Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 32  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

King George and the Colonies

[139] WE must not get the idea that the Colonies in America were disloyal in their allegiance to the mother country. On the contrary, they loved the Old England from which their fathers came, and looked forward to a happy development under the British flag.

It was not the English people, but the English King, George III, who caused all the trouble. He had ascended the throne when he was twenty-two years of age. He was nearly forty when the Revolution began. He was obstinate and short-sighted in dealing with his subjects. He believed in the right of kings to have their own way and to him the will of the people counted for nothing as against the will of the King. Whatever George III wanted, he proposed to have people or no people, Colonies or no Colonies. Kings do not act that way nowadays, but then it was different.

[140] When he came to the throne his mother said to him, "George be a king." She taught him to think that he owned his people, and that they should always do his will.

Instead of choosing the wisest and best men in the kingdom to be his advisers and ministers, George III turned to the weaker men, who flattered him and who were ready to do his bidding. It was always one of the "King's friends" who proposed in Parliament the obnoxious measures against America. Finally, the King succeeded in getting a Prime Minister, Lord North, who was willing, in all things, to do as his sovereign wished. In fact, someone has said that, while North was in office, "the King was his own Prime Minister."

In spite of the protest of some really great men in England, who knew the Colonists were ill-treated, the King went blindly and obstinately to work, until the Colonies in America were in complete revolt.

To see how poorly the great mass of the people of England was represented in their Parliament, we should know that, when George III came to the throne, there was a most unequal distribution of seats in the House of Commons. For two hundred years, no changes had been made in the allotment of seats according to the number of the population. [141] Some very large cities, like Manchester and Sheffield, that had grown up in the meantime, had no representatives at all, while some very small and old places had several representatives. One town, named Old Sarum, went on sending members to Parliament long after it had ceased to have any inhabitants at all.

The result was that many members represented only a handful of voters, many seats in Parliament were bought and sold, and some were given away, as favors. This made an assembly of representatives that did not truly represent the great body of the people, and it, therefore, became easy for the King to secure such laws as he and his friends wanted.

Was it not natural that a corrupt Parliament should do George III's own bidding? He united, with the ruling class, to suppress public opinion in England, and self-government in America. He began to rule the Colonies by royal orders, and sent instructions, over his own signature, to be obeyed in America; otherwise, so he threatened, military force would be used to make the people obey. Colonial assemblies were dissolved, unusual places of meeting were appointed, orders were issued, lands were granted or taken away, and by many other acts the Colonists were treated without consideration.

[142] But the Colonists had many friends among the English people, who sympathized with them in their opposition to the tyranny of the King and his Parliament. They were still English people and English subjects, though their home was across the sea, and they had rights that their relatives and friends in England thought should be respected. So there were many in the old country who believed that the Colonists were right to oppose the King; some voices in Parliament even spoke out bravely in their defense.

One great Englishman, William Pitt, who was the Earl of Chatham, declared in the House of Lords, "This kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the Colonies. I rejoice that America has resisted." After the Revolutionary War had begun, and the King had been forced to hire about 20,000 German troops from the Duke of Brunswick, because the English simply would not enlist for this unpopular war, Pitt said, in another speech,

"My Lords, you cannot conquer America. In three years' campaign, we have done nothing and suffered much. You may swell every expense, accumulate every assistance you can buy or borrow, traffic and barter with every little pitiful German prince, but your efforts are forever vain and impotent, doubly so from this mercenary aid on which [143] you rely, for it irritates to an incurable resentment. If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I would never lay down my arms,—never, never, never."

While the Stamp Act was being debated in Parliament, Colonel Barre, who had fought by the side of Wolfe at Quebec, replied to the statement that the Colonies were children "planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence, and protected by our arms," by exclaiming with great eloquence,

"They planted by your care! No, your oppression planted them in America. Nourished by your indulgence! They grew up by your neglect of them. They protected by your arms! Those sons of liberty have nobly taken up arms in your defense."

The expression, "Sons of Liberty," became a popular rallying cry of the Patriots in America.

The quarrel between King George III and the American Colonists grew into the Revolutionary War. During that War, the Colonists had many friends in England, especially in the city of London. As he walked through the streets, William Pitt was loudly cheered for the part he took in defending the cause of the Colonists. When the war was over, many in England were secretly re- [144] joiced that the Colonies were independent, and that the will of the foolish King was at last broken.

 



Thornton Burgess

A Swallow and One Who Isn't

[106] JOHNNY and Polly Chuck had made their home between the roots of an old apple-tree in the far corner of the Old Orchard. You know they have their bedroom way down in the ground, and it is reached by a long hall. They had dug their home between the roots of that old apple-tree because they had discovered that there was just room enough between those spreading roots for them to pass in and out, and there wasn't room to dig the entrance any larger. So they felt quite safe from Reddy Fox and Bowser the Hound, either of whom would have delighted to dig them out but for those roots.

Right in front of their doorway was a very nice doorstep of shining sand where Johnny Chuck delighted to sit when he had a full stomach and nothing else to do. Johnny's nearest neighbors had made their home only about five feet above Johnny's head when he sat up on his doorstep. They were Skimmer the Tree Swallow and his trim little wife, and the doorway of their home was a little round hole in the trunk of that apple- [107] tree, a hole which had been cut some years before by one of the Woodpeckers.

Johnny and Skimmer were the best of friends. Johnny used to delight in watching Skimmer dart out from beneath the branches of the trees and wheel and turn and glide, now sometimes high in the blue, blue sky, and again just skimming the tops of the grass, on wings which seemed never to tire. But he liked still better the bits of gossip when Skimmer would sit in his doorway and chat about his neighbors of the Old Orchard and his adventures out in the Great World during his long journeys to and from the far-away South.

To Johnny Chuck's way of thinking, there was no one quite so trim and neat appearing as Skimmer with his snowy white breast and blue-green back and wings. Two things Johnny always used to wonder at, Skimmer's small bill and short legs. Finally he ventured to ask Skimmer about them.


[Illustration]

SKIMMER THE TREE SWALLOW

When you see a Swallow with pure white breast and blue-green back it is Skimmer.



FORKTAIL THE BARN SWALLOW

His long forked tail is all you need to see to know him.

"Gracious, Johnny!" exclaimed Skimmer. "I wouldn't have a big bill for anything. I wouldn't know what to do with it; it would be in the way. You see, I get nearly all my food in the air when I am flying, mosquitoes and flies and all sorts of small insects with wings. I don't have to pick them off trees and bushes or from the ground and so I don't need any more of a bill than I have. [108] It's the same way with my legs. Have you ever seen me walking on the ground?"

Johnny thought a moment. "No," said he, "now you speak of it, I never have."

"And have you ever seen me hopping about in the branches of a tree?" persisted Skimmer.

Again Johnny Chuck admitted that he never had.

"The only use I have for feet," continued Skimmer, "is for perching while I rest. I don't need long legs for walking or hopping about, so Mother Nature has made my legs very short. You see I spend most of my time in the air."

"I suppose it's the same with your cousin; Sooty the Chimney Swallow," said Johnny.

"That shows just how much some people know!" twittered Skimmer indignantly. "The idea of calling Sooty a Swallow! The very idea! I'd leave you to know, Johnny Chuck, that Sooty isn't even related to me. He's a Swift, and not a Swallow."

"He looks like a Swallow," protested Johnny Chuck.

"He doesn't either. You just think he does because he happens to spend most of his time in the air the way we Swallows do," sputtered Skimmer. "The Swallow family never would admit such a homely looking fellow as he is as a member.

[109] "Tut, tut, tut, tut! I do believe Skimmer is jealous," cried Jenny Wren, who had happened along just in time to hear Skimmer's last remarks.

