WEEK 28 |
 DANIEL BOONE was one of the first settlers in Kentucky. He had to fight wild animals and Indians, but he liked it. He loved adventure, and went forth to find a home for his family in the deep and unbroken forest. He came to Kentucky, in June, 1769, with five companions. We will let him tell his story in his own words:
"We found, everywhere, abundance of wild beasts of all sorts through the vast forest. The buffaloes were more numerous than cattle in the settlements, fearless because ignorant of the violence of man. Sometimes we saw hundreds in a drove, and the numbers about the salt springs were amazing.
"As we ascended the brow of a small hill, near the Kentucky River, some Indians rushed out of a thick cane-brake upon us, and made us prisoners. They plundered us of what we had, and kept us in confinement seven days. During this time we showed no uneasiness or desire to escape, which made them less suspicious of us. But, in the dead of night, as we lay in a thick cane-brake by a large fire, I touched my companion, and gently woke him. We improved this favorable opportunity, and departed, leaving the Indians to take their rest.
 "Soon after this, my companion in captivity was killed by the savages, and the man that came with my brother returned home by himself. We were then in a dangerous, helpless situation, exposed daily to perils and death among savages and wild beasts, not a white man in the country but ourselves. One day I took a tour through the country, and the beauties of nature I met with expelled every gloomy and vexatious thought. I laid me down to sleep, and awoke not until the sun had chased away night.
"I returned to my old camp, which was not disturbed. I did not confine my lodging to it, but often slept in the thick cane-brakes to avoid the savages, who, I believe, often visited my camp, but fortunately in my absence. In this situation I was constantly exposed to danger and death. In 1772, I returned safe to my old home, and found my family in happy circumstances.
"I sold my farm and what goods we could not carry with us, and, in company with five families more and forty men that joined us, we proceeded on our journey to Kentucky. After two weeks, the rear of our company was attacked by a number of Indians, who killed six men and wounded another. Of these my eldest son was one who fell in the action. This unhappy affair scattered our cattle,  and so discouraged the whole company that we retreated to the settlement on Clinch River.
"Within fifteen miles of where Boonesborough now stands we were fired upon by Indians, who killed two and wounded two of our numbers. Although surprised and taken at a disadvantage, we stood our ground. Three days later we were fired upon again, and two men were killed and three were wounded. Afterwards, we proceeded to the Kentucky River without opposition, and began to erect the fort at Boonesborough, at a salt lick, about sixty yards from the river on the south side.
"In July three girls, one of them my daughter, were taken prisoners near the fort. I pursued the Indians with only eight men, overtook them, killed two of the party, and recovered the girls. Shortly afterwards, a party of about two hundred Indians attacked Boonesborough. They besieged us forty-eight hours, during which time seven of them were killed. At last, finding themselves not likely to prevail, they raised the siege and departed.
"In October, a party of Indians made an excursion into the district called the Crab Orchard, and one of them, who was advanced some distance before the others, boldly entered the house of a poor, defenseless family, in which was only a negro man, a woman, and her children. The savage attempted  to capture the negro, who happily proved too strong for him and threw him on the ground; in the struggle, the mother of the children drew an ax from a corner of the cottage, and cut his head off, while her daughter shut the door.
"The other savages appeared, and applied their tomahawks to the door. An old rusty gun-barrel, without a lock, lay in the corner; this the mother put through a small crevice in the door, perceiving which the Indians fled. In the meantime, the alarm spread through the neighborhood. The armed men collected, and pursued the savages into the wilderness. From that time the Indians did us no mischief.
"I can now confess that I have proved true the saying of an old Indian, who, on signing a deed for his land, remarked, 'Brother, we have given you a fine land, but you will have much trouble in settling it.' Many dark and sleepless nights have I been the companion of owls, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summer's sun, and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness."
 A FEW days after Chebec and his wife started building their nest in the Old Orchard Peter dropped around as usual for a very early call. He found Chebec very busy hunting for materials for that nest, because, as he explained to Peter, Mrs. Chebec is very particular indeed about what her nest is made of. But he had time to tell Peter a bit of news.
"My fighting cousin and my handsomest cousin arrived together yesterday, and now our family is very well represented in the Old Orchard," said Chebec proudly.
Slowly Peter reached over his back with his long left hind foot and thoughtfully scratched his long right ear. He didn't like to admit that he couldn't recall those two cousins of Chebec's. "Did you say your fighting cousin?" he asked in a hesitating way.
