Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 35  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

The Green Mountain Boys

BETWEEN Lake George and Lake Champlain, there once stood a famous old fort, known as Fort Ticonderoga. At the beginning of the Revolution, [155] it was feebly garrisoned by English troops, but was well supplied with arms and ammunition. The Patriots needed these arms and ammunition, so as to carry on the war which had just begun at Lexington. We shall see how the fort was captured.

As soon as the mountaineers of Vermont heard of the battle of Lexington, they dropped their axes and plows, and, seizing their rifles, banded together for a march on Ticonderoga. Ethan Allen, a rugged and brave mountaineer, was their leader. In order to meet the expenses of the expedition, funds, amounting to fifteen hundred dollars, were collected from the people of Connecticut.

As the expedition advanced, one of the Connecticut agents, named Noah Phelps, went on ahead to find out the condition of the fort. Disguising himself as a countryman, he entered the stronghold on the pretense that he wished to be shaved. Hunting for the barber, he kept his eyes and ears open, asking questions like an innocent farmer, until he found out all about the garrison and its equipment.

When Allen and the Green Mountain Boys neared their goal, they were joined by another force under the command of Benedict Arnold, who was then a brave officer in the American army, [156] though he afterwards proved himself a traitor. The two parties approached the fort, one moving at daybreak, a farmer's boy, who lived near, acting as their guide.

The stockade around the fort was reached. The gate was open, since the English Commander suspected no danger. The sentry tried to fire his gun, but it failed to go off; whereupon he ran inside and gave the alarm. The attacking party was close upon his heels. Before any of the garrison could be awakened from their sleep, Allen and his men had taken possession, and resistance was useless. The capture was made by surprise and without bloodshed.

Allen compelled one of the sentries to show him the way to the quarters of the Commander, Captain Delaplace. Reaching his room, Allen called upon him in loud tones to surrender. The Commander sprang from bed, surprised and alarmed at the unusual demand.

"By whose authority?" he asked, in his half-awake condition.

"In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress," replied Allen, in a loud voice.

Delaplace made no reply, but hastily dressed to see what the madman from the mountains meant. [157] He soon discovered. Outside he heard the shouts of the Patriots, and saw the movement of men taking possession of the stores. When he came from his quarters he realized that the fort had been occupied by a force superior to his, and that it was surrendered without a shot being fired or a blow exchanged.

The captured stores consisted of a large number of cannon and ammunition, besides small arms much needed by the Patriots in the great war which was to last for some years.

 



Thornton Burgess

A Fishing Party

[151] PETER RABBIT sat on the edge of the Old Briar-patch trying to make up his mind whether to stay at home, which was the wise and proper thing to do, or to go call on some of the friends he had not yet visited. A sharp, harsh rattle caused him to look up to see a bird about a third larger than Welcome Robin, and with a head out of all proportion to the size of his body. He was flying straight towards the Smiling Pool, rattling harshly as he flew. The mere sound of his voice settled the matter for Peter. "It's Rattles the Kingfisher," he cried. "I think I'll run over to the Smiling Pool and pay him my respects."

So Peter started for the Smiling Pool as fast as his long legs could take him, lipperty-lipperty-lip. He had lost sight of Rattles the Kingfisher, and when he reached the bank of the Smiling Pool he was in doubt which way to turn. It was very early in the morning and there was not so much as a ripple on the surface of the Smiling Pool. As Peter sat there trying to make up his [152] mind which way to go, he saw coming from the direction of the Big River a great, broad-winged bird, flying slowly. He seemed to have no neck at all, but carried straight out behind him were two long legs.

"Longlegs the Great Blue Heron! I wonder if he is coming here," exclaimed Peter. "I do hope so."

Peter stayed right where he was and waited. Nearer and nearer came Longlegs. When he was right opposite Peter he suddenly dropped his long legs, folded his great wings, and alighted right on the edge of the Smiling Pool across from where Peter was sitting. If he seemed to have no neck at all when he was flying, now he seemed to be all neck as he stretched it to its full length. The fact is, his neck was so long that when he was flying he carried it folded back on his shoulders. Never before had Peter had such an opportunity to see Longlegs.

He stood quite four feet high. The top of his head and throat were white. From the base of his great bill and over his eye was a black stripe which ended in two long, slender, black feathers hanging from the back of his head. His bill was longer than his head, stout and sharp like a spear and yellow in color. His long neck was a light brownish-gray. His back and wings were of a [153] bluish color. The bend of each wing and the feathered parts of his legs were a rusty-red. The remainder of his legs and his feet were black. Hanging down over his breast were beautiful long pearly-gray feathers quite unlike any Peter had seen on any of his other feathered friends. In spite of the length of his legs and the length of his neck he was both graceful and handsome.

"I wonder what has brought him over to the Smiling Pool," thought Peter.

He didn't have to wait long to find out. After standing perfectly still with his neck stretched to its full height until he was sure that no danger was near, Longlegs waded into the water a few steps, folded his neck back on his shoulders until his long bill seemed to rest on his breast, and then remained as motionless as if there were no life in him. Peter also sat perfectly still. By and by he began to wonder if Longlegs had gone to sleep. His own patience was reaching an end and he was just about to go on in search of Rattles the Kingfisher when like a flash the dagger-like bill of Longlegs shot out and down into the water. When he withdrew it Peter saw that Longlegs had caught a little fish which he at once proceeded to swallow head-first. Peter almost laughed right out as he watched the funny efforts of Longlegs to gulp that fish down his long throat. Then [154] Longlegs resumed his old position as motionless as before.


[Illustration]

RATTLES THE KINGFISHER

His voice sounds like a watchman's rattle.



TEETER THE SPOTTED SANDPIPER

You can tell him by the way he bobs or teeters.



LONGLEGS THE GREAT BLUE HERON

He stands nearly four feet high.

It was no trouble now for Peter to sit still, for he was too interested in watching this lone fisherman to think of leaving. It wasn't long before Longlegs made another catch and this time it was a fat Pollywog. Peter thought of how he had watched Plunger the Osprey fishing in the Big River and the difference in the ways of the two fishermen.

"Plunger hunts for his fish while Longlegs waits for his fish to come to him," thought Peter. "I wonder if Longlegs never goes hunting."

As if in answer to Peter's thought Longlegs seemed to conclude that no more fish were coming his way. He stretched himself up to his full height, looked sharply this way and that way to make sure that all was safe, then began to walk along the edge of the Smiling Pool. He put each foot down slowly and carefully so as to make no noise. He had gone but a few steps when that great bill darted down like a flash, and Peter saw that he had caught a careless young Frog. A few steps farther on he caught another Pollywog. Then coming to a spot that suited him, he once more waded in and began to watch for fish.

Peter was suddenly reminded of Rattles the Kingfisher, whom he had quite forgotten. From [155] the Big Hickory-tree on the bank, Rattles flew out over the Smiling Pool, hovered for an instant, then plunged down head-first. There was a splash, and a second later Rattles was in the air again, shaking the water from him in a silver spray. In his long, stout, black bill was a little fish. He flew back to a branch of the Big Hickory-tree that hung out over the water and thumped the fish against the branch until it was dead. Then he turned it about so he could swallow it head-first. It was a big fish for the size of the fisherman and he had a dreadful time getting it down. But at last it was down, and Rattles set himself to watch for another. The sun shone full on him, and Peter gave a little gasp of surprise.

