Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 30  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

The Salem Witches

IN olden times nearly everybody believed in witches. These witches were supposed to have sold their souls to the devil, and to have received from him power to ride through the air on broom- [130] sticks. With "the evil eye," they could make people ill, they could destroy cattle by mysterious diseases, they could blight the crops, and do other impossible and dreadful things. They were supposed to have meetings at night, when the devil came and they received the witches' sacrament. Consequently, everybody was afraid of a witch, and nobody wanted to be called one.

The witches were blamed for everything that went wrong. If children fell suddenly ill, if a horse became lame, if a house burned clown, if the butter would not churn, if the cart stuck in the mud, the explanation always was, "A witch did it.

Generally, women, or old men, or ugly, deformed persons were accused of being witches; but sometimes suspicion fastened upon younger persons, and even upon those in high authority. To test whether a person was a witch or not, pins were stuck into the body to find a place where it did not hurt. These were spots where the devil's hands had touched the witch. Another test was by water. The supposed witch was thrown into the water; if she sank and was drowned, she was innocent; if she floated, she was assuredly a witch and must be burned.

The belief in witchcraft and in the punishing [131] of witches was nowhere stronger than in Salem, Massachusetts. The least suspicious circumstance was sufficient for an accusation. A young girl, thirteen years of age, accused a laundress of having stolen linen from the family. The mother of the laundress rebuked the girl severely for this false charge. The girl became immediately bewitched, or said she was, which amounted to the same thing. Others in her family began to act strangely. Some grew deaf, then dumb, then blind. They barked like dogs and purred like cats if anybody came near.

The town went wild with excitement over the bewitched family. The poor mother of the laundress, who was nothing but a harmless and illiterate old woman, and who had tried to defend her daughter from the charge of stealing linen, was accused of being a witch. She was tried, convicted, and executed.

Shortly afterwards, the child of the minister, nine years old, and his niece, twelve years old, began to act queerly and to suffer great pains. There was nothing the matter with them that a little medicine would not have cured, but they chose to think themselves bewitched. A half-breed Indian woman, a servant in the house, was also accused, and, being whipped, she tried to secure [132] her release by confessing that she was really a witch. Of course she was not, but the poor creature would say anything to save herself from torture. The two children were the two most conspicuous figures in the village; they had "fits" and everybody came to the house to see them. They were generally accommodating to all beholders!

An epidemic of witches now broke out in the village. Any one who desired notoriety, or who wished to wreak vengeance upon another, would fall down in a fit and cry out, "Witch! Witch!" The excited town folk would set upon the poor accused one, throw him in prison, and often string him up on the gallows.

An old farmer, who did not believe in witches, cured his Indian servant by a good beating. "I'll flog the witch out of you," he cried; and before long the Indian was perfectly well. But this brought down the people's wrath upon the old farmer. They said, "He is a witch himself, for he rebukes the disease in others." And forthwith the farmer and his wife found themselves in the common jail.

So it went, until nineteen persons were put to death on the accusation of being witches. One poor old man, who stoutly maintained that nobody was a witch, was pressed to death between two doors!

[133] One hundred and fifty people were thrown into prison; so many indeed that the jail was full to overflowing. Two hundred and more were accused and left outside the jail for lack of room. It seemed as though everybody in Salem, sooner or later, would have to stand trial for being a witch.

At last, when they began to accuse persons of high rank, such as one of the Judges, the wife of the Governor, and the wife of the minister himself, it brought the people to their senses. Suddenly it occurred to them what fools they had been. Then the jails were opened, and the poor people inside were set free, and allowed to go about their business. The children who pretended they were under a spell were punished; and soon there was nobody under accusation.

Since then, no one has really believed in witches. There never was, nor ever can be, such evil beings, and the people in Salem would have been spared much folly and misery if they had known it. In Salem, there stands to this day one of the old houses, and it is pointed out as "The Witch House."

 



Thornton Burgess

Drummers and Carpenters

[76] PETER RABBIT was so full of questions that he hardly knew which one to ask first. But Yellow Wing the Flicker didn't give him a chance to ask any. From the edge of the Green forest there came a clear, loud call of, "Pe-ok! Pe-ok! Pe-ok!"

"Excuse me, Peter, there's Mrs. Yellow Wing calling me," exclaimed Yellow Wing, and away he went. Peter noticed that as he flew he went up and down. It seemed very much as if he bounded through the air just as Peter bounds over the ground. "I would know him by the way he flies just as far as I could see him," thought Peter, as he started for home in the dear Old Briar-patch. "Somehow he doesn't seem like a Woodpecker because he is on the ground so much. I must ask Jenny Wren about him."

It was two or three days before Peter had a chance for a bit of gossip with Jenny Wren. When he did the first thing he asked was if Yellow Wing is a true Woodpecker.

[77] "Certainly he is," replied Jenny Wren. "Of course he is. Why under the sun should you think he isn't?"

"Because it seems to me he is on the ground more than he's in the trees," retorted Peter. "I don't know any other Woodpeckers who come down on the ground at all."

"Tut, tut, tut, tut!" scolded Jenny. "Think a minute, Peter! Think a minute! Haven't you ever seen Redhead on the ground?"

Peter blinked his eyes. "Ye-e-s," he said slowly. "Come to think of it, I have. I've seen him picking up beechnuts in the fall. The Woodpeckers are a funny family. I don't understand them."

Just then a long, rolling rat-a-tat-tat rang out just over their heads. "There's another one of them," chuckled Jenny. "That's Downy, the smallest of the whole family. He certainly makes an awful racket for such a little fellow. He is a splendid drummer and he's just as good a carpenter. He made the very house I am occupying now."

Peter was sitting with his head tipped back trying to see Downy. At first he couldn't make him out. Then he caught a little movement on top of a dead limb. It was Downy's head flying back and forth as he beat his long roll. He was [78] dressed all in black and white. On the back of his head was a little scarlet patch. He was making a tremendous racket for such a little chap, only a little bigger than one of the Sparrow family.


[Illustration]

REDHEAD THE WOODPECKER

You will know him instantly by his all-red head.



DOWNY THE WOODPECKER

His smaller size and the black bars on the white outer feathers of his tail distinguish him.

"Is he making a hole for a nest up there?" asked Peter eagerly.

"Gracious, Peter, what a question! What a perfectly silly question!" exclaimed Jenny Wren scornfully. "Do give us birds credit for a little common sense. If he were cutting a hole for a nest, everybody within hearing would know just where to look for it. Downy has too much sense in that little head of his to do such a silly thing as that. When he cuts a hole for a nest he doesn't make any more noise than is absolutely necessary. You don't see any chips flying, do you?"

"No-o," replied Peter slowly. "Now you speak of it, I don't. Is—is he hunting for worms in the wood?"