"That's what I said," replied Chebec. "He is Scrapper the Kingbird, as of course you know. The rest of us always feel safe when he is about."
 "Of course I know him," declared Peter, his face clearing. "Where is he now?"
At that very instant a great racket broke out on the other side of the Old Orchard and in no time at all the feathered folks were hurrying from every direction, screaming at the top of their voices. Of course, Peter couldn't be left out of anything like that, and he scampered for the scene of trouble as fast as his legs could take him. When he got there he saw Redtail the Hawk flying up and down and this way and that way, as if trying to get away from something or somebody.
For a minute Peter couldn't think what was the trouble with Redtail, and then he saw. A white-throated, white-breasted bird, having a black cap and back, and a broad white band across the end of his tail, was darting at Redtail as if he meant to pull out every feather in the latter's coat.
He was just a little smaller than Welcome Robin, and in comparison with him Redtail was a perfect giant. But this seemed to make no difference to Scrapper, for that is who it was. He wasn't afraid, and he intended that everybody should know it, especially Redtail. It is because of his fearlessness that he is called Kingbird. All the time he was screaming at the top of his lungs, calling Redtail a robber and every other bad name he could think of. All the other birds joined him in calling Redtail  bad names. But none, not even Bully the English Sparrow, was brave enough to join him in attacking big Redtail.
When he had succeeded in driving Redtail far enough from the Old Orchard to suit him, Scrapper flew back and perched on a dead branch of one of the trees, where he received the congratulations of all his feathered neighbors. He took them quite modestly, assuring them that he had done nothing, nothing at all, but that he didn't intend to have any of the Hawk family around the Old Orchard while he lived there. Peter couldn't help but admire Scrapper for his courage.
SCRAPER THE KINGBIRD.
Look in the Old Orchard for a bird with white breast, dark head and back, and with a white tip to his tail.
REDEYE THE VIREO.
The only Vireo with red eyes.
As Peter looked up at Scrapper he saw that, like all the rest of the flycatchers, there was just the tiniest of hooks on the end of his bill. Scrapper's slightly raised cap seemed all black, but if Peter could have gotten close enough, he would have found that hidden in it was a patch of orange-red. While Peter sat staring up at him Scrapper suddenly darted out into the air, and his bill snapped in quite the same way Chebec's did when he caught a fly. But it wasn't a fly that Scrapper had. It was a bee. Peter saw it very distinctly just as Scrapper snapped it up. It reminded Peter that he had often heard Scrapper called the Bee Martin, and now he understood why.
 "Do you live on bees altogether?" asked Peter.
"Bless your heart, Peter, no," replied Scrapper with a chuckle. "There wouldn't be any honey if I did. I like bees. I like them first rate. But they form only a very small part of my food. Those that I do catch are mostly drones, and you know the drones are useless. They do no work at all. It is only by accident that I now and then catch a worker. I eat all kinds of insects that fly and some that don't. I'm one of Farmer Brown's best friends, if he did but know it. You can talk all you please about the wonderful eyesight of the members of the Hawk family, but if any one of them has better eyesight than I have, I'd like to know who it is. There's a fly 'way over there beyond that old apple-tree; watch me catch it."
Peter knew better than to waste any effort trying to see that fly. He knew that he couldn't have seen it had it been only one fourth that distance away. But if he couldn't see the fly he could hear the sharp click of Scrapper's bill, and he knew by the way Scrapper kept opening and shutting his mouth after his return that he had caught that fly and it had tasted good.
"Are you going to build in the Old Orchard this year?" asked Peter.
"Of course I am," declared Scrapper. "I—"
 Just then he spied Blacky the Crow and dashed out to meet him. Blacky saw him coming and was wise enough to suddenly appear to have no interest whatever in the Old Orchard, turning away towards the Green Meadows instead.
Peter didn't wait for Scrapper to return. It was getting high time for him to scamper home to the dear Old Briar-patch and so he started along, lipperty-lipperty-lip. Just as he was leaving the far corner of the Old Orchard some one called him. "Peter! Oh, Peter Rabbit!" called the voice. Peter stopped abruptly, sat up very straight, looked this way, looked that way and looked the other way, every way but the right way.