"I never knew before how handsome Rattles is," thought Peter. He was about the size of Yellow Wing the Flicker, but his head made him look bigger than he really was. You see, the feathers on top of his head stood up in a crest, as if they had been brushed the wrong way. His head, back, wings and tail were a bluish-gray. His throat was white and he wore a white collar. In front of each eye was a little white spot. Across his breast was a belt of bluish-gray, and underneath he was white. There were tiny spots of white on his wings, and his tail was spotted with white. His bill was black and, like that of Long- [156] legs, was long, and stout, and sharp. It looked almost too big for his size.

Presently Rattles flew out and plunged into the Smiling Pool again, this time, very near to where Longlegs was patiently waiting. He caught a fish, for it is not often that Rattles misses. It was smaller than the first one Peter had seen him catch, and this time as soon as he got back to the Big Hickory-tree, he swallowed it without thumping it against the branch. As for Longlegs, he looked thoroughly put out. For a moment or two he stood glaring angrily up at Rattles. You see, when Rattles had plunged so close to Longlegs he had frightened all the fish. Finally Longlegs seemed to make up his mind that there was room for but one fisherman at a time at the Smiling Pool. Spreading his great wings, folding his long neck back on his shoulders, and dragging his long legs out behind him, he flew heavily away in the direction of the Big River.

Rattles remained long enough to catch another little fish, and then with a harsh rattle flew off down the Laughing Brook. "I would know him anywhere by that rattle," thought Peter. "There isn't any one who can make a noise anything like it. I wonder where he has gone to now. He must have a nest, but I haven't the least idea what kind of a nest he builds. Hello! There's [157] Grandfather Frog over on his green lily pad. Perhaps he can tell me."

So Peter hopped along until he was near enough to talk to Grandfather Frog. "What kind of a nest does Rattles the Kingfisher build?" repeated Grandfather Frog. "Chug-arum, Peter Rabbit! I thought everybody knew that Rattles doesn't build a nest. At least I wouldn't call it a nest. He lives in a hole in the ground."

"What!" cried Peter, and looked as if he couldn't believe his own ears.

Grandfather Frog grinned and his goggly eyes twinkled. "Yes," said he, "Rattles lives in a hole in the ground."

"But—but—but what kind of a hole?" stammered Peter.

"Just plain hole," retorted Grandfather Frog, grinning more broadly than ever. Then seeing how perplexed and puzzled Peter looked, he went on to explain. "He usually picks out a high gravelly bank close to the water and digs a hole straight in just a little way from the top. He makes it just big enough for himself and Mrs. Rattles to go in and out of comfortably, and he digs it straight in for several feet. I'm told that at the end of it he makes a sort of bedroom, because he usually has a good-sized family."

[158] "Do you mean to say that he digs it himself?" asked Peter.

Grandfather Frog nodded. "If he doesn't, Mrs. Kingfisher does," he replied. "Those big bills of theirs are picks as well as fish spears. They loosen the sand with those and scoop it out with their feet. I've never seen the inside of their home myself, but I'm told that their bedroom is lined with fish bones. Perhaps you may call that a nest, but I don't."

"I'm going straight down the Laughing Brook to look for that hole," declared Peter, and left in such a hurry that he forgot to be polite enough to say thank you to Grandfather Frog.

 



Anonymous

Gaelic Lullaby

Hush! the waves are rolling in,

White with foam, white with foam;

Father toils amid the din;

But baby sleeps at home.


Hush! the winds roar hoarse and deep,—

On they come, on they come!

Brother seeks the wandering sheep;

But baby sleeps at home.


Hush! the rain sweeps o'er the knowes,

Where they roam, where they roam;

Sister goes to seek the cows;

But baby sleeps at home.

 


  WEEK 35  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Francis of Assisi

Part 1 of 2

[128] IN the sunny land of Italy, high upon hills covered with olive-trees, nestles the little town of Assisi. Such a strange little town it is, with its tall city walls and great gateways, its narrow, steep streets, and houses with wide, overhanging eaves. The road that leads up from the plain below is so steep, as it winds upwards among the silver olive-trees, that even the big white oxen find it a toil to drag the carts up to the city gates, and the people think it quite a journey to go down to the level land below.

Now, it was in this same little hill-town, many years ago, that Saint Francis was born.

They did not know that he was going to be a great saint—this little, dark-eyed Italian baby, who came to gladden his mother's heart one autumn day in the long ago year of 1182, when his father, Pietro Bernardone, was away in France. He seemed just like any other baby, and only his mother, perhaps, thought him the most wonderful baby that ever was born. (But mothers always think that, even if their babies do not grow up to be real saints.) She called him Giovanni at first, but when his father came home he named the little son Francesco, which means "the Frenchman," because he was so pleased with all the money he had made in France. So [129] the child from that day was always called Francesco, which is his real Italian name, although we in England call him Francis.

Soon he grew into a happy, daring boy, the leader in all the games and every kind of fun. He was the pride of his father and mother, and the favourite of the whole town; for although he was never out of mischief, he never did a cruel or unkind thing, and was ever ready to give away all he had to those who needed help.

And when he grew older he was still the gayest of all the young men of Assisi, and wore the costliest and most beautiful clothes, for his father had a great deal of money and grudged him nothing.

Then came a sad day when Francis fell sick, and for a while they feared that he must die. But, although he grew slowly better, he was never quite the same Francis again. He did not care about his gay companions, or the old happy life. There was real work to be done in the world, he was sure. Perhaps some special work was waiting for his hand, and with wistful eyes he was ever looking for a sign that would show him what that work was to be.

Walking one day along the winding road, dreaming dreams as he gazed far across the misty plains, catching glimpses of far-away blue mountains through the silver screen of the olive-trees, he was stopped by a poor old beggar, who asked him for the love of God to help him.

Francis started from his day-dreams, and recognised the man as an old soldier who had fought for his country with courage and honour.

[130] Without stopping to think for a moment, Francis took off his gay cloak and tenderly wrapped it round the shoulders of the shivering old man.

He never thought that any reward would be given him for his kind action, but that very night Christ came to him in a glorious vision, and, leading him by the hand, showed him a great palace full of shining weapons and flags of victory, each one marked with the sign of the cross. Then, as Francis stood gazing at these wonderful things, he heard the voice of Christ telling him that these were the rewards laid up for those who should be Christ's faithful soldiers, fighting manfully under His banner.

With a great joy in his heart Francis awoke, and hurriedly left home to join the army, thinking only of earthly service, and longing to win the heavenly reward.

But in the quiet night he heard again the voice of Christ telling him that the service he was seeking was not what Christ required of his soldiers.

Troubled and sad, Francis went back to Assisi and, when he was once more inside the city walls, turned aside to pray in the little ruined church of Saint Damiano. And as he prayed once more he heard the voice speaking to him, and saying, "Francis, repair my church."