Jenny laughed right out. "Hardly, Peter, hardly," said she. "He's just drumming, that's all. That hollow limb makes the best kind of a drum and Downy is making the most of it. Just listen to that! There isn't a better drummer anywhere."

But Peter wasn't satisfied. Finally he ventured another question. "What's he doing it for?"

"Good land, Peter!" cried Jenny. "What do [79] you run and jump for in the spring? What is Mr. Wren singing for over there? Downy is drumming for precisely the same reason—happiness. He can't run and jump and he can't sing, but he can drum. By the way, do you know that Downy is one of the most useful birds in the Old Orchard?"

Just then Downy flew away, but hardly had he disappeared when another drummer took his place. At first Peter thought Downy had returned until he noticed that the newcomer was just a bit bigger than Downy. Jenny Wren's sharp eyes spied him at once.

"Hello!" she exclaimed. "There's Hairy. Did you ever see two cousins look more alike? If it were not that Hairy is bigger than Downy it would be hard work to tell them apart. Do you see any other difference, Peter?"

Peter stared and blinked and stared again, then slowly shook his head. "No," he confessed, "I don't."

"That shows you haven't learned to use your eyes, Peter," said Jenny rather sharply. "Look at the outside feathers of his tail; they are all white. Downy's outside tail feathers have little bars of black. Hairy is just as good a carpenter as is Downy, but for that matter I don't know of a member of the Woodpecker family who isn't a [80] good carpenter. Where did you say Yellow Wing the Flicker is making his home this year?"

"Over in the Big Hickory-tree by the Smiling Pool," replied Peter. "I don't understand yet why Yellow Wing spends so much time on the ground."

"Ants," replied Jenny Wren. "Just ants. He's as fond of ants as is Old Mr. Toad, and that is saying a great deal. If Yellow Wing keeps on he'll become a ground bird instead of a tree bird. He gets more than half his living on the ground now. Speaking of drumming, did you ever hear Yellow Wing drum on a tin roof?"

Peter shook his head.

"Well, if there's a tin roof anywhere around, and Yellow Wing can find it, he will be perfectly happy. He certainly does love to make a noise, and tin makes the finest kind of a drum."

Just then Jenny was interrupted by the arrival, on the trunk of the very next tree to the one on which she was sitting, of a bird about the size of Sammy Jay. His whole head and neck were a beautiful, deep red. His breast was pure white, and his back was black to nearly the beginning of his tail, where it was white.

"Hello, Redhead!" exclaimed Jenny Wren. "How did you know we were talking about your family?"

[81] "Hello, chatterbox," retorted Redhead with a twinkle in his eyes. "I didn't know you were talking about my family, but I could have guessed that you were talking about some one's family. Does your tongue ever stop, Jenny?"

Jenny Wren started to become indignant and scold, then thought better of it. "I was talking for Peter's benefit," said she, trying to look dignified, a thing quite impossible for any member of the Wren family to do. "Peter has always had the idea that true Woodpeckers never go down on the ground. I was explaining to him that Yellow Wing is a true Woodpecker, yet spends half his time on the ground."

Redhead nodded. "It's all on account of ants," said he. "I don't know of any one quite so fond of ants unless it is Old Mr. Toad. I like a few of them myself, but Yellow Wing just about lives on them when he can. You may have noticed that I go down on the ground myself once in a while. I am rather fond of beetles, and an occasional grasshopper tastes very good to me. I like a variety. Yes, sir, I certainly do like a variety—cherries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes. In fact most kinds of fruit taste good to me, not to mention beechnuts and acorns when there is no fruit."

Jenny Wren tossed her head. "You didn't [82] mention the eggs of some of your neighbors," said she sharply.

Redhead did his best to look innocent, but Peter noticed that he gave a guilty start and very abruptly changed the subject, and a moment later flew away.

"Is it true," asked Peter, "that Redhead does such a dreadful thing?"

Jenny bobbed her head rapidly and jerked her tail. "So I an told," said she. "I've never seen him do it, but I know others who have. They say he is no better than Sammy Jay or Blacky the Crow. But gracious, goodness! I can't sit here gossiping forever." Jenny twitched her funny little tail, snapped her bright eyes at Peter, and disappeared in her house.

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you;

But when the leaves hang trembling

The wind is passing through.


Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I.

But when the trees bow down their heads

The wind is passing by.

 


  WEEK 30  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Nicholas

Part 2 of 2

There are many other stories told about the good bishop. Like his Master, he ever went about doing good; and when he died, there were a great many legends told about him, for the people loved to believe that their bishop still cared for them and would come to their aid. We do not know if all [91] these legends are true, but they show how much Saint Nicholas was loved and honoured even after his death, and how every one believed in his power to help them.

Here is one of the stories which all children who love Saint Nicholas will like to hear.

There was once a nobleman who had no children and who longed for a son above everything else in the world. Night and day he prayed to Saint Nicholas that he would grant him his request, and at last a son was born. He was a beautiful child, and the father was so delighted and so grateful to the saint who had listened to his prayers that, every year on the child's birthday, he made a great feast in honour of Saint Nicholas and a grand service was held in the church.

Now the Evil One grew very angry each year when this happened, for it made many people go to church and honour the good saint, neither of which things pleased the Evil One at all. So each year he tried to think of some plan that would put an end to these rejoicings, and he decided at last that if only he could do some evil to the child, the parents would blame Saint Nicholas and all would be well.

It happened just then to be the boy's sixth birthday, and a greater feast than ever was being held. It was late in the afternoon, and the gardener and porter and all the servants were away keeping holiday too. So no one noticed a curious-looking pilgrim who came and sat close to the great iron gates which led into the courtyard. He had on the [92] ordinary robe of a poor pilgrim, but the hood was drawn so far over his face that nothing but a dark shadow could be seen inside. And indeed that was as well, for this pilgrim was a demon in disguise, and his wicked, black face would have frightened any one who saw it. He could not enter the courtyard for the great gates were always kept locked, and, as you know, the porter was away that day, feasting with all the other servants.

But, before very long, the little boy grew weary of his birthday feast, and having had all he wanted, he begged to be allowed to go to play in the garden. His parents knew that the gardener always looked after him there, so they told him he might go. They forgot that the gardener was not there just then.

The child played happily alone for some time and then wandered into the courtyard, and looking out of the gate saw a poor pilgrim resting there.

"What are you doing here?" asked the child, "and why do you sit so still?"

"I am a poor pilgrim," answered the demon, "trying to make his harsh voice sound as gentle as possible, "and I have come all the way from Rome. I am resting here because I am so weary and footsore and have had nothing to eat all day."

"I will let you in, and take you to my father," said the child; "this is my birthday, and no one must go hungry to-day."

But the demon pretended he was too weak to walk, and begged the boy to bring some food out to him.

[93] Then the child ran back to the banquet hall in a great hurry and said to his father:

"O father, there is a poor pilgrim from Rome sitting outside our gate, and he is so hungry, may I take him some of my birthday feast?"

