monnie will soon need her own thimble and needles. They must be made. And she can help me clean the skins and suck out the blubber, and prepare them for being made into clothes!"

"Dear me! What a lot there is to do to keep clothes on our backs and food in our mouths! The Giants are always waiting before the igloo and we must work very hard to keep them outside!"

She did not mean real giants. She meant that Hunger and Want are always waiting to seize the Eskimo who does not work all the time to supply food for himself and his family. She meant that Menie must learn to be a brave strong hunter, afraid of nothing [182] on sea or land, and that Monnie must learn to do a woman's work well, or else the time would come when they would be without food or shelter or clothing, and the fierce cold would soon make an end of them.

It was lucky they got into the warm igloo just when they did, for the winter had come to stay. The bay froze over far out from shore, and the white snow covered the igloos so completely that if it had not been for the windows, and for people moving about out of doors, no one could have told that there was any village there.

The Last Day of all was so short that Menie and Monnie and Koko saw the whole of it from the top of the Big Rock! They had gone up there in the gray twilight that comes before the sunrise to build a snow house to play in. They had been there only a little while when the sky grew all rosy just over the Edge of the World. The color grew stronger and stronger until the little stars were all drowned in it and then up came the great round red face of the sun itself! The children watched it as it [183] peered over the horizon, threw long blue shadows behind them across the snow, and then sank slowly, slowly down again, leaving only the flaming colors in the sky to mark the place where it had been. They waved their hands as it slipped out of sight. "Good bye, old Sun," they shouted, "and good bye, Shadow, too! We shall be glad to see you both when you come back again."


[Illustration]

Then, because the wind blew very cold and they could see a snow cloud coming toward them from the Great White World where the Giants lived, the children ran together down the snowy slope toward the bright windows of their homes.


[Illustration]

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

The Rain

The rain is raining all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrellas here,

And on the ships at sea.

 


  WEEK 26  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

The Coming of the Emir of Babylon

[90] King Marsil fled from the battlefield, and thus fleeing, at last he reached Saragossa. There in the shadow of an olive tree by his palace gateway, he lighted down. His servants crowded round him in sad astonishment to see their master return in such sorry plight. His broken sword, his shattered helmet and hauberk he gave to them. Then he flung himself down upon the grass, hiding his face.

When the Queen Bramimonde heard that her lord had returned, she hurried to him. Then as she listened to his woful tale, and saw his shattered wrist, from which the right hand was gone, she wept aloud and made great moan. With terrible curses she [91] cursed Charlemagne and France, she cursed her own heathen gods and idols. Then she threw the image of Apollin down, taking from him his crown and sceptre and trampling him under foot. "Oh, wicked god," she cried, "why hast thou brought such shame upon us? Why hast thou allowed our king to be defeated? Thou rewardest but ill those who serve thee."

The images of Tervagan and Mahomet too she caused to be beaten and broken in pieces, and flung to the pigs and dogs. Never were idols treated with such scorn.

Then Queen Bramimonde beat upon her breast; she tore her hair and cried aloud to all the four corners of the earth. As for King Marsil, he went into his great vaulted room and lay upon his couch and would utter no word to any man, such was his grief.

But even as Queen Bramimonde cried aloud and King Marsil lay silent upon his couch, a mighty fleet came sailing up the Ebro.

[92] Seven years before, when Charlemagne had first come to Spain, King Marsil had sent a message to the old Emir of Babylon, begging him for aid. But Babylon is far, and the Emir Baligant had to gather his knights and barons from forty kingdoms, so the years passed and no help came. But now at last, after long delay, he had reached the land of Spain, and was even now sailing up the Ebro with all his mighty men of war. By day the river for miles was gay with gilded prows and many-coloured pennons. By night thousands of lanterns glittered from the masts, and swung and flickered in the summer breeze, so that the country all around was lighted up with starry flame.

At length the Emir landed. A white silk carpet was thrown upon the ground, in the shade of a laurel tree an ivory chair was set and there the Emir took his seat. Around him stood seventeen kings together with knights and barons in such numbers that no man might count them.

