WEEK 33 |
AMONG the noted men in the history of the struggle of the American Colonies against the tyranny of the King of England, none occupies a more striking position than Patrick Henry, the great orator of Virginia.
His father was a magistrate, of an old Scotch family, whose lack of means kept his son, Patrick, from an education in college. However, young Henry studied at home, and acquired a fair education. He seemed to be ill-fitted for business of any kind. He kept a country store and failed; he tried farming and failed; then he went back to keeping a store and failed again. He became discouraged and idle, and began passing, his time fishing and hunting and telling humorous stories to idle companions around the village inn.
Finally, he turned to the law. After studying for a few weeks, he was examined, and allowed to begin practice. It was four years, however, before  he gave any evidence to the world that he possessed those marvelous powers of oratory that have made him famous.
Now, let us see how Henry won reputation in the Parson's Cause. From the beginning, the Colonists of Virginia were accustomed to pay the preacher's salary in tobacco. Each parish minister received so much tobacco out of the amount raised by the tobacco tax. If the price of tobacco was high, the minister had the benefit of the high price. If the price was low, he suffered accordingly. For a long time the ministers took their chances on the tobacco market, and lived in abundance or in want, as the market price went up or down. At best, however, their salaries were never munificent.
In the year 1748, an Act was passed, fixing the annual salary of each parish minister at 16,000 pounds of tobacco. This Act was approved by the King, and became the law in Virginia. Each minister was allotted his tobacco salary, which he sold at whatever price he could get. This went on for a while, until the Legislature passed another Act, paying the minister's salary in paper money, at a fixed price per pound for tobacco. This fixed price was always lower than the market price, and reduced the minister's salary very much.
The Act was clearly unconstitutional, for it did  not have the consent of the King, and, therefore, could not be law. Besides, it was manifestly unjust to the ministers who were employed under a tobacco contract, and not under a paper money contract. However, the people did not care, for the ministers were unpopular. And as for the King and his consent the Colonies were rapidly becoming rebellious of his authority.
The ministers had to take paper money for their salaries, or receive none at all. They complained to the Legislature, but could get no hearing. They complained to the Governor, but he gave them no consolation. They sent some of their own number to England to lay the matter before the King's Council. There they were told that their cause was just, and that they had a right to sue for damages in the Courts of Virginia. Whereupon they returned home to begin their suits.
One of the cases was brought by Rev. James Maury into the Court of Hanover County. The Judge promptly decided that the Act, paying the salaries in paper money, was no law, and that the ministers were clearly entitled to damages to be fixed by a special jury. The case of the people against Maury seemed hopeless, especially as it was very easy to calculate the difference between the value of the tobacco and the value of the  paper money paid. However, a jury was drawn, and the desperate cause of the people against the clergy was committed to Patrick Henry, then almost unknown as a lawyer and advocate. Indeed, no other counsel or lawyer would take the case, as they said it was a hopeless one, and the people had better pay and be done with it.
Now comes the story of how the world found out the marvelous powers of oratory possessed by Patrick Henry. On the day of trial, the courtroom was crowded with people, the clergy being there in force to witness the triumph of one of their number. On the bench sat Henry's father, the presiding Judge of the trial, who looked with much distrust upon the ability of his son to defend the people's cause.
No one had heard Henry speak before a jury. He was considered an idle young man, of twenty-seven years of age, without learning or ability. He was badly dressed, and appeared ill at ease. When he arose to speak, he did so very awkwardly, and began in a stammering and hesitating manner; so much so that the ministers smiled, the people looked disappointed, and his father sank back in his chair mortified.
But wait, let us see what happened! In a few minutes, the young orator forgot his awkwardness,  and ceased his stammering. His form straightened up, and his eyes began to flash, as he unrolled his invectives against the King, and narrated the grievances of the Colonies. He did not hesitate to call the King a tyrant, who had forfeited all right to obedience. His face began to shine with a nobleness and grandeur which no one ever saw before, and his eyes seemed to hold the lightning of wrath and power. His actions were graceful, bold, and commanding. For an hour he spoke, while the crowd listened as if under the spell of some enchantment. One of them said, "He made my blood run cold and my hair stand on end." As for his father, such was his surprise and joy that, Judge though he was, he allowed tears of happiness to run down his cheeks.
When Henry had finished his great oration, the jury was so overwhelmed by his arguments that they voted Rev. Maury just one penny damage whereas his suit had been for many pounds. In this way did Patrick Henry begin that marvelous career which made him one of the greatest orators this country has ever produced.
 BY the sounds of rejoicing among the feathered folks of the Old Orchard Johnny Chuck knew that it was quite safe for him to come out. He was eager to tell Skimmer the Tree Swallow how glad he was that Mr. Blacksnake had been driven away before he could get Skimmer's eggs. As he poked his head out of his doorway he became aware that something was still wrong in the Old Orchard. Into the glad chorus there broke a note of distress and sorrow. Johnny instantly recognized the voices of Welcome Robin and Mrs. Robin. There is not one among his feathered neighbors who can so express worry and sorrow as can the Robins.
Johnny was just in time to see all the birds hurrying over to that part of the Old Orchard where the Robins had built their home. The rejoicing suddenly gave way to cries of indignation and anger, and Johnny caught the words, "Robber! Thief! Wretch!" It appeared that there was just as much excitement over there as there had been when Mr. Blacksnake had been  discovered trying to rob Skimmer and Mrs. Skimmer. It couldn't be Mr. Blacksnake again, because Farmer Brown's boy had chased him in quite another direction.
"What is it now?" asked Johnny of Skimmer, who was still excitedly discussing with Mrs. Skimmer their recent fright.
"I don't know, but I'm going to find out," replied Skimmer and darted away.
Johnny Chuck waited patiently. The excitement among the birds seemed to increase, and the chattering and angry cries grew louder. Only the voices of Welcome and Mrs. Robin were not angry. They were mournful, as if Welcome and Mrs. Robin were heartbroken. Presently Skimmer came back to tell Mrs. Skimmer the news.
"The Robins have lost their eggs!" he cried excitedly. "All four have been broken and eaten. Mrs. Robin left them to come over here to help drive away Mr. Blacksnake, and while she was here some one ate those eggs. Nobody knows who it could have been, because all the birds of the Old Orchard were over here at that time. It might have been Chatterer the Red Squirrel, or it might have been Sammy Jay, or it might have been Creaker the Grackle, or it might have been Blacky the Crow. Whoever it was just took  that chance to sneak over there and rob that nest when there was no one to see him."
Just then from over towards the Green Forest sounded a mocking "Caw, caw, caw!" Instantly the noise in the Old Orchard ceased for a moment. Then it broke out afresh. There wasn't a doubt now in any one's mind. Blacky the Crow was the robber. How those tongues did go! There was nothing too bad to say about Blacky. And such dreadful things as those birds promised to do to Blacky the Crow if ever they should catch him in the Old Orchard.
"Caw, caw, caw!" shouted Blacky from the distance, and his voice sounded very much as if he thought he had done something very smart. It was quite clear that at least he was not sorry for what he had done.
All the birds were so excited and so angry, as they gathered around Welcome and Mrs. Robin trying to comfort them, that it was some time before their indignation meeting broke up and they returned to their own homes and duties. Almost at once there was another cry of distress. Mr. and Mrs. Chebec had been robbed of their eggs! While they had been attending the indignation meeting at the home of the Robins, a thief had taken the chance to steal their eggs and get away.
 Of course right away all the birds hurried over to sympathize with the Chebecs and to repeat against the unknown thief all the threats they had made against Blacky the Crow. They knew it couldn't have been Blacky this time because they had heard Blacky cawing over on the edge of the Green Forest. In the midst of the excited discussion as to who the thief was, Weaver the Orchard Oriole spied a blue and white feather on the ground just below Chebec's nest.
"It was Sammy Jay! There is no doubt about it, it was Sammy Jay!" he cried.
