Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 31  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

Traveling by Stage-coach

[134] IN early Colonial days, the pioneers had to walk or go by canoe from one village or settlement to another. Later on, the trails were improved to the extent that horses could be used; and for a long time this was the only means of travel. Women and children usually rode on a pillion, or on cushions behind a man. Sometimes pack horses followed, carrying the household goods, or provisions for the journey.

One way by which four persons could ride, at least part of the distance, was known as the "ride-and-tie system." Two of the four persons started ahead on foot. The other two, mounted on the saddle and pillion, rode about a mile past the two who were walking, dismounted, tied the horse and walked on. When the two, who had first started, came to the waiting horse, they mounted, rode on past the walking two ahead of them for a mile or more, dismounted, tied the horse and again proceeded to walk. In this way, all four rode half the distance, and the horse had a rest every few miles.

The mail, what there was of it, was carried by post-riders on horseback. The postage was very [135] high, and was paid for by the person receiving the letter,—if he ever received it! It took about a month to send a letter from New York to Boston, and to get a reply. The mail generally lay in the post-rider's house till he had enough to pay for the trip. When the mail was delivered, it was laid on the table at an inn, and any one could have his letter by paying the innkeeper the postage.

After the Revolution, the roads were widened and made better than the old trails. Hence, wagons, or stage-coaches, came into use for transportation. Traveling by stage-coach lasted until the time of the railroads, and indeed still later in some places in the West. The stage between New York and Philadelphia made the trip in two days, provided the weather was good. From New York to Boston took a week's hard riding.

A passenger from Boston to New York thus describes his journey:

"The carriages were old and shackling, and much of the harness made up of ropes. One pair of horses carried us eighteen miles. We generally reached our resting place for the night, if no accident interfered, at ten o'clock, and, after a frugal supper, went to bed, with a notice that we should be called at three next morning, which generally proved to be half past two. And then, whether [136] it snowed or rained, the traveler must rise and make ready, by the help of a lantern and a farthing candle, and proceed on his way over bad roads, sometimes getting out to help the coachman lift the coach out of a quagmire or rut, and arrived in New York after a week's hard traveling, wondering at the ease, as well as the expedition, with which the journey was effected."

On good days, in the spring and summer, travel by stagecoach was not disagreeable. The horses were generally good and strong, and the coach rattled along fairly well. The driver had a long horn which he blew when he approached a stopping-place, so as to let the people know the stage was coming. The stops were frequent, and when the coach drove up to a tavern or inn, the passengers would get out for a meal, or else stretch themselves by taking a short walk.

Some of the turnpikes were beautiful and splendid roads. The way from Albany to Schenectady, New York, ran in a straight line, between rows of poplars, with many taverns along the route. Relays of horses were provided every ten miles; teams were changed in a few minutes; and with blowing of horns the coach would merrily depart. It was not at all unusual, over the fine roads, to make one hundred miles in twenty-four hours.


[Illustration]

All the weather was not springtime.

[137] But all the roads were not good ones; some of them were very bad indeed. And all the weather was not spring time! In the dead of winter, over a bad road, a stagecoach was anything but pleasant to ride in. There was no way of heating it, and the passengers had to endure hours of freezing cold, with much jolting and hard pulling over bad places. Sometimes, the coach stuck hard and fast in the mud, when all hands had to get out and pull and dig until the wheels were released.

Sometimes the driver had to call to the passengers to lean out of the carriage, first on one side and then on the other, to prevent it from over-turning or sticking in a ditch. "Gentlemen, to the right," he would call, upon which all the passengers would rush to the right and lean out of the windows to balance things. "Now, gentlemen, to the left," he would say, and the same thing would be done on the left side.

Along the road were inns or taverns for the travelers. Here, the weary passengers could take their meals, get warm by the fire, and find a bed at night. The cooking was good, the food abundant, and the beds usually comfortable. The charge was not high. One can well imagine how welcome these wayside taverns were to the cold, hungry, and tired folks, when they drove up at dark on a [138] winter's day, to find a blazing fire in the big front room with its raftered ceilings, a hot supper ready on the table, and a warm bed to sleep in. What matter if they did have to rise by candle light, and be on their way! Nobody traveled for pleasure, anyway, in those days, and so necessity made the hardships endurable.

Many of these taverns had very curious signs hanging outside, with names upon them, such as "The Red Horse," "The Bear and Eagle," "The Anchor," "The Blue Jay," "The Twin Bogs"; and often these signs would be painted to represent the name itself. Even the rooms were sometimes named, instead of being numbered, as in modern hotels. Such names as the "Star Chamber," "Rose Room," "Sunrise Room," "Blue Room," and even "Jerusalem Room" were common.

As one journeyed south, the roads were not so good and the taverns less frequent; because few people traveled by stages in the southern country. Those who traveled at all went in their own coaches, or by horseback. But there were some coaches going over the rough highways, and it was the universal custom for the planters to open their doors for meals and lodging. Eager for news and company they would order their negroes to stand at the gates, and to invite the passers-by to come into the house to be entertained.

Gone is the old stage-coach, with its picturesque history! Nowadays we speed at the rate of a mile a minute over smooth rails, and lay down to sleep to find ourselves several hundred miles away when we awake in the morning.

 



Thornton Burgess

More of the Blackbird Family

[90] PETER RABBIT was dozing. Yes, sir, Peter was dozing. He didn't mean to doze, but whenever Peter sits still for a long time and tries to think, he is pretty sure to go to sleep. By and by he wakened with a start. At first he didn't know what had wakened him, but as he sat there blinking his eyes, he heard a few rich notes from the top of the nearest apple-tree. "It's Goldy the Oriole," thought Peter, and peeped out to see.

But though he looked and looked he couldn't see Goldy anywhere, but he did see a stranger. It was some one of about Goldy's size and shape. In fact he was so like Goldy, but for the color of his suit, that at first Peter almost thought Goldy had somehow changed his clothes. Of course he knew that this couldn't be, but it seemed as if it must be, for the song the stranger was singing was something like that of Goldy. The stranger's head and throat and back were black, just like Goldy's, and his wings were trimmed with white in just the same way. But the rest of his suit, [91] instead of being the beautiful orange of which Goldy is so proud, was a beautiful chestnut color.

Peter blinked and stared very hard. "Now who can this be?" said he, speaking aloud without thinking.

"Don't you know him?" asked a sharp voice so close to Peter that it made him jump. Peter whirled around. There sat Striped Chipmunk grinning at him from the top of the old stone wall. "That's Weaver the Orchard Oriole," Striped Chipmunk rattled on. "If you don't know him you ought to, because he is one of the very nicest persons in the Old Orchard. I just love to hear him sing."

"Is—is—he related to Goldy?" asked Peter somewhat doubtfully.

"Of course," retorted Striped Chipmunk. "I shouldn't think you would have to look at him more than once to know that. He's first cousin to Goldy. There comes Mrs. Weaver. I do hope they've decided to build in the Old Orchard this year."