"Listen, valiant warriors," cried Baligant. [93] "I mean to bring this Charlemagne, of whom we hear such wondrous tales, so low that he shall not even dare to eat unless I give him leave. Too long hath he been making war in Spain, and I will carry battle and the sword into his fair France. I shall never cease from warring until I see him at my feet, or dead." And thus insolently boasting, Baligant struck his knee with his glove.

Then the Emir called two of his knights. "Go to Saragossa," he said, "and tell King Marsil that I have come to help him. And what battle there will be when I meet Charlemagne! Give Marsil this glove embroidered with gold; put it on his right hand. Give him, too, this golden mace, and say to him that so soon as he hath come to do me homage I will march against Charlemagne. And if the Emperor will not kneel at my feet asking mercy, if he will not deny the Christian faith, I will tear his crown from his head!"

" 'Tis well said!" cried the heathen.

[94] "And now to horse, barons! to horse," cried Baligant. "One of ye shall carry the glove, the other the mace. Haste ye!"

"Thy will shall be done," answered the barons and, leaping upon their horses, they sped towards Saragossa.

But as they came near to the city they heard a great noise. It was the heathen folk who wept, and cried and made great moan, cursing their gods Tervagan and Apollin and Mahomet, who had done nought for them. "Miserable beings that we are," they cried, "what will become of us? Shame and misfortune have fallen upon us. We have lost our king, for Roland hath cut off his right hand. His fair son too is dead. All Spain is in the hands of the Franks."

In great astonishment the messengers of Baligant drew rein and lighted down at the steps of the palace. Then mounting the stairs, they entered the great vaulted room where the King lay silent and the Queen wept and mourned.

"May Apollin, and Tervagan and Maho- [95] met our master save the King and guard the Queen," they said in greeting, bowing low.

"What folly do ye speak!" cried Bramimonde, "our gods are only cowards. At Roncesvalles they have done vile deeds. They have left all our warriors to die. They have forsaken mine own lord, the King Marsil, his right hand hath been cut from his arm, and soon all Spain will be in the power of Charlemagne. Oh, misery! Oh, sorrow! What will become of me. Oh, woe! woe! is there none to slay me?"

"Hush, lady, cease thy weeping and thy moan," said one of the messengers. "We have come from the Emir Baligant, and he will be the deliverer of Marsil. Here is the glove and mace which he hath sent. There on the Ebro we have four thousand vessels, barques and rapid galleys, and who shall count our ships of war? The Emir is rich, he is powerful. He will follow and attack Charlemagne even to the borders of France. He will do battle until the proud [96] Emperor kneels at his feet craving mercy, or until he die."

But the Queen shook her head. "The task is not thus light as ye deem it," she said. "Charlemagne will die rather than flee or beg for mercy. All the kings of the earth are as children to him. He fears no living man."

"Cease thy wailing," said King Marsil to the Queen. Then turning to the messengers, "It is I who shall speak," he said. "You see me now in deepest grief. I have neither son nor daughter to inherit the kingdom. Yesterday I had an only son, but Roland hath slain him. Say to your lord that he shall come to me, and that I will yield to him the whole of Spain, and lay my hand in his, and be his vassal, so that he fight Charlemagne and conquer him."

"It is well," said the messengers.

Then King Marsil told them all that had befallen, from the time in which Blancandrin had set forth until the moment in which he spoke to them. "Now," he ended, "the [97] Emperor is not seven leagues from here. Say to the Emir that he would do well to prepare at once for battle. The Franks are even now upon their homeward way, but they will not refuse to fight."

Then taking their farewell and bowing low, the messengers departed. Quickly they mounted upon their horses, and full of wonder at all that they had heard, they sped back to the Emir.

"Ah, well," said he, when he saw them return alone, "where is Marsil, whom I bade ye bring unto me?"

"He is wounded unto death," they replied. Then they told Baligant all the tale that they had heard. "And if thou help the King now," they ended, "he swears to give thee the whole of Spain, and he will put his hand within thy hands and be thy man."