Now, Francis thought this meant that he was to build up the ruined walls of the little church in which he prayed. He did not understand that the command was that he should teach the people, who make up Christ's Church on earth, to be pure and good and strong.

[131] Francis was only too glad to find that here at last was some real work to be done, and never stopping to think if he was doing right, he went joyfully home and took some of the richest stuffs which his father had for sale. These he carried off to the market, and sold them for quite a large sum of money. Then, returning to the little church, he gave the money to the old priest, telling him to rebuild the walls and to make the whole place beautiful.

But the priest refused to accept the money, for he was afraid that Francis had done wrong in taking the stuffs, and that his father would be angry.

This was a great disappointment to Francis, and made him think that perhaps he had been too hasty. He was afraid to go home and tell what he had done, so he hid himself for some days. But at last, tired and hungry, with his gay clothes stained with dust, he slowly walked back to his father's house.

And very angry, indeed, was Pietro Bernardone when he found out what his son had done. He did not mind giving Francis money for fine clothes or pleasures of any kind, and he had allowed him to be as extravagant as he liked. But to want money to build up an old church, or to spend in doing good, that was not to be thought of for a moment.

Out he came in a furious rage and drove Francis indoors, and there shut him up in a dark cellar, bound hand and foot, so that he could not escape.

But though his father was so angry, his mother could not bear to see her son suffer, whether he deserved it or not. So she stole down when no one was there, and, unlocking the cellar door, she spoke [132] gently to poor Francis, and listened to all his story. Then she took off his chains and set him free, telling him to go quickly before any one should see him.

Francis had no place to shelter in but the little ruined church, and no friend who would receive him but the poor old priest, so back he went to Saint Damiano, leaving parents and home and comforts behind him.

His father, of course, was terribly angry when he found that Francis had escaped, and he went at once to complain to the bishop, and demand that Francis should be punished and made to give back the money he had taken.

The bishop spoke kindly to Francis, who promised gladly to give back the money which had brought him so much trouble. And there, in the market-place, with all the people looking on, he took off his costly clothes, now all stained and worn, and standing pale and thin, wearing only a hair shirt, he gave clothes and money back to his angry father, saying—

"Listen, all of you. Until this time I have called Pietro Bernardone father, but from this moment I will say no more 'my father Pietro Bernardone,' but only 'my Father which art in Heaven.' "

Then the good bishop came quickly up and wrapped his mantle round the poor shivering lad, and gave him his blessing, bidding him henceforth be a true servant of God. A poor labourer gave Francis his rough brown tunic, and the people were moved with pity and would have helped him, for they thought he had been treated very harshly.

But Francis wandered away alone into the world, seeking to do all the things he had most disliked [133] doing, even at one time nursing the poor lepers, and begging his bread from door to door.

Soon, however, he made his way back to Assisi, and to the little ruined church; and began building up the walls with his own hands, carrying the stones on his shoulders, happy and contented to be doing work for God.

And the more he thought of his past life and the wasteful splendour in which he had lived, the more he came to see that to be poor for Christ's sake was best of all.

"If Christ chose to become poor for our sakes," thought he, "surely it is but right that we should choose to become poor for His dear sake."

It seemed to Francis that no one had really loved poverty since the days when our blessed Lord had lived amongst the poor on earth. And he began to think of poverty as a beautiful lady who had been despised and ill-treated all these long years, with no one to take her part or see any charm in her fair face.

For himself he made up his mind to love her with all his heart, to be as poor as his Master had been, and to possess nothing here on earth.

Even his coarse brown habit had been given to him in charity, and instead of a belt he tied round his waist a piece of rope which he found by the way-side. He wore no shoes nor stockings, but went barefoot, and had no covering for his head. And being so truly poor was the greatest joy to him. He thought the Lady Poverty was a fairer bride than any on earth, though her clothes were ragged and her pathway lined with thorns. For along that [134] thorny path she led him closer to his Master, and taught him to tread more nearly in His footsteps than most of His servants have ever trod.

One day when Francis was reading the gospel, Christ's call seemed to sound in his ears just as it did to Saint Matthew of old. He had often read the words before, but that day they had a new message for him: "As ye go, preach, saying the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, neither two coats, neither shoes nor yet staves."

Then he knew that Christ did not want him only to be good, but to teach others how to be good, and to look after Christ's poor and sick, always remaining poor and lowly himself. And as soon as he heard the call he rose up, left all, and followed his Master to his life's end.

Very soon other men joined Francis, eager to serve Christ as he did. They all dressed just as Francis dressed, and became quite as poor as he was. Their home was in the plain below Assisi, by the little chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, which had been given to the brothers. But it was not often that they were there all together, for Francis sent them out to preach to all the world just as the gospel commanded.

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

The Sheep and the Pig

[118]

Once there was a big fat sheep.

One morning the farm girl said,

"Eat, Sheep, for soon we shall eat you."


This scared the big sheep.

So he went to see the pig.

"Good-day, Pig," said the sheep,

"and thanks for our last merry meeting."


"Good-day, Sheep," said the pig,

"and the same to you."


"Do you know, Pig,

why they make you fat?"


"No, not I," said the pig.


"Then I will tell you," said the sheep.

"They are going to eat you."


[119]

This scared the pig.

"Let us go to the woods," he said.

"We can build a house to live in.

Then we shall have a home.

A home is a home, be it ever so lowly."


The pig said he would go,

so off they went.


[Illustration]

When they had gone a bit of the way

they met a goose.

"Good-day, good sirs," said the goose,

"and thanks for our last merry meeting."


[120]

"Good-day, Goose," said the pig.

"Good-day, Goose," said the sheep.

"Whither away so fast to-day?"

said the goose.


"We go to the woods to build us a house.

A man's house is his castle."


"May I go with you?" asked the goose.


"What can you do, Goose?" asked the sheep.


"I can get moss to make the house warm."

Yes, they would let him go.


When they had gone a bit of the way,

a hare ran out of the woods.

"Good-day, good sirs," said the hare,

"and thanks for our last merry meeting.

Whither away so fast to-day?"


"Good-day to you," said the sheep.

"We go to the woods to build us a house.

There is no place like home."


[Illustration]

[121]

"Oh!" said the hare,

"I have a house in every bush.

But I will go with you."


"What can you do?" said the pig.

"You can not build a house."


"Yes, I can," said the hare.

"I have teeth to gnaw pegs,

and I have paws to drive them.

I shall be the carpenter.

Good tools make good work."


[122]

So they all set off together.

Good company is such a joy.

When they had gone a bit of the way,

they met a cock.


"Good-day, good sirs," said the cock,

"and thanks for our last merry meeting.

Whither away so fast to-day?"


"Good-day, to you, Cock," said the sheep.

"We go to the woods to build us a house."


"What can you do, Cock?" asked the pig.


"Oh," said the cock,

"I will be the clock.

I will crow in the morning."

"Yes," said the pig,

"sleep is a great robber.

He steals half our lives.

We need you, Cock."


[Illustration]

[123]

So they set off to the woods

to build the house.