"I'm glad you told me who she is because I never would have guessed it," confessed Peter as he studied the newcomer. She did not look at all like Weaver. She was dressed in olive-green and dull yellow, with white markings on her wings. [92] Peter couldn't help thinking how much easier it must be for her than for her handsome husband to hide among the green leaves.

As he watched she flew down to the ground and picked up a long piece of grass. "They are building here, as sure as you live!" cried Striped Chipmunk. "I'm glad of that. Did you ever see their nest, Peter? Of course you haven't, because you said you had never seen them before. Their nest is a wonder, Peter. It really is. It is made almost wholly of fine grass and they weave it together in the most wonderful way."

"Do they have a hanging nest like Goldy's?" asked Peter a bit timidly.

"Not such a deep one," replied Striped Chipmunk. "They hang it between the twigs near the end of a branch, but they bind it more closely to the branch and it isn't deep enough to swing as Goldy's does."

Peter had just opened his mouth to ask another question when there was a loud sniffing sound farther up along the old stone wall. He didn't wait to hear it again. He knew that Bowser the Hound was coming.

"Good-by, Striped Chipmunk! This is no place for me," whispered Peter and started for the dear Old Briar-patch. He was in such a hurry to get there that on his way across the Green [93] Meadows he almost ran into Jimmy Skunk before he saw him.

"What's your hurry, Peter?" demanded Jimmy.

"Bowser the Hound almost found me up in the Old Orchard," panted Peter. "It's a wonder he hasn't found my tracks. I expect he will any minute. I'm glad to see you, Jimmy, but I guess I'd better be moving along."

"Don't be in such a hurry, Peter. Don't be in such a hurry," replied Jimmy, who himself never hurries. "Stop and talk a bit. That old nuisance won't bother you as long as you are with me."

Peter hesitated. He wanted to gossip, but he still felt nervous about Bowser the Hound. However, as he heard nothing of Bowser's great voice, telling all the world that he had found Peter's tracks, he decided to stop a few minutes. "What are you doing down here on the Green Meadows?" he demanded.

Jimmy grinned. "I'm looking for grasshoppers and grubs, if you must know," said he. "And I've just got a notion I may find some fresh eggs. I don't often eat them, but once in a while one tastes good."

"If you ask me, it's a funny place to be looking for eggs down here on the Green Meadows," re- [94] plied Peter. "When I want a thing I look for it where it is likely to be found."

"Just so, Peter; just so," retorted Jimmy Skunk, nodding his head with approval. "That's why I am here."

Peter looked puzzled. He was puzzled. But before he could ask another question a rollicking song caused both of them to look up. There on quivering wings in mid-air was the singer. He was dressed very much like Jimmy Skunk himself, in black and white, save that in places the white had a tinge of yellow, especially on the back of his neck. It was Bubbling Bob the Bobolink. And how he did sing! It seemed as if the notes fairly tumbled over each other.


[Illustration]

BUBBLING BOB THE BOBOLINK

He is dressed in black and yellowish white.

Jimmy Skunk raised himself on his hind-legs a little to see just where Bubbling Bob dropped down in the grass. Then Jimmy began to move in that direction. Suddenly Peter understood. He remembered that Bubbling Bob's nest is always on the ground. It was his eggs that Jimmy Skunk was looking for.

"You don't happen to have seen Mrs. Bob anywhere around here, do you, Peter?" asked Jimmy, trying to speak carelessly.

"No," replied Peter. "If I had I wouldn't tell you where. You ought to be ashamed, [95] Jimmy Skunk, to think of robbing such a beautiful singer as Bubbling Bob."

"Pooh!" retorted Jimmy. "What's the harm? If I find those eggs he and Mrs. Bob could simply build another nest and lay some more. They won't be any the worse off, and I will have had a good breakfast."

"But think of all the work they would have to do to build another nest," replied Peter.

"I should worry," retorted Jimmy Skunk. "Any one who can spend so much time singing can afford to do a little extra work."

"You're horrid, Jimmy Skunk. You're just horrid," said Peter. "I hope you won't find a single egg, so there!"

With this, Peter once more headed for the dear Old Briar-patch, while Jimmy Skunk continued toward the place where Bubbling Bob had disappeared in the long grass. Peter went only a short distance and then sat up to watch Jimmy Skunk. Just before Jimmy reached the place where Bubbling Bob had disappeared, the latter mounted into the air again, pouring out his rollicking song as if there were no room in his heart for anything but happiness. Then he saw Jimmy Shrunk and became very much excited. He flew down in the grass a little farther on and then up again, and began to scold.

[96] It looked very much as if he had gone down in the grass to warn Mrs. Bob. Evidently Jimmy thought so, for he at once headed that way. When Bubbling Bob did the same thing all over again. Peter grew anxious. He knew just how patient Jimmy Skunk could be, and he very much feared that Jimmy would find that nest. Presently he grew tired of watching and started on for the dear Old Briar-patch. Just before he reached it a brown bird, who reminded him somewhat of Mrs. Redwing and Sally Sly the Cowbird, though she was smaller, ran across the path in front of him and then flew up to the top of a last year's mullein stalk. It was Mrs. Bobolink. Peter knew her well, for he and she were very good friends.

"Oh!" cried Peter. "What are you doing here? Don't you know that Jimmy Skunk is hunting for your nest over there? Aren't you worried to death? I would be if I were in your place."

Mrs. Bob chuckled. "Isn't he a dear? And isn't he smart?" said she, meaning Bubbling Bob, of course, and not Jimmy Skunk. "Just see him lead that black-and-white robber away."

Peter stared at her for a full minute. "Do you mean to say," said he "that your nest isn't over there at all?"

[97] Mrs. Bob chuckled harder than ever. "Of course it isn't over there," said she.

"Then where is it?" demanded Peter.

"That's telling," replied Mrs. Bob. "It isn't over there, and it isn't anywhere near there. But where it is is Bob's secret and mine, and we mean to keep it. Now I must go get something to eat," and with a hasty farewell Mrs. Bobolink flew over to the other side of the dear Old Briar-patch.

Peter remembered that he had seen Mrs. Bob running along the ground before she flew up to the old mullein stalk. He went back to the spot where he had first seen her and hunted all around in the grass, but without success. You see, Mrs. Bobolink had been quite as clever in fooling Peter as Bubbling Bob had been in fooling Jimmy Skunk.

 



Frank Dempster Sherman

A Dewdrop

Little drop of dew,

Like a gem you are;

I believe that you

Must have been a star.


[19]

When the day is bright,

On the grass you lie;

Tell me then, at night

Are you in the sky?

 


  WEEK 31  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Faith

[97] AMONG the many martyrs who long ago gave up their lives, rather than deny their Master, we love to remember one little maid—a child-martyr and saint. We do not know a great deal about her, for she lived so very long ago, but what we know makes us love and honour her, and speak her name with reverence.

Faith was the name of this little maiden, and her home was in France, in the pleasant country of Aquitaine. Her parents were rich and noble, and she was brought up carefully, and taught to be courteous and gentle to every one. But she did not need much teaching, for her nature was sweet and pure, and her face was fair, with the beauty that shines from within.