The Emir bent his head in thought. Then rising from his ivory chair he looked proudly round upon his barons. Joy was in his heart and a smile of insolent pride upon his lips. "Make no tarrying, my lords," he cried. [98] "Leave your ships, mount your horses and ride forward. This old Charlemagne shall not escape us. From to-day is Marsil avenged. For that he hath lost, I will give unto him the Emperor's good right arm."

Then Baligant called one of his greatest barons. "I give thee command of all the army," he said, "until I return." And mounting upon his horse, with but four dukes beside him, he set out for Saragossa. There he lighted down at the marble steps of the palace and climbed to the chamber where Marsil lay.

When Bramimonde saw the Emir come she ran to meet him. "Oh, miserable, miserable one that I am!" she cried, and fell weeping at his feet.

The Emir raised her, and together they went to Marsil.

"Raise me up," said the King to two slaves, when he saw the Emir come. Then taking his glove in his left hand he gave it to the Emir. "My lord Baligant," he said, "with this I give you all my lands. I am hence- [99] forth thy vassal. I am lost! All my people are lost!"

"Thy grief is great," said Baligant, "and I cannot speak long with thee, for Charlemagne expects me not, and I must hasten to take him unawares. But I accept thy glove since thou givest it to me."

Then, glad at the thought of possessing all Spain, Baligant seized the glove. Quickly he ran down the steps, sprang upon his horse, and was soon spurring back to his army. "Forward, forward," he cried, "the Franks cannot now escape us."

And thus it was that as Charlemagne had made an end of burying the dead heroes, and was ready to depart homeward, a great noise of trumpets and of shouting, of clang and clatter of armour and neighing of horses came to his ear. Soon over the hills appeared the glitter of helmets, and two messengers from the heathen army came spurring towards the Emperor. "Proud King, thou canst no longer escape," they cried. "Baligant the Emir is here, and with him is [100] a mighty army. To-day we will see if thou art truly valorous."

Charlemagne tore his beard, looking darkly at the messengers. Then drawing himself up, he threw a proud look over his army. In a loud and strong voice he cried, "To horse, my barons, to horse and to arms."

Such was Charlemagne's answer to the prideful message of the Emir. The Emperor himself was the first to arm, and when the Franks saw him ride before them with his glittering helmet and shield, and his sword Joyeuse girt about him, they cried aloud, "Such a man was made indeed to wear a crown."

Then calling to him two of his best knights, Charlemagne gave to them, one the sword of Roland, the other his ivory horn. "Ye shall carry them," he said, "at the head of all the army." And when the trumpets sounded to battle, louder and sweeter than them all sounded the horn of Roland.

The day was bright, the sun shone dazzlingly upon both armies, glittering with [101] gold, and gems and many colours. In the ranks of the heathen were many men fierce and terrible to look upon, Moors and Turks, Negroes black as ink, giants and monsters were there. But the hearts of the Franks were stout and strong, and they feared none of them.

Soon the battle waxed fierce and terrible. "Montjoie, Montjoie," the Emperor's war-cry, sounded once again to all the winds of Spain. "Precieuse, Precieuse," the cry of the Emir, answered it. The heathen, like the Christian cry, was taken from the name of their leader's sword. The Emir had heard of the fame of Charlemagne's sword, and he called his Precieuse, or precious, in imitation. And in imitation too of the Christian knights the heathen used this name as a battle-cry.

The fight was fierce and long, and marvellous deeds of skill and valour were done, until at length the field was once more strewn with dead and dying, with dinted shields and splintered spears, helmets and [102] swords, and trodden, blood-stained banners and pennons.

In the thickest of the fight the Emperor and the Emir met. "Precieuse," cried the Emir. "Montjoie," replied the Emperor. Then a fearful fight took place. Blow upon blow fell, sparks flew. Again and again the two knights charged, and wheeled and charged anew. Such were the shocks, that at last their saddle-girths broke and both were thrown to the ground.

Quickly the Emperor and the Emir sprang up again, and renewed the fight on foot. "Think, Charlemagne," cried the Emir, as they fought, "ask pardon of me and promise to be my vassal, and I will give thee all Spain and the East."