At the sight of that telltale feather all the birds knew that Weaver was right, and led by Scrapper the Kingbird they began a noisy search of the Old Orchard for the sly robber. But Sammy wasn't to be found, and they soon gave up the search, none daring to stay longer away from his own home lest something should happen there. Welcome and Mrs. Robin continued to cry mournfully, but little Mr. and Mrs. Chebec bore their trouble almost silently.
"There is one thing about it," said Mr. Chebec to his sorrowful little wife, "that egg of Sally Sly's went with the rest, and we won't have to raise that bothersome orphan."
"That's true," said she. "There is no use crying over what can't be helped. It is a waste  of time to sit around crying. Come on, Chebec, let's look for a place to build another nest. Next time I won't leave the eggs unwatched for a minute."
Meanwhile Jenny Wren's tongue was fairly flying as she chattered to Peter Rabbit, who had come up in the midst of the excitement and of course had to know all about it.
"Blacky the Crow has a heart as black as his coat, and his cousin Sammy Jay isn't much better," declared Jenny. "They belong to a family of robbers."
"Wait a minute," cried Peter. "Do you mean to say that Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay are cousins?"
"For goodness' sake, Peter!" exclaimed Jenny, "do you mean to say that you don't know that? Of course they're cousins. They don't look much alike, but they belong to the same family. I would expect almost anything bad of any one as black as Blacky the Crow. But how such a handsome fellow as Sammy Jay can do such dreadful things I don't understand. He isn't as bad as Blacky, because he does do a lot of good. He destroys a lot of caterpillars and other pests.
"There are no sharper eyes anywhere than those of Sammy Jay, and I'll have to say this for him, that whenever he discovers any danger he always  gives us warning. He has saved the lives of a good many of us feathered folks in this way. If it wasn't for this habit of stealing our eggs I wouldn't have a word to say against him, but at that, he isn't as bad as Blacky the Crow. They say Blacky does some good by destroying white grubs and some other harmful pests, but he's a regular cannibal, for he is just as fond of young birds as he is of eggs, and the harm he does in this way is more than the good he does in other ways. He's bold, black, and bad, if you ask me."
Remembering her household duties, Jenny Wren disappeared inside her house in her usual abrupt fashion. Peter hung around for a while but finding no one who would take the time to talk to him he suddenly decided to go over to the Green Forest to look for some of his friends there. He had gone but a little way in the Green Forest when he caught a glimpse of a blue form stealing away through the trees. He knew it in an instant, for there is no one with such a coat but Sammy Jay. Peter glanced up in the tree from which Sammy had flown and there he saw a nest in a crotch halfway up. "I wonder," thought Peter, "if Sammy was stealing eggs there, or if that is his own nest." Then he started after Sammy as fast as he could go, lipperty-liperty-  lip. As he ran he happened to look back and was just in time to see Mrs. Jay slip on to the nest. Then Peter knew that he had discovered Sammy's home. He chuckled as he ran.
"I've found out your secret, Sammy Jay!" cried Peter when at last he caught up with Sammy.
"Then I hope you'll be gentleman enough to keep it," grumbled Sammy, looking not at all pleased.
"Certainly," replied Peter with dignity. "I wouldn't think of telling any one. My, what a handsome fellow you are, Sammy."
Sammy looked pleased. He is a little bit vain, is Sammy Jay. There is no denying that he is handsome. He is just a bit bigger than Welcome Robin. His back is grayish-blue. His tail is a bright blue crossed with little black bars and edged with white. His wings are blue with white and black bars. His throat and breast are a soft grayish-white, and he wears a collar of black. On his head he wears a pointed cap, a very convenient cap, for at times he draws it down so that it is not pointed at all.
"Why did you steal Mrs. Chebec's eggs?" demanded Peter abruptly.
Sammy didn't look the least bit put out. "Because I like eggs," he replied promptly. "If people will leave their eggs unguarded they must  expect to lose them. How did you know I took those eggs?"
"Never mind, Sammy; never mind. A little bird told me," retorted Peter mischievously.
Sammy opened his mouth for a sharp reply, but instead he uttered a cry of warning. "Run, Peter! Run! Here comes Reddy Fox!" he cried.
Peter dived headlong under a great pile of brush. There he was quite safe. While he waited for Reddy Fox to go away he thought about Sammy Jay. "It's funny," he mused, "how so much good and so much bad can be mixed together. Sammy Jay stole Chebec's eggs, and then he saved my life. I just know he would have done as much for Mr. and Mrs. Chebec, or for any other feathered neighbor. He can only steal eggs for a little while in the spring. I guess on the whole he does more good than harm. I'm going to think so anyway."
Peter was quite right. Sammy Jay does do more good than harm.
Over in the meadow,
In the sand, in the sun,
Lived an old mother-toad
And her little toadie one,
"Wink!" said the mother;
"I wink," said the one:
So she winked and she blinked,
In the sand, in the sun.
Over in the meadow,
Where the stream runs blue;
Lived an old mother-fish
And her little fishes two.
"Swim!" said the mother;
"We swim," said the two:
So they swam and they leaped,
Where the stream runs blue.
Over in the meadow,
In a hole in a tree,
Lived a mother-bluebird
And her little bluebirds three.
"Sing!" said the mother;
"We sing," said the three:
So they sang and were glad,
In the hole in the tree.
Over in the meadow,
In the reeds on the shore;
Lived a mother-muskrat
And her little muskrats four.
"Dive!" said the mother;
"We dive," said the four:
So they dived and they burrowed,
In the reeds on the shore.
Over in the meadow,
In a snug beehive,
Lived a mother-honeybee
And her little honeys five.
"Buzz!" said the mother;
"We buzz," said the five:
So they buzzed and they hummed,
In the snug beehive.
Over in the meadow
In a nest built of sticks,
Lived a black mother crow
And her little crows six.
"Caw!" said the mother;
"We caw," said the six:
So they cawed and they called,
In their nest built of sticks.
Over in the meadow,
Where the grass is so even,
Lived a gay mother-cricket
And her little crickets seven.
"Chirp!" said the mother;
"We chirp," said the seven:
So they chirped cheery notes
In the grass soft and even.
Over in the meadow
By the old mossy gate,
Lived a brown mother-lizard
And her little lizards eight.
"Bask!" said the mother;
"We bask," said the eight:
So they basked in the sun,
On the old mossy gate,
Over in the meadow,
Where the clear pools shine,
Lived a green mother-frog
And her little froggies nine.
"Croak!" said the mother;
"We croak!" said the nine:
So they croaked and they plashed,
Where the clear pools shine.
Over in the meadow,
In a sly little den,
Lived a gray mother-spider
And her little spiders ten.
"Spin!" said the mother;
"We spin," said the ten:
So they spun lace webs,
In their sly little den.
Over in the meadow,
In the soft summer even,
Lived a mother firefly
And her little flies eleven.
"Glow," said the mother;
"We glow," said the eleven—
So they glowed like stars
In the soft summer even.
Over in the meadow,
Where the men dig and delve
Lived a wise mother ant,
And her little ants twelve.
"Toil," said the mother;
"We toil," said the twelve—
So they toiled and were wise
Where the men dig and delve.
WEEK 33 |
 IT was a cold winter's day in the city of Amiens, and the wind swept along the great Roman road outside the city gates with such an icy blast that the few people who were out of doors wrapped themselves closer in their cloaks, and longed for their sheltering homes and warm firesides.
But there was one poor old man who had no cloak to wrap around him, and no fireside of which to dream. He shivered as the searching wind came sweeping past him, and his half-blind eyes looked eagerly up and down the road to see if any one was coming who might help him in his need. One by one the people hurried past and paid no heed to the beggar's outstretched hand. It was much too cold to stop or to think of giving help, and not even a beggar could expect it on such a day as this. So they left the poor old man hungry and cold and homeless.
Then a young soldier came riding past, but the beggar scarcely thought of asking alms of him, for the Roman soldiers were not the kind of men to trouble themselves about the poor and suffering.