The town in which little Faith lived was called Agen, and lay at the foot of a high rugged hill, which seemed to keep guard over it. It was a quiet little place, and most of the people who dwelt there were Christians, living happily together with the good bishop at their head.

But one day a heavy cloud of dust was seen rolling along the highroad that led over the mountains to the city gates. And messengers came running breathlessly into the town, warning the people that a great company of soldiers was marching towards [98] them. It was thought they had come from Spain, and the news spread like wildfire through the town that Dacian, the cruellest governor of all that country, was riding at their head.

In fear and trembling the people waited. They stood in little knots, talking under their breath of all the evil this man had done; or shutting themselves into their houses, they scarcely dared to look out at the windows. And soon the great company came sweeping in, swords clattering and armour glittering in the sunshine, rough soldiers laughing carelessly as they rode past the frightened faces. And at their head a cruel, evil-looking man who glared from side to side, as if he were a wild beast seeking his prey.

Doubtless it pleased him to see how every one trembled before him, and he smiled scornfully to think how easy a task it would be to teach these Christians to deny their God and drag their faith in the dust.

And soon the reason of his coming was known to all, for he ordered it to be proclaimed in the market-place, that every Christian who refused to sacrifice to the heathen gods should be tortured and put to death. And to make his meaning quite plain, the soldiers spread out all the terrible instruments of torture, so that men might know exactly what lay before them if they refused to deny Christ.

But in the night the terrified Christians stole silently out of the town, and climbing the high hill that overlooked the city, they hid themselves in the great caves among the rocks.

[99] Scarcely any one was left behind: even the good bishop was afraid to stay and face the danger, and it seemed as if Christ would have no one to fight on His side against the evil company.

But when morning came, and the furious Dacian discovered that every one had fled, he sent his soldiers to search and bring any who might remain hidden in the city, that he might wreak his vengeance on them.

And among the few that were left they brought to him the little maid Faith. She was only a little child, but she did not know what fear meant.

"'You cannot hurt me," she said, looking at the cruel, angry faces around her, "because I am not yours, but God's."

And then she signed herself with the sign of the cross, and with bent head prayed:

"Lord Jesus, teach my lips to answer their questions aright, so that I may do Thee no dishonour."

Then Dacian looked in anger at the child standing there with clasped hands and steadfast eyes, and asked her roughly:

"What is thy name?"

"My name is Faith," the little maid replied with gentle courtesy.

"And what God dost thou serve?" asked the cruel governor.

"I am a Christian, and I serve the Lord Christ," replied the child.

"Deny Him, and sacrifice to our gods," thundered the governor, "else shalt thou endure every kind of torture, until there is no life left in thy young body."

[100] But Faith stood with head erect and hands clasped tight together. Not even the ugly instruments of torture could frighten her.

"I serve the Lord Christ," she said, "and you cannot hurt me, because I am His."

Such a little maid she was, standing there among those rough, cruel men, offering her life gladly for the faith of her Master. Such a few years she had spent in this bright world, and so many stretched in front, holding pleasures and promises in store. And now she must give up all, must put aside the little white robe and golden sandals, and take instead the robe of suffering, and go barefoot to meet the pain and torture that awaited her.

And though they scourged her, and made her suffer many cruel torments, they could not bend her will, nor break her faith. Indeed it seemed as if she did not feel the pain and anguish.

And God stooped down, and gathered the little faithful soul into His bosom. And when the people looked, the child was dead.

But in the cave among the mountains that very day the bishop sat, sad and troubled.

He was gazing away across the plain to where the town lay half hidden in the mist, thinking of those faithful few who had chosen to stay behind. And suddenly the mist broke in front, and a vision stood out clear before him. He saw the child Faith being scourged and tortured; he saw the flames leaping around her, and then, as he looked again, lo! her head was encircled with a golden crown set with precious stones, each jewel sparkling with light. [101] And from heaven a white dove came gently flying down, and rested on the child's head, while from its wings a soft dew fell that quenched the flames.

And as the vision faded, the bishop bowed his head in his hands and wept. The thought of what this child had dared to endure for her Master, while he had shrunk from suffering aught for His sake, filled his heart with shame. He could not stay there in safety while any of his people might suffer as she had done.

So that night he returned to the city to help and comfort the few remaining Christians. Before long he too was called upon to suffer death for his Lord, and many others gave themselves up, led by the example of little Faith.

Some say that even the rough soldiers were touched by the child's death, and many became Christians. They began to think that such a religion was worth living for, if it could teach even a child to die so bravely.

And so, though she lived such a short time on earth, she did a very wonderful work for God, and we call her now Saint Faith, thinking often of her as we read these words:

"A little child shall lead them."

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

The Fisherman and His Wife

Part 1 of 2


[Illustration]

[97]

Once a fisherman and his wife lived

in a little hut by the sea.

One day the fisherman sat on the shore

with his rod.


"The fish do not bite to-day," he said.

Just then something pulled his line.

He drew up a large fish.


[98]

"Let me go," said the fish.

"I am not good to eat.

I am not a real fish.

I am an enchanted prince.

Please put me back into the water,

and I will swim away."


The fisherman put him back into the water,

and went home to his wife.


"Did you catch no fish to-day?"

said his wife.


"I caught a very large fish,"

said the fisherman.

"But it said to me,

'I am not a real fish.

I am an enchanted prince.

Put me back into the water,

and I will swim away.'


[99]

So I put it back into the water,

and it swam away."


"Did you wish for something?"

said his wife.


"What should I wish for?"

said the fisherman.


"You could wish for a pretty cottage,"

said she.

"I am tired of this little hut.

Go quickly and tell the fish

that we want a pretty cottage."


So the fisherman went back to the sea.

The water was all dark and green.

He stood by the shore, and said,

"O prince of the sea!

Come listen to me,

For my wife Isabel

Has a wish to tell."


[100]

The fish swam to the shore and said,

"What does she want?"

"She wants a pretty cottage," said he.

"She is tired of our little hut."


"Go, home," said the fish.

"Your wife is in her cottage now."


The man went home.

There stood his wife at the cottage door.

She took him by the hand and said,

"Come and see our cottage."

There was a pretty little parlor,

and a bedroom and a kitchen.

There was a little yard

with ducks and chickens.

And there was a little garden.


"Is this not beautiful?" said the wife.


"We shall always be happy now,"

said the fisherman.


[101]

But one day his wife said,

"This cottage is too small.

I want a large castle.

Go quickly and tell the fish."


So he went back to the shore.

The sea was all purple and dark blue.

The fisherman stood by it and said,

"O prince of the sea!

Come listen to me,

For my wife Isabel

Has a wish to tell."


"What does she want?" said the fish.


"She wants a large castle," said he.


"Go home," said the fish.

"Your wife is in her castle now."

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens

And all up the vale,

From the autumn bonfires

See the smoke trail!


Pleasant summer over

And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

The gray smoke towers.


Sing, a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!