"I owe neither peace nor love to a heathen," replied Charlemagne. "Become a Christian, and I will love thee henceforth."

"I will rather die," answered the Emir.

So they fought on. With a mighty blow the Emir broke Charlemagne's helmet and wounded him sorely on the head. The [103] Emperor staggered and almost fell, and it seemed as if his strength went from him. But his guardian angel whispered to him, "Great King, what doest thou?"

And when Charlemagne heard the angel whisper, his strength came to him anew, and with one great blow he laid the Emir dead at his feet. Then the Emperor remembered his dream, and knew that the victory was to him, and that the Emir was the lion who attacked him in his dream. "Montjoie," he cried, and leapt upon his horse.

As to the heathen, when they saw their leader fall, they fled.

Terrible was the slaughter and the chase. Through the heat and dust of the day, the Franks pursued the fleeing heathen, even to the walls of Saragossa.

There in a high tower sat Queen Bramimonde, praying with her heathen priests for the victory of the Emir. But when she looked forth from her tower and saw the heathen ride in dire confusion, chased by the [104] victorious Franks, she broke out again into loud wailing. Running to King Marsil she cried, "Oh, noble King, our men are beaten. We are undone."

Then Marsil, in utter grief, turned his face to the wall and died.

Now to the very gates of the palace the noise of battle came. The streets of the town were full of armed men, pursuing and pursued. And before night fell all the city was in the hands of Charlemagne.

The Franks entered every heathen temple and broke the images in pieces.

Then all the heathen were baptized, and those who would not become Christian were put to death. Such was the way in those fierce old times.

Leaving a garrison to guard the town, Charlemagne set forth for France once more, leading with him captive Queen Bramimonde.

At Blaye, upon the shores of the Gironde, the three heroes, Roland, Oliver, and Archbishop Turpin were buried with great pomp [105] and ceremony, and after long journeying the Emperor arrived at last at his great city of Aix. Then from all the corners of his kingdom he gathered his wise men to judge the traitor Ganelon.

 



Thornton Burgess

Chippy, Sweetvoice and Dotty

[22] FOR a while Jenny Wren was too busy to talk save to scold Mr. Wren for spending so much time singing instead of working. To Peter it seemed as if they were trying to fill that tree trunk with rubbish. "I should think they had enough stuff in there for half a dozen nests," muttered Peter. "I do believe they are carrying it in for the fun of working." Peter wasn't far wrong in this thought, as he was to discover a little later in the season when he found Mr. Wren building another nest for which he had no use.

Finding that for the time being he could get nothing more from Jenny Wren, Peter hopped over to visit Johnny Chuck, whose home was between the roots of an old apple-tree in the far corner of the Old Orchard. Peter was still thinking of the Sparrow family; what a big family it was, yet how seldom any of them, excepting Bully the English Sparrow, were to be found in the Old Orchard.

"Hello, Johnny Chuck!" cried Peter, as he discovered Johnny sitting on his doorstep. "You've [23] lived in the Old Orchard a long time, so you ought to be able to tell me something I want to know. Why is it that none of the Sparrow family excepting that noisy nuisance, Bully, build in the trees of the Old Orchard? Is it because Bully has driven all the rest out?"

Johnny Chuck shook his head. "Peter," said he, "whatever is the matter with your ears? And whatever is the matter with your eyes?"

"Nothing," replied Peter rather shortly. "They are as good as yours any day, Johnny Chuck."

Johnny grinned. "Listen!" said Johnny. Peter listened. From a tree just a little way off came a clear "Chip, chip, chip, chip." Peter didn't need to be told to look. He knew without looking who was over there. He knew that voice for that of one of his oldest and best friends in the Old Orchard, a little fellow with a red-brown cap, brown back with feathers streaked with black, brownish wings and tail, a gray waistcoat and black bill, and a little white line over each eye—altogether as trim a little gentleman as Peter was acquainted with. It was Chippy, as everybody calls the Chipping Sparrow, the smallest of the family.