The old man closed his eyes, weary and hopeless, for it seemed as if there was none to help nor pity him. Then in a moment he felt a warm cloak  thrown around his shoulders, and in his ears sounded a kind voice which bade him wrap it close around him to keep out the cold. Half bewildered the beggar looked up, and saw the young soldier bending over him. He had dismounted from his horse and held a sword in his hand, with which he had just cut his own cloak in half, that he might share it with the shivering old man.
The passers-by laughed and hurried on, but the soldier did not care if they mocked him, for he was quite happy to think he had helped one who needed help so sorely.
The name of this young soldier was Martin, and he served in the Roman army with his father, who was a famous general. Most of Martin's fellow-soldiers were pagans, but he was a Christian, and served the emperor well, because he served Christ first.
The very night after Martin had divided his cloak with the beggar he had a dream, in which he saw his Master, Christ, among the holy angels, wearing the half cloak which Martin had given away that afternoon. And as he looked, he heard Christ's voice speaking to the angels, and saying:
"Know ye who hath clothed Me with this cloak? My servant Martin, who is yet unbaptized, hath done this."
Then Martin awoke, and he did not rest until Christ's seal of baptism was set upon his brow, and he felt that he had enlisted truly in God's service.
 Now Martin knew that to be God's servant meant doing everything day by day as well as it could be done, and serving his earthly master as faithfully and diligently as he tried to serve his heavenly commander. So it came to pass that for all the fourteen years he served in the emperor's army, he was known as the best and bravest soldier, and one who had never failed to do his duty.
But as he began to grow old, he longed to serve God in other ways, and so he went to the emperor and asked for permission to leave the army.
There was war going on just then, for Rome was ever fighting with the barbarians who came up against her, and the emperor was very angry when he heard Martin's request.
"You seek to leave the army because you fear to fight," he said scornfully to Martin, who stood silently before him. "A Roman soldier should scorn to be a coward."
"I am no coward," answered Martin and he met with unflinching look the angry gaze of the emperor. "Place me alone in the front of the battle, with no weapon but the cross alone, and I shall not fear to meet the enemy single-handed and unarmed."
"Well said," answered the emperor quickly; "we will take thee at thy word. To-morrow thou shalt stand defenceless before the enemy, and so shall we judge of thy boasted courage."
Then the emperor ordered his guards to watch Martin that night lest he should try to escape before the trial could be made. But Martin had  no thought of escape, and was ready and eager to do as he had said.
Meanwhile, however, the enemy began to fear that they had no chance against the Roman army; and very early in the morning, they sent messengers to ask for peace, offering to give themselves up to the mercy of the emperor.
So Martin was set at liberty, and no one doubted his courage and faithfulness; since they believed that his faith in God had brought peace, and given them the victory over their enemies.
Soon after this Martin was allowed to leave the army, and he journeyed from place to place telling those who had never heard it before the good news of Jesus Christ.
In those days it was dangerous to go among the mountains unarmed, for robbers and brigands made their home there, and would swoop down on unsuspecting travellers and rob or murder them.
But Martin took no companions with him, and with no weapon but the cross, he climbed the mountain roads defenceless and alone.
One day, as he journeyed, a company of brigands appeared suddenly, as if they had started out of the rocks. They seized him roughly, and one of them aimed a blow at his head with an axe. But before the blow could fall, another robber turned the axe aside and claimed Martin as his prisoner. Then they tied his hands behind him and bound him fast, while they made up their minds which would be the best way to kill him.
 But Martin sat calm and untroubled, and seemed to have no fear of these terrible men.
"What is thy name, and who art thou?" asked the brigand who had claimed Martin as his prisoner.
"I am a Christian," answered Martin simply.
"And art thou not afraid of the tortures which await thee, that thou dost seem so calm and fearless?" asked the robber, wondering at the peaceful look upon the prisoner's face.
"I fear nothing that thou canst do to me," answered Martin, "for I am a servant of the great King, and He will defend His own. But I do indeed grieve for thee, because thou livest by robbery and violence, and art therefore unworthy of the mercy of my Lord."
The astonished robber asked him what he meant, and who this great King was whom he served; so Martin told him the whole story of God's love, and of the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
No words so wonderful had ever been spoken to this brigand before, and as he listened he believed that what Martin said was true. The first thing he did was to cut the rope which bound his prisoner's hands and to set him free; and after that he led him in safety through the mountain passes, until he reached a road that led to the plains below.
Here they parted, and the brigand knelt and asked Martin to pray for him that he might lead a new life. So there was one less robber on that lonely road, and one more Christian fighting the battles of the Lord.
 Although Martin loved to dwell in lonely places, he was always ready to go where he was most needed, and so a great part of his life was spent in busy towns. When he was made Bishop of Tours and could no longer live in the solitude he loved, still he strove to be the best bishop it was possible to become, just as when he was a soldier he tried to be as good a soldier as he knew how to be.
Now Martin was growing an old man, yet he was very little changed since that long ago day when he divided his cloak with the poor beggar outside the gates of Amiens. It is said that one day when he was serving at the altar, in all his beautiful bishop's robes, he saw a ragged beggar standing near shivering with cold. At first he bade his deacon give him clothing, but the deacon was too slow to please the kind heart of the bishop, and so he went himself and took off his gold-embroidered vestment and put it tenderly round the shoulders of the beggar. Then as the service went on, and the bishop held up the holy chalice, the kneeling crowd saw with wonder that angels were hovering round and were hanging chains of gold upon the upraised arms to cover them, because the robe Martin had given to the beggar had left them bare.
Now the Evil One looked with great mistrust and disfavour upon Martin, for the good bishop won more souls by his love and gentleness than the Evil One cared to lose. All the preaching and sternness of other good men were not half so dangerous to the  plans of the Evil One as the pity and kindness of Martin. So one day the Evil One met Martin and began to mock at him.
"Thy faith is beautiful indeed," he said scornfully; "but how long do thy sinners remain saints? They have but to pretend a little sorrow for their sins, and lo! in thy eyes they are immediately saved."
"Oh, poor, miserable Spirit that thou art!" answered Martin. "Dost thou not know that our Saviour refuses none who turn to Him? Even thou, if thou wouldst but repent, might find mercy with my Lord."
The Evil One did not stop to answer the bishop, but disappeared with great swiftness. Later on he returned, as we shall see.
The fame of Martin's life spread far and near, and the rich as well as the poor did him honour. The emperor and empress invited him over and over again to come to their court, but Martin steadily refused, for he loved best to work among the poor.
A time came, however, when he saw that he might do great good if he could persuade the emperor to cease from persecuting the Christians; and so at last he agreed to attend a banquet at the palace and to be the emperor's guest.
Everything was as gorgeous and splendid as possible, for the emperor wished to do honour to the bishop, who was the one man who dared to speak truly to him and not to flatter him with mere words.
But Martin scarcely seemed to notice all the  grandeur and brilliance of the entertainment. And when, at the banquet, the emperor took the wine-cup and passed it to his guest, expecting him to bless it and respectfully hand it back, Martin turned quietly round instead, and passed the jewelled cup to a poor priest who stood behind. This he did to show the astonished emperor that in his eyes the poorest of God's servants was to be considered before the greatest ruler upon earth.
It was not long after this that the Evil One again visited Martin. But this time he disguised himself that he might not be known.
It was evening and Martin was praying in his cell, when a bright light filled the place, and in the midst of the light he saw a figure clad in royal robes and with a crown of gold and jewels upon his head. His face was shining and beautiful, so that no one could have guessed he was the Evil One. Martin could only gaze upon him in dazzled silence, for his shining beauty was beyond all words.
Then the Evil One spoke, and the sound of his voice was like music.
"Martin," he said, "dost thou not see that I am Christ? I have come again upon earth, and it is to thee that I have first showed myself."
But Martin still gazed silently at him and answered nothing.
"Martin," said the Evil One again, "why dost thou not believe? Canst thou not see that I am Christ?"
Then Martin answered slowly:
"It seemeth strange to me that my Lord should come in glittering clothing and a golden crown.  Unless thou canst show the marks of the nails and spear, I cannot believe that thou art He."