 


  WEEK 31  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

Whittington and His Cat


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Lucy Fitch Perkins

How They Went to the Temple

[Illustration]

Part 1 of 2

[67]

T HE Twins were just stepping into their clogs when the front gate opened, and what do you think they saw! In came trotting three brown men, each one pulling a little carriage behind him! They came right up to the porch. Take was just standing on one foot, ready to slip her other one into the strap of her clog, when they came in. She was so surprised she fell right over backward! She picked herself up again quickly, and hopped along, with one shoe on and one shoe off:

"Are we going to ride?"  she gasped.

Her Father laughed. "Yes, little pop-eyes," he said; "we are going to ride to the Temple, and you and Taro shall ride in one rickshaw all by yourselves."

[68] The name of these little carriages drawn by men instead of horses is "jinrickshas," but he called them "rickshaws" for short.

The Twins were so happy they could hardly keep still. They looked at all three rickshaws and all three men, and then they said to their Father:

"May we ride in this one?"

It had red wheels.

"Yes, you may ride in that one," he said.

Then he got into the one with green wheels, and rode away.

Mother and Grannie and the Baby got into the next one, and their rickshaw man trotted away after Father.

"Keep close behind us," the Mother called back to the Twins.

They got into the rickshaw with the red wheels, and away they flew.

The Twins had never been in a rickshaw alone before in all their lives. They sat up very straight, and held on tight because it bounced a good deal, and the rickshaw man could run very fast.


[Illustration]

[69] "I feel as grand as a princess," Take whispered to Taro. "How do you feel?"

"I feel like a son of the Samurai," Taro whispered back. That was the proudest feeling he could think of.

There were so very many interesting things to see that the Twins didn't talk much for a while. You see, it's hard work to use your mouth and your eyes and your ears all at once. So the Twins just used their eyes.

It was still quite early in the morn- [70] ing when they reached the city streets. Here they saw men with baskets hung from poles going from house to house. Some were selling vegetables, some had fish, and others were selling flowers, or brooms.


[Illustration]

They saw little girls with baby brothers on their backs, skipping rope or bouncing balls. The baby's head wobbled dreadfully [71] when his little sister skipped, but he didn't cry about it. He just let it wobble!


[Illustration]

The Twins rode by fruit-shops, and clothing-shops with gay kimonos flapping in the breeze; by little shops where people were making paper lanterns, by tea-shops and silk-shops, by houses and gardens in strange places they had never seen before.

[72] They saw an old priest going from door to door, holding out his bowl for money.


[Illustration]

In one street carpenters were putting up a new house, and once they caught a glimpse of the very bridge that leads to the Emperor's palace.

By and by they reached the gate of the [73] Temple grounds. All the rickshaws stopped here, and everybody got out.

The Mother put Bot'Chan on her back, and they all started in a procession for the Temple. First walked the Father, looking very proud. Then came the Twins, looking quite proud, too. Then came Mother and Grannie and Bot'Chan and they looked proudest of all!

When they got inside the gate, the Twins thought they were in fairyland. You would have thought so, too, if you could have been there with them.

They saw so many wonderful things that day that if I were to tell you about every one of them it would fill up this whole book!

First of all, they came into a broad roadway with beautiful great cedar trees on each side. Under these trees were little booths. Great paper lanterns and banners of all colors hung in front of the booths; and when they waved gayly in the wind, the place looked like a giant flower-garden in full bloom.

[74] Near the Temple entrance was a great stone trough full of clear water. There was a long-handled wooden dipper floating on it.

"Come here," said the Father.

The Twins, Grandmother, and Mother, with Baby on her back, all came at once and stood in a row beside the trough. They put out their hands. The Father took the dipper and poured water on their hands.


[Illustration]

[75] When their hands were quite clean, they rinsed their mouths, too. Then they entered the Temple vestibule.

There were more little booths in the Temple vestibule, and there were so many people, big and little, crowding about that the Father took the Twins' hands so they wouldn't get lost.

First he led them to a place where they bought some cooked peas on a little plate, and some rice. He gave the peas to Taro and some of the rice to Take.

The Twins wondered what in the world their Father wanted with peas and rice. They soon found out. In the very next place was a little stall, and in the little stall was a tiny, tiny white horse—no bigger than a big dog! Even its eyes were white.

"Oh, Father," the Twins said, both together, "whose  little horse is it?"

"It's Kwannon's little horse," the Father said. "Taro, you may give him the peas."

Taro held out the plate. The little white pony put his nose in the plate and ate them [76] all up! He sniffed up Taro's sleeve as if he wanted more.

Take patted his back. "Who is Kwannon?" she asked.

"Kwannon is a beautiful goddess who loves little children," said the Father.

"Does she live here?" asked Taro.

"This is her Temple, where people come to worship," the Father answered. "We are going to pray to her to-day to take good care of Bot'Chan always."

"Did you ask her to take care of us, too?" asked Take.

"Yes; we brought you both here when you were a month old, just as we are bringing Bot'Chan now," the Father replied.

"Does she take care of all  little children?" Take said.

"She loves them all, and takes care of all who ask for her protection."

"My!" said Take. "She must have her hands full with such a large family!"

Her Father laughed, "But, you see, she [77] has a great many hands," he said. "If she had only two, like us, it would be hard for her to take care of so many."

"I never saw her take care of me," said Taro.

"We do not see the gods," their Father answered. "But we must worship and obey them just the same."

"I think Kwannon must love little children," said Take, "because she wants them to have such good times in her Temple."

They said good-bye to the little horse, and walked through an opening into a courtyard beyond. The moment they stepped into the courtyard a flock of white pigeons flew down and settled all about them.


[Illustration]

"Take may feed the pigeons," the Father said. "They are Kwannon's pigeons."

Take threw her rice on the ground. The pigeons picked it all up. So many people fed them that they were almost too fat to fly!

At another booth their Father bought [78] some little rings of perfumed incense. He put them in his sleeve. His sleeves could hold more things than all a boy's pockets put together!

When they reached the great door of the Temple itself, the Father said: "Now, we must take off our shoes." So they all slipped their toes out of their clogs, and went into the Temple just as the bell in the courtyard rang out with a great—boom— BOOM—BOOM! that made the air shiver and shake all about them.

[79] The Temple was one big, shadowy room, with tall red columns all about.

"It's just like a great forest full of trees, isn't it?" Taro whispered to Take, as they went in.

"It almost scares me," Take whispered back; "it's so big."

Directly in front of the entrance there was another bell. A long red streamer hung from its clapper, and under it was a great box with bars over the top. On the box there perched a great white rooster!

The Father pulled the red streamer and rang the bell. Then he threw a piece of money into the box. It fell with a great noise.

"Cock-a-doodle-doo," crowed the rooster! He seemed very much pleased about the money, though it was meant for the priests and not for him. "The rooster is saying thank you," cried Take. "Hush," said her Mother.

Then the Father drew from his sleeve a little rosary of beads. He placed it over his hands, and bowed his head in prayer [80] while Grannie and Mother and Baby and the Twins stood near him and kept very still. When he had finished, a priest came up.