"Look up over your head," cried the voice, rather a harsh voice. Peter looked, then all in a flash it came to him who it was Chebec had meant by the handsomest member of his family. It was Cresty the Great Crested Flycatcher. He was a wee bit bigger than Scrapper the Kingbird, yet not quite so big as Welcome Robin, and more slender. His throat and breast were gray, shading into bright yellow underneath. His back and head were of a grayish-brown with a tint of olive-green. A pointed cap was all that was needed to make him quite distinguished looking. He certainly was the handsomest as well as the largest of the Flycatcher family.
 "You seem to be in a hurry, so don't let me detain you, Peter," said Cresty, before Peter could find his tongue. "I just want to ask one little favor of you."
"What is it?" asked Peter, who is always glad to do any one a favor.
"If in your roaming about you run across an old cast-off suit of Mr. Black Snake, or of any other member of the Snake family, I wish you would remember me and let me know. Will you, Peter?" said Cresty.
"A—a—a—what?" stammered Peter.
"A cast-off suit of clothes from any member of the Snake family," replied Cresty somewhat impatiently. "Now don't forget, Peter. I've got to go house hunting, but you'll find me there or hereabouts, if it happens that you find one of those cast-off Snake suits."
Before Peter could say another word Cresty had flown away. Peter hesitated, looking first towards the dear Old Briar-patch and then towards Jenny Wren's house. He just couldn't understand about those cast-off suits of the Snake family, and he felt sure that Jenny Wren could tell him. Finally curiosity got the best of him, and back he scampered, lipperty-lipperty-lip, to the foot of the tree in which Jenny Wren had her home.
 "Jenny!" called Peter. "Jenny Wren! Jenny Wren!" No one answered him. He could hear Mr. Wren singing in another tree, but he couldn't see him. "Jenny! Jenny Wren! Jenny Wren!" called Peter again. This time Jenny popped her head out, and her little eyes fairly snapped. "Didn't I tell you the other day, Peter Rabbit, that I'm not to be disturbed? Didn't I tell you that I've got seven eggs in here, and that I can't spend any time gossiping? Didn't I, Peter Rabbit? Didn't I? Didn't I?"
"You certainly did, Jenny. You certainly did, and I'm sorry to disturb you," replied Peter meekly. "I wouldn't have thought of doing such a thing, but I just didn't know who else to go to."
"Go to for what?" snapped Jenny Wren. "What is it you've come to me for?"
"Snake skins," replied Peter.
"Snake skins! Snake skins!" shrieked Jenny Wren. "What are you talking about, Peter Rabbit? I never have anything to do with Snake skins and don't want to. Ugh! It makes me shiver just to think of it."
"You don't understand," cried Peter hurriedly. "What I want to know is, why should Cresty the Flycatcher ask me to please let him know if I found any cast-off suits of the Snake family? He flew away before I could ask him why he wants  them, and so I came to you, because I know you know everything, especially everything concerning your neighbors."
Jenny Wren looked as if she didn't know whether to feel flattered or provoked. But Peter looked so innocent that she concluded he was trying to say something nice.
Little Jack Horner sat in a corner,
Eating his Christmas pie;
He stuck in his thumb, and pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"
WEEK 28 |
 IT was in the beautiful land of Greece that Saint Giles was born, very far away from the grey northern city, whose cathedral bears his name. His parents were of royal blood, and were, moreover, Christians; so the boy was brought up most carefully, and taught all that a prince should know.
He was a dreamy, quiet boy, and what he loved best was to wander out in the green woods by himself, with no companions but the animals and birds and flowers. He would lie for hours watching the birds busily build their nests, or the rabbits as they timidly peeped at him out of their holes. And soon all the woodland creatures began to look upon him as their friend, and even the wildest would come gradually nearer and nearer, almost within reach of his hand; and they seemed to listen when he talked to them, as if they could understand what he said. One thing they certainly did understand, and that was that he loved them and would do them no harm.
Saint Giles could not bear to see anything suffer, and his pity was great for all those in pain; and often he would mend a bird's broken wing, or bind up a little furry foot that had been torn in a trap; and the birds and beasts always lay quiet under his  hand, and seemed to know that he would cure them, even though the touch might hurt.
It happened that one day, when Saint Giles was kneeling in church, he saw a poor beggar lying there on the cold, stone floor. He had scarcely any clothes to keep him warm, and his face had a hungry, suffering look, which filled the heart of the saint with pity. He saw that the poor man was ill and trembling with cold, so without a moment's thought, he took off his own warm cloak and tenderly wrapped it round the beggar.