At these words, with a horrible thunder-clap, the Evil One disappeared, and Martin saw him no more.
Years passed, and Martin lived a long and useful life; but he was growing weary now, and when God's call came, he gladly prepared to enter into his rest, and to leave the world where he had laboured so long and faithfully.
The night that Martin died he was seen in a vision by one of his friends who loved him more than all the rest. The saint's robe was shining white and his eyes were like stars and, as the friend knelt and worshipped, he felt a soft touch upon his head and heard a voice that blessed him ere the vision faded.
And so Martin finished his earthly work, and went to hear from his Master's lips the gracious words: "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Once there was a poor woman.
She had one son.
One day he went to the safe for meal.
Along came the North Wind,
puffing and blowing.
He caught up the meal,
and away he went.
The lad went to the safe for more meal.
The North Wind came again.
He carried the meal off with a puff.
And he carried the meal off a third time.
Then the lad became angry.
"I will go to the North Wind," he said.
"I will ask him for my meal."
So off he went.
He walked and walked.
At last he came to the North Wind's house.
"Good-day, North Wind," said the lad.
"Good-day," said the North Wind.
"Thank you for coming to see me.
What do you want?"
"You took our meal yesterday.
Will you give it to me?" said the lad.
"We shall starve without our meal."
"I have no meal," said the North Wind.
"But I will give you this cloth.
You have only to say,
'Cloth, cloth, spread yourself,
and serve a good dinner.'
And you have all you want."
"Thank you, North Wind," said he.
And he set off for home.
It was a long way.
So he stopped at an inn.
He sat down at a table.
He took up the cloth, and said,
"Cloth, cloth, spread yourself,
and serve up a good dinner."
And the cloth did as it was bid.
The landlord saw the dinner.
"That is a fine cloth," he said.
Soon the lad went to bed.
The landlord took the cloth,
and he put another in its place.
Next morning the lad took the cloth
and went home.
"Mother," he said,
"I have been to the North Wind.
He is a good fellow.
He gave me this cloth.
I have only to say,
'Cloth, cloth, spread yourself,
and serve up a good dinner.'
And I have all I want to eat."
"That may be true," said his mother.
"But let me see it.
Then I shall believe it."
The lad drew out the table.
He laid the cloth and said,
"Cloth, cloth, spread yourself,
and serve up a good dinner."
But not a crumb did it serve.
Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into the here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.
Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.
What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.
What makes your cheek like a warm, white rose?
Something better than any one knows.
Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.
Where did you get that pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.
Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.
Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherub's wings.
How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.
But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought of you, and so I am here.
WEEK 33 |
THERE was a great battle at sea. One could hear nothing but the roar of the big guns. The air was filled with black smoke. The water was strewn with broken masts and pieces of timber  which the cannon balls had knocked from the ships. Many men had been killed, and many more had been wounded.
The flagship had taken fire. The flames were breaking out from below. The deck was all ablaze. The men who were left alive made haste to launch a small boat. They leaped into it, and rowed swiftly away. Any other place was safer now than on board of that burning ship. There was powder in the hold.
But the captain's son, young Casabianca, still stood upon the deck. The flames were almost all around him now; but he would not stir from his post. His father had bidden him stand there, and he had been taught always to obey. He trusted in his father's word, and believed that when the right time came he would tell him to go.
He saw the men leap into the boat. He heard them call to him to come. He shook his head.
"When father bids me, I will go," he said.
And now the flames were leaping up the masts. The sails were all ablaze. The fire blew hot upon his cheek. It scorched his hair. It was before him, behind him, all around him.
"O father!" he cried, "may I not go now? The men have all left the ship. Is it not time that we too should leave it?"
 He did not know that his father was lying in the burning cabin below, that a cannon ball had struck him dead at the very beginning of the fight. He listened to hear his answer.
"Speak louder, father!" he cried. "I cannot hear what you say."
Above the roaring of the flames, above the crashing of the falling spars, above the booming of the gulls, he fancied that his father's voice came faintly to him through the scorching air.
"I am here, father! Speak once again!" he gasped.
But what is that?
A great flash of light fills the air; clouds of smoke shoot quickly upward to the sky; and—
Oh, what a terrific sound! Louder than thunder, louder than the roar of all the guns! The air quivers; the sea itself trembles; the sky is black.
The blazing ship is seen no more.
There was powder in the hold!
A long time ago a lady, whose name was Mrs. Hemans, wrote a poem about this brave boy Casabianca. It is not a very well written poem, and yet everybody has read it, and thousands of people have  learned it by heart. I doubt not but that some day you too will read it. It begins in this way:—
"The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
"Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm—
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud though childlike form."
W HEN the Twins woke up the next morning it was cold, and the rain was beating on the roof. They couldn't look out of the window to see it, because there were no glass windows in their house. There were just the pretty screens covered with white paper.
Taro slid one of the screens back and peeped out into the garden. "It's all wet," he said to Take. "We can't play outdoors today."
"We'll have a nice time in the house, then," said Take. "I can think of lots of things to do."
"So can I, if I try," Taro said.
"Let's try, then," Take answered.
They thought all the time they were dressing. They put on three kimonos be-  cause it was cold. It made them look quite fat.
"I've thought of one," Take called just as she was putting on the last kimono.
"I have, too," Taro said.
"You tell me and I'll tell you," Take begged.
"No, not until after breakfast," Taro answered. "Then first we'll play one and then the other."
 After breakfast Mother was busy waiting upon Father and getting him off to his work. Then she had to bathe the Baby. So the twins went to Grandmother for help.
"O Ba San" (that means "Honorable Grandmother"), Take said to her, "it is rainy and cold, and Taro and I have thought of nice games to play in the house. Will you get the colored sands for us?"
"I know what you're going to do!" cried Taro.
Grandmother brought out four boxes. In one box was yellow sand. In another was black sand. The other two were filled with blue and red sand. Grandmother brought out some large pieces of paper.
"Thank you, O Ba San," the Twins said.
They spread the paper on the floor. Taro had one piece, and Take had another.
"I'm going to make a picture of a boat on the sea," said Taro.
 He took some of the blue sand in his right hand. He let it run through his fingers until it made a blue sea clear across the paper.
"And now I'm going to make a yellow sky for a sunset." He let the yellow sand run through the fingers of his left hand.
"I'll put some red clouds in it," he said. Then he let red sand run through his fingers.
When that was done he took some black sand. He made a boat.
This was the way his picture looked when it was done, only it was in colors. The sail of the boat was blue.
"Oh, Taro, how beautiful!" Take said. "Mine won't be half so nice, I'm sure. I'm going to make—I'm going to make—let's see. Oh, I know. I'll make the pine tree beside the pond."
She took some blue sand and made the little lake. Then she took the black sand and made the trunk of the tree and some branches.
 She spilled a little of the black sand. It made black specks.
"Oh, dear!" she cried. "I've spilled."
Taro looked at it. "Put the green leaves over the spilled place," he said.
"It isn't the right place for leaves," Take said.
She took some blue sand in one hand and some yellow in the other. She let them fall on the paper together. They made the green part of the tree.
"I know what I'll do about the black that spilled," she said. "I'll call it a swarm of bees!"
This is Take's picture. You can see the bees!
 "I think your picture is just as good as mine," said Taro.
"Oh, no, Honorable Brother! Yours is much better," Take answered politely.
They showed them to Grannie when they were all finished. Grannie thought they were beautiful.
"Now, Taro, what's your game?" Take said when the sand was all put away.
"I have to go out into the garden first for mine," Taro said.
"Put on your clogs and take an umbrella, and don't stay but a minute," Grannie said.
Taro put on his clogs and opened his umbrella, and ran into the garden.
Take couldn't guess what he wanted. She watched him from the door.
Taro ran from one tree or vine to another. He looked along the stems and under the leaves. He looked on the ground, too. Soon he jumped at something on the ground, and caught it in his hand.