[Illustration]

The Father bowed to the priest. "Will you show us the way to the shrine of Kwannon?" he asked.

Away off at the farther end of the Temple, the Twins could see a great altar. Banners and lanterns hung about it, and people were kneeling on the floor before it, pray- [81] ing. Before the altar was an open brazier with incense burning in it.

"Come this way," said the priest. He led them to the altar.

The Father took Bot'Chan from his Mother, and held him in his arms. The priest said a prayer to Kwannon, and blessed the Baby. Then the Father threw incense rings on the little fire that burned in the brazier before the altar. Wreaths of smoke began to curl about their heads. The air was filled with the sweet odor of it. Some of it went up Bot'Chan's nose. It smarted. Bot'Chan didn't like it. He had behaved beautifully up to that time, and I am sure if the incense hadn't gone up his nose he would have kept on behaving beautifully. But it did, and Bot'Chan sneezed just as the priest finished the prayer.

Then he gave a great scream. Then another, and another. Three of them!

The priest smiled. But the Father didn't smile. He gave Bot'Chan back to his mother just as quickly as he could.

[82] He said, "The honorable worshippers will be disturbed. We must go out at once."

They hurried back to the entrance and found their clogs, and the moment they were outdoors again, in the sweet, fresh air, Bot'Chan cuddled down on his Mother's back and went to sleep without another sound.

 

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  WEEK 31  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

Robin Hood and the Butcher

[34] The Sheriff of Nottingham hated Robin and would have been very glad if any one had killed him.

The Sheriff was a very unkind man. He treated the poor Saxons very badly. He often took away all their money, and their houses and left them to starve. Sometimes, for a very little fault, he would cut off their ears or fingers. The poor people used to go into the wood, and Robin would give them food and money. Sometimes they went home again, but very often they stayed with him, and became his men.

The Sheriff knew this, so he hated Robin all the more, and he was never so happy as when he caught one of Robin's men and locked him up in prison.

But try how he might, he could not catch Robin. All the same Robin used to go [35] to Nottingham very often, but he was always so well disguised that the Sheriff never knew him. So he always escaped.

The Sheriff was too much afraid of him to go into the forest to try to take him. He knew his men were no match for Robin's. Robin's men served him and fought for him because they loved him. The Sheriff's men only served him because they feared him.

One day Robin was walking through the forest when he met a butcher.

This butcher was riding gaily along to the market at Nottingham. He was dressed in a blue linen coat, with leather belt. On either side of his strong grey pony hung a basket full of meat.

In these days as there were no trains, everything had to be sent by road. The roads were so bad that even carts could not go along them very much, for the wheels stuck in the mud. Everything was carried on horseback, in sacks or baskets called panniers.

The butcher rode gaily along, whistling [36] as he went. Suddenly Robin stepped from under the trees and stopped him.

"What have you there, my man?" he asked.

"Butcher meat," replied the man. "Fine prime beef and mutton for Nottingham Market. Do you want to buy some?"

"Yes, I do," said Robin. "I'll buy it all and your pony too. How much do you want for it? I should like to go to Nottingham and see what kind of butcher I will make."

So the butcher sold his pony and all his meat to Robin. Then Robin changed clothes with him. He put on the butcher's blue clothes and leather belt, and the butcher went off in Robin's suit of Lincoln green, feeling very grand indeed.

Then Robin mounted his pony and off he went to Nottingham to sell his meat at the market.

When he arrived he found the whole town in a bustle. In those days there were very few shops, so every one used to go to market to buy and sell. The country people brought butter and eggs and honey to sell. With the money they got they bought platters [37] and mugs, pots and pans, or whatever they wanted, and took it back to the country with them.

All sorts of people came to buy: fine ladies and poor women, rich knights and gentlemen, and humble workers, every one pushing and crowding together. Robin found it quite difficult to drive his pony through the crowd to the corner of the market place where the butchers had their stalls.

He got there at last, however, laid out his meat, and began to cry with the best of them.

"Prime meat, ladies. Come and buy. Cheapest meat in all the market, ladies. Come buy, come buy. Twopence a pound, ladies. Twopence a pound. Come buy. Come buy."

"What!" said every one, "beef at twopence a pound! I never heard of such a thing. Why it is generally tenpence."

You see Robin knew nothing at all about selling meat, as he never bought any. He and his men used to live on what they shot in the forest.

[38] When it became known that there was a new butcher, who was selling his meat for twopence a pound, every one came crowding round his stall eager to buy. All the other butchers stood idle until Robin had no more beef and mutton left to sell.

As these butchers had nothing to do, they began to talk among themselves and say, "Who is this man? He has never been here before."

"Do you think he has stolen the meat?"

"Perhaps his father has just died and left him a business."

"Well, his money won't last long at this rate."

"The sooner he loses it all, the better for us. We will never be able to sell anything as long as he comes here giving away beef at twopence a pound."

"It is perfectly ridiculous," said one old man, who seemed to be the chief butcher. "These fifty years have I come and gone to Nottingham market, and I have never seen the like of it—never. He is ruining the trade, that's what he is doing.

[39] They stood at their stalls sulky and cross, while all their customers crowded round Robin.

Shouts of laughter came from his corner, for he was not only selling beef and mutton, but making jokes about it all the time.

"I tell you what," said the old butcher, "it is no use standing here doing nothing. We had better go talk to him, and find out, if we can, who he is. We must ask him to come and have dinner with us and the Sheriff in the town-hall to-day." For on market days the butchers used to have dinner altogether in the town-hall, after market was over, and the Sheriff used to come and have dinner with them.

"So, the butchers stepped up to jolly Robin,

Acquainted with him for to be;

Come, butcher, one said, we be all of one trade,

Come, will you dine with me?"

"Thank you," said Robin. "I should like [40] nothing better. I have had a busy morning and am very hungry and thirsty."

"Come along, then," said the butchers.

The old man led the way with Robin, and the others followed two by two.

As they walked along, the old butcher began asking Robin questions, to try and find out something about him.

"You have not been here before?" he said.

"Have I not?" replied Robin.

"I have not seen you, at least."

"Have you not?"

"You are new to the business?"

"Am I?"

"Well, you seem to be," said the old butcher, getting rather cross.

"Do I?" replied Robin laughing.

At last they came to the town-hall, and though they had talked all the time the old butcher had got nothing out of Robin, and was not a bit wiser.

The Sheriff's house was close to the town-hall, so as dinner was not quite ready all the butchers went to say "How do you do?" to the Sheriff's wife.

[41] She received them very kindly, and was quite interested in Robin when she heard that he was the new butcher who had been selling such wonderfully cheap meat. Robin had such pleasant manners too, that she thought he was a very nice man indeed. She was quite sorry when the Sheriff came and took him away, saying dinner was ready.

"I hope to see you again, kind sir," she said when saying good-bye. "Come to see me next time you have meat to sell."

"Thank you, lady, I will not forget your kindness," replied Robin, bowing low.