The pig cut the logs.

The sheep drew them home.

The hare put them together.

The goose picked moss

and made the house warm.

And the cock crowed every morning.

So they all lived happily together.


It is good to go east and west,

but after all home is best.


— Norse Folk Tale

 



Robert Louis Stevenson

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens

And all up the vale,

From the autumn bonfires

See the smoke trail!


Pleasant summer over

And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

The gray smoke towers.


Sing, a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!

 


  WEEK 35  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

Picciola

MANY years ago there was a poor gentleman shut up in one of the great prisons of France. His name was Charney, and he was very sad and unhappy. He had been put into prison wrongfully, and it seemed to him as though there was no one in the world who cared for him.

He could not read, for there were no books in the prison. He was not allowed to have pens or paper, and so he could not write. The time dragged slowly by. There was nothing that he could do to make the days seem shorter. His only pastime was walking back and forth in the paved prison yard. There was no work to be done, no one to talk with.

One fine morning in spring, Charney was taking his walk in the yard. He was counting the paving stones, as he had done a thousand times before. All at once he stopped. What had made that little mound of earth between two of the stones?

[163] He stooped down to see. A seed of some kind had fallen between the stones. It had sprouted; and now a tiny green leaf was pushing its way up out of the ground. Charney was about to crush it with his foot, when he saw that there was a kind of soft coating over the leaf.

"Ah!" said he. "This coating is to keep it safe. I must not harm it." And he went on with his walk.

The next day he almost stepped upon the plant before he thought of it. He stooped to look at it. There were two leaves now, and the plant was much stronger and greener than it was the day before. He staid by it a long time, looking at all its parts.

Every morning after that, Charney went at once to his little plant. He wanted to see if it had been chilled by the cold, or scorched by the sun. He wanted to see how much it had grown.

One day as he was looking from his window, he saw the jailer go across the yard. The man brushed so close to the little plant, that it seemed as though he would crush it. Charney trembled from head to foot.

"O my Picciola!" he cried.

When the jailer came to bring his food, he begged the grim fellow to spare his little plant. [164] He expected that the man would laugh at him; but although a jailer, he had a kind heart.

"Do you think that I would hurt your little plant?" he said. "No, indeed! It would have been dead long ago, if I had not seen that you thought so much of it."

"That is very good of you, indeed," said Charney. He felt half ashamed at having thought the jailer unkind.

Every day he watched Picciola, as he had named the plant. Every day it grew larger and more beautiful. But once it was almost broken by the huge feet of the jailer's dog. Charney's heart sank within him.

"Picciola must have a house," he said. "I will see if I can make one."

So, though the nights were chilly, he took, day by day, some part of the firewood that was allowed him, and with this he built a little house around the plant.

The plant had a thousand pretty ways which he noticed. He saw how it always bent a little toward the sun; he saw how the flowers folded their petals before a storm.

He had never thought of such things before, yet he had often seen whole gardens of flowers in bloorn.

[165] One day, with soot and water he made some ink; he spread out his handkerchief for paper; he used a sharpened stick for a pen—and all for what? He felt that he must write down the doings of his little pet. He spent all his time with the plant.

"See my lord and my lady!" the jailer would say when he saw them.

As the summer passed by, Picciola grew more lovely every day. There were no fewer than thirty blossoms on its stem.

But one sad morning it began to droop. Charney did not know what to do. He gave it water, but still it drooped. The leaves were withering. The stones of the prison yard would not let the plant live.

Charney knew that there was but one way to save his treasure. Alas! how could he hope that it might be done? The stones must be taken up at once.

But this was a thing which the jailer dared not do. The rules of the prison were strict, and no stone must be moved. Only the highest officers in the land could have such a thing done.

Poor Charney could not sleep. Picciola must die. Already the flowers had withered; the leaves would soon fall from the stem.

Then a new thought came to Charney. He [166] would ask the great Napoleon, the emperor himself, to save his plant.

It was a hard thing for Charney to do,—to ask a favor of the man whom he hated, the man who had shut him up in this very prison. But for the sake of Picciola he would do it.

He wrote his little story on his handkerchief. Then he gave it into the care of a young girl, who promised to carry it to Napoleon. Ah! if the poor plant would only live a few days longer!

What a long journey that was for the young girl! What a long, dreary waiting it was for Charney and Picciola!

But at last news came to the prison. The stones were to be taken up. Picciola was saved!

The emperor's kind wife had heard the story of Charney's care for the plant. She saw the handkerchief on which he had written of its pretty ways.

"Surely," she said, "it can do us no good to keep such a man in prison."

And so, at last, Charney was set free. Of course he was no longer sad and unloving. He saw how God had cared for him and the little plant, and how kind and true are the hearts of even rough men. And he cherished Picciola as a dear, loved friend whom he could never forget.

 



Lucy Fitch Perkins

Going to School


[Illustration]

[149] ONE morning Taro and Take heard their Father and Mother talking together. They thought the Twins were asleep, but they weren't. The Mother said, "Honored Husband, don't you think it is time Taro and Take went to school?"

"Yes, indeed," the Father said; "they have many things to learn, and they should begin at once. Have you spoken to the teacher yet?"

"I saw him yesterday," the Mother answered. "He said they might enter to-day. I have everything ready."

Taro and Take looked at each other.

"Do you suppose we shall like it?" Take whispered.

"I don't know," Taro whispered back. "I've liked everything so far, and I think [150] going to school must be some fun, too. But of course, if I don't like it, I shall not say a word. A son of the Samurai should never complain, no matter how hard his lot."

"No, of course not," Take answered.

Before they were dressed, the Mother came into their room. "The bath-tub is ready, Taro," she said. "Hop in and get your bath early to-day, for you and Take are to begin school."

The Twins had a hot bath every day, but they usually took it before going to bed. The bath-tub was in a little room by itself. It was shaped a little like a barrel, and it had a stove set right in the side of it to heat the water. Taro went to the bathroom and climbed over the edge of the tub. It was hard to get up because the tub was high. He dropped into the water with a great splash. Take and her Mother heard the splash.

Then they heard something else. They heard screams! "Ow-ow-ow!" shrieked [151] Taro. "Take me out! take me out! I'm boiled!"


[Illustration]

The Mother and Take ran as fast as they could to the tub. Taro's head just showed over the edge. His mouth was open, the tears were streaming down his cheeks, and the air was full of "ows." His Mother reached her arm down into the water.

"It isn't so very hot, Taro," she said; "I can bear my hand in it."

"Ow—ow!" said Taro. He didn't even say, "Ow! ow! Honorable Mother!" as [152] one might have thought such a very polite boy would do.

And he tried to get both feet off the bottom of the tub at the same time!

The Mother put some cold water into the tub. Taro stopped screaming.

"Oh, Taro," Take called to him, "you aren't really and truly boiled, are you?"

"Almost," sniffed Taro; " I'm as red as a red dragon. I think my skin will come off."

"I know you are dreadfully hurt, poor Taro," Take said, "because a son of the Samurai never complains, no matter how hard his lot."