"I've got one," he called.
 "One what?" Take called back.
"Beetle," Taro said.
Then he found another. He brought them in very carefully, so as not to hurt them.
In the house he put them into a little cage which he made out of a pasteboard box. Then he got more paper and a little knife.
"Oh, Taro, what are you going to make?" Take asked.
"If you and Grannie will help me, I'll  make some little wagons and we'll harness the beetles," Taro said.
"Won't it hurt them?" Take asked.
"Not a bit; we'll be so careful," Taro answered.
So Take ran for thread, and Taro got Grannie to help him. Grannie would do almost anything in the world for the Twins. And pretty soon there were two cunning little paper wagons with round paper wheels!
Taro tied some thread to the front of each little wagon. Then he opened the cage to take out the beetles.
One of the beetles didn't wait to be taken out. He flew out himself. He was big and black, and he flew straight at Take! He flew into her black hair!
Maybe he just wanted to hide. But he had big black nippers, and he took hold of Take's little fat neck with them.
Take rolled right over on the floor and screamed. Her Mother heard the scream. She came running in. The maids came running too to see what was the matter.
 "Ow! Ow!! Ow!!!" squealed Take. She couldn't say a word. She just clawed at her neck and screamed.
Everybody tried to find out what was the matter.
"I know—I know!" shouted Taro.
He shook Take's hair. Out flew the beetle!
Taro caught him. "He isn't hurt a bit," he said.
"But I am," wailed Take.
Mother and Grannie bathed Take's neck, and comforted her; and soon she was  happy again and ready to go on with the play.
She and Taro harnessed the beetles with threads to the little wagons. But Take let Taro do the harnessing.
"You can have that one, and I'll have this," Taro said; "and we'll have a race."
He set the beetles on the floor. They began to crawl along, pulling the little carriages after them.
Taro's beetle won the race.
They played with the beetles and wagons a long time until Grannie said, "Let them go now, children. Dinner will soon be ready."
The Twins were hungry. They unharnessed the beetles and carried them to the porch. They put them on the porch railing.
"Fly away home!" they said. Then they ran to the kitchen to see what there was for dinner. They sniffed good things cooking.
Take went to the stove and lifted the lid of a great kettle. It was such a queer stove!
 Here is a picture of Take peeping into the kettle. It shows you just how queer that stove was.
"It's rice," Take said.
"Of course," said Taro. "We always have rice in that kettle. What's in this one?"
He peeped into the next kettle. It was steaming hot. The steam flew out when Taro opened the lid, and almost burned his nose!
That kettle had fish in it. When it was ready, Grannie and Mother and the Twins had their dinner all together. Bot'Chan was asleep.
After dinner Grannie said, "I'm going for a little nap."
"We shall keep very quiet so as not to disturb you and Bot'Chan," Taro said.
When the little tables were taken away, the Mother said, "Come, my children, let us sit down beside the hibachi and get warm."
The "hibachi" is the only stove, except the cook-stove, that they have in Japanese houses. It is an open square box, made of  metal, with a charcoal fire burning in it. In very cold weather each person has one to himself; but this day it was just cold enough so the Twins loved to cuddle close up to their Mother beside the big hibachi.
The Mother put on a square framework of iron over the fire-box. Then she brought a comforter—she called it a "futon"—from the cupboard. She put it over the frame, like a tent. She placed one large  cushion on the floor and on each side of the big cushion she put a little one.
She sat down on the big cushion. Taro sat on one side and Take sat on the other, on the little cushions. They drew the comforter over their laps—and, oh, but they were cozy and warm!
"Tell us a story, honored Mother," begged Taro.
"Yes, please do!" said Take.
"Let me see. What shall I tell you about?" said the Mother. She put her finger on her brow and pretended to be thinking very hard.
"Tell us about 'The Wonderful
"Tell us about 'The Four and Twenty
"What is a Paragon?" asked Take.
"A Paragon is some one who is very good, indeed,—better than anybody else," said the Mother.
"Are you a Paragon?" Take asked her Mother.
 "Oh, no," cried the Mother. "I am a most unworthy creature as compared with a Paragon."
"Then there aren't any such things," said Take, "because nobody could be better than you!"
The Mother laughed. "Wait until I tell you about the Paragons. Then you'll see how very, very good they were," she said.
"Once there was a Paragon. He was  only a little boy, but he was so good to his parents! Oh, you can't think how good he was! He was only six years old. He was a beautiful child, with a tender, fine skin and bright eyes. He lived with his parents in a little town among the rice-fields. The fields were so wet in the spring that there were millions and millions of mosquitoes around their home. Everybody was nearly bitten to death by them. The little boy saw how miserable and unhappy his parents were from the mosquito-bites. He could not bear to see his dear parents suffer; so every night he lay naked on his mat so the mosquitoes would find his tender skin and bite him first, and spare his father and mother."
"Oh, my!" said Take. "How brave that was! I don't like mosquito-bites a bit!"
"You don't like beetle-bites any better, do you?" Taro said.
"Well," said Take, "I'd rather the beetle should bite me than Mother."
"Well, now, maybe you'll be a Paragon yourself sometime," the Mother said.
 "There weren't any women paragons, were there?" asked Taro.
"Oh, yes," said the Mother. "Once there was a young girl who loved her father dearly, and honored him above everything in the world, as a child should. Once she and her father were in a jungle, and a tiger attacked them. The young girl threw herself upon the tiger and clung to his jaws so that her father could escape."
"Did the tiger eat her up?" said Taro.
"I suppose he did," the Mother answered.
"Was it very noble of her to be eaten up so her father could get away?" Take asked,
"Oh, very noble!" said the Mother.
"Well, then," said Take, "was it very noble of the father to run away and let her stay and be eaten up?"
"The lives of women are not worth so much as those of men," her Mother answered.
Take bounced on her cushion. "I don't see how she could honor a man who was so mean," she said.
 Take's mother held up her hands. She was shocked. "Why, Take!" she said. "The man was her father!"
"Tell us another," said Taro.
"Please, honored Mother, don't tell me about any more Paragons," said Take.
Her Mother was still more shocked.
"Why, little daughter," she said, "don't you want to hear about the Paragon that lay down on the cold, cold ice to warm a hole in it with his body so he could catch some fish for his cruel stepmother to eat?"
"No, if you please, dear Mother," said Take, "because all the Paragons had such horrid parents."
"My dear little girl," the Mother said, "you must not say such dreadful things! We must honor and obey our parents, no matter what kind of persons they are."
"Well," said Take, "we love and honor you and our Father—you are so good and kind." She put her hands on the matting in front of her, and bowed to the floor before her Mother.
 Taro saw Take do this, and he wanted to be just as polite as she was; so he rolled over on his cushion and bowed to the floor, too.
"Now, tell us about the
Their Mother began: "Once upon a
But just as she got as far as that they heard a little sound from Bot'Chan's cushion in the corner, and the covers began to wiggle.
"There's Bot'Chan awake," said the Mother. "I must take care of him now. The 'Lucky Tea-Kettle' must wait until another time."
And just at that minute bright spots of sunshine appeared on the paper screen, and the shadows of leaves in pretty patterns fluttered over it.
"The sun is out! The sun is out!" cried the Twins.
They ran to the door, put on their clogs, and were soon dancing about in the bright sunshine.
What does little birdie say,
In her nest at peep of day?
"Let me fly," says little birdie;
"Mother, let me fly away."
"Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger."
So she rests a little longer,
Then she flies away.
What does little baby say,
In her bed at peep of day?
Baby says, like little birdie,
"Let me rise and fly away."
"Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger."
If she sleeps a little longer,
Baby, too, shall fly away.
WEEK 33 |
"A bonny fine maid of noble degree,
Maid Marian called by name,
Did live in the north, of excellent worth,
For she was a gallant dame.
For favour, and face, and beauty most rare,
Queen Helen she did excel;
For Marian then was praised of all men
That did in the country dwell."