The father was very pleased to think that his little son should care for the poor and wish to be kind, so he willingly gave his permission and told one of the servants to give the child all that he wanted.

Then as the demon sat eating the good things, he began to question the boy and tried to find out all that he could about him.

"Do you often play in the garden?" he asked.

"Oh yes," said the child, "I play there whenever I may, for in the midst of the lawn there is a beautiful fountain, and the gardener makes me boats to sail on the water."

"Will he make you one to-day?" asked the demon quickly.

"He is not here to-day," answered the child, "for this is a holiday for every one and I am quite alone."

Then the demon rose to his feet slowly and said he felt so much better after the good food, that he thought he could walk a little, and would like very much to come in and see the beautiful garden and the fountain he had heard about.

So the child climbed up and with great difficulty drew back the bolts. The great gates swung open and the demon walked in.

As they went along together towards the fountain, the child held out his little hand to lead the pilgrim, but even the demon shrunk from touching any- [94] thing so pure and innocent, and folded his arms under his robe, so that the child could only hold by a fold of his cloak.

"What strange kind of feet you have," said the child as they walked along; "they look as if they belonged to an animal."

"Yes, they are curious," said the demon, "but it is just the way they are made."

Then the child began to notice the demon's hands, which were even more curious than his feet, and just like the paws of a bear. But he was too courteous to say anything about them, when he had already mentioned the feet.

Just then they came to the fountain, and with a sudden movement the demon threw back his hood and showed his dreadful face. And before the child could scream he was seized by those hairy hands and thrown into the water.

But just at that moment the gardener was returning to his work and saw from a distance what had happened. He ran as fast as he could, but he only got to the fountain in time to see the demon vanish, while the child's body was floating on the water. Very quickly he drew him out, and carried him, all dripping wet, up to the castle, where they tried to bring him back to life. But alas! it all seemed of no use, he neither moved nor breathed; and the day that had begun with such rejoicing, ended in the bitterest woe. The poor parents were heartbroken, but they did not quite lose hope and prayed earnestly to Saint Nicholas who had given them the child, that he would restore their boy to them again.

[95] As they prayed by the side of the little bed where the body of the child lay, they thought something moved, and to their joy and surprise the boy opened his eyes and sat up, and in a short time was as well as ever.

They asked him eagerly what had happened, and he told them all about the pilgrim with the queer feet and hands, who had gone with him to the fountain and had then thrown back his hood and shown his terrible face. After that he could remember nothing until he found himself in a beautiful garden, where the loveliest flowers grew. There were lilies like white stars, and roses far more beautiful than any he had ever seen in his own garden, and the leaves of the trees shone like silver and gold. It was all so beautiful that for a while he forgot about his home, and when he did remember and tried to find his way back, he grew bewildered and did not know in what direction to turn. As he was looking about, an old man came down the garden path and smiled so kindly upon him that he trusted him at once. This old man was dressed in the robes of a bishop, and had a long white beard and the sweetest old face the child had ever seen.

"Art thou searching for the way home?" the old man asked. "Dost thou wish to leave this beautiful garden and go back to thy father and mother?"

"I want to go home," said the child, with a sob in his voice, "but I cannot find the way, and I am, oh, so tired of searching for it!"

Then the old man stooped down and lifted him in his arms, and the child laid his head on the old man's shoulder, and, weary with his wandering, fell [96] fast asleep and remembered nothing more till he woke up in his own little bed.

Then the parents knew that Saint Nicholas had heard their prayers and had gone to fetch the child from the Heavenly Garden and brought him back to them.

So they were more grateful to the good saint than ever, and they loved and honoured him even more than they had done before; which was all the reward the demon got for his wicked doings.

That is one of the many stories told after the death of Saint Nicholas, and it ever helped and comforted his people to think that, though they could no longer see him, he would love and protect them still.

Young maidens in need of help remembered the story of the golden bars and felt sure the good saint would not let them want. Sailors tossing on the stormy waves thought of that storm which had sunk to rest at the prayer of Saint Nicholas. Poor prisoners with no one to take their part were comforted by the thought of those other prisoners whom he had saved. And little children perhaps have remembered him most of all, for when the happy Christmas time draws near, who is so much in their thoughts as Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, as they call him? Perhaps they are a little inclined to think of him as some good magician who comes to fill their stockings with gifts, but they should never forget that he was the kind bishop who, in olden days, loved to make the little ones happy. There are some who think that even now he watches over and protects little children, and for that reason he is called their patron saint.

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

Little Topknot


[Illustration]

[93]

Once a cock and some hens lived

in a farm yard.

One little hen had a pretty topknot.

She was very proud of it.

So she strutted about by herself.

She wanted every one to see her topknot.


She would say, "Cluck, cluck, cluck!

See my pretty topknot."


[94]

One day she looked over the fence.

"Cluck, cluck, cluck!" she said.

"I am tired of this farm yard.

I want the world to see me.

I shall fly over the fence.

Cluck, cluck, cluck!

I want the world to see me."


The cock heard little Topknot.

He shook his comb and feathers, and said,

"Go not there! go not there!"

All the old hens said,

"Go-go-go! go not there!

Go not there! go not there!"


But little Topknot said, "Cluck, cluck!

I want the world to see me."

And she flew over the fence.

She felt very proud of herself.

So she strutted down the road.


[Illustration]

Just then a hawk flew over her head.

He saw little Topknot all alone.

So he flew down

and he caught her in his claws.


The cock saw the hawk,

and he cried as loud as he could,

"Come, come, come and help!

Come and save Topknot."


The farmer heard the cock.

He came running out,

and he frightened the hawk away.


[96]

The hawk let Topknot go,

but he had her pretty topknot

in his claws.


Little Topknot was glad to get away,

and she ran back to the barn yard.

Soon she began to strut about.


Then the hens cried,

"Lost your topknot! Lost your topknot!"


Then little Topknot began to cry,

"See, see, see how I look!

See, see, see how I look!"


The cock came up to her.

He held his head very high and said,

"What did I tell you!

What did I tell you!"


Now Topknot does not strut about,

but she scratches for seeds.


Swedish Folk Tale
 



Robert Louis Stevenson

The Wind

[16]

I saw you toss the kites on high

And blow the birds about the sky;

And all around I heard you pass,

Like ladies' skirts across the grass—

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!


I saw the different things you did,

But always you yourself you hid.

I felt you push, I heard you call,

I could not see yourself at all—

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!


O you that are so strong and cold,

O blower, are you young or old?

Are you a beast of field and tree,

Or just a stronger child than me?

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

 


  WEEK 30  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

The Inchcape Rock

IN the North Sea there is a great rock called the Inchcape Rock. It is twelve miles from any land, and is covered most of the time with water.

Many boats and ships have been wrecked on that rock; for it is so near the top of the water that no vessel can sail over it without striking it.