Peter looked a little foolish. "I forgot all about Chippy," said he. "Now I think of it, I have found Chippy here in the Old Orchard [24] ever since I can remember. I never have seen his nest because I never happened to think about looking for it. Does he build a trashy nest like his cousin, Bully?"

Johnny Chuck laughed. "I should say not!" he exclaimed. "Twice Chippy and Mrs. Chippy have built their nest in this very old apple-tree. There is no trash in their nest, I can tell you! It is just as dainty as they are, and not a bit bigger than it has to be. It is made mostly of little fine, dry roots, and it is lined inside with horse-hair."

"What's that?" Peter's voice sounded as if he suspected that Johnny Chuck was trying to fool him.

"It's a fact," said Johnny, nodding his head gravely. "Goodness knows where they find it these days, but find it they do. Here comes Chippy himself; ask him."

Chippy and Mrs. Chippy came flitting from tree to tree until they were on a branch right over Peter and Johnny. "Hello!" cried Peter. "You folks seem very busy. Haven't you finished building your nest yet?"

"Nearly," replied Chippy. "It is all done but the horsehair. We are on our way up to Farmer Brown's barnyard now to look for some. You haven't seen any around anywhere, have you?"

[25] Peter and Johnny shook their heads, and Peter confessed that he wouldn't know horsehair if he saw it. He often had found hair from the coats of Reddy Fox and Old Man Coyote and Digger the Badger and Lightfoot the Deer, but hair from the coat of a horse was altogether another matter.

"It isn't hair from the coat of a horse that we want," cried Chippy, as he prepared to fly after Mrs. Chippy. "It is long hair from the tail or mane of a horse that we must have. It makes the very nicest kind of lining for a nest."

Chippy and Mrs. Chippy were gone a long time, but when they did return each was carrying a long black hair. They had found what they wanted, and Mrs. Chippy was in high spirits because, as she took pains to explain to Peter, that little nest would now soon be ready for the four beautiful little blue eggs with black spots on one end she meant to lay in it.

"I just love Chippy and Mrs. Chippy," said Peter, as they watched their two little feathered friends putting the finishing touches to the little nest far out on a branch of one of the apple-trees.

"Everybody does," replied Johnny. "Everybody loves them as much as they hate Bully and his wife. Did you know that they are sometimes [26] called Tree Sparrows? I suppose it is because they so often build their nests in trees?"

"No," said Peter, "I didn't. Chippy shouldn't be called Tree Sparrow, because he has a cousin by that name."

Johnny Chuck looked as if he doubted that. "I never heard of him," he grunted.

Peter grinned. Here was a chance to tell Johnny Chuck something, and Peter never is happier than when he can tell folks something they don't know. "You'd know him if you didn't sleep all winter," said Peter. "Dotty the Tree Sparrow spends the winter here. He left for his home in the Far North about the time you took it into your head to wake up."

"Why do you call him Dotty?" asked Johnny Chuck.

"Because he has a little round black dot right in the middle of his breast," replied Peter. "I don't know why they call him Tree Sparrow; he doesn't spend his time in the trees the way Chippy does, but I see him much oftener in low bushes or on the ground. I think Chippy has much more right to the name of Tree Sparrow than Dotty has. Now I think of it, I've heard Dotty called the Winter Chippy."

"Gracious, what a mix-up!" exclaimed Johnny Chuck. "With Chippy being called a Tree Spar- [27] row and a Tree Sparrow called Chippy, I should think folks would get all tangled up."

"Perhaps they would," replied Peter, "if both were here at the same time, but Chippy comes just as Dotty goes, and Dotty comes as Chippy goes. That's a pretty good arrangement, especially as they look very much alike, excepting that Dotty is quite a little bigger than Chippy and always has that black dot, which Chippy does not have. Goodness gracious, it is time I was back in the dear Old Briar-patch! Good-by, Johnny Chuck."


[Illustration]

DOTTY THE TREE SPARROW

The Reddish-brown cap and dark spot in the middle of his breast are all you need to look for.



SLATY THE JUNCO

The little slate-colored and white ground bird of winter.