Long before Robin came to live in Sherwood Forest he used often to go there to hunt. There were many wild animals in the woods which people were allowed to shoot. Only the deer belonged to the king, and no one was allowed to hunt or kill them.
One day while Robin was hunting in the forest he met a most beautiful lady. She was dressed in green velvet, the colour of the grass in spring. Robin thought she  looked like a queen. He had never seen any one so lovely.
"Her gait it was graceful, her body was straight,
And her countenance free from all pride;
A bow in her hand, and a quiver of arrows,
Hung dangling down by her side.
Her eyebrows were black, ay, and so was her hair,
And her skin was as smooth as glass;
Her visage spoke wisdom and modesty too:
Suits with Robin Hood such a lass!"
Robin watched this beautiful lady shooting, and thought he had never seen anything so fine in all his life. He loved her from the very first moment he saw her.
"Oh, how sweet it would be if this dear lady would be my bride," he sighed to himself, though he did not even know her name.
He soon found that she was called Marian, and that her father was the noble Earl of Fitzwalter, who had come to live at a castle not far from his own home.
 After this, Marian and Robin met each other very often. They used to hunt together in the forest, and came to love one another very much indeed. They loved each other so much, that Robin asked Marian to marry him, so that they might never be parted any more.
Marian said "yes," and Robin thought he was the happiest man in all the world. She went back to her own home with her father, to prepare for the wedding, which was to be in a few days. But just then a terrible misfortune happened to Robin. He lost his home, and everything that he had.
"So fortune bearing these lovers a spite,
Thus soon they were forced to part;
To the merry Green Wood went Robin Hood
With a sad and sorrowful heart."
When Robin lost all his money and lands, and had no house but only the Green Wood to live in, he said: "I cannot ask a gentle lady to come and live this rough life with me.  I must say good-bye to my dear Marian for ever."
So he wrote a sad letter, telling her of all the terrible misfortune that had befallen him. "I shall love you always," he said, "but this life is too hard for a sweet and gentle lady, so I will never see you more. Good-bye."
Marian was very, very sorrowful when she had read Robin's letter. She cried all day long as if her heart would break.
She was very sad and lonely now, and all the world seemed dark and dreary. It seemed as if the sun had forgotten to shine and the birds to sing.
At last she became so miserable that she could bear it no longer. "I must go into the Green Wood and look for Robin," she said. "Perhaps if I see him again the pain will go out of my heart and the weariness from my feet."
It was a long way to Sherwood Forest. Marian knew that it was not safe for a beautiful lady to travel so far by herself. She feared the robbers and the wild, wicked men she might meet. So she dressed herself like  a knight all in shining armour. She wore a steel helmet, with a white feather as a crest. Over her lovely face she drew a steel chain cover, called a visor, which knights used to wear. It kept the face from being hurt by arrows and swords in battle, and also, if a knight wished not to be known, it prevented people from seeing his face altogether.
With quiver and bow, sword, buckler, and all,
Thus armed was Marian most bold,
She wandered about, to find Robin out,
Whose person was better than gold."
Robin was very fond of disguising himself. He was very clever at it too. Often his dearest friends could not recognise him when they met him dressed like some one else.
One day he dressed himself as a Norman knight, pulled his visor over his face, and went out into the forest in search of an adventure.
He had not gone far before he met another knight in shining armour and a white crest.  He put on a deep and terrible voice and called out in Norman French, "Stop, Sir knight of the white feather. No one passes through the forest without leave from me. I give leave only to those whose errand is good and whose name is fair. What is your name and where are you going?"
Marian (for of course it was she) was very frightened. Robin's voice sounded so gruff and terrible that she did not know it, and she could not see his face.
She thought he was some wicked Norman knight. Without saying a word she drew her sword and prepared to fight.
"Ah," said Robin, "you refuse to answer. Your errand must be evil if you cannot tell what it is. Fight then, false knight."
He too drew his sword, and the fight began. Though Robin was taller and stronger than Marian, she used her sword so cleverly, that he found it hard to get the better of her. He could not but admire the skill and grace with which she defended herself. "It is wonderful that a knight so young and so slender should have such strength and quickness," he said  to himself. "I would he were one of my men."
They fought for more than an hour. Marian was wounded in the arm. Robin had a cut in his cheek, where the point of her sword had pierced his visor. Marian was growing tired. Robin began to feel sorry for the young knight who fought so skilfully and well.
"Oh, hold thy hand, hold thy hand, said Robin Hood,
And thou shalt be one of my string,
To range in the wood with bold Robin Hood
And hear the sweet nightingale sing."
Robin had forgotten that he was pretending to be a haughty Norman knight, and spoke in his own voice. When Marian heard it she dropped her sword with a cry of delight. "Robin, Robin," was all she could say.
"Marian," he replied full of wonder, "Marian can it be you? Oh, why did you not speak before? I have hurt you," he added in great distress. Marian took off her helmet so that  he might see it was indeed his own true love. Her face was pale, but there was a smile on her lips, and her eyes were full of happy tears.
How they laughed and cried, and kissed each other. It was a long, long time since they had met. They went to the brook, which gurgled and sang through the wood not far off. Very tenderly Robin bathed and bound up Marian's wound, and she as gently cared for his. All the time they laughed and talked, and Marian found that the pain had gone from her heart and the weariness from her feet.
She told Robin how sad and sorrowful she had been, and how she had put on a knight's armour, and come to look for him.
"Sweetheart," he said when she had finished her story, "I do not know how I shall live in the Green Wood when you go away again."
"But I never mean to go away again. I am going to stay with you always," she said.
"Dearest, you must not. It is a rough, uncomfortable life, not fit for a gentle lady like you."
 "Oh Robin, do not be so unkind. The sun does not shine and the birds forget to sing when I am away from you. Let me stay."
So Robin let her stay. He wanted to have her with him so much that he could not say "no" when she begged so hard.
"And then as bold Robin Hood, and his sweet bride,
Went hand and hand to the green bower,
The birds sung with pleasure in merry Sherwood,
And twas a joyful hour."
As they walked along to the Trysting-Tree, as the place was called where Robin and his men used to gather, they met Little John. He was very much surprised to see his master and a strange young knight, walking arm-in-arm, chatting and laughing gaily.
"Ho, Little John," called out Robin, as soon as he saw him, "come, help me. This fair knight has pierced my heart, so that I fear I shall never recover."
Little John turned pale. "Master," he said,  "are you indeed wounded? If it is so, this false knight has not long to live," and he looked fiercely at Marian.
She drew closer to Robin, saying, "This big man frightens me."
But Robin laughed. Putting one arm round her, and holding Little John off with the other, "Friend," he said, "I did but jest. This is no knight, but my own fair love, Maid Marian. If my heart is pierced and sore wounded, it is only with the bright glances from her eyes. Marian," he went on, "this is my friend Little John, of whom I have told you. He is the tallest and the bravest of my men, the wisest head among us."
Little John knelt on one knee, and, taking Marian's hand, kissed it as if she had been a queen. "Lady," he said, "if you have come to live with us in the Green Wood, and be our queen, as Robin is our king, I swear to serve you faithfully and well, as I do him."
Marian smiled down upon him. Her heart was so full, she could not speak.
"Now, master," said Little John, "we must have a feast to-day, for this must be a great  day in the Green Wood. So by your leave I will take my bow and arrows, and see what I can bring to our cooks."
"So Little John took his bow in his hand,
And wandered in the wood,
To kill the deer, and make a good cheer
For Marian and Robin Hood."
"Robin," said Marian, when Little John had gone, "I wish I had a dress to wear instead of this armour."
"Sweetheart," replied Robin, "you are lovely as you are, but if you want a dress you can soon have one. Not long ago we stopped a rich Jew, who was travelling through the forest. He left a bale of goods with us. There are several fine dresses in it, of which you can take your choice. Come, I will show you the cave where they are."
Robin sat down outside the cave to wait till Marian came back to him again. He leaned his head against the trunk of a tree, and shutting his eyes, dreamed happy day dreams.