More than a hundred years ago there lived not far away a kind-hearted man who was called the Abbot of Aberbrothock.

"It is a pity," he said, "that so many brave sailors should lose their lives on that hidden rock."

So the abbot caused a buoy to be fastened to the rock. The buoy floated back and forth in the shallow water. A strong chain kept it from floating away.

On the top of the buoy the abbot placed a bell; and when the waves dashed against it, the bell would ring out loud and clear.

[138] Sailors, now, were no longer afraid to cross the sea at that place. When they heard the bell ringing, they knew just where the rock was, and they steered their vessels around it.

"God bless the good Abbot of Aberbrothock!" they all said.

One calm summer day, a ship with a black flag happened to sail not far from the Inchcape Rock. The ship belonged to a sea robber called Ralph the Rover; and she was a terror to all honest people both on sea and shore.

There was but little wind that day, and the sea was as smooth as glass. The ship stood almost still; there was hardly a breath of air to fill her sails.

Ralph the Rover was walking on the deck. He looked out upon the glassy sea. He saw the buoy floating above the Inchcape Rock. It looked like a big black speck upon the water. But the bell was not ringing that day. There were no waves to set it in motion.

"Boys!" cried Ralph the Rover; "put out the boat, and row me to the Inchcape Rock. We will play a trick on the old abbot."

The boat was lowered. Strong arms soon rowed it to the Inchcape Rock. Then the robber, with a heavy ax, broke the chain that held the buoy.

He cut the fastenings of the bell. It fell into the [139] water. There was a gurgling sound as it sank out of sight.

"The next one that comes this way will not bless the abbot," said Ralph the Rover.

Soon a breeze sprang up, and the black ship sailed away. The sea robber laughed as he looked back and saw that there was nothing to mark the place of the hidden rock.

For many days, Ralph the Rover scoured the seas, and many were the ships that he plundered. At last he chanced to sail back toward the place from which he had started.

The wind had blown hard all day. The waves rolled high. The ship was moving swiftly. But in the evening the wind died away, and a thick fog came on.

Ralph the Rover walked the deck. He could not see where the ship was going. "If the fog would only clear away!" he said.

"I thought I heard the roar of breakers," said the pilot. "We must be near the shore."

"I cannot tell," said Ralph the Rover; "but I think we are not far from the Inchcape Rock. I wish we could hear the good abbot's bell."

The next moment there was a great crash. "It is the Inchcape Rock!" the sailors cried, as the ship gave a lurch to one side, and began to sink.

[140] "Oh, what a wretch am I!" cried Ralph the Rover. "This is what comes of the joke that I played on the good abbot!"

What was it that he heard as the waves rushed over him? Was it the abbot's bell, ringing for him far down at the bottom of the sea?

 



Lucy Fitch Perkins

Morning in the Little House

[Illustration]

[45] ONE morning when Bot'Chan was just one month old, his big brother Taro woke up very early. The birds woke him. They were singing in the garden. "See, see, see," they sang. "Morning is here! Morning is here!" Taro heard them in his sleep. He turned over. Then he stretched his arms and legs and sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes.

The candle in the tall paper lamp beside his bed had burned almost out, but it was light enough so he could see that Take, in her bed across the room, was still asleep, with her head on her little cushion.

Taro called very softly, "Take, Take, wake up!" But Take slept so soundly she did not hear him.

[46] Father and Mother and the Baby were all asleep in the next room. He did not want to wake them, because it was still so early in the morning. So he crept softly along the floor to Take's bed, and whispered in her ear, "Wake up, wake up!" But she didn't wake up. Then Taro took a jay's feather which he had found in the garden the day before, and tickled Take's nose!


[Illustration]

First she rubbed her nose. Then she [47] sneezed. Then she opened her eyes and looked at Taro.

"Sh-sh," whispered Taro.

"But I haven't said a single word!" Take whispered back.

"You sneezed, though," said Taro. "That's just as bad. It will wake up our honorable parents just the same."

"Well, you shouldn't tickle my poor little nose, then," said Take.

"Your honorable nose was tickled so that you would wake up and hear the birds sing," said Taro. "It is much nicer than sleeping! Besides, do you remember what is going to happen to-day? We are going to take Bot'Chan to the Temple!"

A temple is something like a church, only they do not do the same things in temples that we do in our churches.

The Twins loved to go to the Temple, because they had a very good time when they went there. They liked it as much as you like Thanksgiving Day and the Fourth of July.

[47] When Take remembered that they were going to take Bot'Chan to the Temple, she clapped her little brown hands. "Oh, I'm so glad!" she said. Then she popped out from under the covers of her bed and stood up on the soft straw matting.

She was no sooner out of bed than from far away came the "Cling-cling-clang"  of a great gong. And then, "Tum-tum-t-y-y-rum"  rolled a great drum.

"Hark!" said Taro. "There go the Temple bells, and the priests are beating the sunrise drums! It's not so very early, after all."

"Now, you'll hear Grannie's stick rapping for the maids to get up," Take answered. "The Temple bells always wake her."

And at that very minute, "Rat-tat-tat"  sounded Grannie's stick on the woodwork of the room where the maids slept.


[Illustration]

In the little house in the garden where the Twins lived, there are no thick walls. [49] There are only pretty wooden screens covered with fine white paper. These screens slide back and forth in grooves, and when they are all shoved back at once the whole house is turned into one big, bright room. This is why the Twins had to be so careful not to make any noise. Even a tiny [50] noise can be heard all through a house that has only paper walls, you see.


[Illustration]

But every one is supposed to get up at sunrise in the little house in the garden, anyway.

The maids were stirring as soon as [51] Grannie called them. They rolled back the shutters around the porch and made so much noise in doing it that Father and Mother woke up too.

Then the Twins didn't keep so quiet any more. "I'll beat you dressing," Take said to Taro.

She ran to the bathroom to wash her face and hands, and Taro ran to wash his in a little brass basin on the porch.

"Be sure you wash behind your ears, Taro," Take called to him. "And it's no fair unless you brush your teeth hard!"

Taro didn't say anything. His toothbrush was in his mouth, and there wasn't room for words too. So he just scrubbed away as hard as he could. Then he ran back to his room and dressed so quickly that he was all done and out in the garden before Take began to put on her little kimono! You see, all Taro's clothes opened in front, and there wasn't a single button to do up; so he could do it all himself—all but the sash which tied round his waist [52] and held everything together. Take always tied this for him.

When Take came out into the garden she had her sash in her hand. Taro had his in his hand.

"I beat!" Taro called to her.

"You haven't got your sash on yet," Take called back.

"You haven't either," said Taro.

"We both of us didn't beat then," said Take. "Come here and I'll tie yours for you."

Taro backed up to Take, and she tied his sash in a twinkling.

Then she held up her sash. "Now, you tie mine for me, Taro," she said.

"Wait until Mother can help you," said Taro. "Boys shouldn't do girls' work."