"Nothing of the sort," declared Skimmer, growing still more indignant. "I'd like to know what there is about Sooty the Chimney Swift that could possibly make a Swallow jealous."

Jenny Wren cocked her tail up in that saucy way of hers and winked at Johnny Chuck. "The way he can fly," said she softly.

"The way he can fly!" sputtered Skimmer, "The way he can fly! Why, there never was a day in his life that he could fly like a Swallow. There isn't any one more graceful on the wing than I am, if I do say so. And there isn't any one more ungraceful than Sooty."

Just then there was a shrill chatter overhead and all looked up to see Sooty the Chimney Swift racing through the sky as if having the very best time in the world. His wings would beat furiously and then he would glide very much as you or I would on skates. It was quite true that he wasn't graceful. But he could twist and turn and cut up all sorts of antics, such as Skimmer never dreamed of doing.

"He can use first one wing and then the other, while you have to use both wings at once," persisted Jenny Wren. "You couldn't, to save your [110] life, go straight down into a chimney, and you know it, Skimmer. He can do things with his wings which yon can't do, nor any other bird."

"That may be true, but just the same I'm not the least teeny weeny bit jealous of him," said Skimmer, and darted away to get beyond the reach of Jenny's sharp tongue.

"Is it really true that he and Sooty are not related?" asked Johnny Chuck, as they watched Skimmer cutting airy circles high up in the sky.

Jenny nodded. "It's quite true, Johnny," said site. "Sooty belongs to another family altogether. He's a funny fellow. Did you ever in your life see such narrow wings? And his tail is hardly worth calling a tail."

Johnny Chuck laughed. "Way up there in the air he looks almost alike at both ends," said he. "Is he all black?"

"He isn't black at all," declared Jenny. "He is sooty-brown, rather grayish on the throat and breast. Speaking of that tail of his, the feathers end in little, sharp, stiff points. He uses them in the same way that Downy the Woodpecker uses his tail feathers when he braces himself with them on the trunk of a tree."

"But I've never seen Sooty on the trunk of a tree," protested Johnny Chuck. "In fact, I've never seen him anywhere but in the air."

[111] "And you never will," snapped Jenny. "The only place he ever alights is inside a chimney or inside a hollow tree. There he clings to the side just as Downy the Woodpecker clings to the trunk of a tree."

Johnny looked as if he didn't quite believe this. "If that's the case where does he nest?" he demanded. "And where does he sleep?"

"In a chimney, stupid. In a chimney, of course," retorted Jenny Wren. "He fastens his nest right to the inside of a chimney. He makes a regular little basket of twigs and fastens it to the side of the chimney."

"Are you trying to stuff me with nonsense?" asked Johnny Chuck indignantly. "How can he fasten his nest to the side of a chimney unless there's a little shelf to put it on? And if he never alights, how does he get the little sticks to make a nest of? I'd just like to know how you expect me to believe any such story as that."

Jenny Wren's sharp little eyes snapped. "If you half used your eyes you wouldn't have to ask me how he gets those little sticks," she sputtered. "If you had watched him when he was flying close to the tree tops you would have seen him clutch little dead twigs in his claws and snap them off without stopping. That's the way he gets his little sticks, Mr. Smarty, He fastens [112] them together with a sticky substance he has in his mouth, and he fastens the nest to the side of the chimney in the same way. You can believe it or not, but it's so."

"I believe it, Jenny, I believe it," replied Johnny Chuck very humbly. "If you please, Jenny, does Sooty get all his food in the air too?"

"Of course," replied Jenny tartly. "He eats nothing but insects, and he catches them flying. Now I must get back to my duties at home."

"Just tell me one more thing," cried Johnny Chuck hastily. "Hasn't Sooty any near relatives as most birds have?"

"He hasn't any one nearer than some sort of second cousins, Boomer the Nighthawk, Whippoorwill, and Hummer the Hummingbird."

"What?" cried Johnny Chuck, quite as if he couldn't believe he had heard aright. "Did you say Hummer the Hummingbird?" But he got no reply, for Jenny Wren was already beyond hearing.

 



Victor Hugo

Good Night!

Good night! Good night!

Far flies the light;

But still God's love

Shall flame above,

Making all bright.

Good night! Good night!

 


  WEEK 32  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Cosmo and Saint Damian

[102] IT is difficult sometimes to learn a great deal about the saints who lived a very long time ago. So few people knew how to read or write in those old days, and the only way they had of remembering and handing on what was interesting was to tell it to their children; then these little ones, when they were grown up, would repeat it again to other little children, and so the stories were not forgotten.

But sometimes one thing would be left out and sometimes another, or different people would add wonderful stories of their own, which would become part of the true story. And so, when at last these histories come to us, we find we have lost a great deal, and perhaps not gained very much.

The two saints, to whose story we are going to listen to-day, are of this long-ago time, and the history of their lives has almost faded from men's memories. But whoever happens to go to Florence, that city of flowers, where the old Medici family has left its mark on every corner, will see the portraits of our two saints wherever they go. For the old painters loved to tell the saint-stories in their own beautiful way, and to-day the little dark-eyed Italian children can read them without books, for they are [103] told more plainly and far more beautifully than in any written story.

Cosmo and Damian were brothers, and were born in Arabia three hundred years after Christ. When they were quite little boys their father died, and they were left alone with their mother. She was a Christian, and taught her boys, as soon as they were old enough to understand, that though they had no earthly father, God was their Father in heaven. She told them that the great King of Heaven and Earth called them His children, and he who could do a mean or cruel act, or stain his honour by an untruthful word, was not worthy to be called a King's son. And because they were noble she taught them that they must do noble deeds, bravely defend and protect the weak, and help those who could not help themselves.

So the boys grew up straight and strong in mind and body. Their bitterest punishment was to feel that they had done anything unworthy of their King, and although they often made mistakes and did wrong thoughtlessly, they never went far astray since God's honour was their own.

Their mother was rich, for their father had had great possessions, but there were so many poor and suffering people around their home that it was almost impossible to help them all. So the boys learned early to deny themselves in many ways, and often gave up their own dinner to the starving poor. In that land there was a great deal of sickness and suffering, and this was a great trouble to Cosmo and Damian. They could not bear to see [104] people in pain, and be unable to help them. They often thought about this, and at last determined to learn all about medicine, and become doctors, so that they might at least soften suffering when they could not cure it.

After years of patient study they learned to be very clever doctors, and their kind hearts and gentle hands soothed and comforted those who were in pain, even when skill could do nothing for them.

They visited rich and poor alike, and would take no money for their services, for they said it was payment enough to know they had been able to make the world's suffering a little less.

And it was not only people they cared for, but God's dumb creatures too. If any animal was in pain, they would treat it as gently and carefully as if it had been a human being. Indeed, they were perhaps even more pitiful towards animals, for they said:

"People who can speak and complain of their ills are greatly to be pitied, but these dumb creatures, made by our King, can only suffer in silence, and surely their suffering will be required at our hands."

It ever seemed strange to these great men that boys who would scorn to ill-treat a younger child, or take mean advantage of a weak one, would still think nothing of staining their honour by ill-treating an animal, infinitely weaker and smaller, and less able to protect itself. It was one of the few things that raised the wrath of these gentle doctor saints.

Now it happened that a poor woman who had [105] been ill for many years heard of the fame of the two young doctors, and sent to implore them to come to help her. She believed that though her illness seemed incurable these good men might heal her.

Cosmo and Damian were touched by her faith, and they went at once, and did for her all that their skill could devise, and, moreover, prayed that God would bless their efforts.