The water was cooler now. Taro's head disappeared below the edge of the tub. He splashed a minute, then he said:—

"I guess a real truly Samurai would scream a little if he were boiled." His words made a big round sound coming out of the tub.

Pretty soon it was Take's turn. She climbed into the tub. She splashed, too, but [153] she didn't scream. Then she stuck her head over the edge of the tub.

"I'm boiled, too," she called to Taro, "but I'm not going to cry."

"Then the water isn't hot," was all Taro said.

When they had finished their baths, they were dressed in clean kimonos. Then they had their breakfast and at seven o'clock they were all ready for school.

[154] Their Mother gave them each a paper umbrella in case of rain. She hung a little brocaded bag, with a jar of rice inside it, on the left arm of each Twin. This was for their luncheon. Then she gave them each a brand- new copy-book and a brand-new soroban. A soroban is a counting-machine.


[Illustration]

It is a frame with wires stretched across it and beads hung on the wires. The Twins felt very proud to have sorobans and copy- books.

"Now trot along," the Mother said.

The Twins knew the way. They marched down the street, feeling more grown up than they ever had felt in all their lives. Their Mother watched them from the garden-gate.

When they turned the corner and were out of sight, she went back into the house. She picked up Bot'Chan and hugged him. "Don't grow up yet, dear Sir Baby Boy," she said.

Taro and Take met other little boys and girls, all going to school, too. They all had [155] umbrellas and copy-books and sorobans.

The children got to the school-house before the teacher.

They waited until they heard the clumpty-clump of his wooden clogs. Then all the children stood together in a row. Taro and Take were at the end. The moment the teacher came in, the children bowed very low.


[Illustration]

"Ohayo," they called. "Please make [156] your honorable entrance." They drew in their breath with a hissing sound. In Japan this is a polite thing to do. The teacher bowed to the children. Then each child ran to his little cushion on the floor and sat down on it. Taro and Take did not know where to go, because they had not been to school before.

The teacher gave them each a cushion. Then he placed beside each of them a cunning little set of drawers, like a doll's bureau. In the little bureau were India ink and brushes. The teacher sat down on his cushion before the school.

He told the children where to open their books. Taro and Take couldn't even find the place, but O Kiku San, who sat next, found it for them.

The teacher gave Taro and Take each a little stick. "Now I will tell you the names of these letters," he said, "and when I call the name of each one, you can point to it with the little stick. That will help you to remember it."

[157] He began to read. Taro and Take punched each letter as he called it. They tried so hard to remember that they punched a hole right through the paper! But you might have punched something, too, if you had thousands of letters to learn! That's what Taro and Take have to do, while you have only twenty-six letters. They were glad when the teacher said, "Now we will learn how to count."

Taro and Take took out their new sorobans. The teacher showed them how to count the beads. They thought it as much fun as a game.

Then they tried to make some letters in their copy-books with a brush. That's the way they write in Japan.

Taro's and Take's letters were very big and queer-looking, and the paper got so wet that the teacher said, "Children, you may all carry your copy-books outdoors and hang them up to dry, and you may eat your rice out of doors."


[Illustration]

The children took their copy-books and [158] their bags of rice and ran out. The Twins found a nice shady place to eat their luncheon.

O Kiku San ate her rice with Taro and Take. They had a real picnic.

At half-past three all their lessons were finished, and the Twins ran home. Their Mother was waiting for them on the porch, with Bot'Chan in her arms.

"See what we made for you!" the Twins cried. They gave her the letters they had made that morning.

[159] "You have made them beautifully, for the first time," she said.


[Illustration]

She put the blistered papers with the staggery letters away in the cupboard to keep. "I will show them to Father when he comes home," she said.


[Illustration]

 



Christina Georgina Rossetti

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you;

But when the leaves hang trembling

The wind is passing through.


Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I.

But when the trees bow down their heads

The wind is passing by.

 


  WEEK 35  

  Thursday  


H. E. Marshall

Robin Hood and King Richard

"King Richard hearing of the pranks

Of Robin Hood and his men,

He much admired, and more desired

To see both him and them."

[97] When Richard Cœur de Lion came back from the Holy Land, he found England in a sad state. Prince John had ruled very badly and had done many cruel and unjust acts. He had made the people very unhappy, so they rejoiced greatly when the King returned.

He set to work at once to try to put things right again. After he had been in London a short time, he decided to go to Nottingham to find out for himself the truth about Robin Hood.

With a dozen of his lords he rode to Nottingham. He went to the castle, where he stayed for some weeks, during which [98] time the town was very gay. There were balls and parties and all sorts of entertainments in honour of the King.

He often used to hunt in Sherwood Forest, or even wander about there by himself. But never once did he meet Robin Hood. And Robin Hood was the very person he wanted to meet most.

Other people used still to come into Nottingham with tales of having met Robin. He still stopped all the abbots and priors and haughty knights, and made them pay toll for passing through the forest. But try how he might, King Richard never met him.

Yet Robin often saw the King, and was quite near him many times. But whenever Richard came into the forest, Robin and his men used to hide. They thought that he would probably be very angry with them for killing his deer, and for taking so much money from the haughty Norman nobles and priests. So they kept out of the way.

And because they honoured and loved the King himself, they would never have dreamed of stopping him, and of taking money away [99] from him. Indeed Robin gave orders to his men to follow the King, if he should go to any dangerous part of the wood, so that they might protect him, and fight for him if need be. For there were many other robbers in Sherwood who were wicked men, and not just and noble like Robin.

One day the King was complaining that he had never been able to see Robin. The Bishop of Hereford heard him, and said, "If you were but a Bishop, your Majesty, or even a plain monk, you might meet with him oftener than you cared for."

The King laughed and said nothing, but the next day he and his twelve nobles disguised themselves as monks, and rode out into the forest.

They had not gone very far before they met Robin, at the head of his men, ready to attack any rich knight or abbot who might pass that way.

As the King was very fine looking, and much taller than his nobles, Robin thought he must be an abbot at least. He was very glad to see him, as abbots always had a [100] great deal of money, and just then Robin wanted some very much.

"He took the King's horse by the head:

Abbot, says he, abide;

I'm bound to rue such knaves as you,

That live in pomp and pride."

"But we are messengers from the King," said the King himself. "His Majesty sent us to say he would like to see you. As a sign he sends you this ring."

He held out his hand and Robin saw that he wore the King's ring.

In those days people used very seldom to write letters. When the King wished to send a message to any one he called a friend or servant, told him the message, and gave him a ring. This ring the messenger had to show as a sign that he really had come from the King. Then the person to whom the message was sent knew that he was not being deceived.

These rings were called signet rings, because a certain sign was carved upon them, which only the King might use.

[101] Every one knew the King of England's ring. As soon as Robin saw it he knew that this must indeed be a messenger from Richard.

"God bless the King," said he, taking off his hat. "God bless all those who love him. Cursed be all those who hate him, and rebel against him."

"Then you curse yourself," said the King, "for you are a traitor."

"I am not a traitor," replied Robin, "and if you were not the King's messenger you should pay dearly for that lie.