"Oh, please, Taro," said Take. "I tied yours for you. I don't see why you can't tie mine for me!"

"Well, you know what Father said," Taro answered. "He said you are a girl and must mind me. You get Mother to do it."

[53] "He said you should be kind and noble, too," said Take. "It would be kind and noble of you to tie my sash, because I'm just suffering to have it tied." She looked at him sidewise. "Please do," she said.

Taro thought it over. Then he said, "Well, come behind the lantern, and just this once I'll do it. But don't you tell, and don't you ask me to again."

"Cross my heart, Taro," Take promised. "I won't tell. You are a good, kind boy."

Taro tied the sash the best he could, but it looked very queer. It looked so queer that when, after a while, their Mother saw it she said, "Come here, my child; your sash is tied upside down! But I know it is hard to reach behind you. I must teach you how to make a nice big bow all by yourself." And Take never told her that Taro did it. No one ever knew it until this minute!

When they were all dressed, the Twins ran out into the garden.

There had been a shower in the night, [54] and the leaves were all shiny, they had been washed so clean by the rain. The dew sparkled on the green iris leaves beside the tiny river, and the sunshine made the fish look like lumps of living gold in the blue waters of the little lake. The birds were singing in the wistaria vine that grew over the porch, and two doves were cooing on the old stone lantern that stood by the little lake. They were Taro's pet doves.


[Illustration]

Taro held out his fingers. "I haven't forgotten to bring you something," he called.

[55] The doves flew down and lit upon his shoulders. Taro took a few rice kernels from the sleeve of his kimono—which he used as a pocket—and fed the birds from his hand. They were so tame they even picked some from his lips.

"I will feed the fish too," Take said. And she ran to the kitchen where the maids were preparing breakfast. She came back with some white rice wafers in her fingers. First she threw some tiny bits of the wafer [56] into the water. The fish saw them and came to the surface. Then Take reached down and held the wafer in her fingers. The little fish came all about her hand and nibbled the wafer without fear. One of them even nibbled her finger!


[Illustration]

Take laughed. "Mind your manners," she said to the little fish. "It's not polite to try to eat me up when I'm feeding you! I'm not your breakfast, anyway!"

Just then they heard the tinkling sound of a little gong.

"Ting—ting—ting!"  sang Take to the sound of the gong. "Breakfast is ready." And she danced up the gravel walk to the house, her hair bobbing up and down, and her sash flying in the wind, so that she looked like a big blue butterfly.

Taro came too, and they sat down on mats in the kitchen, to eat their breakfast.

Their Mother was already serving their Father's breakfast to him in the next room. By and by she and Grandmother would have their breakfast with the servants.

[57] This is a picture of the Twins eating their breakfast.


[Illustration]

They each had a tiny table of red lacquered wood. On each table were two bowls. In one bowl was soup, and in the other rice.

Taro took up his soup-bowl with both hands. He was in a hurry.

"Oh, Taro!" Take said. "What would Mother say! You must be more polite. You know  that isn't the way to hold your bowl."

Taro set his bowl down again, and took it up carefully with one hand, just as you see him in the picture.

[58] Take began to eat her rice. She had two little sticks in her right hand. She used these sticks instead of a fork or spoon.

But Take was in a hurry too. She spilled a little rice on the front of her kimono.

Taro saw it. "You're just as impolite as I am," he said. "It's just as bad to spill as it is to hold your bowl wrong."

"Oh, dear me! Then we're both impolite," said Take. "What would Mother say!"

"She'd be ashamed of us," said Taro.

"Let's see if we can't remember every single one of our manners after this," said Take.

Just as they were finishing their rice there came the sound of steps—Clumpity—clumpity-clump!

"Who's coming?" said Taro.

"I think it's the hairdresser," Take answered.

She ran out to see. An old woman was on the porch. She had just slipped off her clogs.

[60] In Japan no one thinks of such a thing as wearing street shoes in the house. It would bring in dirt and soil the pretty white mats. That was why she took them off.

Take bowed to the old woman. "Oha-yo?" she said politely.

"Oha-yo?" said the old woman to Take.

The Twins' Mother heard them. She came to the door. She bowed to the old woman, and the old woman bowed to her.

"Come in," said the Mother. "I hope you will make my hair look very nice today, because we are going to the Temple."

The old woman smiled. "I will make it shine like satin," she said.

The Mother got out her little mirror and sat down on the floor. The hairdresser stood behind her and began to take down the Mother's long black hair.


[Illustration]

Bot'Chan had been awake a long time. Taro was playing with him on the floor.

The Mother called Take. "Daughter," she said, "a little nap would make our baby wide awake and happy when we start for the Temple. Would you like to put him to sleep?"

Take loved to put Bot'Chan to sleep better than anything else in the world. She took him in her arms and hugged him close. Then she swayed back and forth, and sang this little song: (Footnote: Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold)


[Illustration]

"How big and beautiful Sir Baby Boy is growing.

"When he becomes a good boy, too,

Then I will make our garden larger,

And build a little treasure house for him.


[62]

Next to the treasure-house I will plant pine trees.

Next to the pine trees I will plant bamboo.

Next to the bamboo I will plant plum trees.


To the branches of the plum trees shall be hung little bells!

When those little bells ring,

O Sir Baby Boy, how happy you will be!

She sang over and over, and softer and softer, about the little bells; and by the time the hairdresser had finished the Mother's hair and gone away, Bot'Chan was fast asleep.

Then Natsu put him down on some soft mats, and combed Take's hair.

Take stood still, like a brave little girl, though there were three snarls in it, and Natsu pulled dreadfully!

When every one was ready to go, they looked very splendid indeed. They all wore kimonos of the finest silk, with the family crest embroidered on the back and left sleeve. And Bot'Chan had new clothes that Grannie and Mother had made especially for him to wear on his first visit to the Temple.

[63] When everybody else was dressed and ready, Natsu waked Bot'Chan and put his new clothes on him.

"Now, we can start," said the Mother.

She took Bot'Chan in her arms. Natsu slid open the door, and they all stepped out on the porch.


[Illustration]


[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 30  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

The Wedding of Allan-a-Dale

[23] One day when Robin was walking through the wood, he met a gay young knight. The knight was dressed in scarlet satin, and wore a hat decked with feathers. He held his head erect and walked with a light and joyous step. As he walked he sang a merry song.

Robin wondered who the knight could be, but he did not stop him as he had other business that morning.

The next day Little John and Much, the tallest and the shortest of Robin Hood's band, went for a walk. It was very funny to see these two together. Little John was seven feet high and very straight and strong. Much was scarcely five and very broad and dumpy.

As they walked along they met the very knight that Robin had seen the day before. [24] But how different he looked! It was difficult to believe that he was the same man.

"The scarlet he wore the day before

It was clean cast away,

And ev'ry step he fetched a sigh,

Alack, and well a day."