To the wonder of all, the woman began to grow better, and very soon was completely cured. In her great gratitude she offered all that she had in payment to the two doctors, but they told her that they could take nothing. Then she humbly offered them a little bag in which were three eggs, praying them not to go away from her quite empty-handed. But Cosmo turned and walked away and would not so much as even look at what she offered, for it was a very strict rule with the brothers that they should accept no payment or reward of any kind. Then the woman caught at a fold of Damian's cloak as he also turned to go and begged him, for the love of Christ, to take her little gift.

When Damian heard the name of his Master, he paused, and then took the present and courteously thanked the poor woman.

But when Cosmo saw what Damian had done he was very wrathful, and that night he refused to sleep with him, and said that henceforth they would be no longer brothers.

But in the stillness of the night God came to Cosmo and said:

[106] "My son, wherefore art thou so wrathful with thy brother?"


[Illustration]

"Because he hath taken reward for our services," said Cosmo, "and Thou knowest, Lord, that we receive no payment but from Thee."

"But was it not in My name that he took the offering?" asked the voice. "Because that poor woman gave it for love of Me, thy brother did well to accept it."

Then Cosmo awoke in great joy and hurried to the bedside of his brother, and there begged his forgiveness for having misjudged him so sorely. And so they were happy together once more, and ate the eggs right merrily.

In those days there were many pilgrims passing through Arabia, and because the journey was hard and most of them were poor, they often fell ill and came under the care of Cosmo and Damian. One night a poor man was brought in, fainting and fever-stricken. He lay on the bed with his thin, grey face pinched and worn with suffering, and the kind doctors feared that he would die.

All night they sat by his bedside doing everything that their skill could plan to ease his pain, and they only smiled when the poor man said in his faint, low voice:

"Why do you take all this trouble for a poor pilgrim, who has nothing wherewith to repay you?"

"We would not take thy payment if thou hadst all the riches in the world," answered the doctors, "for we receive payment only from our King."

[107] Then when the first pale light of dawn began to steal through the little window, and the doctors anxiously watched the still form lying there, they started with surprise. For the face seemed to change in an instant, and instead of the bed of suffering they saw a cloud of glory; out of the midst of which Christ's face, infinitely tender, looked upon them; and His hands touched their heads in blessing as He said:

"All the riches of the world are indeed mine though I seemed but a poor pilgrim. I was sick and ye visited me, and surely shall ye receive payment from your King."

Then Cosmo and Damian knelt in worship and thanked their Lord that they had been counted worthy to minister to His need.

But soon the fame of Cosmo and Damian began to be spread abroad, and the wicked Proconsul of Arabia heard about their good deeds. As soon as he knew they were Christians, and helped the poor and suffering, he was filled with rage, and sent and ordered that the two brothers should be cast alive into the sea.

Immediately Cosmo and Damian were seized and led up to the steep cliffs, and the guards bound them hand and foot. Not a complaint escaped their lips, not a sign of fear, as the soldiers raised them on high and flung them over into the cruel sea, far below. But as the crowd above watched to see them sink, a great fear and amazement seized the soldiers, for from the calm blue sea they beheld the brothers rise slowly and walk towards the shore, led [108] by an angel who guided them with loving care until they were safe on land.

In a greater rage than ever, the Proconsul ordered that a great fire should be made and that the brothers should be cast into the midst of it and burnt to death.

But though the fire roared and blazed before Cosmo and Damian were cast in; as soon as it touched them it died down and nothing could make it burn again. It seemed as if God's good gifts refused to injure His servants.

After that they were bound to two crosses and the soldiers were ordered to stone them. But the stones did no harm to those two patient figures, but instead fell backwards and injured the men who threw them.


[Illustration]

Then every one cried out that they were enchanters, and it was ordered that to make sure of their death they should be beheaded.

So the work of the two saint doctors was finished on earth, but for many years afterwards those who were ill would pray to these saints for their protection.

There is a legend which tells how a poor man in Rome had a leg which the doctors feared would cause his death. So he prayed to Saint Cosmo and Saint Damian and asked them to help him in his need. And that night when he was asleep, he saw the doctor saints standing at his bedside in their red robes and caps trimmed with fur. One held a knife and the other a pot of ointment.

"What shall we do to replace this leg when we have cut it off?" asked Saint Cosmo.

[109] "A black man has just died and been buried near here," answered Saint Damian. "He no longer needs his legs, so let us take one of them and put it on instead."

So they cut off the bad leg and fetched the leg of the black man, and with the ointment joined it on to the living man.

And when he awoke he believed he must have dreamt about the visit of the saints, but when he looked at his leg, behold! it was black and perfectly sound and well. Then they sent and searched for the black body, and on it they found a white leg. So the man knew that the doctor saints had heard his prayers, and had come to cure him.

That is one of the wonderful stories which have grown up round the names of Saint Cosmo and Saint Damian.

While we cannot tell if these things really happened, this we do surely know to be true, that these two brothers, who lived in an age when men were cruel and selfish, spent their whole lives in trying to help those who suffered pain, and then went bravely to death in the service of their King. And though we know but little about them, they have left us an example of patient kindliness and helpfulness; and they teach us that as servants of their King we also are bound in honour to protect the weak and help those who suffer, whether they are people like ourselves or God's dumb creatures.

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

The Fisherman and His Wife

Part 2 of 2

The fisherman went home.

There stood his wife on the castle steps.


[102]

She took him by the hand,

and they went in.

There were large halls and beautiful rooms.

There were golden tables and chairs.

There was a garden

full of flowers and fruits.

And there was a forest

full of deer and sheep.


But his wife was not happy.

She wanted more power.

The next morning she said,

"You must be king of this country.

Go quickly and tell the fish so."


"I do not want to be king," said he.


"I will be queen then," said she.

"Go quickly and tell the fish

that I must be queen."


[103]

So the fisherman went back to the shore.

The sea was dark and gray.

There were great waves,

and they dashed upon the shore.

He 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 now?" said the fish.


"She wants to be queen," said the man.


"Go home," said the fish.

"Your wife is queen now."


The man went home.

There he saw a great palace

with towers and gateways.

There were soldiers with trumpets

and drums.


[Illustration]

[104]

He went in and there sat his wife

on a throne of gold.

His wife had a crown on her head,

and a wand in her hand.

The fisherman looked at her and said

"You are queen now.

We can wish for nothing more."

"I must have more power," said she.

"What shall it be?"


[105]

The next morning she said,

"What shall I wish for?"


The sun was just coming up,

She looked out of the window and said,

"I know what I want.

The sun must obey me,

and the moon must obey me.

They must rise and set

when I wish it."


So she went to the fisherman and said,

"The sun and moon must obey me!

Go quickly and tell the fish."


"I can not ask that," said he.

"The fish is angry,

and the sea is wild."

"Go," she cried, "I am queen,

and you must obey."


[106]

So he went back to the shore.


There was a great storm.

The sky was black.

The lightning flashed,

and the thunder roared.

The wind blew,

and the waves beat high.


The fisherman was frightened.

But he stood by the sea and shouted,

"O prince of the sea!

Come listen to me,

For my wife Isabel

Has a wish to tell."


"What does she want now?"

shouted the fish.


"She wants to rule the sun and moon.

She wants to tell them when to rise."


[Illustration]

[107]

"Go home now," said the fish.

"You will find your wife in her hut."


The fisherman went home, and there sat

his wife in the little hut.


And there they live to this very day.


— German Folk Tale

 



Edward Lear

Nonsense Alphabet

A was an ant

Who seldom stood still,

And who made a nice house

In the side of a hill.

Nice little ant!


B was a bat,

Who slept all the day,

And fluttered about

When the sun went away.