Away went Peter Rabbit, lipperty-lipperty-lip, heading for the dear Old Briar-patch. Out of the grass just ahead of him flew a rather pale, streaked little brown bird, and as he spread his tail Peter saw two white feathers on the outer edges. Those two white feathers were all Peter needed to recognize another little friend of whom he is very fond. It was Sweetvoice the Vesper Sparrow, the only one of the Sparrow family with white feathers in his tail.

"Come over to the dear Old Briar-patch and sing to me," cried Peter.

Sweetvoice dropped down into the grass again, and when Peter came up, was very busy getting a mouthful of dry grass. "Can't," mumbled Sweetvoice. "Can't do it now, Peter Rabbit. [28] I'm too busy. It is high time our nest was finished, and Mrs. Sweetvoice will lose her patience if I don't get this grass over there pretty quick."

"Where is your nest; in a tree?" asked Peter innocently.

"That's telling," declared Sweetvoice. "Not a living soul knows where that nest is, excepting Mrs. Sweetvoice and myself. This much I will tell you, Peter: it isn't in a tree. And I'll tell you this much more: it is in a hoofprint of Bossy the Cow."

"In a what?" cried Peter.

"In a hoofprint of Bossy the Cow," repeated Sweetvoice, chuckling softly. "You know when the ground was wet and soft early this spring, Bossy left deep footprints wherever she went. One of these makes the nicest kind of a place for a nest. I think we have picked out the very best one on all the Green Meadows. Now run along, Peter Rabbit, and don't bother me any more. I've got too much to do to sit here talking. Perhaps I'll come over to the edge of the dear Old Briar-patch and sing to you a while just after jolly, round, red Mr. Sun goes to bed behind the Purple Hills. I just love to sing then."

"I'll be watching for you," replied Peter. "You don't love to sing any better than I love to hear you. I think that is the best time of all [29] the day in which to sing. I mean, I think it's the best time to hear singing," for of course Peter himself does not sing at all.

That night, sure enough, just as the Black Shadows came creeping out over the Green Meadows, Sweetvoice, perched on the top of a bramble-bush over Peter's head, sang over and over again the sweetest little song and kept on singing even after it was quite dark. Peter didn't know it, but it is this habit of singing in the evening which has given Sweetvoice his name of Vesper Sparrow.

 



Anonymous

The Raindrop's Ride

Some little drops of water

Whose home was in the sea,

To go upon a journey

Once happened to agree.


A white cloud was their carriage;

Their horse, a playful breeze;

And over town and country

They rode along at ease.


But, oh! there were so many,

At last the carriage broke,

And to the ground came tumbling

Those frightened little folk.


Among the grass and flowers

They then were forced to roam,

Until a brooklet found them

And carried them all home.

 


  WEEK 26  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

Hunting a Panther

AUDUBON was traveling in the woods in Mississippi. He found the little cabin of a settler. He staid there for the night. The settler told him that there was a panther in the swamp near his house. A panther is a very large and fierce animal. It is large enough to kill a man. This was a very bad panther. It had killed some of the settler's dogs.

Audubon said, "Let us hunt this panther, and kill it."

So the settler sent out for his neigh-bors to come [118] and help kill the panther. Five men came. Audubon and the settler made seven. They were all on horseback.

When they came to the edge of the swamp, each man went a different way. They each took their dogs with them to find the track of the wild beast. All of the hunters carried horns. Whoever should find the track first was to blow his horn to let the others know.

In about two hours after they had started, they heard the sound of a horn. It told them that the track had been found. Every man now went toward the sound of the horn. Soon all the yelping dogs were fol-low-ing the track of the fierce panther. The panther was running into the swamp farther and farther.

I suppose that the panther thought that there were too many dogs and men for him to fight. All the hunters came after the dogs. They held their guns ready to shoot if the panther should make up his mind to fight them.

After a while the sound of the dogs' voices changed. The hunters knew from this that the panther had stopped running, and gone up into a tree.

At last the men came to the place where the dogs were. They were all barking round a tree. Far [119] up in the tree was the dangerous beast. The hunters came up carefully. One of them fired. The bullet hit the panther, but did not kill him.