He was dressed all in dull grey. His head hung down, and he moved his feet as if they were made of lead. So sad was he that he did not see Little John and Much until they were close upon him. Then he would have drawn his bow and arrows to shoot at them, but they were too quick for him. Seizing him by the arms they led him before Robin Hood, who was sitting under his great oak-tree.

Robin rose politely, bowed to him, and bade him welcome to the Green Wood. Then still very politely (for being a real earl, Robin was always very polite to people, though he did rob them) he asked if the stranger had any money to spare for Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

[25]

"I have no money, the young man said,

But five shillings, and a ring;

And that I have kept, this seven long years,

To have at my wedding."

When Robin heard that the knight was so poor, he was very sorry for him, and asked him to sit down and tell him how that was, and why he was so sad. So with many a sigh the poor young man told his tale.

"My name is Allan-a-Dale," he said. "Seven years ago I fell in love with the most beautiful lady in all the world. She loved me too and we were very happy. But her father was very angry. I was poor, and he said we were too young to marry. He promised, however, that if we would wait seven years and a day we should then be married. The seven years are over, and yesterday should have been our wedding day. I went to claim my bride. But alas! the old knight would scarcely speak to me. He said his daughter was not for such a poor man as I. To-morrow she is to be [26] married to another. He is old and ugly, but he has a great deal of money. So I have lost my love, and my heart is broken."

Then poor Allan-a-Dale dropped his head in his hands and groaned aloud.

"Nay," said Robin, "do not grieve so. A maiden who thus changes her mind is not worth so much sorrow."

But Allan-a-Dale shook his head. "Alas!" he sighed, "she loves me still. It is the old knight, her father, who forces her to do this thing."

"Then what wilt thou give to me, said Robin Hood,

In ready gold or fee,

To help thee to thy true love again.

And deliver her unto thee?"

"Why," said Allan, "I have no gold. But if you bring my true love back to me, I swear to serve you faithfully for ever and a day. I cannot shoot so far or so straight as your good men, but I can make and sing sweet songs and play upon the harp."

[27] Robin was very glad when he heard that. He clapped Allan on the shoulder and told him to cheer up, for, said he, "to-morrow is your wedding day." Then he asked how far it was to the church where this wedding was to take place. Allan told him it was to be at Dale Abbey, not much more than five miles distant.

Very early next morning Robin Hood rose. He dressed himself like an old harper, and taking a harp, set off for Dale Abbey. He left orders with Little John that he was to follow with twenty-four good men all dressed in Lincoln green. Also he was to bring with him Friar Tuck and Allan-a-dale.

When Robin Hood arrived at the door of the Abbey, whom should he meet but the Bishop of Hereford, all dressed in his fine robes and all ready to marry poor Lady Christabel to the old knight.

"What do you here, my good man?" said the Bishop.

"Why," replied Robin, "I am a minstrel. Hearing there was to be a great wedding [28] to-day, I have come to see it. Afterwards I can make a song about it."

"That is well," said the Bishop, "I love the sound of the harp and you can play some sweet music to us."

"I should like to see the bride and bridegroom first, before I play any music," replied Robin. Then he went into the church, and sat down behind a big pillar not far from the altar.

Soon the wedding guests began to arrive. There were a great many lovely ladies in beautiful dresses. They came in, rustling in silk and laces, nodding and smiling to each other, fluttering and flitting about the aisles of the great, dimly-lit church, like pretty painted butterflies. Robin watched them beckoning and whispering to each other. Sometimes he could hear what they said.

"Poor girl," said one, "so young and pretty."

"And he so old and ugly."

"Not to say wicked."

"And she loves some one else, I hear."

"Yes, Allan-a-Dale."

[29] "What! the handsome young man who sings so beautifully?"

"Then why does he not carry her off?"

"Oh, he is too poor."

"Oh, the pity of it!"

Robin was glad. From all he heard, he learned that every one in the church was sorry for poor Christabel.

At last the bridegroom came. Silence fell upon the church as he entered. Nothing was heard except the ring of his gold-headed cane on the flagstones, as he hobbled up the aisle. So old and ugly he was. Older and uglier even than Robin had expected. He was tricked out, too, in a suit of white satin which helped to make him look more aged and withered.

Suddenly there was a little stir at the great west door. All heads turned. The bride had arrived. A sigh of admiration passed through the crowd.

She was so beautiful. With slow and stately steps she came, leaning on her father's arm. Her face was sad, her eyes cast down. Pale as any lily, she came [30] robed in shimmering white satin. Round her white throat and in her golden hair, wonderful pearls gleamed in the dim light. If the bridegroom was more ugly than Robin had expected, the bride was far more beautiful. Behind her came the little choir boys, dressed in red and white, singing a sweet bridal song.

They reached the altar rails, and the Bishop opened his book to begin the service.

At that moment Robin sprang from behind the pillar and stood beside the bride.

"Stop!" he cried, "I do not like this wedding. The bridegroom is too old and ugly for such a lovely bride."

The ladies screamed, and at once the whole church was in commotion.

"Who are you who thus disturbs the peace of our holy service?" asked the Bishop.

"I am Robin Hood," replied he, throwing off his disguise, and putting his horn to his lips.


[Illustration]

"I am Robin Hood," replied he, throwing off his disguise and putting his horn to his lips

When they heard that, every one stopped screaming, and pressed forward, trying to catch sight of the wonderful man of whom they had heard so much.

[31]

"Then four-and-twenty bowmen bold

Came leaping o'er the lea.

And when they came to the churchyard,

Marching all in a row,

The first man was Allan-a-Dale

To give bold Robin his bow."

"Now," said Robin, "seeing we have all come to church it is a pity there should be no wedding. Let the lady choose of all these fine men which she will have."

The Lady Christabel's face was no longer pale, but dainty pink like the inside of a shell. She raised her eyes and saw that Allan-a-Dale was standing beside her. She put out her hand timidly and slipped it into his. He clasped it and bent to kiss it tenderly. Then it was as if two red rose petals had fluttered to her cheeks. She was no longer like a lily, but a queen with head erect, and shining, happy eyes.

"Now," said Robin, "the lady has chosen. We can have the wedding. Sir Bishop, do thy duty."

"Nay, but I will not," said the Bishop. "It [32] is the law that every one must be asked in church three times before they can be married. Therefore I will not."

"If you will not we must get some one else," said Robin. "Come along, Friar Tuck."

So Friar Tuck put on the Bishop's fine gown and took his big book, and every one laughed as he stepped to the rails of the altar, he looked so fat and jolly.

"When Friar Tuck went to the quire

The people began to laugh,

He asked them seven times in the church

Lest three times should not be enough."

Then when he had finished asking them seven times, he told the people gravely that they really must not laugh any more, that it was not at all the proper thing to do in church. But the people were all so glad for Christabel they really could not help it.

Then he began the marriage service. "Who gives this maiden to be married?"