Brown little bat!


C was a camel;

You rode on his hump;

And if you fell off,

You came down such a bump!

What a high camel!


D was a duck

With spots on his back,

Who lived in the water,

And always said "Quack!"

Dear little duck!


E was an elephant,

Stately and wise:

He had tusks and a trunk,

And two queer little eyes.

Oh, what funny small eyes!


F was a fish

Who was caught in a net;

But he got out again,

And is quite alive yet.

Lively young fish!


G was a goat

Who was spotted with brown:

When he did not lie still

He walked up and down.

Good little goat!


H was a hat

Which was all on one side;

Its crown was too high,

And its brim was too wide.

Oh, what a hat!


I was some ice

So white and so nice,

But which nobody tasted;

And so it was wasted.

All that good ice!


J was a jug,

So pretty and white,

With fresh water in it

At morning and night.

Nice little jug!


K was a kite

Which flew out of sight,

Above houses so high,

Quite into the sky.

Fly away, kite!


L was a lily,

So white and so sweet!

To see it and smell it

Was quite a nice treat.

Beautiful lily!


M was a man,

Who walked round and round;

And he wore a long coat

That came down to the ground.

Funny old man!


N was a net

Which was thrown in the sea

To catch fish for dinner

For you and for me!

Nice little net!


O was an orange

So yellow and round:

When it fell off the tree,

It fell down to the ground.

Down to the ground!


P was a Polly,

All red, blue, and green,

The most beautiful Polly

That ever was seen.

Poor little Polly!


Q was a quail

With a very short tail;

And he fed upon corn

In the evening and morn.

Quaint little quail!


R was a rabbit,

Who had a bad habit

Of eating the flowers

In gardens and bowers.

Naughty fat rabbit!


S was the sugar-tongs,

Nippity-nee,

To take up the sugar

To put in our tea

Nippity-nee!


T was a tortoise,

All yellow and black:

He walked slowly away,

And he never came back.

Torty never came back!


U was an urn

All polished and bright,

And full of hot water

At noon and at night.

Useful old urn!


V was a veil

With a border upon it,

And a ribbon to tie it

All round a pink bonnet.

Pretty green veil!


W was a watch,

Where, in letters of gold,

The hour of the day

You might always behold.

Beautiful watch!


X was King Xerxes

Who wore on his head

A mighty large turban,

Green, yellow, and red.

Look at King Xerxes!


Y was a yew,

Which flourished and grew

By a quiet abode

Near the side of a road.

Dark little yew!


Z was the zebra,

All striped white and black

And if he were tame,

You might ride on his back.

Pretty striped Zebra!

 


  WEEK 32  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

Whittington and His Cat


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Lucy Fitch Perkins

How They Went to the Temple

Part 2 of 2

Near the Temple they found an orchard of cherry trees in full bloom. People were sitting under the cherry trees, looking at the blossoms. Some of them were writing little verses, which they hung on the branches of the trees. They did this because they loved the blossoms so much. Children were playing all about. Near by was a pretty little tea-house.

Grannie saw it first. "I am thirsty," she said.

"So am I," said Take.

"So am I," said Taro.

"We're all  thirsty," the Father said.

Outside the tea-house, under the trees there were wooden benches. They sat down on these, and soon little maids from the [83] tea-house brought them trays with tea and sweet rice-cakes.


[Illustration]

They sat on the benches and sipped their tea, and watched the people moving about, and looked up at the cherry blossoms against the blue sky, and were very happy, indeed.

The Mother had carried Bot'Chan all the way on her back, so maybe she was [84] a little tired. Anyway, she said to the Father:—

"If you and the Twins want to go farther, let Grannie and me stay here and rest. You can come back for us."

"Would you like to see the animals?" the Father asked the Twins.

Taro and Take jumped right up, and took their Father's hands, one on each side, and then they all walked away together under the blossoming trees to another part of the park.

In this part of the park there were cages, and in the cages were lions, and tigers, and monkeys, and zebras, and elephants, and all kinds of animals! There were birds, too, with red and blue plumage and beautiful golden tails. There were parrots and cockatoos and pheasants. Wild ducks were swimming in the ponds; and two swans sailed, like lovely white ships, to the place where the Twins stood, and opened their bills to be fed.


[Illustration]

In the Father's sleeve was something for each one. Taro and Take took turns. Take fed the swans, and Taro fed the great [85] fish that swam up beside them and looked at them with round eyes. When they saw the food the fish leaped in the water and fought each other to get it, and when they ate it they made curious noises like pigs.

"I don't think they have very good manners," said Take.

By and by they came to a queer little [86] street. This little street must have been made on purpose for little boys and girls to have fun in, for there were all sorts of astonishing things there. There were jugglers doing strange tricks with tops and swords. There were acrobats, and candy-sellers and toy-sellers going about with baskets hung from long poles over their shoulders. It was almost like a circus.

The street was full of people, and every one was gay. The Twins and their Father had gone only a little way up the street when an old woman met them. She had a pole on her shoulder, and from it swung a little fire of coals in a brazier. She had a little pot of batter and a little jar of sweet sauce, a ladle, a griddle, and a cake-turner!

"Would you like to make some cakes?" she said to Take.

Take clasped her hands. "Oh, Father, may I?" she said.

The Father gave the old woman some money out of his sleeve. She set the brazier on the ground.

[87] Then Tale tucked her sleeves back, put the griddle on the coals, poured out some batter, and cooked a little cake on one side until it was brown. Then she turned it over with the cake-turner, and browned it on the other side. Then she put it on a plate and put the sauce on it.


[Illustration]

My, my! but it was fun!

The first cake she made she gave to her Father.

He ate it all up. Then he said, "Honor- [88] able daughter, the cake is the very best I ever had of the kind. I am sure your honorable brother would like one too."

The Japanese are so very polite that they often call each other "honorable" in that way. They even call things that they use "honorable," too!

So Take said very politely, "Honorable Brother, would you like one of my poor cakes?"

It would be impolite in Japan to call anything good that you had made yourself. It would seem like praising your own work. That was why Take called them "my poor cakes."

"I should like a cake very much," Taro said.

Take poured out the batter. She watched it carefully, to be sure it did not burn. When it was just brown enough she gave it to Taro.


[Illustration]

Taro ate it all up. Then he said to Take, "Honorable Sister, I should like to eat six."

The Father laughed. "If you stay here [89] to eat six cakes, we shall not see the dolls' garden," he said. "Take must have one cake for herself, and then we will go on."

Take baked a cake for herself and ate it. She called it a "poor" cake aloud, but inside she thought it was the very best cake that any one ever made!

When she had finished, she and Taro and the Father bowed politely to the old woman.

"Sayonara," they said. That means "good-bye."

[90] The old woman bowed. "Sayonara," she called to them.

The Twins and their Father walked on. They soon found the dolls' garden. In it were many tiny pine trees like theirs at home. There were little plum trees, and bamboos, and a tiny tea-house in it. There was a pond with a little bridge, too.


[Illustration]

"Oh!" cried Take, "if it only had little bells on the plum trees, this would be the [91] very garden I sang about to Bot'Chan; wouldn't it?"

She stooped down and peeped under the little trees.

"Let's play we are giants!" she said to Taro.

"Giants roar," said Taro.

"You  roar," said Take. "It wouldn't be polite for a lady giant to roar!"

"Giants are different. They don't have to be polite," Taro explained.

"Well, you can roar," said Take, "but I shall play I'm a polite lady giant taking a walk in my garden! My head is in the clouds, and every step I take is a mile long!"

She picked up her kimono. She turned her little nose up to the sky, and took a very long step.

Taro came roaring after her.