The warmth of the cloak seemed to bring life back to the poor chilled body, and when Saint Giles had given him food and wine, he was able to lift himself up, and to bless the kind youth who had helped him.
And when the people saw what had happened they thought Saint Giles had worked a miracle, and cured the man by his wonderful touch; for they did not realise that all kind deeds work miracles every day.
It did not please Saint Giles that people should think he possessed this miraculous gift of healing, and he had no wish to be called a saint. He only longed to lead his own quiet life and to help all God's creatures who needed his care. But the people would not leave him alone, and they brought to him those who were sick and lame and blind, and expected that he would heal them.
It is true that many needed only a little human aid, and the food and help which Saint Giles gave them would soon make them well again; but there  were some he could not help, and it wrung his heart to see their pleading eyes, and to watch them bring out their little store of hard-earned money, eager to buy the aid which he so willingly would have given had he been able.
So at last Saint Giles determined to leave his native city, for he had been all alone since his father and mother had died. He wished to escape from the anxious crowds that refused to leave him in peace; but first he sold all that he had and gave it to the poor of the city, an act which made them surer than ever that he was one of God's saints. Then he sailed away across the sea to a far-off country.
There Saint Giles found a lonely cave in which an old hermit lived. "Here at last I shall find peace and quietness," said he to himself, "and men will soon forget me."
But even here ere long his friends found him, for his fame had spread across the seas. So once more he set out and went further and further away, by paths that few had ever trod before, until in the depths of a green forest he found another shelter, a cave among grey rocks overgrown with lichens, and hidden by the sheltering boughs of the surrounding trees. Saint Giles had always loved the woods and this was just the home he had longed for. A clear stream flowed not far off, and his only companions would be the birds and beasts and flowers.
Early in the morning the birds would wake him with their song, and the wild creatures would come stealing out of the wood to share his meal. And his silent friends, the flowers, would cheer and help him  by their beauty, and remind him of God's garden whose gate would one day open for him, where he would wander in the green pastures beside the still waters of Life for evermore.
But of all his companions the one Saint Giles loved best was a gentle white doe, who came to him as soon as he settled in the cave. She seemed to have no fear of him from the first, and stayed with him longer and longer each time, until at last she took up her abode with him, and would never leave him, lying close to him when he slept, and walking by his side wherever he went.
This peaceful life went on for a long time and it seemed as if nothing could disturb its quiet happiness. But it happened that one day as Saint Giles was praying in the cave, and his companion, the white doe, was nibbling her morning meal of fresh grass by the banks of the stream, a curious noise was heard afar off. It came nearer and nearer, and then shouts of men's voices could be heard, the sound of horses galloping and the note of the hunter's horn. Then came the deep baying of dogs, and before the startled doe could hide, the whole hunt was upon her. With a wild halloo they chased her across the greensward and through the trees, and just as she disappeared into the cave, one of the huntsmen drew his bow and sent an arrow flying after her. Then they all dismounted and went to see what had become of the hunted doe, and soon found the opening into the cave. But what was their surprise, when they burst in, to find an old man kneeling there. He was sheltering the terrified doe  who had fled to him for refuge, and an arrow had pierced the kind hand that had been raised to shield her.
The huntsmen were ashamed of their cruel sport when they saw the wounded hand of the old man and the trembling form of the white doe as it crouched behind him, and they listened with reverence to the hermit's words as he spoke to them of man's duty towards God's dumb creatures. The King of France, who was one of the hunting party, came often after this to see Saint Giles, and at last offered to build him a monastery and give him all that he could want; but the old man begged to be left alone in his woodland cave, to serve God in peace and quietness. So there he lived quietly and happily for many years, until God took him, and he left his cave for the fairer fields of paradise.
People loved the thought of this peaceful old saint who dwelt in the woods and was the protector of all sorrowful and suffering creatures, and so they often called their churches after Saint Giles, especially those churches which were built in the fields or near green woods.
The surroundings of many of these churches are to-day changed. There are no fields now round his great cathedral church in the old town of Edinburgh; but the poor and sick and sorrowful crowd very near to its shelter, and the memory of the pitiful heart of the gentle old saint still hovers like a blessing round the grey old walls.