"That do I," said Robin.

Christabel's father would have liked to cry out and stop the wedding, but he [33] could not. Two of Robin's men held him tight and kept their hands over his mouth so that he could not make a sound. No one else in all the church wanted to stop it except the Bishop and the old knight. They were both so angry that they could not speak. Besides they were both so old and feeble that they could do nothing.

So Christabel and Allan-a-Dale were married and went to live with Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest.

The wedding was long talked about. The people who were there said it was the prettiest and the merriest wedding they had ever seen. And to this day, if you go to Derbyshire, you can still see the ruins of the great abbey in which it took place.

 



Thornton Burgess

Some Unlike Relatives

[83] HAVING other things to attend to, or rather having other things to arouse his curiosity, Peter Rabbit did not visit the Old Orchard for several days. When he did it was to find the entire neighborhood quite upset. There was an indignation meeting in progress in and around the tree in which Chebec and his modest little wife had their home. How the tongues did clatter! Peter knew that something had happened, but though he listened with all his might he couldn't make head or tail of it.

Finally Peter managed to get the attention of Jenny Wren. "What's happened?" demanded Peter. "What's all this fuss about?"

Jenny Wren was so excited that she couldn't keep still an instant. Her sharp little eyes snapped and her tail was carried higher than ever. "It's a disgrace! It's a disgrace to the whole feathered race, and something ought to be done about it!" sputtered Jenny. "I'm ashamed to think that such a contemptible creature wears feathers! I am so!"

[84] "But what's it all about?" demanded Peter impatiently. "Do keep still long enough to tell me. Who is this contemptible creature?"

"Sally Sly," snapped Jenny Wren. "Sally Sly the Cowbird. I hoped she wouldn't disgrace the Old Orchard this year, but she has. When Mr. and Mrs. Chebec returned from getting their breakfast this morning they found one of Sally Sly's eggs in their nest. They are terribly upset, and I don't blame them. If I were in their place I simply would throw that egg out. That's what I'd do, I'd throw that egg out!"

Peter was puzzled. He blinked his eyes and stroked his whiskers as he tried to understand what it all meant. "Who is Sally Sly, and what did she do that for?" he finally ventured.

"For goodness' sake, Peter Rabbit, do you mean to tell me you don't know who Sally Sly is?" Then without waiting for Peter to reply, Jenny rattled on. "She's a member of the Blackbird family and she's the laziest, most good-for-nothing, sneakiest, most unfeeling and most selfish wretch I know of!" Jenny paused long enough to get her breath. "She laid that egg in Chebec's nest because she is too lazy to build a nest of her own and too selfish to take care of her own children. Do you know what will happen, Peter Rabbit? Do you know what will happen?"

[85] Peter shook his head and confessed that he didn't. "When that egg hatches out, that young Cowbird will be about twice as big as Chebec's own children," sputtered Jenny. "He'll be so big that he'll get most of the food. He'll just rob those little Chebecs in spite of all their mother and father can do. And Chebec and his wife will be just soft-hearted enough to work themselves to skin and bone to feed the young wretch because he is an orphan and hasn't anybody to look after him. The worst of it is, Sally Sly is likely to play the same trick on others. She always chooses the nest of some one smaller than herself. She's terribly sly. No one has seen her about. She just sneaked into the Old Orchard this morning when everybody was busy, laid that egg and sneaked out again."

"Did you say that she is a member of the Blackbird family?" asked Peter.

Jenny Wren nodded vigorously. "That's what she is," said she. "Thank goodness, she isn't a member of my  family. If she were I never would be able to hold my head up. Just listen to Goldy the Oriole over in that big elm. I don't see how he can sing like that, knowing that one of his relatives has just done such a shameful deed. It's a queer thing that there can be two members of the same family so unlike. Mrs. Goldy builds [86] one of the most wonderful nests of any one I know, and Sally Sly is too lazy to build any. If I were in Goldy's place I—"

"Hold on!" cried Peter. "I thought you said Sally Sly is a member of the Blackbird family. I don't see what she's got to do with Goldy the Oriole."

"You don't, eh?" exclaimed Jenny. "Well, for one who pokes into other people's affairs as you do, you don't know much. The Orioles and the Meadow Larks and the Grackles and the Bobolinks all belong to the Blackbird family. They're all related to Redwing the Blackbird, and Sally Sly the Cowbird belongs in the same family."

Peter gasped. "I—I—hadn't the least idea that any of these folks were related," stammered Peter.

"Well, they are," retorted Jenny Wren. "As I live, there's Sally Sly now!"

Peter caught a glimpse of a brownish-gray bird who reminded him somewhat of Mrs. Redwing. She was about the same size and looked very much like her. It was plain that she was trying to keep out of sight, and the instant she knew that she had been discovered she flew away in the direction of the Old Pasture. It happened that late that afternoon Peter visited the Old Pasture and saw her again. She and some of her friends [87] were busily walking about close to the feet of the cows, where they seemed to be picking up food. One had a brown head, neck and breast; the rest of his coat was glossy black. Peter rightly guessed that this must be Mr. Cowbird. Seeing them on such good terms with the cows he understood why they are called Cowbirds.

Sure that Sally Sly had left the Old Orchard, the feathered folks settled down to their personal affairs and household cares, Jenny Wren among them. Having no one to talk to, Peter found a shady place close to the old stone wall and there sat down to think over the surprising things he had learned. Presently Goldy the Baltimore Oriole alighted in the nearest apple-tree, and it seemed to Peter that never had he seen any one more beautifully dressed. His head, neck, throat and upper part of his back were black. The lower part of his back and his breast were a beautiful deep orange color. There was a dash of orange on his shoulders, but the rest of his wings were black with an edging of white. His tail was black and orange. Peter had heard him called the Firebird, and now he understood why. His song was quite as rich and beautiful as his coat.


[Illustration]

GOLDIE THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE

He is almost wholly black and orange and nearly the size of a Robin.



SAMMY JAY

His blue and gray coat with black and white markings makes the Blue Jay one of the easiest of all birds to recognize.

Shortly he was joined by Mrs. Goldy. Compared with her handsome husband she was very modestly dressed. She wore more brown than [88] black, and where the orange color appeared it was rather dull. She wasted no time in singing. Almost instantly her sharp eyes spied a piece of string caught in the bushes almost over Peter's head. With a little cry of delight she flew down and seized it. But the string was caught, and though she tugged and pulled with all her might she couldn't get it free. Goldy saw the trouble she was having and cutting his song short, flew down to help her. Together they pulled and tugged and tugged and pulled, until they had to stop to rest and get their breath.

"We simply must have this piece of string," said Mrs. Goldy. "I've been hunting everywhere for a piece, and this is the first I've found. It is just what we need to bind our nest fast to the twigs. With this I won't have the least bit of fear that that nest will ever tear loose, no matter how hard the wind blows."