But just that minute Take's clog turned on her foot, and the first thing she knew she was flat on her stomach on the bridge! She forgot that lady giants didn't roar.

[92] Taro was roaring already.

Their Father was ahead of them. He jumped right up in the air when he heard the noise. He wasn't used to such sounds from the Twins. He turned back.

"What is the matter?" he said.

He picked Take up and set her on her feet.


[Illustration]

"We're giants," sobbed Take.

"Her head was in the clouds," said Taro.

"It is well even for giants to keep an eye on the earth when they are out walking," the Father said. "Are you hurt?"

"Yes, I'm hurt," Take said; "but I don't think I'm broken anywhere."

"Giants don't break easily at all," her Father answered. "I think you'll be all right if we go to your castle!"

"My castle!"  cried Take. "Where is it?"

"Right over there through the trees." He pointed to it.

The Twins looked. They saw a high tower.

[93] "Would you like to climb to the top with me?" their Father said.

"Oh, yes," Taro cried. "We aren't tired."

"Or broken," Take added.

So they went into the tower and climbed, and climbed, and climbed. It seemed as if the dark stairs would never end.

[94] "I believe the tower reaches clear to the sky!" said Take.

"I don't believe it has any top at all!" said Taro.

But just that minute they came out on an open platform, and what a sight they saw! The whole city was spread out before them. They could see gray roofs, and green trees, and roadways with people on them. The people looked about as big as ants crawling along. They could see rivers, and blue ponds, and canals. It seemed to the Twins that they could see the whole world.

In a minute the Father said, "Look! Look over there against the sky!"

The Twins looked. Far away they saw a great lonely mountain-peak. It was very high, and very pale against the pale blue sky. The top of it was rosy, as if the sun shone on it. The shadows were blue. Below the top there were clouds and mists. The mountain seemed to rise out of them and float in the air.


[Illustration]

[95] The Twins clasped their hands.

"It is Fuji!" they cried, both together.

"Yes," said the Father. "It is Fuji, the most beautiful mountain in the world."

By and by Take said, "I don't feel a bit like a giant any more."

And Taro said, "Neither do I."

For a long time they stood looking at it. Then they turned and crept quietly down the dark stairs, holding tight to their Father's hands.

They went back to Mother and Grandmother and Bot'Chan under the cherry trees.

"We must take the Baby home," said the Mother as soon as she saw them. "It's growing late."

[96] "Oh, mayn't we stay just a little longer?" Take begged.

"Please,"  said Taro.

"If we go now, we can go home by boat," said the Father.

"I didn't believe a single other nice thing could happen this day," sighed Take. "But going home by boat will be nicer than staying. Won't it, Taro?"

But Taro was already on his way to the landing.


[Illustration]

There was a pleasure-boat tied to the wharf. The whole family got on board; the boatman pushed off and away they went over the blue waters and into the [97] river, and down the river a long way, through the city and beyond. They passed rice-fields, where men and women in great round hats worked away, standing ankle deep in water. There were fields where tea-plants were growing. There were little brown thatched roofs peeping out from under green trees. There were glimpses of little streets in tiny villages, and of people riding in a queer sort of basket hung from a pole and carried on the shoulders of two men.


[Illustration]

At last they came to a landing-place [98] near their home. They were glad to see the familiar roofs again.


[Illustration]

Taro and Take raced ahead of the others to their own little house in the garden.

At the door they found ever so many clogs. There were sounds of talking inside the house.

"What do you suppose is going to happen now?" Take asked Taro.

[99] "I don't know—but something nice," Taro answered, as he slipped off his clogs and sprang up on the porch.

They slid open the door.

"Ohayo!" came a chorus of voices.

The room was full of their aunts and cousins!

Taro and Take were very much surprised, but they remembered their manners. They dropped on their knees and bowed their heads to the floor.


[Illustration]

"Where are your Father and Mother, and Grannie and Bot'Chan?" said all the aunts and cousins. "They are late."

"We came back by the boat, and it [100] stopped at ever so many places," said Taro. "That's why we are late."

Soon their Father and Mother and Grandmother came in. Then there was great laughing and talking, and many polite bows.

Bot'Chan was passed from one to another. Everybody said he was the finest baby ever seen, and that he looked like his Father! And his Mother! And his Grandmother! Some even said he looked like the Twins!


[Illustration]

Everybody brought presents to the baby. There were toys, and rice, and candied peas and beans, and little cakes, and silk for dresses for him, and more silk for more dresses, and best of all a beautiful puppy cat. Here is his picture! The Twins thought [101] Bot'Chan could never use all the things that were given him but they thought they could help eat up the candied things.


[Illustration]

Bot'Chan seemed to like his party. He sucked his thumb and looked solemnly at the aunts and cousins. He even tried to put the puppy cat in his mouth. Natsu took him away at last and put him to bed. Then everybody had tea and good things to eat until it was time to go home.

It took the Twins a long time to get to sleep that night.

Just as she was cuddling down under her warm, soft mats, Take popped her head out once more and looked across the room to Taro's bed.

"Taro!" she whispered.

Taro stuck his head out, too. She could see him by the soft light of the candle in the tall paper lamp beside his bed.

"Don't you think it's about a week since morning?" she said. "So many nice things have happened to-day!"

[103] "There never could be a nicer day than this," said Taro.

"What was the nicest of all?" Take asked. "I'll tell you what I liked the best if you'll tell me."

Then Taro told which part of the day he liked the best, and Take told which she liked the best. But I'm not going to tell whether they said the little horse, or the tiny garden, or the cherry trees, or the animals, or the boat-ride—or the party. You can just guess for yourself!


[Illustration]

 



Anonymous

The House That Jack Built

This is the house that Jack built.


This is the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the cat,

That killed the rat,

[30]

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the dog,

That worried the cat,

That killed the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That killed the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the maiden all forlorn,

That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That killed the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the man all tattered and torn,

That kissed the maiden all forlorn,

That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That killed the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the priest all shaven and shorn,

That married the man all tattered and torn,

That kissed the maiden all forlorn,

That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That killed the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the cock that crowed in the morn,

That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,

That married the man all tattered and torn,

That kissed the maiden all forlorn,

That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That killed the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.


This is the farmer sowing his corn,

That kept the cock that crowed in the morn,

That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,

That married the man all tattered and torn,

That kissed the maiden all forlorn,

That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That killed the rat,

That ate the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 


  WEEK 32  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

Robin Hood and the Bishop

[50]

"Come, children all, and listen a while,

And a story to you I'll unfold;

I'll tell you how Robin Hood served the Bishop,

When he robbed him of his gold."

The Bishop of Hereford was very angry with Robin Hood for the trick he had played him at Allan-a-Dale's wedding. He was so angry that he would have been pleased if any one had caught or killed Robin. But no one did. The wicked people were nearly all afraid of Robin and his brave men. The people who were kind and good loved him.

One day the Bishop had to take a great deal of money to a monastery. A monastery is a large house in which a number of good men live together. In those days, however, the men who lived in the monasteries were [51] not always good. Sometimes they were very wicked indeed.

To reach the monastery the Bishop had to pass through part of Sherwood Forest. He felt sure he would meet Robin Hood, so he gathered together all his servants, and as many soldiers as he could. He hoped either to kill Robin or to take him prisoner, and bring him to Nottingham to have him hanged there.

He hoped most to take him prisoner, because he knew his friend, the Sheriff of Nottingham, was Robin's greatest enemy, and had promised to give a large sum of money to any one who would take him prisoner.