 Then he heard his name whispered, and, opening his eyes, saw Marian, looking like a fairy princess. She wore an underdress of glittering white, and over it a robe of lovely satin, green and shimmering like beech leaves in early spring. Her dark hair was caught up in a net of pearls, and a soft white veil fell about her face.
Robin drew in his breath. He had not known that any one could look so beautiful.
Slowly they paced through the Green Wood together. They had so much to say to each other, the time went all too quickly.
Slowly they paced through the Green Wood
Then, under the Trysting-Tree, Robin stopped, and blew his horn. In answer to it all, all his men came marching in a row. As they passed Robin, every man bowed. Then each one knelt on one knee, kissing Marian's hand, and vowing to serve and honour her as his queen. And so every man went to his place, and Marian stood blushing and smiling at them as they passed.
Then the merry feast began. The cooks had done their very best, and had made all the most dainty and delightful dishes they  could think of. The table-cloths, which were spread upon the grass, were strewn with wildflowers. The sun shone, the birds sang, and happy talk and laughter rang merrily through the wood.
When the feast was over, Robin filled his drinking-horn, and holding it high above his head said, "Here's a health to Maid Marian, Queen of the Green Wood."
It was a fine sight to see all his men as they sprang to their feet. They looked so handsome and tall in their coats of Lincoln green. They waved their hats and cheered for Maid Marian, till the forest echoed again.
"Here's to fair Maid Marian and bold Robin Hood," they cried. "Long may they live, and happy may they be."
Then came fat and jolly Friar Tuck carrying his big book and trying to look grave.
A hush fell upon every one, while Robin and Marian knelt together, under the blue sky and green waving branches. Very solemn and still it was, in the great forest, as Robin and Marian were married.
"Then a garland they brought her, by two and by two,
And placed it all on the Bride's head.
Then music struck up, and they all fell to dance,
And the Bride and Bridegroom they led."
Every one was happy and merry. Only Little John felt the least bit sad. "Now Robin has such a lovely wife, he will not need his friends any more," he said sorrowfully to himself.
But Maid Marian saw that he looked sad, and guessed why, so she talked kindly to him, and soon he was as merry as the rest. They sang, and danced, and played, and no one seemed to tire.
"At last they ended their merriment,
And went to walk in the wood,
When Little John on Maid Marian
Attended and bold Robin Hood."
So this happy day came to an end. The red sun sank behind the trees. The birds  slept, and all the forest was silent, only the bright stars were awake, and watched over Robin and his band.
Robin and Marian lived together for a long, long time, and were very, very happy. They lived so happily together, and loved each other so much, that "to love like Robin Hood and Maid Marian" came to be a proverb. And to this day, in the place where Maid Marian lived before she went to the Green Wood, and where she was buried when she died, they give a prize each year to the man and wife who have lived most happily together.
"In solid content together they lived
With all their yeomen gay,
They lived by their hands without any lands,
And so they did many a day."
 REDDY FOX wasted very little time waiting for Peter Rabbit to come out from under that pile of brush where he had hidden at Sammy Jay's warning. After making some terrible threats just to try to frighten Peter, he trotted away to look for some Mice. Peter didn't mind those threats at all. He was used to them. He knew that he was safe where he was, and all he had to do was to stay there until Reddy should be so far away that it would be safe to come out.
Just to pass away the time Peter took a little nap. When he awoke he sat for a few minutes trying to make up his mind where to go and what to do next. From 'way over in the direction of the Old Pasture the voice of Blacky the Crow reached him. Peter pricked up his ears, then chuckled.
"Reddy Fox has gone back to the Old Pasture and Blacky has discovered him there," he thought happily. You see, he understood what Blacky was saying. To you or me Blacky would have been saying simply, "Caw! Caw!" But to all  the little people of the Green Forest and Green Meadows within hearing he was shouting, "Fox! Fox!"
"I wonder," thought Peter, "where Blacky is nesting this year. Last year his nest was in a tall pine-tree not far from the edge of the Green Forest. I believe I'll run over there and see if he has a new nest near the old one."
So Peter scampered over to the tall pine in which was Blacky's old nest. As he sat with his head tipped back, staring up at it, it struck him that that nest didn't look so old, after all. In fact, it looked as if it had recently been fixed up quite like new. He was wondering about this and trying to guess what it meant, when Blacky himself alighted close to the edge of it.
There was something in his bill, though what it was Peter couldn't see. Almost at once a black head appeared above the edge of the nest and a black bill seized the thing which Blacky had brought. Then the head disappeared and Blacky silently flew away.
"As sure as I live," thought Peter, "that was Mrs. Blacky, and Blacky brought her some food so that she would not have to leave those eggs she must have up there. He may be the black-hearted robber every one says he is, but he certainly is a good husband. He's a better husband  than some others I know, of whom nothing but good is said. It just goes to show that there is some good in the very worst folks. Blacky is a sly old rascal. Usually he is as noisy as any one I know, but he came and went without making a sound. Now I think of it, I haven't once heard his voice near here this spring. I guess if Farmer Brown's boy could find this nest he would get even with Blacky for pulling up his corn. I know a lot of clever people, but no one quite so clever as Blacky the Crow. With all his badness I can't help liking him."
Twice, while Peter watched, Blacky returned with food for Mrs. Blacky. Then, tired of keeping still so long, Peter decided to run over to a certain place farther in the Green Forest which was seldom visited by any one. It was a place Peter usually kept away from. It was pure curiosity which led him to go there now. The discovery that Blacky the Crow was using his old nest had reminded Peter that Redtail the Hawk uses his old nest year after year, and he wanted to find out if Redtail had come back to it this year.
Halfway over to that lonesome place in the Green Forest a trim little bird flew up from the ground, hopped from branch to branch of a tree, walked along a limb, then from pure happiness  threw back his head and cried, "Teacher, teacher, teacher, teacher, teacher!" each time a little louder than before. It was Teacher the Oven Bird.
In his delight at seeing this old friend, Peter quite forgot Redtail the Hawk. "Oh, Teacher!" cried Peter. "I'm so glad to see you again!"
Teacher stopped singing and looked down at Peter. "If you are so glad why haven't you been over to see me before?" he demanded. "I've been here for some time."
Peter looked a little foolish. "The truth is, Teacher," said he very humbly, "I have been visiting the Old Orchard so much and learning so many things that this is the first chance I have had to come 'way over here in the Green Forest. You see, I have been learning a lot of things about you feathered folks, things I hadn't even guessed. There is something I wish you'd tell me, Teacher; will you?"
"That depends on what it is," replied Teacher, eyeing Peter a little suspiciously.
"It is why you are called Oven Bird," said Peter.
"Is that all?" asked Teacher. Then without waiting for a reply he added, "It is because of the way Mrs. Teacher and I build our nest. Some people think it is like an oven and so they call us Oven Birds. I think that is a silly name  myself, quite as silly as Golden Crowned Thrush, which is what some people call me. I'm not a Thrush. I'm not even related to the Thrush family. I'm a Warbler, a Wood Warbler."
"I suppose," said Peter, looking at Teacher thoughtfully, "they've given you that name because you are dressed something like the Thrushes. That olive-green coat, and white waistcoat all streaked and spotted with black, certainly does remind me of the Thrush family. If you were not so much smaller than any of the Thrushes I should almost think you were one myself. Why, you are not very much bigger than Chippy the Chipping Sparrow, only you've got longer legs. I suppose that's because you spend so much time on the ground. I think that just Teacher is the best name for you. No one who has once heard you could ever mistake you for any one else. By the way, Teacher, where did you say your nest is?"
"I didn't say," retorted Teacher. "What's more, I'm not going to say."
"Won't you at least tell me if it is in a tree?" begged Peter.
Teacher's eyes twinkled. "I guess it won't do any harm to tell you that much," said he. "No, it isn't in a tree. It is on the ground and, if I do say it, it is as well hidden a nest as anybody  can build. Oh, Peter, watch your step! Watch your step!" Teacher fairly shrieked this warning.