"For I never yet hurt any man,

That honest is and true;

But those who give their minds to live

Upon other men's due.


I never hurt the husbandmen,

That use to till the ground;

Nor spill their blood that range the wood,

To follow hawk or hound.

"I fight most against monks and abbots, and take as much money as I can from them, [102] because they steal it from poor people. They ought to live good lives, and show others a good example. But they do not. They live wicked lives, therefore they ought to be punished. If they had ruled England well, while King Richard was away, we should not have to live in the woods as we do. But come," added Robin, smiling again, "you are the King's messengers and therefore are welcome to all we have. You must come and have dinner with us now. We will make you as comfortable as we can."

The Knight and all his nobles wondered very much what kind of dinner they would get. They would much rather have gone back to Nottingham, for they thought it would be a very poor sort of dinner that Robin would be able to give them. But the King wanted to see more of Robin, so he thanked him and said they would be very pleased to come.

Robin again took hold of the King's horse and led him to the place where he and his men generally had meals.

"If you were not the King's messengers,"  [103] he said with a laugh and a merry twinkle in his eye, "I fear we would not treat you quite so kindly. But as it is, if you had as much gold with you as ever I counted, I would not touch a penny of it."

Presently they arrived at a big, open space with tall trees round it. Here the King and his nobles saw that dinner was prepared for a great number of people. It looked like a large picnic, for everything was laid out on the grass.

Robin showed them where to put their horses, and where to sit. Then several page boys, dressed in green, came with large silver basins full of clean, fresh water. As the custom was in those days, they knelt on one knee, before each guest, so that he might wash his hands. The King was very much surprised to find everything so comfortable.

"Then Robin set his horn to his mouth,

And a loud blast did he blow,

Till a hundred and ten of Robin Hood's men,

Came marching all in a row.


[104]

And when they came bold Robin before,

Each man did bend his knee;

Oh, thought the King, 'tis a gallant thing,

And a seemly sight to see."

When the King saw that every man passed in front of Robin, and bowed to him before he went to his place, he was very much astonished. He said to himself, "These men honour their master as if he were a King. They are far more humble before him than my men are before me."

When they were all in their places, Friar Tuck said grace in Latin. Then every one sat down and dinner began.

It was a very fine dinner indeed.

"Venison and fowls were plenty there,

With fish out of the river;

King Richard swore, on sea or shore,

He never had feasted better."

Venison is the flesh of deer. No one was supposed to shoot the deer in Sherwood Forest except the King himself. When Richard saw Robin and his men feasting on [105] his venison he hardly knew whether to be angry or to laugh.

"You say you are no traitor," said he, turning to Robin, "yet you shoot the King's deer."

"I cannot starve my men," replied Robin. "Were Richard himself here I think he would scarcely find it in his heart to grudge these fine men their food."

"Perhaps not," replied the King with a laugh; "but it is a bold thing to do. However, it is excellently cooked, and I have never enjoyed a meal better, so I at least must forgive you."

When dinner was over, Robin took a can of ale in his hand and stood up. "Let every man fill his can," said he. "Here's a health to the King."

Every man sprang to his feet, and shouting, "God save the King," drank his health.

The King himself drank to the King. He knew he must, or Robin would have found out who he was. So he stood up with the rest, and drank his own health.

"Now," said Robin, "we must amuse our [106] guests. Get your bows and arrows and we will show what we can do in the way of archery. Shoot your very best. Shoot as if King Richard himself were here, for these gentlemen are his friends. They will tell him if you have shot well or ill when they see him again."

"They showed such brave archery,

By cleaving sticks and wands,

That the King did say, such men as they,

Live not in many lands."

"Well, Robin," then said Richard, "if I could get your pardon from the King, would you be willing to serve him and leave this wild life in the woods? Richard has need of good men and true such as you."

"Yes, with all my heart," said bold Robin Hood.

"Men, he called out, "would you be willing to serve King Richard of England—Richard Cœur de Lion?"

"Yes, with all our hearts," they shouted. Then they flung off their hoods and caps, and swore, standing bareheaded, to serve the King in everything.

[107] "You see, Sir Abbot," said Robin, turning to him, "we are all loyal people here."

"So I see," replied the King, and his voice sounded husky.

"If you will be so kind to me as to ask the King to forgive me," went on Robin, "I think I will begin to love monks again. A Bishop was the first cause of our misfortunes, and that is what makes me hate them all. But from this day I shall try to like them again."

Then the King felt he could keep his secret no longer. He flung off the monk's hood with which he had kept his face and head covered till now, and said:—

"I am thy King, thy sovereign King,

That appears before you all;

When Robin saw that it was he,

Straight then he down did fall."

"Stand up again," said the King, "I give you your pardon gladly. Stand up, my friend, I doubt if in all England I have more faithful followers than you and your men."


[Illustration]

"Stand up again," said the King

When his men saw Robin kneeling they [108] all knelt down too, wondering very much what was going to happen next. "It's the King," whispered one man who was near enough to hear what was said. "It's the King," whispered the next one. "The King, the King," whispered one after another, till every man in Robin's band knew that King Richard himself was standing before them.

When Richard had made Robin rise and stand by his side, he turned to the men and said, "I am King Richard. Are you ready to keep the oath you swore a few minutes ago? Are you ready to follow me as your master is, and be my men?"

"That we are!" they all shouted, flinging their hats in the air. "That we are! Long live King Richard! Three cheers for Richard Cœur de Lion!"

"So they've all gone to Nottingham

All shouting as they came,

And when the people did them see,

They thought the King was slain."

Such excitement there was, when it [109] became known that Robin and his men were marching in a body to the town, shouting and singing as they came. Some people were frightened and wanted to run away, but they did not know where to run to.

Everybody wanted to see the sight. They came out of their houses and stood in the streets or leaned from the windows; all anxious to see what was happening.

"They have killed the King," some said.

"They are coming to take the town."

"They mean to hang the Sheriff."

"And all the Normans too."

"They are going to beat all the monks and friars."

"They will pull the monastery down."

The excitement grew and grew, till every one's face was red and every throat was hoarse.

"They haven't killed the King at all," some one shouted at last.

"He is riding at the head of them along with Robin Hood. Long live King Richard. Long live Robin Hood. Hurrah! Hurrah!"

[110]

"The ploughman left his plough in the field,

The smith ran from his shop,

Old folks also that scarce could go,

Over their sticks did hop.


The King soon let them understand

He had been in the Green Wood;

And from that day, for evermore,

Had forgiven Robin Hood."

There was great rejoicing when the people heard that Robin Hood and the King were friends. They walked up and down the streets nearly all day, singing "God Save the King."

The only person who was sorry was the Sheriff. "What! Robin Hood," said he, "that creature whom I hate?"

But Robin Hood came to him and said, "Let us be friends. I want to be friends with every one to-day. See, I have brought you back the money you paid me for your dinner in the forest."

The Sheriff was delighted to get his three [111] hundred pounds again. He was so glad that he almost forgave Robin for all the tricks he had played.

"Now," said Robin laughingly, "I have given you back your money, so you owe me a dinner for that one I gave you in the forest. Ask the King if he will honour you by coming to supper. If he does, I will come too."