It was a bright, sunshiny day in the middle of June when the Bishop set out. It was cool and shady under the great leafy trees of the forest. Wild roses and pink and white morning-glory trailed across the path. The banks and ditches were gay with bright yellow moneywort and tansy. Sweetbrier and honeysuckle scented the air. Birds sang and twittered in the [52] branches, and all the world was full of beauty.

Into the still and peaceful forest rode the Bishop and his men. Soon the woody paths were filled with the noise of neighing and trampling horses. The clang of swords, and the clatter and jingle of steel harness and armour, frightened the deer in their lairs, and the birdies in their nests.

But it was a splendid sight to see all those bold soldiers in shining armour riding along. The Bishop rode in the middle of them, wearing a gorgeous robe, trimmed with lace, over his armour.

Robin loved to roam in the forest, and he would often leave his men and wander off by himself. This morning everything was so bright and beautiful that he went on and on, hearing nothing but the song of birds, seeing nothing but the trees and flowers.

Suddenly he saw the Bishop and his men riding down a wide forest path. They, too, saw him quite plainly, for he was standing right in the middle of the path, looking up into a tree, listening to a blackbird singing.

"O what shall I do, said Robin Hood then,

If the Bishop he doth take me?

No Mercy he'll show unto me, I know,

But hangèd I shall be."

One man singly, however brave he might be, could not fight against all these soldiers. Nor could Robin call his men by blowing on his horn, as he generally did, when he was in danger. They were so far away, that long before they could reach him, Robin knew that he would be killed or taken prisoner.

It was a dreadful moment. With wild shouts of triumph the Bishop and his men were riding down upon him. There was only one thing to do. And Robin did it. He ran away.

Fast and faster he ran, closely followed by the Bishop's men. In and out among the trees he went, twisting and turning. After him came the soldiers, shouting wildly. He led them to the thickest part of the wood. On they came, trampling down the ferns, and crushing the pretty wildflowers.

[54] Closer and closer grew the trees; narrower and narrower the pathways. Horses stumbled over roots or trailing branches of ivy, sending their riders sprawling on the ground. There they lay, unable to rise, because of the weight of their armour. The overhanging branches of the trees caught others, and knocked them off their horses, which galloped away riderless and terrified far into the forest.

It was a mad and breathless chase. Robin knew every path and secret way in all the woods. The trees seemed to bend down to hide him as he passed, or spread out their tough roots to trip up the horses of the Bishop's men.

Robin's suit, too, of Lincoln green, was almost the colour of the leaves in summer, and that helped him. The men found it more and more difficult to follow, and at last they lost him altogether.

He could hear their shouts growing fainter and fainter in the distance, but still he ran on. He knew the danger was not yet over. In the very thickest part of the [55] wood he came to an old woman's cottage. He often sent presents to this poor old woman, so he was sure she would help him.

Knocking loudly on the door, he called out, "Open, open quickly and let me in."

The old woman hobbled to the door and opened it as fast as she could.

"Why, who art thou? said the old woman,

Come tell to me for good.

I am an outlaw as many do know,

And my name is Robin Hood.


And yonder's the Bishop and all his men;

And if that I taken be,

Then day and night he'll work me spite,

And hangèd I shall be."

"Come in," said the old woman, plucking him by the sleeve. "Come in quickly."

Robin stepped into the house. The old woman shut and bolted the door after him.

"If you are really Robin Hood," said she, looking at him hard, "I'll do anything I can to hide you from the Bishop and his men."

[56] "I swear to you, my good woman, that I am truly Robin Hood. If you help me, neither my men nor I will ever forget it."

"I believe you, sir, I believe you. You have an honest face," answered the old woman. "And I'm not likely to forget all the kindness I have had from you and your Merry Men. Why, no later than last Saturday night you sent me a pair of shoes and some fine woollen stockings. See," she added, putting out one foot, "I'm wearing the shoes at this very minute. But haste ye lad, haste ye," she went on more quickly, "where will ye hide?"

"In your grey gown," said Robin with a laugh.

The old woman looked at him in astonishment. "In my grey gown?" she said.

"Yes," said Robin; "give me a grey dress and a big white cap like those you wear. Dressed in them I can go safely through the wood till I meet my men. If I do chance to come across the Bishop and his soldiers I will hobble along like any old woman, and they will never stop to look at me. Then [57] do you put on my suit of Lincoln green. If the Bishop follows me here, as I think he will, he will mistake you for me. Let him take you prisoner, and do not be afraid, for my good fellows and I will soon be back to rescue you from him."

"Bless your life, sir, what a head you have," said the old woman laughing. "I doubt if my old mutch ever covered so great a wit before."

Then she hobbled off, to get the clothes for Robin, as fast as ever she could.

When he was dressed, she gave him a spindle and flax in one hand and a stout walking-stick in the other.

"And when Robin was so arrayed,

He went straight to his company;

With his spindle and twine, he oft looked behind

For the Bishop and his company."

Once he met several of the Bishop's men who were now scattered through the woods, hunting everywhere for him. But he bent his back and hobbled slowly along like a [58] very old woman, muttering and mumbling to himself till they were out of sight. So he got safely past.

It took him a long time to get to where his own men were. For one thing he found it was very difficult to walk in a dress. On the other hand, he was afraid to go too fast in case he should be seen by any of the Bishop's people.

At last he got to the place where he had left his men. There stood Little John looking out for him.

Robin waved his stick and shouted, but he was so well disguised that even his great friend did not know him.

"Look at that queer creature," said Little John to Will Scarlet who stood beside him. "I believe it's a witch. I'll shoot an arrow at her and see."

Little John knew that if it was a witch she would mount upon her stick and fly away over the trees as soon as she saw the arrow coming, and he wanted to see her do it.

He laid an arrow to his bow, and was just [59] going to shoot when Robin cried out, "Stop, stop, Little John. It is Robin Hood."

Little John threw down his bow, and ran to him calling out, "Master, master, I might have shot you. What has happened that you come back in this guise?"

Robin soon told all his tale. Then said, "Now gather all our men, for we must fight the Bishop and save this good old woman."

Very soon, Robin, once more dressed in Lincoln green, was marching gaily at the head of his men, through the forest, searching for the Bishop and his company.


The old woman had barely had time to get into Robin's clothes before the Bishop arrived. He was pretty sure that Robin would take refuge in her cottage.

"So the Bishop he came to the old woman's house,

And he called with furious mood;,

Come let me soon see, and bring unto me

That traitor Robin Hood."

[60] The old woman said never a word. She let them shout and bang at her door as much as they liked. With Robin's hat pulled well down over her face, she stood in a dark corner and waited. After a great deal of noise, they burst the door open and rushed in. They shouted with triumph when they saw the figure in green standing in the corner.

The old woman had armed herself with a good stout stick. With this she laid about her making a great show of fighting. She did indeed give one or two of the Bishop's men hearty smacks on the head. The noise was tremendous. Outside she could hear the Bishop shouting, "Gently, my men, gently. Take him alive, take him alive."

After a little she pretended to give in, and allowed several of the men to tie her hands behind her back. They led her out to the Bishop. So glad was he to see Robin Hood, as he thought, captured and bound, that he rocked in his saddle for very joy.

"Aha, my man," he cried, "we have you at last. Say farewell to your Green Wood. You will never see it again."

[61] The old woman held her head down, though her hat was pulled well over her face, for fear the Bishop would find out that she was not Robin Hood at all.

But the Bishop was so old and blind that he could not tell that it was not Robin. Besides, he was so sure that he had got him that he hardly even looked at the old woman's face. He thought Robin was hanging his head in shame.

"Ho there," he cried, "honour to the prince of thieves. The finest horse in the company for the King of Sherwood Forest."