Once more they tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged until at last they got it free, and Mrs. Goldy flew away in triumph with the string in her bill. Goldy himself followed. Peter watched them fly to the top of a long, swaying branch of a big elm-tree up near Farmer Brown's house. He could see something which looked like a bag hanging there, and he knew that this must be the nest.

[89] "Gracious!" said Peter. "They must get terribly tossed about when the wind blows. I should think their babies would be thrown out."

"Don't you worry about them," said a voice.

Peter looked up to find Welcome Robin just over him. "Mrs. Goldy makes one of the most wonderful nests I know of," continued Welcome Robin. "It is like a deep pocket made of grass, string, hair and bark, all woven together like a piece of cloth. It is so deep that it is quite safe for the babies, and they seem to enjoy being rocked by the wind. I shouldn't care for it myself because I like a solid foundation for my home, but the Goldies like it. It looks dangerous but it really is one of the safest nests I know of. Snakes and cats never get 'way up there and there are few feathered nest-robbers who can get at those eggs so deep down in the nest. Goldy is sometimes called Golden Robin. He isn't a Robin at all, but I would feel very proud if he were a member of my family. He's just as useful as he is handsome, and that's saying a great deal. He just dotes on caterpillars. There's Mrs. Robin calling me. Good-by, Peter."

With this Welcome Robin flew away and Peter once more settled himself to think over all he had learned.

 



Julia Fletcher Carney

Little Things

Little drops of water,

Little grains of sand,

Make the mighty ocean

And the pleasant land.


So the little moments,

Humble though they be,

Make the mighty ages

Of Eternity.


So the little errors

Lead the soul away

From the paths of virtue

Far in sin to stray.


Little deeds of kindness,

Little words of love,

Make this earth an Eden,

Like the Heaven above.

 


  WEEK 30  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

Doctor Kane in the Frozen Sea


[Illustration]

[132] KANE was a doctor in one of the war ships of the United States. He had sailed about the world a great deal.

When he heard that ships were to be sent into the icy seas of the north, he asked to be sent along. He went the first time as a doctor. Then he wanted to find out more about the frozen ocean. So he went again as captain of a ship. His ship was called the "Advance."

Kane sailed into the icy seas. His ship was driven far into the ice by a furious storm. She was crowded by icebergs. At one time she was lifted clear out of the water. The ship seemed ready to fall over on her side. But the ice let her down again. Then she was squeezed till the men thought that she would be crushed like an egg shell.

[133] At last the storm stopped. Then came the awful cold. The ship was frozen into the ice. The ice never let go of her. She was farther north than any ship had ever been before. But she was so fast in the ice that she never could get away.

In that part of the world it is night nearly all winter. For months there was no sun at all. Daylight came again. It was now summer, but it did not get warm. Doctor Kane took sleds, and went about on the ice to see what he could see. The sleds were drawn by large dogs. But nearly all of the dogs died in the long winter night.


[Illustration]

A Dog Sled

Doctor Kane thought that the ice would melt. He wanted to get the ship out. But the ice did not melt at all.

At last the summer passed away. Another awful winter came. The sun did not rise any more. It was dark for months and months. The men were ill. Some of them died. They were [134] much discouraged. But Kane kept up his heart, and did the best he could.

At last the least little streak of light could be seen. It got a little lighter each day. But the sick men down in the cabin of the ship could not see the light.

Doctor Kane said to himself, "If my poor men could see this sunlight, it would cheer them up. It might save their lives." But they were too ill to get out where they could see the sun. It would be many days before the sun would shine into the cabin of the ship. The men might die before that time.

So Doctor Kane took some looking glasses up to the deck or top of the ship. He fixed one of these so it would catch the light of the sun. Then he fixed another so that the first one would throw the light on this one. The last one would throw the sunlight down into the cabin where the sick men were.

One day the poor fellows were ready to give up. Then the sun fell on the looking glasses, and flashed down into the cabin. It was the first daylight the sick men had seen for months. The long winter night was over. Think how happy they were!

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Foolhardy Wolf

[60]

A LION bounded forth from his lair one day, looking north, west, south, and east. He saw a Buffalo and went to kill him.

The Lion ate all of the Buffalo-meat he wanted, and then went down to the lake for a drink.

As the Lion turned to go toward his den for a nap, he came upon a hungry Wolf.

The Wolf had no chance to get away, so he threw himself at the Lion's feet.

"What do you want?" the Lion asked.

"O Lion, let me be your servant," said the Wolf.

"Very well," said the Lion, "serve me, and you shall have good food to eat."

So saying, the Lion went into his den for his nap.

When he woke up, the Lion said to the Wolf: "Each day you must go to the mountain top, and see whether there are any elephants, or ponies, or buffaloes about. If you see any, [61] come to me and say: 'Great Lion, come forth in thy might. Food is in sight.' Then I will kill and eat, and give part of the meat to you."

So day after day the Wolf climbed to the mountain top, and seeing a pony, or a buffalo, or an elephant, he went back to the den, and falling at the Lion's feet he said: "Great Lion, come forth in thy might. Food is in sight."

[Illustration] Then the Lion would bound forth and kill whichever beast it was, sharing the meat with the Wolf.

Now this Wolf had never had such fine meat to eat, nor so much. So as time went on, the Wolf grew bigger and bigger, and stronger and stronger, until he was really proud of his great size and strength.

"See how big and strong I am," he said to himself. [62] "Why am I living day after day on food given me by another? I will kill for my own eating. I'll kill an elephant for myself."

So the Wolf went to the Lion, and said: "I want to eat an elephant of my own killing. Will you let me lie in your corner in the den, while you climb the mountain to look out for an elephant? Then when you see one, you come to the den and say, 'Great Wolf, come forth in thy might. Food is in sight.' Then I will kill the elephant."

Said the Lion: "Wolf, only Lions can kill elephants. The world has never seen a Wolf that could kill an elephant. Give up this notion of yours, and eat what I kill."

But no matter what the Lion said, the Wolf would not give way. So at last the Lion said: "Well, have your own way. Lie down in the den, and I will climb to the top of the mountain."

[Illustration] When he saw an elephant the Lion went back to the mouth of the cave, and said: "Great Wolf, come forth in thy might. Food is in sight."

Then from the den the Wolf nimbly bounded forth, ran to where the elephant was, and, howling three times, he sprang at the elephant.

But the Wolf missed his aim, and fell down at the elephant's [64] feet. The elephant raised his right foot and killed the Wolf.

Seeing all this, the Lion said, "You will no more come forth in your might, you foolhardy Wolf."

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

Boats Sail on the Rivers

Boats sail on the rivers,

And ships sail on the seas;

But clouds that sail across the sky

Are prettier far than these.


There are bridges on the rivers,

As pretty as you please;

But the bow that bridges heaven,

And overtops the trees,

And builds a road from earth to sky,

Is prettier far than these.