The Sheriff groaned, "If I ask the King to supper it will cost me three hundred pounds and more."

"Of course it will," replied Robin. "See that it is a fine supper, and worthy of a king."

So the poor Sheriff was obliged to ask the King to supper. He came, and so did Robin Hood. It was a very fine supper indeed. But the poor Sheriff could hardly eat anything. It made him miserable to see the King and his old enemy Robin Hood such friends. And the thought of all the money he had spent made him more miserable still. He was so unhappy that he thought he should have died.

[112] Next day they all went off to London.

"They're all gone now to London Court,

Robin Hood and all his train;

He once was there a noble peer,

And now he's there again."

But very soon after this, unfortunately, Richard Cœur de Lion died. Prince John became King as Richard had no sons.

Prince John hated Robin, so once more he had to fly to the Green Wood with all his Merry Men, and there he remained until he died many years after.

 



Thornton Burgess

Some Feathered Diggers

[159] PETER RABBIT scampered along down one bank of the Laughing Brook, eagerly watching for a high, gravelly bank such as Grandfather Frog had said that Rattles the Kingfisher likes to make his home in. If Peter had stopped to do a little thinking, he would have known that he was simply wasting time. You see, the Laughing Brook was flowing through the Green Meadows, so of course there would be no high, gravelly bank, because the Green Meadows are low. But Peter Rabbit, in his usual heedless way, did no thinking. He had seen Rattles fly down the Laughing Brook, and so he had just taken it for granted that the home of Rattles must be somewhere down there.

At last Peter reached the place where the Laughing Brook entered the Big River. Of course he hadn't found the home of Rattles. But now he did find something that for the time being made him quite forget Rattles and his home. Just before it reached the Big River the Laughing Brook wound through a swamp in which were [160] many tall trees and a great number of young trees. A great many big ferns grew there and were splendid to hide under. Peter always did like that swamp.

He had stopped to rest in a clump of ferns when he was startled by seeing a great bird alight in a tree just a little way from him. His first thought was that it was a Hawk, so you can imagine how surprised and pleased he was to discover that it was Mrs. Longlegs. Somehow Peter had always thought of Longlegs the Blue Heron as never alighting anywhere except on the ground. But here was Mrs. Longlegs in a tree. Having nothing to fear, Peter crept out from his hiding place that he might see better.

In the tree in which Mrs. Longlegs was perched and just below her he saw a little platform of sticks. He didn't suspect that it was a nest, because it looked too rough and loosely put together to be a nest. Probably he wouldn't have thought about it at all had not Mrs. Longlegs settled herself on it right while Peter was watching. It didn't seem big enough or strong enough to hold her, but it did.

"As I live," thought Peter, "I've found the nest of Longlegs! He and Mrs. Longlegs may be good fishermen but they certainly are mighty poor nest-builders. I don't see how under the [161] sun Mrs. Longlegs ever gets on and off that nest without kicking the eggs out."

Peter sat around for a while, but as he didn't care to let his presence be known, and as there was no one to talk to, he presently made up his mind that being so near the Big River he would go over there to see if Plunger the Osprey was fishing again on this day.

When he reached the Big River, Plunger was not in sight. Peter was disappointed. He had just about made up his mind to return the way he had come, when from beyond the swamp, farther up the Big River, he heard the harsh, rattling cry of Rattles the Kingfisher. It reminded him of what he had come for, and he at once began to hurry in that direction.

Peter came out of the swamp on a little sandy beach. There he squatted for a moment, blinking his eyes, for out there the sun was very bright. Then a little way beyond him he discovered something that in his eager curiosity made him quite forget that he was out in the open where it was anything but safe for a Rabbit to be. What he saw was a high sandy bank. With a hasty glance this way and that way to make sure that no enemy was in sight, Peter scampered along the edge of the water till he was right at the foot of that sandy bank. Then he squatted down and looked eagerly [162] for a hole such as he imagined Rattles the Kingfisher might make. Instead of one hole he saw a lot of holes, but they were very small holes. He knew right away that Rattles couldn't possibly get in or out of a single one of those holes. In fact, those holes in the bank were no bigger than the holes Downy the Woodpecker makes in trees. Peter couldn't imagine who or what had made them.

As Peter sat there staring and wondering a trim little head appeared at the entrance to one of those holes. It was a trim little head with a very small bill and a snowy white throat. At first glance Peter thought it was his old friend, Skimmer the Tree Swallow, and he was just on the point of asking what under the sun Skimmer was doing in such a place as that, when with a lively twitter of greeting the owner of that little home in the bank flew out and circled over Peter's head. It wasn't Skimmer at all. It was Banker the Bank Swallow, own cousin to Skimmer the Tree Swallow. Peter recognized him the instant he got a full view of him.

In the first place Banker was a little smaller than Skimmer. Then too, he was not nearly so handsome. His back, instead of being that beautiful rich steel-blue which makes Skimmer so handsome, was a sober grayish-brown. He was a [163] little darker on his wings and tail. His breast, instead of being all snowy white, was crossed with a brownish band. His tail was more nearly square across the end than is the case with other members of the Swallow family.

"Wha—wha—what were you doing there?" stuttered Peter, his eyes popping right out with curiosity and excitement.

"Why, that's my home," twittered Banker.

"Do—do—do you mean to say that you live in a hole in the ground?" cried Peter.

"Certainly; why not?" twittered Banker as he snapped up a fly just over Peter's head.

"I don't know any reason why you shouldn't," confessed Peter. "But somehow it is hard for me to think of birds as living in holes in the ground. I've only just found out that Rattles the Kingfisher does. But I didn't suppose there were any others. Did you make that hole yourself, Banker?"

"Of course," replied Banker. "That is, I helped make it. Mrs. Banker did her share. 'Way in at the end of it we've got the nicest little nest of straw and feathers. What is more, we've got four white eggs in there, and Mrs. Banker is sitting on them now."

By this time the air seemed to be full of Banker's friends, skimming and circling this way and that, [163] and going in and out of the little holes in the bank.

"I am like my big cousin, Twitter the Purple Martin, fond of society," explained Banker. "We Bank Swallows like our homes close together. You said that you had just learned that Rattles the Kingfisher has his home in a bank. Do you know where it is?"

"No," replied Peter. "I was looking for it when I discovered your home. Can you tell me where it is?"

"I'll do better than that;" replied Banker. "I'll show you where it is."

He darted some distance up along the bank and hovered for an instant close to the top. Peter scampered over there and looked up. There, just a few inches below the top, was another hole, a very much larger hole than those he had just left. As he was staring up at it a head with a long sharp bill and a crest which looked as if all the feathers on the top of his head had been brushed the wrong way, was thrust out. It was Rattles himself. He didn't seem at all glad to see Peter. In fact, he came out and darted at Peter angrily. Peter didn't wait to feel that sharp dagger-like bill. He took to his heels. He had seen what he started out to find and he was quite content to go home.