So a milk-white horse, the finest in all the company, was brought forward. Two men helped the old woman on to it. They tied her on firmly in case she should try to jump off and run away.

"He is ugly enough anyhow," said one man, looking at the old woman.

"As ugly as sin," said another.

"Ah, my children," said the Bishop, who heard them, "you see what sin does. This man leads a wicked life, and it has left its mark on his face."

[62] When the old woman heard that, she shook with anger. It was so untrue.

The Bishop thought that Robin was trembling in fear. "Ah, you may well tremble my man," he said. "The punishment of all your wicked deeds is near." But the old woman never answered a word.

"Sound the trumpet," said the Bishop turning to the captain of his soldiers. "Call in all our scattered men, for I would be at St. Mary's Abbey by noon."

So the trumpet was sounded, and all the Bishop's servants and soldiers gathered together again. Once more they set off, the old woman on her beautiful white horse riding beside the Bishop on his dapple grey pony.

As they rode along the Bishop laughed and sang for joy. He was so glad that he had taken Robin Hood prisoner. His laughter did not last long, however.

"For as they were riding the forest along,

The Bishop chanced to see

A hundred brave bowmen stout and strong

Stand under the Green Wood Tree."

[63] "Who are these," said the Bishop, "and what man is that who leads them?"

Then for the first time the old woman spoke. "Faith," said she, "I think it is a man called Robin Hood."

The Bishop made his pony stop, and laying a hand on the old woman's reins turned to her with a pale face. "Who are you, then?" he asked.

"Only an old woman, my Lord Bishop. Only an old woman and not Robin Hood at all," she replied.

"Then woe is me, the Bishop said,

That ever I saw this day!

He turned him about, but Robin so stout,

Called to him and bid him to stay."

"No, my Lord Bishop," said Robin, taking his hat off and bowing politely, "no, my lord, you cannot go yet. You owe us something for all the trouble you have given us."


[Illustration]

"No, my Lord Bishop," said Robin, "you cannot go yet"

Then he went to the old woman, unbound her hands, and lifted her gently to the ground. "I thank you, dame," he said, "for your kindness to me this day. Robin Hood [64] will never forget it. Now you must have more comfortable clothes. If you follow Much the Miller's son he will take you to Maid Marian. She is waiting for you."

"Thank you kindly," said the old woman, as she went away laughing, "but I think I'll take to wearing Lincoln green myself."

The Bishop's men did not attempt to fight. They saw it was useless. Robin had gathered so many of his brave men that they could easily have killed all the Bishop's men if they had tried. So they laid down their swords and spears and waited quietly to see what would happen next.

"Then Robin took hold of the Bishop's horse,

And tied him fast to a tree;

Then smiled Little John his master upon,

For joy of his company."

Robin then helped the Bishop to get off his horse, and gave him a comfortable seat on the root of a tree. Then seating himself opposite he said, "Now, my Lord Bishop, how much money have you with you?"

[65] "The money which I have with me is not mine," replied the Bishop.

"Very true it is not yours," agreed Robin smiling.

"It belongs to the monastery of St. Mary," said the Bishop.

"Pardon me, it belongs to the poor people from whom you have stolen it," said Robin sternly, "to whom it is now going to be returned. Little John, bring the Bishop's money bags."

Little John brought the Bishop's money bags and counted out five hundred pounds upon the ground.

"Now let him go," said Robin.

"Master," said Little John, "it is a long time since I have heard High Mass sung, or indeed since we have had any service except what Friar Tuck gives us. May the Bishop not sing Mass before he goes?"

"You are right," said Robin, gravely rising and laying his hand on Little John's arm. "I have to-day much to be thankful for. The Bishop shall sing Mass before he goes."

So in the dim wood, beneath the tall trees [66] which formed an archway overhead, as if they had been in a great cathedral, Robin and his men, and the Bishop and his men, friend and foe, knelt together side by side while the Bishop sang Mass. The birds joined in the singing and the trees whispered the amens.

Then Robin called for the Bishop's pony. He set him on it and led him and his men back to the broad path through the woods.

There he took leave of them. "Go," he said to the Bishop, "thank God for all His mercies to you this day, and in your prayers forget not Robin Hood."

 



Thornton Burgess

A Robber in the Old Orchard

[113] "I DON'T believe it," muttered Johnny Chuck out loud. "I don't believe Jenny Wren knows what she's talking about."

"What is it Jenny Wren has said that you don't believe?" demanded Skimmer the Tree Swallow, as he once more settled himself in his doorway.

"She said that Hummer the Hummingbird is a sort of second cousin to Sooty the Chimney Swift," replied Johnny Chuck.

"Well, it's so, if you don't believe it," declared Skimmer. "I don't see that that is any harder to believe than that you are cousin to Striped Chipmunk and Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel. To look at you no one would ever think you are a member of the Squirrel family, but you must admit that you are."

Johnny Chuck nodded his head thoughtfully. "Yes," said he, "I am, even if I don't look it. This is a funny world, isn't it? You can't always tell by a person's looks who he may be related to. Now that I've found out that Sooty isn't related to you and is related to Hummer, I'll never dare [114] guess again about anybody's relatives. I always supposed Twitter the Martin to be a relative of yours, but now that I've learned that Sooty isn't, I suspect that Twitter isn't either."

"Oh, yes, he is," replied Skimmer promptly. "He's the largest of the Swallow family, and we all feel very proud of him. Everybody loves him."

"Is he as black as he looks, flying round up in the air?" asked Johnny Chuck. "He never comes down here as you do where a fellow can get a good look at him."

"Yes," replied Skimmer, "he dresses all in black, but it is a beautiful blue-black, and when the sun shines on his back it seems to be almost purple. That is why some folks call him the Purple Martin. He is one of the most social fellows I know of. I like a home by myself, such as I've got here, but Twitter loves company. He likes to live in an apartment house with a lot of his own kind. That is why he always looks for one of those houses with a lot of rooms in it, such as Farmer Brown's boy has put up on the top of that tall pole out in his back yard. He pays for all the trouble Farmer Brown's boy took to put that house up. If there is anybody who catches more flies and winged insects than Twitter, I don't know who it is."

"How about me?" demanded a new voice, [115] as a graceful form skimmed over Johnny Chuck's head, and turning like a flash, came back. It was Forktail the Barn Swallow, the handsomest and one of the most graceful of all the Swallow family. He passed so close to Johnny that the latter had a splendid chance to see and admire his glistening steel-blue back and the beautiful chestnut-brown of his forehead and throat with its narrow black collar, and the brown to buff color of his under parts. But the thing that was most striking about him was his tail, which was so deeply forked as to seem almost like two tails.

"I would know him as far as I could see him just by his tail alone," exclaimed Johnny. "I don't know of any other tail at all like it."

"There isn't any other like it," declared Skimmer. "If Twitter the Martin is the largest of our family, Forktail is the handsomest."

"How about my usefulness?" demanded Forktail, as he came skimming past again. "Cousin Twitter certainly does catch a lot of flies and insects but I'm willing to go against him any day to see who can catch the most."

With this he darted away. Watching him they saw him alight on the top of Farmer Brown's barn. "It's funny," remarked Johnny Chuck, "but as long as I've known Forktail, and I've known him ever since I was big enough to know anybody, [116] I've never found out where he builds his nest. I've seen him skimming over the Green Meadows times without number, and often he comes here to the Old Orchard as he did just now, but I've never seen him stop anywhere except over on that barn."

"That's where he nests," chuckled Skimmer.

"What?" cried Johnny Chuck. "Do you mean to say he nests on Farmer Brown's barn?"

"No," replied Skimmer. "He nests in it. That's why he is called the Barn Swallow, and why you never have seen his nest. If you'll just go over to Farmer Brown's barn and look up in the roof, you'll see Forktail's nest there somewhere."