At dinner the Sheriff sat at one end of the table and the old butcher at the other. Robin, as the greatest stranger, had the place of honour on the Sheriff's right hand.

At first the dinner was very dull. All the butchers were sulky and cross, only Robin was merry. He could not help laughing to himself at the idea of dining with his great enemy the Sheriff of Nottingham. And not only dining with him, but sitting on his right hand, and being treated as an honoured guest.

If the Sheriff had only known, poor Robin [42] would very soon have been locked up in a dark dungeon, eating dry bread instead of apple pie and custard and all the fine things they were having for dinner.

However, Robin was so merry, that very soon the butchers forgot to be cross and sulky. Before the end of dinner all were laughing till their sides ached.

Only the Sheriff was grave and thinking hard. He was a greedy old man, and he was saying to himself, "This silly young fellow evidently does not know the value of things. If he has any cattle I might buy them from him for very little. I could sell them again to the butchers for a good price. In that way I should make a lot of money."

After dinner he took Robin by the arm and led him aside.

"See here, young man," he said, "I like your looks. But you seem new to this business. Now don't trust these men," pointing to the butchers. "They are all as ready as can be to cheat you. You take my advice. If you have any cattle to sell, come to me. I'll give you a good price."

[43] "Thank you," said Robin, "it is most kind of you."

"Hast thou any horned beasts, the Sheriff then said,

Good fellow, to sell to me?

Yes, that I have, good master Sheriff,

I have hundreds two or three.


And a hundred acres of good free land,

if you please it for to see;

And I'll make you as good assurance of it,

As ever my father did me."

The Sheriff nearly danced for joy when he heard that Robin had so many horned cattle for sale. He had quite made up his mind that it would be easy to cheat this silly young fellow. Already he began to count the money he would make. He was such a greedy old man. But there was a wicked twinkle in Robin's eye.

"Now, young man, when can I see these horned beasts of yours?" asked the Sheriff. "I can't buy a pig in a poke, you know. I must see them first. And the land [44] too, and the land too," he added, rubbing his hands, and jumping about in his excitement.

"The sooner the better," said Robin. "I start for home to-morrow morning. If you like to ride with me I will show you the horned beasts and the land too."

"Capital, capital," said the Sheriff. "To-morrow morning then, after breakfast, I go with you. And see here, young man," he added, catching hold of Robin's coat tails, as he was going away, "you won't go and sell to any one else in the meantime? It is a bargain, isn't it?"

"Oh, certainly. I won't even speak of it to any one," replied Robin; and he went away, laughing heartily to himself.

That night the Sheriff went into his counting-house and counted out three hundred pounds in gold. He tied it up in three bags, one hundred pounds in each bag.

"It's a lot of money," he said to himself, "a lot of money. Still I suppose, I must pay him something for his cattle. But it is a lot of money to part with," and he heaved a big sigh.

[45] He put the gold underneath his pillow in case any one should steal it during the night. Then he went to bed and tried to sleep. But he was too excited; besides the gold under his pillow made it so hard and knobby that it was most uncomfortable.

At last the night passed, and in the morning

"The Sheriff he saddled his good palfrey,

And with three hundred pounds in gold

Away he went with bold Robin Hood,

His horned beasts to behold."

The sun shone and the birds sang as they merrily rode along. When the Sheriff saw that they were taking the road to Sherwood Forest, he began to feel a little nervous.

"There is a bold, bad man in these woods," he said. "He is called Robin Hood. He robs people, he—do you think we will meet him?"

"I am quite sure we won't meet him," replied Robin with a laugh.

"Well, I hope not, I am sure," said the Sheriff. "I never dare to ride through the [46] forest unless I have my soldiers with me. He is a bold, bad man."

Robin only laughed, and they rode on right into the forest.

"But when a little further they came,

Bold Robin he chanced to spy

An hundred head of good fat deer

Come tripping the Sheriff full nigh.

"Look there," he cried, "look! What do you think of my horned beasts?"

"I think," said the Sheriff, in a trembling voice, "I think I should go back to Nottingham."

"What! and not buy any horned Cattle? What is the matter with them? Are they not fine and fat? Are they not a beautiful colour? Come, come, Sheriff, when you have brought the money for them too."

At the mention of money the Sheriff turned quite pale and clutched hold of his bags. "Young man," he said, "I don't like you at all. I tell you I want to go back to Nottingham. This isn't money I have in my bags, it is only pebble stones."

"Then Robin put his horn to his mouth,

And blew out blasts three;

Then quickly and anon there came Little John,

And all his company."

"Good morning, Little John," said Robin.

"Good morning, Master Robin," he replied. "What orders have you for to-day?"

"Well, in the first place I hope you have something nice for dinner, because I have brought the Sheriff of Nottingham to dine with us," answered Robin.

"Yes," said Little John, "the cooks are busy already as we thought you might bring some one back with you. But we hardly expected so fine a guest as the Sheriff of Nottingham," he added, making a low bow to him. "I hope he intends to pay honestly."

For that was Robin Hood's way, he always gave these naughty men who had stolen money from poor people a very fine dinner and then he made them pay a great deal of money for it.

[48] The Sheriff was very much afraid when he knew that he had really fallen into the hands of Robin Hood. He was angry too when he thought that he had actually had Robin in his own house the day before, and could so easily have caught and put him in prison, if he had only known.

They had a very fine dinner, and the Sheriff began to feel quite comfortable and to think he was going to get off easily, when Robin said, "Now, Master Sheriff, you must pay for your dinner."

"Oh! indeed I am a poor man," said the Sheriff, "I have no money."

"No money! What have you in your saddle bags, then?" asked Robin.

"Only pebbles, nothing but pebbles, I told you before," replied the frightened Sheriff.

"Little John, go and search the Sheriff's saddle bags," said Robin.

Little John did as he was told, and counted out three hundred pounds upon the ground.

"Sheriff," said Robin sternly, "I shall keep all this money and divide it among my men. [49] It is not half as much as you have stolen from them. If you had told me the truth about it, I might have given you some back. But I always punish people who tell lies. You have done so many evil deeds," he went on, "that you deserve to be hanged."

The poor Sheriff shook in his shoes.

"Hanged you should be," continued Robin, "but your good wife was kind to me yesterday. For her sake, I let you go. But if you are not kinder to my people I will not let you off so easily another time." And Robin called for the Sheriff's pony.

"Then Robin he brought him through the wood,

And set him on his dapple grey:

Oh, have me commended to your wife at home,

So Robin went laughing away."

 



Thornton Burgess

Bob White and Carol the Meadow Lark

[98] "BOB—BOB WHITE! Bob—Bob White! Bob—Bob White!" clear and sweet, that call floated over to the dear Old Briar-patch until Peter could stand it no longer. He felt that he just had to go over and pay an early morning call on one of his very best friends, who at this season of the year delights in whistling his own name—Bob White.

"I suppose," muttered Peter, "that Bob White has got a nest. I wish he would show it to me. He's terribly secretive about it. Last year I hunted for his nest until my feet were sore, but it wasn't the least bit of use. Then one morning I met Mrs. Bob White with fifteen babies out for a walk. How she could hide a nest with fifteen eggs in it is more than I can understand."