[165] Peter took a short cut across the Green Meadows. It took him past a certain tall, dead tree. A sharp cry of "Kill-ee, kill-ee, kill-ee!" caused Peter to look up just in time to see a trim, handsome bird whose body was about the size of Sammy Jay's but whose longer wings and longer tail made him look bigger. One glance was enough to tell Peter that this was a member of the Hawk family, the smallest of the family. It was Killy the Sparrow Hawk. He is too small for Peter to fear him, so now Peter was possessed of nothing more than a very lively curiosity, and sat up to watch.

Out over the meadow grass Killy sailed. Suddenly, with beating wings, he kept himself in one place in the air and then dropped down into the grass. He was up again in an instant, and Peter could see that he had a fat grasshopper in his claws. Back to the top of the tall, dead tree he flew and there ate the grasshopper. When it was finished he sat up straight and still, so still that he seemed a part of the tree itself. With those wonderful eyes of his he was watching for another grasshopper or for a careless Meadow Mouse.

Very trim and handsome was Killy. His back was reddish-brown crossed by bars of black. His tail was reddish-brown with a band of black [166] near its end and a white tip. His wings were slaty-blue with little bars of black, the longest feathers having white bars. Underneath he was a beautiful buff, spotted with black. His head was bluish with a reddish patch right on top. Before and behind each ear was a black mark. His rather short bill, like the bills of all the rest of his family, was hooked.

As Peter sat there admiring Killy, for he was handsome enough for any one to admire, he noticed for the first time a hole high up in the trunk of the tree, such a hole as Yellow Wing the Flicker might have made and probably did make. Right away Peter remembered what Jenny Wren had told him about Killy's making his nest in just such a hole. "I wonder," thought Peter, "if that is Killy's home."

Just then Killy flew over and dropped in the grass just in front of Peter, where he caught another fat grasshopper. "Is that your home up there?" asked Peter hastily.

"It certainly is, Peter," replied Killy. "This is the third summer Mrs. Killy and I have had our home there."

"You seem to be very fond of grasshoppers," Peter ventured.

"I am," replied Killy. "They are very fine eating when one can get enough of them."

[167] "Are they the only kind of food you eat?" ventured Peter.

Killy laughed. It was a shrill laugh. "I should say not," said he. "I eat spiders and worms and all sorts of insects big enough to give a fellow a decent bite. But for real good eating give me a fat Meadow Mouse. I don't object to a Sparrow or some other small bird now and then, especially when I have a family of hungry youngsters to feed. But take it the season through, I live mostly on grasshoppers and insects and Meadow Mice. I do a lot of good in this world, I'd have you know."

Peter said that he supposed that this was so, but all the time he kept thinking what a pity it was that Killy ever killed his feathered neighbors. As soon as he conveniently could he politely bade Killy good-by and hurried home to the dear Old Briar-patch, there to think over how queer it seemed that a member of the Hawk family should nest in a hollow tree and a member of the Swallow family should dig a hole in the ground.

 



Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Praying and Loving

He prayeth best who loveth best

All things, both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.


 


  WEEK 35  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

A Wonderful Woman

[153] LITTLE DOROTHY DIX was poor. Her father did not know how to make a living. Her mother did not know how to bring up her children.

The father moved from place to place. Sometimes he printed little tracts to do good. But he let his own children grow up poor and wretched.

Dorothy wanted to learn. She wanted to become a teacher. She wanted to get money to send her little brothers to school.

Dorothy was a girl of strong will and temper. When she was twelve years old, she left her wretched home. She went to her grandmother. Her grandmother Dix lived in a large house in Boston. She sent Dorothy to school.

Dorothy learned fast. But she wanted to make money. She wanted to help her brothers. When she was fourteen, she taught a school. She tried to make herself look like a woman. She made her dresses longer.

She soon went back to her grand-mother. She went to school again. Then she taught school. She soon had a school in her grandmother's house. It was a very good school. Many girls were sent to her school.

[154] Miss Dix was often ill. But when she was well enough, she worked away. She was able to send her brothers to school until they grew up.

Besides helping her brothers, she wanted to help other poor children. She started a school for poor children in her grandmother's barn.

After a while she left off teaching. She was not well. She had made all the money she needed.

But she was not idle. She went one day to teach some poor women in an alms-house. Then she went to see the place where the crazy people were kept. These insane people had no fire in the coldest weather.

Miss Dix tried to get the managers to put up a stove in the room. But they would not do it. Then she went to the court. She told the judge about it. The judge said that the insane people ought to have a fire. He made the managers put up a stove in the place where they were kept.

Then Miss Dix went to other towns. She wanted to see how the insane people were treated. Some of them were shut up in dark, damp cells. One young man was chained up with an iron collar about his neck.

Miss Dix got new laws made about the insane. She persuaded the States to build large houses for keeping the insane. She spent most of her life at this work.

[155] The Civil War broke out. There were many sick and wounded soldiers to be taken care of.

All of the nurses in the hospitals were put under Miss Dix. She worked at this as long as the war lasted. Then she spent the rest of her life doing all that she could for insane people.

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

Beauty and Brownie

[86]

T WO Deer named Beauty and Brownie lived with their father and mother and great herds of Deer in a forest. One day their father called them to him and said: [Illustration] "The Deer in the forest are always in danger when the corn is ripening in the fields. It will be best for you to go away for a while, and you must each take your own herd of Deer with you."

"What is the danger, Father?" they asked.

"When the Deer go into the fields to eat the corn they get caught in the traps the men set there," the father said. "Many Deer are caught in these traps every year."

"Shall you go away with us?" Brownie said.

"No, your mother and I, and some of the other old Deer will stay here in the forest," said the father. "There will be food enough for us, but there is not enough for you and your herds. You must lead your herds up into the high hills where there is plenty of food for you, and stay there [88] until the crops are all cut. Then you can bring your herds back here. But you must be careful.

"You must travel by night, because the hunters will see you if you go by day. And you must not take your herd near the villages where hunters live."

So Beauty and Brownie and their herds set out. Beauty traveled at night and did not go near any villages, and at last brought his herd safely to the high hills. Not a single Deer did Beauty lose.

[Illustration] But Brownie forgot what his father had said. Early each morning he started off with his herd, going along all through the day. When he saw a village, he led his herd right past [89] it. Again and again hunters saw the herd, and they killed many, many of the Deer in Brownie's herd.

When crops had been cut, the Deer started back to the forest. Beauty led all his herd back, but stupid Brownie traveled in the daytime, and again he took his herd past the villages. When he reached the forest only a few were left of all Brownie's herd.

 



Emilie Poulsson

The First Christmas

Once a little baby lay

Cradled on the fragrant hay,

Long ago on Christmas;

Stranger bed a babe ne'er found,

Wond'ring cattle stood around,

Long ago on Christmas.


By the shining vision taught,

Shepherds for the Christ-child sought,

Long ago on Christmas.

Guided in a starlit way,

Wise men came their gifts to pay,

Long ago on Christmas.


And to-day the whole glad earth

Praises God for that Child's birth,

Long ago on Christmas;

For the Life, the Truth, the Way

Came to bless the earth that day,

Long ago on Christmas.