Peter, who had just started to hop off to his right, stopped short in sheer astonishment. Just in front of him was a tiny mound of dead leaves, and a few feet beyond Mrs. Teacher was fluttering about on the ground as if badly hurt. Peter simply didn't know what to make of it. Once more he made a movement as if to hop. Teacher flew right down in front of him. "You'll step on my nest!" he cried.
Peter stared, for he didn't see any nest. He said as much.
"It's under that little mound of leaves right in front of your feet!" cried Teacher. "I wasn't going to tell you, but I just had to or you certainly would have stepped on it."
Very carefully Peter walked around the little bunch of leaves and peered under them from the other side. There, sure enough, was a nest beneath them, and in it four speckled eggs. "I won't tell a soul, Teacher. I promise you I won't tell a soul," declared Peter very earnestly. "I understand now why you are called Oven Bird, but I still like the name Teacher best."
Feeling that Mr. and Mrs. Teacher would feel easier in their minds if he left them, Peter said good-by and started on for the lonesome place in  the Green Forest where he knew the old nest of Redtail the Hawk had been. As he drew near the place he kept sharp watch through the treetops for a glimpse of Redtail. Presently he saw him high in the blue sky, sailing lazily in big circles. Then Peter became very, very cautious. He tiptoed forward, keeping under cover as much as possible. At last, peeping out from beneath a little hemlock-tree, he could see Redtail's old nest. He saw right away that it was bigger than it had been when he saw it last. Suddenly there was a chorus of hungry cries and Peter saw Mrs. Redtail approaching with a Mouse in her claws. From where he sat he could see four funny heads stretched above the edge of the nest.
"Redtail is using his old nest again and has got a family already," exclaimed Peter. "I guess this is no place for me. The sooner I get away from here the better."
Just then Redtail himself dropped down out of the blue, blue sky and alighted on a tree close at hand. Peter decided that the best thing he could do was to sit perfectly still where he was. He had a splendid view of Redtail, and he couldn't help but admire this big member of the Hawk family. The upper parts of his coat were a dark grayish-brown mixed with touches of chestnut color. The upper part of his breast was streaked  with grayish-brown and buff, the lower part having but few streaks. Below this were black spots and bars ending in white. But it was the tail which Peter noticed most of all. It was a rich reddish-brown with a narrow black band near its end and a white tip. Peter understood at once why this big Hawk is called Redtail.
REDTAIL THE HAWK
This is one of our largest hawks and may be recognized by the chestnut red of his tail.
It was not until Mr. and Mrs. Redtail had gone in quest of more food for their hungry youngsters that Peter dared steal away. As soon as he felt it safe to do so, he headed for home as fast as he could go, lipperty-lipperty-lip. He knew that he wouldn't feel safe until that lonesome place in the Green Forest was far behind.
Yet if the truth be known, Peter had less cause to worry than would have been the case had it been some other member of the Hawk family instead of Redtail. And while Redtail and his wife do sometimes catch some of their feathered and furred neighbors, and once in a while a chicken, they do vastly more good than harm.
The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!
WEEK 33 |
GREAT men of one kind are known only in new countries like ours. These men discover new regions. They know how to manage the Indians. They show other people how to live in a wild country.
One of the most famous of such men was Kit Carson. He knew all about the wild animals. He was a great hunter. He learned the languages of the Indians. The Indians liked him. He was a great guide. He showed soldiers and settlers how to travel where they wished to go.
Once he was marching through the wild country with other men. Evening came. He left the others, and went to shoot something to eat. It was the only way to get meat for supper.
 When he had gone about a mile, he saw the tracks of some elks. He followed these tracks. He came in sight of the elks. They were eating grass on a hill, as cows do.
Kit Carson crept up behind some bushes. But elks are very timid animals. Before the hunter got very near, they began to run away. So Carson fired at one of them as it was running. The elk fell dead.
But just at that moment he heard a roar. He turned to see what made this ugly noise. Two huge bears were running toward him. They wanted some meat for supper, too.
Kit Carson's gun was empty. He threw it down. Then he ran as fast as he could. He wanted to find a tree.
Just as the bears were about to seize him, he got to a tree. He caught hold of a limb. He swung himself up into the tree. The bears just missed getting him.
But bears know how to climb trees. Carson knew that they would soon be after him. He pulled out his knife, and began to cut off a limb. He wanted to make a club.
A bear is much larger and stronger than a man. He cannot be killed with a club. But every bear has one tender spot. It is his nose. He does  not like to be hit on the nose. A sharp blow on the nose hurts him a great deal.
Kit Carson got his club cut just in time. The bears were coming after him. Kit got up into the very top of the tree. He drew up his feet, and made himself as small as he could.
When the bears came near, one of them reached for Kit. Whack! went the stick on the end of his nose. The bear drew back, and whined with pain.
First one bear tried to get him, and then the other. But whichever one tried, Kit was ready. The bear was sure to get his nose hurt.
The bears grew tired, and rested awhile. But they kept up their screeching and roaring. When their noses felt better, they tried again. And then they tried again. But every time they came away with sore noses.
 At last they both tried at once. But Carson pounded faster than ever. One of the bears cried like a baby. The tears ran out of his eyes. It hurt his feelings to have his nose treated in this rude way.
After a long time one of the bears got tired. He went away. After awhile the other went away too. Kit Carson staid in the tree a long time. Then he came down. The first thing he did was to get his gun. He loaded it. But the bears did not come back. They were too busy rubbing noses.
O NCE upon a time, many, many wild Goats lived in a cave in the side of a hill. A Wolf lived with his mate not far from this cave. Like all Wolves they liked the taste of Goat-meat. So they caught the Goats, one after another, and ate them all but one who was wiser than all the others. Try as they might, the Wolves could not catch her.
One day the Wolf said to his mate: "My dear, let us play a trick on that wise Goat. I will lie down here pretending to be dead. You go alone to the cave where the Goat lives, and looking very sad, say to her: 'My dear, do you see my mate lying there dead? I am so sad; I have no friends. Will you be good to me? Will you come and help me bury the body of my mate?' The Goat will be sorry for you and I think she will come here with you. When she stands beside me I will spring upon her and bite her in the neck.  Then she will fall over dead, and we shall have good meat to eat."
The Wolf then lay down, and his mate went to the Goat, saying what she had been told to say.
But the wise Goat said: "My dear, all my family and friends have been eaten by your mate. I am afraid to go one step with you. I am far safer here than I would be there."
"Do not be afraid," said the Wolf. "What harm can a dead Wolf do to you?"
These and many more words the Wolf said to the Goat, so that at last the Goat said she would go with the Wolf.
But as they went up the hill side by side, the Goat said to herself: "Who knows what will happen? How do I know the Wolf is dead?" She said to the Wolf, "I think it will be better if you go on in front of me."
The Wolf thought he heard them coming. He was hungry and he raised up his head to see if he could see them. The Goat saw him raise his head, and she turned and ran back to her cave.
"Why did you raise your head when you were pretending to be dead?" the Wolf asked her mate. He had no good answer.
By and by the Wolves were both so very hungry that the  Wolf asked his mate to try once more to catch the Goat.
This time the Wolf went to the Goat and said: "My friend, your coming helped us, for as soon as you came, my mate felt better. He is now very much better. Come and talk to him. Let us be friends and have a good time together."
 The wise Goat thought: "These wicked Wolves want to play another trick on me. But I have thought of a trick to play on them." So the Goat said: "I will go to see your mate, and I will take my friends with me. You go back and get ready for us. Let us all have a good time together."
Then the Wolf was afraid, and she asked: "Who are the friends who will come with you? Tell me their names."
The wise Goat said: "I will bring the two Hounds, Old Gray and Young Tan, and that fine big dog called Four-Eyes. And I will ask each of them to bring his mate."
The Wolf waited to hear no more. She turned, and away she ran back to her mate. The Goat never saw either of them again.
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.
How skilfully she builds her cell;
How neat she spreads her wax,
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labor or of skill
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed;
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.