Peter left the Old Briar-patch and started off over the Green Meadows towards the Old Pasture. As he drew near the fence between the Green Meadows and the Old Pasture he saw Bob White sitting on one of the posts, whistling with all his might. On another post near him sat another [99] bird very near the size of Welcome Robin. He also was telling all the world of his happiness. It was Carol the Meadow Lark.


[Illustration]

CAROL THE MEADOW LARK

You will know him by the black crescent on his yellow breast and the white outer feathers of his rather short tail when he flies.

Peter was so intent watching these two friends of his that he took no heed to his footsteps. Suddenly there was a whirr from almost under his very nose and he stopped short, so startled that he almost squealed right out. In a second he recognized Mrs. Meadow Lark. He watched her fly over to where Carol was singing. Her stout little wings moved swiftly for a moment or two, then she sailed on without moving them at all. Then they fluttered rapidly again until she was flying fast enough to once more sail on them outstretched. The white outer feathers of her tail showed clearly and reminded Peter of the tail of Sweetvoice the Vesper Sparrow, only of course it was ever so much bigger.

Peter sat still until Mrs. Meadow Lark had alighted on the fence near Carol. Then he prepared to hurry on, for he was anxious for a bit of gossip with these good friends of his. But just before he did this he just happened to glance down and there, almost at his very feet, he caught sight of something that made him squeal right out. It was a nest with four of the prettiest eggs Peter ever had seen. They were white with brown spots all over them. Had it not been for the eggs he [100] never would have seen that nest, never in the world. It was made of dry, brown grass and was cunningly hidden is a little clump of dead grass which fell over it so as to almost completely hide it. But the thing that surprised Peter most was the clever way in which the approach to it was hidden. It was by means of a regular little tunnel of grass.

"Oh!" cried Peter, and his eyes sparkled with pleasure. "This must be the nest of Mrs. Meadow Lark. No wonder I have never been able to find it, when I have looked for it. It is just luck and nothing else that I have found it this time. I think it is perfectly wonderful that Mrs. Meadow Lark can hide her home in such a way. I do hope Jimmy Skunk isn't anywhere around."

Peter sat up straight and anxiously looked this way and that way. Jimmy Skunk was nowhere to be seen and Peter gave a little sigh of relief. Very carefully he walked around that nest and its little tunnel, then hurried over toward the fence as fast as he could go.

"It's perfectly beautiful, Carol!" he cried, just as soon as he was near enough. "And I won't tell a single soul!"

"I hope not. I certainly hope not," cried Mrs. Meadow Lark in an anxious tone. "I never would have another single easy minute if I thought [101] you would tell a living soul about my nest. Promise that you won't, Peter. Cross your heart and promise that you won't."

Peter promptly crossed his heart and promised that he wouldn't tell a single soul. Mrs. Meadow Lark seemed to feel better. Right away she flew back and Peter turned to watch her. He saw her disappear in the grass, but it wasn't where he had found the nest. Peter waited a few minutes, thinking that he would see her rise into the air again and fly over to the nest. But he waited in vain. Then with a puzzled look on his face, he turned to look up at Carol.

Carol's eyes twinkled. "I know what you're thinking, Peter," he chuckled. "You are thinking that it is funny Mrs. Meadow Lark didn't go straight back to our nest when she seemed so anxious about it. I would have you to know that she is too clever to do anything so foolish as that. She knows well enough that somebody might see her and so find our secret. She has walked there from the place where you saw her disappear in the grass. That is the way we always do when we go to our nest. One never can be too careful these days."

Then Carol began to pour out his happiness once more, quite as if nothing had interrupted his song.

[102] Somehow Peter never before had realized how handsome Carol the Meadow Lark was. As he faced Peter, the latter saw a beautiful yellow throat and waistcoat, with a broad black crescent on his breast. There was a yellow line above each eye. His back was of brown with black markings. His sides were whitish, with spats and streaks of black. The outer edges of his tail were white. Altogether he was really handsome, far handsomer than one would suspect, seeing him at a distance.

Having found out Carol's secret, Peter was doubly anxious to find Bob White's home, so he hurried over to the post where Bob was whistling with all his might. "Bob!" cried Peter. "I've just found Carol's nest and I've promised to keep it a secret. Won't you show me your nest, too, if I'll promise to keep that  a secret?"

Bob threw back his head and laughed joyously. "You ought to know, Peter, by this time," said he, "that there are secrets never to be told to anybody. My nest is one of these. If you find it, all right; but I wouldn't show it to my very best friend, and I guess I haven't any better friend than you, Peter." Then from sheer happiness he whistled, "—Bob White! Bob—Bob White!" with all his might.

Peter was disappointed and a little put out. [103] "I guess," said he, "I could find it if I wanted to. I guess it isn't any better hidden than Mrs. Meadow Lark's, and I found that. Some folks aren't as smart as they think they are."

Bob White, who is sometimes called Quail and sometimes called Partridge, and who is neither, chuckled heartily. "Go ahead, old Mr. Curiosity, go ahead and hunt all you please," said he. "It's funny to me how some folks think themselves smart when the truth is they simply have been lucky. You know well enough that you just happened  to find Carol's nest. If you happen  to find mine, I won't have a word to say."

Bob White took a long breath, tipped his head back until his bill was pointing right up in the blue, blue sky, and with all his might whistled his name, "Bob—Bob White! Bob—Bob White!"

As Peter looked at him it came over him that Bob White was the plumpest bird of his acquaintance. He was so plump that his body seemed almost round. The shortness of his tail added to this effect, for Bob has a very short tail. The upper part of his coat was a handsome reddish-brown with dark streaks and light edgings. His sides and the upper part of his breast were of the same handsome reddish-brown, while underneath he was whitish with little bars of black. His throat was white, and above each eye was a broad [104] white stripe. His white throat was bordered with black, and a band of black divided the throat from the white line above each eye. The top of his head was mixed black and brown. Altogether he was a handsome little fellow in a modest way.


[Illustration]

BOB WHITE

No other bird is shaped like him.

Suddenly Bob White stopped whistling and looked down at Peter with a twinkle in his eye. "Why don't you go hunt for that nest, Peter?" said he.

"I'm going," replied Peter rather shortly, for he knew that Bob knew that he hadn't the least idea where to look. It might be somewhere on the Green Meadows or it might be in the Old Pasture; Bob hadn't given the least hint. Peter had a feeling that the nest wasn't far away and that it was on the Green Meadows, so he began to hunt, running aimlessly this way and that way, all the time feeling very foolish, for of course he knew that Bob White was watching him and chuckling down inside.

It was very warm down there on the Green Meadows, and Peter grew hot and tired. He decided to run up in the Old Pasture in the shade of an old bramble-tangle there. Just the other side of the fence was a path made by the cows and often used by Farmer Brown's boy and Reddy Fox and others who visited the Old [105] Pasture. Along this Peter scampered, lipperty-lipperty-lip, on his way to the bramble-tangle. He didn't look either to right or left. It didn't occur to him that there would be any use at all, for of course no one would build a nest near a path where people passed to and fro every day.