"Me go over to Farmer Brown's barn!" exclaimed Johnny Chuck. "Do you think I'm crazy?"

Skimmer chuckled. "Forktail isn't crazy," said he, "and he goes in and out of that barn all day long. I must say I wouldn't care to build in such a place myself, but he seems to like it. There's one thing about it, his home is warm and dry and comfortable, no matter what the weather is. I wouldn't trade with him, though. No, sir, I wouldn't trade with him for anything. Give me a hollow in a tree well lined with feathers to a nest made of mud and straw, even if it is feather-lined."

[117] "Do you mean that such a neat-looking, handsome fellow as Forktail uses mud in his nest?" cried Johnny.

Skimmer bobbed his head. "He does just that," said he. "He's something like Welcome Robin in this respect. I—"

But Johnny Chuck never knew what Skimmer was going to say next, for Skimmer happened at that instant to glance up. For an instant he sat motionless with horror, then with a shriek he darted out into the air. At the sound of that shriek Mrs. Skimmer, who all the time had been sitting on her eggs inside the hollow of the tree, darted out of her doorway, also shrieking. For a moment Johnny Chuck couldn't imagine what could be the trouble. Then a slight rustling drew his eyes to a crotch in the tree a little above the doorway of Skimmer's home. There, partly coiled around a branch, with head swaying to and fro, eyes glittering and forked tongue darting out and in, as he tried to look down into Skimmer's nest, was Mr. Blacksnake.

It seemed to Johnny as if in a minute every bird in the Old Orchard had arrived on the scene. Such a shrieking and screaming as there was! First one and then another would dart at Mr. Blacksnake, only to lose courage at the last second and turn aside. Poor Skimmer and his little wife [118] were frantic. They did their utmost to distract Mr. Blacksnake's attention, darting almost into his very face and then away again before he could strike. But Mr. Blacksnake knew that they were powerless to hurt him, and he knew that there were eggs in that nest. There is nothing he loves better than eggs unless it is a meal of baby birds. Beyond hissing angrily two or three times he paid no attention to Skimmer or his friends, but continued to creep nearer the entrance to that nest.

At last he reached a position where he could put his head in the doorway. As he did so, Skimmer and Mrs. Skimmer each gave a little cry of hopelessness and despair. But no sooner had his head disappeared in the hole in the old apple-tree than Scrapper the Kingbird struck him savagely. Instantly Mr. Blacksnake withdrew his head, hissing fiercely, and struck savagely at the birds nearest him. Several times the same thing happened. No sooner would his head disappear in that hole than Scrapper or one of the other of Skimmer's friends, braver than the rest, would dart in and peck at him viciously, and all the time all the birds were screaming as only excited feathered folk can. Johnny Chuck was quite as excited as his feathered friends, and so intent watching the hated black robber that he had eyes for nothing else. Suddenly he heard [119] a step just behind him. He turned his head and then frantically dived head first down into his hole. He had looked right up into the eyes of Farmer Brown's boy!

"Ha, ha!" cried Farmer Brown's boy, "I thought as much!" And with a long switch he struck Mr. Blacksnake just as the latter had put his head in that doorway, resolved to get those eggs this time. But when he felt that switch and heard the voice of Farmer Brown's boy he changed his mind in a flash. He simply let go his hold on that tree and dropped. The instant he touched the ground he was off like a shot for the safety of the old stone wall, Farmer Brown's boy after him. Farmer Brown's boy didn't intend to kill Mr. Blacksnake, but he did want to give him such a fright that he wouldn't visit the Old Orchard again in a hurry, and this he quite succeeded in doing.

No sooner had Mr. Blacksnake disappeared than all the birds set up such a rejoicing that you would have thought they, and not Farmer Brown's boy, had saved the eggs of Mr. and Mrs. Skimmer. Listening to them, Johnny Chuck just had to smile.

 



Anonymous

The Golden Rule

Be you to others kind and true,

As you'd have others be to you.

 


  WEEK 32  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

Longfellow as a Boy


[Illustration]

Longfellow and the Bird

LONGFELLOW was a noble boy. He always wanted to do right. He could not bear to see one person do any wrong to another.

He was very tender-hearted. One day he took a gun and went shooting. He killed a robin. Then he felt sorry for the robin He came home with tears in his eyes. He was so grieved, that he never went shooting again.

He liked to read Irving's "Sketch Book." Its [141] strange stories about Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle pleased his fancy.

When he was thirteen he wrote a poem. It was about Lovewell's fight with the Indians. He sent his verses to a newspaper. He wondered if the editor would print them. He could not think of anything else. He walked up and down in front of the printing office. He thought that his poem might be in the printer's hands.

When the paper came out, there was his poem. It was signed "Henry." Longfellow read it. He thought it a good poem.

But a judge who did not know whose poem it was talked about it that evening. He said to young Longfellow, "Did you see that poem in the paper? It was stiff. And all taken from other poets, too."

This made Henry Longfellow feel bad. But he kept on trying. After many years, he became a famous poet.

For more than fifty years, young people have liked to read his poem called "A Psalm of Life." Here are three stanzas of it:—

"Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time,—

[142]

"Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, may take heart again.

"Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait."

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Lion in Bad Company

[68]

O NE day a young Lion came suddenly upon a Wolf. The Wolf was not able to get away, so he said to the Lion: "Please, Great Lion, could you take me to your den, and let me live with you and your mate? I will work for you all my days."

This young Lion had been told by his father and mother not to make friends with any Wolf. But when this Wolf called him "Great Lion," he said to himself: "This Wolf is not bad. This Wolf is not like other Wolves." So he took the Wolf to the den where he lived with his father and mother.

Now this Lion's father was a fine old Lion, and he told his son that he did not like having this Wolf there. But the young Lion thought he knew better than his father, so the Wolf stayed in the den.

One day the Wolf wanted horse-flesh to eat, so he said to the young Lion, "Sir, there is nothing we have not eaten except horse-meat; let us take a horse."

[69] "But where are there horses?" asked the Lion.

"There are small ponies on the river bank," said the Wolf.

So the young Lion went with the Wolf to the river bank when the ponies were bathing. The Lion caught a small pony, and throwing it on his back, he ran back to his den.

[Illustration] His father said: "My son, those ponies belong to the king. Kings have many skilful archers. Lions do not live long who eat ponies belonging to the king. Do not take another pony."

But the young Lion liked the taste of horse-meat, and he caught and killed pony after pony.

[70] Soon the king heard that a Lion was killing the ponies when they went to bathe in the river. "Build a tank inside the town," said the king. "The lion will not get the ponies there." But the Lion killed the ponies as they bathed in the tank.

[Illustration] Then the king said the ponies must be kept in the stables. But the Lion went over the wall, and killed the ponies in their stables.

At last the king called an archer, who shot like lightning. "Do you think you can shoot this Lion?" the king asked [71] him. The archer said that he was sure he could. "Very well," said the king, "take your place in the tower on the wall, and shoot him." So the archer waited there in the tower.

By and by the Lion and the Wolf came to the wall. The Wolf did not go over the wall but waited to see what would happen. The Lion sprang over the wall. Very soon he caught and killed a pony. Then the archer let fly an arrow.

The Lion roared, "I am shot."

Then the Wolf said to himself: "The Lion has been shot, and soon he will die. I will now go back to my old home in the woods." And so he did.

The Lion fell down dead.

 



Anonymous

Thirty Days Hath September

Thirty days hath September,

April, June, and November;

All the rest have thirty-one,

Save February, which alone

Has twenty-eight, but one day more

We add to it one year in four.