[Illustration]

The panther sprang to the ground, and ran off again. The dogs ran after. The men got on their horses, and rode after.

But the horses were tired, and the men had to get down, and follow the dogs on foot.

The hunters now had to wade through little ponds of water. Sometimes they had to climb over fallen trees. Their clothes were badly torn by the bushes. After two hours more, they came to a place where the panther had again gone up into a tree.

This time three of the hunters shot at him. The fierce panther came tumbling to the ground. But he was still able to fight. The men fought the savage beast on all sides. At last they killed him. Then they gave his skin to the settler. They wanted him to know that his en-e-my was dead.

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Woodpecker and the Lion

[36]

O NE day while a Lion was eating his dinner a bone stuck in his throat. It hurt so that he could not finish his dinner. He walked up and down, up and down, roaring with pain.

A Woodpecker lit on a branch of a tree near-by, and hearing the Lion, she said, "Friend, what ails you?" The Lion told the Woodpecker what the matter was, and the Woodpecker said: "I would take the bone out of your throat, friend, but I do not dare to put my head into your mouth, for fear I might never get it out again. I am afraid you might eat me."

"O Woodpecker, do not be afraid," the Lion said. "I will not eat you. Save my life if you can!"

"I will see what I can do for you," said the Woodpecker. "Open your mouth wide." The Lion did as he was told, but the Woodpecker said to himself. "Who knows what this Lion will do? I think I will be careful."

[37] So the Woodpecker put a stick between the Lion's upper and lower jaws so that he could not shut his mouth.

Then the Woodpecker hopped into the Lion's mouth and hit the end of the bone with his beak. The second time he hit it, the bone fell out.

The woodpecker hopped out of the Lion's mouth and hit the stick so that it too fell out. Then the Lion could shut his mouth.

[Illustration] At once the Lion felt very much better, but not one word of thanks did he say to the Woodpecker.

[38] One day later in the summer, the Woodpecker said to the Lion, "I want you to do something for me."

"Do something for you?" said the Lion. "You mean you want me to do something more for you. I have already done a great deal for you. You cannot expect me to do anything more for you. Do not forget that once I had you in my mouth, and I let you go. That is all that you can ever expect me to do for you."

The Woodpecker said no more, but he kept away from the Lion from that day on.

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Otters and the Wolf

[39]

O NE day a Wolf said to her mate, "A longing has come upon me to eat fresh fish."

"I will go and get some for you," said he and he went down to the river.

There he saw two Otters standing on the bank looking for fish. Soon one of the Otters saw a great fish, and entering the water with a bound, he caught hold of the tail of the fish.

But the fish was strong and swam away, dragging the Otter after him. "Come and help me," the Otter called back to his friend. "This great fish will be enough for both of us!"

So the other Otter went into the water. The two together were able to bring the fish to land. "Let us divide the fish into two parts."

"I want the half with the head on," said one.

"You cannot have that half. That is mine," said the other. "You take the tail."

The Wolf heard the Otters and he went up to them.

[40] Seeing the Wolf, the Otters said: "Lord of the gray-grass color, this fish was caught by both of us together. We cannot agree about dividing him. Will you divide him for us?"

[Illustration] The Wolf cut off the tail and gave it to one, giving the head to the other. He took the large middle part for himself, saying to them, "You can eat the head and the tail without quarreling." And away he ran with the body of the fish. The Otters stood and looked at each other. They had nothing to say, but each thought to himself that the Wolf had run off with the best of the fish.

[41] The Wolf was pleased and said to himself, as he ran toward home, "Now I have fresh fish for my mate."

His mate, seeing him coming, came to meet him, saying: "How did you get fish? You live on land, not in the water."

Then he told her of the quarrel of the Otters. "I took the fish as pay for settling their quarrel," said he.

 



Robert Browning

Pippa's Song

The year's at the spring

And day's at the morn;

Morning's at seven;

The hillside's dew-pearled;

The lark's on the wing;

The snail's on the thorn;

God's in His heaven—

All's right with the world!