And so it was that in his happy-go-lucky way Peter scampered right past a clump of tall weeds close beside the path without the least suspicion that cleverly hidden in it was the very thing he was looking for. With laughter in her eyes, shrewd little Mrs. Bob White, with sixteen white eggs under her, watched him pass. She had chosen that very place for her nest because she knew that it was the last place anyone would expect to find it. The very fact that it seemed the most dangerous place she could have chosen made it the safest.

 



Elizabeth Prentiss

Cradle Song

Sleep, baby, sleep!

Thy father's watching the sheep,

Thy mother's shaking the dreamland tree,

And down drops a little dream for thee.

Sleep, baby, sleep.


Sleep, baby, sleep!

The large stars are the sheep;

The little stars are the lambs, I guess,

The bright moon is the shepherdess.

Sleep, baby, sleep.

 


  WEEK 31  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

A Dinner on the Ice

[135] AFTER two winters of cold and darkness, Doctor Kane made up his mind to leave the ship fast in the ice. He wanted to get to a place in Greenland where there were people living. Then he might find some way of getting home again.

The men started out, drawing the boats on sleds. Whenever they came to open water, they put the boats into the water, and took the sleds in the boats. When they came to the ice again, they had to draw out their boats, and carry them on the sleds. At first they could travel only about a mile a day.

It was a hard journey. Some of the men were ill. These had to be drawn on the sleds by the rest. They had not enough food. At one time they rested three days in a kind of cave. Here they found many birds' eggs. These made very good food for them. At another place they staid a week. They staid just to eat the eggs of the wild birds.

After they left this place, they were hungry. The men grew thinner and thinner. It seemed that they must die for want of food. But one day they saw a large seal. He was floating on a piece of ice. The hungry men thought, "What a fine din- [136] ner he would make for us!" If they could get the seal, they would not die of hunger.

Every one of the poor fellows trembled for fear the seal would wake up. A man named Petersen took a gun, and got ready to shoot. The men rowed the boat toward the seal. They rowed slowly and quietly. But the seal waked up. He raised his head. The men thought that he would jump off into the water. Then they might all die for want of food.

Doctor Kane made a motion to Petersen. That was to tell him to shoot quickly. But Petersen did not shoot. He was so much afraid that the seal would get away, that he could not shoot. The seal now raised himself a little more. He was getting ready to jump into the water. Just then Petersen fired. The seal fell dead on the ice.


[Illustration]

A Seal

The men were wild with joy. They rowed the boats with all their might. When they got to the seal, they dragged it farther away from the water. They were so happy, that they danced on the ice. Some of them laughed. Some were so glad, that they cried.


[Illustration]

Shooting the Seal

[137] Then they took their knives and began to cut up the seal. They had no fire on the ice, and they were too hungry to think of lighting one. So they ate the meat of the seal without waiting to cook it.

 



Edward Eggleston

Doctor Kane Gets Out of the Frozen Sea

[138] AFTER they got the seal, Doctor Kane and his men traveled on. Sometimes they were on the ice. Sometimes they were in the boats. The men were so weak, that they could hardly row the boats. They were so hungry, that they could not sleep well at night.

One day they were rowing, when they heard a sound. It came to them across the water. It did not sound like the cry of sea birds. It sounded like people's voices.

"Listen!" Doctor Kane said to Petersen.

Petersen spoke the same language as the people of Greenland. He listened. The sound came again. Petersen was so glad, that he could hardly speak. He told Kane in a half whisper, that it was the voice of some one speaking his own language. It was some Greenland men in a boat.

The next day they got to a Greenland town. Then they got into a little ship going to England. They knew that they could get home from England. But the ship stopped at another Green-land town. While they were there, a steamer was seen. It came nearer. They could see the stars and [139] stripes flying from her mast. It was an American steamer sent to find Doctor Kane.

Doctor Kane and his men were full of joy. They pushed their little boat into the water once more. This little boat was called the "Faith." It had carried Kane and his men hundreds of miles in icy seas.

Once more the men took their oars, and rowed. This time they rowed with all their might. They held up the little flag that they had carried farther north than anybody had ever been before. They rowed straight to the steamer.

In the bow of the boat was a little man with a tattered red shirt. He could see that the captain of the boat was looking at him through a spy-glass.

The captain shouted to the little man, "Is that Doctor Kane?"

The little man in the red shirt shouted back, "Yes!"

Doctor Kane and his men had been gone more than two years. People had begun to think that they had all died. This steamer had been sent to find out what had become of them. When the men on the steamer heard that this little man in the red shirt was Doctor Kane himself, they sent up cheer after cheer.

[140] In a few minutes more, Doctor Kane and his men were on the steamer. They were now safe among friends. They were sailing away toward their homes.

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Stolen Plow

[65]

A T one time there were two traders who were great friends. One of them lived in a small village, and one lived in a large town near-by.

One day the village trader took his plow to the large town to have it mended. Then he left it with the trader who lived there. After some time the town trader sold the plow, and kept the money.

When the trader from the village came to get his plow the town trader said, "The mice have eaten your plow."

"That is strange! How could mice eat such a thing?" said the village trader.

That afternoon when all the children went down to the river to go swimming, the village trader took the town trader's little son to the house of a friend saying, "Please keep this little boy here until I come back for him."

By and by the villager went back to the town trader's house.

"Where is my son? He went away with you. Why didn't you bring him back?" asked the town trader.

[66] "I took him with me and left him on the bank of the river while I went down into the water," said the villager. "While I was swimming about a big bird seized your son, and flew up into the air with him. I shouted, but I could not make the bird let go," he said.

"That cannot be true," cried the town trader. "No bird could carry off a boy. I will go to the court, and you will have to go there, and tell the judge."

The villager said, "As you please"; and they both went to the court. The town trader said to the judge:

"This fellow took my son with him to the river, and when I asked where the boy was, he said that a bird had carried him off."

[Illustration] "What have you to say?" said the judge to the village trader.

"I told the father that I took the boy with me, and that a bird had carried him off," said the village trader.

"But where in the world are there birds strong enough to carry off boys?" said the judge.

"I have a question to ask you," answered the village trader. "If birds cannot carry off boys, can mice eat plows?"

"What do you mean by that?" asked the judge.

"I left my good plow with this man. When I came for [67] it he told me that the mice had eaten it. If mice eat plows, then birds carry off boys; but if mice cannot do this, neither can birds carry off boys. This man says the mice ate my plow."

The judge said to the town trader, "Give back the plow to this man, and he will give your son back to you."

And the two traders went out of the court, and by night-time one had his son back again, and the other had his plow.

 



Reginald Heber

Evening Hymn

[22]

God that madest Earth and Heaven,

Darkness and light!

Who the day for toil hast given,

For rest the night!

May Thine Angel guards defend us,

Slumber sweet Thy mercy send us,

Holy dreams and hopes attend us,

This livelong night!